Um, hello, I love you. Vodka Root beer Floats from the Minimalist Baker.
Since my grandpa moved to Philly, he has dinner at my parents’ every sunday. At this dinner, two things always happen: One, Figgy ushers my gramps to a chair and plops on his lap to act as lap warmer/Kindle stand, never to move until he’s forced. The other thing that always happens is that my gramps and pop have root beer floats after dinner. Except they call them “brown cows” for some reason. I never have one but I find it very endearing. Maybe I will add vodka to the floats next time! I bet if I asked, my gramps would say he’s never had vodka—but he says the same thing about wine every time we pour him a glass.
Eating vegan at chain restaurants: BJ’s Brewhouse has vegan options! Vegan pizza options! »
I love hanging out with my family and getting away from the city for a few days. The only bummer can be going out to eat with everyone, as I usually end up getting a side of vegetables and a salad with half the ingredients taken out (cheese). I’ve made my peace with the Cheesecake Factory, but that is not the place to go every time I’m visiting. I mean, you gotta wait at least, AT LEAST, a half-hour to get a table, and it’s kinda fancy. What about casual? I just want to eat lunch with my mom somewhere, where we’ll both enjoy our food. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?
No it is not! BJ’s Brewhouse just opened up near my parents’ house and guess what? They have a few vegan options! Not only vegan, but some gluten-free options too! Plus tons of beer, including a gluten-free one (shudder), and delicious cocktails (I’m thinking of you, margarita). When my mom mentioned BJ’s for lunch, I figured I’d be eating a salad, yandet took to the internet to see what the vegan word was. You know what? QUARRYGIRL LOVES BJ’S BREWHOUSE.
Now, I do too! When Quarrygirl said BJ’s pizza was one of her all-time faves, I was excited, but skeptical. Silly me. That Quarrygirl knows her pizza! It is pretty epic stuff.
I got their Portobello Mushroom pizza, with caramelized onions, balsamic vinegar, oven-roasted mushrooms, and fresh herbs. I just left off the cheese, obviously! They let me get my pizza on a gluten-free crust instead of deep dish, too. I’m one of those people who tells themselves gluten-free is healthier for me, because I love lying to myself! The gluten-free crust was spectacular, by far the best I’ve ever had. It was light and flaky, with herbs baked into it. As for the toppings—taste party! They were the perfect balance of sweet and savory! I saved half my pizza, just so I could enjoy it when my mom and I got back home too. I told her I want to go to BJ’s every time I come visit!
Oh, Portobello mushroom pizza, I wish I could eat you again today (accompanied by another refreshing Piranha pale ale).
SF vegan drinks is tonight! See you there! »
Let’s do this, peeps. I’m feeling really confident this week, so maybe I’ll talk to strangers! I think it’s called networking? But I probably won’t; I like people to come to me so I can act awkward and blush a lot, all the while being a little bit overexcited. Winning mix, right? Let’s hang.
SF Vegan Drinks happens tonight, Thursday, May 31, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, 2323 Mission St. at 19th.
Drink specials are strawberry basil caipirinhas, $3 bottled beer, $4 well drinks, and $5 vegan white Russians! Featured vegan food includes sweet potato tater tots, beer battered onion rings, veggie burgers, and vegan summer sliders. Try not to make the same mistake I did last time and eat all of it in one sitting. The only thing I was acquainted with that night was the toilet.
Confidential to VegLovr: I saw that comment in the last SF Vegan Drinks post, and I think you and I were made for each other, no joke.
Chomp is Denver’s coolest public dinner party »
A mountain-west dispatch
If you ever are planning a trip to Denver, make sure you’re here on the first Wednesday of the month because that’s Chomp day, otherwise known as the tasty vegan hipster gathering that helps me not miss CA so much (though nothing will diminish the pain of losing Berkeley Bowl).
Chomp is a themed public dinner party, where some talented and shockingly unselfish vegans cook up enormous batches of THE BEST food ever and you donate some money and then you eat it. This month the theme was French, so the yums included cream puffs and basil pastry shells and seitan bourguignon from Julia Child herself (OH SNAP, I just had the best idea, what if someone does the whole Julie & Julia thing but vegan? Get it on, guys).
The event usually goes down at Green Spaces, a warehousey-chic co-working space. 120 people showed up to chow down this month and as usual the cooks ran out of food (this is the only bad part of Chomp: You can’t gorge yourself like I do at any normal meal).
Bonus awesomeness this month:
The Speakeasy, which is a “donation-based” snobby cocktail bar, run by the uber-sexy Randa in her bartender dress, with her amazing cocktail menu for super cheap.
I had a thing with strawberry and basil and lemon and lime and fancy gin and it was SO GOOD will you marry me Randa?
I think that smile means yes?
Denver Seitan Company, our new local seitan-makers, had samples of their DELISH logs. They’re gonna start a seitan CSA thing, I can’t wait!
Live music! By a sweet little acoustic duo called Poet’s Row.
It’s clearly the cool place to be on first Wednesdays, so I just wanted to make sure you weren’t out of the loop. If you ever come to town let me know and we can sit together, it’ll be great! I won’t steal your dessert, I swear! (I’m lying).
Peach mint julep from Garden Rant! Apparently the chicken is named Bess. And she’s super adorbs. I always forget that I love peaches. I used to go to the Italian festival (hello cannoli eating contest!) every summer somewhere in central Jersey and they had the best peaches I’ve ever had. But now I can’t find peaches that compare to those so I gave up on them! I should get back in the ring. But they never seem ripe. What’s the secret to finding perfect peaches, dear readers? Riddle me that.
A rhubarb daisy, with homemade rhubarb syrup, from the Paupered Chef! Oh please make me one. Or two. Or more. Because I’m home from Georgia and dying for fancy cocktails on a warm summer evening (afternoon) (late morning)!
The recipes for the rhubarb syrup and the daisy are here, plus more gorgeous photos of the cooking process. Summer produce, c’est si bon!
Delightful and unexpected vegan finds: 15 Romolo! »
15 Romolo is near my school, right off Broadway, so it’s very popular with my school homies. I had been there a few times before but recently I’ve been going A LOT because it’s just been delightful! Sorry about the picture below, they have mood lighting so that was the best I could do; that’s the spicy carrot and fennel dip with pita and dude, it’s the hotness! I came upon this appetizer because I was there with some folks and I asked the waiter if the spiced cauliflower was vegan—yes it was! In addition, so was my handsome young waiter! I LOVE when I find a vegan waiter because while I prefer a vegan restaurant (of course), I’m also pretty happy when people for sure know what’s vegan and what’s not. A relaxing confidence runs through me and the food tastes that much better!
So this carrot fennel dip, I was like, “whaa? sounds weird!” but IT’S NOT. I swear to goodness that it kind of tastes like when you dip a grilled cheese in tomato soup. I swear! And it has that good pita—all grilled and whatnot. The handsome young waiter also assured me that the fries are cooked in their own private oil—they don’t share it with any meat or whatevs. And the fries are goood. The menu changes regularly, and there’s not much in the way of a vegan entree, but it’s more of a cocktail and appetizer place. Oh! The waiter said they may be adding a vegan dessert very soon! Keep an eye out! And speaking of cocktails, they have some crazy shit. Crazy GOOD shit. They are pricey but they are delicious. They put like basil in them and all kinds of good shit. Mmmm. See, I prefer to drink my meals anyway, so it works out great for me!
OK so remember this: if you are hanging with some hip but fancyish people and they are trying to make you go to some wack place after work, steer them to 15 Romolo instead! You won’t be disappointed. Also, don’t miss the jukebox! As a jukebox enthusiast I can assure you this one is top-notch. Iggy Pop + Hall and Oates = happy Megan Rascal!
[photo by Megan Rascal]
Rocket Dog fundraiser!, cupcakes go boom, more urban chickens, famous writers tell you about food, and we are spoiled produce-cocktail-swillers in the Friday link-o-rama! »
Rocket Dog Rescue Happy Hour fundraiser at Doc’s Clock! Be there tomorrow, Sept. 5th, from 4 to 8 p.m. at 2575 Mission St. (between 21st and 22nd): 50 percent of the bar and 100 percent of the proceeds from the silent auction (with fantastic prizes!) will benefit Rocket Dog Rescue. Doc’s Clock will also take donations for VetSOS.
Slate says, Watch out, cupcake-bakers, your business is a bubble on the verge of bursting! Author Daniel Gross briefly mentions that Babycakes “offers vegan cupcakes,” failing to note that it is also a “refined-sugar-free, gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free…kosher” and organic bakery with a varied menu that includes savory baked goods. If Gross wants to conflate an entire specialty bakery with year-or-less-old, single-item stores with utterly generic product, he certainly may, but that is not the strongest way to make a point. At least, not to vegans. Presumably the fine ladies and gentlemen of Sticky Fingers Bakery, Sugar Beat Sweets, Sweet Avenue Bakeshop, Sweet Cakes Bakery, Violet Sweet Shoppe, Fat Bottom Bakery, and other purveyors of fine vegan baked goods would agree.
Ooh fancy, it’s The Nation’s 2009 food issue! Possibly pertinent topics include: starting a community garden, farmers’ markets in Mississippi, and Alice Waters on school lunch reform. Those articles, and quite a few more, are presently available in full for free online, so best get to reading while you can, non-subscribers.
Let’s look at restaurant reviews in the Chronicle! This week, Michael Bauer spent $200 on “pancetta-wrapped rabbit” at Oliveto and did not enjoy it. My heart bleeds for you and your “disappointing” meal, Mr. Bauer. Some might say next time, lay off the animals, but you soldier on. This is what I want in a restaurant reviewer: dedication to duty. For the vegans, four sad paragraphs about Golden Era, in which the reviewer turns up her nose at the fake chicken. What kind of joyless soul does not enjoy Supreme Master’s fake chicken?
you have some sick ideas about supper: “Diners will be able to wander over, Barolo in hand, to commune with the creatures that might contribute to their dinner.” The “chef-owner” had a RISD-graduate-designed chicken coop built off of his restaurant to house his customers’ future meals/victims. I 100 percent want to vomit. This argument, that it makes you a better meat-eater when you “confront the reality” that your food used to be a thinking, feeling, living creature, it really burns. Yes, the disconnect between “antiseptic” packaged pieces of animals people buy from grocery stores and the actual animals those pieces came from is surreal and problematic; still, picking out the animal you want to have killed so you can eat it? How is that any better? That’s just on the acceptable side of bloodlust, and it’s revolting. If Pizzaiolo’s venture does anything, I hope it dissuades people from eating those chickens, when they’re forced to see the birds (theoretically) enjoying, you know, being alive, An apology to Pizzaiolo, we obviously didn’t read the article correctly! OUR SERIOUS BAD. It’s not vegan, but Pizzaiolo is taking a step to reduce their part in animal cruelty. What do Vegansaurus readers think of the backyard chicken trend?
Ethicurean takes a look at a potential federal bailout of the National Pork Producers Council, a.k.a Big Pork. Surprise: it’s industry-controlled, hypocritical, and a total violation of sensible business/economic practices! Ha ha ha oh meat industries, you rascals,* you.
The Vegan and Vegetarian Foundation created this lovely site called The Safety of Soya, to dispel the ridiculous myths and lies about soy that won’t seem to die—e.g., that “too much soy” will turn little heterosexual boys gay (Assuming they were heterosexual in the first place, that is).
The champion vegetable-eaters behind CSA Delivery blog made a minestrone soup to cure 1) the San Francisco summer blues and 2) a shameful craving for terrible food (in this case, minestrone soup from the Olive Garden, where not even the breadsticks are vegan). It looks like it was quite successful:
You know what Vegansaurus loves? Cocktails, are what we love. Lucky for us we live in one of the nation’s best cities for scrumptious, fancy drinks. Let us be grateful every day for these amazing bartenders who not only have amazing taste and imagination, but are so dedicated to their craft they grow fresh ingredients for the drinks they make you. Imagine that mojitonico with heirloom tomatoes picked that morning from a garden not five miles from the bar you’re sitting at. Now, die of bliss.
Bon Appétit knows its way around a backhanded compliment: Of Jeremy Fox’s wonderful Ubuntu the magazine says “the focus…is not on what is missing (namely, meat) but what is lusciously abundant,” and waxes rhapsodic about the restaurant’s vegetables for over 100 words. Nice to see your priorities are in order there, guys.
*no relation to super-commenter Rascal, Megan.
Hello, heirloom tomato mojitonico. Aren’t you a looker. Even I, who generally does not care for raw tomatoes, will take two of you on a front porch and another hot Saturday, please. Who’s with me?
1/2 lime, cut into sections
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup heirloom tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/4 cup fresh herbs (like basil, tarragon, thyme, chives or mint) loosely packed and not chopped
1 1/2 ounces gin
2 ounces tonic water, or to taste.
Rim a 16-ounce glass by moistening the edge with a lime wedge, then dipping the glass into a small plate filled with equal parts salt and pepper. Into the same glass add the tomatoes, herbs and lime sections, then muddle, gently, until the mixture is equal parts juice and solids. Add ice, stir, then add the gin, and stir again. Top with the tonic water.
Friday link-o-rama: Tomato cocktails, Michael Pollan has a sad, “dangerous” foods & more! »
Top Chef’s Richard Blais, who owns a fancy burger joint in Atlanta that’ll likely horrify you with its menu, is looking for partners in a new vegetarian eatery. This follows a monthlong experiment in veganism.
Zooey Deschanel is vegan-ing up Top Chef Masters next week. Yes we talk a lot about Top Chef around here, but if they’re going to put veganism on TV, we’re going to tell you about it.
However, grumparella Michael Pollan thinks “food shows” are detrimental to Our Nation’s cultural heritage—if we’re all watching people mix up soup from cans and pre-cut vegetables, then how will we ever loose our own culinary imaginations? Perhaps a valid point, but then he goes on to criticize first-wave feminism for “thoughtlessly trampl[ing]” the notion that a lady can find satisfaction in her food work “in their rush to get women out of the kitchen,” which is just the most privileged-white-dude thing to say he might as well be crying over the Stars and Bars. Shut up, Michael Pollan.
Oh my god, a job: Santa Rosa needs an operations manager for a “new vegetarian fast-food franchise business.” Go on, “qualified” hopefuls, send an application already. DO IT.
Elle magazine is killing me with its “10 Most Dangerous Foods” list. Smartly, milk and beef are on it, but so are tomatoes, bagged spinach, alfalfa sprouts, cantaloupe, and “nuts” (illustrated with a photo of peanuts!). What these non-animal devil foods share is that they’ve all made people sick with salmonella and/or e. coli contamination; what Elle fails to mention is how produce comes to be contaminated with bacteria that can only come from inside animals.
You can get heirloom tomato cocktails at Range! Including the famous (and vegan!) Sungold Zinger, with Sungold cherry tomatoes, No. 209 gin, lemon, agave syrup, and salt. If you are a tomato-lover, you should probably try this; it sounds like the perfect summery respite from your bland-ola bloody mary.
According to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, after reviewing 50 years’ worth of scientific papers, “there is currently no evidence to support the selection of organically over conventionally produced foods on the basis of nutritional superiority.” The full results were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, but having read what’s available I do not fully understand the conclusion.
Seoul on Wheels, the Korean food truck, returns to the streets in August! The menu has just one definite veg item, though possibly the chap chae, and—I hope and pray—perhaps the kimchee could be veg as well. My first solid food was Korean and I would do terrible things for some vegan Korean that went beyond bibimbap.