Guest review: Azna Gluten Free bakery! »
I was visiting Never Felt Better in Sacramento when the owner, Shawn, gave me a tip: if I had the time, I should visit the gluten-free and vegan bakery called Azna Gluten Free, located in Cameron Park (about 30 miles east from Sacramento). It happened that I did have the time, so I decided to make the trip.
Although Anza normally offers sandwiches, burritos, lasagna, and calzones, in addition to their sweet items, they didn’t have any sandwiches available to eat when I visited; I made do with a baked good instead. Of course, it was still difficult to make a decision. After conferring with a fellow customer and gazing over the display, I picked a mini cinnamon roll and blackberry scone, as well as a spoonful of some roasted yams and sweet potatoes (cooked with olive oil and many seasonings, and the only savory items available).
Really, EVERYTHING on their menu is vegan and gluten-free; I could eat ANYTHING I wanted. I was in special-diet heaven.
The scone was a little crumbly, but the berries added sweetness and made it a little moister. The mini cinnamon roll was chewy and yummy and just the right size. The roasted yams were delicious, I couldn’t believe how well-seasoned they were. I wanted to just keep eating them, but I got too full.
The service was friendly and fast, even though there was just one guy there, and he seemed to be in charge of baking AND serving the customers. Prices were on the moderate end—my entire “meal” cost $10.25 with tax—and I left feeling more than satisfied.
Geanna lives in Portland, Ore. where she can be found hiking, eating, or writing about food (sometimes she goes to work, too). Find her on Twitter @greenvegnliving or check out her blog, Green Vegan Living.
Product review: Nacheez! Because vegan nacho cheese is the new craze! »
At Berkeley’s first Vegan Earth Day I got to sample Love and Joy Foods’ Nachheez sauce, with tortilla chips. OMG, it was everything I’ve been wanting out of nachos—sorry soy cheddar, you’ve never really done anything for me. Seriously, Nacheez tastes just like that neon stuff from gas stations (you know, you used to eat it on road trips before you wised up) and movie theaters, except it’s wayyyy tastier and made from ingredients you know and love—not chemicals! Bonus: it’s soy- and gluten-free!
Ilsa Hess is the owner/creator, and she is adorable. The host of Good Morning Sacramento and I had the same reaction! Nachos and mac ‘n’ cheese? Done and done. You can buy Nacheez at Never Felt Better Vegan Boutique, located above Sugar Plum Vegan bakery in Sacramento. Isn’t that convenient? Or if it’s not, it’s coming to new locations soon! Vegan nacho cheese sauce dominating my life isn’t a bad thing, so pick some up for me too!
Sacramento Vegan Bakesale for Japan is THIS SATURDAY! »
Road trip, y’all! This Saturday, Apr. 2, the fine vegans of Sacramento are putting on an insanely huge vegan bakesale to benefit MercyCorps in Japan. You’re going because not only is Sacramento the crack capital of California, it also has some insane vegan eats (Hello, brunch at Sugar Plum Bakery! and an adorable ALL-VEGAN STORE!) and because you love vegan sweet treats* and Japan! Do it to it!
Also, if you want to bake, it’s not too late! Email Toni! Woohoo! You are smart and handsome and very good at everything you do, especially baking. Now get in the kitchen and make me some adorable cat cakes (uh, if you do that, let me know so I can name my next foster dog after you).
*We hear from organizer Toni that the treats will include cookie dough cupcakes, coffee and donut cupcakes, chocolate caramel salted crunch cupcakes, black and whites, mint chocolate brownies, coffee cake, cream cheese brownies, some pb cups, brown sugar peach muffins and apple strudel, oreo cupcakes, sugar skull chocolate molds, blueberry muffins, lemon cupcakes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. HOLY. CRAP.
Neffy took this photo of this major dinner, and reports that “we had the spring rolls; light, crispy, and delicious. My girlfriend had the BBQ plate [of] soy protein slices with noodles and salad: SUPER EXTRA YUM. I had the Mongolian Delight: soy protein slices with green onions, onions, and bell peppers: OMFG SPICY HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH - I had to stop myself from eating the whole plate seriously. Even my lacto-consuming girlfriend said the Thai tea tastes just like the real thing, and it was able to convince her that vegan food is delicious (she had a bad experience a couple years back).
“I’m one of the very few vegan Muslims that I know of so it’s hard for me to find vegan anything within my circle, unless it’s from the internet or Whole Foods…. Thank the stars [my] sister-in-law’s been vegan for 14 years, so I was able to have someone encourage me to become vegan—one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.”
Excellent job! We’re so happy and proud! I guess we’ll have to expand our Sacramento coverage, too—this town is going somewhere, vegan-wise!
Reader Matt sent us this photo of Sugar Plum Vegan Café’s Festivus dinner! Way to go, Sacramento!
Vodka party at Gracias Madre with fat ducks and fashion kitties in this week’s link-o-rama! »
Ms. Unterman of the SF Examiner fell in love with Gracias Madre, and Jun Belen thought No Worries is doing a good job, so far. In the Sacramento Valley, a man shot a duck, and discovered she had eaten herself an extremely engorged liver—foie gras-style, in fact. Real live naturally occurring foie gras, in pintail ducks eating oodles of rice! Neat! Unfortunately it’s just not as delicious as “real” foie gras, so they’ll just have to keep gavaging those geese (until all of those selfish creeps die). Shucks.
Feeling blue? How about some vodka? Barnivore will help you choose the brand, and this magnificent guide will teach you how to drink it properly. Once it gets cold (ha ha global warming, it’ll never dip below 50, right?), let’s have vodka and spicy + salty hors d’œuvres parties. I am particularly looking forward to the part where you “[b]reathe out loudly through your mouth emitting an animal noise.” I mean. Perhaps someone could try this hummus recipe by Nick Kindelsperger of The Paupered Chef? He does make it sound amazing, and not too terribly difficult.
Peta strikes again! Ingrid Newkirk herself has offered to put $10,000 toward Lindsay Lohan’s rehab bill if LiLo will go vegan for the remainder of her rehab, and if she maintains her vegan diet for an entire year, Peta will give her another $10,000. Who feels good about donating to Peta? LiLo hasn’t taken Peta up on Ms. Newkirk’s offer yet, but YOU NEVER KNOW. But it’s not like Peta has any standards for their celebrity spokesmodels, so why not another wearer of fur and leather?
Best part of Friday: The Week in Vegan, by our Laura for SF Weekly!
Sugar Plum Bakery and Never Felt Better Vegan Store in Sacramento! »
This should totally be a Road Trip Friday post but put fuck it, let’s all cut out of work and head to Sacramento righthisminute to enjoy the most amazing vegan treats at Sugar Plum Bakery (with their VEGAN WEEKEND BRUNCH and yo, a coupon for a free vegan cupcake!), at 2315 K St. And now there’s even more reason to visit our state’s crapital: a new ALL-VEGAN shop above Sugar Plum Bakery, Never Felt Better (2315½ K St.). That’s a link to Yelp because the website is under construction but you can fan them on Facebook and find out about specials and all sorts of other magical crap so DO IT.
ENOUGH OF THAT, what can I buy at this store, LAURA!??! Well, FRIEND, Never Felt Better has lots and lots of goodies. You can get handmade vegan bath and body junk, T-shirts, accessories like belts and wallets, cards and postcards promoting veganism, and most importantly, snacks and pantry staples and cookbooks and ‘zines. It’s the only vegan store in Northern California. GO NOW!
This place is straight adorable and you want to buy everything in it to support them and keep them alive and healthy for a long time. I mean, if we can’t use our vegan dollars to support others LIVING THE VEGAN DREAM, what are we good for? That’s a serious question for you to ponder on, I cannot provide an easy answer. If you want to rap on your existence and its worth, holler at your pro-bono (unless you can pay? can you pay? this might not be legal) therapist. UNTIL THEN: Visit Sacramento! Eat cinnamon rolls! And tempeh reubens! And then buy wallets! And mimic creme! Oh, and while you’re in Sacramento, get your vegan on (yes I did!) at Chipotle with gardein (only place to get it in Northern California!), Noble Vegetarian, Andy Nguyen’s Vegetarian, Au Lac Vegetarian, The Green Boheme, and the glorious East African Veggie Burger at Tower Cafe. Sacramento is bringing it! Let’s all move there! JOKE I’D RATHER DIE xoxox, total snob asshole. But really, I could see living in Sacramento if a gun was pointed to my head. That’s progress, people! Ask Laura from 2008 to choose between death and Sacramento and she’d choose death, hands-down. But Laura from today? She’d choose Sacramento. Followed closely by death. PROGRESS!
[photo via Yelp]
Hold the mother-loving phone: two zebras ran wild in Sacramento on Saturday. Can I get a general “WTF?” on this one? SFist reports that the zebras were being loaded onto a truck when they were spooked by dogs and ran for it. I can’t find out what they were doing in Sacramento but they are now back on the owner’s ranch in Oregon. Their owner is a mule-monger but zebras are his “passion.” Freak. People and their goddamn exotic animals. There’s a million homeless cats in this country but this bro is breeding zebras. On the plus side, while the zebras are back in captivity, at least they didn’t die in a hail of bullets the way the more dangerous rampaging exotic animals do.
Awesome people doing awesome things for animals: Sacramento’s Brooke Byrd! »
Vegansaurus loves food! And yelling about injustice! And telling you how you can help fight injustice, especially through food! We also love—no to the DUH—animals, and the people who love to help them! That’s why today we’re bringing you an interview with one such volunteer, Brooke Byrd!
Vegansaurus: What are the Apawstrophes?
Brooke Byrd: The Apawstrophes is my team for the Sacramento SPCA’s annual Doggie Dash fundraiser. The team name is a play on my love for both grammar and animals, and my constant desire to mix the two (The Catastrophes was a close second, and would also be my roller derby name). So far the team is just me and a few close friends (plus some other random animal-lover I’ve never met). We’re raising money and pet supplies!
How did you get involved in this?
In November I started volunteering for the Sacramento SPCA, and I know first-hand the high volume of animals that come through. As a nonprofit, the SPCA relies entirely on donations through events like the Doggie Dash to take care of all the critters it houses.
How can other people get involved?
Find your local SPCA or animal shelter (donating directly to the local facility will put funds where they’re needed on the ground) and donate supplies, money or time. Most shelters are always in need of blankets and towels, and toys, treats, office supplies, etc. are always appreciated. Most shelters have volunteer programs as well—be prepared to dedicate some time to training.
How long have you been volunteering for animals? Do you do any other volunteer work, or are you exclusively animal-oriented?
I’ve only been at the [Sacramento] SPCA since November, but in college volunteered at the California Raptor Center in Davis. I’m also dedicated to the cause of marriage equality, and spend time at Equality California headquarters nearly every week-–if you’re in Sacramento and signed a petition at some time, I’ve probably called you. I also spend time as an escort at Planned Parenthood when needed.
You love animals—tell us about your current menagerie.
Currently I have three cats, one of which has developed a recent habit of enthusiastically vomiting on my carpet; two snakes named when I was first reading Harry Potter (Sly & Gryff); and a Tokay gecko named Spike who barks & hisses. Spike’s a girl, btw. I’ve also had a hedgehog named Puck and leopard geckos, and my parents currently house our family horses and dog.
What’s the deal with Sacramento—is it really terrible, or are there hidden treasures? Are there secrets animal lovers should know about it?
Sacramento, especially the midtown area, is changing pretty rapidly—for the better. We’ve got some pretty awesome little stores (Sugar Shack!) and restaurants, and the whole town is thoroughly saturated in Gold Rush-era history. It may not be your thing, but it’s still pretty cool to know about. And, it’s always amusing to watch tourists in knee socks and sandals taking a carriage ride through Old Sacramento. There’s also almost always something to do—concerts in the park and farmer’s markets everywhere, plus they even celebrated the first-ever Sacramento Beer Week in February. The Amgen Tour of California just happened in mid-May. Sac is also pretty perfectly placed-–less than two hours to Lake Tahoe, San Francisco, wine country & Northern California.
And, while I’m not a big fan of veggies, Sac surprisingly has quite a few vegan/vegetarian options—there’s a food cart in downtown that has awesome eggplant, and Sugar Plum Vegan Café is also popular (the bakery looks awesome) [Ed: it is!].
As an employee of a California tourism organization, what about the state is especially awesome for animals? Animal-lovers?
Sacramento has tons of dog parks—my friend is obsessive mommy to a puggle and I swear she visits a different one every weekend. There are also tons of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating, where pets are welcome.
For animal lovers, there are some amazing local spots to check out wildlife—rafting down the American River or hiking the Yolo Basin. We’re also close to Davis and the Raptor Center, which rehabilitates hawks, eagles and owls, but also has some resident creatures. And, if you don’t mind zoos, the Sacramento Zoo recently opened a majorly renovated giraffe exhibit with a huge raised deck.
What else should I have asked you that I didn’t?
How I handle sitting at work all day without any animals. The answer: Cute Overload, and my Cute Overload daily calendar, with which I have wallpapered my cubicle [Ed: check out Oct. 1!].
Thanks, Brooke! Good luck next week!
Hey pals! Are you doing something great for animals that Vegansaurus readers should know about? Get it touch! Maybe you’re cleaning birds on the Gulf Coast; maybe you foster rabbits for SaveABunny; maybe you draft legislation to keep people from shooting at animals from helicopters with automatic weapons—you’re great, and we want to hear from you.
Sugar Plum Vegan Cafe + Bakery has opened its doors! This makes it the first all-vegan bakery in Northern California! Not only that, they’re already get great press from mainstream media. ROAD TRIP, Y’ALL!
You can regularly find their treats in San Francisco at Rainbow Grocery but I can’t wait to get at the actual bakery because they’re selling VEGAN NACHOS MADE WITH GARDEIN AND DAIYA. Oh and might I mention an ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT VEGAN BRUNCH that starts Easter Sunday?* I’m sorry, did I stutter?
Sacramento, I don’t care if you’re the crack capital of California and also the whack capital of California, I’m a-comin’ to get ‘cha!
*for all of you who don’t pay attention to Christian holidays, that’s THIS SUNDAY, APR. 4!)