vegansaurus!

11/21/2013

The LA vegan Thanksgiving guide!  »

Andrew and Caroline are here to give you a roundup of the GAGILLION things you can do for Thanksgiving in LA!

image

Thanksgiving feast from Cafe Gratitude.

Attention lazy vegans (or busy vegans, or those of you who actually relax on holidays) of Los Angeles!! We have compiled a (hopefully) comprehensive list of restaurants that are offering vegan Thanksgiving goodies, be it take-out or dine-in. If we’ve left anything out, please let us know in the comments! Also feel free to tell us how charismatic and charming we are.

Tal Ronnen’s Crossroad Restaurant (have you been there yet!? This man is a food wizard) will be open 12-5pm on Thanksgiving day, offering a four-course menu (with gluten-free options) for $75. I’m drooling just thinking about this.

Real Food Daily is offering a full gluten-free Thanksgiving spread to go, along with an assortment of desserts (including Southern maple pecan pie—SOMEONE PLEASE BUY ME THIS). They will be closed on Thanksgiving day.

Sage Organic Bistro is also offering a full to-go menu of gluten free goodies, ranging from comfort foods, like mac n’ cheese, to pans of their Kind Kreme (heavenly raw ice cream). The tamales require giving them at least 48-hours notice, so they must be doubly good!

Go get a FREE meal at Cafe Gratitude’s Venice Beach location, where they’ll be hosting their annual “Give Thanks” event on Thanksgiving day. In order to get your free plate of grub, you have to serve someone else (hey, sharing is caring, especially when caring means you get to chow down on free food). They’ll be open 10-3pm (or until food runs out). The Larchmont location will be closed. You can also order from a full holiday menu (including RAW stuffing) by the 24th from either location. 

If you want a spiritual vibe while you’re stuffing your face, Govinda’s is offering a buffet from 12-7pm, with plenty of vegan options. If you pay ahead of time for your reservation, it’s only $12 ($15 at the door). Remember the rules of the buffet: eat as much of the most expensive thing in order to get your money’s worth (filling up on salad greens is a total rookie move)!

There will be a special four-course feast at both Shojin locations and judging by the photos on their website, it’s going to be amazing! Seriously, they have presentation skills. Whereas my plating technique generally results in an edible Jackson Pollack.

Doomie’s will be having a “Good Ol’ American Thanksgiving” for $20 by RSVP only (doomiesveg@gmail.com). If you want a pumpkin pie from Das Baker, pre-order one for $15. They don’t have a website, but they’ve been tweeting the menu! They are the masters of comfort food, so it’s guaranteed you’ll be fat and happy!

image

Babycakes LA has a long list of vegan & gluten free goodies (some agave sweetened, some with refined sugar) available to order, so you can show up to potlucks in style! They can deliver most of the items right to you! Call by Friday 11/22 to place your order: (855) 462-2292.

Not surprisingly, Hugo’s Restaurant (all 3 locations) will be offering a vegan-friendly “Happy Holiday Feast for Six.” Just specify that you’d like the vegan version, and you’ll get their (AMAZING) veggie patties, along with a ton of other tasty looking things. Give them at least 24 hours notice (they’d prefer 48 hours), and pick it up the day before. They’ll be closed on Thanksgiving Day. 

Dr. J’s Vibrant Cafe has their usual catering menu available to order from, with healthier looking options, like grain and veggie bowls (of course my eye gravitated to the coconut pie, because COCONUT PIE). Place your orders at least 3 days in advance. They’ll be open Thanksgiving day until 1:30pm.

Anaheim vegans will be happy to hear that Healthy Junk is offering a holiday menu. You can find it posted on their Instagram. It’s available for both dine-in (not the day of, they’ll be closed) and take out. Give them 24-hour notice for pies: (714) 772-JUNK [ed note: for real??]. They’re making “chicken” pot pies, ya’ll!!

If you feel like communing with other LA vegans, check out the annual “Free Vegan Thanksgiving Picnic Potluck” at Rancho Park in West LA. Bring a dish to share (they specifically request no booze,* but musical instruments are welcome. Do I hear a drum circle?!). It’s from 11-4pm.

Native Foods Cafe is offering their annual Native Wellington, available for order online or by phone, to be picked up at any location. It seems to be the most reasonably priced offering at just $40, and should feed six people comfortably. The puff-pastry filled with seitan also comes with steamed kale, yams, stuffing, an onion compote, and some rosemary and thyme herbed mushrooms. They also have pumpkin cheese cake or pumpkin pie for $20 each. Order before November 27th. It will be frozen, so prepare to take it home and bake it for a couple of hours. Native is also serving Thanksgiving dinner, but reserve ahead of time because seats run out super fast every year. For $25 you get the Native Wellington, mashed potatoes, gravy, a cranberry compote, green bean casserole, stuffing, a polenta/butter squash terrine, cornbread and pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheese cake. Whoa. Native Foods’ Thanksgiving always tends to be the most talked about, at least in my circle of vegan gluttony topics.

L.A. Vegan Crepe steps into the foray of offering some vegany-Thanksgivingy goodness. Available as a single meal ($35) or to feed your vegan army ($195, feeds up to 10), L.A. Vegan Crepe has a whole vegan “turkey” with mashed sweet potatoes, hazelnut-cranberry roast “en croute”, and either a sweet potato pie or a raw vegan pumpkin cheese cake. There is also a Tofurky option, but, why… wouldn’t… you… just… get… ahh never mind.  Order before Nov. 25th.

The fine folks at Urth Caffe have you covered if you’re lacking in the dessert department. Available for order online is their 10” gluten-free vegan pumpkin pie. The pie is $25 and is available at all five Urth Caffe locations in the L.A. area.   

Quite possibly the most hospitable place on the planet, Stuff I Eat in Inglewood is also offering up some Thanksgiving-themed vegan eats. Available for dine-in on Thanksgiving Day or as take-out, Stuff I Eat as both a cooked- and a raw-Thanksgiving plate. Both are $45 and will feed two humans (un)comfortably. They do need 48 hours in advance for the raw plate, which includes a nutloaf, cauliflower and cashew mash, cranberry marinated spinach, Napa cabbage, cornbread stuffing and your choice of jicama salad or corn dill salad. Then it’s topped off with a slice of raw sweet potato pie. Goodness. Gracious. Now, if you’re not into the raw side of things, their cooked plate sounds equally as intense: savory pepper tofu, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, mac ‘n “cheese”, your choice of string beans or kale, yams, stuffing, cranberry sauce, cornbread, and a salad choice of mixed green or corn. And then some sweet potato pie. There is a slight chance I will blow off my friends and family and spend 6 hours at Stuff I Eat. Sorry guys. 

And finally, if macro is your thing this year, visit M-Cafe. Orders need to be placed by 5:00 PM on Monday the 25th. For $70 for two people or $130 for four, you have a choice of two entrees (Holiday seitan roast or gluten-free tempeh loaf) with a soup (spiced butternut bisque) and a salad (winter field greens with fennel, cranberries and poached pear.) And also a choice of two “accompaniments” which include; (1)whipped potato and rutabaga, (2) maple glazed acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, and chestnuts, (3) green beans almondine, (4) wild rice pilaf, (5) mashed pumpkin with couscous and raisins, (6) sourdough bread stuffing with almonds and raisins, (7) butternut squash, fennel and pomegranate salad, (8) cranberry ginger relish, or (9) mushroom gravy. If two isn’t enough you can add two more a la carte for $9. Choosing the sides may be one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to face in your life. M Cafe also went all out with the dessert choices this year, with pecan pies, apple pies, chocolate fudge cakes, pumpkin cheese cakes, you seriously can’t go wrong.

If I don’t spend the entire 6 hour window with Stuff I Eat on this Thanksgiving, I’ll probably head to M Cafe. Maybe I’ll just pre-order one meal from all these restaurants and tell my boss I need some personal time… to digest. I hope you Angelinos have an amazing holiday with your peoples, and save a few of our feathered friends in the process.

BONUS: If you know people in the SF Bay Area — check out our SF Bay Area Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!

Happy Holidays Vegansaurus readers!

07/16/2013

Product Review: Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty Kettle Chips!  »

image

Say what you will about the “hipster” movement over the last few years, but there is a silver lining in the black-Levi’s-with-keys-on-a-carabiner-dangling-from-a-belt-loop cloud. So-called “foodies” have been putting bacon on everything, which is pretty disgusting and unfortunate, but it’s provoked vegan and vegan-friendly food chemists to create some more mock-bacon food stuffs. The bacon craze has always been weird to me; even in my non-vegan days, I never understood the infatuation. I’ve even seen Torani, the company that makes sugary syrups for your coffee beverages, add a “bacon” flavor to their lineup. Seriously dudes? Bacon-flavored coffee? But I digress.

Kettle Brand certainly isn’t the first potato chip company to take a crack at bacon flavor, but as a company who is proud to stamp their bags with “GMO-free” labeling and as a company that knows what “vegan” means, I was pretty excited to try their new summer flavors, Maple Bacon and Sweet & Salty.

If you’re one of the many vegans who couldn’t care less about finding a bacon replacement, then these Maple Bacon chips are actually going to be right up your alley. They were incredibly delicious—they just weren’t bacony. At all. They tasted more in line with K.C. Masterpiece BBQ-flavored Lays, but with Kettle Brands’ better chip as the base. Plus, I can guarantee, with no prior research, the fine folks at Lays probably go to the same country clubs as the fine folks at Monsanto. Again, I digress.

After eating the Maple Bacon chips, I became curious as to what the Sweet & Salty were going to taste like, because that name easily could have gone to the bacon chip, and no one would be the wiser. The Sweet & Salty, however, are WAY sweet. Like, almost as sweet as I am (awww, also I’m single, just kidding (no I’m not)). My vegans-of-Instagram pal Chris, aka @dinotheman, said it best: “Imagine chips with a hint of pineapple flavor and [there] you have it.”

These chips should be already on your grocer’s shelves, just in time for summer cookouts, or in my case, dinner. I’ve eaten entire bags of chips in one sitting before and I’m not ashamed to admit it. They’re both a must-try and please let us know what you think! Kettle Brand deserves a Lays-sized display in the chip aisle. Say no to Monsanto. Monsan-no.

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island-based hip-hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

06/17/2013

Tattoo review: James Spooner’s vegan tattoos don’t hurt (animals)  »

imageI was always intrigued by tattoos in my early years, but never thought enough about them to ever want one. Thoughts like Why does that guy love barbed wire enough to have it tattooed on his arm? or I wonder what “tribe” that tribal tattoo represents? would cloud my mind and sully the idea of ever getting something meaningful tattooed on the temple I call my own body. Fast forward to my (really) late twenties, here I am thinking of different designs paying homage to my parental units to be permanently drawn on my skin. I knew I wanted something and began my research about two months ago.

In L.A., there’s really just one choice when it comes to 100 percent vegan tattoo joints. I came across a couple of artists that could use vegan inks, but James Spooner of Monocle Tattoo was the only one who would be using vegan-friendly soaps and aftercare, and, as far as I could tell, the only vegan himself. I remember either an old Quarry Girl post or tweet or something regarding Spooner a couple of years back, so when my own research came back to him, I shot him an email (or nine) with some basic questions. He was extremely helpful and informative, and once I met him in person and he was as excited, if not more, than I was regarding my idea. I knew it was a match. Plus the “Vegan Tattoos Don’t Hurt (Animals)” framed artwork in his shop warmed my heart more than standard adjectives can delineate.

I was ridiculously impressed on Spooner’s ability to put his art on paper based off of my descriptions. He sent me a drawing and the next day it was on my arm, permanently. I’ve never been as excited as I was, still am, about this tattoo. I have many more sessions left to fill in and have it colored, which I feel like a kid on Christmas morning in anticipation. This was my first tattoo but Spooner made it feel like I’ve been there before, and even after 3+ hours on the “table” (it was actually a chair) I was never uncomfortable (other than the needles-into-the-arm part.)

Southern Californian vegans would be making a mistake if they went elsewhere. And if you get a non-vegan tattoo because you like the artist’s work, it’s the same as eating a non-vegan pizza because you like the taste. Ya dig? If you want more information on vegan tattoos or if you’re serious about getting something done, for the first time or 100th time, hit him up. Tell him Vegansaurus sent you. 

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California.  He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

05/01/2013

Cookbook Review! Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro  »

image

There are a handful of vegan restaurants around the world that make such a lasting impression on their customers that word spreads like wild fire, then a cult following ensues, even among those who have never visited. L.A.’s Native Foods Cafe is like that for some, as are Chicago DinerMillenniumand Seattle’s Plum Bistro. And now you can bring Plum Bistro’s dishes to your home with a cookbook based on some of its most famous dishes as Sasquatch Books and restaurateur Makini Howell bring you Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro.

When my copy arrived, courtesy of the fine folks at Sasquatch Books, I was immediately taken with the design and feel, with its hard cover and bright yet matte colors. When I opened it and started thumbing through the recipes, I felt immediately intimidated. There is a “fundamental” section that prefaces the rest of the recipes, many of which include at least one of the “fundamentals,” like various soy creams, egg foam, pestos, relishes, etc. To someone who eats roughly 2 PB&J sandwiches a day, this seemed like a daunting task. However, I put my neuroses aside and got down to it.

image

The first dish I attempted was something I had never successfully made since eliminating animal products from my life: French toast. More specifically, Plum’s “Good Old-Fashioned French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Sweet Soy Cream.” It was incredible. The “fundamentals” I needed to make first were super easy, much like most things in life I fret about it. The egg foam was like two steps, and the Sweet Soy Cream was me just using the blender—the complete opposite of daunting. I’d never made a cream of any sort before, and was a little apprehensive, since I’ve tasted some terrible vegan creams in my day. But the ease of this recipe made it my new jam (to borrow a phrase from our Jenny Bradley).

After pouring and mixing the soy milk, canola oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract (with no measurement suggested, I squeezed a little more than like 5 drops then panicked), and ground cinnamon (that I had to grate myself with a stick, which ruined my knuckles, but I did look classy doing it), I somehow, through science and prayer, turned it into a soy cream that I stuck in a mason jar and have used pretty much every day since. I’m literally in love. Figuratively.

image

The French toast part was pretty much just like the French toast my mom used to make me. Except the mix has no unborn friends in it and, without insulting my mother, much better. The mix was vanilla soy milk (awesome), white vinegar (OK?), the vegan egg foam (weird, really really weird, but cool), vanilla extract (still scared of its potency), agave syrup (YES), more ground cinnamon (I put on medieval chainmail gloves this time), and canola oil (OIL RULES). This, also through science and vigorous whisking, turns into the French toast batter. The rest is easy, although Howell words the instructions perfectly for dumb-dumbs like me. The only other difference to my mom’s recipe was splitting each slice of bread down the middle, top-to-bottom, so they were connect by a sliver of bread much like a book is connected by the spine. This was so I could dollop some soy cream and strawberries on one half and fold over to make cute little French toast half-sammies. 

image

Cookbook companies and authors use really good lighting and photographers, so the food we make almost never looks the same as their fancy pants pictures. Not this time. My dish came out almost exactly like the fancy photo, and my photo of it garnered many likes on my Instagram account. MANY.

The rest of the recipes range from just as easy as the French toast to extremely complicated and requiring devices like a Dutch oven. After laughing at the name “Dutch oven” I realized that I had to find something that was at or near my level of expertise, which can be described as infantile. But what a great idea: recipes all over the map so everyone feels both challenged and content at the tasks at hand. I approve. And to pay homage to the late film critic we just recently lost, I give it two green thumbs up.

image

You can find Plum: Gratifying Vegan Dishes from Seattle’s Plum Bistro at your least favorite online book distributor. You can also visit Plum Bistro in Seattle and tell Ms. Howell she creates amazing dishes and you were sent there by a handsome man on the internet. 

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California.  He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

02/06/2013

Summer in Winter: a smoothie and salad to cure your winter blues  »

My “cooking” style can best be described as hodgepodge. The more I try new things in the kitchen, the more comfortable I get, just like most things in life. Even though I needed to text TWO separate people asking them how to work the rice cooker that was immediately in front of me, and even though I’ve never finished preparing a meal without my sous chef, Chef Google-Search, I’m always pleasantly surprised at the finished product. And that’s saying a lot because I am the most self loathing person I know. 

Back to the food. I say hodgepodge because I enjoy throwing many ingredients into what I’m making to try to find something that I haven’t tasted before or just switch things up from the monotony. Case-in-point, the rice cooker.  In an effort to save money and not waste food, I try to eat as many things left in the closets, cupboards, and ‘fridge on the day I bring groceries home. Rather than gorging myself on all the new treats. A couple months back I did a post on SooFoo and their grain blend. I came across the nearly empty bag, buried in our bulk-food drawer, and decided I was going to finish it off but with some new twists. Then saw a bag of salad about a day before it was set to turn slimey and dark, a bag of bread that only had one heal left, and a soft kiwi. It was like the Island of Misfit Toys, but with vegan friendly food from your local grocer. That’s when it hit me, let’s make a cheap meal that will bring all the boys (or girls, or both) to the yard. 

First up: the SooFoo.

image

Normally, you follow your ricers directions of 1 cup (which isn’t a real “cup” and no one has given me an explanation of why) of the blend and some water up to the “1” line and a teaspoon of oil. I said, to myself, “NAH SON.” Threw the rest of the bag of the blend in the ricer, along with a handful of roasted/unsalted peanuts and a handful of raw pecans. For the water, I felt that was the easy way out, so I threw one part water and one part Trader Joe’s Low Sodium Garden Patch juice. Think V-8 but way less gross and actually good. And not disgusting. Then I pressed the button and let this interesting concoction boil in that plastic and metal cauldron. After it was finished, which I should have done way earlier but my kitchen neuroses kicked in, I threw in a gang of spices—thyme, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, chili powder, and cayenne pepper—then mixed it in and was taken aback by my its awesomeness. 

Next: The smoothie.

image

I like to brag about my smoothie skills. But that’s like bragging about exercising and we all cannot stand that person who loves to tell you how much they just ran, all before the sun came up too. But I wear my smoothie skills like a badge of courage—or more realistically, a badge of healthy poo. Because let’s be serious for a moment, that’s all the really matters in this world. The smoothie began with an extremely squishy kiwi that would not have been fun to eat normally. Then half of an avocado. Then a good sized handful of that almost wet and slimey salad. Followed by some almond milk. After blending those ingredients and getting a nice green, milky consistency, I threw in the frozen portions. Blueberries, raspberries, and spinach. Then blended like crazy and poured into a re-purposed glass peanut butter jar that any hipster on Pinterest would be envious of. I garnished it with a cuke moon because I’m classy (ignore aforementioned poo reference in previous paragraph).

Lastly: the salad, which is English for ensalada.

image

There was a giant Fuji apple nearby, that must have been in the bottom of a shopping bag because it had a dent and gash in it in the shape of a cereal box. Instead of doing some mouth-maneuvering around the bruise, I figured I’d use the apple in my salad. I chopped it up to 1 CM squares, which is way smaller than I usually make my salad-bound apples. I wanted each forkful to have as much of the many ingredients. After the apple came the other half of the avocado, cut, while still in its skin, into similar sized squares as the apple, then squeezed into the bowl. Next up with throwing the rest of the bag of salad in, followed by 1/3rd of a cucumber, cut into half moons. I toasted that lonely heal of bread and chopped it up to make semi-homemade croutons. Sandra Lee woulda been proud. 

Finally I threw a heaping of the SooFoo blend into the salad and mixed it all with some goddess dressing. Between the kiwi in the smoothie, the apple and avocado in the salad, the (relatively) cold SoCal winter seemed to wither away. It was like, all the way down to 59 today. But this extremely fresh, resourcefully made, and low budget-friendly meal was reminiscent of just 3 weeks ago when it was 70. (hash tag California)

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter. 

12/31/2012

Happy Almost New Year: it’s the Vegansaurus best meals of 2012!  »

You didn’t think we’d let 2013 come at us without a best of list, did you? OF COURSE NOT. So for your reading pleasure, we came up with our very favorite meals of 2012. Let’s do this!

Jenny (that’s me!): My new favorite restaurant of all time is Pura Vida in Las Vegas. I ate so many wonderful meals this year, but Pura Vida topped them all. Chef Mayra is a culinary mastermind—her dishes are vibrantly colorful and packed with so much flavor! Almost every day I think about the breakfast burrito I had about eight months ago, and I cannot wait to to get back to Vegas to hit her up again! I’ve actually planned my entire wedding in Vegas (sans groom) (for now) solely based on Chef Mayra catering the elegant debauchery that will no doubt ensue.

image
Latin’tude breakfast burrito, I love you!

Megan: ”For me, it was the year of chickpea flour—and more specifically, the Tuscan chickpea frittata. Oh boy did we have some good times this year! I made them every which way from Sunday. So easy and so yummy! And totes versatile. It’s the best!”

Man, that was a lot of fun, when Megan was making all those frittatas! I can’t believe I never tried one myself, but I suppose that will have to be what 2013 is for!image
Vegan, gluten-free frittata; so many delicious combinations!

Laura: ”The VegNews all-cheese holiday party, catered by Miyoko Schinner was, in a word, mind blowing! Cheese, cheese, and more cheese!! Giant cheese-stuffed ravioli was maybe the best thing I’ve ever eaten in my life (SORRY ABOUT THE PHOTO, I’m too pretty to be good at anything!) and fried croquettes on amazing salad, and so much more. Vegan meringue, too! Holy mother!

"Vegan cheese, you’ve come a long way since your days of gross inedibility! Buy Miyoko’s book IMMEDIATELY!”

image
Hot dang, that VegNews staff knows how to get down!

image
Vegan cheese, you HAVE come a long way!

Meave: Of course, sometimes it is impossible to pick just one, so our Meave gives the lowdown on her top five! First, comes Isa’s Maple Pecan Pie, because what holiday is complete without this delectable dessert? (Follow Meave on Instagram to see how her beautiful pie turned out—I was blown away at its loveliness!)
image
Maple pecan pie, before meeting the oven! 

Next up we have a filling and colorful veg bowl, to which Meave explains, “Angela Liddon, salad genius, made so many of my lunches better with her legume and veg bowls, but my favorite was her Lightened Up Protein Power Goddess Bowl. Meave is quite the salad dressing connoisseur (“I’m picky”), so if this made the list, you know it’s got to be good! Of course we can’t leave out the brunch at Donut Farm, which includes Meave’s personal faves — the winter hash, double-dipped donuts, banana fritters and potato works!
image
Winter hash forever! Or at least until spring!

Last but certainly not least, Sinto Gourmet kimchi, and for ogling, everything by Tofu666 (“my No. 1 source for food porn”).

Sarah: Keeping up with her title, Sarah dishes out some raw opinions, telling us her favorite dish of 2012 was “Cafe Gratitude’s I Am Whole bowl. Always”. I bet she’s missing that over on the East Coast! Hope you got your fill on your recent L.A. adventure, Sarah!

image
Sarah’s version of said bowl, via her personal blog queerveganfood.com.

Andrew: “I’m going to have to go with our recent Mexican vegan Christmas dinner menu—homemade refried beans, Spanish rice, homemade mole with tofu, three kinds of homemade tamales (soyrizo, mushroom and mole, and green chile and cheese); margarita pizza with soyrizo (definitely NOT homemade); and horchata made from scratch, which was used for Mexican White Russians. This fed seven of us at dinner and then everyone got some to take home. And we’ve had leftovers for one meal a day since.” I did manage to get myself invited to this magnificent dinner, but alas, Long Beach was just too far away!

image
Check out this magnificent plate, made complete with a Tecate, of course!

That’s enough about us and our favorites—now it’s your turn to rave about your absolute faves from 2012, so the rest of us can enjoy them in 2013! Happy New Year everybody!

11/06/2012

Guest product review: SooFoo grains blend!  »

Funny name, yummy blend. SooFoo, a San Francisco-based, U.S.-grown blend of grains and pulses, is the perfect mix of new-and-exciting with simple-and-nutritious. It’s a great substitute for bland white rice or, in my household, basic, tasteless brown rice. SooFoo is completely organic and it has nine ingredients. Seems like a lot for “rice” type of food until you read them: long grain brown rice, brown lentils, wheat berries, oats, barley, black lentils, rye berries, green lentils, and buckwheat. The folks at SooFoo must’ve been big proponents of Raffi’s “Oats and Beans and Barely.”

Certified organic, Kosher, and vegan, SooFoo is one of the most guiltless products on the market. Their packaging gives some super basic, alliteration-filled suggestions on what to do with the food, such as “sprinkle in a salad,” “stir into soups,” “chuck in chili,” and “toss with tofu” among others. My personal fave is “shower the bride and groom.” I’m totally going to do that next summer. “The vegan from California brought his own hippie rice”—I can hear the in-laws already.

I threw 3/4 cup of SooFoo, 2 cups of water, and 1 Tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil into my rice-cooker. Forty-five aromatic minutes later, I had four to six servings of SooFoo, piping hot. My ladyfriend and I decided to serve it with a stir-fry of red onion, purple bell pepper, green beans, and chickpeas with a gluttony of spices. In my attempt to rid the world of all gluten products by digesting them myself, I threw my portions in a whole wheat tortilla.

I gotta say, as a faux-meat and potatoes guy, I didn’t have the highest hopes for SooFoo. But I was blown away. Seriously. Add that to the fact it also has 6 grams of protein per serving (BUT WHERE DO VEGANS GET THEIR PROTEIN?!) and 3 grams of fiber per serving, you can easily justify the chocolate-covered pretzels you also bought. 

All in all, SooFoo is pretty freaking awesome. Before I throw the rest of the bag during friends and family nuptials, I think I’ll and “toss it with tofu" next. But I’m open to suggestions!

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

11/05/2012

Guest post: Let’s crawl together with L.A. Beer Hop!  »


Pub-crawling reeks of being 21 and not having to care about waking up on time and decisions you’ll regret early the next morning. But as real adulthood rears its ugly head, pub crawls are actually great ways to spend a night out with friends, if you pick the perfect “pubs” to “crawl” to. Well it seems LA Beer Hop was created with such nights in mind.

The places worth heading to in Los Angeles aren’t close enough together to warrant a good “crawl.” But now, for just a $5 ticket, you can be whisked away by shuttle to three of the L.A. area’s newest and best beer-and-bar-food joints. The Pub at Golden Road Brewing, Tony’s Darts Away, and Mohawk Bend make up the trifecta of destinations that LA Beer Hop will shuttle you to-and-fro every Wednesday in November. Take a peep at the tour schedule and reserve your tickets ASAP, because they’re sure to sell out.

Not only do each of these places have vast collections of tasty microbrews to sip on, they each have a cornucopia of vegan eats that’ll make your non-vegan friends say “I WANT THAT!” Tony’s Darts Away has gourmet vegan hot dogs, Mohawk Bend has vegan pizzas and buffalo cauliflower, and the Pub at Golden Road Brewing has ginormous vegan pretzels and fried avocado sammies, just to name a few!

Vegan-friendly bar-hopping, and no one has to worry about parking or driving for just $5? Oh L.A., sometimes you complete me. Who’s coming with me?!

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

[photo by arvind grover via Flickr]

10/11/2012

Guest cookbook review: Veggies for Carnivores by Lora Krulak  »

Last I checked, Vegansaurus is a vegan lifestyle blog. It’s not called Pescetariansaurus or Vegetariansaurus or Omnivore Rex. I feel the need to point this out because this cookbook, Veggies for Carnivores, mentions many non-vegan things. Most notably is the use of honey in a handful of the recipes. None of the recipes call for meat, though some have little blurbs called “A Carnivore’s Choice” that list different types of meat that would “go” with that particular entry. So after reading the cookbook for the first time I was left a little confused. Why would someone take the time to market to a vegan blog?

Per the back cover, Veggies for Carnivores is supposed to introduce new flavors that “will make veggies irresistible—even to the most die-hard carnivore.” Of the seven chapters, only one is on entrees. The others, not including the introduction, are dressings, dips, soups, salads, and smoothies. If we’re moving vegetables to the center of the plate, shouldn’t we have more than one chapter on veggie-based entrees? Sides and starters are thoroughly covered, but if the basis of the book is to get “die-hard” carnivores to move their meat to the side, I would have assumed there would have been more of an emphasis on plant-central plates.

The book does a great job of promoting healthy eating; it’s ideal for all of our stubborn relations who could use an overhaul in their diets. Krulak does an excellent job of spelling out the benefits of vegetables in her recipes and overall as a staple in our diets. She uses her history of world travel with cute anecdotes and infuses her knowledge of many cultures into most of her recipes. I have never thought to use maple syrup in lieu of olive oil in cooking until I read this book. I tried it while sauteing onions, peppers, and Tofurkey sausage, and I was really impressed.


Beautiful avocado dressing on my frou-frou salad.

The first recipe to really jump out at me was one for Sweet Avocado Dressing. It was super small, ingredients wise, and extremely easy to make. I’ve never made my own dressing before, but have seen my partner make them on numerous occasions. It called for avocado, lime, soy sauce, maple syrup, and olive oil. I cut the amount of olive in half; I use a ton of dressing on my salads so I didn’t want to overload myself on EVOO. The dressing came out pretty awesome, even if my blender doesn’t allow me to blend slowly while drizzling in the olive oil, as the recipe states, without making my kitchen look like a crime scene.

Veggie for Carnivores is a good, short cookbook. It may not be aimed at a vegan household, unless you don’t mind having to make some easy substitutions. (You may need some stickers or white-out to cover up the salmon or tuna suggestions.) And as I stated previously, if you have a relative who is notoriously omnivorous and wouldn’t in a million years give up his meat (like my own dad), and who could stand to eat more vegetables, then yes, this cookbook would be perfect for him. But as a vegan looking for new and exciting dishes? Not so much. Maybe the fine folks at Notreallyveganorvegetariansaurus.com would like to give it a try. 

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

10/08/2012

Guest Post: Meatless Monday Murderers? Chico State students not stoked for Meatless Monday!   »

A few weeks back, someone in the USDA sent out a newsletter that seemed to favor the latest push to wean Americans off of their meat addiction, Meatless Mondays. But as soon as the proverbial ink dried on this newsletter, the clowns in the meat industry cried louder than the millions of livestock they brutally slaughter everyday, claiming this new fangled Meatless Monday was a detriment to the farmers of our fine country. The idea behind USDA’s Meatless Monday was part of a “green” initiative, not so much a diet. Their endorsement of Meatless Mondays was meant as a push to lower the ecological footprint. Well…how dare they.

The outcry from the middle states, the ones with right-angle-borders and no indoor plumbing, makes some sense. But here, in my supposedly progressive state of California, we’re having a similar issue. California State University, Chico, may be the latest school to participate in Meatless Monday. However, the school’s agricultural department, both students and instructors it seems, are taking to the school’s Facebook page to voice their displeasure over the decision to being part of a Meatless Monday campaign. 

Seems not-so-shocking, right? An agricultural department not wanting to be part of an event that caters to consumption of…agriculture. But it gets worse. Chico is like many Cal State schools that has multiple areas where students can find food. This Meatless Monday event is only going to take place in ONE dining hall, Sutter Hall, where only ONE of the five food stations would be serving meat-free dishes on ONE of five days of the school week. Whole lotta ones.

This Tuesday, October 9th, there will be a Meatless Monday meeting held on Chico’s campus at 5:30 PM in BMU 209. The Humane Society of the United States will be on hand talking about the Farm-Animal Rights Movement as well as the Meatless Monday campaign. If you or anyone you know lives or works near Chico, I encourage you to voice your support. Both in terms of a greener planet and healthier diets, we have to crawl before we can cartwheel off the pommel horse. Bullies like the Ag Department at Chico and the meat industry on the national level will do anything to stop us from crawling. And are proud to do so. Just take a look at these comments:

And now I’m off to grab a hamburger. 

Courtesy of Jennifer Ryder Fox, Dean of CSUC School of Agricultural. This is how she signed off on an e-mail to all the agricultural students where she stated she was appalled by the school’s decision to include Meatless Mondays. She also went on to say:

…which was clearly influenced by the Humane Society of the United States, who uses its cover of a caring, moderate animal welfare organization to advance its true mission of ending animal agriculture.

Right. Now let’s mirror that to the comments made on Twitter by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley after USDA pulled their newsletter:

I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate for stupid USDA recommendation abt (sic) a meatless Monday.

Perhaps the Dean and the Senator should hook up on LinkedIn.

Visit Chico for Animal Rights FB page to learn more about AR efforts on campus. 

Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, Calif. He co-created and contributes to Rhode Island-based hip-hop website The Echo Chamber Blog under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.

page 1 of 2 | next »
Tumblr » powered Sid05 » templated