The LA vegan mac truck fundraising campaign has moved internet locations! »
Recently we posted on Chef Ayinde Howell’s efforts to raise money to open a vegan and gluten-free MAC’N CHEESE TRUCK in LA. Well, the campaign has moved from Kickstarter over to Indiegogo, and I want to help get the word out because I am incredibly selfless. I also want it available for my consumption upon arriving in LA; it looks scrumptious! Anyway, you know how Kickstarter works; if you don’t make all the money you tried to raise, you don’t see any of it! That’s bananas, right? Or not, whatever, but it seems nutty to me. If you were thinking about, or did contribute to the original fundraiser, go ahead, take a look at the new internet location. Let’s not only help make Chef Ayinde’s dream a reality, but also my dream of eating a plate of Mac and Yease a few times a week!
Can’t see the videos? Check them out at Vegansaurus.com!
Vegan Valentine’s Day in LA »
It’s almost Valentine’s Day (didn’t you see the decorations for sale at drug stores during Christmas?!?), and regardless of your feelings about it (insert diatribe about eternal loneliness here), we can all agree that we love special menus at our favorite vegan spots in LA!
Get fancy at Crossroads with all their vegan Valentine’s glory! They’ll be serving a five-course meal, which will include Italian wedding soup, artichoke ravioli, and RED VELVET CAKE (RED VELVET CAKE!!!)! There will be gluten-free options and the set price includes a glass of champagne. $75 per guest. Reservations: http://crossroadskitchen.com/
Real Food Daily will be keeping the Italian spirit of the holiday with a mostly gluten-free menu. How will you choose between the Calabrese Stuffed Pepper or Lasagna Napoletana as your entree?? Or the Tiramisu Bombe versus the Creme Brulee?? (My advice? ORDER EVERYTHING.) $68 per person. Reservations: http://www.realfood.com/
One of my fave little spots, Flore, will have beet borscht (is that redundant?), a spinach fettucini (isn’t that what "Mouth" was ordering in Goonies!?!), and their classic chocolate/vanilla strawberry cake for $24 per person. No reservation necessary.
Healthy Junk in Anaheim will have TWO types of lasagna (white wine sauce vs marinara), GRILLED ARTICHOKES with aioli, and chocolate cake. $25 per person. Call to make a reservation: (714) 772-JUNK.
Irregardless (which, yes, is a real word now), binge on enough sugary vegan treats that Wilford Brimley will come dancing at your door*.
Happy VD, Vegansaurs!
Those better be Go Max Foods candies, Bigfoot!
*Diabetes is not really funny, ya’ll, but I can’t resist a joke that involves a bad YouTube dance mix.
Tickets on Sale: LA Vegan Beer and Food Festival 2014! »
Buy your tickets here!
It’s the time of year again, my friends. Time to hang out in a parking lot in LA (classy times), drink beer and eat all the vegan food you can possibly fit into the stomach that you’ve been training all year for this event. (Wait, am I the only one that does that?)
The big day is May 17th and If you live in LA, there’s NO EXCUSE for you not to come. If you don’t live in LA (first off, I’m sorry), this is the reason you’ve always needed to visit! Internet meet-ups galore! You can finally meet those people you’ve been “liking” on Instagram and “favoriting” on Twitter. Don’t be creepy and anti-social, just DO IT!
You know Quarry Girl? Ever heard of the infamous LA night club, The Roxy (owned by Nic Adler)? Drank or chowed down at Tony’s Darts Away in Burbank? These are the glorious sponsors of this even more glorious event.
Still need a reason to buy a ticket!?!? (Geez, you’re needy.)
Last year I put in a lot of eating time at the Kind Kreme tent (I blame the fact that I was in black denim in 90 degree heat), got some crazy good chocolate croissants from LA Vegan Crepe, jackfruit tacos from the Seabird’s truck…I could go on, but I might embarrass myself by being a heavyweight champion in eating. People, I don’t even drink beer and I had a helluva good time.
In all seriousness, I met some of the raddest people at last year’s event, who I now consider to be great friends. I can partially blame them for my moving to LA (btw, can you chip in retroactively for my moving fund? kthx). One of my favorite things about being vegan is our community, so come out and be part of it!
Muchas Gracias! Gracias Madre is opening in West Hollywood this Friday! »
Thanks, LA Times, for this photo.
When I saw this article posted on FaceBook yesterday, I thought, “THANK MAUDE, THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING!” This Friday, January 18, all your vegan Mexican dreams come true in West Hollywood.* Rumors about their opening date have been flying for awhile now, so this confirmation comes as a great relief!
Being new to LA has its definite perks (remember when I ate fried green tomatoes at Crossroads?!), but there were a few things I was sad to leave behind in San Francisco. Gracias Madre was at the top of that list! (So was Rainbow Grocery, but then I found Viva la Vegan here.)
If you’ve never had the mole from Gracias Madre, well, I pity the fool. There are countless ways I could count what’s great about this place (cashew cheese on errthang), and it sounds like they’re kicking it up a notch with this new location. Executive chef, Chandra Gilbert, has some tasty ideas up her chef’s coat sleeve. And the beverage director, Jason Eisner, seems to as well. They posted a few photos on their Instagram showing the process of how the organic tequilas and mezcal they’ll be serving are made. Since I don’t drink, I expect all my lush friends to pick up the slack. I’ll make up for it by eating ALL THE VEGAN FLAN.
The only info on their website is a link for people interested in working there (please get a job there and give me free food!). I expect they’ll update it soon with the full menu and any upcoming events.
Spoiler alert: both Gracias Madre locations are part of the same family as Cafe Gratitude (which VS has done several pieces on in the past). I’m pleading the 5th and staying out of that discussion (whilst stuffing my face with controversial, yet delicious, Mexican vittles).
Los Angeles, “GRACIAS” for giving me another reason to love living here!!!! (Sorry, not sorry for that.)
*Unless you have some crazy dream of being a vegan luchador, Sorry, I can’t help you on that one.
Exploring the Ex-Vegan Phenomenon »
This Saturday, January 11th, at the Animal Advocacy Museum in Pasadena, CA, Matt Ruscigno, MPH, RD, and Sayward Rebhal, vegan lifestyle coach, and author of Vegan Pregnancy Survival Guide, will give a short presentation with an open discussion exploring this issue.
Some questions they will explore:
- Why do people stop being vegan?
- Are there valid health reasons to go back to eating animal products?
- Are the health claims about the benefits of veganism unrealistic?
- What can our community do better to improve vegan retention?
I will probably be sitting in the back row, quietly observing and weeping (since confrontations make me anxious…which I should probably explore in therapy) and will write a post-event recap. Hopefully there won’t be anyone throwing down the vegan gauntlet (how often can I use that idiom?).
For more info (and interesting comments to read), visit the Facebook event page.
Also, why does the word, “phenomena,” always make me think of this song (sorry in advance)? [Megan Rascal note: sorry? I fracking love that song!]
Viva la Vegan Grocery Express es muy awesome! »
Moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles meant giving up shopping at Rainbow Grocery, which was almost a tragic enough reason not to make the move (sorry friends, you mean something to me, too, I swear!). BUT when I found out about Viva la Vegan’s new(ish), Grocery Express in Santa Monica, I knew I wouldn’t be forced to forage the streets of Los Angeles for mock meats and vegan provisions. This place, to put it simply, RULES. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure they carry every vegan item that exists.* It certainly feels that way. Plus, as an avoider of gluten (I know, I know, Hail Seitan), there is a bounty of options. There are also a million glutinous options for those of you who aren’t thwarted with belly aches after consuming it’s deliciousness.
Amongst some of the exciting things I bought were: VEGAN LOX (aka Smoked Salmon by Sophie’s Kitchen) AND GLUTEN FREE BAGELS (by Culver City’s Rising Hearts Bakery, owned by Follow Your Heart). They also carry every Follow Your Heart salad dressing, flavored mayonnaise and sauce (who knew they had like, a zillion!?!). And, drumroll please! BEYOND MEAT’S NEW “BEEF” CRUMBLE (which isn’t available anywhere else in retail yet)!!! It’s sold in 5lb bags in the freezer section, in case you rush over to buy some (which you should)).
So if you live within, like, 100 miles of LA, you should visit this store! Unless you live 100 east of LA, then you should go to their main location is Rancho Cucamonga, which has to be the most fun to pronounce word, and means “sandy place” in English.
Happy vegan shopping!
*This statement not supported by any actual facts.
LA: Sunday Suppers & New Year’s Eve at Crossroads »
Attention Angelenos! Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads has started showcasing both local and national chefs with their Sunday Suppers at Crossroads series. What does this mean, you ask?!? It means there will be even MORE reason to get your tuckus to Crossroads for their amazing food. So far, Scot Jones, their executive chef, kicked things off on December 8th with an Italian inspired menu. CIAO BELLA (the only Italian I can pretend to know, and I still Googled it).
Last week I couldn’t NOT see what Top Chef Masters/Iron Chef America/OPRAH’S PERSONAL CHEF, Chef Art Smith’s “soulful Southern menu” was all about. Seriously? Nailed it! He came around to talk to patrons and casually admitted that he and Tal had cooked a similar menu for HH Dalai Lama. You know, NBD.
People, the fried green tomato salad!!! I DIED. (Fried food in a salad? Why didn’t I think of that??). And the Southern fried “chicken” was ON POINT. I’m from the South, so I take my fried faux meats seriously. The breading was off the chain good, ya’ll.
Don’t be too bummed you missed out (okay, maybe be slightly bummed), every Sunday there will be a guest chef and a special menu. Follow them on Twitter for the most up-to-date goings ons.
Also, they’re hosting a special 6-course, New Year’s Eve dinner with a late seating (a less expensive, earlier seating with a 5-course menu is also available, if you want to dine there and party elsewhere). The menu looks amazeballs (no surprise)! EGGNOG ICE CREAM!
Be sure to make a reservation pronto and get ready to spot some vegan celebrities! This place is a WeHo hot spot.
Pics are from Crossroads’ Twitter.
The LA vegan Thanksgiving guide! »
Thanksgiving feast from Cafe Gratitude.
Attention lazy vegans (or busy vegans, or those of you who actually relax on holidays) of Los Angeles!! We have compiled a (hopefully) comprehensive list of restaurants that are offering vegan Thanksgiving goodies, be it take-out or dine-in. If we’ve left anything out, please let us know in the comments! Also feel free to tell us how charismatic and charming we are.
Tal Ronnen’s Crossroad Restaurant (have you been there yet!? This man is a food wizard) will be open 12-5pm on Thanksgiving day, offering a four-course menu (with gluten-free options) for $75. I’m drooling just thinking about this.
Real Food Daily is offering a full gluten-free Thanksgiving spread to go, along with an assortment of desserts (including Southern maple pecan pie—SOMEONE PLEASE BUY ME THIS). They will be closed on Thanksgiving day.
Sage Organic Bistro is also offering a full to-go menu of gluten free goodies, ranging from comfort foods, like mac n’ cheese, to pans of their Kind Kreme (heavenly raw ice cream). The tamales require giving them at least 48-hours notice, so they must be doubly good!
Go get a FREE meal at Cafe Gratitude’s Venice Beach location, where they’ll be hosting their annual “Give Thanks” event on Thanksgiving day. In order to get your free plate of grub, you have to serve someone else (hey, sharing is caring, especially when caring means you get to chow down on free food). They’ll be open 10-3pm (or until food runs out). The Larchmont location will be closed. You can also order from a full holiday menu (including RAW stuffing) by the 24th from either location.
If you want a spiritual vibe while you’re stuffing your face, Govinda’s is offering a buffet from 12-7pm, with plenty of vegan options. If you pay ahead of time for your reservation, it’s only $12 ($15 at the door). Remember the rules of the buffet: eat as much of the most expensive thing in order to get your money’s worth (filling up on salad greens is a total rookie move)!
There will be a special four-course feast at both Shojin locations and judging by the photos on their website, it’s going to be amazing! Seriously, they have presentation skills. Whereas my plating technique generally results in an edible Jackson Pollack.
Doomie’s will be having a “Good Ol’ American Thanksgiving” for $20 by RSVP only (email@example.com). If you want a pumpkin pie from Das Baker, pre-order one for $15. They don’t have a website, but they’ve been tweeting the menu! They are the masters of comfort food, so it’s guaranteed you’ll be fat and happy!
Babycakes LA has a long list of vegan & gluten free goodies (some agave sweetened, some with refined sugar) available to order, so you can show up to potlucks in style! They can deliver most of the items right to you! Call by Friday 11/22 to place your order: (855) 462-2292.
Not surprisingly, Hugo’s Restaurant (all 3 locations) will be offering a vegan-friendly “Happy Holiday Feast for Six.” Just specify that you’d like the vegan version, and you’ll get their (AMAZING) veggie patties, along with a ton of other tasty looking things. Give them at least 24 hours notice (they’d prefer 48 hours), and pick it up the day before. They’ll be closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe has their usual catering menu available to order from, with healthier looking options, like grain and veggie bowls (of course my eye gravitated to the coconut pie, because COCONUT PIE). Place your orders at least 3 days in advance. They’ll be open Thanksgiving day until 1:30pm.
Anaheim vegans will be happy to hear that Healthy Junk is offering a holiday menu. You can find it posted on their Instagram. It’s available for both dine-in (not the day of, they’ll be closed) and take out. Give them 24-hour notice for pies: (714) 772-JUNK [ed note: for real??]. They’re making “chicken” pot pies, ya’ll!!
If you feel like communing with other LA vegans, check out the annual “Free Vegan Thanksgiving Picnic Potluck” at Rancho Park in West LA. Bring a dish to share (they specifically request no booze,* but musical instruments are welcome. Do I hear a drum circle?!). It’s from 11-4pm.
Native Foods Cafe is offering their annual Native Wellington, available for order online or by phone, to be picked up at any location. It seems to be the most reasonably priced offering at just $40, and should feed six people comfortably. The puff-pastry filled with seitan also comes with steamed kale, yams, stuffing, an onion compote, and some rosemary and thyme herbed mushrooms. They also have pumpkin cheese cake or pumpkin pie for $20 each. Order before November 27th. It will be frozen, so prepare to take it home and bake it for a couple of hours. Native is also serving Thanksgiving dinner, but reserve ahead of time because seats run out super fast every year. For $25 you get the Native Wellington, mashed potatoes, gravy, a cranberry compote, green bean casserole, stuffing, a polenta/butter squash terrine, cornbread and pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheese cake. Whoa. Native Foods’ Thanksgiving always tends to be the most talked about, at least in my circle of vegan gluttony topics.
L.A. Vegan Crepe steps into the foray of offering some vegany-Thanksgivingy goodness. Available as a single meal ($35) or to feed your vegan army ($195, feeds up to 10), L.A. Vegan Crepe has a whole vegan “turkey” with mashed sweet potatoes, hazelnut-cranberry roast “en croute”, and either a sweet potato pie or a raw vegan pumpkin cheese cake. There is also a Tofurky option, but, why… wouldn’t… you… just… get… ahh never mind. Order before Nov. 25th.
The fine folks at Urth Caffe have you covered if you’re lacking in the dessert department. Available for order online is their 10” gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie. The pie is $25 and is available at all five Urth Caffe locations in the L.A. area.
Quite possibly the most hospitable place on the planet, Stuff I Eat in Inglewood is also offering up some Thanksgiving-themed vegan eats. Available for dine-in on Thanksgiving Day or as take-out, Stuff I Eat as both a cooked- and a raw-Thanksgiving plate. Both are $45 and will feed two humans (un)comfortably. They do need 48 hours in advance for the raw plate, which includes a nutloaf, cauliflower and cashew mash, cranberry marinated spinach, Napa cabbage, cornbread stuffing and your choice of jicama salad or corn dill salad. Then it’s topped off with a slice of raw sweet potato pie. Goodness. Gracious. Now, if you’re not into the raw side of things, their cooked plate sounds equally as intense: savory pepper tofu, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, mac ‘n “cheese”, your choice of string beans or kale, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and a salad choice of mixed green or corn. And then some sweet potato pie. There is a slight chance I will blow off my friends and family and spend 6 hours at Stuff I Eat. Sorry guys.
And finally, if macro is your thing this year, visit M-Cafe. Orders need to be placed by 5:00 PM on Monday the 25th. For $70 for two people or $130 for four, you have a choice of two entrees (Holiday seitan roast or gluten-free tempeh loaf) with a soup (spiced butternut bisque) and a salad (winter field greens with fennel, cranberries and poached pear.) And also a choice of two “accompaniments” which include; (1)whipped potato and rutabaga, (2) maple glazed acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and chestnuts, (3) green beans almondine, (4) wild rice pilaf, (5) mashed pumpkin with couscous and raisins, (6) sourdough bread stuffing with almonds and raisins, (7) butternut squash, fennel and pomegranate salad, (8) cranberry ginger relish, or (9) mushroom gravy. If two isn’t enough you can add two more a la carte for $9. Choosing the sides may be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to face in your life. M Cafe also went all out with the dessert choices this year, with pecan pies, apple pies, chocolate fudge cakes, pumpkin cheese cakes, you seriously can’t go wrong.
If I don’t spend the entire 6 hour window with Stuff I Eat on this Thanksgiving, I’ll probably head to M Cafe. Maybe I’ll just pre-order one meal from all these restaurants and tell my boss I need some personal time… to digest. I hope you Angelinos have an amazing holiday with your peoples, and save a few of our feathered friends in the process.
BONUS: If you know people in the SF Bay Area — check out our SF Bay Area Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!
Happy Holidays Vegansaurus readers!
Kite Hill Cheese Is Here »
Meave reported on Kite Hill cheese rumors last month, and we’re back with an update. The rumors are a reality, and the fabled cheese has arrived OTS at Northern California Whole Foods.
We took to the streets to report on the new vegan product that has all the vegans (and omni food-lovers!) dropping their edible panties (and checkbooks!) for. Here’s our HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM:
I learned the following from the Whole Foods in Los Gatos cheese people:
1. Kite Hill has an exclusive contract with WFs and will only be available at Whole Food stores for a year — after that, the rest of the world can have at it.
2. It’s currently only at Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Oakland Whole Foods, but it’ll expand to either 9 or 11 more Northern California WFs “very soon”. They weren’t sure which stores, but they THINK Redwood City and Berkeley are in. Los Angeles folks can try the cheeses at Crossroads, Tal Ronnen’s new vegan restaurant on Melrose, and I think there’s a cheese shop opening up next door or inside the restaurant or something CONFIRM OR DENY PLZ.
3. As of last Friday, all No Cal WF stores were sold out, but the’re supposed to get shipments this week. If you call in advance, make sure the employees look in the dairy case, and not with the vegan cheese!
OK, so what I tried… descriptions from Kite Hill’s FB page:
Costanoa, a semi soft dusted with a piquant blend of paprika and fennel pollen; and White Alder, a soft ripened cheese with a delicate white rind, pungent aroma and velvety texture.
There’s one more flavor — Casuccio, a soft fresh with a supple, silky texture — but they didn’t have it at Whole Foods.
The people working the cheese section at Whole Foods were crazy about both cheeses, but particularly loved the White Alder. They were all genuinely excited about it, and impressed by it.
I sampled it with a professional food critic (an omnivore!) and she thought it was good, if a bit salty. My vegetarian sister liked it a lot, but said it didn’t “trick her” into thinking it was cheese. She mentioned that it was crumbly like tofu, and not creamy like cheese — which was also my experience eating it. However, if the critic or my sister didn’t know it was vegan to begin with, who knows if they would’ve been able to tell.
For my part, I thought it was good. Very good, especially when I ate it as instructed on the Kite Hill FB “info” page.
Costanoa is a semi-soft cheese encrusted with a piquant crust of paprika and fennel pollen. Its texture is smooth and compact, making this cheese excellent for slicing and serving on crackers or fresh baguette rounds. We love to offset Costanoa’s buttery, earthy, peppery flavors with a pairing of fresh or caramelized figs.
Suggested wine pairing: A crisp, zesty dry white wine with citrus or floral notes.
White Alder is a soft ripened velvety cheese with a white, fluffy rind. It has a tangy mushroomy flavor profile with a rich, silky texture and pungent aromatics. This cheese is best served straight from the refrigerator and pairs well with white grapes.
Suggested wine pairing: A dry white wine such as a Chardonnay with fruit or citrus notes or even Champagne.
I did think both flavors were a little salty, but mainly delicious. I preferred the White Alder because the rind was extra fun and reminded me of brie; I would be excited to eat this as part of a cheese plate at a fancy restaurant.
That said, I’m not sure if it’s as revolutionary as all that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — the more good vegan cheeses on the market, the better. Plus, the fact that the Whole Foods cheese people were SO excited about it, got me excited, too. Because if they say it tastes like cheese, it must taste (at least kinda) like cheese, right? And if the rich people are willing to switch from their cow cheese to this vegan cheese, that’s a good thing. And, uh, it’s gonna have to be rich people because this shiz is NOT cheap: White Alder is $14.99, Costonoa was $13.99 for six ounces.
So, what’s up? Have any of you tried it? What did you think??
From San Francisco Magazine, here’s the list of Whole Foods the cheeses will be available at (and when!):
The brand will debut today (March 25) in Whole Foods Los Altos and Palo Alto; Tuesday in Oakland, Berkeley, Noe Valley, Franklin, and Potrero Hill; Wednesday in Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Sebastopol; and Thursday in San Jose, Cupertino, and Capitola. The cheeses are all exclusive to the Bay Area until they go national later this summer.
Super Vegan tweets that Crossroads is out of Kite HIll and won’t have it back for “awhile”. DEMAND IS HIGH, MY FRIENDS.
LA’s Pressed Juicery to open SF location in Noe Valley! »
Two weeks ago, on a recent trip in a paradise I like to call LA, I hit up one of my fave spots — Pressed Juicery in West Hollywood! While purchasing a mass amount of juice and trying to make small talk with the register dude, I was told two incredible things: that it was their one year anniversary, so I’d be getting 10% off my order and that they were planning on opening up an SF location. I was very excited upon hearing this, but while walking away I couldn’t help but think of the lip service and broken promises we in the Bay Area have been given about getting our own Babycakes and Native Foods, and so I promptly let it go.
However, it looks as though we actually are getting a Pressed Juicery and soon too! Eater SF says it’s going to be in Noe Vally; that the space is already available! I’m not going to hold my breath or anything, but I’m pretty stoked about this — I think my heart even skipped a beat. I’ll be here waiting for you, Pressed Juicery. I love you so!