vegansaurus!

03/20/2012

Celebrate fake meats for the Meatout!  »


In honor of today’s Meatout, NPR’s The Salt blog got all excited over the rise in vegan meat analogues. According to the Global New Products Database, “110 new meat substitute products were introduced in 2010 and 2011,” and in 2011, sales of frozen meat substitutes hit $267 million.

I know not everyone loves the fake meats, but they’re so tasty. Do you know how many omnivores I’ve turned into Golden Era superfans? SO MANY, is the answer. So many superfans.

What are your favorite supermarket fake meats? I love Gardein’s chipotle lime crispy fingers, and basically every “mock” animal they sell at Asian groceries. (Also Soy Curls, but those don’t count here.) And I don’t think you can beat a sandwich with peppered Tofurky, spicy mustard, pickles, and lettuce. Though Janet Hudson’s Oklahoma sandwich does look insanely good.

[photo by our beloved Janet Hudson of Vegan Feast Catering, via Flickr]

03/06/2012

I have a confession to make, and I’m going to do it here. This is a safe forum to express my innermost desires, isn’t it? Here’s the deal: I’ve gone Chicken-less Nugget crazy. I haven’t been eating them constantly, but I think about them all the time. I’ve gone so far as to look at pictures of them on the internet. Boy, do I wish I was kidding.
These are homemade “chicken” nuggets! Don’t they look delicious? We can all thank cookbook author and blogger Joanna Vaught, who created the recipe for the seitan nuggets pictured above. Are you so excited to make these? I am! Joanna also does a nutritional comparison of McDonald’s nuggets, Health Is Wealth nuggets, and her seitan nuggets on the blog post! So informative and organized!
*This fixation is totally stemming from the fact that the SOMA Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry the chicken-less Mandarin orange morsels. It’s a travesty! This makes me obsessive sad because it is the most convenient Trader Joe’s for me to frequent.
[Photo courtesy of joannavaught.com]

I have a confession to make, and I’m going to do it here. This is a safe forum to express my innermost desires, isn’t it? Here’s the deal: I’ve gone Chicken-less Nugget crazy. I haven’t been eating them constantly, but I think about them all the time. I’ve gone so far as to look at pictures of them on the internet. Boy, do I wish I was kidding.

These are homemade “chicken” nuggets! Don’t they look delicious? We can all thank cookbook author and blogger Joanna Vaught, who created the recipe for the seitan nuggets pictured above. Are you so excited to make these? I am! Joanna also does a nutritional comparison of McDonald’s nuggets, Health Is Wealth nuggets, and her seitan nuggets on the blog post! So informative and organized!

*This fixation is totally stemming from the fact that the SOMA Trader Joe’s doesn’t carry the chicken-less Mandarin orange morsels. It’s a travesty! This makes me obsessive sad because it is the most convenient Trader Joe’s for me to frequent.

[Photo courtesy of joannavaught.com]

02/17/2012

Jasmine Tea House has reopened! And they have Sesame Meatless Chicken!   »

We love Jasmine Tea House very much, and when it closed, we were very sad. BUT NOW! We can be happy again because it’s reopened! Apparently it’s under new ownership and the mind-blowing Sesame Meatless Chicken isn’t on the actual menu, BUT the wonderful We Built This City let us know that you can order it off-menu! Do that because when you do shit like that, you look like a total boss. I DON’T NEED A FUCKING MENU, SON.

Also, if you are craving the original Jasmine Tea House tastiness, I BELIEVE the old owners currently operate Big Lantern on 16th Street in the Mission. They have some damn delicious vegan dim sum and all kinds of meatless chickens! Plus, they deliver all over San Francisco and honestly, that’s probably how you want to eat it because when you dine in, it’s just a sad flurry of to-go orders flying out around you.

However, if you want to have pretty much an entire restaurant to yourself when you eat, then head to Big Lantern! Actually, I’ve totally talked myself into going to lunch there, I love dining alone! You can gorge yourself AND you don’t have to look another person in the eye—my two favorite things!

02/10/2012

New vegan stuff at Trader Joe’s, in pictures! Because I’m too lazy to write anything!  »

Sampled the Japanese fried rice and the meatless mandarin orange morsels (pretty sure this is Gardein!) together today and it made me wanna holler, throw up both my hands. The display for the samples even said, “VEGAN!” and I was pushing people outta the way being all, “Ooh girl, it’s my time to shine!” I ate like nine samples while I asked the chef all sorts of questions about her family and what not. She had no clue what I was doing, totally thought I wanted to be her friend. SUCKER.

12/20/2011

Have you been to Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda? Because they’ve got vegan pastries, tea-soaked quinoa, and THE BEST G-D VEGAN PÂTÉ ON EARTH. I wrote it up completely for SF Weekly but I just want to encourage you all to head to the isla bonita for some tasty treats. Plus, heated patio and also, VEGAN PÂTÉ. Get fucked, foie gras, this is where it’s at. 

Have you been to Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda? Because they’ve got vegan pastries, tea-soaked quinoa, and THE BEST G-D VEGAN PÂTÉ ON EARTH. I wrote it up completely for SF Weekly but I just want to encourage you all to head to the isla bonita for some tasty treats. Plus, heated patio and also, VEGAN PÂTÉ. Get fucked, foie gras, this is where it’s at. 

11/23/2011

Taste Test! What’s the Best Vegan Turkey Substitute?  »

This photo is from the WaPo.

You know what I’m pissed about? That no one invited ME to participate in this taste test the Washington Post ran, comparing six un-turkey alternatives you could be having at your table this week, or whenever else you feel the need for turkey alternatives.

Spoiler alert: Tofurky and Field Roast won. By a lot. They’re my favs, especially Field Roast products, so I’m not surprised.

What I am surprised about: There are six vegan turkey alternatives?! A major daily newspaper is covering this?! Their write-up is nuanced enough to explain why people might say no to dead flesh on the table (health, environment, animal rights) AND to point out that fake turkey has some issues of its own (highly processed, weird ingredients, questionable environmental impact)?! 

I’ve never served one of these guys before— last year I stuffed pumpkins with polenta and seitan bourgignon, the year before I made cholent from Veganomicon and a lentil stew, stay tuned for this year’s plans… But I’ve eaten them and I get the appeal. I’m glad they exist. And I’m glad the mainstream world is paying attention to them. 

Things are changing. Slowly. Yay! Something to be thankful for!

Ok here are the results (you can see them bigger here):

Agree? Disagree? Tell us below!

07/28/2011

Lunch in Oakland is getting sexier, or at least more vegan  »

If you’re around Lake Merritt and hard up for a sandwich, Merritt Station Cafe has got your back. Situated too close to a Gold’s Gym for my liking, it’s still a pleasant place to sit down to a large $4.99 Tofurkey sandwich with all the fixings! Check out this mega-sandwich that I had for mega-cheap! Also, the guys who made it were super nice! Also, I got to stare at people in Gold’s going up on down on ellipticals, and try not to think about sex. VERY ATHLETIC AND AWKWARD SEX.

Secondly: Have you been to Brown Couch Cafe (340 14th St. at Harrison) yet? It’s right around that area with Golden Lotus (it’s a Golden Era! in Oakland!) and No Worries and Rico’s Diner and Breakroom! Man, Oakland, with all your stealthy vegan food everywhere! Anyway, Brown Couch has several vegan menu items, and most others can be made vegan if you just ask. Definitely try the ridiculously tasty vegan chicken salad, which you can have in a wrap or on top of a salad. It’s ridonk. Also, the smoothies are fresh and tasty! The service is very friendly, and overall, it’s a fantastic lunch option and another excellent alternative in the area—all these delicious places make me want to get a business-lady job in downtown Oakland (LIES).

[Thanks to Kristy and Megan for bringing these fine establishments to our attention!]

07/11/2011

Guest post: Vegansaurus NYC: Red Bamboo is delicious!  »

Go to Red Bamboo. GO NOW!

This is what it looks like.

I’m pretty sure those two people aren’t always there so don’t consider them a landmark.

I have been fairly interested in having a big meal at this establishment ever since I’d first heard the buzz. One of my louder vegan pals had raved about one of their burgers declaring it the NYC faux-meat mecca; I raised my eyebrow.

I invited my friend, Michael, he’s a lovely vegan and also a lovely person, and we had  great time. The ambiance is pleasant and the service was excellent. Please note that I work in the restaurant business and I don’t just throw around the word “excellent” when it comes to waiter skills. I got standards! And I thought the food was super good.

They have an extensive menu with a TON of options on it. However, it is a vegetarian place, not a vegan place, but all the vegan food items are clearly marked. Yay for convenience. Boo for not being 100 percent vegan.

To be clear. This Red Bamboo food is not healthy food. It is not for the ultra-health-conscious. Do not go to Red Bamboo if you are in the mood for a salad. I know many folks like to keep their grub on the “whole food” side, and I would not recommend a Red Bamboo outing for you folks. It is for junk food lovers!

We had buffalo wings for an appetizer. (sorry, no photo, I was busy EATING) Then we had 2 entrees. Michael is nice so we shared a little.

I had the cashew “chicken.”

Yum city! Seriously some of the best “chicken” I’ve had in my young vegan life. My mouth is totally watering looking at this pic.

Michael had a dish whose name I can’t remember. I think it was Dante’s Cuisine? I scanned the online menu and that was the only thing that sounded familiar. Whatevs. It was good.

I’m way too hungry to be writing this right now.

I say yay Red Bamboo. Deliciousness! Not too expensive either and huge portions; I took some home and ate it for lunch the next day.

We also had a peanut butter chocolate something cake? It was awesome. I LIKE EATING! I especially liked eating at Red Bamboo and will definitely go again. Yum yum. Apparently they had another location in Brooklyn and it used to be yummier but they revamped it and serve dead things now? Two thoughts on this: 1) TOTAL HATE; 2) The West Village one is plenty yummy. Still eat there. Don’t let that Brooklyn incident keep you away from the drumsticks. You’re worth it.

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight and writes for US Weekly’s Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz and read about her animal friendly adventures here.

06/02/2011

Vegan travels: eating Mexican food in the South Caucasus!  »

I’ve been living in the Kakheti region of (the country of) Georgia since late February of this year, and though there’s plenty to eat, it’s rarely “foreign” and it’s never explicitly vegan. Well, once I walked by a gelato place in Tbilisi whose sign said (in English) “Coming soon, vegan ice cream!” but that was in March and I haven’t been able to check it out since.

Some of my friends had spoken of a Mexican restaurant in Sighnaghi (სიღნაღი)* called Pancho Villa, saying that not only was it good, it had vegetarian options, as in “fake meat in your burrito” vegetarian options, so of course I had to go. For Vegansaurus, and for myself.

Sighnaghi is the City of Love, for reasons unexplained by the country of Georgia. It is also really small and cute and on a bunch of hills with terrible cobblestone-esque streets that trip you like they were designed to cause maximum ankle damage.

I was not feeling much like beans when we went, so I ordered the “fajitas,” and also a margarita despite its being super-expensive because you know who loves tequila? ME.


Here, “fajitas.”

It came with a basket of fresh warm tortillas! And tasted a little bit like really Americanized Chinese food! Which was weird! Like, there was no cumin or chili powder or anything in the spice mix, mostly a lot of hot pepper flakes, and the nationally mandated gallon of oil. But you know what? Still good. I wanted it to be better, but after four months without a single soy product, it made me happy.

The restaurant is pretty adorable, too; painted up all “Mexican” with blankets and sombreros and (prints of) photos of Pancho Villa on the walls. The view was typically spectacular. Maybe my experience was soured by the 90 minutes I spent smashed into the back of a taxi to get there. Georgia is a small country, but because the public transportation is almost all minibuses and taxis, getting places can be a serious hassle and take a really long time. It’s smaller in theory. I miss home.


My gorgeous, delicious, lemony margarita. The rim of the glass was salted and spiced!

If you ever find yourself in Georgia—let me know if you’d like to! I’m helpful!—and you’re tired of potatoes and bread and vegetables called like tchintchris (nettles) or jonjoli (pickled elderberry leaves? I will eat any vegetable)—because every vegetable wears out its welcome, let me tell you—maybe go to Pancho Villa and eat some vegan Georgian Mexican. Sighnaghi is adorable, anyway.

*I know another alphabet! Those “gh”s are pronounced like “rh.”

05/18/2011

That’s the chicken fried tempeh from Greenburgers in SF. Why is it so hard to take a good savory food photo? It’s like they always come out looking like a big pile of garbage or a big pile of throw-up. If you have any tips, let me know! Please note: the tips should be for dining in low-lighting and using the iPhone’s camera. I know, it’s an ideal situation.
Anyway, trust that everything on that plate tasted DELICIOUS. Perfectly cooked tempeh coated in crispy-fried deliciousness, served with amazing asparagus (yay spring!) and your choice of fries or sweet potato fries. It comes with mashed potatoes normally but those aren’t vegan. YET!* It was exceptionally tasty. ALSO: Greenburgers JUST debuted a vegan sloppy joe (!!!), so I’ll be back very soon to try.
All in all, definitely give Greenburgers a shot, and let me know what you think! It’s definitely the cleanest/nicest place on this block of the Haight, and a totally acceptable place to bring your fancy parents or fancy friends who don’t like a side of Hep C with their food. Prudes! And I only say that because I know someone that actually happened to. And her name is Natasha Lyonne. And it also involved lots of drugs and possible sex with a parking meter. No matter, still love that bitch! I don’t know where this review is going but imma stop it right here. GOODNIGHT, SIR!
*Greenburgers! Earth Balance and coconut creamer make excellent mashed potatoes!

That’s the chicken fried tempeh from Greenburgers in SF. Why is it so hard to take a good savory food photo? It’s like they always come out looking like a big pile of garbage or a big pile of throw-up. If you have any tips, let me know! Please note: the tips should be for dining in low-lighting and using the iPhone’s camera. I know, it’s an ideal situation.

Anyway, trust that everything on that plate tasted DELICIOUS. Perfectly cooked tempeh coated in crispy-fried deliciousness, served with amazing asparagus (yay spring!) and your choice of fries or sweet potato fries. It comes with mashed potatoes normally but those aren’t vegan. YET!* It was exceptionally tasty. ALSO: Greenburgers JUST debuted a vegan sloppy joe (!!!), so I’ll be back very soon to try.

All in all, definitely give Greenburgers a shot, and let me know what you think! It’s definitely the cleanest/nicest place on this block of the Haight, and a totally acceptable place to bring your fancy parents or fancy friends who don’t like a side of Hep C with their food. Prudes! And I only say that because I know someone that actually happened to. And her name is Natasha Lyonne. And it also involved lots of drugs and possible sex with a parking meter. No matter, still love that bitch! I don’t know where this review is going but imma stop it right here. GOODNIGHT, SIR!

*Greenburgers! Earth Balance and coconut creamer make excellent mashed potatoes!

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