Vegan brunch begins Sunday at Donut Farm!   »

Daaaaang, son! The East Bay is KILLING IT with the new vegan brunch options! First Souley Vegan, and now Pepples Donuts! Ow!

The first brunch will take place this Sunday, Nov. 21 at their new storefront, Donut Farm in Oakland. The only details we have are that it’s a single-plate brunch offering from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m, with coffee, espresso, and donuts also available. Because, duh, what’s brunch without coffee and donuts!? Knowing how these folks normally do it up, I bet it’ll be insane and delicious. I’m thinking I’ll hit Souley Vegan first and then make my way to Donut Farm, and then repeat? If I start early, I can get ‘er done.

Donut Farm is in Oakland at 6037 San Pablo Ave. at 61st Street. Brunch is expected to run every Sunday for the foreseeable future but, you know, let’s just pray it works out.

UPDATE: Brunch is now on Saturdays, too!

[photo by jennconspiracy]


Sightglass Coffee is looking for vegan pastry suggestions!  »

Sightglass Coffee could very well be the best place to get coffee in San Francisco. Sightglass, owned by brothers Jerad and Justin Morrison, hasn’t completely opened yet; they’re still serving from a kiosk in the garage of their 7th Street location while they finish construction. But the coffee is excellent (beans by Verve until they start roasting on-site) and poured by skilled baristas. Bonus Yelp stars: they don’t add the 50¢ “vegan tax” if you ask for soy milk.

This is where you, vegan-with-opinions/attitude, come in: they haven’t settled on what pastries and baked goods to serve. They’d like to offer vegan options, but they’re not plugged into the vegan baking universe and are looking for suggestions. So if you have ideas/cravings for the best part of waking up, post them here, and we’ll pass them along. And no, it wouldn’t be crass to pimp your own bakery. They need ideas!

Of the crop of new coffee shops to open in SF (what the truly obsessed are calling “third wave coffee”) only Ritual has made any effort to keep a reliable supply of vegan pastries in stock. Four Barrel serves bacon donuts, Blue Bottle has lard cookies, and neither has shown much interest in catering to vegans (That said: coffee and thai coconuts at Trouble in the Sunset? Best combo ever). If Sightglass served vegan pastries, it would literally double my second breakfast options. Because what the world always needs more of is breakfast.


Killing whales, saving sharks, chickens chickens chickens and MORE in this week’s link-o-rama  »

Hello best friends! This deer comes to visit this cat every morning to cuddle and play! UGH interspecies love is the sweetest best. [Thanks to reader Dolly for the photo!]

Vegan-type events!
Don’t forget about the vegan bakesale for bone marrow tomorrow! It’s scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. in Dolores Park; go be a good person and buy something. You’ll be outdoors anyway, the weather’s fantastic.

Do you have cable? If so, you should watch the Humane Society’s Genesis Awards this weekend! They’ll air on Animal Planet twice: tomorrow, Saturday Apr. 24 at noon, and on Sunday Apr. 25 at 1 p.m. (PDT).

Harvest Home Sanctuary will host its very first Poultry Boot Camp to teach you all about “poultry health, nutrition, and rescue opportunities.” The event happens at the Sanctuary on Saturday, May 8 from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $25, which includes materials, snacks, and a tour. RSVP by May 1.

Let’s freak out!!! Jeremy Fox is doing a week of vegetarian—and vegan-friendly—tasting menus at some nasty meat-tastic restaurant called Animal in Los Angeles next month, VEGANSAURUS ROAD TRIP!!! The dates are May 17 through 23, and it’ll cost $70 per person to eat, but holy mother how can it possibly not be worth it?

Miscellaneous items of varying importance!
Everyone’s going nuts for Social Kitchen and Brewery—Eater SF has a tour and a menu preview, and Beer & Nosh has an interview with Brewmaster Rich Higgins. As you know, the menu should be composed of 1/3 vegan and 1/3 vegetarian items, and our Sunset correspondent Megan Allison will be on the scene as frequently as possible with the report.

Don’t like beer? Drink some tequila! Now you can get super-fantastic, super-fancy, super-local tequila, WOO and another WOO because tequila on a gorgeous spring day in the Bay Area are two of my favorite things possibly ever. And no I am not going to flash you, jerk.

Instead let’s serve a delicious vegan supper, with these recipes from the Kitchn! I swear they are doing these articles just to get on our good side. Whatever their nefarious plan is, it’s working, because here is another link, hello.

Despite agreements with food banks and the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act of 1996, supermarkets still waste literal tons of perishable food.

Let’s go to the farmers market instead! Apparently there are super-awesome ones not only in our beloved San Francisco, but in Madison, Wisc.; Little Rock, Ark.; Lincoln, Neb.; and Des Moines, Iowa. Who knew—outside of the residents of those cities, obviously?

The always-genius Bay Area Bites presents a totally relevant, not-at-all obvious list of ways to “green” our kitchens.

The International Whaling Commission is all, Hey Japan, let’s not kill so many whales! And Japan is all, OK we’ll kill fewer whales but we’re not going to stop killing the endangered species, so fuck off!

Hawaii state Senator Clayton Hee, however, will not see this same bullshit happen with sharks: he is working to make possession of shark fins a misdemeanor in Hawaii.

Guys, guys, get this: the civet is a smallish mammal who lives in Indonesia, eats coffee berries, and poops out the beans that have been fermented through its digestive system and will make reportedly the tastiest—or at least, the priciest—coffee, like, ever. So instead of following civets around and picking up their droppings to find the beans, people are—you’ll never guess—catching them, caging them, and feeding them beans! God, isn’t capitalism the fucking best?

Homeless dogs in Moscow keep warm by sleeping on the subway, just like homeless people. Please pass the tissues, I am going to cry my damn eyes out. And no I don’t know why English Russia tagged this article as “Funny.” [photo from English Russia]

And while we’re sobbing, maybe it’s time to look at this World Press Photo 2010 Award-winning photo series by Tommaso Ausili called “The Slaughterhouse,” which for the sensitive among us (read: me) could be too much to actually really look at. But you are brave and bold, do please check them out.

Things that make dudes gay: soy; hormones in chicken. But what if you can buy KFC to find the cure for breast cancer! Even the Double fucking Down, you guys! Fifty entire cents from every pink bucket of “chicken” parts sold will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Oh no, but fried chicken and fish increases your cancer risk, just like eating meat from basically any mammal at all? Well, shit.

Hilariously, a beef-industry-funded survey “of American beef eaters” found that cattle ranchers and farmers have “the third greenest profession” in the U.S.! Of course they’re environmentalists—they commute to work on horses! Har har har.

Significantly less disgusting, and in fact quite wonderful: Healthy Happy Life’s slideshow of amazing vegan desserts in New York City.

The geniuses at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game have decided that migratory pelicans are ruining everything—i.e., eating all the native and artificially stocked trout that people want to fish—and because the Feds won’t allow them to shoot the birds, they are going to release non-native badgers and skunks into the area to deal with the problem “naturally.” Not everyone agrees that it’s the pelicans causing the decline in the trout population, and letting non-native species out into the wild hasn’t always (ever?) gone well in the past, but fuck it, people want to fish for their motherfucking trout.

Whoops, pescatarians! Watch out for that ahi tuna from Hawaii, it’s full of salmonella! Better stick to a delicious lion and antelope burger from Sacramento. God knows what kind of “lion” it is or how the proprietors can say it’s from the U.S., but hey, this “article” is 50 percent cut-and-pasted quotes from Facebook, so who knows anything? And anyway exotic is the new cute-n-cuddly, right? 

Because we’re Vegansaurus, we’re obviously not down with congressional hopeful Sue “crazypants” Lowden’s idea to barter chickens for healthcare. If we weren’t capitalists—do note the subjunctive case there—we might be into the idea of trading vegetables, or vegan suppers, for something like ophthalmologic care (someone needs a new pair of glasses) (hint: me!) or a motherboard for a MacBook. Steve Jobs, the Apple cafeteria cannot serve all your gustatory needs, I know it. Regardless, we do like the disco remix of Crazypants Lowden’s proposal, mostly because of the happy (?) dancing chicken. [if you can’t see the video, click through to!]


RBC NYC: Tribeca coffee, it’s delicious!  »

If you’re really into being caffeinated (which I oh-so am) and good coffee (yeah, that’s me), and if you really like supporting small businesses that support fair trade (check), then I highly recommend our NYC viewership to haul ass to Tribeca to enjoy the roasted delights of RBC NYC, a new coffeehouse (it just opened a few days ago!!!) with a mysterious name whose initials I do not understand.

Their cold brew is ah-MAY-zing, and of course they have some yummy soy milk to go around (as well as soy cream cheese for you bagel-lovers out there!). I got the most delicious iced soy latte of my life (with fair trade beans, of course) and sipped it in an eco-conscious venue with a high, ornate ceiling and a cozy chair. I asked about possible vegan pastry items and got a noncommittal answer, so be sure and request them when you go in!

Oh and I’ll end with a quote from a little publication called New York magazine about this gem and its muy expensive equipment:

[RBC] purchased the city’s first $18,000 Slayer espresso machine, crafted in Seattle by the sort of obsessives who rail against the industry’s increasing automation, and described online by one of its creators as “a notoriously, horribly, beautifully manual machine”

RBC is located at 71 Worth St. in Tribeca, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.


Hell with you, Starbucks  »

Yesterday Starbucks announced that it would be selling healthier, more natural, more delicious food alongside its enormous coffee menu. Hooray, the people said; hooray.

The new items include a banana bread that is “nearly 30 percent real banana;” the Marshmallow Dream Bar—a “sensible” alternative to those wicked, enfattening Rice Krispies treats—a blueberry-oat concoction with a streusel topping; a strawberry-banana smoothie made with 2 percent milk and whey powder; and the “Farmer’s [sic] Market Salad,” made of romaine, apples, dried cranberries, almonds, and bleu cheese. And no, they can’t take the cheese out, they come prepackaged.

What do the dairy-eschewers get? Hard to say. I believe it’s safe to assume that the fruit cup is exclusively fruit, but Starbucks loves to sneak milk and its byproducts into goddamn everything, and there is no actual nutritional information on the “nutritional information” page, so I would ask before purchasing.

One might think that with its headquarters in Seattle (a city with some fine vegan dining, I’m told), someone at Starbucks would realize that the vegan market is ripe for exploitation. Lord knows we love a baked good. That might even improve its image in our community, the majority of which holds Starbucks in low, low esteem (right? right).

But nooooo, instead the geniuses in charge add fucking cheese to their salads, take the yolks out of the egg sandwiches, and continue to act like a passel of doofuses whose choices do not merit all their company’s successes.


Philz Coffee vs. Rodger’s Coffee and Tea!  »

creepy!Why am I comparing the two? Because one, I love to pit friends against each other in a bloody battle for my affections and two, they both specialize in “One Cup at a Time” coffee. If you live under a rock (or not in the Mission), what that means is, you choose exactly what type of beans you want, and they grind and brew them, mix in your desired quantities of sugar and soy milk, and deliver your dream coffee beverage. IN THEORY. In reality too, actually. After visiting both multiple times and sampling their wares, I can safely say: all this shit tastes the same, might as well be Folgers. If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of the nuances and complexities and all that made-up bullshit people like to talk, look elsewhere! Hey Condescending Jerkface, this site isn’t called Pretentiosaurus! Although, maybe it should be. Let’s put that in the hat for our next meeting.

So, I’m gonna talk about the pros and cons in terms of vegan baked goods, and the general feeling I get from the place; that’s just how it works around here.

Vegan baked goods
Philz: Carries vegan donuts from People’s Donuts: you’ve come a long way, baby! These are SO MUCH better than when they debuted. In fact, they are downright delicious and come in a variety of flavors, from Newman’s Own (CRUSHED COOKIES ON TOP OF A DONUT. Take a minute.) to blueberry to Bac-O-Bits (!? I don’t know, whatever, I guess the vegans want in on a slice of the bacon money. Because you can serve human shit as long as it’s wrapped in bacon and a group of devotee dumbasses will slurp it up. UGH GROSS). They are all excellent but my favorite remains the cinnamon sugar. Perfect. They also sell Zoe’s Cookies' banana-walnut chocolate-chip cookies, and they are incredible; maybe my favorite vegan cookie in wide circulation in SF? Yes, I think so. They sometimes have some vegan loaf breads but I haven't seen those lately. They are tasty.

Rodger’s Coffee and Tea: VEGAN BEIGNETS CAN I HEAR SOME NOISE FROM THE BACK!? Yes, they sell vegan beignets. Yes, the fluffy fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar. And yes, I want to marry them. They are soooo delicious and rich and you feel like you’re eating a funnel cake and ugh, they are so amazing. One of the best vegan baked (fried?) goods I’ve had ever and a reason to visit Rodger’s alone. WARNING: they are only available on weekends! But maybe if we are always buying them all, they will get wise and know to carry them every day, even Christmas. ESPECIALLY CHRISTMAS.

They also sell an excellent mushroom-and-spinach vegan empanada. Bring it home, heat it up (or have them do it) and enjoy your VEGAN HOT POCKET, BITCHES! And this one won’t try to kill you! They also have a large selection of vegan cookies from Alternative Baking Company (bo-ring but thanks for having them!) and some other vegan trail mix bars and shit. I don’t know, granola bars? Yawn.

General feeling I get from the place
Philz: Good. I like it. Kinda like your grandma’s living room if your grandma was kinda crazy and into the internet.

Rodger’s Coffee and Tea: Good. I like it. Kinda doesn’t seem to know if it wants to serve hipsters or yuppies so hey, let’s hit up both! Whatever, did I mention VEGAN BEIGNETS? Not tons of seating but you’re close to Dolores Park so go there anyway. Bench out front is good for judging LAME AND HIDEOUS* passersby.

BONUS QUESTION: Have I met this “Rodger” and/or this “Philz”?
Philz: His name is Phil and yes, he’s very nice! Also, a friend of mine was Phil once for Halloween and it was amazing.

Rodger: No, but his friend came to a Rocket Dog Rescue fundraiser and gave out coupons for a free cup of coffee! He seems like a good guy to me. These coupons are actually a genius take on the frequent buyer card: your first cup of coffee is free, as well as your last. (Does Philz even have a frequent buyer card? If they do, they don’t market them very well!)

Why not go to both!? Start at Philz, grab several donuts, eat on way to Rodger’s, buy beignets and empanadas, eat on way to Philz. Repeat. YOU’RE WELCOME.



Product Review: Silk Soy Creamer  »

I love my coffee. I love my coffee more than any other warm beverage that ever was, and that is all right: it is counteracting the effects of my occasional use of aluminum-ful antiperspirant; I am NEVER GETTING ALZHEIMER’S AND WILL BE SHARP-MINDED FOREVER. Science SAYS SO.

Once upon a time I was employed at an office where work started at 7 a.m., and I would spend all morning drinking black coffee with little tabs of Splenda in it. Disgusting; it made breakfast entirely unappetizing, let me tell you. Really, it made coffee unappetizing, after a while, and what is the point of eating or drinking anything if you aren’t enjoying it? Obviously, and I’ve said this a million times before, there is no point. If you don’t like it, don’t eat it. This is why I take my coffee with Silk Soy Creamer.

When I lived in Germany, I drank a lot of latte macchiatos (macchiati?), which is a latte made by steaming the milk first and dumping the espresso or coffee in second, so it makes a mark in the foam, and lovely stripes of liquids in the glass—always a glass, the aesthetics are wasted in a mug. Like all coffee drinks, a latte macchiato can be a delicious thing, and I never had a bad one in Germany—then again, I did not have any made with soy milk, either, only full-fat or 2 percent cow’s milk, nice and thick and sweet and creamy. I have not had cow’s milk since coming back from Germany in 2005, and while I loved the taste, the treatment of dairy cows and their calves is abhorrent and not worth drinking milk, even from “happy” cows on special little farms who aren’t dosed with rBGH or tortured for their entire lives. We already know: milk cows must be pregnant to produce milk, and there is a 50 percent chance they’ll have male calves, which will never give milk, and are usually sold to veal farmers, hooray. You drink milk, you support veal: the link is undeniable, and was a serious reason for me to stop drinking it.

Still, I want milk in my coffee, and most nondairy milks just don’t cut it the way fatty cow’s milk does. Silk Soy Creamer, being a creamer, is thickened with tapioca starch and carrageenan, contains a little more sugar than your standard soy milk, and like all Silk products, is made of U.S.-grown, genetically unmodified soybeans. I promise, Silk has never offered nor given me any complimentary products; I just really like this creamer. Some prefer a thinner creamer, but if I just wanted to milk up my coffee, I’d use the nondairy milk I already drink by the glass and put in my cereal. The point of creamer, for me, is milk-ening, thickening, and sweetening, and Silk’s creamer performs those three tasks better than any other nondairy creamers I’ve tried.  Moreover, because it’s so thick and sweet— but don’t get me wrong, it’s not dulce de leche or condensed milk here, it does pour—you need to use much less of it to achieve the same effect you might with regular nondairy milk and sugar. I use a ton of it (especially with this coffee I have now, it tastes so goddamn burnt no matter the beans:water ratio) and it still takes me a month to get through a quart.

It’s always disappointing when a restaurant with vegan choices doesn’t have soy creamer for the coffee. It doesn’t have to be Silk brand—shoot, if you want to hand me a little pitcher of any old nondairy milk I will gladly take it. The point is, go all the way! Give us nondairy creamer (and nondairy cheeses, while you’re at it)! When you want milkier coffee, adding a bunch of sugar-in-the-raw does not make it better. Offer us some liquid to add to it, please, we aren’t all Señors Machos Solos, with our iron-clad stomachs and coal-black hearts. Whatever, you know what I mean.


Review: La Copa Loca!  »

I am on some kind of cold dessert kick lately. Can I tell you when I last had a cold-n-creamy dessert? No, because it has been rather a long time. Still, I am reminded of the delicious gelato of La Copa Loca several times a week, as I find myself walking past the delivery truck parked on Capp and 26th Streets, or the storefront on Capp and 22nd. If we start reviewing by familiarity alone, my next write-up is going to be about the guy selling oranges on 23rd Street, I see that guy almost daily.

Right, but that’s not the point. We were discussing the beauty of La Copa Loca and its three vegan flavors of vegan gelato: vanilla, chocolate, and coffee. I will grant you that Gelateria Naia’s vegan chocolate hazelnut tastes exactly like Europe (yes I mean the continent), and Copa Loca only ever makes the three flavors, none of which can really match Naia in depth or richness. Color me extremely biased; I did spend many months in Germany eating as much chocolate and ice cream as possible.

Of course not everyone feels this way. Copa Loca’s vegan coffee gelato is very good. Also, it is much more accessible than Naia—longer hours, around more restaurants, in a much more walkable neighborhood—what’s better than a nighttime stroll with a scoop of gelato in a colorful fluted cup? (because obviously it’s the cup that makes it.) You can say hello to all our friends in the Mission: the recovering mentally ill from the halfway houses; the cold, underdressed prostitutes; the rowdy guys spilling out of bars after international soccer games. Oh the friends you can meet while enjoying your tasty Copa Loca gelato! It’s inexpensive, too; you can get two cups of two scoops each for under $5, which in these economic times is so cheap it’s basically free. I mean, right?

La Copa Loca makes good vegan gelato. It’s open late, for San Francisco (ugh, city, we don’t all go to bed at midnight), it’s inexpensive, the vegan supply hasn’t run out on me yet, and the sign outside is so cheery and appetite-whetting, you have to be of great willpower to deny its siren song of vanilla-chocolate-coffee goodness. La Copa Loca’s storefront makes the neighborhood a little brighter, as it will your day when you give in to the gelato. Or do what I do, and don’t ever carry cash if you’re just out running errands. OR-or, succumb to the music and get a scoop every time; a little gelato now and then is good for you. It’s certainly good for your peace of mind. And happiness of tum.

[photos, top to bottom: acordova, mswine, mattdork]

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