Product review: medium-spicy Nacheez!  »


Great news, vegan cheese-lovers—Nacheez innovator Ilsa Hess has added a new flavor to her line of nacho cheese sauce! What was once only available in spicy or mild is now accessible in a medium spice level. I was generously sent a couple of jars to sample, one of which was simply heated up and poured atop tortilla chips immediately after I ripped the package open—delicious!

For the second jar I wanted to be a little more creative, as my first impulse was to eat it with a spoon over the sink. I’d been meaning to make the Nacheez banana empanadas for about a year, but to be real, it has sounded a little too eccentric for my taste.

I did make the empanadas, and though it is a funky combination of flavors, they’re actually really tasty! The sweetness of the bananas combined with the tang of the Nacheez is an eclectic harmony! Next time I think I’m gonna skip the work of shaping empanadas (okay fine, I really made calzones) and just make a pizza. That way the bananas, uncovered in the oven, will caramelize to their fullest potential (or at least until the pizza dough is nicely browned on the bottom).

Even if banana-Nacheez pizza isn’t your thing, you can enjoy medium Nacheez in a variety of different ways, like my personal fave—a chili cheese dog!

Medium Nacheez is available for purchase directly from


Spencer’s online market carries artisan vegan products!  »

You know we love Spencer’s Market, but do you? Here’s a new reason: They just picked up my girl Ilsa’s tasty product, Nacheez!

Spencer’s Market looks like an awesome place to obtain new, gourmet vegan food products. When you set up an account, which only takes a few seconds, you can check a box that ensures you view only vegan products. You can also check other dietary needs, like gluten- or nut-free! Let’s eat some artisan vegan snacks and then brag about how fancy we are. Deal?

Rumor has it that there may be a new flavor of Nacheez out in the near future!

[Nacheez photo via]


Recipe: Broccoli baked with Nacheez!  »

Did you have broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce growing up? I did, and I miss it. So, I had the brilliant idea to bake broccoli with Nacheez! I used the spicy Nacheez sauce, but if I were making this for a crowd, I’d probably use mild. I made this dish twice in one week, I liked it so much!

This dish is super easy to make, and would make a great side, or meal (eaten over the sink at your parent’s house while watching cable, for example). First, I blanched my broccoli, which was about two small crowns. I used a small amount of broccoli, because I wanted each piece covered in as much Nacheez as possible. Oh yeah, and you can cut up your broccoli before or after you blanch it. Personally, I cut mine before. Next, you want to drain your broccoli! Really well, because extra water will make the cheese sauce thin and runny after you bake it. Put your broccoli and a jar of Nacheez in a baking pan, and bake for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees! I added some pepper and garlic salt to mine. The second time I baked this, I also added some bacon bits and that really took this dish over the egde!


Berkeley Vegan Earth Day is coming! Win some shit, if you want!  »

Berkeley Vegan Earth Day is holding a contest on Facebook to win some prizes! Free shit, hell yeah, etc. It’s pretty simple: Change your profile pic to the BVED logo for 24 hours, and comment on their page that you did so.* Read to the rules and see the logo here. Prizes include DVDs, vegan treats, water bottles, books, and shirts, and the contest ends on Friday, April 20.

Are you planning on attending? I went last year, and it was intense! But, in a good way! I wasn’t sure what to expect and my mind was blown, by both the film (Call of Life) and speakers. Also making it a very special night for me — I tried Nacheez for the first time. I highly recommend going this year; it looks like a blast!

The official promo manager of BVED, Alex Eaves, sent me the tip about this contest. If you don’t know who he is, get on that! He was one of the panel speakers last year, representing his company Stay Vocal and maybe I swooned a little bit.

[Ed.: For further East Bay veg awesomeness, don’t forget about Oakland Veg Week, which starting this Sunday. Eat all the food, see all the speakers, get laid, don’t get laid, whatever, you know how we do.]

[Ed., again: Not sure how we feel about contestants that make you shill yourself on FB/Twitter but uh, it’s for veganism? And it’s only 24 hours? And you could win some water bottles? All right!]


Product review: Larrupin Mustard!  »

If you have ever tried Larrupin Swedish-style Mustard-Dill Sauce, you know that it is the best condiment known to humankind. Unfortunately Larrupin is most conveniently available only within the realm of Humboldt County! Which is why every time I have a friend going on a road trip up there, I have them bring me back a jar! There are quite a few of us who went to college at Humboldt State now living in the Bay Area, and we know the power of the Larrupin.

If you have never been to Arcata, I suggest you think about a trip up there ASAP. It’s beautiful, and the vegan eats are abundant. If a trip to Humboldt is not in the cards, never fear! You can buy Larrupin Mustard online! I did this when I moved to Chicago, as I was homesick for my college town/former home/California in general.

Ilsa Hess, the creator and chef of Nacheez, got me this particular jar pictured above. We met up at Gracias Madre one night, and it turns out that we both went to Humboldt State, and actually know a few of the same people! Small world. Ilsa obtained some Larrupin for me, and now I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. She likes to eat her Larrupin with Gouda Sheese on lightly toasted sourdough, while I like mine with raw crackers and Tofutti cream cheese. However, if you lived in Humboldt, you know it is best with a Los Bagels slug and “cream” cheese. Nothing beats that!

"Great! But what does it taste like?" you ask. Larrupin is sweet, yet pairs beautifully with savory foods, like a Chik’n burger, sandwich, or bagel—basically, anywhere you would normally add mustard. The dill, vinegar, and turmeric keep it from being overly sweet, yet the dill is understated. Which is good for me, because I am not the hugest fan of dill.

Watch Humboldt County while eating your Larrupin to get a better idea of the place it comes from and also how I spent seven years of my life. Actually, Rural Rock’n’Roll is a better showcase of my past, but I quite enjoyed Humboldt County. The clothing in that movie is so bad, but SO SPOT-ON.

You can purchase Larrupin Mustard online at the Larrupin website and the Los Bagels website.


Never Felt Better in Sacramento is open! Again!   »

I have never felt more inclined to take a road trip to Sacramento as I have in the last few months. I just had the pleasure of meeting Ilsa Hess (Nacheez fame) and she assures me that Sacramento has tons to offer one of the vegan persuasion. Rumor has it that she may be working on a bike map specifically made for vegans, of all the best places to hit up via the bicycle.
In other news, Never Felt Better has reopened its doors at a new location, and it looks lovely! I want to shop there! Take me to Sacramento, baby!

Not only do I want to be there, right now, I’m also wondering if Jen of NFB can decorate my apartment? SO CUTE.

Jen explains, “With the addition of vintage, we still have tees, accessories, belts, wallets and cookbooks. Plus we carry Tree Wool vegan accessories! We are working on getting our grocery section bigger and better too. It’s a soft open with a grand opening to be announced.”

She’s also looking for more vendors for clothing on consignment by vegans in Sacramento or the Bay Area! Get in touch at

The new location of Never Felt Better is in Midtown: 1910 P St. Sacramento, Ca 95811.

[Photos taken by Ilsa Hess courtesy of]


Nacheez has a television commercial! How exciting and super adorable, right? Do you want to know more? We asked Ilsa Hess, Nacheez chef and creator extraordinaire, all about it!

Vegansaurus: How did this come to be and when do we get to see it on our airwaves?

Ilsa: The Sacramento Art Institute contacted me out of the blue and said they were starting their commercial video production class and wanted the students to work with actual businesses to get a real-life experience. So, they contacted about eight different small and local small businesses and I was one of them!

Right before we started meeting the students, the professor came to me and said that he had given the students a pop quiz. The student who got the highest score was able to pick the biz they wanted to work with. The winner chose Nacheez! I was so flattered!

Samuel Platz (the winning student) and I sat and talked Nacheez…. He shot the commercial, created the music and graphics, had a budding voice-over professional read the voice-over, and local budding actors be in the video. When I saw the end product, I was blown away yet again! He treated me with the utmost professionalism but was also very friendly at the same time. I recommend him to anyone who needs a great TV commercial. I’m holding off to air my TV commercial until I’m in more stores across the country. I’m hoping with some more exposure, that can happen soon!

Got that everyone? We gotta get Nacheez in more stores so Ilsa will air her commercial! Do it! Demand Nacheez at your local vegan-friendly supermarket! Also, buy it where it’s already available (Rainbow, Vegan Essentials, Nacheez) cause it’s goooooood.


Vegan Mofo: Chili cheese dogs!  »

It’s Wednesday night—what’s for dinner? Something quick and tasty, cause you are probably tired from work or school, or whatever it is you do on hump-day (I had the day off and I’m soo tired from lounging and watching Mad Men). Don’t worry, I got you covered. Vegan chili cheese dogs—yes please and thank you!

1 to 2 cans vegan chili
1 Tbsp. BBQ sauce
1 package of your favorite veggie dogs (I like Smart Dogs)
Cooking oil
Green onions
Vegan cheese (I used Daiya)
Fritos (optional)

I like to fry up my hot dogs (Health food? What’s that?). I heat up some veggie oil in a pan, slice my veggie dogs in half and cook them til they are bubbly and ever-so-slightly charred on all sides.

While that’s going on, heat up your chili. I like to add BBQ sauce to mine. If you haven’t tried this before, OMG IT’S AMAZING.

Once everything is heated through, put your dog and your chili together!

Next step: vegan cheese, of course! I used Daiya on mine, but Nacheez or Food For Lovers Vegan Queso would be perfect as well.

Chop up some green onions and sprinkle them on (you are so gourmet!) Do what you do with buns, toast them or whatever—I fear carbs (so mid-’00s, I know) so I stay away.

My bun-less dog. I probably should have let the cheese melt, but sometimes when you’re hungry you don’t make the best decisions.

My roommate Crystal’s dog. She does not fear carbs and therefore NOT ONLY used a bun, but loaded hers up with Fritos.

Happy Wednesday, MoFos!


Vegan nacho cheese: a love story, I mean taste-off  »

I was on a mission. A mission to gorge out elegantly eat every new vegan cheese on the market. For you! My most unselfish venture ever! To let you know, as the vegan consumer, where to spend your hard-earned dollars!
In the ring:
Food for Lovers Vegan Queso

Nacheez (mild and spicy versions)

Here’s what I have to say. If you are looking for a fight, go watch Rocky. Or The Fighter — it’s totally streaming on Netflix right now—‘cause I only have great things to say about both products.

Here’s how the taste-off went down. Sarah M. Smart came over with a bag of chips. I had the cheese. We ate.

Food for Lovers

  • Spicy. I have a high tolerance, and didn’t notice until the roomie tried some and cried out “Whoo! That has some kick to it!”)
  • Made in small batches by Crystal and Chris Tate in Austin, Texas.
  • Every time I eat it, I think I belong in Austin. (SXSW!)
  • Would bring it to a Superbowl party. Or somewhere there are sports. I don’t know. It has that taste to it. The only bros I know watch Star Wars, so I’d bring it to a screening of that. Non vegan guys would scarf this down. And not know it’s vegan.
  • Has gluten. Sorry, celiac sufferers.
  • Has nutritional yeast in it. I’m a vegan who dislikes nutritional yeast. NOT ANYMORE! I love this product! Cheesy, spicy, plus the tomatoes and peppers within taste fresh.
  • No need to heat up. Can be eaten at room temperature.


  • Comes in spicy and mild flavors! Spicy is good for me, mild is good for a dish like, mac ‘n’ cheese. Or my mom, pepper is too spicy for her.
  • Doesn’t have gluten.
  • Made by Isla Hess in Sacramento, Calif.
  • Every time I eat it, I feel like maybe Sacramento isn’t a such a bad place after all. Maybe as a vegan, I could have a life out there.
  • With this product, I imagine my girlfriends coming over, talking about things we do, putting on avocado face masks and making chili cheese tofu dogs without FEELING GUILTY! Cause Nacheez has so few calories with mucho taste! Bikini body, here I come. (Not. I just drank a six pack)
  • OK, I love road trips. I miss gas station nachos. Nacheez brings me back.
  • Has to be reheated. Not room-temperature friendly. But you own a pot and have a stove top, right?

All in all, both are worth your hard earned dollars. Food for Lovers is definitely a queso in the most delicious form ever, whereas Nacheez fills the void of the nacho cheese you’ve been missing.

Nacheez mac ‘n’ cheese:

What happens when Sarah M. Smart and I drink Trader Joe’s-brand Corona and wine:

Thank you so much Isla Hess, and Crystal and Chris Tate for providing your delicious and amazing products free of charge!

Both vegan nacho cheeses are available at Rainbow and Vegan Essentials.


Today is Customer Appreciation Day at Rainbow Grocery: 20 percent OFF, BITCHES!!!  »

Yes, that means all groceries are 20 percent off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m at Rainbow grocery so GO GET IT!!!


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