vegansaurus!

10/01/2014

The SF Vegan Beer & Food Festival is coming! And you’d be a food (a damn fool!) to miss it!
Here’s the skinny from the wonderful folks at Hella Vegan Eats (WE LOVE THEM SO MUCH):

We are SO EXCITED to announce the first ever SF Vegan Beer & Food Festival happening on Saturday, October 18th (hope you can make it) at SoMa StrEat Food Park!!

In addition to local craft beers, 20+ vegan vendors, sweet tunes, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and the SF SPCA! Oh, glorious day! 
We would love any and all help getting the word out there! <3 

So be there or be square! And being square is NOT HIP, no matter how many times Huey Lewis insists that it is.

The SF Vegan Beer & Food Festival is coming! And you’d be a food (a damn fool!) to miss it!

Here’s the skinny from the wonderful folks at Hella Vegan Eats (WE LOVE THEM SO MUCH):

We are SO EXCITED to announce the first ever SF Vegan Beer & Food Festival happening on Saturday, October 18th (hope you can make it) at SoMa StrEat Food Park!!

In addition to local craft beers, 20+ vegan vendors, sweet tunes, a portion of the proceeds will benefit Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and the SF SPCA! Oh, glorious day! 

We would love any and all help getting the word out there! <3 

So be there or be square! And being square is NOT HIP, no matter how many times Huey Lewis insists that it is.

06/10/2014

Oakland’s Awesome, Sun-Baked, Line-Filled Vegan Food Fest   »

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Let’s get this out of the way: the lines were long. And I mean like, crazy long. Long enough to wind through the outdoor patio lined with pop-up vegan restaurants and snake back around on themselves.

The first annual Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival this past Saturday was well attended, almost shockingly crowded. We knew Oakland loved a good vegan dish (and beer), but wow. Some reported waiting in line for up to two hours.

Although certainly frustrating, I’m going to look at the silver lining here and posit this simply means they’ll need more space and more food booths next time, which the organizers know—not such a bad thing.

After the fest, Hella Vegan Eats posted a love note to the community on their Facebook page that included this insight: “We are overjoyed that there was such a positive response to this event even with the crazy long lines. We can’t wait to begin planning next year’s #OAKVEGBFF with way more vendors, more space, better organization, etc. Now that we know to expect so many people, we can plan accordingly!”

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Personally, I waited half an hour in line then another half hour for one of the most delicious dishes I’ve ever had, courtesy of S+M Vegan. The flavorful Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with tots and veggies and topped with pickled relish and sweet soy was succulent and satisfying. Standing while eating, I finished it far too quickly.

While waiting, we sipped tart ciders and sampled decadent pastries including a gooey chocolate grasshopper bar and caramel cupcake from Timeless Coffee. As the Oakland sun beat down, I tried tastes of a dark Ale Industries Rye’d Piper and the Linden Street New Oakland Glow.

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I also got a chance to chat with the duo behind Rhizocali Tempeh. They mentioned that they were surprised, coming from Gainesville, Florida, a town with two independent tempeh-producing companies, to find no other locals currently producing tempeh in Oakland. Nuts, right? The organic tempeh-makers based in the same commercial kitchen as Hella Vegan Eats and S+M Kitchen.

Wildly popular fest organizers Hella Vegan Eats had some especially long lines as well, but I saw many a vegan walk away ecstatic with a glistening plate of fried “chicken” and waffle or mac-n-cheese Lusty Lovers tacos from their booth.

While the food vendors were all lined up in the outdoor patio, inside we got to check out some rather shiny classic cars and art installations.

Outside, dogs roamed the lines, some very cute pups up for adoption via Rocket Dog Rescue—which received 20 percent of the event’s proceeds—and others brought by attendees, just stretching on leashes and seeking fallen drops of precious veggie meats.

To see more yummy photos of the event, creep on the #OAKVEGBFF hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.

06/03/2014

First ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival is THIS WEEKEND  »

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Bay Area: Did you also watch the drool-worthy photos from the second annual La Vegan Beer & Food Festival roll in on Instagram and Twitter with stomach-rumbling envy a few weeks back? Just me? Well surprise, surprise, we’ve got our very own (granted, relatively more intimate but just as fun-sounding) vegan beer and food fest going down this weekend! Envy-drool no more.

The first ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival takes place this Saturday, June 7, 11am-5pm, in the beer garden/art gallery space Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland. It’s free entry but like all food pop-ups, you’ll pay for your eats as you go.

The awesome ladies behind popular vegan pop-up Hella Vegan Eats will be serving up their signature blend of out-of-this-world colorful dishes:  Lusty Lover mac & cheese tacos, mini potsticker burritos (yep), “chicken” and waffle bites, and smoked seitan reubens.

And Black Spring Coffee, Curbside Creamery, Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery, S+M Vegan, Rhizocali Tempeh, and more will join Hella Vegan Eats in the gallery.

I recently got on the S+M Vegan tip when I discovered their cashew cream cheese in specialty flavors, which you can pick up at Berkeley’s newish vegan store, Republic of V. The plant-based couple behind S+M is also know for pop-ups and cooking classes. Their Saturday menu is still being fine-tuned but they say it will be a selection of their favorite foods from different countries, inspired by their travels. That will likely include a Drunken Chicago Dip sandwich featuring savory beer-infused seitan served au jus with crunchy giardinera and sweet peppers in a Dutch crunch roll, a Drunken Croque Monsieur sandwich with thin slices of hickory smoked tofu, secret cheesy sauce, pickles and mustard au vin rouge, a take on Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with Tater Tots and veggies brushed with sweet soy glaze and a Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).

On the sweet side, Black Spring Coffee, which opened its doors last year, is known for yummy vegan pastries, as is fellow Oakland coffee shop, Timeless, which has warm house-baked treats. Black Spring will have pastries and iced coffee; Timeless is bringing pour over coffee, chocolates, and even more pastries. Oh and Curbside Creamery will have vegan ice cream sandwiches!

CommonWealth Café & Pub is bringing a variety of beers and ciders.

Plus, there’ll be DJ sets by Alexa Pantalone and Melissr Elliot. Even cooler? It’s for a good cause: 20% of food sales benefit Rocket Dog Rescue.

Better start warning your friends of an onslaught of incoming vegan food photos. Come to think of it, is there an official Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival hashtag yet? I’ll keep a look out.

The goal is make this a biannual event, with one in the spring and one in the fall, and smaller nighttime versions taking place once a month. 

04/28/2014

Celebrate Mother’s Day with a special vegan brunch in Berkeley!  »

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I have to admit that lately, I’ve been slightly envious of those of you in the Bay Area. Since I left in January, there have been so many fantastic vegan happenings: Hella Vegan Eats is everywhereRepublic of V opened and the S + M chefs are popping up around town! And now, I am stoked to announce, From the Garden is hosting a Greenhouse brunch, just in time for Mother’s Day! Kyle and Ashley make sure to point out that, though it is a “Mother’s Day Brunch,” their elegant feast is for everyone and anyone who would like to attend. Go, go, go, because their food is absolutely fantastic! Bring your mom, your friend who’s a mom, friends who have no affiliation with motherhood except that they came out of one, or just yourself. You can meet new, fun people there! 

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Their presentation alone is gorgeous! 

This brunch takes place in Kyle and Ashley’s greenhouse in Berkeley, on May 11, at noon. There is a possibility if the noon brunch fills up quickly, they will add another seating later in the afternoon. The theme is “Flowers for the Ones You Love,” which could totally apply to yourself, no judgement here. They will be serving three courses, complete with drink pairings (you can request non-alcoholic), all made with edible flowers from their greenhouse! Kyle and Ashley are asking for $45 per person. For more details (like location), and to make a reservation, email Kyle at chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

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I attended a From the Garden brunch in early January, and it was phenomenal. One of the best meals of my life! I still think about that Greenhouse Mary and bacon-avocado-biscuit breakfast sandwich. 

You can follow From the Garden on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for updates and information on future events. Word has it there’s a Rhizocali tempeh dinner in the works!

04/25/2014

Your vegan-friendly weekend plans, NorCal! Sacramento, Hella Vegan Eats and a haunted hotel!   »

According to a recent list by the Huffington Post, “anything off a food truck” is one of the 22 most hipster foods on the planets. Vegan cookies, tacos and beer made the list as well, so whatever. I bet the writer’s head would explode at the thought of SactoMoFo 7 in downtown Sacramento! 

If you live in the Sacramento area, go check out Vegansaurus fave and Bay Area darlings, Hella Vegan Eats! The festival is free with a canned food item, or $5 at the door. Hella Vegan Eats, a beer garden and live music — sounds like an incredible afternoon to me! If you are considering coming from the Bay Area, why not make a weekend out of it and head to beautiful, vegan-friendly Nevada City afterwards? (Shout-out out to South Pine Cafe, my tofu scramble was DELICIOUS!) They’ve got a haunted hotel and I even heard there is outdoorsy stuff to do. I wouldn’t know, I spent all my time there in the old-timey bars and interrogating the staff at The National for all the ghost stories

03/04/2014

JB’s Top 5 Bay Area Vegan Eats!  »

Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:

Hella Vegan Eats 

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Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats). 

Flaco’s 

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Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad. 

Timeless Coffee Roasters 

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Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies! 

The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit! 

Donut Farm

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Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens! 

Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!) 

Thai Idea

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Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree! 

I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not. 

So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches

02/04/2014

Hella Vegan Eats (our favorite!) are inviting bakers and eaters to boycott the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics with them on Friday, Feb. 7th at Black Spring Coffee Company (2930 Telegraph Ave, between 30th St &amp; 29th St in Oakland) from 4pm-7pm! All proceeds benefit Queerussia LGBTQ Network outreach &amp; activism! 
EVERYONE GO! Bake some stuff and drop it off! Or go visit and buy all the stuff! It&#8217;s for a very worthy cause and plus you know it&#8217;s gonna be the most delicious.
Let&#8217;s raise lots of $$$ and awareness! See you (and your friends! and family! and frenemies! and enemies! and that dude you picked up on the corner!) there! 

Hella Vegan Eats (our favorite!) are inviting bakers and eaters to boycott the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics with them on Friday, Feb. 7th at Black Spring Coffee Company (2930 Telegraph Ave, between 30th St & 29th St in Oakland) from 4pm-7pmAll proceeds benefit Queerussia LGBTQ Network outreach & activism! 

EVERYONE GO! Bake some stuff and drop it off! Or go visit and buy all the stuff! It’s for a very worthy cause and plus you know it’s gonna be the most delicious.

Let’s raise lots of $$$ and awareness! See you (and your friends! and family! and frenemies! and enemies! and that dude you picked up on the corner!) there! 

12/22/2013

Have a Hella Vegan Eats Holiday!  »

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I’ve put absolutely everything concerning Christmas off until the last minute, and I’m fine, I’m fine. It’s going to be okay, I’m sure I can figure out what my entire family wants for Christmas in the next 24 hours, wrap their presents, finish up at work and pack. 

If you are like me (Working best under pressure? It’s a gift, not a curse, I swear!) and the food has yet to be figured out for your festivities, I got great news for you! Oakland’s own Hella Vegan Eats is still offering holiday catering, with small bites, tamales and desserts! Today is the last day to order; check it out! They ask for orders of at least $150 — you could be set for a week, or realistically two very indulgent nights, with four of those delectable sounding pies! 

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You can email or call Tiffany and Sylvee with orders and questions at HellaVegan@gmail.com or 510-282-8233. Be sure to check out their Facebook page so you can “like” everything! 

As if there was any doubt in your mind about Hella Vegan Eats at your Holiday event, let’s revisit a photo of their Thanksgiving feast, via my pal George. 

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Scrumptious! Get it, Bay Area! 

11/28/2013

From the geniuses at Hella Vegan Eats:

These photos are via our friend George Lin who ordered the Hella Vegan “Festive Feast”: Savory Seitan Roast, Garlic Roasted Green Beans with Shiitake Mushrooms, Butternut Squash Mac-N-Cheeze, Spiced Cranberry Chutney, Pumpkin Cupcakes, Chipotle Sweet Potato Salad, Garlic Smashed Potatoes with Wild Rosemary Mushroom Gravy, Maple-Mustard Roasted Brussels Sprouts, and Cranberry Orange Cheezecake. Yay!

11/20/2013

Vegan guide to SF Bay Area Thanksgiving!   »

Hey friends! Thanksgiving, aka the most glorious time of the year, food-wise, is quickly descending upon us! I can’t wait to see all of your festive food pics this year! In a quandary about what to eat? I got you covered! Of course if I missed anything, be sure to mention it in the comments! After all, that’s how our relationship works, for better or for worse.

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Source restaurant will be offering their annual Gobble Platter, complete with “gobble”, gravy, creamed spinach, candied yams, homemade cranberry sauce, and a side salad. This meal is pretty epic, and I’m seriously looking forward to it! I’ll be eating it as my employee lunch (yippee!) before scooting off to the Peninsula to eat with my own family. Of course Source will be offering an array of desserts, including spice cake snowballs with orange frosting and a living pumpkin cheesecake (from me to you!), though not included in the $20.95 platter price. Mention Vegansaurus for 10% off your Gobble Platter, which will be available all day Thursday and Friday. Call 415-864-9000 for more information, or to make take-out/reservation arrangements. 

Souley Vegan is offering a SCRUMPTIOUS looking Thanksgiving day brunch buffet, 11am to 5pm. There are so many items to choose from, including a tofu loaf with rosemary gravy, blueberry waffles, herb mashed potatoes, southern fried tofu, pumpkin cheesecake with warm caramel sauce and your choice of two mimosas or draft beers. The price of this buffet is still up in the air, but I was told it will be in the ballpark of $20 - $25. Call 510-922-1615 for more details

The Plant Cafe is offering a prix fixe three-course meal, which includes a soup course, salad course, and featuring an entree of a red-wine braised portobello mushroom and lentil stew, with a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I believe the entire meal is gluten-free as well as vegan. The meal is by reservation only, from 2pm - 8pm. It’s $50 for adults and $25 for children under the age of 12. Wine flights are available for $25. Call 415-984-1973 for more details, or to make reservations! 

Hella Vegan Eats is offering a “Festive Feast,” which is available for pick-up or delivery on Wednesday, November 27th. Time is running out, as they ask you please place your order by Thursday, November 21st! I love Hella Vegan Eats so very much; I can only imagine how spectacular their Thanksgiving feast must be! Reserve your order by calling 510-282-8233. (Please note side-dishes and desserts are only available in addition to the Festive Feast) 

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New-to-the scene cuties, Ashley and Kyle Knies, of From the Garden, are offering a Thanksgiving meal box, which they will deliver to you on Wednesday, November 27th (minimum order, two boxes). The boxes of food are $30 each and includes such delectable items as  an Herbed-Lentil loaf, apple-cranberry stuffing, green bean casserole with crispy onions, and garlic mashed potatoes! Dessert is also available for an additional fee. To reserve a box, or ask any questions (single savory items, and couple selections of pies are available) email chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

Millennium is almost surely doing something because they always do so if you want to fancy it up, holler at them pretty soon (415-345-3900 x10) because I know they sell out and that would suck if your fancy thing was a bust because you slept on it. (And Uh, if you can, let us know in the comments what the deal is??)

If you want to bring home the Thanksgiving fun, you can get Hodo Soy Beanery yuba roast (supposedly very delicious!) from goodeggs.comOf course, Whole Foods always offers a vegan dinner available for pick-up at their many locations, while “faux turkeys” or holiday roasts are now sold at Rainbow, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. For your dessert needs, I’m always pretty stoked with the ready-made pies at Rainbow. There’s also Mission Pie, Timeless Coffee and of course pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic! Make sure you make your orders asap, as many bakeries have strict deadlines and cut-off dates!  

BONUS: If you know people in Los Angeles — check out our Los Angeles Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!

{Source Gobble Platter photo via Quarrygirl!}

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