Debating organics, praising McDonald’s (?!!??), drinking mezcal and MORE in today’s link-o-rama! »
This chinchilla is wearing a boy! This boy is wearing a chinchilla! Who’s the boss? With animals who have not been domesticated for very long, like chinchillas, you never can say. Just stay very still and marvel at how light they are compared to how dense they look. [photo credit: I have no idea, sorry. Let us know!]
Exciting vegan-style events!
Hey L.A.! This weekend Keep is having a sample sale, where you can save up to 60 percent on all kinds of super-hot sneakers. Be at the Keep offices at 418a Bamboo Lane today and tomorrow, Friday and Saturday May 14 and 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., for shoes shoes shoes.
Tomorrow, Saturday May 15, BAARN will participate in an international day of awareness for marine mammals in captivity, and protest in favor of the retirement of Lolita, the oldest orca in captivity (and also possibly the loneliest—her companion of 10 years basically committed suicide in 1980 and she’s been on her own since). There will be two events from noon to 2 p.m.: one at the entrance of Pier 39, near the Embarcadero and Stockton Street in San Francisco; and one at the Berkeley Marina, at the first parking lot on the left in the south sailing basin. BAARN asks that you email here for further information.
Next Thursday, May 20, Rocket Dog Rescue is having a fashion show fundraiser, with vegan snacks and drinks and clothes and all kinds of good times! Be at Mayes at 1233 Polk St. at Fern Street (hey Polk Gulch!) at 8 p.m.—RSVP here first and it’s $10, without an RSVP it’ll cost you $15. But who cares, the money goes to Rocket Dog! For more information about the designers and sponsors, visit the Avant-Gardist.
Items of varying degrees of interest!
So how did the foie gras protests at Thomas Keller’s restaurants go last weekend? According to Eater, “rowdy,” “timid,” and “calm,” depending on location. CNN seems to have just cottoned on to the notion that some people find foie gras reprehensible.
Edible Geography explores the community gardens of New York City, which have never been studied before? The maps and photos are great!
Lebanon made an obscene amount of hummus and falafel, beating Israel’s obscene record of hummus and falafel, and uncomfortably get all nationalistic for reasons we don’t understand. Still: hummus and falafel, yum yum yum.
The Chronicle's Cellarist blog thinks that mezcal will be the big new liquor. I say, YES PLEASE. I had the most amazing cocktail in Mexico City made with mezcal; it was smoky and a little fruity and a little sweet, wicked strong and so delicious, and I’ve never been able to find a recipe online that makes sense. And no, vegans, mezcal does not need to contain a drowned worm to be authentic.
Mark Bittman is agog because distance runner Scott Jurek somehow manages to eat “5,000 to 8,000 calories a day”—as a vegan! What what what?!??!! Isn’t vegan food all super-low-calorie and super-healthy? Doesn’t everyone eating a vegan diet lose 50 pounds, like, one week after starting it? Aren’t all vegans super-skinny, struggling to get enough calories as regular, non-athletes? HOW IS SCOTT JUREK MEDICALLY POSSIBLE?!??!!!
"Environmentalism must become an economic vision." "Theses on Sustainability" by Eric Zencey in Orion Magazine.
Meanwhile, the Independent tries to convince us that McDonald’s “has been a positive force for change.” Still “killing lots of mass-produced animals”? I’m not convinced. Get your blood pressure down with an interview with Grist's Tom Philpott on the role of class in “the food debate.”
An SPCA-run animal shelter in Ontario, Canada will euthanize over 350 of its animals due to an outbreak of an especially virulent case of ringworm that has spread to staff members.
Back in April, the National Research Council released a report stating that genetically modified crops weren’t all bad—mostly right now what’s bad is the way they’re being used, and monopolized, and how we the public have no trust in them. I will agree that I don’t trust them, and Monsanto is the devil, but that’s about it.
Sorry about being totally tardy to the party here, but a couple weeks ago there was an awesome fight in Foreign Policy that you guys will totally love. First, Robert Paarlberg gets all snotty about how “the organic movement” is a big waste of time, only for rich jerks, and if we really want to feed the world, we have to follow the rules of industrial agriculture. Second, Anna Lappé totally smacks him down with a perfect deconstruction of his silly arguments, explaining how truly organic farming could feed the whole world much more efficiently and sustainably. It’s so good.
Vegan Bakesale TOMORROW! Plus, how to clean birds, shoot dogs, save frogs, and MORE in today’s link-o-rama! »
Vegan-type fun-times events!
The SF Vegan Bakesale location has moved! It’s still happening tomorrow, Saturday May 8 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., but now it will be in front of Herbivore at 983 Valencia St. between 21st and 22nd Streets in the Mission. Be there or be an animal-hating, self-denying jerk!
After the Bakesale, you can protest Thomas Keller’s use of foie gras at the French Laundry in Yountville. The protest begins at 6:30 p.m. The groups will also protest at Keller’s restaurants Bouchon in Beverly Hills at 7 p.m., and at Per Se in NYC at 11:30 a.m. (EDT!). For more information, including contacts for carpooling, click here.
Burned out on Bakesales? Don’t want to cross the Bay Bridge? Maybe check out this mysterious “A Taste For You—Spring Flavor Vegan-Style” with chefs Wanda Crudas and HuNia at the North Oakland Senior Center on Saturday at 1 p.m. instead. The event features cooking demos and snacks (including Souley Vegan and Cafe Gratitude), local entertainment, activities for kids, and costs $15 in advance, $20 at the door. For more information, visit one of these sites.
Items of varying degrees of importance!
PETA blows it again! Definitely, spending donations to fly a weird, nasty message over Mobile, Ala., was a good use of money. You guys are SO EMBARRASSING, GOD. That said, oil-drilling and fishing are ruining the oceans. Stop eating fish, stop driving so goddamn much, and bring some hair to the bakesale tomorrow to help clean up the animal victims of the Deep Horizon disaster.
And speaking of whom: Popular Mechanics explains how trained volunteers clean these birds. The Audubon Magazine blog has regular, super-informative updates on the wildlife suffering from this tragedy as well.
Some lady—who isn’t a nutritionist, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or even someone with a certificate in “food studies” from a community college—would like parents to watch out for their "strict vegan" kids, who are probably suffering from "orthorexia." Ma’am, you are an idiot; kindly shut the fuck up. Also: would you like a cupcake?
Bryant Terry was on Martha Stewart on Monday! How did we miss this? He cooked citrus chard with raisins and spinach with garlic and chile, both of which sound simple and scrumptious. Yes, Alice Waters was there, too.
Read a story that’s not worth a whole rant, but definitely rates an angry sentence or two? Send me the link. For the time being, look at my Oliver! Like Toto, poppies make him sleepy. Or maybe it’s the sunshine, who knows.
Obviously we aren’t going because we’re all blogging for pennies/underemployed and -paid/unemployed losers/neither scientists nor medical researchers (if we were, we wouldn’t be here, suckers), but: PCRM is hosting a two-day educational conference in August on animal testing that sounds amazing—it advertises “a global panel of experts to discuss existing and promising alternatives to the use of animals in research”—and if you are involved in the sciences, perhaps you should attend! And send us a postcard about how great it is.
The only place I’ve seen the Shelter Pet Project commercials is on MSNBC during The Rachel Maddow Show, and they are CHRISTMAS-THEMED. Not enough, you guys. Help get the word out—an adopted pet is the best pet!
The ag industry is SO MAD at the Humane Society and its successes in showing consumers that they can change the industry’s cruelest practices. And though Cargill may not care, we’re happy that HSUS has won its federal case against Hudson Valley Foie Gras, which has been charged with multiple violations of the Clean Water Act.
Mine is now available on DVD, iTunes and Netflix! Buy it for your mom, if you believe in celebrating corporate holidays! You could also buy her a falafel from a Michael Mina restaurant, because it’s (apparently) vegan and moms love it when you spend lots of money on them.
A Canadian guy shot a bear that turned out to be a grizzly-polar bear hybrid. A marine biologist says this is a result of climate change, and predicts there will be more interbreeding between marine mammals as the ice caps melt. Uh, neat?
Guns are the fucking worst. In Oakland last Saturday, some police officers shot a deer to death with their pistols, despite having tranquilizer guns on them. Back in February, on a tip, a SWAT team busted into a Missouri home, shot the family pit bull to death, and shot and injured the family corgi. There’s video, but it’s awful, especially around 3:14 when the guy being arrested realizes what the police have done. Right, and of course the guy and his wife were later charged with child endangerment.
But a Dresdner man “married” his cat of 10 years, Cecelia, because she is already 15 and does not have much longer to live and he loves her very much. An unnamed actor officiated the ceremony. So that’s—less depressing than the police shooting your dogs for NO GOOD REASON. On the other hand, the Florida state legislature refused to pass an anti-bestiality bill, because of stupidity.
Maoz Vegetarian NYC »
I could go for some vegan fast food almost any time of the day or night. Don’t get me wrong, sitting in a restaurant can be really pleasant. But sometimes you just really want to devour some scrumptious shit on the fly!! Lucky for me, Maoz Vegetarian has a handy dandy location less than a block away from me. On cold, blustery, rainy nights when I am dumb enough to wear flip-flops to yoga, I know I can always stumble into this falafel joint and enjoy a scrumptious vegan meal.
For $7.95 I got a winter special: lentil soup and a Jr. Maoz sandwich. For another $3 I got a bunch of orange seeds with some orange juice. In short, the food was delicious. It was filling—oh my fucking god I can’t even breathe. While the orange concoction was tasty, I prefer my juice seedless. And $3 is a lot of money to spend on seeds.
As for the service and ambience? Well, my cashier was kind of a douche:
-Is the soup vegan?
-Yes. But it’s premade so we wouldn’t be able to change it if it weren’t.
-Oh, okay. Well I’ll have the winter special thing. Could you just make sure that everything in my order is vegan?
-The falafels are premade so we couldn’t change them anyway. It’s vegan.
Yeah. When I am sincerely asking whether or not my meal has any animal products at a vegetarian joint, I don’t want to get some patronizing bullshit as a response, kthx. I will definitely go back; I just may peek my head in to see if the same asshole is at the register.
(Psst! To my West Coast compadres, a location is coming soon on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley!)
Food Cart Review: Liba Falafel Truck »
In San Francisco, street food seems to be all up in the hizzy! Even for vegans! It’s gonna be the next Austin, Texas (where vegan Philly cheesesteaks and chocolate-dipped bananarchists come from carts) or some shit, but cold all the time.
Sadly, the East Bay seems to be lacking in novel food carts. Our street food is almost exclusively taco trucks, and I so much wish lard was vegan.
So Thank Dog for Liba Falafel Truck! These fantastic people park twice a week right in front of the Pixar studio (who keeps pumping out fucking adorable movies like animal-friendly Up and monster-friendly Monsters, Inc) in Emeryville.
The well dressed woman who took my money told me everything but feta cheese and some yogurt sauce were vegan. She said she wanted to make it easy for us! how nice! They’ve got tons of options, but I kept it simple. Your falafel sandwich comes with the essentials, chimichurri herb paste, a GODDAMN pickle, hot sauce or no hot sauce, and three of six crazy add-ons. I chose roasted eggplant, red cabbage with black sesame seeds, and hummus. There are also some over-the-top complimentary condiments, but LET ME GET TO THE POINT!:
It was delicious. One of my top 2 falafels ever! Would eat again!
Check it out from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mondays at 64th & Hollis Streets in Emeryville, Tuesdays and Thursdays at Park Avenue and Hollis Street in E’ville, and Wednesdays and Fridays at 155 De Haro St. at Alameda Street in San Francisco.
Dan Barber’s feet of clay, Ra-Ra-Rasputin, your fucked-up Manolo boots, a falafel truck, stupid scientists, and a busy Bay Area weekend in the Link-o-rama! »
If you have ever called yourself an activist, even if only in the mirror with post-shower anger-hair, you must get yourself to the a.Muse Gallery tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. for the School Lunch Sound-Off! Make Vegansaur Laura’s tireless work on behalf of the nation’s wee vegan and vegetarian children worth all the missed sleep (GET IT?).
Also among your obligations, locals: visiting Jonas and Minty Lewis at SF Zine Fest, the only Vegansaurus-endorsed fest in the country!
Circus protests continue through the weekend! That is an exclamation mark of outrage, by the way.
Don’t forget, Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. is the first-ever San Francisco Street Food Festival! Admission is free, and there will be food and cocktails, with no item over $8, all on Folsom Street between 25th and 26th Streets. The vendors list appears to have a decent number of veg dishes, but not too many, so get there as early as possible, lest the omnivores devour all of everything like a cloud of unethical locusts.
Captain Paul Wilson of Whale Wars (unintentionally?) gives the best quotes ever, explaining his decision to make the Sea Shepherd a “vegan vessel.” To wit: “About 70 million tons of tuna goes into cats everyday. In fact, in a natural world, if a cat ever came face to face with one of those fish, the fish would eat the cat.” He’s right—have you seen how big tuna fish are?
NEWSFLASH: Eating loads of “fatty foods” negatively affects one’s cognitive abilities, i.e., makes you fucking stupid. Ha ha, McDonald’s, we knew you were the devil—except, wait, the data from which the researchers drew their conclusions were gathered from ANIMAL EXPERIMENTS? Whoops! Maybe certain biologists need their cognitive abilities checked; Vegansaurus is enrolling you in our next Animal Torturers’ Reeducation Camp right now.
Hey Golden Gate Restaurant Association: your eternal nemesis, Healthy San Francisco, hasn’t ruined your business forever and ever EAT THE POOR. Perhaps this is linked to the flat-tax/fee some restaurants began charging patrons to compensate for all the money they expected to hemorrhage; perhaps helping the uninsured is a good idea after all. Keep on keepin’ on with that lawsuit, GGRA, you totally don’t look like cheap heartless bastards.
"No, it’s not ocelot fur, it’s, um, ‘cava’! Cava fur! Totally not endangered in their native, um, Spain! Yes, northeastern Spain; this boot is such a fresh look at Mr. Blahnik’s classical Spanish style, DON’T YOU THINK?”
Remember how Dan Barber swore that if he couldn’t convince his geese to enlarge their livers naturally, like his hero Eduardo Sousa, he wouldn’t prepare or eat foie gras ever again? Yeah, turns out he didn’t exactly mean it like that, and Sr. Sousa was not pleased. Sousa, keeper of the freest-range foie-gras-producing geese in the world, also found certain other “cruelty-free” foie gras bird farms to be literally nightmarish.
More street food is coming, and soon! The Liba falafel truck will be parked at the corner of De Haro and Alameda Streets sometime in “early September;” being fairly crazy for falafel, Vegansaurus very eagerly anticipates this happy event.
Next weekend, Aug. 28 to 30 at Jack London Square in Oakland, is the second annual Eat Real Festival. Admission is free, and they have all kinds of entertainment planned, as well as a full-on farmers’ market and a beer “shed.” The list of vendors looks pretty impressive, too. Don your finest eating-wear and join Vegansaurus—it is rare we miss an opportunity to eat on the cheap—though we will of course be missing the butchery contest on Saturday, Aug. 29, because, puke. Go go go, eat eat eat! Fight that nasty "unnaturally thin and anemic vegan" image!
Also happening next Friday, Aug. 28, is Sweet Justice, “a benefit for the AETA 4.” What, and who? The Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act is an ugly piece of legislation introduced in 2006 by one of Vegansaurus’ own elected representatives, evil betrayer Senator Dianne “fuck your civil rights” Feinstein. The AETA 4 are four activists who were arrested by the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI in February of this year because of their alleged terrorist activities related to protests against the University of California’s animal-testing policies. In light of the behavior of the protesters against members of Congress, especially the violent, hateful messages those protesters boldly espouse—going to a presidential appearance with loaded guns!—one wonders exactly what kind of agenda the JTTF/FBI have here. Less depressingly, Violet Sweet Shoppe baked goods will be at this benefit, so, that’s all right.
On my (Meave’s) last night in Mexico, while I was enjoying some bean-and-chile tamales, the most amazing song with the most amazing video appeared on the televisions mounted on various walls of the restaurant. Its brilliance was marred by the decision of the members of the group, Boney M., to all wear various furs throughout the video—that shit was grotesque. I believe the flaunting of these nasty, ghoulish items of clothing is why the song, “Rasputin,” never attained the fame in the U.S. it otherwise deserved because seriously, never was I more surprised and delighted by a music video than by this one. Let’s boogie:
Sunrise Deli! »
I am declaring Sunrise Deli the best falafel in San Francisco proper. DEAL WITH IT. You all can argue with me but whatever, I don’t care what you have to say and won’t pretend to, either. As you can easily tell, I am a popular girl.
I was turned on to Sunrise by the good people at VegNews magazine and Brassica Supperclub and they collectively know their shit (read: food). The best suggestion I got was to buy some hot falafel balls (hehehe) to eat while they make your sandwich! OH MAN ALIVE! Hot, crispy, not too greasy but plenty greasy enough, they are truly something! So often falafels are too dry/hard/dense/stale but not here.
You can get your sandwich with or without the eggplant/potato combo; people seem to feel strongly about the authenticity/deliciousness of this (as they do about so many about so many seemingly ridiculous things) but I freaking love it. You can also get one with avocado I KNOW BUT SO GOOD or a plate with four falafel balls (hehehe), salad, hummus and tahini.
So again, it’s the best falafel in San Francisco and I don’t care if you say differently because guess what, I won’t be reading the comments or checking my email or having any communication with the outside world ever again so COMPLAIN AWAY, I KNOW I’M RIGHT KTHXBYE.
Review: Old Jerusalem! »
While I’ve already declared the best falafel in the city to be found at Sabra Grill, there are certain obstacles to attaining this heavenly food that prove sometimes insurmountable. To wit: mandatory closings on the Sabbath and all Jewish holidays, location, lack of delivery services. So what does a person do when she wants a tasty falafel on a Saturday afternoon, or a Tuesday night? Especially if she lives in the Mission, or Bernal Heights, or Noe Valley?
The answer is Old Jerusalem. It offers hands-down the best falafel in the Mission, the moistest and tastiest, plus they make two varieties: regular, and stuffed, which has fried onions, roasted pine nuts and sumac in the middle. You can substitute the stuffed falafel for the standard in the falafel sandwich, which I recommend because the stuffed ones are much, much tastier than the regular, and better overall than any other falafel I’ve had in the city, Sabra’s aside, of course.
I suppose a drawback is that Old Jerusalem doesn’t offer the eggplant or french fries that come standard in other falafel sandwiches. Then again, when those extras are fancying up what are bland, dry, crumbly falafels, then I will take Old Jerusalem’s sandwich of less diverse but ultimately way higher quality ingredients. So there.
Old Jerusalem has really long hours, and delivers, so you can have your Middle Eastern food without having to leave the house. If you live too close to justify delivery, call your order in ahead. On weekend nights especially the place is really busy; it’s tiny, and doesn’t take many people to fill up.
If you are for whatever reasons interested in other things than falafel, they make good stuff like ful—hummus made with fava beans instead of chickpeas—and fatta—hummus plus bread and olives—and of course, the Arabic salad, which you assume no place could get wrong, but some restaurants buy crappy tomatoes and ruin everything. Not Old Jerusalem, though. You can also get a vegetarian combo plate, and a lentil soup. They do make a great deal of meat dishes, lots of lamb, and yes that is disgusting! Still, not a reason to skip the really good falafel, especially when your choices are so few and far between around here. Honestly, I have had better hummus, on its own, but Old Jerusalem’s falafel sandwiches are quite good, and so available! Go, eat one, it will make you full and happy.
Review: Sabra Grill! »
You climb a narrow staircase to get in here, and the noise from Chinatown/FiDi/Union Square fades away. The walls are covered with Jewish and/or Israeli art/photography/iconography (the Dalí print is a highlight). The owner is a big, friendly, intimidating man. The last time I was there, the waiter’s yarmulke had Mario (as in, one of the Super Nintendo Brothers) embroidered on it.
Important note: They close two hours before sundown on Fridays for the sabbath, and they close for Jewish holidays, too. I recommend checking an online calendar before getting your hopes all up for the food. I have made this mistake, and it’s crushing.
I have eaten there about 10 times now, at first during my painful FiDi lunchbreaks, and most recently with my cousin who had never had falafel before. Sabra probably ruined him, as it is doubtful he will ever find such divine little falafels outside of the Holy Land. The service is not the fastest, but everyone is so polite, and I think the prices are quite reasonable. One of my omnivorous friends got the lamb sandwich, and sang its praises to the heavens.
The lamb, friends, is not what I am here to tell you about.
THIS IS THE BEST FALAFEL I HAVE EVER EATEN IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. It has ruined me for all other falafels, and I have eaten a lot of balls of fried chickpeas in my life. I had NO IDEA that falafel could be so fucking moist and crispy and delicate and goddamn, just thinking about it has started me salivating like Pavlov’s dog, the falafel is just so fantastic. Not kidding.
But! I completely forgot about my other favorite part of Sabra: the pickles. I am barely a pickle person; sometimes I can choke down a few bites of a sweet pickle, and I generally have no problem with relish in and on the many things you can put it. Real pickley pickles, though, much like raw cherry tomatoes and soft grapes, make me absolutely gag. Biting into one of those things is one of my worst food experiences ever. This is why I like sweet; they’re teeny, unintimidating, pleasant every once in awhile. What Milka is to Lindt 70 percent, so is the sweet pickle to the dill.
Sabra’s pickles are no wussy-baby sweet pickles: they are thick slices of juicy, salty dill pickles that they give you on a plate before bringing you your precious falafel. And I love them. I could, and once almost did, eat myself sick on them. It’s hard to share them. Just these lovely pickle slices in front of you, calling your name. Sabra changed my life, or at the very least, changed my palate.
If you are visiting the city, it is just inside the famous Chinatown gates on Grant Avenue, and after an hour (read: more than one minute) wandering around that neighborhood, an hour of quiet upstairs at Sabra with the city’s best falafel is exactly the remedy for your case of exhaustion/overstimulation. Tip: If you only want a falafel-in-a-pita lunch, order the falafel sandwich. It is not on the big menu, but sometimes they forget to give you the small sandwich menu, so be sure to ask for it.
[external photo by Brett L.]
Review: Ali Baba’s Cave! »
OK, what genius/saint thought it smart to grind, spice and fry chickpeas into little fried balls of perfection? I’d like to shake that man’s hand and then possibly simulate oral sex on his fingers. Was this man Jesus himself? I’m not one to speculate on whether or not Jesus invented falafel balls but whoever did most likely can do other crazy shit like turn water into wine and start enormous holy wars based strictly on the debate of his existence. To you, sir, I say, BRAVO. I also say, PEACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST!!!
The falafel at Ali Baba’s Cave is really very yummy and you can add fried eggplant and fried potatoes and fuck if that isn’t the trifecta of fried deliciousness. However, I’m gonna be forced to take one demerit point because these fools NEVER listen to you and I think it’s worse if you’re a woman. Listen, I understand that I’m the weaker and stupider sex,* but if I say no fucking hot sauce, I mean no fucking hot sauce this whitey will DIE. And I know you don’t value my life because I am a woman but um…I don’t know what to say. I really have no ground to stand on when who I fundamentally am is a second-class citizen at best and a wretched, whiny, bleeding, nagging, hooker beast at worst. What can you do? The falafel is REALLY good.
It’s so good, in fact, that the other night, I exited Ali Baba’s Cave on a complete falafel cloud of happiness. I was so excited and happy about everything that I yelled, “Cute dog!” to a guy and his super-cute dog as they drove by. The guy gave me a puzzled look and as he rounded the corner, I noticed that what I saw in the back seat was not in fact a dog but rather, a very old and very short lady with curly white hair. Presumably his grandmother. I am an asshole. Also, this falafel? Possibly magical as it creates illusions of the eye. Also, I am an asshole.
*This is a proven fact. Please don’t argue with me about “Right to Vote” and “Able to Show Face Flesh in Public,” Lucy Liberal and Esther Equality. Just get back in the kitchen and finish my pot pie, bitches! And if you forget the carrots like last time, there will be hell to pay. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, I will murder your whole family.
[photo via yelp]