Product Review: Isabella’s Cookie Company »
Isabella Cookies are damn fine and come in lots of vegan flavors and some are weird and all are wonderful.
They sent me both the V-Ging, a spicy ginger chewy cookie topped with sweet vanilla icing, and the V-RV, a red velvet cookie with vanilla icing. They were both extremely excellent — homemade tasting and chewy and flavorful and absolutely splendid. You could buy a bag of these and polish them off yourself or bring them to a vegan bakesale and pass them off as your own. Or fool any omnivore with their deliciousness if you were inclined to share.
In addition to being gifted those flavors for potential review, I also bought the V-Breakfast cookie — “soft maple cookie with crunchy waffles, mouth-watering chocolate chips and vegan bacon”. It’s freaking weird as hell and also tasty as hell. Plus, it’s just really cool that vegans get to have fun weirdo flavor cookies.
Chambers Lane pâté review! (amazing new vegan cheese alert!) »
Since Laura and I moved to the East Bay, we’ve been unable to get to Rainbow Grocery as often as we used to. Last time we were there, we um, went a little overboard. We came away with four new cheeses and cheese spreads that we had never seen before. Of these, the Chambers Lane Truffled Cashew pâté was far and away the favorite, even above the much pricier Punk Rawk Labs cheese.
So when the people of Chambers Lane contacted us to see if we were interested in trying their other flavors, of course we said yes.
All together, there are three flavors. The first we had tried was Truffled Cashew. They also have Fig Balsamic Walnut Cashew and Rosemary Thyme Almond. These are also quite good.
The Fig Balsamic is sweet, tart, and rich-tasting, with hints of spice, it definitely has a wonderful complex flavor.
The Rosemary Thyme, on the other hand, is savory, but with a milder herbed taste. It’s almond-based, so it’s not quite as creamy as the other two, but is still pleasantly nutty.
But the first one we had tried probably still remains the favorite. With its rich, decadent truffle oil and creamy cashew texture, it really is something special. We started out by eating it on crackers like fancy folks, but then polite affectations went out the window, and we finished by sticking our fingers directly into the jar to get every last bit.
In addition to being available at Rainbow Grocery, you can also find Chambers Lane pâtés at Country Cheese Coffee Market and Berkeley Bowl West in Berkeley, Woodlands Market in Kentfield, and Draeger’s in Menlo Park, Danville, and San Mateo.
Let’s hope they get into even more stores soon, because this stuff is the GREATEST. Insanely delicious vegan cheese for all!
Whole Foods debuts their own brand of vegan meats! »
And we’ve been eating them up and they’re TASTY. Chicken patties, burgers, meatballs, nuggets, THE WORKS.
I believe they’re at all Whole Foods but Whole Foods doesn’t tell us shit so you might want to call a store near you and get the 411 on meatless meatballs and chickenless nuggets and WHAAAT. This stuff is GOOD. $4/package. I think that’s everything
[thanks to wonderful megan and miles for the tip <3 ]
Candle Cafe vegan meals are here! I spotted two kinds at Whole Foods in Berkeley, the mac ‘n’ cheese and ravioli! I bought both, of course, but what I really want is that freaking seitan picatta GIVE IT TO ME. What is with our Northern California Whole Foods buyer? GET BETTER AT PLEASING YOUR CUSTOMERS PLEASE!
Also, Candle Cafe/79, PLEASE release my seitan chimichurri on the West Coast PLEASE. I need that stuff like the baby needs the teet, ya dig? GIVE IT TO ME. PLEASE
Has anyone tried any? Let me know! PLEASE.
A zero-packaging grocery store is coming to Austin this year. I can’t decide if that’s brilliant, or just good marketing for “we sell bulk foods.” I would be psyched to shop there though, because I feel like a crazy person whenever I’m trying not to spill chickpeas on the ground as I funnel them into my empty pickle jar at Berkeley Bowl. It’d be way better if we all looked like idiots with chickpeas raining down the sides of our pickle jars.
In.gredients promises to only stock produce that’s in season and is trying to go zero-waste. Yet they’re planning to carry meat and dairy, which undermines the whole “let’s save the world” concept. I emailed their press people to ask about that decision but they never got back to me, so we can now hate on them with impunity.
In related news, it’s a good thing Austin isn’t in Chicago, because that fine city doesn’t allow any bring-your-own-container love. “We are worried about people bringing in containers that are not cleaned very well and then contaminating any surface that they might touch with that,” says a public health official to the Seattle Times.
Personally, I’m not worried about that. At all. More scary: E. coli and other bacteria in my sprouts. Insane people with giant knives wanting to cut my head off. Spam.
Despite their lack of commitment to go vegan, I wish the best to the In.gredients people. They’re still looking for funding, so all the moneybags out there should maybe donate.
Product Review: Judyfood spinach-pecan dip! »
Found Judyfood’s spinach-pecan dip at my local hippy store, Back to the Land, and I must say: scrumptious! I definitely get a bit jealous at all the holiday parties with their “dip.” Everyone is always like chowing down on their french onion dip and then they’re like, “hey! We got hummus for you Megan Rascal!” OMG I’m so over hummus. OK not really, but it’s not the same as the various spreads the omnis are always serving with veggies and chips. This stuff definitely satisfies that savory dip craving! It even has a little bite to it. I had it just with some baguette.
It’s only available on the East Coast at the moment, though. If you are in the area, I say definitely pick some up for your next party!
We Can’t Say It’s Cheese is popping up all over town! And it’s delicious! Check it out because seriously, God helped them make it! God is the secret recipe in the special sauce!* Spotted this weekend at 26th & Guerrero Market and Rainbow Grocery.
It’s like cheese whiz but better and in a tub. Just eat it, fatties. Ooh and try the hickory-smoked cheddar-style mixed in with your homemade vegan mac and cheese. GENIUS.
*GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER, PERV!
LifeThyme: Best fucking grocery ever »
Ok, I may be a bit of a fangirl here, but LifeThyme is the coolest fucking grocery store in the entire fucking world. Family-owned? Check. Responsive to customers’ desires? Check. Lots of vegan specialty food? Uh huh. Good to their employees? Fuck yes. ALL-VEGAN BAKERY? OMFG YES FUCK YES!!!
LifeThyme is a super-store. Even though it’s super-tiny, and you always feel like you’ll knock down an entire aisle of exotic maple syrups, it has everything the conscientious consumer could desire—an all-vegan bakery (that also offers many gluten-free options, AND MAKES THE MOST DELICIOUS POPCORN IN THE WORLD FRESH RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES!!), a hot foods/soup bar that has many vegan options, and a juice bar (with the coolest smoothie-makers around) with vegan options (including FRESH coconut water!!!). Regular-grocery-style, it’s fully stocked everything you could ever want that is vegan as well: a good selection of soy/rice yogurts/milks; Amy’s frozen dinners; specialty baking products; seitan; tempeh; expensive cashew cheeses; raw chocolates; vegan kale crisps—the kind with the creamy garlic flavor—etc., etc. There’s also an upstairs lifestyle area with eco- and animal-friendly cosmetics and personal hygiene products. Plus, it’s not Whole Foods :)
But I really feel that I have to plug their gorgeous and amazing bakery. They have so many yummy things in that glistening case, it makes you want to hit the treadmill as soon as you see it. Lush chocolate cakes, apple-walnut scones, and coconut cream pie are just a few of the daily offerings in that magical corner of the market. It’s all I can do to not gain 249,328,429,340,284 pounds when I walk by that 100 percent vegan masterpiece. That’s right, ONE HUNDRED PERCENT VEGAN. Not a drop of animal-derived cruelty goes into the delectable delights.
So why the fuck are you still reading this? GOOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO. It’s on 6th Avenue in the Village between 8th and 9th Streets. Give them your business!!!
Anna’s Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Neck Road stop on the Q »
Another lovely Eastern European supermarket is Net Cost Market, at 2257 E. 16th St. off the Neck Road stop on the Q (way down in South Brooklyn). It’s worth visiting for several reasons, and only one of them is the food. Like so many tiny cultural bubbles in New York, it’s a completely different country. I’m not exactly sure whether that country’s Russia, or Poland, or what. Shuddup, I can’t read Cyrillic. But it’s a CRAZY COUNTRY.
There are a platoon of imperious women in large fur coats and blue eyeshadow, striding around like queens, barking orders in Czech? Latvian? Estonian? at their husbands. The supermarket has an entire AISLE for boxes of chocolate. Another aisle is devoted to cheap tea and odd jam. Yet another aisle is reserved for pickled vegetables; mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, in jars as small as a fist and as large as a jug.
There’s a wall of freshly baked bread—the loaves shaped like horseshoes are $2, a dark rye blend, and some of the most delicious, squishy, yeasty bread I have ever eaten. They’re on the left, in the cubby next to the bread counter.
The produce section looks fantastic, but some things are bargains while other things are expensive. They had seven varieties of pears, at least that many types of apples, and several were mondo cheap.
This supermarket, if you are anything like me (which, I dunno, I like reading historical novels, OK?), will make you imagine that you are living through a Russian winter, a stranger to the icy steppes. As you pore over the sour cherries in syrup, the eggplant spread, the boxes of tea, you’ll feel swept up in a romantic tide of expatriation. It’s a good way of dealing with those “winter blues” that make you want to “break things.”
It’s also an ace location to take pictures of people, as long as they don’t see you do it! Net Cost Market is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.
Anna’s Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Golden Farm, Kensington »
Golden Farm! This peach of a store is in Kensington, at 329 Church Ave. off the Church Avenue stop on the F train. It’s always open! ALWAYS. It’s a royal mishmash of ethnicities and cultures—an Eastern European supermarket in an Indian neighborhood, with Latina and Asian girls at the registers, each moistening her fingers on a halved cucumber à la Old Russia.
You can find many good bargains on fresh produce, if you’re willing to poke around a bit and not be intimidated by the $6 carton of out-of-season strawberries. Beside the things listed below, root vegetables and cabbage are also incredibly cheap. Jars of pickled tomatoes and sauerkraut are tucked underneath the potatoes—just the right height for little old Polish ladies.
Asparagus, $1 per bunch
Pears (bartlett, Bosc, etc.) $0.79/lb
Apples (granny smith, fuji) $1/lb
Lettuce (romaine, red, etc) $1.50/head
Cabbage (savoy) $0.59/lb
Mushrooms (portobello) $3 for a package of two
Avocados (Hass) $1 each
Peppers (sweet and yellow; tiny, but in good shape) $1.49/lb
There’s also a reasonably priced bulk fruit/nut section, in old jars with wooden covers. The apricots are dirt cheap ($3.49/lb), gigantic, and unbelievably moist. Pistachios are $6/lb. Other bulk deals: a 2-pound package of buckwheat costs about $1, in the bean/rice section.
I must advise you, though, to get your butts out to this store if only for the “golden prune,” an umeboshi lookalike that’s out of this world. I’ve never seen this fruit anywhere else, and it tastes remarkably like an actual plum—tart, sweet, golden. It’s dried fruit that actually tastes like it used to be fruit—like it once hung on a tree with wind and rain and everything. It’s $6/lb as well, in the jar next to the apricots. Watch out for the pits.
Weird Cool Things:
Oh, there are so many oddities; just go to the jelly section—it’s intense. There are fruits that are a little rare, like quince and damson, but there’s also totally wacko stuff like watermelon preserves and rose jelly. I almost skimmed right over the jars with sweetened chunks of eggplant and pumpkin. You can buy black poppy seeds in bulk at this store, rose hips, dried camomile, four different kinds of horseradish. Basically, just slow down and keep your eyes peeled.
In addition to being a treasure trove of cheap produce, bulk dried fruit and nuts, and various oddities, this store is just REASONABLY PRICED, all around. In spite of stocking organic produce and things like agave and Amy’s, the store is pretty darn cheap, and somehow manages to feel old and homey. It’s a good place to drift and daydream.