The amazing new vegan goodies from Natural Products Expo West! »
Alternative title: How the West Was Won
I don’t even know where to start. I spent my entire weekend at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA (for a good time, search #vegansatexpo on Twitter and Instagram). It was like being at summer camp! I met so many people I follow online, or vice versa, and I ATE ALL THE FREE (!!!!!) FOOD (mostly ice cream, which you wouldn’t be able to tell by these photos, but it’s true). Rather than going into extreme details about each and every thing I tried (that’s what follow-up posts are for!), I figured I’d give y’all what you really want: FOOD PORN.
In all my excitement about Mr. Dewie’s, I forgot to take a photo (thanks for sending one, guys!) The owners were so generous, and let me try EVERY FLAVOR. They were all good, but this caramel almond was my fave! The cashew milk is so delectably rich! There are also a few flavors made from almond milk, which totally ruled.
Gardein’s new Fishless Filets were a definite star of the Expo. Flaky, “fishy,” crispy… NAILED IT! And the cute little samples they passed out were served with Follow Your Heart’s Tarter Sauce. It was a match made in vegan heaven!
I’m embarrassed to say how many samples I had at The Piping Gourmets booth, but let’s just say I did EXTRA research and the results were unanimous: their gluten-free, whoopie pies are AMAZEBALLS. My top picks were the chocolate with mint and the chocolate with raspberry.
This is one of FOUR new flavors of Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon. They were all stupendous!!! This “apple fennel” flavor really stood out to me. I’ll be throwing this in tofu scrambles, fo’ sho’!
Do you know who the Spork Foods sisters are? They’re about as cute as can be, and man can they make some tasty pancakes! Jenny and Heather are the official ambassadors for GO Veggie! Foods, and made blueberry cream cheese pancakes with the GO Veggie! plain cream cheese. Delish!
Edward & Son’s Native Forest has SO many awesome new products coming out. This is the first ever organic jackfruit! A few other new items I’m excited about are the organic coconut milk powder, and organic sweet potato flour! I can’t wait to play around with those.
The Sophie’s Kitchen “vegantoona” was another Expo fave of many of the vegans I talked to. Made from pea protein and konjac root, this “toona” has a really unique taste and nails the catfood-esque consistency of the “real thing.” Plus, it’s shelf-stable, so guess what’s going in my earthquake kit?
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Beyond Meat’s ”Taco Beyond” booth. I already raved about their new Beef-Free Crumbles in a previous post, but this was just SO RAD! And why isn’t it a real thing??!!
As I said, there is NO way I could cover every product I saw there (and, sadly, I didn’t see everything!), but these are some of my favorites. I will definitely write more in-depth about some of these, and others that I left out. ESPECIALLY MORE ICE CREAM!
Gardein is doing a holiday roast this year! And it looks daaaaamn tasty, let’s EAT IT ALL!
Beyond meat is beyond delicious! »
Ahahahaha! You are gonna have to forgive me for that title, it’s late! I want to be watching 30 Rock on Netflix, but I can’t rest until I deliver the news about Beyond Meat!
I’m super into it. Here’s the deal: it’s very chicken-y, so if you aren’t into faux meats, you probably won’t be into it. I on the other hand, love faux meats, as I didn’t go vegan because I hated the taste or texture of meat, and sometimes I miss it. So there! [Ed.: And it freakily shreds like real dead animal! So amazing! And I think the texture is better than Gardein… less, rubbery? Or something. And almost like, grisly and fatty! YUM.] Anyway, Beyond Meat reminds me of Gardein, except it’s gluten and nearly grain-free.* This is good news for me, because grains tend to hurt my stomach. Also, it’s not pre-seasoned! I’m into this because I like cooking so much so, that I want to season everything myself! Those Gardein chicken strips are ever-so-slightly seasoned, but seasoned nonetheless.
However, Beyond Meat isn’t available to buy pre-packaged like Gardein yet; I’m keeping my fingers crossed though. Oh yeah, I met the creators and they are super cool! We took a picture together, maybe one day I will see it on the internet; man, I hope I was sitting up straight and not blinking.
All grilled up and ready to be consumed by
the masses me!
In San Francisco, I’ve spotted Beyond Meat at the Haight Street Whole Foods and Source restaurant! You know, my place of work. We got a couple bags to try out and luckily the chef is into it! So we’ll get a large shipment on Monday, and we’ll have it in specials or you can request to replace it for ‘cluck’ in any regular menu item. Isn’t that exciting? Your very special day to try Beyond Meat is coming! Let us know what you think when you eat it, I can’t wait to discuss!
[Ed.: It should be at all S.F. Bay Area Whole Foods by the end of next week. I purchased it in Redwood City and in San Rafael in their curry chicken salad in prepared foods—this is the only way I’ve seen to purchase it retail—so I’m pretty sure it’s errywhere! Oh, and here’s there rapidly expanding list of places to buy it!]
Vegan Roadtrip: Vegas, take two! »
In under one year I’ve been to Vegas twice! And I don’t even gamble (unless we’re talking about the guys I date, but we’ll save that for another time). I went with another femme fatale you may have heard of—Sarah M. Smart, anyone? Sarah was in Vegas for work, plus it was her birthday weekend, so this whirlwind vacay was taken with our friends Brent and Britney. Party time! Sarah and I often get asked how we have solidified such a strong, vegan friendship and we’re like, “Trips to Vegas, Katy Perry, and a mutual affection for cake vodka!” That’s how it’s done.
Unfortunately, I was a little under the weather for this trip, which meant more poolside lounging and eating, as opposed to a little something I like to call “elegant debauchery.” Poor me, right? Poor, hot-tub soaking me.
I like to stay at the Hooters Hotel and Casino, which boasts three pools and two hot tubs! Don’t forget, they have a sandwich that can be made vegan and eaten poolside, the Sassy San Franciscan!
Now, let’s get to the food! In terms of eating, Vegas has got it going on, if only for a little (entirely vegan) place called Pura Vida. Pura Vida is located in downtown Vegas, which is few miles off the strip. It’s like a part of Vegas only the locals know! And now ME!
The brunch I had at Pura Vida was one of the best vegan meals I have ever had. Chef Mayra is creative, brilliant, and quite the spitfire! It may sound as though I’m exaggerating with my whole “It was the BEST,” but I sent my vegan friend and co-worker, Nate, there a few weeks later when he went to Vegas and guess what: He said the same thing, and also that chef Mayra remembered me! How sweet. Next time you go to Vegas, make Pura Vida your first priority! (Maybe go to Vegas just to eat there?) And make sure you talk to the chef, she will brighten your day!
Brent ordered the empandas for an appetizers and they were delicious! I especially liked that they were very light and not greasy. I can’t find them on the online menu, and also cannot remember what they were filled with! Oops. However, everyone at the table agreed they were tasty and that the chutney they came with was superb! Look how vibrant the colors are!
I am going to Vegas again, hopefully in the very near future, to chow down on this baby: the Latin’tude breakfast burrito. It changed my life. Look at all those colors! So fresh! So beautiful! I might go back to Vegas and ask it marry me; I mean, when in Sin City, right? Another note on chef Mayra’s food—it’s organic, and she has many gluten-free options available. Now go!
Sarah, Britney, Brent, and I also hit up the Cheesecake Factory in Caesar’s Palace. (Please don’t tell anyone I made them go to Kardashian Khaos in the Mirage afterward, okay? Like, for an unsatisfying dessert.) I’m okay with eating at the Cheesecake Factory, because they have this cocktail called the Asian Pear Martini that I just adore! Plus, they have this new Skinnylicious menu, with many vegan or easy-to-veganize options.
I like to get the beets with goat cheese salad, minus the goat cheese. It is still very satisfying, with beets, arugula, pecans, apples and a vinaigrette dressing!
I also like to get the mushroom lettuce wraps! They come with shitake mushrooms, ginger, garlic, water chestnuts and green onions, all sauteed in a light soy dressing. They are very refreshing, especially wrapped in the crisp, lettuce leaves.
Lettuce taco, coming atcha!
Another place the four of us went that is worth mentioning is Red 8 in the Wynn hotel. It is an Asian Fusion bistro, with many vegan options, including vegan dim sum! How exciting!
We ordered dim sum, which I sadly do not have a picture of. I also cannot find their dim sum menu online, but I will say that the jade dumplings feature another love of my life, spinach!
Britney and I split the Gardein cashew Chick’n, celery, mushroom, and ginger entree, as well as the tofu and shiitake. So delicious! Now that I’ve broken the bank at both of the vegan restaurants I wanted to at the Wynn, I don’t feel the need to go back in the near future—unless of course my future sugar daddy is paying.
Chick’n, cashew, celery, mushrooms, and ginger plate!
Tofu and shiitake plate!
I know there are tons of places I didn’t get to in this last trip, but I will eventually. I can’t wait to get back to Vegas! It is my vegan haven!
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.
Ellen schools Jessica Simpson on Gardein! »
Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!
Look, everyone! It’s Jessica Simpson eating vegan onion rings on the Ellen show! And she’s about to burst! Were you on the edge of your seat wondering if she’d give birth on this segment? I was.
If you aren’t able to stomach the idea of watching this video in its entirety, you can skip to the 1:44 mark. Ellen unveils a bunch of vegan snacks for Jessica and then they discuss Gardein. Oh, Ellen! When are you and Portia opening your vegan restaurant in LA?
Here are a few things I took from this interview:
- Jessica Simpson knows what a vegan is. That surprised me.
- Ellen, if Jessica isn’t interested in your Gardein products, I am! I will enjoy them to the fullest (and probably all at once).
- What is a snoogle?! This is the first I’ve seen and I’m intrigued!
- Ugh, being so pregnant looks uncomfortable. Not interested! My sister will look like that in September and I shall ridicule her if she cannot pull off eight-inch heels (No I won’t! Neither of us could pull them off EVER, let alone when she’s 8.5 months pregnant!). I bought her some Food For Lovers queso, but she said the morning sickness makes Mexican food sound horrendous. No, sis: I know the baby wants it. Like all the vegan treats I will impose on him/her in the future! Being an aunt will be spectacular!
I just don’t feel like making snarky comments about Jessica Simpson. Maybe the idea of making fun of a massively pregnant woman seems too harsh. Plus, I think she’s kind of adorable and charming pregnant. Don’t worry! I kind of hate myself too.
East Coast-style Fourth of July! »
Vegans are amazing! Check out this spread from Aimee’s Fourth of July BBQ near Annapolis, Md. Fourth of July veganism, coast to coast!
Featured: pesto pasta salad with tomatoes, potato salad with Torfurky Smoky Maple Bacon Tempeh, Gardein beefless burgers, Perfect Grilled Portobellos, Tofurky veggie dogs, organic corn, assorted dips and guacamole from Roots Market, plus Aimee’s new favorite condiment, Spicy Red Pepper Miso Mayo. Dessert included fresh peach ice cream and Sticky Fingers brownies and Cowvin cookies.
This looks delicious! I can’t wait to
invite myself come to your next party! Thanks for the submission!
Steve Wynn is all, “IN YOUR FACE, KATE MIDDLETON!” »
Steve Wynn, American vegan gazillionbilliontribillion$$$$$aire and some woman 1/8th of his age are getting married the same weekend as Prince William and Kate Middleton. Here’s
the joker Wynn and his terrified lucky bride-to-be!
I like to imagine Kate Middleton and Steve Wynn as Anne Hathaway and what’s-her-name—Goldie Hawn’s more unfortunate looking daughter? WHAT IS HER NAME? She’s in that awful movie that I’ve watched like nine times (I hate myself), Bride Wars. Middleton and Wynn grew up best friends, both dreaming of their wedding days (just like a woman!) and now, they’re 23 and 72 (respectively) and wedding dress shopping together and looking at china patterns and whatever rich people do before they get married AND THEN, they head to the Plaza to book it for their big days, and it’s only available one day and so they have to sabotage each other and duke it out to see which wedding REIGNS SUPREME. I think that’s basically what’s going on here, I mean Middleton obviously did something to Wynn’s face for him to look like that, right? OMG LAURA YOU ARE SO MEAN AND NO GREAT BEAUTY YOURSELF! Actually, you’re wrong, I am very attractive. HA!
Anyway, if I have to choose which wedding I’m going to, it’s totally Wynn’s because you know that menu is gonna be all vegan. Ecorazzi thinks Tal Ronnen is the chef so it’ll likely just be massive platters of Gardein stuffed with Gardein. I’ll take it!
Fuck yeah, Kathy Freston! »
I’m hearing lots of vegans talk smack about Kathy Freston, and I get it. I don’t think I’d want to hang out with her (or maybe I would, do you think she’d buy me a Prius if I lost 10 pounds?) and I don’t totally understand her kooky rich-person ways but DAMN, she’s reaching a shit-ton (technical term) of people! Do I wish someone else repped veganism on Oprah and Martha? Yes, I do. But I’m also beyond stoked that she’s out there doing it. The fact is, if Kathy Freston weren’t on Oprah, NO vegan would be on Oprah. They’re friends, I think her husband might own part of Oprah’s network/soul, and you know what? I trust Oprah. Call me crazy but she’s motherflipping OPRAH. She knows what she’s doing! You don’t become Oprah without knowing a thing or two about EVERYTHING.
I know the Oprah vegan episode wasn’t 1/20th of what a lot of us wanted, but you can be damn sure that many people went vegan that day. And you know where they’re gonna head? To the internet to learn more! That’s more people buying vegan cookbooks, reading vegan blogs, and becoming radder people. It makes me want to service Freston sexually. Seriously, the vegans of the world should all be going in on some kind of gift for her. If you don’t think I’m sexy enough (SCREW YOU I’M SEXY), how about a pool boy? Some stock in Gardein? One-tenth of her next salon visit? Let’s brainstorm!
As far as the honey-on-Martha thing, I think Megan’s response is spot on. Yeah, Freston should’ve said something, but she’s a person with flaws, just like you and me. I mean, Martha didn’t even trust Freston to supply her own recipe for the show: they made someone else’s! How sad is that? And what does that tell you? Martha does not suffer fools; clearly she was all, “FRESTON! STAND HERE! DON’T TALK! IF YOU MISBEHAVE, I’M EATING YOUR GENITALS!” You guys, no joke, Martha is fucking terrifying. I would not step to her, and I’m made of NO FEELINGS and cold, hard steel (underneath my layers of sexy chub!).
I agree, it’s annoying that Freston is basically a spokesperson for Gardein, but you know what? THAT SHIT TASTES GOOD. People already know about vegetables; what they don’t know is that as vegans, they can still have comfort food like mac and cheese and hot dogs! She’s like, “Check it out, you can have your cake and eat that same cake covered in facon and Vegenaise! BAM!” I do wish Freston wouldn’t harp on veganism as a weight-loss diet. It’s the only thing about her I have a problem with, and yes, I’ve heard her laugh. I think Freston fell into the trap because she’s naturally skinny and so she has no clue what it’s like to be fat. No amount of vegan food is going to make a fat person skinny. Uh, unless it’s a very small amount. Sure, if you were eating a REALLY unhealthy S.A.D. before going vegan, and you switched to a whole-foods diet with major portion control, you’re gonna drop the pounds,* but that’s a restrictive DIET. It doesn’t have much to do with veganism, and Freston freely admits that she’s ALWAYS been skinny. Girl, you know your weight ain’t got nothing to do with veganism so quit your frontin’, and let’s eat some vegan Twinkies.
Let’s face it: Rich, famous people rule the world and right now, Freston is our vegan lifeline. Maybe she’s not doing things exactly how I would but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be getting a tattoo of her face on my back. The thing I ultimately give a shit about is who is helping the most animals, and Kathy Freston and her cheesy (tight!) ass are saving a lot of them. We can make fun of Freston all we want (and how!) but at the end of the day, only one of us has a bestselling book,** appearances on Martha and Oprah that are convincing thousands of people to eat more meatless meals and go vegan, and is laughing all the way to the bank. Where she probably has them open the vault so she can roll around in her piles and piles of money. The rich get richer, for realz. I don’t totally accept that, but I understand it’s the current way of the world (we’re all going down in flames!) so to Freston I say: You go, girl. I’d Jazzercise with you any day!***
DISCLAIMER: I know this post is dated but I’m busy and sometimes it takes me awhile to get around to shit so you know, catch me in a couple of months and maybe I’ll have an opinion on who killed Laura Palmer!
*At first, but you’ll gain that shit back the second you discover Coconut Bliss VEGANS AM I RIGHT?!
**Where is my g-d book deal?! I’ve got some motherfucking wisdom to impart! I’m over here dropping truth bombs and there ain’t a Simon or a Schuster in sight! And where’s Penguin?! I’m assuming that company is run by a very well read penguin with the power to make or break authors like Salman Rushdie and Shakespeare. Yo, Penguin! Holler at your girl! I will totally hook you up with a little top hat!
***Fit is IT, baby!
Chipotle experimenting more with Garden Blend burritos; meaty-meat chef Nate Appleman is all OMG VEGGIE BURRITO »
What’s your usual order? I’m not joking when I say that I eat a Chipotle vegetarian burrito every single day. It’s rice, black beans, peppers, onions, and guacamole. I’m thinking a lot about vegetarian food these days, which is kind of funny when you consider what I’m known for. Right now I’m experimenting with something called Garden Blend for Chipotle, which is a soy and protein combo. I’m going for vegetarian food more often and now it’s my goal to only eat very good meat, which means eating it much more rarely than I used to. I’m treating meat as something special.
That’s pretty cool because he’s one of those celebrity chefs who is usually all OMG MEAT and now he’s all OMG VEGETARIAN BURRITO. So, you know, Go on Nate Appleman, and Go on, Chipotle. Rock out that Garden Blend (made with Gardein!) and make that shit even more delicious and then put it in all of your “restaurants” and finally make us vegans happy for once in our miserable lives. Sheeeeit.
Garden blend burrito photo from quarrygirl, who also has the update on them stopping Garden blend sales! But perhaps this Nate Appleman character can change all that!