vegansaurus!

02/11/2011

Guest post: Vegan in St. Louis: because you might have a connecting flight cancelled here someday  »

As a born-and-raised Midwesterner, I developed a country-mouse inferiority complex at a young age, and like Janice Dickinson before me, I was all “I’M A CELEBRITY, GET ME OUT OF HERE.” So that’s what I did, for a while. Now I’m back, living in my hometown of St. Louis, Mo., and surprise, surprise, vegan food is now almost as ubiquitous here as getting a DWI in the Busch Stadium parking lot. Holla! Here’s a fat-pants-approved guide to eating vegan in St. Louis.

Breakfast

Waking up with an unbearable hangover means the same thing wherever I live: time for cheap-ass vegan brunch. Thankfully, St. Louis is with me on this. On Sundays, Shangri-La Diner offers a rotating brunch buffet including vegan French toast, meat-free brown sugar ham, sausage patties, breakfast potatoes, Southwest tofu scramble, and fresh fruit, and other, less expected dishes, such as vegan green bean casserole. Shangri-La also serves slamming vegan milkshakes, sandwiches, and desserts. A few blocks away, Black Bear Bakery does vegans proud with a similar array of vegan breakfast classics, as well as vegan cookies, cakes, and muffins. At Sweet Art Bakeshop & Art Studio, vegan brunch goes off the rails: breakfast quesadillas packed with potato, roasted red peppers, vegan sausage, and vegan cheese topped with avocado. If you sleep through brunch, stop by Sweet Art for a vegan BLT or any and all of the cafe’s LIKE WHOA vegan cupcakes: Boston cream pie, carrot ginger, red velvet, chai-spice, orange blossom, and more. For a unique vegan brunch, head to Rooster, where vegan Crêpe Suzette is served all week long. Rooster also offers a variety of vegan-friendly crepe inclusions, from oven-dried tomatoes with fresh basil to roasted apples with cinnamon and brown sugar. Keep things real (tipsy) and wash down breakfast at Rooster with mimosas, bloody Marys, beer, or wine.

Lunch
My bottom-line for lunch is simple: inexpensive, no-frills, and filling enough to ride me out until dinner. Pair lunch with a pint of Missouri-brewed beer at Atomic Cowboy, where spicy vegetarian chili sans cheese makes snow in March seem almost charming. Channel your inner Liz Lemon with sandwiches at Foundation Grounds (the Madahoochi layers vegan cheddar cheese, marinated red onion, and spinach) or at the Mud House (the portobello reuben minus Swiss cheese still equals GIMME THAT). Hit up Cheesology for vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, or trek out to Vegadeli, located in Chesterfield, Mo., where rich people serve other rich people vegan burgers, nachos, tacos, and more.

Dinner

Forget about New York City and Chicago, because local chain Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis is where vegan deep-dish pizza IS AT. Even President Obama agrees! The recipe for vegan pizza at Pi is simple: heaps of Daiya vegan cheese and spicy marinara, all the veggies you can stomach, and optional vegan Match Meat toppings. In addition to deep dish, Pi also serves vegan, gluten-free thin crust pizza, salads, and desserts, as well as great happy hour specials.


If you’re not down for pizza, CRAZY, go Midwest-traditional and grab house-brewed beer and a bite at Schlafly Bottleworks, where they serve vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, lasagna, and portobello burgers topped with Teese. For fancier fare, mosey on down the street to Boogaloo for Jamaican Johnny cakes with roasted plantains or yucca mashed potatoes. If you’re in St. Louis during baseball season, check out the veggie chicken and garlic fries at Dizzy’s Diner inside Busch Stadium, or hit up one of the arena’s many concession stands for soft pretzels, peanuts, or beer. Unfortunately, ordering a veggie dog at St. Louis’ famous stadium still isn’t an option—hey, guess what? You’re still in the Midwest.

[Photos, from the top: vegan brunch at Shangri-La; vegan deep-dish pizza at Pi Pizzeria; and portobello burger with soy cheese at Schlafly Bottleworks. This post was written by Liz Miller, who is pretty much the best. She loves champagne, beer, working out with sledgehammers, Arrested Development, 30 Rock, being sassy, and generally tearing shit up. You should try to be her friend because she would totally hate that.]

02/09/2011

Homeroom, a new mac ‘n’ cheese restaurant in Oakland, serving up a VEGAN MAC ‘N’ CHEESE!  »

Oh hellllll yeah. Finally some vegan mac and cheese action up in this joint! I know of only two other places serving vegan mac and cheese in the entire Bay Area: Souley Vegan (some people love it, some people leave it) and Herbivore (If you held a gun to my head and forced me to eat either Herbivore mac and cheese or Hazel’s dog shit, I’d think reallllllly hard. And then I’d eat the mac and cheese but GOOD GOD, it’s the funk). If you know of others, please let a fat vegan know. And further, THANKS FOR HOLDING OUT, BITCH.* Anyway, Homeroom (adorable name) is opening on 40th street in Oakland on Tuesday, Feb. 15 and HOLY SHIT:

I said goddamn, GODDAMN! My only regret in life is that I’m on a fucking CLEANSE FROM HELL** until Feb. 21 and so I can’t partake in this deliciousness on opening day. Oh well; I’ll be there on the 22 with a bib and a dump truck. Let’s do this, Homeroom.

To learn more about this little mac ‘n’ cheese restaurant that could (it’s a good story) and to see their full menu (maybe more vegan stuff soon? oooh… like cookies and almond milk! or maybe a partnership with Scream Sorbet? It’s right down the street!), check out the lovely Carolyn’s reporting over at Eater SF

*I meant thanks for NOTHING, if that wasn’t clear. Also, cleanses make me feisty!
**More on this later but right now I need to finish eating my MASSAGED KALE SALAD. Later in the evening, I’m gonna beg Jonas to shoot me in the face until I’m dead.

[Hat-tip Gina, who also sent us this delightful video of a dog swimming with a dolphin!]

02/03/2011

Emily of Vegan Lazy shares this photo of her winter vegetables with whole wheat pasta and spicy peanut sauce—the double-punch of color and heat sound ideal for a chilly February night. Lucky you, Emily’s provided the recipe!

Emily of Vegan Lazy shares this photo of her winter vegetables with whole wheat pasta and spicy peanut sauce—the double-punch of color and heat sound ideal for a chilly February night. Lucky you, Emily’s provided the recipe!

Pause Wine Bar in Hayes Valley: Vegan desserts galore (ish)!  »

So, Pause in Hayes Valley officially opened yesterday, Feb. 2, and it’s looking miiiiighty fine! Now, you might be asking, what does some snob wine bar have to do with you, dear vegan? Well, the desserts are provided by none other than Sarah Smart of Rocket Ship Ice Cream! We looooooove this stuff, it is so g.d. delicious, truly outstanding dessert deliciousness. 

Anyway, Pause is the sister wine/food bar to Dog Patch’s Yield (GET IT?) (snark aside, this is a delightful place for vegan lushes!) and is also owned by Millennium's wine director, Chris Tavelli—so, uh, this dude should know from vegan options. In fact, there appear to be quite a few on their short menu. I reallllllly hope we can get that dessert sampler platter veganized! It looks hopeful, as Sarah says:

Be sure to stop by for poppyseed vegan donut holes and lemon marmalade…butterscotch and chocolate ice cream terrine from Rocket Ship Ice Cream or assorted cookies and truffles. 

Um, YUM. I will be sure to stop by. Thank you, Sarah!

[Photo from Eater SF]

01/31/2011

Whoa, check out reader Seana’s glorious Mexican repast:1) Potato and kale enchiladas, adapted from a PPK recipe 2) Spicy roasted tomatillo enchilada sauce3) Mexican rice, courtesy of Herbivoracious4) Refried beans from a can (courtesy of Amy’s).
DANG! Start with the internet, add your personal culinary talents, and combine until PERFECT. Nice job, Seana!
[I love to share your luscious food photos, so send them on over!]

Whoa, check out reader Seana’s glorious Mexican repast:
1) Potato and kale enchiladas, adapted from a PPK recipe
2) Spicy roasted tomatillo enchilada sauce
3) Mexican rice, courtesy of Herbivoracious
4) Refried beans from a can (courtesy of Amy’s).

DANG! Start with the internet, add your personal culinary talents, and combine until PERFECT. Nice job, Seana!

[I love to share your luscious food photos, so send them on over!]

01/27/2011

Guest review: Sage’s Cafe in Salt Lake City!  »

OK, more like a guest review-by-text. My dad, who is a very nice person who introduced me to kimchi and cooking without recipes, spent two nights in Salt Lake City recently, and because he is a very nice person, he agreed to eat a vegan dinner and take photos, just for Vegansaurus! I would’ve asked you readers for recommendations if there’d been more time; instead we did this last-minute style and asked Google, which said: “Sage’s Cafe.” So there my dad went, and these are his results!

Tuesday was all-you-can-eat vegan pizza night (OMG WHERE IS THAT HERE, BAY AREA? WHERE?) but my dad opted for a French onion soup, and basil pesto pasta with walnuts, because he is a man with self-control? He didn’t really provide an explanation, but one of his dining neighbors offered him a taste of her pizza (woo woo!) and he said it was “good.” But, let’s get to the food he did eat. First, the soup:

He says it “was delicious!”


Main course: basil pesto pasta!

I can’t comment on the quality of the food, except to say that vegan French onion soup sounds delightful and I wish I had some right now. My dad says that the food was “excellent,” and the service “efficient and friendly.” If he happens to be in SLC on the next all-you-can-eat vegan pizza night, that’d be his choice, as there were “many different pizza choices.” Pithy! Also via text message!

[Thanks to Meave’s dad for the photos, and for making this review happen!]

01/18/2011

Get on it: Underground restaurant Lazy Bear does vegan!   »

San Francisco’s Lazy Bear underground restaurant usually serves omni-fare, but they also love us veggies, so this Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 22 and 23, the dinners are all vegetarian and vegan upon request! If you’re missing Brassica Supper Club, this might be the most suitable replacement yet. For more details, like their secret Mission location and making dinner reservation, go here. So secretive!

That’s a photo of a test recipe for this weekend’s dinners: It’s charred carrots with carrot glaze, kalamata olive purée, melted fennel, and chicories fresh and powdered, so you know they’re gonna get fancy on your asses. 

01/11/2011

Did you know that there’s a Loving Hut in Sacramento? That’s our Supreme Master!
Neffy took this photo of this major dinner, and reports that “we had the spring rolls; light, crispy, and delicious. My girlfriend had the BBQ plate [of] soy protein slices with noodles and salad: SUPER EXTRA YUM. I had the Mongolian Delight: soy protein slices with green onions, onions, and bell peppers: OMFG SPICY HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH - I had to stop myself from eating the whole plate seriously. Even my lacto-consuming girlfriend said the Thai tea tastes just like the real thing, and it was able to convince her that vegan food is delicious (she had a bad experience a couple years back).
"I’m one of the very few vegan Muslims that I know of so it’s hard for me to find vegan anything within my circle, unless it’s from the internet or Whole Foods…. Thank the stars [my] sister-in-law’s been vegan for 14 years, so I was able to have someone encourage me to become vegan—one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life."
Excellent job! We’re so happy and proud! I guess we’ll have to expand our Sacramento coverage, too—this town is going somewhere, vegan-wise!

Did you know that there’s a Loving Hut in Sacramento? That’s our Supreme Master!

Neffy took this photo of this major dinner, and reports that “we had the spring rolls; light, crispy, and delicious. My girlfriend had the BBQ plate [of] soy protein slices with noodles and salad: SUPER EXTRA YUM. I had the Mongolian Delight: soy protein slices with green onions, onions, and bell peppers: OMFG SPICY HEAVEN IN MY MOUTH - I had to stop myself from eating the whole plate seriously. Even my lacto-consuming girlfriend said the Thai tea tastes just like the real thing, and it was able to convince her that vegan food is delicious (she had a bad experience a couple years back).

"I’m one of the very few vegan Muslims that I know of so it’s hard for me to find vegan anything within my circle, unless it’s from the internet or Whole Foods…. Thank the stars [my] sister-in-law’s been vegan for 14 years, so I was able to have someone encourage me to become vegan—one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life."

Excellent job! We’re so happy and proud! I guess we’ll have to expand our Sacramento coverage, too—this town is going somewhere, vegan-wise!

01/06/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: Counter!  »


Counter kind of rules—75 percent of my meal was off the hook! It’s just vegetarian but most of the items on the menu are vegan. They have “snacks” where you can get any three for $15—I love that sort of thing, small bites and whatnot. We got the white bean hummus, cornmeal-pepita-crusted kabocha and the roasted butternut and broccoli raab crostini. The crostini was very good but the kabocha was AWESOME. The hummus: meh. It had a bit of a fennel taste and I mother-loving HATE anything that tastes like licorice. Licorice can die in a fire for all I care! Yeah, I said it.

I got the soup of the day, a white bean soup, and it was pretty good but nothing special; the side of brussels sprouts, though, goddamn they were good. I love brussels sprouts! They were the beets of 2006 and I’m still on that groove train. The 25 percent of my meal that I didn’t like was the brown rice salad. It was really hard, the kabocha in it was kind of tough, and the brown rice was minimally cooked. That was a downer, but the rest of the meal was great.

My waitress kind of blew. She was nice enough but she just wasn’t around even though the place wasn’t even a third full. It’s not a big deal; I just could have gotten several more glasses of organic wine, if she’d given me the opportunity! We wanted to get dessert too but she took so long to come over to us that we lost interest in it. I showed her! I only tipped her 15 percent instead of my standard 20!* I think she got the message.

I would definitely recommend this place for drinks and tapas (“tapa” is foodie for “appetizer”!). They have an impressive drink menu and wine list—and you know I like to get my drink on!

*Philadelphians are the nations best tippers!

[Sorry for the generic picture from Counter’s website but I couldn’t get any food shots! Damn mood lighting! Man, I need to get out for brunch more instead of dinner. But, alas, I like the nightlife!]

Tim is trying to engage your Vegansaurus in some sort of polyamory by luring us the the East Coast with his dinner. All the potatoes and tofu fried with onions, poblano, grape tomatoes, and avocado “[we] can eat,” he says.
You guys we’re not really into sharing much besides food and our boundless wisdom but for fried avocado we could be persuaded.
[Send me your food porn, if you’ve got it!]

Tim is trying to engage your Vegansaurus in some sort of polyamory by luring us the the East Coast with his dinner. All the potatoes and tofu fried with onions, poblano, grape tomatoes, and avocado “[we] can eat,” he says.

You guys we’re not really into sharing much besides food and our boundless wisdom but for fried avocado we could be persuaded.

[Send me your food porn, if you’ve got it!]

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