vegansaurus!

02/28/2013

Vegan tortas and pambazos by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats! I have been having the most stressful couple months—2013 is trying to kill me—and all I want is super-hearty, warm, filling food. And this glorious creation? All fried eggplant and avocado and saucy grilled bread? Is like the meal of my dreams. Come to me, sandwich.

[Photo by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Vegan tortas and pambazos by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats! I have been having the most stressful couple months—2013 is trying to kill me—and all I want is super-hearty, warm, filling food. And this glorious creation? All fried eggplant and avocado and saucy grilled bread? Is like the meal of my dreams. Come to me, sandwich.

[Photo by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

07/12/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Yug Vegetariano in Zona Rosa!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Zona Rosa is a business district that includes a gay center. There was a strong Korean presence in Zona Rosa, including Asian supermarkets and restaurants, which are very useful for vegan cooking. Asian supermarkets were especially refreshing because while the grocery stores in Mexico City have a great deal of local products, they don’t have the best international selection. I ate Ramen noodles and fried rice few times a week.

Yug Vegetariano was the first local vegetarian restaurant I went to, and I ate there so often I tried almost everything on their menu. It is within a block from El Ángel de la Independencia, in the corner of Paseo de la Reforma.


A few of my favorites from Yug Vegetariano are the bread and the enchiladas de mole. The bread slices are vegan (but the rolls, sticks and butter aren’t) and served as complimentary appetizers, which was nice, but save them for soups. I had enchiladas de mole without cheese. I thought the flavor of the mole was very delicious, slightly bitter and savory, and the enchiladas were filled with textured soy protein and vegetables. The dish also comes with yummy refried black beans.


The carnitas vegetarianas con guacamole y frijoles refritos (vegan roasted pork with guacamole and refried beans) were fantastic. You can taste the creamy refried beans, guacamole (it contained too much onions for me, but sometimes they vary) and the soy carnitas. They aren’t that chewy, but they are a bit salty, greasy, and tasty with guacamole, beans and salsa. They are a must!


The pancita de setas (literally “tummy mushrooms”) soup was unique, with mushrooms and vegetables. The mushrooms were very tough and chewy. The broth was a bit watery, but the soup was overall light and interesting. Definitely eat it with complimentary vegan bread slices.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/10/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Nevería Roxy in Polanco!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

If you are a luxury hotel or fashion fanatic, I would recommend staying in Polanco, which is a trendy, upscale neighborhood situated at the edge of Bosque de Chapultepec. You might expect to pay more in Polanco when it comes to dining or shopping.


Tamarindo (back) and mamey ice cream.

If you want to get some vegan ice cream, try Nevería Roxy in Polanco in front of Parque Lincoln (Lincoln Park). It’s a classic ice cream parlor that has been around for years. Get a bola grande scoop, but make sure you get it without a cone since it may not be vegan (most cones are not vegan). I got mine in a traditional glass cup.

Vegan flavors include chico zapote (similiar to kiwi), fresa (strawberry), guanábana (soursop), guayaba (guava), lima (lime), limón (lemon), mamey, mandarina (mandarin), maracuyá (passionfruit), melón, naranja (orange), piña (pineapple), tamarindo (tamarind), and zarzamora (blackberry).


The mamey was smooth and delicious. The mamey fruit made the sorbet creamier due to its thick, soft texture. Tamarind gave the ice cream a very sweet, nutty, and tangy flavor.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/09/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Tacos Hola (El Güero), Azul Condesa, and Nirvana Vegetariano in Condesa-Roma!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Condesa-Roma was my favorite neighborhood in Mexico City; it reminded me of Berlin and Portland, Ore. If you are traveling on a budget, I would recommend staying in Condesa-Roma, where you can also enjoy food and architecture at the same time.

One taqueria in Condesa offers delicious, vegan-friendly, slow-cooked tacos: It is officially known as Tacos Hola, or El Güero, and has been open since 1968. It is located on the corner of Amsterdam and Michoacán. Vegan fillings offered include guacamole (so creamy and good!), acelgas (braised chard), nopales (cactus), and arroz (rice). Add condiments like pickled vegetables (onions, peppers, jalapeños), salsa verde (very spicy pureed raw habañero), salsa roja (medium-hot), and lime wedges.


My first time at Tacos Hola I had tacos with acelgas, nopales, and guacamole (15 pesos, approximately $1.12 US). The second time I added rice to make a perfect vegan taco. The addition of pickled vegetables turned out to be delectable, along with the heat from the jalapeños. I couldn’t taste the nopales very much, but I could taste the creamy guacamole and braised chard very well. 


My partner got nopales and arroz, and added the spicy pickled vegetables and medium-spicy salsa roja. If you really want a spicy salsa, go for the green one!


At Azul Condesa, I ordered a vegan-friendly dish from their seasonal mango menu: guacamole with chunks of fresh mango, served with tortilla chips.


My partner ordered organic hibiscus flower enchiladas, served with light tomato and smoky chipotle sauces. Make sure to ask for it without cheese (“sin queso”)! 

If you would like to try something different, such as a fusion of traditional Afro-Carribean and Mexican dishes incorporating a variety of tropical fruits, I would recommend the buffet at Nirvana Vegetariano. You can get lots of food for not much money (60 pesos, approximately $4.50 US).


The tamales are freshly made with grilled vegetables. They were really yummy! Best tamales ever! You’ll want to avoid the tamales a block of feta cheese on top, though.


Nirvana Vegetariano also offers fresh corn tortillas, rice, plantain and eggplants, vegan gyro-like meat with hint of pineapples, and much more to make your own tacos. I really like the plantain and eggplants; it tasted sweet and roasted, especially creamy. Everything was very delicious—I had no complaints!

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

05/03/2012

Vegan pop-up, Wildflower, in San Francisco this weekend!  »

Any plans for Cinco de Mayo? I plan on sunning (in my dreams there is sun in SF on my afternoons off) on my deck, with SkinnyGirl Margaritas* and  Sarah, while dancing to pop tunes. I know you can’t beat this arrangement, so don’t even try. Check out Wildflower instead!

Wildflower is a super-fancy pop-up from New York that’s rolling through San Francisco this weekend!

The menu looks pretty fucking legit, so I think Sarah and I will have to hop, skip, and jump on over to one of their locations, on Friday or Saturday night. BEER-BATTERED TEMPEH TACOS! It’s as if Wildflower knows my innermost desires (beer and tacos)!

If you are feeling extra super elegant, Wildflower is hosting a four-course sit-down dinner at a location that has yet to be announced, and to which you must RSVP to attend! Check out all the information here.

*Dammit, after reading this article, my hopes of margarita convenience are shattered. Can you send me your favorite, homemade  margarita recipe, preferably containing agave nectar, please? Thanks ever so much! All natural, homemade margaritas forever!

04/16/2012

Product Review: Casa Martinez Nopal Salsa!  »

You all know I got into vegan blogging for the free stuff, so when Casa Martinez offered to send me some of their “fresh, all natural vegan” salsas to sample, I said, Yes please.

A little while later, I received this jar of Nopal flavor. It’s cactus. I love cactus! Tequila! Mezcal! Delicious! Jarred salsas aren’t my favorite salsas, but who am I to turn down free vegan food? Especially non-GMO vegan food that is new to the U.S. market.

To sample this salsa, I decided to make the potato-kale enchiladas from Veganomicon, and use the salsa instead of making enchilada sauce. There was enough in the jar to spread a thin layer on the bottom of the pan, and to thoroughly cover the 10 enchiladas I made. (It was a 10-pack of tortillas.)

I baked them a little longer than instructed, let them sit for five minutes, and served them with some vegan Chardonnay.


Result: Superfantástico! The spice was light, which I made up for by adding cayenne pepper to the filling. The flavors were delicate and tangy. I really enjoyed it! I rarely don’t enjoy enchiladas, though, but I thought the nopal made a good foil for the heavier, earthier potatoes and kale. I recommend it!

If you want to put Casa Martinez salsas in your face (and you probably do, unless you’re making nopal salsa at home), you can buy it at Bristol Farms in Southern California, and online.

12/14/2011

Oakland’s Hella Vegan Eats is hella delicious and you need to hella be eating it right now!  »


Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had the absolute pleasure of eating as much food from the Oakland-based Hella Vegan Eats as humanly possible. Seriously, I’ve been surviving almost exclusively on their bounty of deliciousness. I’ve buried myself in mountains of tamales and eaten myself out in mere minutes! Please forget that you ever read that sentence! On to the food!

Let me give you a list of all the OUTSTANDINGLY AMAZING food I’ve been eating. Nothing has been short of the best g-d thing I’ve ever eaten and here’s the list: Navajo Fry Bread topped with deliciousness like quinoa, sweet potatoes, and other such yum; Orzo with Butternut Squash “Cheddar;” Cranberries and Shaved Brussels Sprouts; Spiced Apple Fritters (HOLY FUCK), and Vanilla-Chai Horchata. And then there are the tamales. OH THE TAMALES! Oy, they are so magical! Perfect masa stuffed with fillings like Spicy Black Bean, Al Pastor, Thai Peanut, or Green Mole. Seriously, so many fresh veggies—including things like purple cauliflower! so pretty!—and tender homemade seitan. I can’t even tell you HOW FUCKING GOOD THIS FOOD IS. Sorry, I am excited, and also very sad that I have none of it left and am forced to eat a stupid-ass massaged kale salad for dinner and be sad. [Ed note: Those tamales are the m-fing best, Laura does not lie! —Meave]

Right now, you can only get Hella Vegan Eats at events, or have them cater your parties (DO THIS), but they are currently in La Cocina’s incubator program and are working toward a food truck, and then world domination. I’m in! I will fight in whatever crazy vegan army they need me to, and you totally want me on your side, because not only am I certifiably nuts with nothing to lose, I can stuff tamales even faster than I eat them. For every tamale I eat, I will stuff two. We can’t lose!

Order from them, follow them on Facebook and Twitter to see where they’ll be serving next, and get ready to have your mind blown!!

[Photos from Yelp because I ate everything too fast to take pictures because I don’t fuck around when it comes to eating.]

09/28/2011

There’s a vegan taco tricycle in the Mission? Alright!  »

This is big-ish news for the vegan fatties of San Francisco. Via Tablehopper, which I will copy and paste below:

 There’s also a cart from Portland that has now made its way to the 415, the ~TREATMACHINE~, which the owner tells me is “a made-from-scratch vegan taco moped food cart (it’s a trike).” Look for $2 vegan tacos, featuring handmade tortillas, avocado, mango, yam, plantain, homemade sauces, and black beans. Follow its whereabouts in the Mission on Twitter.

Sounds good! I’ll happily play Sloppy Seconds to Portland for a delicious vegan taco. It looks like TREATMachine is mainly selling it on the corner of 19th and Valencia streets, and you can find out their exact schedule via Twitter. And, uh, if you show up and they’re not there, you can get vegan tacos in about 15 places within a block, so no skin off your back. TACOS TACOS TACOS.

Here’s what the thing looks like, in case you’re wondering (or wandering the streets looking for it. I don’t know, ignore me.):

08/19/2011

Peninsula vegans have a couple new options!  »

Where do vegans in the San Francisco Peninsula eat? I’m always spending time there with my family, getting dragged to Cheesecake Factory, as I know of no where I can take my omnivorous family that we will all be happy. I hear there’s a Patxi’s down there, which I believe the family could get into (I’d totally get my own personal vegan pizza! I love not having to share food!)

Two new eating options have come to my attention and both look extremely tasty. First there is Calafia Cafe, located in Palo Alto. It looks like omni’s and vegans have plenty of delicious, fancy, entrees, appetizers, sides and small plates to choose from, plus they have gluten-free options! Everyone wins! I’ll have the black bean and rojo tofu tacos, please (I’m kind of obsessed with vegan Mexican food).

Next up, Milk Pail Market in Mountain View. From the website alone, it’s hard to tell if they have vegan cheese options, but rumor has it, they carry vegan versions of gouda, monterey jack and pepper jack. How exciting!

Have any readers hit up either of these places? What do you think?

[crimson quinoa salad photo via Calafia Cafe]

07/26/2011

Guest recipe: Seitan in mole!  »

Knifestyles of the Fit and Fabulous has an amazing recipe for seitan in mole. Yes, SEITAN IN MOLE! Delicious, spicy, chocolatey, rich, decadent mole sauce. This is a meal that will impress you and yours so inflict it upon everyone you know! Have a dinner party! Fancy it up! Gorge yourself on the happiness that is vegan food! You deserve it, you’re such a good person, and so attractive, too!

The directions are as follows: First read all about Shana of Knivestyles amazing adventures, and then DO IT UP!

Mole
Ingredients
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced small
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped (or tomates concassés. I’m so fancy)
1/4 cup Zante currants
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
1/4 tsp. each: cinnamon, ground anise seed, ground cumin, ground cloves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup almonds, soaked for 6 to 8 hours, drained and rinsed
1 cup water, more if needed
3 dried ancho chiles, soaked for at least 30 minutes in hot water. Make sure they are submerged by placing a lightweight bowl on top.
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted

Instructions
Heat medium saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add 2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil and heat for 30 seconds.

When oil is hot, add onions and a pinch of salt. Sweat for three to five minutes.

Add garlic. When fragrant (after 30 to 60 seconds), add tomatoes and currants. Stir to combine.

When currants are plump (about a minute), add spices. Stir to combine. Lower flame and stir mixture for about 5 minutes to develop the flavors. The spices will become a nice brown and very fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat.

In a blender, combine onion mixture with almonds, sesame seeds and water. Puree until very smooth.

Remove chiles from water, remove stems and seeds. Rough chop. Place in blender. With the motor running, add melted chocolate to chiles and onion mixture. You may have to pause and scrape down the sides. Blend until pourable. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Seitan
Ingredients

1 lb. seitan, cut into even size cubes
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
2 Tbsp. tamari

Instructions
Heat oven to 325 F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.

Heat a medium enameled cast iron casserole dish over medium high heat. When hot, add oil and heat for 30 seconds. Add seitan cubes and brown.

Add spices and tamari. Lower heat to medium low and stir for five minutes to develop the flavors.

Add seitan to baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes, then stir to rotate. Bake five more minutes.

When seitan comes out of the oven, add back into casserole. Cover with mole. Stir to combine. Cover. Bake at 325 for 20 minutes. Remove cover and bake for five more minutes.

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