vegansaurus!

08/14/2009

Plane Trip Friday: Oryana Natural Foods Market in Traverse City, Michigan!  »

I recently had the privilege of spending a summery week in Michigan’s Northern Lower Peninsula. This was fun for me because it’s like a beautiful summer camp of Americana and wine and cherries and cherry festivals (it’s the Cherry Capital of the World, if you didn’t know), but it probably would not be so fun for you because it is also a place where the local cuisine centers around pieces of prime rib bigger than your head, fried lake perch, and a thing that is like a casserole of whitefish, cheese and cream, with crackers. However, do not let this dissuade you, vegan, from visiting this most beautiful and adorable part of the country (in the summer months!) You are covered in the delicious food department!

Oryana, the lovely and full-service 35-year old (!) health food co-op at the corner of E. 10th and Lake Streets in (did I mention adorable?) downtown Traverse City!

Those visiting from San Francisco will probably draw comparisons with Rainbow Grocery, our own 30-plus-year-old health co-op. Oryana is a bit smaller, but much lighter and airier, and they have a more robust prepared foods/takeout/coffee bar attached (the Lake Street Kitchen. More on that in a minute.) If you’re visiting from another major city (a lot of people in these parts seem to be from Chicago), I think you’ll find it comparable to your favorite local health food store (if your favorite health food store is like paradise!) It’s kind of like a mini Whole Foods, without the faux-liberal asshole hypocrisy. Which is to say, it’s bright, cheery, clean, and sells Tofurky Sausages, Dr. Bronner’s Crazy Soap, bulk grains et alia, good produce, kombucha and fancy sodas, NEWMAN O’S! and whatever else you need to subsist in your adorable lake house (or whatever other adorable business purpose might have landed you the Grand Traverse Bay region.) If you’re not in need of a full grocery shop and just need a snack made for you by someone else, Lake Street Kitchen has got you covered! It’s the same building as Oryana, but you can enter on the Lake Street side to be closest to the Thai peanut wrap, which is what I would highly recommend you order. It’s a whole wheat wrap full of tofu, peanut sauce and a glass noodle salad thing full of veggies and goodness. If they have the noodles (ask first, because once or twice they had run out.) After a week in Michigan, you will want a tofu wrap hella bad! Now you know where to get one. You may also wish to try the tempeh reuben (it’s vegan without the swiss cheese; I’m not sure if they can sub a vegan cheese but they do sell them in the store) because it is out of control. The bread it comes on is baked fresh locally and it’s perfect. I had two for breakfast one day. Take your wrap or sandwich out to this awesome patio! Lake Street Kitchen also has great espresso (maybe the best in town?), and their iced drinks are just the perfect start to your summer day of biking around lakes and antique shopping and lying under birch trees and acting like Nancy Drew. MAN NORTHERN MICHIGAN IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Bonus free soy milk and agave nectar on the coffee bar!

This post comes to us from Megan Allison of Guerrilla Curatorship, who occasionally journeys afar to return with tidbits such as this.

08/05/2009

Vegan Means I’m Trying to Suck Less!  »

Food Fight Vegan Grocery is selling this awesome new button telling the world, “Hey, I’m vegan, I’m not a total condescending asshole, I’m just trying to do the fucking best I can so please don’t give me shit or else I swear TO GOD” in so many words. It’s pretty great. They still have my all-time favorite button which tells people that you hope they die eating their hamburger (it’s true!) and also a gangload of vegan candy. Buy me some of that, please and thank you.

08/03/2009

Vegan Food Bar at Las Vegas Whole Foods!  »

Yet another Whole Foods that is superior to our weak-ass SF Bay Area ones and this time it’s in LAS VEGAS. Yes, the land of strippers, hookers and stripper hookers has superior vegan selection to the land of liberal whiny assholes. I can’t even begin to explain it. Where’s our vegan Kung Pao chicken, HUH? These fools have vegan pizza made with Daiya cheese, an entire vegan hot food bar and more delicious vegan desserts that you can shake your angry fist at. I WANT MY VEGAN BEEF JAPCHAE AND I WANT IT YESTERDAY.

JESUS H.

07/04/2009

The Whole Foods in Potrero Hill now has a food bar dedicated to vegan foods! Woo! They’re even making the sesame tofu with no honey! Screw you, Bee-gans!

They’re also selling Go Max Go! candy bars at all the Whole Foods in San Francisco.

The Whole Foods in Potrero Hill now has a food bar dedicated to vegan foods! Woo! They’re even making the sesame tofu with no honey! Screw you, Bee-gans!

They’re also selling Go Max Go! candy bars at all the Whole Foods in San Francisco.

03/16/2009

Other Avenues! Also, FAT PEOPLE RULE!  »

Other Avenues co-op grocery is second only to Rainbow and that’s just because Rainbow is a lot bigger and a lot less in the middle of fucking nowhere. Other Avenues is an all-vegetarian (yay!), all-organic (yay!) grocery store in the Outer Sunset. It’s a pain the ass to get to but if you happen to be out near Ocean Beach soaking in the rays (read: getting high) then you should definitely stop in. Highlights include: Maggie Mudd soy & coconut ice creams by the pint, Black China Bakery brownies and cupcakes (and lots of other vegan baked goods) and an intense bulk foods section including lots of varieties of chocolate-covered nuts. Delicious.

Man, if left to my own devices, I would eat directly from a trough of dark-chocolate-covered almonds until I died. Which brings me to my next point. Here at Vegansaurus, we (read: Laura) are (read: is) proud to be fat and awesome. I’m tired of reading that an answer to a mean case of the fats is simply to go vegan. I’ve been vegan for years and years and didn’t lose any weight and I’m not a total junk food vegan either. I also have insanely good blood work and am in great health, you can ask my doctor who was on my case for being vegan until he saw my test results. We’re all born with a pretty much pre-determined weight (or range of weights, fluctuating between like 10-20 pounds) that we live comfortably at. For a few of us it’s 100 and for a few of us it’s 300 and for most of us, it’s somewhere in between. And THAT’S OKAY. As long as you’re eating in accordance with what feels right to your body (being vegan helps with that A LOT) then you’ll probably be pretty damn healthy. This book, Rethinking Thin, helped me come to terms with this fact. It’s written by a SCIENTIST with FACTS, not a skinny bitch with, ummm….

So for people who are looking at veganism as a get-thin-quick scheme, that might not be what happens. You’ll find your cholesterol will go down and your blood pressure will thank you and you’ll most likely be able to control your diabetes without medication and get serious relief from other health issues. Oh and you’re also doing the right thing for the planet and animals and other humans but no, you will not drop five dress sizes in two minutes. And you shouldn’t do that anyway. Because people who diet themselves super-skinny look FUH-REAKY (in other news, BOW DOWN to LFB. Love that crazy anorexic psychopath!) and you’re probably already super-hot and don’t need to lose those last 10 pounds. They’re on your ass for a reason, so that people will want to have sex with you, moron.

And let’s face it, fat people are simply the greatest. We RULE both in size and in general fabulousness. Move over skinnies, we’re comin to getcha! And by getcha, I mean eatcha.

I wrote this list, “Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know!” (along with two fabulous friends, Joy & Erica) years ago because we wanted to get out some facts about fat people. I now must post this list wherever I write because that’s how I do AND YOU CANNOT STOP ME, SKINNY.

And with that, I present:
Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know. A list.

  1. FAT PEOPLE CAN BREAKDANCE HELLA GOOD. You don’t know because we only do it around other fat people, but you have not lived ‘til you’ve been to a fat dance party!
  2. FAT PEOPLE ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE. The fat, in essence, acts as padding. We’re keeping it secret for right now, but someday we’re going to rise up, unite, and put you Skinny Bitches in your place in a conflict that we have titled Fat War One, or World War Fat (the exact name is yet to be determined).
  3. FAT PEOPLE CAN LEVITATE. Just cause we’re heavy doesn’t mean we can’t float. Ever notice how you never see fat people taking the elevator?
  4. FAT PEOPLE CAUSE HURRICANES. We all get together and run in a clockwise direction, then in a counter-clockwise direction.
  5. OUR NATIONAL FLOWER: The Cake.
  6. OUR NATIONAL BIRD: Fried Chicken. Vegan, of course.
  7. DO NOT CHALLENGE A FAT PERSON. Especially DO NOT CHALLENGE a fat person if there is a candy prize involved.
  8. FAT PEOPLE DON’T CRAP! All the materials you Skinnies waste as feces, we efficiently recycle as lard.
  9. FAT PEOPLE ARE FASTER THAN CHEETAHS.
  10. FAT PEOPLE DON’T WEAR SHOES. We just spray paint our feet so we can get into restaurants.
  11. ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE ALCOHOLICS. But not in a bad way.
  12. FAT PEOPLE DON’T SLEEP IN BEDS. We sleep on huge sticks of Earth Balance.
  13. FAT PEOPLE NEVER ACTUALLY EAT. It’s a common misconception.
  14. MAHATMA GHANDI WEIGHED 600 POUNDS. We know, we were there. Which brings us to our next point…
  15. FAT PEOPLE LIVE FOREVER.
  16. FAT WOMEN HATE THE UBIQUITOUS “CHUBBY CHASER.” He is a harasser, and always at least two feet shorter than she is.
  17. FAT PEOPLE LOVE BABIES. Especially deep fried.
  18. OUR FAVORITE SKINNY PERSON IS: Fuck you, we don’t like any skinny people.
  19. MAKE NO MISTAKE: Hitler was never fat.
  20. FAT PEOPLE OFTEN WONDER IF PEOPLE ACTUALLY LIKE THEM OR IF THEY ONLY LOVE THEM FOR THEIR FAT.
  21. FAT PEOPLE DON’T PROCREATE, THEY DIVIDE. We do however have a lot of sex…for pleasure and sport.
  22. THE INTERNATIONAL FAT CONFERENCE IS HELD ON JANUARY 26 OF EACH YEAR. It’s held in the sky…we all levitate up really high…I mean where else would we fit? We decide the events of the upcoming year, such as whether you Skinnies get Christmas (Don’t forget Santa is a very fat man).
  23. SOME OF THE ONLY THINGS FAT PEOPLE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH:
    1. Fix the Oscars (Why do you think Gwyneth Paltrow won?)
    2. Telekinesis (So we don’t have to move. Ever.)
    3. Time travel.
    4. Infiltrate Hollywood…at all.
  24. FRANCE WAS ONCE A FATOPOLIS BUT IT WAS EXCOMMUNICATED IN THE MID-19TH CENTURY AND THUS THEY ARE ALLOWED NO FAT PEOPLE. (The Statue Of Liberty: way too skinny.)
  25. FAT PEOPLE TAKE BATHS IN WASHING MACHINES!
  26. A LIST OF THINGS INVENTED BY FAT PEOPLE:
    1. Water
    2. The 12-month calendar.
    3. The telegraph (Samuel P. Morse was freaking enormous)
    4. The Spanish language.
    5. Van Gogh.
    6. Hammer Pants (I know…even we make mistakes.)
    7. The popular situation comedy “Who’s the Boss?” (Tony Danza is a skinny android created by the Fat Nation.)
    8. We wrote the song “Respect” in 1692 but it didn’t get made for 350 years because of Skinny Politics (they are skinny, but they are strong).
  27. 27. ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE FUNNY. It’s simple genetics.
  28. LITTLE FAT KIDS LEARN TO READ EARLIER THAN LITTLE SKINNY KIDS. And it’s not just because they have no friends so they have to sit at home and read all the time.
  29. BARRY WHITE: fat.
  30. PUPPIES: fat by their very nature. And who doesn’t love puppies?
  31. WE OWN ALASKA, TEXAS, CALIFORNIA, AND THREE OF THE FOUR OCEANS.
  32. OUR CAPITAL IS FATOPOLIS AND IS LOCATED SOMEWHERE IN THE NORTH AMERICAN CONTINENT. (We can’t give everything away.)
  33. FAT PEOPLE CAN RUN HELLA FAST. You just can’t see us because it is SO fast. And if you see a fat person walking really slow, it’s just because they are trying really hard to walk at a normal pace.
  34. JESUS: THE FATTEST MAN TO EVER WALK THE EARTH. The crucifixion story as you know it is not exactly what happened. It was actually attempted twice because the cross broke the first time.
  35. FAT PEOPLE LOVE TO FAN DANCE. It is unfortunately the only thing we do not do well.

02/05/2009

Foods Co  »

So it’s come to this: I’m tired, friends; tired of fighting the good fight against NIMBYs and ninnies; tired of feeling like it’s become Valencia Street vs. The Rest of the Mission; tired of having to defend a misogynist and Starbucks because my neighbors are insane. Is it class warfare? Not in this economy, I would think. What does this have to do with vegan living? Oh ho! Let me put on some coffee and tell you all about it.

Once upon a December 2007, Joel and I ventured into Foods Co (1800 Folsom at 14th), searching for fortified cereal. For reasons unknown, Rainbow Grocery only carries unfortified cereal, as if all non-animal-eaters have the same iron needs. Wrong-o! My companion has iron stores a-plenty, while I am a point (there’s a scale) away from anemic. Yet we eat nearly identical diets, and I take a iron-ful multivitamin, so what’s the difference? I’m just no good at absorption, is what it is. So to Foods Co we went for torso-sized packages of iron-rich wheat products.

Our total purchases included two half-gallon cartons of Florida’s Natural-brand orange juice for $6, and the biggest box of Kix I have ever seen. The cereal aisle was packed with fancy-pants name-brand boxed cereals, like Cap’n Crunch (iron content: 25 percent RDA) and Tricks (iron content: 20 percent RDA); off-brand cereals in bags instead of boxes; and finally what I really wanted, the Kroger (Foods Co’s parent company) brand of cereals in massive bags that give you twice the volume for half the price of a box of something General Mills.

Those shelves were mostly empty though, save some generic cheerios, generic rice krispies, and a mostly eaten chicken drumstick.

Take a moment.

It’s horrible that good grocery stores like Rainbow can be prohibitively expensive to people in lower tax brackets, and they’re left to buy non-perishables in disorienting big-food mausoleums, among hordes of drunks and weirdos and constant arrests in the parking lot. Then we all get to laugh about it and feel special for all the awesome deals we get, like, the hell with Safeway, I’m shopping at FOODS CO! And aren’t we so clever with our slumming and penny-pinching?

Now, I didn’t ever have to go back here; the chicken bone was disgusting, and I have the time, money and energy to buy my fortified cereal at other places. What really bothers me is that people who need to shop at Foods Co. have to put up with the filth and chaos mentioned in other reviews. Rainbow, less than a block away, is such a magical paradise of cleanliness, nice products, helpful friendly staff, (mostly) non-aggressive shoppers—what’s the difference? It can’t only be the huge meat department. Is it the hours? Foods Co is open every day from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., while Rainbow’s hours are just 9 to 9.

No, friends, it is the prices. The prices are low, and the quantities are high. Foods Co is a standard grocery store—produce, meat, dairy, canned foods, dry goods, frozen items, household supplies, cleaners of various sorts—with other stuff mixed in, like paper products, batteries, and Vitamin Water in bulk, for example. If your income is below $40k, and you’re supporting a family with children (read: locusts) and old people (read: medications!), you obviously need to get the most food for your grocery budget.

Rainbow has a bad reputation for being, as I said, prohibitively expensive, but the bulk items are affordable, especially staples like flour, oats, rice, and beans. The produce is mostly organic, I believe all the dairy products at least come from small, not-as-abusive-as-they-could-be farms, and the bulk tofu, also, is cheap and delicious. But you all knew that already, right? How affordable bulk tofu can be, and how easy it is to make a variety of meals out of it? Sadly, that is not well known outside of vegetarian society, and even within it there are plenty of us who still believe that a cruelty-free diet has to cost more than an omnivorous one. Counterpoint: vegan burritos cost less than a carne asada con queso y crema. Milk prices are kept artifically low, a system which cannot last forever. Eventually there won’t be any more room for all those cows and pigs and chickens being kept for an omnivore’s meals, what with all the people making more people, whose need for space takes precedence over everything else.

The last time I went to Foods Co was 28 Jan. 2009; I bought three half-gallon cartons of Silk-brand soymilk plus Omega-3 DHA ($3.99/each), two half-gallon cartons of Florida’s Natural orange juice ($2.98/each), two boxes of Wheaties, and two boxes of Apple Jacks: total bill was a little over $32. I keep going to Foods Co because the price for the soymilk I drink is close to $1 cheaper than anywhere else, including Rainbow, and sometimes Rainbow doesn’t have it when I want it, whereas Foods Co shoppers never seem to want it as much as Rainbow shoppers do. Do not mistake this tone for sardonic; I understand why.

Another luxury of mine is having the time to go to both Rainbow and Foods Co (they are nearly kitty-corner to each other on Folsom and 14th Streets) and make the most of my budget at both places. Not everyone has the privilege to do this—time is money, right, and some of us work two jobs, or weird hours, or can only spend so much time shopping because babysitters are too expensive and bringing children along to the market is basically a nightmare, especially during the 4-to-7 p.m. shopping rush hour. Terrible.

But friends, Foods Co is not (only) a nightmare. Nor is it a place to be mocked because you and your $10 beers are “above” it, and only shop there because you looooooove Cinnamon Toast Crunch (brand-name is vegan, off-brands are not) or Life Cereal or so you can buy cheap-ass garbage bags and giggle at the people ahead of you buying 10 packages of ground turkey and a gallon of whole milk, exclusively. If you are shopping at Foods Co, then you are as good as everyone else as Foods Co: it is a class-leveler. If prices really didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t shop there in the first place. I can buy enriched cereal much closer to home, but Foods Co has higher variety and lower prices, and I need the savings.

There’s no shame in needing to save money. There’s nothing wrong with Rainbow stocking its shelves with exclusively organic, unenriched cereals. There’s nothing wrong with going to a national chain store settled in the Mission to buy products you need at an affordable price. Foods Co employs our neighbors, just like Rainbow. Foods Co has an educational website that addresses concerns of its vegan and vegetarian customers, just like Rainbow. Of course I am not advocating shopping at Foods Co to the exclusion of Rainbow—a vegetarian co-op grocery with all kinds of vegan specialty items vs. a national discount grocery chain? please—but Foods Co clearly has a place here, not only for The Poors, The Uneducateds, The Basically Carnivorous (of every economic stratum: do you even know what a vegetable is?), but for we vegans as well. Plus imagine if the vegan items start selling better—maybe they’ll start stocking more of them, too. And when a discount grocery store stocks more inexpensive vegan foods, then that exposes more people to veganism, and who knows what that might lead to?

Hope, like an unopened bag of “Fruity O’s” [sic], springs eternal.

02/02/2009

Store review: Layonna Vegetarian Health Food Market!  »

Shit! I can’t believe I haven’t written a review of g-d Layonna! What is wrong with me?! Don’t answer that! Layonna’s fake meat is known by veggies and vegans the world over. Seriously. If you tell a vegan in motherfucking Kathmandu that you are from the San Francisco Bay Area they will be like, “OH MY GOD! YOU ARE SO LUCKY TO LIVE SO CLOSE TO LAYONNA!!!”  This is not a joke and only a slight exaggeration. And yes, that is how they speak in Kathmandu.

Layonna is located in downtown Oakland. It’s tiny but filled from floor to ceiling with every kind of fake meat imaginable. Fake peking duck, fake scallops, fake monkfish (what?), fake bacon, fake baby, fake chicken drumsticks and more! They have an impressive selection of cheap fake beef jerky and stuff like mushroom broth and lots of types of noodles. Some good cheap ramen too! This place is a wonderland. Just like John Mayer sings so passionately about. In fact, that song is about this store, pass it on.

PRO TIP: get the fish filets and then buy some fish fry stuff and have possibly the most delicious crispy fish sandwich on earth. Like McDonald’s but it won’t kill you. As fast.

[top photo via yelp; bottom via Layonna]

01/22/2009

Product Review: Double Rainbow soy cream!  »

If you are so lucky to live in San Francisco, you know that we vegans have especially good regional products. One in particular is by Double Rainbow, the official ice cream of San Francisco (as proclaimed by Willie Brown!); accordingly, the company makes some of the best soy ice cream you’ve ever tasted, too.

The company started in 1976 making gourmet ice cream, you know, from “quality milk products,” whatever that meant in the mid-’70s. Wonderfully, however, they later started their line of vegan Soy Cream, “in direct response to customer requests.” Amazing, right? “[I]n direct response to customer requests”! We—the vegans, the lactose-intolerant, the kosher—asked for animal-free ice cream from a local producer, and they listened and made it for us!

Double Rainbow soy cream comes in many flavors (more than listed on the site!), because Double Rainbow loves you and wants to satisfy your craving for ice cream, whatever you yearn for. The vanilla bean is the best vanilla soy cream I’ve ever tasted, absolutely. I know I say “best” a lot, but would you want me to review a mediocre product? No, that would be useless. How about this: Of all the soy ice creams I’ve ever had, Double Rainbow’s is the richest and creamiest, using vanilla as the standard. You do not even have to take my word exclusively for it. Even better, they make flavors like dulce de leche, all caramely and rich, and I hear that their mint chocolate chip is high quality as well, for those who like a mint chocolate chip (I do not—cold flakes of chocolate just gross up the texture).

Double Rainbow also makes some really good sorbets; my favorite is Meyer lemon, but the berry flavors are good too. They’re available at quality grocery stores around the city and the Bay Area; you can also get a couple of flavors at Trader Joe’s, relabeled as TJ’s house brand of soy ice cream, though if you want variety, buy the pints at other places. Apparently there are Double Rainbow parlors, and the website says it’s sold “nationally and internationally,” but don’t take my word for it, I just buy it at the grocery store. The official address is on 14th and South Van Ness Streets, but don’t be fooled; that place is a warehouse, and they will not sell you any soy ice cream there, no matter how sweetly you ask.

To be honest, as an adult I’ve sort of lost the voracious appetite for ice cream I had as a kid, but the goodness of Double Rainbow’s soy ice cream is such that whenever I want a pint, I want Double Rainbow. Nothing compares to it. The price is lower than  other local brands, which is curious considering how much better it is than the rest of them. You cannot think of a reason not to buy this stuff. Serve it to your omnivorous friends and see if they even notice it’s not made with torture-milk. Because they won’t, I swear it. Now, Double Rainbow could carry as many flavors of Soy Cream as they do regular death-n-torture ice cream, such as the magical and amazing peppermint stick, and perhaps with increased customer demand they will. My point: get to buying. A homemade soy cream sandwich makes a well balanced breakfast!*

*This is not a lie. I would not lie to you about something so serious as balanced breakfasts.

[photos, top to bottom: eprescott, Andrew Teman, Veganbaking.net]

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