We heart Nicobella’s delicious vegan chocolates! »
You guys are totes going to love Nicobella! Just read this:
We love animals, therefore do not use any animal ingredients. We donate 5% of our sales to our favorite animal organizations (Mercy for Animals, The Gentle Barn, Noah’s Ark of Locust Grove, GA and The Humane Society of the United States). We also donate any left over chocolates that have not been sold to these organizations to be used in auctions, which helps to raise money for animals in need.
Yay! And not only are the chocolates vegan, they are organic, sustainable and fair trade! I tried the Nicobella truffles above and then the “munch” snacks you see below. I LOVE THE MAPLE NUT MUNCH!!!: “Maple-nut munch is a savory healthy snack made with organic, Fair Trade 75% dark chocolate, maple coated roasted pecans and just a touch of sea salt.” OMG RIGHT? You should know by now that I love chocolate and salt together so this is right up my alley.
I shared the treats with my coworkers because I’m so nice to them. Once again, they weren’t that interested in the fair-tradeness, sustainability or vegan…ity? But they were def interested in the chocolate part. The truffles were very popular. I think the green tea drew a lot of interest and the pumpkin chai. I liked them too but it was the Maple Nut Munch that took the show in my book. The other Munch flavors went like hot cakes as well. They are especially nice because they seem a bit healthy but still so yummy and chocolatey.
In conclusion: Nicobella rules! The I just ordered more Maple Nut Munch today because I’m obsessed.
Legal bit: I got these for free from the company to try!
Product Review: Isabella’s Cookie Company »
Isabella Cookies are damn fine and come in lots of vegan flavors and some are weird and all are wonderful.
They sent me both the V-Ging, a spicy ginger chewy cookie topped with sweet vanilla icing, and the V-RV, a red velvet cookie with vanilla icing. They were both extremely excellent — homemade tasting and chewy and flavorful and absolutely splendid. You could buy a bag of these and polish them off yourself or bring them to a vegan bakesale and pass them off as your own. Or fool any omnivore with their deliciousness if you were inclined to share.
In addition to being gifted those flavors for potential review, I also bought the V-Breakfast cookie — “soft maple cookie with crunchy waffles, mouth-watering chocolate chips and vegan bacon”. It’s freaking weird as hell and also tasty as hell. Plus, it’s just really cool that vegans get to have fun weirdo flavor cookies.
NYC Review: Blossom du Jour in Chelsea! »
Blossom restaurants in New York invited Megan and I to try their newest outpost, Blossom du Jour Chelsea!
Megan: It’s a fast-food kind of place. Not like Foodswings with all the (delicious, delicious) junk food, but it seems like mostly a place you’d grab a sandwich to go. They do have some cafe tables that we took to eat.
Meave: It’s a nook. An adorable nook. If I worked or lived around here, I’d pop in all the time, but it’s not a place that looks designed to linger at.
Megan: We decided to try one of their many sandwiches. It was a tough choice but we powered through. Now behold, The Avocado Griller: ”in-house grilled rosemary lemon un-chicken, fresh avocado, v-pesto mayo, crisp romaine lettuce” (note, ours pictured below is on ciabatta). The first thing I did was immediately drop half the sandwich on the floor because I’m the super genius. But when I took a bite of the second half, I ‘bout died. SO GOOD. In my non-veggie days (2000? Wow), I used to enjoy chicken and avocado sandwiches and it was totally like that BUT WITH PESTO! And yummy bread! So, yeah, this sandwich is amazing. I want to eat it everyday. Oh and they deliver! But just a block short of my office. *Sad face*
Look at this and tell me you’re not dead:
Meave: I ate the protected innards of the fallen sandwich, because I have no class. Megan’s right, it was amazing. I would’ve added tomato and pepperoncinis, but I’m impossible to please. The pesto and avocado combo is pretty unbeatable, though, so rich and creamy.
Megan: We also got this chickpea and quinoa salad. I just don’t love salads (“a vegan who doesn’t like salad?! What the whaaa?” —my dad) so I wasn’t that excited by it but the dressing was interesting and good.
Meave: It was nice with the dried cranberries hidden in there, chewy little sweet bits of contrast to the mixed greens and tangy dressing. I was surprised to find it in a plastic box in the premade food fridge, but again, this seems like a grab-and-go sort of place, and if you’re in a hurry you don’t want someone making your salad fresh, so it makes sense. And it was a fine salad.
Megan: As we were thirsty, we decided to try one of their special juices. Neither Meave nor I are that into the big juice fad but we decided to try the Pretty In Pink. Lo and behold: it was yummy! Refreshing and not thick or anything like I expect all those healthy juices to be.
Meave: I am not into “juicing” as an “eating alternate” or “ridiculous overpriced nonsense lifestyle,” but I do miss the juicer I left behind when I moved to New York this year, and the cheap, good produce I was constantly putting into it. The pineapple-beet-apple combo is sweet and sour and crisp, very easy to drink.
Megan: They also have all kinds of baked goods! Like chocolate croissants! Damn, son. It wasn’t AS flaky and crispy as I remember regular croissants to be but it was buttery and a bit flaky and chocolaty and YUM.
Meave: Megan was so excited about this croissant! I thought it was pretty good. The chocolate inside was nice and bitter, which was a good contrast to the pastry. I bet it’d be best earlier in the day (we were there at 7:30 p.m. on a Wednesday, not the ideal time to buy morning-fresh baked goods), but it was a solid approximation.
Megan: We tried a red velvet cupcake as well. Tasty! I’m so tired of red velvet cupcakes having just a plain, sugary vanilla frosting instead of cream cheese flavor frosting. This totally had a nice cream cheesy flavor. The frosting was super-sweet but the cupcake part wasn’t so it wasn’t overwhelming. It also had a hint of lemon? I think? If I had to choose, I would get the chocolate croissant over the cupcake but come on, I’d pick the chocolate croissant over oxygen.
Meave: I liked the cake over the frosting, which is pretty unusual for me, as I am a hardcore frosting-only woman. (In small times, I’d eat the unwanted frosting from my friends’ cake at birthday parties.) And while this frosting was plenty good, the cake was better; like Megan says, not as sweet, a good crumb, and the color was pleasant, not creepy or (too) unnatural, which can be a problem with red velvet cake.
Megan: Oh snap I almost forgot! They also have vegan cronuts! We didn’t get to try one because they were out. But next time, lookout cronuts! Imma eat you up!
Megan: All in all, the avocado “chicken” sandwich was my favorite thing. I love it. I want to marry it. I want to marry it and have the chocolate croissant as my maid of honor. I can’t wait to try the other sandwiches! (They have a meatball sandwich and an eggplant parm sub!)
Meave: I will attend that wedding. I will give away the bride, even, if she doesn’t mind marrying a sandwich with some bites taken out of it because there is no better way to express how good that avocado and pesto taste together than devouring it.
Sorbet review: Dolce Gelateria in the West Village! »
Megan: Meave and I got free sorbet at Dolce Gelateria in West Village! Because we are the coolest vegans! All of their sorbets are vegan (though I don’t know their sugar source) and they have lots of flavors: lemon, mango, chocolate, cantaloupe, peach, strawberry, and more.
Meave: We were secretly hoping the olive oil gelato (below, middle of the back row) would be vegan, but no. Still, there are tons of vegan sorbet flavors, and in the gelateria tradition, they’re all really beautiful.
Megan: I’m always ragging on sorbet because you know it’s our only option for dessert at 99 percent of non-vegan restaurants. But they had chocolate sorbet! If every restaurant had chocolate sorbet, I would never complain again (about sorbet, everything else is still up for scrutiny). So obvi I had to get the chocolate because I never see it and additionally: CHOCOLATE SORBET. I also got strawberry.
The strawberry was good, not too sweet and nice and refreshing. And the chocolate was great! I kept asking our host like, “is this really vegan? Yeah? Really? Can you check the ingredients? You’ll check those for me, right?” So she did—water, sugar, chocolate. BAM! Vegan! How happy am I? (HINT: SUPER HAPPY). In summary: I. Want. More. Additionally: CHOCOLATE SORBET.
Meave: Yeah, sorbet on its face isn’t really exciting anymore, but when someone offers us free sorbet, we aren’t too good to turn it down. Plus it’s sooooooo hoooooooooot, saying no to cold desserts would be dumb. I got mango and cantaloupe, because I love both those fruits but I have been way too lazy to buy and prep them this season. Why not let someone else mix them with water and sugar and whip them into a creamy vegan treat?
Meave: Gorgeous, right? Megan wasn’t into it (“Why did you get the two fruits I hate?” she said), but I thought the flavors were as bright and summery as the colors. I’m also really into Dolce’s style of putting the flavors side by side instead of one on top of the other. The whole point of having two scoops is tasting them individually AND together, plus this way they melt evenly, so you’re not eating the top flavor at peak cold while the bottom flavors turns into sorbet soup underneath it. All other cold dessert places need to get it together.
VIDEO! quarrygirl presents clara’s cakes! a teenage-run vegan bakery in LA. »
you’re probably already familiar with teenage baking sensation clara polito, who owns and operates her own vegan business in los angeles called clara’s cakes…after all we’ve posted two recipe videos with her in the past. clara went vegan at the age of 12, and frustrated with the animal-free dessert options in her area, she decided to learn how to make her own treats. four years later, she’s got her own bakery with a menu that wows all kinds of eaters. in today’s video, we sat down with clara at her home in LA and learned about her most delicious creations and why she went vegan in the first place.
to learn where you can find clara’s cakes in LA, check out her website, twitter feed, and facebook page. i know that right now, you can find her cupcakes at pizzanista which happens to make the best vegan pizza in town. so go get ‘em.
QG does it again! Laura’s in LA now and if she isn’t following quarrygirl’s exhaustive guides to the vegan shangri-la that is the city of angels, she’s not doing it right. Same goes for anyone else in SoCal.
Tonight: Vegan happy hour at Source in San Francisco! »
The rumors are true—Source now carries organic, GMO-free wines and beers!
To celebrate, we’re hosting our own vegan beer and food fest on our patio, from 4 to 6:30 tonight, Wednesday, March 27. We’ll be serving all-you-can-drink beer and house wines, as well as some tasty bites including mac n’cheese, chocolate stout cake, salads, and bruschetta.
It costs $25, but if you picked up a Source pin on our anniversary, we’ll take $5 off. What a steal, right? Small bites, dessert, AND drinks for $20-$25? This shindig is my little brainchild, and if it’s a success, I’ll get the green light to keep it up, which I’d like to do probably once a month!
Let’s party, vegans—and be sure to bring your omni/vegetarian friends. What better way to show them the thrills of veganism than with cake and beer?
Source is located at 11 Division St. in San Francisco. Call us for more details at 864-9000. See you tonight!
Triple chocolate vegan pudding! I found this on GoDairyFree.org. I haven’t really made a lot of vegan pudding—I like pudding, I don’t know why I haven’t experimented with it more—but this is something obvious that never occurred to me! Use a vegan chocolate milk instead of regular vegan milk! A-duh! This also has cocoa powder and chocolate chips, in addition to So Delicious chocolate coconut milk. So, yeah. Come at me, bro.
Speaking of chocolate, Melissa at Vegenista veganized this chocolate, cherry, and pistachio tart by Giada di Laurentis. Isn’t it glorious? I’d say she’s outdone herself, but this little beauty is really her average work (girl composes a mean salad, too). Is it too late for Christmas desserts? NO. It’s not even Epiphany yet! Really, anytime is the right time for chocolate tarts.
Get the recipe and see more delectable photos at Vegenista, where Melissa documents her fabulous SoCal vegan lifestyle (including recipes).
Product review: Rawmio raw chocolate truffle cake! »
When I first got into raw foods in college, I was shocked by the amount of raw desserts that are mostly made of nuts and oil. I’ve got nothing against nuts and oil, especially when they’re high quality—it’s just a very different food experience than, say, fluffy vegan cake or a flaky crusted pie. I think a lot of folks experimenting with raw foodism get excited about raw desserts but end up not loving them due to their overwhelming density.
When Alex Malinsky, mastermind of Rawmio, told me he was coming out with a raw chocolate truffle cake, I was skeptical. Would it be way too dense? Would it go bad after only a few days? Would it have that funky aftertaste so many raw desserts have due to bad flavor combining? Most importantly, how could a raw cake be safely transported through the mail?
Turns out all my worries were completely unfounded—Rawmio Chocolate Truffle Cake is downright epic. It succeeds where so many other raw desserts, especially cakes, fail, because it doesn’t try to defy its nature. It doesn’t pretend to be a cooked vegan cake—it goes straight for the truffle-lover jugular. It is rich and fudgy, and uses only certified organic, vegan, raw, and gluten-free ingredients including stone-ground cacao, coconut flakes, cashews, and low-glycemic coconut crystals. It is rich in antioxidants and nutrients while being completely unprocessed, and—best of all—it lasts six months, even unrefrigerated! Talk about convenient!
You can buy a Rawmio cake and serve it on many occasions, or just eat it by yourself! I plan to share, but I could see a raw food lover or couple savoring this for a looong time. That makes it a superb deal, and would satisfy any raw chocolate cravings, for sure.
How does it taste? The crust (coconut flakes, almonds, currants, cacao) is like a Crunch Bar, super crispy and sweet. The topping, or “filling” (coconut flakes, coconut sugar, cashews, cacao, sea salt) is essentially a raw chocolate bar, and I have started using some of the shavings atop smoothies. I really love this cake, and I think those who love raw chocolate or want to give raw desserts another shot should definitely consider giving this a go! Order online at Raw Guru.
Enter the Earth Balance vegan baking contest! Or just admire the recipes! »
Katieg’s Entry: Lemon Curd Cake with Coconut Glaze
This is a super-hard contest, but I though the overachievers among us ought to know about it (the rest of us can just profit from the results): Earth Balance wants you to make delicious baked goods with their products. Duh, easy. Does anyone NOT use Earth Balance in baking?
Except here’s the catch: You have to invent the recipe yourself. That usually doesn’t go so well in my house; we’re still rehashing the Chutney Pie Debacle of 2006. But if you fancy yourself an up-and-coming Isa or Colleen, then by all means, invent away. That’s not the hardest part!
After slaving away over 17 drafts of the perfect Peanut Butter Banana Chia Açai Spice Drops, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A PRETTY PICTURE OF IT! I shall never be a professional chef in the internet age. My food photos are all grainy and dark and show how messy my house is.
After all that, you could win a sweet trip to Vegas, which you will need to recover from the stress of entering this contest. Oh, and there are categories. We already missed pies and cake.
- Cupcakes: Dec. 10 to 16
- Cookies and Bars: Dec. 17 to 23
Go Vegansaurs! Bake and invent! Then share your recipes with us! Those of you who aren’t sneaking in moments to write posts at work can go browse the recipe collection and tell us about the gems.