Vegansaurus NYC: Rockin’ Raw! »
Once again, I ventured out of Park Slope to Williamsburg in search of vegan food. This time I went to Rockin’ Raw, a raw vegan spot. I’m not the biggest raw food fan because, well, I like hot food! And the day I went it was HELLA FRIGID so hot food was on my mind even more but I told my friend we’d go to Rockin’ Raw so that’s what we were doing. To appease my cold bones, I got red wine. That did the trick! For the appetizer, we got yam chips with this tart, cream-cheesy dip. It was pretty good. Some of the chips were a little break-your-teeth, but otherwise, a sound choice. For the entrees, I got the pesto, or “live pesto,” as it were. My companion Amy got their meatloaf special thing with cauliflower mashed “potatoes.”
I think my dish was definitely the better of the two; I love pesto and the spinach on top was really good. Again, it was cold, so I was a little sad but it was really good anyway. Amy’s dish was all right. The mashed cauliflower was kind of too tangy and the nutloaf thing was a bit bland. The wine was great though! Did I mention the wine?
We didn’t get dessert because we were full! But the desserts looked good. The waiter was really nice, I might add. I would definitely go again; it was nice, and raw food makes me feel like I’m being healthy—before I hit the bars! I recommend the pasta dishes. AND THE WINE.
Vegansaurus NYC: Vinnie’s Pizzeria! »
I went to Vinnie’s Pizeria in Greenpoint (there’s one in Williamsburg too) yesterday, and YUM! I got a small vegan pizza with Teese and broccoli and it was delicious. You can get it with Daiya too but for some reason it’s $2 extra on a small pizza and $3 on a large; is Daiya really that much more expensive than Teese? Yowza. I was happy with the Teese and the broccoli was the perfect texture. My friend said the pizza needed salt but I said he’s crazy—burn!
And they don’t just have vegan pizza, they have a whole vegan menu!:
Pretty sweet, right? And I guess I have to go there on Tuesdays for vegan doughnuts. That makes all kinds of sense.
Vegansaurus NYC: Foodswings! »
Jesus Christmas, this is my new favorite place! It’s in Williamsburg, which I am finding out is not the most annoying place in the world after all; they do gots the good vegan food, that’s for sure. Foodswings is a self-proclaimed “fast food joint” and I got the cheese fries to prove it! The cheese fries were not amazing but they were definitely good in that, “yowza are these bad for me!” way. What really stole the show for me though was the chicken cutlet sandwich—it was off the hook! And it comes with soy mayo! You can get vegan bacon on it and all kinds of stuff but I went a little plain-jane with it. Next time, the works! My omni companion got the sausage and pepper hero and I was nice enough to try it and confirm it was delicious as well. The grilled onions and peppers on it were very fresh and yummy. The roll was great too; like, we talked about it.
The one downer was the side of fried plantains my friend got. They were actually battered and fried and they just didn’t really have any flavor. But the menu is big and diverse! There is plenty more to keep you busy. Oh! And BONUS: they sell Lula’s ice cream! Oh! And another BONUS: It’s full of good-looking people. So really the only downer is that I don’t live upstairs from this place! Seriously, let’s all move in there and eat vegan fast food and die slightly slower than the rest of our compatriots!
Product review: Mi-del Gingersnaps! »
It occurred to me that I’ve never reviewed Mi-del ginger snaps—WTF have I been doing?! These cookies are AWESOME! Like, forget the gold coin, put one of these under my tongue when I die and I’ll totally be riding to the underworld in first class. What? I don’t know. I’ve been “reading” again. All I’m trying to say is that these gingersnaps are EXCELLENT. Be warned though: they are addictive. I’m so serious. Anytime I bring them around, people totally get hooked. OMG and then I served them to my friend Luna last week with hot apple cider for her big American Halloween and homegirl basically died. Like, she’s dead. I miss her.
I may have forgotten to review these because I became obsessed with them in my pre-vegan days, but these are definitely vegan. Also, you should holler at the chocolate snaps if you get a chance because they are most excellent as well. You can find these cookies all over; I know they have them at Whole Foods and I just bought some at Back to the Land, the natural grocery near me in Brooklyn.
Buy a Sparrow Project shirt for Farm Sanctuary! »
It’s called style and substance, you should cultivate both. The Sparrow Project can help, by kitting you out in one of their adorable shirts! They’ve got something like seven different designs, and the proceeds benefit organizations like Clean Ocean Action and Farm Sanctuary. Specifically, sales of the “Vegan” design go to Farm Sanctuary. Cute, right? It’s printed on American Apparel cotton, and costs $25.
They’re selling a vegan-themed tote bag to benefit Farm Sanctuary as well. It costs $18, is made of cotton canvas, and encourages people to ask you why you’re vegan. Perhaps a better approach than a Sharpied t-shirt and a massive fanny pack, but who are we to judge? No one, is the answer, especially when your Vegansaurus’ favorite tote is black canvas with this design on white.
Sparrow Media keep a lively blog focused on social justice issues, if you’re interested in that sort of thing—which, really, freedom is freedom whether it’s for humans or animals. One of their members will be in the Bay Area later in October, should anyone with retail connections like their merchandise. We are certainly looking forward to hearing more from them!
Goslings in Prospect Park, filmed by Seth Kaplan
According to everyone’s favorite, the New York Times, 400 Canada geese* that lived in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park were euthanized last Thursday. I am not kidding! They GASSED them! Sick! Then people going to the park were like, WTF happened to the geese? Finally the city was like, we totally killed 400 of them and didn’t tell you. Why did they kill them? Because they are worried the geese will fly into engines and crash planes. All the fear comes from a plane that had to land in the Hudson because of geese in January 2009. But guess what! THOSE geese were not any of the resident geese! According to local teacher and my new favorite person, Seth Kaplan: “It’s really important to remember that the Canada geese that collided with Flight 1549 were tested by researchers at the Smithsonian and they were not populations that lived in our area,” and they say most of the Prospect Park geese are probably residents. Apparently there are two types of the Canada geese: ones that fly north for the summer and ones that are permanent city-folk, but they can’t really tell them apart. So they just kill them all.
Because I am a genius scientist, I did some research on “bird strikes”—that’s what they call it when a bird hits a plane. That makes it sound like some Disney movie about a rag-tag team of military birds. Slate has a great article about “Everything you need to know about bird strikes, water landings, and other airplane emergencies.” They say that generally, nothing happens when a bird hits a plane. According to birdstrike.org, “Over 9,000 bird and other wildlife strikes were reported for USA civil aircraft in 2009,” of which 31 percent were geese.
[Megan Rascal note: I had to edit this whole part because I totally fucked up the data analysis! My bad] There were 9,000 wildlife strikes but an actual crash from a bird strike is very rare. Since 1955, there have been 54 crashes due to bird strikes. So in one year there were 2,790 bird strikes by geese, but in 55 years, there were only 54 crashes (due to bird strikes in general, not just geese).
I don’t want anyone to die from bird strikes, but why are birds so high on the list of priorities when it comes to airplane safety? There are also other things they can do besides gassing 400 geese. One theory for an increasing number of bird strikes is that planes are quieter than they use to be; they should make planes really loud! There are also other methods to reducing the goose population, like not allowing all the goose eggs to hatch. They can find the eggs and paint them with corn oil, which stops the eggs from hatching. Gassing 400 geese just seems like the last solution on earth! I know geese are mean, but they have a right to live in peace.
*Did you know it’s Canada geese and not Canadian geese? Blow my mind why don’t you!
Vegansaurus NYC: Willie’s Dawgs! »
Yeah, dawgs with a w. Deal with it. So welcome to my new obsession! The tofu hot dog from Willie’s Dawgs in Park Slope. They have meat hot dogs but they also have the “downward facing dog” (bitch, I don’t do yoga!) which is delicious and vegan! They even have two choices for vegan hot dog rolls: rye and multigrain. I get the multigrain with ketchup, mustard, relish and onions and let me just tell you, it’s so good! Makes me want to play baseball or something!
I made this cartoon because every picture I tried to take looked crazy. Turns out hot dog photography is not my calling. Who cares?! I can make cartoons!
Because I love you, BONUS!: Make your own hot dog costume for your dog.
Straight out of Brooklyn: Mast Brothers Chocolate!!! »
Peoples, you’ve GOT to try this stuff! It’s called chocolate, ever heard of it? But this chocolate is insanely good—like, crazier-than-my-mom good! Mast Brothers Chocolate is made in a tiny lil’ factory in Brooklyn by the adorable Mast brothers. I saw these chocolate bars and had to check them out; for one, they have superfantastic packaging. It’s all old-wallpaper-looking wrapping—so pretty! Then it totally says, “2.5 oz. Vegan Product” on the back! I love an explicit vegan shoutout. It also has the “date of birth” on the back, which warmed my icy heart (You can’t hurt steel!). I decided to buy the dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt because I’m a big fan of the chocolate-and-salt combo. I used to love chocolate-covered pretzels for that reason. This salt content is way beyond some silly chocolate-covered pretzel! It’s perfect.
You can buy the chocolate at various places, in New York mostly but you can also order the bars online so do not fret San Franciscans! Actually, someone in SF should totally get in on this action! For real, you could sell the crack out of it (I just invented that turn of phrase, feel free to use it). They are super into the whole artisan shtick, they might even know a femivore or two. They have a nice blog that collects articles written about them (there’s about 80 million!) as well as other points of interest in the general craft/artisan community. It looks like you can even visit their operation on Saturdays! Maybe I can stop by! Maybe I can meet the Mast brothers! Are the breasts still the appropriate place to get autographed? I’m just playing! I would like to get the lowdown on the vegan-ness of the place, though. I’m a big factory-tour enthusiast (whatever, you probably like “books” and other lame stuff, leave me alone!) and the only chocolate factory I’ve been to is Hershey’s as a wee lass, and that’s far from vegan.
In conclusion: HOLY CRAP I’M IN LOVE.
Vegansaurus NYC: Square Root Cafe! »
Hey people, the unthinkable has happened! I’m completely content! Or at least I was for a brief moment at the adorable Square Root Cafe in Brooklyn. This place is so cute. It’s a diner, but not a ridiculous Johnny Rockets kind of diner, more like a mismatched-wooden-chairs, nice jukebox, lollipops-at-the-counter kind of diner. They don’t have a ton of vegan options but there was definitely a presence. And it said great stuff on the menu like about how all the vegetables are vegan and cooked on-site. That’s really all I ask; I mean, it’d be great if every where had more vegan options but I just really love when the vegan items are clearly marked and you feel really confident about just how vegan they are.
That beautiful monstrosity above is the Bongo Breakfast! And it was AWESOME. For one thing, it turns out I really enjoy saying, “Bongo Breakfast!” For another—look at it! You get all that different food! You can see it’s not your typical tofu scramble—in fact I don’t think the menu called it that. It’s chopped up tofu with mushrooms and bell peppers and it was surprisingly good. It might be a little bland for many of you but I personally enjoy just straight up tofu, so I liked it. I also occasionally eat handfuls of raw oatmeal. Go figure. That crazy-looking sausage was A++ and the hash browns were extra-tasty. I even ate part of the little salad, which is amazing because salads are for nancies.
Guess what else! They offer vegan milkshakes! Pish, like I care. Jk, it’s cool but I just never liked milkshakes. Maybe I should try one though! I’ve definitely never had a vegan milkshake. In fact, one of my assignments for my silly school is to do something I’ve never done that takes me out of my comfort zone; I think it means confronting your inner demons, which in my case are clearly milkshakes. Milkshakes and RATS. Actually, if anyone knows of a place in New York where I can go meet some rats, let me know because I was thinking I could do that for the assignment. Hmm, what was I talking about? Why are you always distracting me!!!
Now, back to the Square Root (I believe that was a math joke. See, I told you I’m basically a mathematician). Not only was the food good, but the guy working there was super-nice and I’m totally not saying that just because he was attractive. Also, he was attractive. Also, this is my new favorite place!
NYC discovery: Finnish ryes! »
Just call me Christopher Columbus because I’ve made an amazing discovery! Just kidding, really I “discovered” America even though a bunch of people already “lived there.” I’m just kidding go back to the first sentence because I made an amazing discovery!: Finnish ryes by Northern Rye!
On Sunday, I went to the Park Slope farmers market on Third Street and Fifth Avenue and my sister-in-law pointed out that this one stand had “some vegan dipping thing.” I went to check it out and I find these funny tart-looking things. The nice women working the table told me they are called “ryes” and gave me an informative card. To quote said card, “hand-made right here in New York City, our artisanal* Finnish ryes are based on a traditional rye pasty recipe from Karelia, a region in Eastern Finland and Western Russia.” On the internets, they are called Karelian pasties (I know, pasties!!! Haaaaaa! Pervs.) [Ed.: that’s a short “a” sound, as in “rat.” Perv.] To liven things up, they make the ryes with cool non-traditional fillings, including a vegan sweet potato edition! Of course I had to buy one because they looked kind of interesting and I always like to let the omnis know they have a vegan audience.
When I say they looked “interesting,” what I really mean is that they looked “weird,” but I wouldn’t let that deter me! And boy am I glad because I ate it and it was superfantastique! There were caramelized onions and rosemary mixed in with the sweet potato and oh my lord, what a happy marriage of flavors! It looked like the crust part would be crispy and like fiber-y or something but it was not at all; it was soft and yummy.
What I would love to see is vegan versions of their spinach ryes and beet (and feta, bleh) ryes. My only problem with them is that, as far as I can tell, they don’t have a website. Is that even possible? I mean, every biz should have a website—I have like eight websites and I do absolutely nothing. But at least I know when and where to get them so I guess that’s all I really need!
For those who can’t make it to the Park Slope farmers market, I found a vegan pasty recipe! Turns out there exists a lovely all-vegan Finnish cooking blog and they have a recipe for a turnip-filled version. Root vegetables—how exciting! If any of you wonderful people make this recipe, please give us a review!
*I hate this word because I have no idea how to pronounce it. I was hoping it wasn’t a real word but apparently it is.