Isa is going on tour! Isa is going on tour! Isa is going on tour!
If you are in NYC, Nashville, Chicago, or Napa, you NEED TO GO. Here are the details from the (talented, brilliant, lovely) maniac herself:
I’m going on tour! NYC, Nashville, Chicago and Napa. I’ll be preparing a 4-course dinner on stage at City Winery, while telling the story of each dish. You’ll be eating a 4-course dinner with wine pairings. Part dinner theater, part pyrotechnic arena rock, part Borscht-belt comedy. The menu is “to be announced” but you can bet it will be amazing and since you are about to ask, there will be gluten-free options. And brussel sprouts. And cheesecake. And a few super swanky things.
From my early years in Brooklyn just learning how to make my own curries, to my life in Omaha, opening a restaurant and trying to perfect a tofu cheesecake, these recipes will tell the story of my vegan life. How I went from a little girl who loved cats to a woman who has sold a million cookbooks (something like that, who’s counting?) But you’ll also learn about the intriguing properties of coconut oil, the secrets to achieving perfect grill-marks, how to make eggs out of anything and the fastest, easiest way to mince a lot of garlic. And don’t worry, no matter where you are sitting you won’t miss a thing, because there will be video screens showing the action on my cutting board.
There are more details at the ticket links below. These are advanced VIP tickets, at a reduced rate, with the best seats, so snag ‘em now with the top secret ticket code “VEGANARY.”
Let me know if you have any questions. Thanks, and I can’t wait to feed you!
PS There won’t actually be any pyrotechnics, I’m sorry!
Use ticket code: VEGANARY
NYC - February 1st 2015
Nashville - February 4th 2015
Chicago - February 6th 2015
Napa - February 8th 2015
Product Review: North Coast Organics deodorant! »
Trying to find a vegan deodorant that works is the worst, isn’t it? It is! But, I have good news, because North Coast Organics makes vegan deodorant that not only works, it smells fantastic too!
I bought my Death By Lavender, hand-made, organic, all-natural deodorant on Vegan Cuts, after reading Bianca Phillips’ review on Vegan Crunk! I am so pleased with it, I want to shout from the rooftops, and so this is me trying to do an internet equivalent of that.
At first I had to get used to the wetness I felt on my skin right upon contact, as it takes a short period of time to dry, but now I don’t even notice it. I really love the scent of the lavender; it’s like aromatherapy for my pits! (TMI? Too bad!) The weather in SoCal hasn’t been particularly hot though, so I don’t know how this deodorant would hold up on a scalding summer day. I consulted an Instagram friend in Texas, (@veganhouston) who said he uses this brand too, and he replied “Works great in the heat! Probably better than other brands I’ve tried.” So there you have it! Keep in mind there are two other varieties I have not used: Revolver and Naked.
I know the search for a cruelty-free deodorant that actually keeps body odor at bay can be a tedious and disappointing one, so I am stoked to share this find with you! The only time I noticed things starting to get a little stinky was when I tried to go a second day without reapplying it. (I am doing my part to conserve water by not showering every day! I am a very elegant and glamorous hippie, in case you did not know.)
You can order North Coast Organics deodorant on Vegan Cuts, as well as directly through their website! There are also trial sizes and sets available! Shout-out to Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, where North Coast Organics products are hand-made AND I used to live! It’s a happening place!
It’s been a pretty chilly 67 degrees in SoCal, so I needed a little something to warm up! AHAHAHAHA, just kidding, I wear tank tops everywhere, only to be met with a concerned, “Aren’t you cold?” NO WAY! I JUST MOVED HERE FROM SAN FRANCISCO! (And before that Chicago! And before that, Humboldt County! This is the eternal summer phase of my life! But yeah, actually, I could’ve used a light sweater, I just didn’t bring one, me having so many assumptions about southern California and everything.)
The truth is, I’ve been eating out with my family at a bunch of restaurants that serve clam chowder and it’s left me with a hankering for a vegan version. So thank you, Isa! This Glam Chowder, as with all of your recipes, is awesome. Plus, I’m super into it being soy and gluten-free to boot! My pal Amanda texted me awhile back, letting me know this recipe was bomb; I just want to say “Thanks, girl! You were right! Hey, can you send me some of your future-award-winning jalapeño mac’n cheese? It would be so greatly appreciated! XoXo.”
Recipe! Nelson family shrimp creole, veganized! »
It was when I lived in Chicago about six years ago that I decided to go vegan. On that note, April is the month I consider my ‘Veganiversary” — six and a half years have gone by! (Where did it go, how has all that time passed?) Some of the hardest things about living in Chicago were missing my family in California, missing California, and missing the food I grew up on. I have since vegan-ized many of my mom and grandma’s recipes, making my lifestyle choice feel a little more familiar. Now that I’m back in the Bay Area, I get to see my clan on the regular and they have been more than helpful in pitching in on the vegan front! Butter has been replaced with Earth Balance or olive oil when cooking; plus there is always a jar of Vegenaise waiting for me in the fridge or a pint of coconut ice cream in the freezer. My favorite part of all of this is eating the food that tastes like home with the people I love most.
One of my mom’s main go-to recipes when the family comes over is shrimp creole, which is a dish I remember her making since forever.* Luckily for me, it is easily veganized! This means I get to eat it sans shrimp with my family, instead of making a completely different dinner when we sit down to eat. But when you make it, you can add faux shrimp, chicken, beef, seitan, tofu OR SOY CURLS, OMG!
1 chopped yellow onion
8 chopped ribs of celery
2 chopped green peppers
4 minced cloves garlic
1/3 cup Earth Balance (for flavor) or enough olive oil to sauté above ingredients
1 tsp of salt (you may need to add more depending on taste)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Bay leaf
3 TBS flour
1 tsp sugar
4 cans of 14.5oz diced tomatoes (try to find the ones with basil, oregano and garlic added for extra flavor!)
Up to 2 lbs protein of choice (this is completely optional, as I eat it without and it’s very tasty over rice)
Cook onions, celery, green pepper and onion, in oil or Earth Balance, until tender. Add garlic, salt, pepper, cayenne and Bay leaf. Stir in flour, sugar and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Smother over rice.
If you are adding protein, there is an extra step! After you cook for the first 20 minutes, add protein of choice, cover and cook on low until protein is appropriately heated, probably another 10 — 15 minutes.
Another thing I like about this recipe is that it is pretty mild, so you being the wild, creative chef you are, you can doctor it up in oh-so-many ways! Some hot sauce or cajun spice could really take this dish to the next level! Of course, I like it as is, I just gotta remember to bring home the soy shrimp next time I’m visiting my family.
*My sister, being a budding cook herself, recently asked where our family recipes came from. Turns out many of them are from a gas station cook book, dating back to the ‘70’s.
Vegans: You’ve got four months to get your asses to Chicago for the fanciest, highest-concept, most ridiculous meal you will ever eat. Starting May 8, the theme for Grant Achatz’s rotating-menu, fancy-schmancy, modernist restaurant Next is VEGAN. See preview video above, which is actually more of a masturbatory inside joke about stealing vegetables from Chicago restaurants, but the music is good, so whatev.
This place is so crazy you don’t make a reservation or order a meal, you BUY A TICKET. And for four months only, we can actually eat there! The May tickets sold out in like two hours on Tuesday (sorry I’m not THAT on top of it), but I bet you can get rid of a kidney or something and find some on the underground market, or follow Next on Facebook or Twitter to hear about when June tickets go on sale.
If anyone goes, please document and share with us! I’m seriously considering buying a plane ticket for this. Seriously.
Vegan Roadtrip: Chicago! »
The rainy season is upon us, and combined with much shorter, winter days, I’m longing for the fun and daylight of summertime! So in an effort to cheer myself up, I thought we could look at all of the places I ate this summer, when I went to Chicago. That’s fun, right?
First, I tried El Nuevo Mexicano. I’d written about them in the past, on this very blog, and finally my opportunity to try it had arrived!
Of course my party had margaritas! My love of the margarita was born in the city of Chicago. They’re so delectable there.
For dinner I had this beast of a quesadilla. Not too shabby, eh? Their menu vegan menu changes periodically, but I’m pretty sure these were filled with seitan, Daiya, pico de gallo, and sauteed onions and bell peppers. They were delicious and very filling!
The next two days were a little scattered and uninteresting as far as food goes. My friend and I hightailed to mid-Michigan for a friend’s wedding, and it was slim pickings. My wedding meal looked like this:
Actually, the bride was very considerate of my diet, and a long-time vegetarian herself. Not pictured is some beautiful white squash with basil and oh so much wine.
Back in the city, I went to The Handlebar, as it’s one of my all-time favorite places to be! Now, usually when I’m there, I get the samosas for an appetizer and the buffalo “chicken” ranch wrap as my entree. For this visit, I decided to go a little crazy and mix things up!
I know you won’t believe this, but pictured above was my first foray in to the world of fried pickle spears. I fell fast, I fell hard, and now I order them anytime they’re available on a menu. I would also like to say, loudly and proudly, that I am Team Pickle Spear, but who am I kidding; I’ll gobble up deep-fried pickle chips like nobody’s business.
Then, there were fried avocado tacos. Deep-fried avocados—please, it was a no-brainer. As much as I may have liked them, I’m still head over heels for my buffalo-chicken wrap. It’s good to try new things, as sometimes it validates your love for the tried and true, right?
And then, the next night, IT HAPPENED—I tried Native Foods Cafe for the first time! I will now long for the Oaklahoma bacon cheeseburger every day until we are reunited again. Oh man, the cheddar sauce alone … Why must you live so far from San Francisco, Native Foods?
Native Foods Cafe in Wicker Park!
My friend Stephanie ordered the sweet potato fries.
My girl Nora got a massive plate of nachos!
Buffalo chicken strips are MY JAM, so of course I ordered them!
Last but certainly not least — the Oaklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, in all its glory!
The next day, I tried to go to Quesadilla: La Reyna del Sur and it was closed! How dare you get in the way of my vegan gorging, Fourth of July? Instead, I went to my old late-night post-bars standby, Lazo’s tacos. It was all right. It’s much better at 3 a.m., but I appreciated the flood of memories I had walking in.
Decent, but is much tastier as an after-hours-everything-else-is-closed meal.
That concludes my Chicago trip! I know there are a lot of places I didn’t go, as time and also room in my stomach didn’t allow for it. I know you guys get super-excited about reccommending the Chicago Diner as well, but believe me, I know about it! I ate there almost every day when I worked there as a baker in 2006-‘07.
Chicago VeganMania is TODAY! »
We totally slept on this! Chicago VeganMania is today! If you’re in the area, stop what you’re doing and head over because it looks super awesome and it’s FREE! The list of vendors is out of control. I’m super jealous of anyone going. I would go but I’m in New York and agoraphobic. Victoria Moran is going to be there, Vaute Couture, and even the Vegan Black Metal Chef!
So if you’re anywhere near there, you have to go and send me pictures!
JB’s summer vacation: Chicago, cupcakes, beauty, and bags! »
Hey everyone! I’ve been on a hiatus, on summer vacay if you will. I went to Chicago, Michigan, and my parent’s house out in the East Bay. All kinds of exciting things happened—I drank rum in the back of a pick-up truck at a wedding in Michigan (a wedding where vegan food was served! The bride loves me), I ate at The Handlebar AND Native Foods (OMG, I so get what the big deal about Native Foods is now!), and back in California, I made cupcakes for my sister’s baby shower! That was a really big deal, as it’s a huge step for my family to have the dessert be completely vegan!
Now that I’m back, I have all sorts of exciting things to share! First, for all you vegan beauty and fashion fiends out there, check out the blog Logical Harmony! I absolutely love this blog, and actually found it because Tashina is a huge fan of Source (where I spend most of my waking hours). She’s always taking the most fantastic pictures (via Instagram, like all the
cool kids nerds) of our food there, as well as all things beauty related. Follow her on Twitter, and be sure to check out her lovely and informative blog!
A couple months ago, I bought a bag from Alex Eaves' company, Stay Vocal, and let me tell you, it’s a wonderful, sturdy travel companion! His company is awesome (and he’s vegan!) because all of his apparel and bags are reused. For instance, my bag is an old MXPX tote, turned inside out with a Stay Vocal logo on it! At first I was like, “it’s going to be inside out? I don’t know about this…” but I love it! I highly recommend his stuff—the hippie in me digs his mission, plus it’s great quality. My bag reads “Reuse because you can’t recycle the planet,” and fellow “re-usetarians” are always beaming at me when they read it.
I also finally took the Vegansaurus new food challenge! It happened in July, but that’s me—always late to the party. I worked with jackfruit, making a dish similar to this one. I was inspired by the jackfruit sandwich that Rachel had in Colorado. I can’t wait to play with it some more, so I can post a recipe I’m super proud of. I’m stoked that jackfruit is a meat substitute of sorts (for carnitas or pulled pork) that is actually not processed flour, soy, or some other crazy combination of ingredients that tend to be hard to digest.
That’s it for now—I got a lot of posts to catch up on before the coffee wears off.
Restaurant review: the Handlebar in Chicago! »
I’m going to Chicago next week and I couldn’t be more excited! I’m exhausted and the daily grind is killing me. It’s time for a break in lovely, humid Chicago! Instead of Muni, there will be CTA! Instead of AT&T Park, there will be Wrigley Field! Instead of Bottom of the Hill, there will be The Hideout! Instead of freezing Ocean Beach, there will be the Michigan Lakefront! Next Friday cannot come soon enough and though there are many things I am looking forward to, going to The Handlebar is at the top of my list. I love that place so much.
The Handlebar is a hip little restaurant, located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. When I say hip, I mean it’s usually swarmed with bike messengers and hipsters, but that is okay with me, because they are quite an attractive demographic of people. I do enjoy eating with both my eyes and taste buds. Don’t let me forget the fetching* waitstaff, with their creative haircuts and tattoo sleeves. Speaking of waitstaff, I’m just gonna gloss over this part as best as possible—don’t go to The Handlebar if you are in a rush. Enjoy yourself. Bring something to read if you are alone; there may be a little wait between those pints or coffee refills.
Tattooed servers, bike messengers, hipsters and vegan food, I’m COMING. I can’t wait! In the meantime, let’s you and I look at pictures from my recent trip in January. Fun. (Please forgive the incredibly bright flash, the lighting was just atrocious—oh, those dark winter nights.)
Hush puppies with tartar sauce. Yes it’s vegan! Unbelievable!
Samosas with tamarind chutney.
This is the Buffalo “Chicken” Wrap with collard greens, and the only dish I ever order. I am a creature of habit. I just want it all the time. You understand, right? It’s spicy and creamy—it’s bliss. The wrap my dreams are made of.
The Handlebar has a smallish menu, with many vegan options. Everything they do is done to perfection. This is going to sound totally crazy, and I know it, but they make the most delicious samosas I’ve ever had. Is that blasphemy, considering it’s not an Indian food joint? Anyway, the chutney that comes with them—SUPERB. Their seitan? So tender and scrumptious. Their beer selection? Awesome and varied. When I was missing Humboldt, I needed to look no further than The Handlebar, as they have Lost Coast Brewery beers on tap.
Handlebar, I love you, I miss you, and I cannot wait for us to be reunited.
*Daaaang, have you been working out? You look really great. Doing anything this weekend?
Awesome blog alert: Vegan Miss! »
I don’t remember how I stumbled across this vegan blog, Vegan Miss, but it was pretty recently, and I was like “man, this chica is brilliant.” Then I realized I knew her. Kind of.
Lexy is from the Bay Area, and lives in Chicago! Back in 2008, I went to an event she organized at her college (she was president of the Vegan Society at Loyola—she’s a real go-getter), at which she got Colleen Patrick-Goudreau to speak! It was amazing, and I got my copy of The Joy of Vegan Baking signed! I emailed Lexy shortly afterward to thank her, and thus began my first friendship conducted exclusively over social media.
The years passed and we fell out of contact, but then I found her blog. Check it out! As if you needed further incentive than my enthusiastic “DO IT,” take a look:
Country fried steak. Thank me by inviting me over for dinner when you make this, deal?