Recipe review: Vegan Hollandaise from the Comforting Vegan! »
I am living in a place where I don’t think vegan brunches are served; probably not the vegan-friendly ones I’m accustomed to. I don’t think granola and a fruit plate is much fun, but I do get a kick out of making food at home! Breakfast is served!*
I love breakfast food, it is my favorite kind of meal! It has always felt special to me to go out to breakfast with friends or prepare an elegant one at home (move over, fancy dinners, breakfast is back). I have come to really enjoy going out to brunch because that’s when restaurants make the most splendid of morning food! The array of beverages is fantastic: juices, coffee and sometimes bubbly! I, however, am my father’s child in that I’ll do anything to avoid a crowd, and sadly, weekend brunches on the town are no exception. That’s okay though, because thanks to both The Vegg, and a new-to-me hollandaise sauce from The Comforting Vegan, breakfast at home is now both chill and exciting! Friends, we’re doing brunch at my place this weekend!
The hollandaise sauce calls for The Vegg, which we’ve discussed here before, but I hadn’t tried myself until very recently. I’m super stoked by it. I had forgotten how much I loved the taste of “yolks” and ketchup together! The Vegg atop fried tofu is delicious, but I was feeling adventurous in the kitchen. I’ve been curious about vegan hollandaise, yet unsure about how it could be pulled off. This in turn lead to concerns about complete and utter disappointment as home cooking experiments failing to meet personal expectations can be so frustrating! Now, I’m going to admit to you that I was at first resistant to this recipe, possibly because I initially judge recipes by the amount of ingredients they call for. I was hesitant about the Vegenaise factor, yet something kept bringing me back. It was the comments section! How could I not give it a shot when everyone had great things to say and I, for once, had everything on hand?
The result? HOT DANG! My parents used to make hollandaise sauce once a year, on Christmas day for the family, and this recipe brought me right back there! I don’t think Amy could’ve picked a better name for her blog.
The most important meal of the day!
*Pro-tip: Hollandaise and Daiya together is a bit much, so you can totally nix the vegan cheese! I think vegan bacon (in whatever form: bits, seitan, coconut) and sautéed spinach go together splendidly; believe me when I say that it is an absolute dream pairing with this recipe!
JB’s Top 5 Bay Area Vegan Eats! »
Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:
Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats).
Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad.
Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies!
The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit!
Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens!
Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!)
Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree!
I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not.
So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches!
It’s been a pretty chilly 67 degrees in SoCal, so I needed a little something to warm up! AHAHAHAHA, just kidding, I wear tank tops everywhere, only to be met with a concerned, “Aren’t you cold?” NO WAY! I JUST MOVED HERE FROM SAN FRANCISCO! (And before that Chicago! And before that, Humboldt County! This is the eternal summer phase of my life! But yeah, actually, I could’ve used a light sweater, I just didn’t bring one, me having so many assumptions about southern California and everything.)
The truth is, I’ve been eating out with my family at a bunch of restaurants that serve clam chowder and it’s left me with a hankering for a vegan version. So thank you, Isa! This Glam Chowder, as with all of your recipes, is awesome. Plus, I’m super into it being soy and gluten-free to boot! My pal Amanda texted me awhile back, letting me know this recipe was bomb; I just want to say “Thanks, girl! You were right! Hey, can you send me some of your future-award-winning jalapeño mac’n cheese? It would be so greatly appreciated! XoXo.”
Well, hello there Crispy Coconut Cauliflower Bites! I would very much like to enjoy you this afternoon with a delicious cocktail. Nothing wrong with celebrating happy hour in the luxury of my
parent’s own home, with gluten-free, vegan and fried (or baked option) snacks! I will see you come 5pm, cauliflower bites! Thank you Fork and Beans, for this delectable-looking recipe!
The LA vegan mac truck fundraising campaign has moved internet locations! »
Recently we posted on Chef Ayinde Howell’s efforts to raise money to open a vegan and gluten-free MAC’N CHEESE TRUCK in LA. Well, the campaign has moved from Kickstarter over to Indiegogo, and I want to help get the word out because I am incredibly selfless. I also want it available for my consumption upon arriving in LA; it looks scrumptious! Anyway, you know how Kickstarter works; if you don’t make all the money you tried to raise, you don’t see any of it! That’s bananas, right? Or not, whatever, but it seems nutty to me. If you were thinking about, or did contribute to the original fundraiser, go ahead, take a look at the new internet location. Let’s not only help make Chef Ayinde’s dream a reality, but also my dream of eating a plate of Mac and Yease a few times a week!
Can’t see the videos? Check them out at Vegansaurus.com!
Check it out: an easy-to-follow, three ingredient recipe for coconut whipped cream, by Laura Friendly! Not only is it vegan, it’s gluten-free too! And don’t you worry about using the the rest of the can of coconut milk, that’s easy! You could make ganache, or curry, or use it for the liquid in a cake (just add water if you don’t have enough, it’s fine). While not all of Laura’s recipes available on Hello Giggles and her website are vegan, a bunch of them are, and they’re all gluten-free! Check it: TRUFFLES! You could dip the truffles in the whipped cream! Or this chocolate pie! Or make a vegan whipped cream bikini, it’s all the rage!
Photo via laurafriendly.com
San Francisco eats: Holy Gelato in the Inner Sunset! »
Until about two weeks ago, I had been a four-year resident of the Haight Ashbury neighborhood in San Francisco and I have to say, one of my fave features of that district is its proximity to the Inner Sunset! 9th and Irving has a plethora of vegan-friendly haunts, without the intense hustle and bustle of, let’s say, anywhere else in the city. Quite frankly, I’m shocked we here at Vegansaurus have never covered the corner of 9th and Judah’s delicious little treasure, Holy Gelato! They have so many soy and coconut milk-based gelatos. Plus, every time I’ve been there (twice), all in a tizzy because I couldn’t figure out which flavor to get, I was given free samples without even having to ask! I hate asking! Every single flavor I tried was scrumptious, but me being me, I had to go with the flavor laced with whiskey. YES YOU READ THAT RIGHT, THEY OFFER GELATO WITH WHISKEY!
The array of vegan flavors! Can you even believe your eyes?
As if you needed anymore convincing to get yourself out to the Inner Sunset for a vegan ice cream party, let me just throw out a few ideas. We’ll plan a night of it! The Inner Sunset boasts such restaurants as Social Kitchen and Brewery (Brussels sprouts chips! Chili! Beer!), Loving Hut (Everything on the menu!) and Patxi’s pizza (Vegan Chicago-style deep-dish pizza!). Feeling a little bit more romantic? Inner Fog is a cute little wine bar with dim lighting and a couple of vegan small bites available (think fancy hummus and fancy salad). There are also plenty of Chinese, Japanese, Mediterranean and Indian joints about; seriously the Inner Sunset is a vegan dream!
Irish Morning gelato, with a coconut-milk base, fudge, coffee, cookies and whiskey! Shout-out to Caroline for asking me out for ice cream in the first place, and therefore introducing me to Holy Gelato!
Exterior photo of Holy Gelato via notjustgranola.ca
Breaking news: animal testing may soon be required by law in the US! »
Last night, Tashina Combs posted a devastating piece on Logical Harmony about the possible state of animal testing on beauty products in the United States. The thought of more unnecessary animal testing, of it being required by law on all personal care products, is heartbreaking. The eloquent breakdown of the difficult-to-decipher wording that Logical Harmony provides of The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act is extraordinary; again, please check out the blog post here. Tashina also provides tips for what we can do to make our voices heard on this very important issue. She points out that not only will animals be harmed, but also the small vegan businesses that strive so hard to bring us cruelty-free beauty and body products!
No animal testing or ingredients on this counter! Wait, is Tom’s of Maine iffy? Do we use Tom’s of Maine?
Please, please, please check out Logical Harmony’s post on the subject. There is no way I could do her article justice by trying to summarize it, so I’m not going to. However, let’s read it, share it, and make ourselves heard! NO to increasing animal testing in the United States! No no no!
Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga: Go there! »
It’s my last week as a resident in the Bay Area, and while I am reminiscing about my life as a NorCal girl, I am very excited to begin new adventures in the city of angels! I was the last Vegansaurus contributor left in the bay, where this blog started, and now I’m leaving! Oh well, things change, right? At this very moment my life is in boxes in my parents’ garage, so yeah, I’d say things change.
Before I make it to LA however, there will be a month-long pitt-stop in Temecula, where members of my family are starting to relocate. I am trying to convince my mom that we would have a blast visiting the Temecula wineries, as neither of us has gone wine-tasting before. Since she only enjoys white zin, I’m sure you can imagine that my convincing, begging and pleading, is not going very smoothly. If you have any tips for me about how to go about vineyard crawling, or want to join me in sampling all the vino Temecula has to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll discuss in Disqus below.
Alright, on to the point of this post! In June of 2012, my sister picked me up from Ontario airport and gave me a list of vegan restaurants in the area we could stop at on the way to her place. After closely examining a few menus I chose Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga! I’ve been promising my little sis I’d do a recap of our meal, as we both loved it, and as a lady of my word, almost two years later, it’s here! Another note about our trip: I sang Rancho Cucamonga to the tune of La Cucaracha over and over again. She laughed every time. She was also about six months pregnant, so I’m guessing her maternal instinct must have set in big time because normally she has no patience for my shenanigans (I don’t blame her).
All of the details of my family life aside, I am grieving moving away from my beloved Bay Area, but am very excited to eat my way through southern California! Okay fine, I’m excited about much more than that, like, somewhat affordable rent for a studio apartment, warm beaches, celebrity sightings and Temecula wine tours. Alright, alright, alright, without further ado, I present you with one of the restaurants I am most looking forward to revisiting when I get down south: Bright Star Thai Vegan restaurant!
They have miso soup! I love miso soup and I hardly ever get to order
it when I go out!
Tempura vegetables with vegan shrimp! I was SO STOKED!
I got the orange chicken dinner special, which came with salad, a spring roll, fried brown rice and the miso soup pictured above. All this for $8.95! I am not the biggest fan of rice, so I gave it to my sister and I think I must’ve been able to eat most of the tempura veggies in return. We are the perfect dinner companions!
My sister got the Bright Star Pad Thai with soy chicken. She is not vegan, and possibly what you would refer to as a picky eater. However, she is a fan of soy chicken and kept exclaiming “I can’t even tell this is vegan!” with a huge smile on her face.
We were so happy with our visit to Bright Star! I was delighted about my sister being into vegan food, I tried to see how far I could push this thing. We tested another one of my favorites, Food For Lovers queso and she liked it! She took me to my first Fresh and Easy, where I found Gardein chicken and overly-packaged vegetables, so we had vegan taco night at her house, with her hubs and cutie-pie sister-in-law!
The Gardein chicken tacos were a hit and I have also been just looking for any excuse in the last year and half to show this picture off.
Bright Star is located in Rancho Cucamonga along with Viva la Vegan’s original store! You can make a whole vegan afternoon of it all! Side note: I get really tired of Thai food because it feels like that’s all everyone wants, all the time, but I thought Bright Star really rose above what I am used to. We also went to Earth Bistro while I was in Temecula, but I only like to spend my time writing about things I enjoyed. I’m thinking they might be worth another shot since I’ll be in town for a month, but my sister and I were not pleased.
You can find Bright Star Thai Vegan Cuisine at 9819 Foothill Boulevard, Unit F, in Rancho Cucamonga. You can reach them by phone at 909 980 9797.
Check out these baked jalapeño poppers from The Vegan Pact! These look like the perfect addition to any Super Bowl spread. I’m getting so excited for Sunday because the Super Bowl means calories don’t count and Bruno Mars is playing the halftime show! I am his biggest fan! More things I am a fan of: vegan jalapeño poppers and baking my food at home instead of frying it, as my frying skills leave everything overly greasy. This leaves me with no qualms about ordering every fried item on the menu at restaurants because I eat so healthy at home!
Photo of oooey gooey goodneess via theveganpact.com