Bay Area: Souley Vegan deal on Groupon! »
Oakland’s Beer Revolution opening a veg eatery next door?! »
SUCH VERY EXCITING NEWS. We love Beer Revolution because we love beer and sitting outside in the sun and drinking beer while sitting outside in the sun, and so we were VERY EXCITED when we heard that they’re opening an all-veg eatery next door.
All the info we could gather from our thorough investigation (phone call) is that It’s going to be called Old Depot Public House, they’ll serve “European food,” and it’ll open sometime in the early fall. Obviously, you can now enjoy Beer Revolution with a side of next-door’s tasty Souley Vegan, but now you can enjoy appetizers at Souley Vegan and then move to Old Depot Public House< for main course and then back to Souley Vegan for dessert and then back to Old Depot Public House for second dessert. If this sounds like too much eating to you then you’re not a real vegan and need to rethink your priorities in ALL of your life, and maybe just jump off the Bay Bridge jk jk be cool.
Man, Oakland, you are really, truly the BEST lately—you know that, right? Yeah, you do. Come here, Oakland. (I’m making out with Oakland, you can go now.)
It’s Pi day! Another excuse to eat pie!
Back in January it was National Pie Day, a fake holiday made up by pie marketers, god bless ‘em. But today, the 14th day of the third month, is International Pi Day, a real holiday made up by math nerds, god bless ‘em.
Get yourselves some pie, people! If you’re too
lazy busy to bake it yourself, make go to Mission Pie in SF or Souley Vegan in Oakland or perhaps Watercourse Foods in Denver or, um…somewhere in NYC? Help me out, guys! Anyway, the point is to EAT PIE. Do it.
[Pie photo by veganbaking.net on Flickr]
Souley Vegan going into the frozen food aisles! »
More dispatches from the Fancy Food Show are coming soon, and please excuse the terrible photo because I was honestly stuffing my face at the same time that I was taking it, but: SOULEY VEGAN IS GOING INTO THE FROZEN FOOD AISLES! They’re taking their famous deliciousness and looking for a distributor for their line of frozen entrees. There are eight different frozen entrees total, and I got to sample quite a few of them. DON’T HATE.
The barbecue tofu was legit; it tasted just like the real deal. I’m a little bit more skeptical about the ability of the crispy fried tofu to stay all crispy fried but hell, if that’s the closest the sad-sacks in NYC are gonna get to it, at least they’ll have something. I mean, there’s really nothing else there. So sad for them.
Souley Vegan & Food Mill on Living Social! »
Photo by quarrygirl is making me HUNGRY
If you’re reading this blog and live in Oakland you best know about Souley Vegan, but maybe you haven’t heard of The Food Mill? It’s rad. It’s got the best bulk section of anywhere I’ve ever seen, even better than Berkeley Bowl or Rainbow Grocery. Maybe not Rainbow. But it’s good! It’s where I bought dried sassafras and sarsaparilla for making root beer.
Anyway, these two deals combined are almost enough to make me move back to the Bay Area. Promise me three meals at Souley Vegan and I may even come visit? EAT THIS BECAUSE I CAN’T RIGHT NOW I’M JEALOUS! Can you mail Tasty Crispies? Arg!
Thanksgiving 2011: Where to eat outside of your home in the S.F. Bay Area! »
We love cooking! But maybe you don’t! Or you find a huge Thanksgiving dinner way too much work. That’s OK! Here is a list of places you can celebrate your Thanksgiving, at restaurants or homes. You can volunteer to work and eat for free, or bring a dish to a potluck, or just show up, eat yourself silly, and roll on home. So many options!
What’s the difference between this and our earlier post on vegan Thanksgiving celebrations? These are happening in the SF Bay Area! We’ll add to this list as we get more information, so please, send us tips!
San RafaelMarin Vegan Drinks Does Thanksgiving!Sampling Tofurky, $1 vegan cupcakes, $5 drink special is a Spiced/Spiked Cider.6 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 19PetalumaNorth Bay vegan Thanksgiving potluck!Bring a dish to share! Mulled spiced cider provided6:30 p.m.
Every day until Thanksgiving Golden Era is offering a three-course vegan special (but they’re closed on actual Thanksgiving!)
Thursday, Nov. 24Berkeley, San Francisco, San RafaelFree Thanksgiving meal at Cafe GratitudeContact the three participating locations to volunteer (they need servers, bartenders, dishwashers, line cooks, and opening and closing crew), or call (415) 824.4652.noon to 3 p.m.
San FranciscoFive-course Thanksgiving dinner at MillenniumReservations no longer taken, but first-come, first serve places available at the barContact Millennium for more information at (415) 345.3900, ext. 10.2 to 6 p.m. [time is for bar seating only]
San FranciscoPlant Cafe at Pier 3/the EmbarcaderoTwo $60 prix fixe menus, one “traditional” with turkey, and one vegan!Contact Plant Cafe for details via email, or call (415) 984.1973. Reservations required.3 to 9 p.m.
[photo by Emilie Hardman via Flickr]
Souley Vegan canceling brunch, starting 6 a.m. breakfast! »
So, bummer news! Souley Vegan has a sign in their window that reads:
Souley Vegan will no longer be open for brunch on Sundays starting August 28, 2011. We will be offering Breakfast from 6 to 9 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays… BEGIN date to be announced soon. Thank you!
And that’s almost 100 percent verbatim because the fantastic Rick went to check it out for us. So—6 a.m. breakfast on Friday and Saturday and no brunch FOR NOW. They’re supposed to move the brunch to weekdays, but I’m not sure when that’ll happen. I don’t know what kind of business plan this is! I am a little worried! I don’t think I’ve ever been up at 6 a.m.! Like, not once in my life! However, for all you earlier birds and club kids, have at that breakfast and let me know how it is. If it’s amazing, which I’m guessing it might be, I need you to bring some elephant-grade No-Doz and come at me.
Now, let’s all stare at the Toasty Crispy and relax.
Five tips for starting a vegan business! »
You have to admit, the vegan community has come up with some pretty awesome ideas and businesses. Ten years ago, we didn’t have Souley Vegan, Pepple’s Donuts or Never Felt Better Vegan Shop. But now, there are vegan businesses and vegan products popping up all over the place. But what is it,exactly, thatmakes vegan businesses different (ie- more special) than other business ventures? Over the past few months, my best friend and I have been going through the steps of starting our own vegan business, and it’s been quite the learning experience, lemme tell you.
So, if you’re thinking about starting a vegan business, here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Be legit.
I’m sure you read that and thought “oh, OK, sure! Check!” but that’s not what I mean. This is one of the most important pieces of advice that I’m going to give you, so if you decide to stop reading this article at any point, just make sure you get through this point.
By starting a vegan business, you are representing the vegan community as a whole. You might be the first real vegan or the first exposure to vegan products that one of your customers experience, and you know how quick omnivores are to write vegans off. Here’s your chance to stick it to them.
Step 1 in being legit: Make sure you have a plan. Call it a business plan, call it a DIY guide, call it your business [insert religious book of choice here]. I don’t care what you call it, just write one. Your business plan will help you map the ins and outs of your business before you get started, and will help you predict situations and, that’s right, plan for them. You can be as detailed as you want, but just having something is a start. This will force you to realize what you’re about to do, how big you want to do it, and what you need in order to get it that far. What happens if you don’t make enough money to keep your business afloat? What are you going to do to market your business?
Starting a vegan bakery or restaurant? OK, what forms do you need to turn in to the county? What protocol do I need to go through so I can avoid being shut down? A lot of vegan businesses involve food, and rightfully so because we love food and we make awesome food! So make sure you follow your county’s specific regulations. This will probably involve finding a production kitchen or cafe/restaurant space, taking some food safety handling classes, getting an inspection of your production space or storefront location, and turning in a buttload of forms.
Step 2 in being legit: Make a solid budget. It’s important to plan ahead in these types of situations. Don’t expect to start a business and suddenly be rolling in money. A good budget will include things like startup costs and the first six months to a year of production. Add everything into your budget, like business cards, internet hosting and domain names, marketing supplies, ingredients for your food, the costs of any certifications or forms that you’ll need to turn in to your county, insurance, etc. Another thing to account for is employees! Will you need help? Is it feasible to do this all by yourself, or will you have to look at hiring some help? If you’ll need help, then make sure you account for a competitive wage for your employees. You don’t have to pay them $100 an hour, but make sure you offer them enough to where they can live comfortably, and represent your business happily.
If you’re budget is suddenly huge, and your having a hard time coming up with the money, your business plan will be a key solution. If you are going to apply for a loan, a lot of banks will ask to see your business plan to make sure that you’re not just going to take the money and blow it on a lifetime supply of Pepple’s or something.
2. Be a proud vegan business, but don’t be obnoxious.
Here’s the kicker: don’t be an asshole. Use your business to spread knowledge about veganism, but don’t shove it down your customer’s throats. The vegan community is really tight-knit and supportive of each other, so you’re almost guaranteed to have vegan customers, but you have to consider your omni customers as well. You don’t have to praise their dietary choices, but don’t alienate them. If you force-feed them vegan information or make them feel stupid for not being vegan, they won’t be regular customers. Also, I’m sure they’ll leave a detailed comment on Yelp, and we all know that word of mouth is huge in recruiting new customers to your business. Enlighten, don’t alienate.
If you’re not sure about how to go about doing this, turn your passion toward your product. What are the benefits of your products being vegan? Maybe it’s that your products are naturally cholesterol-free. Maybe it’s because you donate a percentage of your profits to a vegan charity.
3. Start small and expand.
Starting a business is really exciting, and once you really starting thinking about it, ideas start piling on top of each other. But don’t get in over your head. Start with a reasonable goal or product base. Not only will starting small help keep your budget small, but it will also allow for easy expansion. Also, don’t burn yourself out too quickly. You’re starting a business because you want to enjoy the benefits of loving what you do, not hating every moment of your life because it’s too much to handle.
If you start small, it will also be easier for you to network without being overwhelming. Find out what other vegan businesses in your area can help you with, and what you can do for them. Get involved in vegan events, and build up a strong following!
4. Know your competition.
This one is easy: If you know your competition, it’s easier to do things differently or better. There’s nothing simpler than doing competition research with a quick Google search. If you make vegan muffins, Google “vegan muffin companies” (be location-specific), and see what comes up. Finding your competition will alsohelp you set your prices. You may think $10 for a cookie is a good price, but if someone else is offering the same flavor cookie for $2.50, well—you know how it goes.
5. Love what you do.
Starting a business involves a lot of hard work, but it can be really satisfying when you make progress. Celebrate your little achievements, and remember to reward yourself. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the stress, and don’t feel like you have to do everything overnight. Give yourself time, and don’t forget to factor in time to do things for yourself.
Interview with a vegan: Kate Dollarhyde! »
Vegansaurus: Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
Kate Dollarhyde: When I first decided to go vegan it was absolutely for animal rights reasons. How could I see the evidence of animal abuses and torment and not act, especially when the act, for me, would be so easy? I was lucky to go vegan where I did—right in the center of San Francisco: a block from a forward-thinking Safeway, a quick jaunt from Rainbow Grocery, mere feet from the Castro farmers’ market. It was like magic, the convenience of it.
As I matured in my veganity, I read over and over about how destructive animal farming is to our ecosystems, our soils, and that’s what really sealed the deal. And health? I was never concerned with health! Do you guys know how many cupcakes I eat? I’m at like at least 1,000 per day. I might have a problem.
Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan? Why did you become vegan?
Dollarhyde: I’ve been vegan for four-ish years. I’m not completely sure, but I know my veganniversary is in April sometime. I was a vegetarian for two years before that, though that was much more difficult than the veganism is because my family was less willing to accommodate me, especially during holiday meals. But my dad is vegan now, so it’s all good.
Vegansaurus: What do you do to make monies? Tell us all about it.
Dollarhyde: I do very thrilling desk work for a biotech start up in Berkeley; you know, research, coffee brewing, presentation compiling, dish-doing, all the exciting stuff. I was wary of taking the job because (in the interest of full disclosure) the company I work for contracts with labs that do animal testing. I didn’t have a lot of options when I graduated from college with a useless BA in a field that requires a doctorate, so when I was offered a job that would pay me a living wage with health and dental insurance included, I couldn’t turn it down.
The device they’re developing could save millions of human lives a year, but I still find it difficult to square with my vegan beliefs. Of course I’m against animal testing, but if one of my family members contracted the disease they’re trying to cure would I be glad the device existed? Heck yes I would be.
Vegansaurus: I know you volunteer with various organizations—what’s up? How can we get involved with some of them?
Dollarhyde: I volunteer at the Museum of Craft and Folk Art every Saturday, down in the museum district near the SFMOMA and the Contemporary Jewish Museum. It’s a fantastic space and the people I work with are phenomenal. The museum works hard to engage the community for education and fun times, so every first Thursday we host a crafting event in partnership with Etsy called Craft Bar. It’s always hugely crowded and rowdy because of the cheap beer and is always the highlight of my month.
The best way to get involved with the museum (and other small, under-funded museums like them!) is to ring them up and ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Small museums are chronically understaffed and could always use a helping hand at the front desk or during events. And unlike at the large museums with competitive volunteer waitlists, small museums will usually give you the opportunity to do a variety of work. I was asked to help with aspects our recent exhibit installation and it was too dang fun.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any companion animals? Tell us all about them!
Dollarhyde: I have two cats! Boris, a giant bruiser of cat, and Rhubarb, a feisty little spitfire my partner and I adopted from the SFSPCA. Some complete jerk abandoned her in a cardboard box in the parking lot outside of the shelter at night, in the winter. Boris is a total weirdo, really vocal, and needy in a completely adorable way. He likes to wake my partner up in the morning by standing on his chest and licking his hair. Rhuby is a much more normal cat; she’ll roll on her back and lure you in with the promise of sweet, sweet belly rubs, and then just bite your shit like it ain’t no thing. She likes to sleep under the covers with us so she’ll usually stand by my head at 2 a.m. and meow until I lift of the covers so she can come in for a snuggle. It’s too cute to be annoying.
Vegansaurus: Do you have any super-cute photos of animals to share with us?
Dollarhyde: Have you seen this video of someone’s pet fox licking a window? Because it’s amazing.
Vegansaurus: What is your favorite animal? I know, this one is REALLY TOUGH.
Dollarhyde: I’m boring—I’ve always been a panda person. And my family was really weird about it! Every holiday someone would give me a panda stuffed animal until suddenly I was 18 and there were like 30 stuffed pandas in my room and people would come over and be like, Kate, wtf?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan cookbook?
Dollarhyde: That is an impossible question, Laura. You know that is like the meanest question ever. But, well, fine. It has to be Vegan with a Vengeance. When I first went vegan I, like most newly hatched vegans, had no idea what or how to cook. Isa showed me the way, and now I cook every damn day and I’m actually not too bad at it. The book is the stuff of dreams.
My other favorite cookbook is Strong Waters but it’s not exactly vegan, just full of exciting recipes for exciting alcoholic beverages. I like to brew when I have the free time and Strong Waters covers all the esoteric weirdness I love to make the most.
Vegansaurus: What’s your favorite vegan dish to make? What about for a vegan bakesale?
Dollarhyde: Call me Garfield, baby, because I love lasagna. For a bakesale? Carrot cake! Always! Carrot cake is my second favorite food; it should be a food group all on its own. And it should have the biggest part of the food pyramid.
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant?
Dollarhyde: How could you do this to me? How could you make me choose? Southern fried tofu and collards at Souley Vegan, or curry soba soup at Cha-Ya? Is there even a God?
Vegansaurus: Favorite vegan restaurant?
Dollarhyde: Ugh, it’s impossible. Souley Vegan.
Vegansaurus: Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
Dollarhyde: Yes, absolutely! Party at my house! You bring the booze, I’ll make the tacos!
Vegansaurus: Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
Dollarhyde: Is there a secret clubhouse I can visit? [Ed.: We wish! Someone finance the rent on a secret clubhouse/large cardboard box we can use as a mobile office!]
Are you a great vegan? Are you doing great vegan things? We want to to know more about you! Email Laura for more information on The Vegansaurus Interview!