vegansaurus!

06/16/2014

Beyond Sushi serves all-vegan sushi with extra flair in NYC!  »

imageMeave and I had the pleasure of visiting NYC’s Beyond Sushi (Union Square location) last week and we were pretty much blown away! Seriously, I didn’t know sushi could be so fun—and so vegan!

People have always told me about different places with such and such vegan roll and I’ve always been like, “whatever, I just like avocado rolls! Why I gotta go somewhere special for that?” Little did I know there’s a big, exciting vegan sushi world out there! What an idiot I was. But we live and learn, yeah?!imageWe started off with some of their yummy juices. These are not the cleanse type, which is good because that’s not my steeze. I got the cucumber mint lemonade and it was SO GOOD. Meave got some sort of watermelon juice that I refused to try because watermelon is bleh! But my juice was the yum.imageNext, we had one of their wraps. I wasn’t that excited because I think of wraps as just like a bunch of raw veggies pretending to be a sandwich. Boy was I delightfully surprised! This Nutty Buddy wrap ended up being maybe my favorite thing we had. It was full of buckwheat noodles, cashews, carrots, cilantro, jalapeño peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, tofu, and lettuce—whoa! Plus it came with a side of sweet soy mirin sauce. I love the noodles and peanut butter!!! I could eat this every day. 

imageNext came the sushi! OMG how pretty, right? On the very left is their most popular roll, the Spicy Mang: black rice, avocado, mango, English cucumber, spicy veggies and toasted cayenne sauce. A lot of their rolls use black rice, which is actually more purple. It’s really good. It’s a bit sweeter than white rice and just has more flavor in general. imageIn the middle, is the roll of the month! Every month they have a special roll. For June, it’s this fun eggplant roll: black rice, roasted eggplant, avocado, and baby arugula topped with rosemary infused butter bean purée and roasted roma tomatoes infused with garlic and thyme. YES. I was all, “I didn’t know you could even have sushi like this” and Meave is all, “well, it’s BEYOND sushi!” Haha, indeed. 

The third roll was the Mighty Mushroom: six-grain rice, enoki, tofu, shiitake, and micro arugula with a shitake teriyaki sauce. This was my favorite! The shitake teriyaki sauce on top was so good. 

imageWe also had two of the individual pieces, baked tofu with chili mango. AWESOME. 

So, if you couldn’t tell, we love Beyond Sushi! I warn you if you go though that seating is limited. But we got there at 6:30 on a Tuesday and there were plenty of places to sit. But by the time we left, people were waiting to sit. I also advise that you TRY EVERYTHING! Because it’s so good. Oh, besides the one in Union Square, there’s also a location in Chelsea Market.imageBONUS! They have all these exciting almond butters they make in-house! I got my big bro this truffle oil/thyme almond butter because those are his favorite things and I’m so nice to him. 

Disclosure: we dined for free because we are very fancy! I paid full price for the almond butter though, and I’d do it again! Because I’m so nice to my big bro!

05/13/2014

Better Off Spread: totally metal gourmet nut butters with badass vegan flavors!  »

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If there’s two things I love (shut up, there’s at least two), it’s peanut butter and metal! So how could I not try Better Off Spread? Spoiler: I couldn’t not! As soon as I heard about the gourmet nut butter brand, I had to have some. Not all of their flavors are vegan but they sent me three vegan flavors to test drive: Every Rosemary Has Its Thorn (dark chocolate rosemary peanut butter!), And Justice For Almonds (dark chocolate coconut almond butter!), and The Ace Of Spice (spicy peppery peanut butter!).  

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I tried the chocolate coconut almond butter on some toaster waffles and it was the yum! I really like the grainy texture—that’s how I like my nut butters. Not all Skippy-style smooth. I like the little grains of nut. And I was worried about the coconut but it wasn’t that strong flavor-wise. I do think there were little bits of coconut, which blended nicely with the grainy texture and made it even a bit more crunchy (not like chunky peanut butter though). 

As for the chocolate rosemary peanut butter, I was quite trepidacious. Rosemary and chocolate? Say whaaaa? But then I tried it and, low and behold, it was delicious! I managed to eat the entire mini jar in one sitting—straight, no chaser. 

For my final act, I tried the spicy peppery peanut butter. I wasn’t sure how to eat it and I’m kind of a nancy about spice. The jar suggests noodles and such but I thought, hey! How about some spicy peanut butter tofu!

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I pan-fried the tofu first. Then I microwaved the jar of peanut butter to liquify it a bit. I mixed it up and TA DA! Spicy peanut butter tofu. I know the picture looks like it’s battered and fried, but it’s not. I just couldn’t get the consistency very thin. It was pretty thick—kind of like eating spicy peanut butter on tofu. WHICH IS BASICALLY MY DREAM ANYWAY. So it was thick but very good. I think it would have been much-improved by some soy ginger sauce and that prob would have thinned the sauce a little. It also would have definitely been nice over a bed of sautéed spinach but not all of us plan ahead or leave our houses after dusk (vampires).  

More fun things about Better Off Spread in their own words:

Our spreads are always made with the best ingredients we can find. We always use organic, non-GMO nuts and don’t add any oils, fats, preservatives or sugars to them, just natural ingredients combined to make freaking awesome flavors. All of our spreads are hand made in Brooklyn, many of them are vegan and gluten-free and straight up good for you.

Do you heart them? I heart them! That brings the count of things I love up to at least three. Take that, clinical depression!

But guys, I have half a jar left of the peppery peanut butter; what should I do with it?! Help!

06/25/2013

Product Review: Buddha Cups, raw organic dark chocolate almond butter cups!  »

imageYour Vegansaurus loves (vegan, fair trade, organic) chocolate, and your Vegansaurus loves almond butter, so when the lovely people of Buddha Chocolate offered to send us a sample two-pack of their fancy gourmet cups, you know we took them up on it.

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I cut one in half to share with whoever else was in the apartment that day, namely one of my roommates, her boyfriend, and my brother, all omnivores.

The results were … mixed. While the chocolate was rich, the almond butter was dry and crumbly. The omnis all said they could “tell” the chocolate was vegan; I haven’t had dairy chocolate in like seven years, so I wasn’t really sure what they were tasting that I wasn’t (or vice versa?).

I suspected user error, though—they’d gone from a hot package in the mail to the fridge, and then right back out to a hot apartment—and the second one I let sit on the counter a while before eating it. Much better. The almond butter was softer, the chocolate melted into it, and it was really satisfying. Not too sweet, so you could totally eat one for breakfast (seriously, the fat and protein? Awesome to start the day) if you didn’t want to wait till dessert.

Buddha Cups are handmade in Brooklyn by a couple of awesome vegans, and are available at select Manhattan and Brooklyn locations, or you can buy them online. They’re like Justin’s, but almondy and harder to get! I recommend them. In fact, I’d eat one right now if I had it.

[Top photo via Buddha Chocolate; second photo by me]

04/27/2012

Guest Product Review: Living Tree Raw Almond Butter!  »

There’s something timeless and wonderful about the taste of almonds that no other seed or nut butter could ever match. But hot dang, that ish is expensive! Anyone who’s bought almond butter recently knows that there’s quite a significant price jump between peanut butter and almond butter ($5 to $10 sometimes!), and an even greater price gap between roasted and raw varieties of almond butter. You could easily pay $7 to $10 more for raw almond butter! In these tough times, that’s a lot of dough to spend on butter!

In my opinion, shelling out for more expensive almond butter isn’t usually worth it. I mean, we have nonprofit jobs, families and gender-queer allies to feed! That said, I believe splurging now and then for raw, sprouted, organic, non-GMO almond butter from Living Tree is just about the healthiest and tastiest decision you could make!

While I don’t think heated nut fats will kill you, I do believe that sprouted nut butters taste better and are the only legit way to know you’re eating truly raw almonds. Sprouting almonds before grinding them into nut butter is one of the most labor-intensive and debated practices in the nut butter business. In order to call your food “living,” some say nut butters have to be sprouted. California has some pretty tough laws when it comes to heating almonds, even those that are organic and labeled “raw.” I am pretty sure the most common source of “truly raw almonds” are imported from Italy.

That means that raw almond butter could basically refer to many different levels of “rawness,” and the only real way you can really tell if an almond is raw or living is if it sprouts. Living Tree Sprouted almond butter is definitely raw, and is an incredible hybrid between chunky and smooth. It feels like a totally different almond butter. It’s incredibly fluffy, like eating an almond cloud, with little grains of sand flowing into your mouth and heart.

If you’re going to dump tons of almond butter into a raw pad thai recipe or use it as the base of an almond butter and jelly sandwich, then you can choose whatever brand/roasted/raw variety you see fit. But if you’re going to invite your snobby raw correspondent over for a spot of green tea and raw crumpets, I would be ever so delighted if you served Living Tree Sprouted Almond Butter!

UPDATE: I found out from Living Tree that their organic, “alive” almond butter is only raw, not sprouted. They only purchase almonds from local organic California family farmers, and have been working with the same farmers for more than 15 years.

Instead of actually sprouting the almonds, they instead make the almond butter over several days. The key difference in their process is that they slice and never grind the almonds. After this, they let the mixture rest overnight, and slice again the next day. This is why their almond butter tastes so fluffy, and they believe it preserves the health content of the nuts.

[Photo courtesy of Living Tree, which sent me a complimentary jar of the almond butter.]

This is Vegansaurus raw correspondent Sarah E. Brown’s latest post! Read more by Sarah on Vegansaurus, and visit her personal blog, Queer Vegan Food.

01/06/2012

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Covered Pretzels from Eat Drink Better! So simple, so genius. Dark chocolate. Almond butter. Pretzels. I want you! I especially love how they are made with pretzel rods because those are my jam. I’m all about nibs and rods! Ew, not like that, perv! 

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Covered Pretzels from Eat Drink Better! So simple, so genius. Dark chocolate. Almond butter. Pretzels. I want you! I especially love how they are made with pretzel rods because those are my jam. I’m all about nibs and rods! Ew, not like that, perv! 

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