vegansaurus!

10/14/2010

OH HELL YEAH: Millennium hosts Sunday Supper at a real-life farm (they exist!)!  »

Dude, we are all totally going to this. Millennium restaurant is hosting Sunday Supper at the Farm, featuring Michel Schlumberger and Tierra Vegetables. It’s on Sunday, Oct. 24, and basically we drive to Tierra Vegetables Farm (under 90 minutes from SF!) and then enjoy a day of pumpkin-carving (HELL YES), a farm tour, and then a five-course family-style meal with wine pairings. It’s $120 each, but that includes tax and tip. Plus: a freaking JACK-O-LANTERN. OMG, I am totally gonna carve “Hide Your Kids, Hide Your Wife" into mine!!! Or maybe a self-portrait; I’m looking to really scare kids this holiday season. If you’re willing to swing by Millennium and take extra passengers, you’ll get 25 percent off the price of your dinner! Finally, a situation in which having a car in San Francisco doesn’t make you a total asshole.

WHAT’S MORE: Genius Chef Eric Tucker, Wine Director Chris Tavelli, and Mike Brunson, winemaker for Michel Schlumberger winery will be at your table to talk about food and wine/maybe ask on a date/publicly molest. 

Millennium warns that space is limited, so call Alison at
415/345.3900 ext. 13 for more information and to reserve your seat at the table.

[photo by Maggi_94 on Flickr]

07/26/2010

06/01/2010

Hello, Millennium coupon! As if you didn’t give us enough reasons to want to be inside you ALL THE TIME (hush), now here’s a buy-a-cocktail, get-a-cocktail-and-an-appetizer FREE offer! Huckleberry potato fries with sweet and spicy smoked maple ketchup, be mine. I will devour you with a fiery grapefruit-basil margarita and never want anything ever again.

Hello, Millennium coupon! As if you didn’t give us enough reasons to want to be inside you ALL THE TIME (hush), now here’s a buy-a-cocktail, get-a-cocktail-and-an-appetizer FREE offer! Huckleberry potato fries with sweet and spicy smoked maple ketchup, be mine. I will devour you with a fiery grapefruit-basil margarita and never want anything ever again.

05/27/2010

YOU GUYS. Get Foursquare for your iPhone (or lameberry ZING) so you can get free dessert at Millennium. Thas right, it’s free food and it can be yours if you’re willing to embarrass yourself with an app that’s SO YESTERDAY. Also, that picture in the corner up there with my name under it… that’s kinda what I look like. Only I’m more like a ninja. 

YOU GUYS. Get Foursquare for your iPhone (or lameberry ZING) so you can get free dessert at Millennium. Thas right, it’s free food and it can be yours if you’re willing to embarrass yourself with an app that’s SO YESTERDAY. Also, that picture in the corner up there with my name under it… that’s kinda what I look like. Only I’m more like a ninja. 

04/30/2010

Interview: Livia Stone!  »

Livia Stone is THE BEST for tons of reasons. I’ll name a few because that’s what this whole “Interview a Veg*n*” thing is about and if I’m anything, it’s somewhat competent at my non-paying blogging job. Livia is a vegan who works in animal welfare and thus, spreading the veg love in a community that loves animals but doesn’t always know that the best way to love them is not to eat them. She is the hospital manager at WildCare Bay Area, the only place to take injured and/or sick wild animals for good quality care in the SF Bay Area (they even take pigeons and mice and skunks!!). Seriously, if you ever find a wild animal in need of help, CALL THEM! She’s also just an awesome friend and the all-around bomb. We love her and you will too or else you are an idiot and shouldn’t be on this site anyway, idiot. Oh also, if she’ll be at the Farm Sanctuary California Hoe Down this Saturday so if you see her, HOLLA!

Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Initially I went veg because I realized I didn’t need to kill or exploit animals to live, but as I learned more—especially about the environmental impact of animal agriculture—I can’t believe anyone who is interested in going “green” doesn’t give up or at least reduce the amount of animal products they consume.

How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
I’ve been vegan for 10 years. I had been vegetarian already for several years, but that impulse was based entirely on compassion. When I started learning about the issues, I knew I needed to do more.

You work in the hospital at Wildcare (one of the beneficiaries of the May 8 SF Vegan Bakesale!) with wounded and sick wildlife; got any amazing/crazy/inspiring stories?
Definitely some crazy stories, usually on a daily basis. Rescuing an animal is often a transformative experience for people—and that’s very inspiring. I see a lot of cruelty and apathy, and so whenever people do the right thing for animals it gives me a little more energy to continue on. I remember one case where a man found an opossum in his garage. He reached into a box without looking, and promptly got bitten by a startled opossum who had found himself a nice place to sleep. The bite wasn’t serious, but the health department is very strict about mammal bites because of the risk of rabies, which is fatal in humans without treatment. Usually, we are forced to euthanize the animal to test for rabies, which drives us nuts because rabies is actually very rare in most species around here. But, of course it’s understandable that the health department wants to keep tabs because we could have an outbreak at any time. This opossum was clearly healthy and acting in normally, so we offered to quarantine as an alternative (which we always do) but since a human was bitten we didn’t have much hope. Going that route means you have to get rabies shots, because you don’t know if you’ve been exposed or not. But the man who was bitten called everyone he could and said he would do whatever it took—he didn’t want the opossum killed for his mistake! We’ve never had anyone do that before. So the opossum got free room and board for a month and was released because he never showed any signs of illness. [Ed.: That’s one of the best stories we’ve ever heard about humans. Usually we are THE WORST! Side note: Was this man cute? Single??]

Any tips on what we should do if we find wounded or sick wildlife?
In the Bay Area, you can always call WildCare and we can help you determine if it is indeed an emergency and who the nearest rehabilitator is: 415-456-SAVE (7283). Many times babies are “kidnapped” by well-meaning people! We can also determine if a reunite is possible in the case of babies.
Often the first impulse is to take an injured animal to a veterinarian, but there’s usually a charge and more importantly, most have no special training for wildlife. At WildCare, we have technicians and wildlife veterinarians who care for our wild patients.
If you find an animal that is obviously injured and you can capture them safely, keep them in a secure box or kennel with air holes. The things to remember are to keep the 
animal WARM, DARK, and QUIET. Babies especially can get chilled easily; put a heating pad under half of the box. Don’t try to feed or give water—sometimes that can do more harm than good and many species have very specific needs.

Can just anyone foster wild animals? How do we go about doing that?
No. Rehabilitators have lots of permits and conditions that need to be met. It is illegal for members of the public to keep wildlife (you can rescue, though!). If you volunteer at a local wildlife center, you will be able to care for the animals under the center’s permit. Many centers offer training classes to prepare you for foster care.

Do you have any companion animals? Where are they from?

Yes! Roshi the Russian tortoise came into WildCare and needed a forever home, since he’s not from these parts. My cat Brewster is from a shelter in Los Angeles, and Pippie the cat was rescued by my veterinarian after being hit by a car. Pedro and Maggie are Rocket Dogs!

Do you have any super cute photos of animals to share with us? 
You can check out WildCare’s website for videos and photos!

What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
 Every day I have a new favorite animal! But, I especially adore crows.

Favorite vegan cookbook?
I rarely cook from cookbooks, but one that I have made a ton from is Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!

I know you’ve been doing a lot of baking and cooking lately! What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Since I’ve discovered Daiya cheese I’ve been making a mean mac ‘n cheese casserole but generally I’m big on making soups from scratch, especially heirloom tomato soup. For bakesales, just about anything from my cupcake cookbook. The carrot cupcake with cream cheese frosting recipe is amazing!

Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant? 
Cornmeal crusted oyster mushrooms at Millennium!

Favorite vegan restaurant?

I love Native Foods in Southern California, Candle 79 in New York City, and in the Bay Area, Millennium. I think Candle 79 trumps them all, though. SEITAN PICCATA—fuggedaboutit!

You’re going to the Farm Sanctuary California Hoe Down THIS SATURDAY (EVERYONE GO!!!!), who are you most excited to pet/hang out with?? 
PIGS!!! Love me some pigs. Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web made me vegetarian.

Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
ANYTIME.

Our gift to Livia: A damned cute pig named Edgar from Pig Peace Sanctuary. Enjoy the cuteness!

*there are more awesome interviews on the site but our search is for shit and hopefully we can fix that soon but who knows, I’m only so good at my “job.”

04/27/2010

YOU GUYS. This is pretty fresh. On Sunday, May 2 in Berkeley there is a women entrepreneurs (why does anyone put that word in anything!? it’s impossible to spell!) showcase and there is gonna be tons of fresh vegan stuff for sale but most importantly, there will be pints of Rocket Ship Ice Cream from Millennium chef Sarah Smart. She’s getting a new business off the ground and now is the time that you can CHECK IT OUT. Plus, other vegan goodies, a $4 vegan lunch, and yeah, supporting Karine Brighten, who is a vegan business lady. If you’re a vegan and a woman and serious about DOING BUSINESS and also EATING ICE CREAM, you’ll be there!

YOU GUYS. This is pretty fresh. On Sunday, May 2 in Berkeley there is a women entrepreneurs (why does anyone put that word in anything!? it’s impossible to spell!) showcase and there is gonna be tons of fresh vegan stuff for sale but most importantly, there will be pints of Rocket Ship Ice Cream from Millennium chef Sarah Smart. She’s getting a new business off the ground and now is the time that you can CHECK IT OUT. Plus, other vegan goodies, a $4 vegan lunch, and yeah, supporting Karine Brighten, who is a vegan business lady. If you’re a vegan and a woman and serious about DOING BUSINESS and also EATING ICE CREAM, you’ll be there!

04/09/2010

01/11/2010

Interview: Daniel Clary of Alkemie Dairy-Free Ice Cream!  »

Daniel Clary is the 28-year-old mastermind behind the raw, delicious and dairy-free Alkemie Ice Cream. His story of how the ice cream begin as an idea a few years back and evolved into something tasty, edible and accessible is not only interesting, but totally inspiring.

How long have you been vegan?
Full-on about seven years now; mostly veggie all my life. My dad went to farmers market every weekend. It was always [a] local and sustainable mindset from a very young age. My mom fed us tofu very young. Carob was my first “chocolate.” I naturally gravitated toward the veggie foods early on.

Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
As much as the environmental aspect and animal rights movement are very important to me, my main reason is health. That’s my mission…to do my part in changing the health of the world. Once I went full vegan, my health improved dramatically. Not that I was ever sick or “unhealthy,” but when the full switch came, it was like my internal lightbulb went on. Huge difference. And now I try to maintain high raw foods, which only created a new level of health and clarity in my life.

How much of your diet is raw?
I would say about 65 to 70 percent on any given day; some days it’s 100 percent. I’m vegan before I’m raw for sure. But raw foods really changed my life.

What is your favorite animal?
Dogs! Just got a puppy! He’s 12 weeks old now. A springer spaniel named Winston. [Vegansaurus PSA (per usual, we always be judging you): Always rescue a dog! Even if it’s a purebred! All purebreds have rescues, including the ADORABLE springer spaniel!]

Favorite vegan food to make?
As a chef, my favorite foods/flavors to work with would have to be Thai. I spent two months last year in Southeast Asia—mostly in Thailand—and I fell in love with the food. My heritage is half-Latin, [and] my mom’s side is from Central America, so Latin/Spanish flavors would be second. Fusing the two together excites me as well.

And as a chef?
I was a personal vegan chef for four years before taking this project on full-time. I worked for families throughout the peninsula, weekly service, catering events, private dinner parties…

Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant/favorite vegan restaurant?
Favorite restaurant would be Millennium in SF, and Pure Food in NYC. Favorite dish—hmmm, so many! I would say a killer Thai curry, or my vegan paella.

How long ago did the idea for Alkemie begin, and what are its origins?
It all started when I began absorbing myself in raw foods, about 2006-07. I worked at a small raw vegan cafe part-time to really dive into the art of preparing it (versus spending an ungodly amount of money to go to a raw school). I was blown away by what I was creating: the textures, flavors, specifically the desserts. I have a HUGE sweet tooth, and these desserts were blowing my mind—better than any standard cooked vegan desserts. Initially my mission was to create a business model around that. I wanted to open my own raw vegan bakery. But the costs, overhead, labor, etc. just didn’t pan out to be a viable business.

Then I thought of just doing one thing, and doing that one thing well. I literally one day was eating some Coconut Bliss, and thought: ICE CREAM! Why not ice cream? Who doesn’t like ice cream? And at that point I had NEVER experimented or created a raw ice cream, but I have never been satisfied with ANY of the vegan ice creams out there. They just didn’t embody what classic dairy ice cream does, and I knew that with the raw foods, I could potentially come up with something stellar, so I started experimenting.

How long was it between the time you perfected the recipe to the time you were packaging and selling the product?
The formula was perfected in spring ‘08. Then I decided to take some time off, travel, do some soul searching, research…I came back from Thailand and then went straight into selling at farmers market in fall ‘08, and was doing that about a year. The response was amazing. People were floored by the ice cream. So without knowing exactly where to go next, I just kept on selling every week, until things started happening last summer.

I met my investor/business partner. I met the VP of Whole Foods. I was networking and meeting amazing connections. We then took this idea [and] started researching on how to take it to the next level. Found Boulder Ice Cream. Fell in love with the staff, did our tasting for NorCal, and got the green light a week later.

Honestly, it’s surreal. I’ve worked so hard my entire life, to finally have my dreams manifested—it’s, well, words can’t describe.

How did the name come about?
It all started in Thailand. I went there also to get inspired with a name for the company. I knew it was a beautiful land and people and surely I would come up with something. Halfway through the trip, after meeting so many people and telling them my story, vision, et cetera, I was coming up with nothing. When I was in Chiang Mai, I met a fellow traveler from London. We were talking one day about traveling, books, following your signs, et cetera. She said if I really wanted to read a book that will change [my] life, I should read The Alchemist.

So I bought the book when I was in Bangkok, [and] brought it down to the islands with me. One day, I had nothing to do; decided to pull the book out, head to the beach in the morning and start reading. I didn’t put the book down.

The message had such an impact on me. It was very simplistic in what it was saying: follow your dreams; trust your heart; follow the signs. But it was like that “a-ha!” moment for me.

So, after putting the book down, the name stuck in my head. I knew what alchemy meant literally: a transmutation of metal into gold. But I wanted to know more. So I went straight to the computer and looked the word up. The very first definition I found was: “any seemingly magical process of transforming ordinary ingredients into something of true merit.” The name of the company was born.

Do you see yourself dedicating yourself 100 percent to this, or do you still eventually want to open that bakery?
Good question! I do eventually want to venture out, and take on other projects, whether its the bakery, a small restaurant, an actual ice cream shop…still not sure yet. Once this business takes off and I can focus on other things, then I’ll decide.

Anything else you wanted to add or share?
We will be coming out with new flavors soon. Also, a little insider info: one of the flavors had a small error in production—the dark chocolate. The end product had too much free water added, which made it less creamy and more icy than the other two stellar flavors. It’s still good, just not perfect. It has since been corrected on the most recent production run and should be in the stock as the others are sold and rotated out. Just one of the inevitable growing pains small businesses go through.

If you want to stay in the loop about this product (because, let’s face it, ice cream is the best food ever), you can become a fan on Facebook, download the iPhone application, and even follow Alkemie on Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the blog for dates and information on in-store appearances.

Natalye just started graduate school studying creative writing, which means that she no longer has a social life, and her drinking has increased exponentially. She has a shiny but relatively useless college degree in journalism and music, and does freelance work, sometimes writing about indie music in Oakland. When she has down time, she’s usually sleeping, but rides her road bike when she can and makes both a killer vegan pizza and the most amazing mixtapes ever. Her updates are private, but you can follow her on Twitter and she’ll probably accept your request if you’re cute enough.

12/29/2009

Encuentro!  »

Encuentro, a new vegetarian restaurant in Jack London Square, is a pretty modern, minimalist space. Floor-to-ceiling windows and corner wood tables create a hip ambiance. I went with two other people, and a quasi-filling lunch for us cost $30 (which is a bargain, especially compared to its creator’s flagship Millennium in SF). Note that the menu is not entirely vegan—many dishes contain cheese and I believe one menu item has eggs. We got a bunch of dishes and split them; I highly recommend doing this as the portions are on the smaller side, and you want to taste as many different things as possible.

Between the three of us we split the arugula and pear salad with Banyuls vinaigrette, hazelnuts, hazelnut-vanilla oil; avocado, olive oil and cilantro bruschetta with chile jam and black salt; the tempeh bacon sandwich with sun-dried tomato jam and avocado topped with romaine; and a split-pea soup [Ed.: all menu titles are [sic]]. The salad had by far the most interesting flavors. You can really taste the vanilla oil, and the hazelnuts add such an important crunch texture to the dish. The bruschetta had perfectly toasted bread. As a huge fan of avocado, I couldn’t not love the dish. An order consists of two pieces of bruschetta—more than enough for one person, but kind of difficult to split between three! I found the sandwich definitely underwhelming. I think the flavors could have been more pronounced and the tempeh a little crispier to add some texture to counterbalance the gooeyness of the avocado.

Overall, Encuentro strives to create a place where people can gather. I do think that the menu offers ample opportunity for people to share many dishes; however the space and the ambiance did not. It seems a little bourgeois, like it’s catering to a very specific crowd of people—maybe the power/business lunchers. It’s so hip and modern—almost in a frigid way—that I can scarcely envision people hanging out there. The food is very delicious, though, and when ordered smartly you can get a pretty reasonable deal. The portions are a bit smaller, maybe a testament to the bourgeois attitude I couldn’t help but feel. Perhaps their ideal customer has the luxury of not being completely filled up by the food, the luxury to simply order to taste instead of to nourish.

That said, I do recommend that you experience Encuentro for yourself. It may be different things to different people, and I don’t want to color your perceptions too much!! We left the restaurant feeling a bit unsatisfied, like we could go for another light lunch or something. I wouldn’t recommend this place to someone who is completely famished!

[All photos by Brianna]

11/15/2009

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