Surprise: Bender’s in San Francisco serves top-notch vegan bar food! »
How could you guys not tell me how delicious the vegan food is at Bender’s? Or maybe you did and I wasn’t listening? No matter, I’m disappointed in everyone all the same.
It was Allan of Mission Mission's urging that I go and try the vegan menu there, and he's not even a vegan! Though I was not expecting too much, I ended up so stoked with my seitan taco I went again the next week! Melissa of Food and Loathing was in town, and I was like “GIRL, after you eat at Source, we have to go to Bender’s!” So I rallied the vegan troops, including the platonic love of my life, Sarah M. Smart.
Let’s feast our eyes, shall we? I’m sorry about the flash—taking pictures in dark bars never goes very well.
Yes, those are tater tots and vegan ranch in the background!
The seitan Philly cheesesteak might be my new favorite sandwich in the city! I was never a Philly cheesesteak fan when I ate meat, so I usually shy away from these bad boys. Bender’s, you’ve stolen my heart and tested everything I thought I knew.
Sarah got the fried pickles and OMG that ranch is blinding!
Let’s not forget the seitan taco; this baby started it all! It is HUGE in real life, and scrumptious.
I totally forgive you for not letting me in on Bender’s vegan menu. I see how you would want to keep it to yourself, but now the world shall know it’s greatness! I think it’s really actually my fault because I just could not keep up with what was going on in that kitchen. Sorry about the misplaced blame there, friends.
[Bender’s signage photo via Facebook; taco photo by Britney Roque.]
Beer Battered Seitan Buffalo Bites! I’m mad as hell (that I’m not eating these right now) and I’m not gonna take this anymore!!! (So, um, will you come over and make them for me?)
Seitan, mushroom and thyme pie from UK vegan blog Spice Box of Earth! How much do you want this? Spoiler alert: SO MUCH.
This is maybe more of a wintry dish but I’m sure it’s good cold so maybe summer is actually the perfect time for it. Because god damn it’s summer. New York is supposed to be 90 degrees today. Shoot me in the head, please. But not before I get some seitan pie!
Weird Fish brings back old menu! FRIED SEITAN, OH HELL YES »
We’ve been in love with them in the past. And annoyed with them in the past. But now, they’re back with new owners and the old menu? Kind-of? I guess? And anyway, seitan is back and front and center WHERE IT RIGHTFULLY BELONGS on the regular menu and now it’s called Dante’s Weird Fish and um, I guess that’s it. Anyone been?? Thoughts? Here’s a delicious picture of Buffalo Girls from Yelp. That’s all, let’s eat!
Product review: Bagel Spice! »
I was at the NYCVFF, perusing the tables, when one of the vendors very kindly offered me a free bottle of Bagel Spice. I wasn’t particularly interested in said Bagel Spice—I was just standing in its vicinity, eyeballing the Bee Free Honee.
I have a pretty extensive spice rack so my attitude was sort of, “Who needs you, Bagel Spice?” Plus it seemed sort of confusing. The website describes it like this:
Bagel Spice is a scrumptious blend of premium spices inspired by the “Everything Bagel.” It’s a delicious accompaniment to a variety of savory dishes.
Honestly, I wasn’t even sure what to put it on. But the company seemed awful charming, and the ingredient list is totally au natural—all very real and whole foods go into this product—so I figured I should give it a whirl.
Initially I went for the obvious and put it on a delicious toasted bagel with some tofutti cream cheese. I have to say that it was very very good. Like surprisingly good. I want it on all of my bagels now.
It’s quite yummy mixed in with hummus as well. That’s how they were serving samples of it up at the NYCVFF, and it was totally good. The original Bagel Spice has no salt, but they make another blend with sea salt, as well as a spicy one, so you have options. What I like about the hummus concept is that I usually like to buy plain hummus, but then sometimes I wish I had a flavored one. Bagel Spice to the rescue! It’s a nice addition to some hummus, and you don’t have to commit to a whole container of the flavored stuff.
The third thing I did with the Bagel Spice was use it as a dry seasoning to make seitan nuggets. (I used the nugget recipe from Jenny’s nugget post—it’s great!) This is what ultimately made me a big Bagel Spice fan. These nuggets turned out awesome, and the Bagel Spice was an essential addition of zest. I used the no-sodium original, so it wasn’t too salty or overly spicy; it just added a ton of gusto. There’s some nice chunkiness with the dried onions and poppy seeds too, which added a great crispy texture on the outside.
It is definitely an awesome addition to any breading you’re making that requires a dry spice. I will probably use it in this capacity most. I’m also gonna suggest that it would be fabulous on a tofu scramble, garlic bread, salads, etc. You could even make some wicked fast pasta by tossing it in a little olive oil then sprinkling on some Bagel Spice. The possibilities are endless!
Bottom line, I am super impressed with Bagel Spice. They totally converted me from an uninterested skeptic to someone who will definitely keep this on hand. It’s tasty and versatile, and dang it, I like it.
You can order Bagel Spice via its website** and it’s also available in a few stores. If you try it and like it, ask your favorite stores to carry it. I’m all about pestering stores to carry things I like. I’m pretty sure my friend Michael is solely responsible for Fresh Direct carrying Daiya. The squeaky wheel, people: It gets the grease.
**This is totally not a vegan company, and there are pictures of eggs and chicken wings on their website. Their whole recipe section is disappointing. However, they do seem to exclusively produce Bagel Spice, and they’re certified kosher, so I’m assuming their facility is meat- and dairy-free.
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz, and read about her animal-friendly adventures here.
I have a confession to make, and I’m going to do it here. This is a safe forum to express my innermost desires, isn’t it? Here’s the deal: I’ve gone Chicken-less Nugget crazy. I haven’t been eating them constantly, but I think about them all the time. I’ve gone so far as to look at pictures of them on the internet. Boy, do I wish I was kidding.
These are homemade “chicken” nuggets! Don’t they look delicious? We can all thank cookbook author and blogger Joanna Vaught, who created the recipe for the seitan nuggets pictured above. Are you so excited to make these? I am! Joanna also does a nutritional comparison of McDonald’s nuggets, Health Is Wealth nuggets, and her seitan nuggets on the blog post! So informative and organized!
*This fixation is totally stemming from the fact that the SOMA Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry the chicken-less Mandarin orange morsels. It’s a travesty! This makes me
obsessive sad because it is the most convenient Trader Joe’s for me to frequent.
[Photo courtesy of joannavaught.com]
Trade in tofu for seitan? NEVER! »
Chocolate Mousse made from tofu. Try making THAT with seitan!
Oh jeez, I am just not sure which way to go with this article, "The Maximum-Gluten Diet." So I’m gonna try to hit them all, and you’re going to go along with it because I’m doing the work of three people at my day job and I’m in the middle of a move and I’m studying and I sleep four hours a night, “LOL!”
First, the article talks about how much healthier, yummier, and more versatile wheat gluten is than tofu. It’s quick to dismiss the soybean cake, saying it’s only popular because it was “there” when the world needed it and is the reason behind gluten’s slow rise to national consciousness, or whatever.
All right, man, you need to BACK OFF the already much-maligned tofu. I would eat (properly cooked) tofu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and never even think twice about the gluten (aka seitan) I was missing. I know I’m not alone — all the tofu ladies, all the tofu ladies, put your hands up! Dudes, too, of course.
Before everyone tells me to chill out, I get it. The author is just trying to spread the seitanic word in a lighthearted way. He gives celiacs a nod. And seitan IS good, don’t get me wrong. But it’s just as easy to have a bad plate o’ seitan as it is to have a mushy tofu blob. Have you ever had spongey gluten? Worse than silken tofu scramble, in my opinion.
But the real sticking point of this article with me is the recipe. He’s like, “Let’s spend 10,000 hours listening to podcasts and washing flour!” And I’m like, “Who even listens to podcasts? Doesn’t homeboy have Spotify?” But then I’m also like, “You don’t need to wash flour.” This is because 1) I have a lazy streak and 2) you can buy wheat gluten (sometimes called vital wheat gluten) AT THE WHOLE FOODS.
If you want to make seitan yourself and you don’t have a copy of Veganomicon, you need to get one, right now, and make its recipe for Simple Seitan. Have you guys figured out that I’m a total Isa fangirl?
Finally, here is a short list of why tofu is superior to seitan (or at least just as good, I don’t like to play favorites):
1. It’s not a problem for celiacs or the scads of folks with a gluten sensitivity. Yes, I know some people are allergic to soy.
2. You can buy it at the Trader Joe’s.
3. It takes less time to make, maybe an hour compared to the 12 you’d spend kneading dough underwater or the hour and a half if you just buy vital wheat gluten at the store.
4. It soaks up flavors, blending into the background or playing a solo, depending on what you do with it.
5. You can use it in desserts — The first vegan cheesecake you ever made (or will make! It’s easier than it seems!) probably featured tofu in a starring role. Can you imagine sweet seitan? NAST!
6. YOU CAN BUY IT AT THE TRADER JOE’S.
It’s Isa’s Seitan Roast Stuffed With Shiitakes And Leeks! Cancel everything you were planning and just make this! Or make this in addition, you can never have too much food on Thanksgiving! Or ever! Write that on my early death gravestone!
Also, Isa and Terry are having a last minute Holiday hotline type thing TONIGHT (starts at 5 p.m. EST) if you want to get advice from the pros. More info on the PPK’s Facebook page because that’s how people do things now. THE FUTURE!
Chomp is Denver’s coolest public dinner party »
A mountain-west dispatch
If you ever are planning a trip to Denver, make sure you’re here on the first Wednesday of the month because that’s Chomp day, otherwise known as the tasty vegan hipster gathering that helps me not miss CA so much (though nothing will diminish the pain of losing Berkeley Bowl).
Chomp is a themed public dinner party, where some talented and shockingly unselfish vegans cook up enormous batches of THE BEST food ever and you donate some money and then you eat it. This month the theme was French, so the yums included cream puffs and basil pastry shells and seitan bourguignon from Julia Child herself (OH SNAP, I just had the best idea, what if someone does the whole Julie & Julia thing but vegan? Get it on, guys).
The event usually goes down at Green Spaces, a warehousey-chic co-working space. 120 people showed up to chow down this month and as usual the cooks ran out of food (this is the only bad part of Chomp: You can’t gorge yourself like I do at any normal meal).
Bonus awesomeness this month:
The Speakeasy, which is a “donation-based” snobby cocktail bar, run by the uber-sexy Randa in her bartender dress, with her amazing cocktail menu for super cheap.
I had a thing with strawberry and basil and lemon and lime and fancy gin and it was SO GOOD will you marry me Randa?
I think that smile means yes?
Denver Seitan Company, our new local seitan-makers, had samples of their DELISH logs. They’re gonna start a seitan CSA thing, I can’t wait!
Live music! By a sweet little acoustic duo called Poet’s Row.
It’s clearly the cool place to be on first Wednesdays, so I just wanted to make sure you weren’t out of the loop. If you ever come to town let me know and we can sit together, it’ll be great! I won’t steal your dessert, I swear! (I’m lying).
I made seitan and spinach with Meagen the Vegan Food Addict's seitan mix! She sent me a bag from her new Etsy shop to sample because she is the sweetest nicest, and I used a recipe from Robin Robertson’s new cookbook, Quick-Fix Vegan (proper review to come!) and served it with spinach! It was so good, you guys!
Meagen’s seitan has a rich, hearty flavor, the texture is awesome, and it’s so easy to make: Just water, soy sauce, and five minutes of kneading; pop it in the oven and like an hour later, a giant loaf of delicious wheat-meat is ready for your delectation! I had to add a little more water than the package called for, which I think was why I had to bake it a little longer, but that’s OK because guess what, it’s scrumptious.
The sauce I used came from chef we love Robin Robertson's seitan donburi recipe. I omitted the scallions and rice because I was too lazy to bother chopping or steaming. From start to finish it took maybe 20 minutes, including photography (thanks for the camera (phone), Dad), and it was really good. Might've been better with a different green, but all I had was spinach, and you know what? Spinach is tasty.
[P.S. Have you bought your super-sexy Vegansaurus shirt yet? They’re going fast!]