My nightmare is coming true: European catfish leap from the water to catch birds »
Look at them! Lurking just under the water! I have said forever that fish are entirely untrustworthy, that if they had any sense at all they’d all go full piranha and start devouring us air-breathing, water-defiling jerks. And now, they’ve begun.
Per Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science, European catfish in the River Tarn are hunting pigeons on a gravel island in the city of Albi. The pigeons innocently step into the water to bathe, and the catfish leap out of the water to catch a bird, drag it under, and swallow it whole. WELCOME TO NIGHTMARE TOWN:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com]
See? Terrifying. And the speculation just makes it worse:
The European catfish is an alien, introduced into the Tarn in 1983, and currently flourishing there. Is it possible that these invaders have eaten too many local fish and are forced to seek sustenance elsewhere? Does this explain why it seems to be the smaller catfish that go after pigeons? Or is it that the smaller individuals are less likely to be permanently stranded on shore, or expend less energy in wiggling back into the water? Why, essentially, is a bird in the mouth worth being a fish out of water?
You realize what’s going to happen, right? Humans are going to empty the seas of all but the least edible fishes, which, denied every other form of sustenance, will have to turn to eating bathing animals of all species to survive. WE ARE THE CREATORS OF OUR OWN DESTRUCTION.
[Photo and video via Not Exactly Rocket Science]
Choc&Nut vegan chocolate spread is chocolatey delicious! »
You may have already heard of Choc&Nut vegan hazelnut/cashew chocolate spread as it’s been making waves in the vegan chocolate-loving community. Well I received a free jar to sample and now I will tell you all about it!
Choc&Nut is made by a very sweet family business in France and I know you will all be excited about this: not only is it organic, it’s palm oil-free! So you orangutan fans* can eat with a clear conscience.
Onto the flavor! As you can see, I tried it on a nice toaster waffle. It’s excellent! The flavor is sweeter than many chocolate spreads I’ve had and it definitely has a Euro taste to it. Reminds me of the chocolate we’d get on family trips to Europe when I was a little one. It’s also very smooth. Some chocolate spreads are granular like when you grind your own peanut butter, but this is not like that. It’s smooth as silk. Another difference between this and say Justin’s chocolate hazelnut spread is that this doesn’t have a salty flavor. I like the saltiness of others, but I like this too. I think it just depends on what you’re in the mood for. I think this is definitely a good Nutella substitute and would be awesome in crêpes. If you have a good vegan crêpe recipe, dude, get some of this, a few banana slices and go to town!
There Facebook has some adorbs recipes but they aren’t vegan. I’m thinking we could veganize them? If you do, send me a pic and I’ll post it. But not a janky pic! I have standards. Maybe not in men, but definitely in photography.
*Orangutans are my 2nd favorite animal in the world! It’s elephants, orangutans, …dogs or otters…mountain gorillas or dolphins…I don’t know, I haven’t really figured it out past the first two. Point is: I love those ginger monkeys!
Industrial farming is killing the oceans »
Remember how the ocean’s fucked? It’s still fucked, especially in France, where the beaches are unfit for human presence because of “Up-stream releases of manure from intensive farming that overload the near-shore waters with nitrates.” It causes growth of a seaweed that releases a toxic gas!
Farm effluent is so amazing. It creates dead zones in places like the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay, which now covers 83 miles of that body of water. Back in December of 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a plan “to dramatically reduce the levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment that states can allow in the bay from municipalities and farms,” but guess whose opposition is blocking the EPA from implementing it: the American Farm Bureau Federation’s! Of course! Because dead zones are caused by runoff from those giant places food comes from, farms and feedlots.
In Brittany, 31 wild boars were found dead last week; the animals “‘were not [otherwise] sick and they did not drown.’” People can’t visit the beaches there because they could release pockets of the toxic gas the algae produces and die. How would this happen? By, you know, slipping and falling in the algae, or running, or walking. Not that anyone wants to play on a beach covered in horrible slime.
Industrial farming! It feeds most of the world while it kills the oceans! The best part of history is always when you realize no one’s planned more than like 10 minutes into the future.
More magical fish, cockfighting in California, boring old French food, surprise! cats: it’s this week’s link-o-rama! »
These are portraits of donkeys at Donegal Donkey Sanctuary by artist Julia Feliz, a member of Etsy for Animals. Read about her work at the sanctuary and her efforts to raise funds and encourage others to volunteer at their local sanctuaries—she’s great.
There’s a new magic fish in town! Not a SuperSalmon, no; this one is the barramundi, a near-vegetarian (har) that produces loads of Omega-3, poops fertilizer, and smiles before it’s killed. That last one is a lie. The other ones are real, though: ask Barry Estabrook, who wrote a whole article about it in the Atlantic food section! It’s probably totally credible: his primary source was Australis Aquaculture, the biggest (only?) barramundi farming operation in the world! That is not a lie, and it’s gross. Cockfighting is also super-gross, but especially here in California, where a first offense is a fine rather than the misdemeanor it is in other states. According to the Humane Society, California hosts more cockfights than dogfights because of this little fine business. Tenderblog picked up the story of LGBT Compassion’s longtime protest of the super-gross, super-illegal, bizarrely overlooked sale of live, “spent” chickens from factory egg farms, so that’s good. Whether a person agrees with selling live chickens in farmers’ markets is moot; this operation is illegal and the city is ignoring it. Gross.
Reader Alanna sent us this lovely photo of the black turtle beans she grew in her garden this summer! Thanks, Alanna, these look wonderful. It has been a banner week for beans!
[Do you have awesome pictures? Gossip? News? Events? Do please let us know!]
We know animals sleep differently than people, and that they dream, but might they be capable of spirituality as well? We’ve seen chimpanzees, you know, “confront” death; do animals have near-death experiences? Sloane Crosley would like to clear up rumors about “cat people,” i.e. “crazy” needn’t be their constant adjective; cats are perfectly fine, perhaps spiritual creatures themselves. In San Francisco, planners are now considering how to adjust buildings to prevent accidental bird deaths. Virgin America—also in San Francisco!—will from now on use eggs from cage-free hens in all their eggy in-flight meals.
Hey, a new fight about consumer information/OBESITY OH NO!: The Institute of Medicine would like to see food packages with a label on the front, listing “the nutrients most responsible for obesity and chronic diseases: calories, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium”; the FDA also wants to start labeling packages on the front, but so far “standardizing nutrition labeling” is still “a proposal”; and of course “food” producers aren’t very pleased about it and, of course, have “been in discussions with the F.D.A. as it develops its recommendations.” Whatever, vegetables are for cool kids, exxxtreme baby carrotz!! The U.S. isn’t the only country with food problems, though; apparently France is no longer the destination for la cuisine la plus haute du monde. Our traveling Vegansaurs have enjoyed their culinary adventures: maybe more adventures in vegan cooking with French techniques is the answer, messieurs et mesdames les chefs. Certainly you oughtn’t cook up anymore de la dinde—what we must do is listen to our pal Ellen and adopt a turkey from Farm Sanctuary! If you’re in the right mood (read: maudlin as a great-aunt on her third tumbler), looking at those turkeys can make a person tear up.
Jordan tries to act all normal, but clearly cats (at least!) are different in Canada.
[can’t see the video? watch it at vegansaurus.com!]
Finally: “How about that Rainbow Grocery? It sure is full of hippies!” —Jay Leno.
A vegan in Paris, part three! (Super!marchés) »
When you’re tired of shelling out lots of money for a lovely vegan meal and want to just cook yourself, it’s time to go shopping for vegan groceries in Paris. It’s easier than you might think!
You might see Naturalia all over the city; with a tag line like “ingredients for life,” how can you go wrong? They carry tofu, tempeh, and overpriced seitan—no really, how could they possibly charge over 25€ for a fucking package of seitan?! IT’S JUST GLUTEN AND WATER, PEOPLE! Depending on the size of the store you stumble into they also have a small assortment of alimentaires bio, a.k.a. organic food. I would definitely stay away from their almost inedible prepackaged meals; I got a tofu-bulgur dish that was positively vile. That said, Naturalia is a great place to get all of the specialty vegan/gluten-free/healthy items that “normal” groceries don’t carry. A similar bio market you might want to try is Hédonie, located by the Rennes metro.
But if you don’t have time to look for a boutiquey, small market and want to visit some huge-ass shopping center like, say, the Galeries Lafayette, you’re in luck! Boasting a full organic section and an assortment of soy yogurt, I was sold. But maybe it was their loose spices or the vegan cookies in their bakery that made me swoon. Regardless, it would take a lot to get me to elbow through a mound of tourists to get to the checkout counter more than once.
I only go to supermarkets when I need specialty items I can’t get elsewhere. When you’re in Paris, you need to enjoy the wide availability of the freshest, most delicious produce ever. A guide like 20 Little Cities has a comprehensive listing of open-air farmer’s markets throughout Paris. I had the opportunity to go to the Marché de Cours de Vincennes (pictured), which had a huge assortment of the most delicious-looking and -tasting produce I have ever had the pleasure of getting my hands on. The vibrant colors and hustle-and-bustle atmosphere are sure to make any foodie quiver in her panties.
I’ll leave you with a picture of the most delicious strawberries I have ever eaten in my life. Unphotoshopped, I swear, and taken with a point-and-shoot Canon Elph.
Who loves bunnies and dormice and cephalopods and German vegetarians? This week’s link-o-rama loves them all, of course! »
Events! Things to do!
Have you adopted a rabbit yet? If not, don’t worry, you have another chance on Saturday, Sept. 4, when East Bay Rabbit Rescue teams with Harvest Home Sanctuary and the House Rabbit Society for a massive art show and adoption event! From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the East Bay SPCA at 4651 Gleason Dr. in Dublin, you can browse and buy bunny artwork, and meet your new best friends like little baby Elmo here, who is only three months old! The art show will continue through the end of the month.
SF Zine Fest returns this weekend! It’s awesome, it’s free, and our own Jonas is a longtime organizer so attendance is like telling Jonas he’s great, which shouldn’t be hard because duh, he is. Our Laura will be there with the very first issue of Fat Zine (read about its creation in The Bold Italic!) Plus you can check out other Friends of Vegansaurus, including Susie Cagle, Family Style, Jen Oaks, François Vigneault, and Zine Fest special guest Jesse Reklaw! Zine Fest is located in the County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park, at 9th Avenue and Lincoln Way; it’s open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 4 and 5. Visit the site for information on workshops, panels, special events, a complete list of exhibitors, interviews, and more!
Update! Davey Surcamp of future vegan bakery A Fire Inside is holding a fundraising vegan bakesale on Monday, Sept. 6 (Labor Day!) from noon to 4:30 p.m. at Haight and Ashbury Streets. Buy a snack, support the bakery, which we REALLY WANT, YOU GUYS. Afterward he’ll host a vegan potluck in Buena Vista Park at 5 p.m., noting please that while everyone is welcome, all attendees will need to bring both a vegan dish to share (duh) and their own dinnerware. So there’s your three-day weekend covered, you’re welcome!
Most of us San Franciscans have friends and relations in other states worrying us about THE BIG ONE and whether we’re READY FOR IT, but hyperbole aside, we ought to be minimally earthquake-ready—at least for your pet’s sake. To that end, a panel of Disaster Preparedness Coalition for Animals reps will hold a discussion on “Preparing Yourself and Your Animal Companion for a Disaster” on Wednesday, Sept. 8 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. in the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room in the Main Branch of the SFPL. The Main Branch is located at 100 Larkin St, and the Latino/Hispanic Community Meeting Room is on the lower level of the Library.
Hello, Tidbit! At one whole year old, Tidbit is fully grown and a whopping two pounds. We understand that he loves to meet new people, and cannot be kept away from his toys. Tidbit is a rescue bun with Harvest Home Sanctuary, meaning our friend Anne has vouched for his character, and if she says he’s confident and happy, he most certainly is. Do you have room in your heart and home for little Tidbit? (hint: YES)
Articles! Things to read!
Remember when we asked you last week if you’d rather eat a GM “salmon” or “willingly donated human meat?” Guess what, we’re geniuses: that was, essentially, the question the VEBU wanted everyone to ask, and being vegans, we got it. Wir sind gleich! We’re also gleich with scientists who are proving that cephalopods are conscious beings. They might even dream, you guys. What do you suppose squids dream of? What would an octopus’ dream look like? Your Vegansaurus will admit to welling up a bit, considering animal minds.
A mountain lion made the mistake of venturing too near “popular restaurants and shops in the north side” of Berkeley on Tuesday morning, so city police, to quote Brock SFist, murdered it. Definitely the right choice, straight-up bullets. Even though the ortolan is an endangered species, it’s such a fancypants delicacy in France the government still ignores hunters—how can you stop people from eating something so delicious? Even if 50,000 tiny birds are slaughtered annually, each of which sells for up to £120 on the black market—it’s about TRADITION, and CUISINE, something animal-loving barbarians would NEVER understand. Across the Channel, the entire U.K. is up in a bunch over having to build bridges to allow tree-dwelling endangered species like dormice to safely cross giant motorways, once the giant motorways have been built right through the dormice’s habitats. Considering how super-extra-endangered Britain’s remaining endangered species are, the public may want to consider more serious measures. You jerks had better not kill off all the Mrs. Tiggywinkles. In Israel, a bill that would have banned “the production, processing, import, export and sale of fur from all animal species not already part of the meat industry” will now most likely be withdrawn, as member of the Knesset Menachem Eliezer announced his party no longer supports it, despite a clause added by the bill’s sponsor, MK Ronit Tirosh, to allow fur imports for religious purposes (such as the shtreimel worn by ultra-Orthodox men). Dang it, religion: no matter what country or what deity, you’re always making things difficult.
Do you read Paula Deenisms? Maya Goodwin, unfortunately, is an ex-vegan who believes that “[v]eganism is a dietary preference that is, in realistic terms, reserved for those who are fortunate enough to afford such an expensive diet.” Boo, Maya Goodwin. As an interested party (one of your editors also works for The Morning News!), I am disappointed the interviewer (who is my pal) didn’t press her on this point, but of course, we have separate agendas. On the other hand, did you read the good news from old crazyface John Mackey? “[Whole Foods will] introduce a private-label line in 2011 based on the healthy eating book The Engine 2 Diet. We’ve licensed that brand. It’s vegan (no animal fats) with no canola or safflower oils, and low in sugar and salt.” YOU GUYS MORE VEGAN FOOD AVAILABLE IN MORE AREAS HOORAY HOORAY. Mackey remains a creep who probably hates fat people and is clearly obsessed with oils—which make your hair look pretty, dude, look into ingesting some—but you bet your ass your Vegansaurus supports his move to bring more vegan food to the people. Like (organic, vegan) Brooklyn Salsa: NYC vegans, check this stuff out! The company uses Glen Industries to make the salsas, which employs people with disabilities, helping them “to realize their goals of where and how they learn, live, play, and work, Glen Industries creates an environment of independence, productivity and integration.” Jesus christ, my heart. [BK Salsa info from Shut Up, Foodies!]
Plumpy’nut: when we last looked at Plumpy’nut, Congress was not happy about its creator’s proposal to let her Tanzanian factory produce it—what about the precious U.S. farm bill? In a new article, we get a broader view of the complicated business of Plumpy’nut. Internationally, there are complaints that the company that owns its patent is too strict with how it licenses the product, and that the $60-per-child-per-two-month-treatment cost is too high. Then there are complaints from the U.S. peanut lobby, who aren’t getting in on any of the action, and from other parties who don’t believe in for-profit “therapeutic foods.” Yes, it contains milk, but it is a very effective vegetarian supplement; kids love it, and they can eat it at home instead of at a clinic. What do you vegans think: better Plumpy’nut for kids, or something like Heifer International for families?
Right, and McDonald’s food does not visibly age. Like at all. That’s your restaurant!
A vegan in Paris, part two! (the make-you-super-jealous edition) »
23 rue des Vinaigriers
Open weekdays from noon to 2 p.m., weekend brunch from noon to 6 p.m.
Every once in a while, you step into an establishment and you just put your hand on your heart and swoon and feel good about the world. Voy Alimento is one such place, nestled in the 10ème arrondissement of Paris. It’s a shop that sells supplements and specialty food products native to the South American continent. They also serve COMPLETELY VEGAN (not one of those half-assed vegetarian-with-vegan-options kinda joints) lunch from a modest kitchen. I think what was amazing about this place is it’s really unlike anything I have ever seen or experienced, and it’s done well—superbly, even.
Pictured above is who I believe to be the owner in the kitchen. Not only was he really knowledgeable about what he was serving me, he was super-excited to engage in conversation with me about the food. He went on to describe everything on my plate (a bunch of which I forgot, because there were like a thousand ingredients and he was talking in French):
In the center, curried rice with a spirulina-based sauce. Two side salads of alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, carrots, and red sprouts of some sort. At the top, a melange of sauteed veggies, including red peppers, zucchini, onions, and aguaymanto. He was nice enough to bring out three extra sauces for me to try to shovel atop the already delicious and flavorful food. So yummy.
I couldn’t resist getting something on the menu labeled milkshake (it’s a rarity in Paris). I opted for bananas in mine for an extra euro (a small price to pay for deliciousness); you can choose to have your shake with maca or klamath. I chose maca because it promotes mental and physical vitality and regulates hormones. Surrounding the fucking delicious shake (that has an oat milk base, if you were curious) are more of those yummy aguaymanto berries and yacón (which kind of tasted a bit like dried mangoes).
So when I was done with my meal, the kind man asked if I wanted to try dessert. Still enthralled by this completely foreign cuisine, I was like FUCK YEAH. And he was nice enough to offer to let me try a taste of the two types of desserts offered so I could make an informed decision. I chose correctly, a cacao-based pudding. The cacao nibs were ground up and provided a coffee-grounds kind of texture, but so much richer and lovelier. Adorned with beurre de cacao around the edges. Topped with an aguaymanto berry and some more of those yummy dried yacón.
Despite being full as fuck (and having finished EVERY LAST MORSEL I JUST SHOWED YOU FUCKERS), the owner/nice man offered me a free tasting of Xocolatl, what chocolate (supposedly) tasted like 5,000 years during the Aztec civilization (a 3,5€ value, on the house). It was a hot drink and looked a lot like hibiscus tea, but tasted like… spiced chocolate. Comprising cacao nibs, urucum seeds, bird’s eye chili, cinnamon stick, and white and black peppercorns, and then sweetened with agave, it’s the original Mexican hot chocolate. They sold a “kit” for this drink for 5€ which I had to get.
This restaurant is a Parisian gem. I still can’t believe how fucking amazing this place is, and I recommend you all visit (and everyone on Happycow agrees with me). I spent probably two hours enjoying the food and examining their wares and talking with the owner/kind man (in Franglish, though his English was way superior to my French). I guess what really struck me about this place is how full of love all of the food is, definitely my favorite food of my entire trip thus far. And I doubt I will ever get the chance to try food from a similar establishment. And neither will you, unless you visit.
[all photos by Brianna!]
A vegan in Paris, part one! »
I am excited to announce that my broke college ass ended up in Paris for a whopping two weeks before my semester in the even less-vegan-friendly Prague [Ed.: For more advice on visiting vegan Prague, check out Melisser’s chronicles.] And to every asshole in my life that told me I would have to give up veganism to enjoy Paris: t’es un putain de merde. It’s helpful that I have a two-burner stove kitchenette with the appropriate accoutrements, but I’ve found it easy as hell to eat in lovely vegan(-friendly) restaurants. Oh, and the baguettes are vegan, and probably the most important food group ever. Here are a few suggestions:
41 rue des Bourdonnais
Open daily 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m.
Saveurs Végét’Halles (get it?) is an adorable little mostly-vegan restaurant in the heart of Paris. The cuisine is described on HappyCow as having an “Oriental feel”, and I agree with that sentiment. For about 18,90€ you can get the dîner formule: an entrée (starter), a plat principal, and a dessert. There’s a cheaper with one fewer dish, but you’re in Paris! Go big or go home. I opted for the salade mixte aux coeurs de palmiers (salad with hearts of palm), assiette légumes vapeur minute (steamed veggies with a tofu chive sauce and some mashed peas), and crumble aux pommes (apple crumble YUM). Here’s the photos (the lighting inside was mood lighting, not so great for food lighting).
The salad was a salad; there isn’t wasn’t any special dressing beyond vinegar and oil, but it was well balanced and full of fresh and yummy veggies. The main course was exactly what I was in the mood for: really filling and satisfying food that feels healthy. Unfortunately, some of the veggies weren’t steamed properly, especially the carrots. The tofu-chive sauce was delicious, and tasted great with everything on the plate.
The crumble aux pommes was the star of the meal. I’m definitely one of those bitches who will melt for any apples prepared with cinnamon (gimme that shit over chocolate for V-day any day), and I have to say, as an apple-crisp lover, I’ve never had it accompanied with a raspberry coulis! INGENIOUS. They took two amazing fruits and put them on the same plate. LOVED IT GIMME MORE.
Le Potager du Marais
22 rue Rambuteau
Open daily noon to midnight; last seating/reservation at 10:30 p.m.
Le Potager du Marais, which specializes in French cuisine, is definitely one of those fancy-shmancy places you do not go for a casual lunch (like I did). It’s super-tiny with limited seating, so they recommend making reservations (as I went lunchtime, I didn’t bother). My lunch, a plat and dessert, cost 24€. For lunch. For just me. It’s pricey as fuck, but again, GO BIG OR GO HOME. Here’s the rundown on this place: beautiful atmosphere, nice music choices and volume, and a really friendly, eager-to-please waitstaff. You get what you pay for I guess.
I ordered a cassoulet de la mer gratinée aux noisettes (16€), which on the menu was described as a type of casserole with smoked tofu, mashed peas, bits of seaweed, and topped with crushed hazelnuts (to balance out the mushy texture). Flavor-wise, I felt the casserole was a little on the bland side. However, it was so rich and the texture was spot-on, I finished every last morsel. It was also served with an impressive side-salad, with a wide assortment of lettuces and sprouts and perfectly julienned carrots.
For dessert, I got a Tarte Tatin et Chantilly à la crème d’amandes (8€). Arguably the most beautiful looking dessert offered, it fell far short of being yummy. I was expecting a really sweet and rich end to my meal, and instead got a slightly bitter fruit topping with a difficult-to-cut-with-a-fork pastry bottom. I so wish I had gone with the chocolate mousse.
Le Quartier Juif in Marais
Rue des Rosiers between rue Vielle du Temple and rue Payenne
If you are craving some authentic Middle Eastern food and don’t want to pay more than 5€, this stretch of Jewish highway is your place. I got by ordering my falafel in Frebrew, this new pidgin language I started (but not really). I ordered just a plan old pita and falafel, and was assured in two different languages that there was indeed no dairy or eggs in any of the products I was eating. It was soooo yummy, street food at its finest (and a great alternative to Maoz).
So that’s all for now folks!! More Parisian food porn to come, I promise!
[all photos by Brianna!]