Vegan Roadtrip: Chicago! »
The rainy season is upon us, and combined with much shorter, winter days, I’m longing for the fun and daylight of summertime! So in an effort to cheer myself up, I thought we could look at all of the places I ate this summer, when I went to Chicago. That’s fun, right?
First, I tried El Nuevo Mexicano. I’d written about them in the past, on this very blog, and finally my opportunity to try it had arrived!
Of course my party had margaritas! My love of the margarita was born in the city of Chicago. They’re so delectable there.
For dinner I had this beast of a quesadilla. Not too shabby, eh? Their menu vegan menu changes periodically, but I’m pretty sure these were filled with seitan, Daiya, pico de gallo, and sauteed onions and bell peppers. They were delicious and very filling!
The next two days were a little scattered and uninteresting as far as food goes. My friend and I hightailed to mid-Michigan for a friend’s wedding, and it was slim pickings. My wedding meal looked like this:
Actually, the bride was very considerate of my diet, and a long-time vegetarian herself. Not pictured is some beautiful white squash with basil and oh so much wine.
Back in the city, I went to The Handlebar, as it’s one of my all-time favorite places to be! Now, usually when I’m there, I get the samosas for an appetizer and the buffalo “chicken” ranch wrap as my entree. For this visit, I decided to go a little crazy and mix things up!
I know you won’t believe this, but pictured above was my first foray in to the world of fried pickle spears. I fell fast, I fell hard, and now I order them anytime they’re available on a menu. I would also like to say, loudly and proudly, that I am Team Pickle Spear, but who am I kidding; I’ll gobble up deep-fried pickle chips like nobody’s business.
Then, there were fried avocado tacos. Deep-fried avocados—please, it was a no-brainer. As much as I may have liked them, I’m still head over heels for my buffalo-chicken wrap. It’s good to try new things, as sometimes it validates your love for the tried and true, right?
And then, the next night, IT HAPPENED—I tried Native Foods Cafe for the first time! I will now long for the Oaklahoma bacon cheeseburger every day until we are reunited again. Oh man, the cheddar sauce alone … Why must you live so far from San Francisco, Native Foods?
Native Foods Cafe in Wicker Park!
My friend Stephanie ordered the sweet potato fries.
My girl Nora got a massive plate of nachos!
Buffalo chicken strips are MY JAM, so of course I ordered them!
Last but certainly not least — the Oaklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, in all its glory!
The next day, I tried to go to Quesadilla: La Reyna del Sur and it was closed! How dare you get in the way of my vegan gorging, Fourth of July? Instead, I went to my old late-night post-bars standby, Lazo’s tacos. It was all right. It’s much better at 3 a.m., but I appreciated the flood of memories I had walking in.
Decent, but is much tastier as an after-hours-everything-else-is-closed meal.
That concludes my Chicago trip! I know there are a lot of places I didn’t go, as time and also room in my stomach didn’t allow for it. I know you guys get super-excited about reccommending the Chicago Diner as well, but believe me, I know about it! I ate there almost every day when I worked there as a baker in 2006-‘07.
Babycakes NYC has a new app; Sally Draper makes gluten-free waffles! »
Babycakes NYC has a new app out and it looks like a lot of fun. I love her recipe book; I actually use it to make the gluten-free snowballs at Source (Jenny-fied of course), so I’m really excited about this app.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansarus.com!]
It features all my favorite things: gluten-free, vegan baking, cute uniforms, hipster music, lipstick AND CELEBRITIES talking about vegan, gluten-free baked goods! The feature everyone seems to be the most jazzed about (including myself) is Mad Men’s own Kiernan Shipka making gluten-free waffles with Ms. Babycakes herself, Erin McKenna! Sally Draper has most definitely become my favorite character on that show, and remember — I haven’t yet seen Season 5 so no spoilers or I will find you, and I will gouge your eyes out. Just kidding! That wouldn’t be very vegan of me, now would it? (I’m not kidding.)
Surprise: Bender’s in San Francisco serves top-notch vegan bar food! »
How could you guys not tell me how delicious the vegan food is at Bender’s? Or maybe you did and I wasn’t listening? No matter, I’m disappointed in everyone all the same.
It was Allan of Mission Mission’s urging that I go and try the vegan menu there, and he’s not even a vegan! Though I was not expecting too much, I ended up so stoked with my seitan taco I went again the next week! Melissa of Food and Loathing was in town, and I was like “GIRL, after you eat at Source, we have to go to Bender’s!” So I rallied the vegan troops, including the platonic love of my life, Sarah M. Smart.
Let’s feast our eyes, shall we? I’m sorry about the flash—taking pictures in dark bars never goes very well.
Yes, those are tater tots and vegan ranch in the background!
The seitan Philly cheesesteak might be my new favorite sandwich in the city! I was never a Philly cheesesteak fan when I ate meat, so I usually shy away from these bad boys. Bender’s, you’ve stolen my heart and tested everything I thought I knew.
Sarah got the fried pickles and OMG that ranch is blinding!
Let’s not forget the seitan taco; this baby started it all! It is HUGE in real life, and scrumptious.
I totally forgive you for not letting me in on Bender’s vegan menu. I see how you would want to keep it to yourself, but now the world shall know it’s greatness! I think it’s really actually my fault because I just could not keep up with what was going on in that kitchen. Sorry about the misplaced blame there, friends.
[Bender’s signage photo via Facebook; taco photo by Britney Roque.]
Check out Sōw, a new pop-up juice bar in San Francisco! »
Hey everyone! What are you doing on Monday? Let’s hit up Sōw together for some delicious, healthy juice!
I went a couple weeks ago and HOT DANG, was I super pleased with everything! The juice is awesome and so are the juicers themselves, Luisa and Derek. Luisa told me they met as baristas at Blue Bottle, and look how their friendship has grown—now they’re business owners. So cute, and so inspirational! Portland can have their food trucks; I’m really proud of San Francisco and our phenomenal pop-ups!
I went on a Monday at almost 2 p.m., and most the juices were out. Which is a good thing! They did still have green juice, which is another good thing, as that was the juice I wanted. YUM! Also, Derek and Luisa were so nice to my last-call-style booty.
Treat yourself to some juice! Check out Sōw at Pause Wine Bar from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays and Saturdays. Don’t hesitate to follow them on Twitter and Facebook as well! I hear that every so often, there’s some sangria to be had!
This is how it looks from the outside. Don’t get lost like I did, even though the directions were in my phone! Pause Wine bar is at 1666 Market St. near Gough and Haight: Type it in.
Product review: Healthy Surprise snack box! »
My name is Jenny and I’m a snackaholic. Give me a box of crackers and 15 minutes and I will surely amaze you with my ability to consume the whole thing in HALF THAT TIME. I do my best to stay away from salty, crunchy, delicious, bite-sized substances: They are no substitute for a meal, and that is exactly what I make them.
Naturally, when we were offered a snack box from Healthy Surprise, I went for it.
A few days later, after trudging home from work, I was ready to zone out on the couch to watch whatever weird shit was streaming on Netflix when I found the GLORIOUS BOX OF SNACKS had arrived, and it was jam packed. I was the happiest vegan in all the land!
I soon fell into a snack-induced
coma nap. When I awoke, there were about five opened, half-full packages lying around me, and I started snacking once more. But why feel guilty when Healthy Surprise is full of gluten-free, mostly raw snacks?
I knew that these snacks were special because I have eyes and taste buds, but also because I didn’t have a stomachache after I awoke from my post-snack-hysteria blackout. A box of healthy snacks sent to you in the mail? What a brilliant idea! Easy on the stomach and allergens? GENIUS! It’s like a CSA box for the
stoners diehard snackers in your life! Or new mommies (hey sis!), college kids, shoot, maybe even vegan newlyweds. Who wouldn’t want this box of treats sent to them every month?
If you go on over to the Healthy Surprise webpage, you can gather all kinds of details, like prices and how to sign up. You can even follow them on Facebook, like me! (They sometimes have some kind of fun promotions or contests.)
Healthy Surprise, I love you. Thanks for making being a snacker something to be proud of! Another great thing? I was exposed to so many new snacks and products I’d normally pass up at the grocery store. Who new dried apples would be my newest jam?
On to the pictures! Just know that Healthy Surprise changes their inventory every month, so you’ll always get a new selection, not necessarily what is pictured here.
Gone Nuts are so decadent — they’re like savory dessert. Both these flavors were delicious, but spinach will always be my numero uno. As far as hemp seeds go, I still have them because I don’t know what to do with them. I would very much appreciate any suggestions. Thank you!
Raw food pizza party, and you’re all invited. My sister turned her nose up at the idea of them, but that was fine, because I got to eat them all. Sprouted flax seed pizza crackers aren’t for everyone, but they are definitely for me.
My newest all-around jam. I’m sure this company has seen some profit increases in the last couple months thanks solely to me.
More snacks! I wish I still had them, I miss them so.
Gluten-free Cinnamon Toast Crunch tasting snacks. You have to know those were the first to be ripped open and demolished — that’s how I do me.
What are you waiting for? GET ON IT.
There’s a vegan on KQED’s Check, Please! Bay Area tonight! Well, okay, she’s vegan at home and vegetarian out in the world but for TV, we’ll take it! They visit Source, one of our favorites, and featuring our own Jenny Bradley’s decadent desserts!! Jenny. GIRL. You are out of control and I love it!
This show is so funny and weird, and Leslie Sbrocco is a vision. She just seems like so much fun! I just want to grab a jug of wine and curl up on the couch with her and tell ghost stories. Or like, have her tell me about the one time she went on a date with Don Johnson. RIGHT?? You know she has stories! Seriously, if you have not treated yourself to a Check, Please! marathon on KQED’s website, you don’t care about your life at all period.
The best part of this particular episode? Everyone loved Source! Yay! Even the omnivores flipped for it because they know what’s up. Oh, and you can even catch of glimpse of Jenny at 7:42! HEY GIRL HEY!!!
Who’s the fanciest moth of them all? The Venezuelan poodle moth! »
Move over PSY, there’s a new international superstar taking the internet by storm! Everyone, say hello to Venezuela’s own POODLE MOTH.
Go ahead, feast your eyes on this magnificent creature. I can’t get enough, I love this little guy! He’s so fancy. AND JUST LOOK AT THOSE TINY HANDS.
I’m not much of a science buff myself, and I’m not going to embarrass us by trying to fake it. Get yo’ science fill right here!
[Photo by Arthur Anker via Flickr]
Get crazy with smoothies for Nativas Natural’s “Smoothment!” Plus: smoothie recipes! »
On Saturday (that’s tomorrow!), Nativas Naturals is launching the Back-to-Basics Smoothment—a smoothie movement! From what I gather on social media, a bunch of you hippies are into this kind of “healthy milkshake” thing. You’re in luck—Nativas has got your back. Just head on over to the website, and sign on up! It’s all free of charge, and you’ll gain access to instructional videos, receive free recipes and even get discounts on featured raw, organic products. Just the incentive you needed to plug in that blender, isn’t it?
When it comes to smoothies, I like to think of my friend Caroline as the professional between the two of us. I prefer my blended drinks at a tiki bar, but Caroline actually drinks smoothies for breakfast. I thought that’s what coffee was for? Silly me, I have so much to learn! For all of our sakes (mine especially), I recruited Caroline as Vegansaurus’ own Miss Smoothment! Armed with products and a blessing sent to us from Navitas, Caroline agreed to share a couple of her own recipes with us, to kick off the occasion. Take it away, girlfriend!
“Anyone who follows me on Instagram is well aware that I’ve been obsessed with smoothies lately (I mean, why eat your food, when you can drink it?), so I wasn’t totally surprised when Jenny asked me to help review some of the Navitas superfood products.
You may have seen the colorful Navitas packaging in your local health food stores—I’ve definitely used some of them before (namely the chia seeds and cacao powder—great for raw desserts). Needless to say, I was STOKED when I had a whole box of their goodies to play with.
I usually start my day with a protein smoothie of some sort (using a vegan protein mix and my kitchen staple, the immersion blender), so I did what any excessive American girl would do — I mixed all the powders together for the mother of all breakfast smoothies. I wanted to see how this stood up to my “rigorous” morning workout (hello, I’ve got to be at my best when working out beside the retirees in the San Francisco Presidio Y). I also wanted to see how it compared to the more “performance”-oriented mixtures that I’ve been using. The verdict? I felt totally energized (as much as I can at 8 a.m.), and wasn’t hungry afterward. Not to mention, it was super delicious! (Bonus that all their products are organic—I’m not a fan of drinking chemicals and pesticides in my smoothies—raw, and gluten-free.)
Here’s what my typical morning smoothie looks like:
Serves 1 (6-foot girl)
2 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein powder
1 Tbsp sprouted Flax Seed powder
1 Tbsp Freeze-Dried Acai powder
1 tsp raw Maca powder
1 Tbsp raw Cacao powder
12 oz almond milk (or a mixture of half-almond, half-rice)
Handful of blueberries
Handful of ice
Lately I’ve been having a smoothie for lunch—again, why go through the hassle of chewing your food? Below is the recipe for one of my favorite combinations. I added a few of the Navitas superfoods to the mix, and felt extra pumped. (My boss has a Vitamix, which I try to put to use as much as possible.)
Lunchtime smoothie, serves 2:
3 Tbsp raw Hemp Protein Powder
2 tsp raw Maca Powder
12 oz almond milk
Handful of baby spinach (kale is good, too)
1/2 of an avocado
Handful of raspberries
Handful of strawberries
3 Tbsp organic peanut butter
Handful of ice
I shared this with a friend of my boss and she said it was the best thing she had ever tasted. Not bad for a testimonial, eh? I totally agree—why else would I drink this almost every day?
Since I’m already armed with so many of Nativas amazing products, I have no choice but to participate in their Smoothment. I also can’t stand not joining things (only child syndrome). Perhaps you’ll give it a whirl, too (Get it? Bad smoothie puns!).”
As usual, please share your personal recipes with us! Don’t forget to follow my girl Caroline on Twitter and Instagram (@wakeupcaroline)—I can’t wait to see all the smoothie talk that will ensue, while wondering if rum is also a suitable ingredient in your icy beverages.
Spencer’s online market carries artisan vegan products! »
Spencer’s Market looks like an awesome place to obtain new, gourmet vegan food products. When you set up an account, which only takes a few seconds, you can check a box that ensures you view only vegan products. You can also check other dietary needs, like gluten- or nut-free! Let’s eat some artisan vegan snacks and then brag about how fancy we are. Deal?
Rumor has it that there may be a new flavor of Nacheez out in the near future!
[Nacheez photo via Spencersmarket.com.]
Mercy For Animals makes history! First-ever cruelty to animals FELONY conviction! »
MFA made history last week, when Brian Douglas of Butterball factory farm pleaded guilty to felonly cruelty to animals on August 28th. It was the MFA undercover investigation at the farm in Hoke County, North Carolina that sparked what is believed to be the “first-ever felony cruelty to animals conviction related to birds used for food production in US history.” Douglas will serve 30 days in jail, followed by 42 months of probation, for the horrifying violence towards the butterball turkeys he executed. On August 31, Butterball employee Rueben Mendoza also pleaded guilty to felony identity theft and misdemenor cruelty to animals. He faces a “consolidated sentence of a minimum of 8 months, and a maximum of 19 months, in state prison”.
I can’t watch the undercover video at the Butterball Factory farm. But it’s up on MFA’s site if you can stomach it. To show my advocacy however, I like to sport my MFA “Not Cool” t-shirt around town. If you get one too, we’ll be twins! We can start a club! Maybe wear them to Vegan Drinks so we’ll know to schmooze with each other? If the merch doesn’t appeal to you, you can always donate to the cause as well! Man, I love Mercy for Animals, and the incredibly difficult work they do on the behalf of animal rights.
The little chick in the stomach is saying “Not Cool”. I love, love, love it!
Of course there always needs to be a naysayer, doesn’t there? Examiner.com plays that role well with this article which I think screams, THANKS A LOT CAPTAIN OBVIOUS AND BY THE WAY, MFA IS A VEGAN NON-PROFIT. Rachel touched upon all the same points, about the injustices that the workers must face on on these farms, back in Febuary. I think she covered this issue in a much more compassionate and well-informed (I’m not biased!) way. Thoughts? I noticed there’s nowhere to leave comments, but that might be a good thing considering the comments section usually makes me
want to throw myself off a building sick.
ANYWAY. No more turkeys for holiday feasts, or sandwiches OR ANYTHING. Why eat an animal when we can have delicious vegan turkeys???? RAINBOW please order more this season; I did not get one last year and it gave me a case of the sads. Actually no, because I made this delectable tart, but I want both this year!
[Photos via MFA.org]