Pine Box Rock Shop got a write-up in NYT! Get down with your cruelty-free self.
And what it says in the profile is true, it doesn’t only appeal to vegans. A friend of mine from work was telling me about his weekend and he totally ended up there. He had no idea it was a vegan bar until I told him. But they aren’t hiding that it’s vegan. As you should know, they have the NYC Vegan Shop-Ups there! It’s just a cool place everybody wants to be.
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.]
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]
Guest Product Review: Good Greens: Superfood Nutrition Bars That Taste Like Candy! »
Good Greens low-glycemic gluten-free vegan bars, which boast 40 antioxidants, 10g protein, Omega 3’s, are low-glycemic, and are free from animal products, could taste like chalk and still get a nod of favor in my direction, because I love supplements so hard. These bars boast some of the fanciest and hyped ingredients in the natural health/vegan world, including mesquite, nori, mangosteen, probiotics, flax, aloe vera, chia seed, mulberry, bilberry, broccoli sprout powder, Nova Scotia Dulse (can we please make this the trendy new lox substitute? Yay Jewish vegan pride!), golden berries, alfalfa sprout powder, beet juice powder, wheat sprout powder, cha de Bugre, Siberian Eleuthero Root Extract, DHA, green tea extract, camu powder, pine bark extract, macs, lucuma, chlorella, and spirulina all grace each label of these superfood-packed bars.
With such a crazy A-list of superfoods, there’s very high risk for flavor failure. It’s like those star-studded ensemble cast movies which have such glorious talent but as a whole miss the mark: Paris Je T’aime, New York, I Love You, New Year’s Eve, etc. (Note: These films certainly had redeeming qualities, so if you love them please excuse this analogy!)
Taste may not be the primary concern for vegan health freaks (myself included!) but Good Greens bars unabashedly shoot for mass appeal. They even have a code to scan with your smartphone to learn more about the products! Can you just imagine a bunch of people scanning these on BART? I (s)can!
While a lot of so-called nutrition bars fail badly when they try to cram so many insanely powerful nutriceuticals (or else are seriously effing unethical and won’t disclose whether they source their cacao from places that use child slavery—F you, CLIF!), Good Greens decided to rise above and make bars that are completely ethical and INSANELY DELICIOUS. I shit you not, these are like CANDY! So how do Good Bars orchestrate a symphony of superfoods without creating sheer mouth cococphany?
Actually, it’s pretty simple: chocolate! Nearly every flavor of these bars includes dairy free dark chocolate as the first ingredient. It turns out, dark chocolate is the great equalizer when it comes to flavor-balancing. These bars are sweetened with healthful ingredients but you’d swear otherwise. The chocolate peanut butter, chocolate raspberry, and chocolate coconut flavors will inspire you to break dance in your “Pigs are Friends Not Food” underwear until you hit your target heart rate!
Good Greens, which sent me free samples of each flavor, are available in health food stores and online.
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.
Rawxies: Heart-shaped raw vegan deliciousness! »
Rawxies (“foxy raw treats,” according to the company’s website) are gloriously delicious heart-shaped raw food bars sweetened only with fruit and coconut palm sugar. Coconut palm sugar has recently gained favor in various raw food circles, and reportedly has less of an effect on blood sugar than agave or cane sugar. Either way, it’s totally delicious, and so are these lovely raw cookie bars! Rawxies sent me some samples of each of their flavors.
Rawxies founder Callie England parlayed her raw food interest with her graphic design prowess to make healthful treats that are so effing adorable they will be guaranteed to impress your date/friend/gym partner with whom you share one of the two heart bars found in each colorful serving pack.
Combined with high-quality organic raw ingredients like poppyseed, almonds cacao powder, cacao nibs, vanilla rains, walnuts, and other delicious add-ins, and sweetened with dates and/or coconut palm sugar with tasty oat groats, these bars really are a cut above many other vegan snacks on the market.
Using coconut palm sugar essentially guarantees you’ll have the low-glycemic-loving raw crowd on your side, and abbreviating “essential oil” to “E.O.” on the package of the mint chocolate chip Rawxies made me feel I’m in a special raw vegan club that has shorthand only cool kids know—except now everyone who reads Vegansaurus knows (in case you didn’t already suss that one out!), so I guess all of us are in a special club, and can eat Rawxies with the knowledge of all of its ingredients, together!
Callie created Rawxies to bring foxy raw food to the masses. Their shape reminds me of the vegan Heart Thrive energy bars that undoubtedly got me through my varsity collegiate cross-country seasons (they were sold through Vassar’s meal plan!). I think that these treats are in keeping with Stephen James Organics’ bars in that they emphasize the fun, flirty appeal of raw food, though I guess a lot of folks feel the need to fight the “raw foodists eat twigs” stereotype! I’ve never worried about being accused of consuming twigs, since I admit to my propensity to down twig tea with abandon, but regardless of whether it’s essential to create raw food products that combat any crunchy public image, I think it’s great that so many people are making raw food more accessible and delicious!
Update on the Real Bar! We knew it was vegan and yummy but we didn’t know if it was on the Food Empowerment Project’s green light list. I will keep you in suspense no longer!: FEP says it’s all good! Eat with reckless abandon! My words, not theirs.
Product Review: That’s It. fruit bars! »
That’s It. sent me some free samples of their fruit bars to try and now I will tell you all about them! If you like dried fruit, you will like these bars. Then again, if you don’t like dried fruit, you may still like these bars because they kind of taste like Fruit Roll-ups! They are like less sugary, thicker, healthier Fruit Roll-ups.
Each That’s It. bar has two servings of fruit—and nothing else. Literally. My very favorite part is it tells you right on the wrapper like, “1 apple + 3 apricots in this bar”—that’s fun! I don’t know why.
These make for a great snack and it feels nice, like you’re actually accomplishing something by getting two fruit servings at once! I don’t know if kids would like them as I have no kids to test them on but I think it is definitely worth a try. Not that people shouldn’t eat fresh fruit too, but this could replace all those various “bars.” Plus, you can throw a bunch in your bag and not worry about squishing them. I like that!
In addition to being vegan, they are kosher and gluten-free. You can purchase them on the That’s It. site!
Eat snack, save world. That’s the idea at least behind these new bar thingies. I know, like just what I need in my life is another rectangular food product that makes getting fat while sitting at my desk nearly inevitable (I’m looking at you Luna, Clif, Lara, et al). First-world problems…
These Two Degrees bars are gluten-free and vegan, which is of course awesome. And they have chia and quinoa in them, which is uber-trendy. But what makes them special is that for every bar you buy, the company donates a nutrition pack to a starving kid somewhere. Yay!
Except the nutrition pack itself isn’t vegan—the one the company sent me, along with 3 free bars, has milk powder as the first ingredient. Boo! I feel so conflicted. Can I support this or not?
The nutrition packs are made in Malawi, and are for “children with severe acute malnutrition”. Who am I to tell those kids how not to starve? But why should vegan foods like chia and quinoa be only for those of us shopping at Whole Foods (where you can buy the bars)?
What do y’all think? Is this something you want to get behind?
Restaurant review: Nick’s Tacos at Underdog, plus your weekend plans! »
Underdog is a sports bar that serves Nick’s Tacos, located in an area of San Francisco I like to refer to as the Mid Sunset. Not quite Outer, not quite Inner. Technically, what is 19th and Irving? I have no clue.
Nick believes in slow food, fast, which I guess I love. I don’t respect the Slow Food movement so much, as it tends to be super meat-heavy/hypocritical. Unless we are talking about cooking dinner in my apartment! My old roommate Vanessa said I am a great cook, but she can’t wait two hours to eat. What?! I like the flavors to meld—and I cook on low so I can check Facebook every two seconds.
I went to Underdog’s on a whim last year with two friends, as one of them knew the bartender and we NEEDED to make it for beer-and-taco happy hour. Taco happy hour, by the way, is only for ‘street-style’ meat tacos, but Nick’s is so inexpensive, you won’t stay too mad about that. Perhaps they will make the street tacos sans meat, I’ve never asked.
Drinking and tacos are two of my FAVORITE THINGS! I could tell I was gonna like the food as soon as our chips and salsa came. SO COLORFUL AND FRESH! I mean, really? In a bar? I was not expecting this.
That first time, I ordered the vegetarian tacos, which come Nick’s Way in a crispy corn tortilla wrapped in a soft flour tortilla. YES AND YES.
The second time I visited UnderNick’s, I had the taco salad. SO AMAZING. The best part is that it is a vegan entree, so I didn’t have to waste time asking for no cheese or sour cream and then stress out it’s going to come with those condiments anyway. Cilantro-lime vinaigrette? Done. Fresh tomatoes and delicious guacamole? Done. The best part, other than how it tastes, is that it doesn’t come in a heavy, fried tortilla shell, the part of the salad I always try to abstain from and then demolish in 30 seconds flat. Instead they decoratively top the salad with tortilla curls!
The first time I went to Underdog’s, my friend informed me of second Underdog up the street (different place of business completely). So after gorging on chips, salsa and tacos, I found room in my stomach for a vegan sausage dog with sauerkraut. And then went home and made seitan (while checking Facebook constantly).
Here’s your itinerary for this weekend (whenever your weekend is. Mine is Mondays and Tuesdays, holla!). Go to Ocean Beach, try to stay warm and work up an nice appetite/beer buzz on the sand, and as you are heading back to the city stop at Nick’s. Scarf down your food so that before your stomach can register it’s full, you can demolish a vegan sausage dog down the street. Sounds like a perfect day to me!
Underdog Sports Bar and Grill is located at 1824 Irving between 19th and 20th Avenues in the Sunset. It can get pretty bro-y on game days, so I’d avoid it at all costs then. Here’s the menu [.pdf]. [Ed.: I’ve heard that on Fridays during happy hour, they have $1 margaritas. Girrrrrrrl…]
Sunday, Bloody Sunday (bloody mary special)! »
Did you know that every Sunday, there’s a bloody mary special from noon to 5 p.m. at Thieves Tavern (14th at Guerrero Streets in the Mission)? They’re $6 and according to bartender Jessi “really good and spicy…. I use vegan worcestershire sauce, and pack ‘em with pickled and spicy veggies. Also free pita, chips, and hummus with drink purchase!” Extra rad! Normally vegans and vegetarians get screwed out of bloody marys (perfect hangover cure/alcoholic breakfast in a glass) because they’re made with worcetershinereshire (sp? i think it’s right) sauce and that shit has funky stuff like bull semen and chicken butt in it. FACT. Anyway, see all you fools there every Sunday!
Bloody Marys from Oregon Live, but you’ll be drinking similar ones soon enough.