vegansaurus!

06/16/2014

Beyond Sushi serves all-vegan sushi with extra flair in NYC!  »

imageMeave and I had the pleasure of visiting NYC’s Beyond Sushi (Union Square location) last week and we were pretty much blown away! Seriously, I didn’t know sushi could be so fun—and so vegan!

People have always told me about different places with such and such vegan roll and I’ve always been like, “whatever, I just like avocado rolls! Why I gotta go somewhere special for that?” Little did I know there’s a big, exciting vegan sushi world out there! What an idiot I was. But we live and learn, yeah?!imageWe started off with some of their yummy juices. These are not the cleanse type, which is good because that’s not my steeze. I got the cucumber mint lemonade and it was SO GOOD. Meave got some sort of watermelon juice that I refused to try because watermelon is bleh! But my juice was the yum.imageNext, we had one of their wraps. I wasn’t that excited because I think of wraps as just like a bunch of raw veggies pretending to be a sandwich. Boy was I delightfully surprised! This Nutty Buddy wrap ended up being maybe my favorite thing we had. It was full of buckwheat noodles, cashews, carrots, cilantro, jalapeño peanut butter, avocado, sesame oil, tofu, and lettuce—whoa! Plus it came with a side of sweet soy mirin sauce. I love the noodles and peanut butter!!! I could eat this every day. 

imageNext came the sushi! OMG how pretty, right? On the very left is their most popular roll, the Spicy Mang: black rice, avocado, mango, English cucumber, spicy veggies and toasted cayenne sauce. A lot of their rolls use black rice, which is actually more purple. It’s really good. It’s a bit sweeter than white rice and just has more flavor in general. imageIn the middle, is the roll of the month! Every month they have a special roll. For June, it’s this fun eggplant roll: black rice, roasted eggplant, avocado, and baby arugula topped with rosemary infused butter bean purée and roasted roma tomatoes infused with garlic and thyme. YES. I was all, “I didn’t know you could even have sushi like this” and Meave is all, “well, it’s BEYOND sushi!” Haha, indeed. 

The third roll was the Mighty Mushroom: six-grain rice, enoki, tofu, shiitake, and micro arugula with a shitake teriyaki sauce. This was my favorite! The shitake teriyaki sauce on top was so good. 

imageWe also had two of the individual pieces, baked tofu with chili mango. AWESOME. 

So, if you couldn’t tell, we love Beyond Sushi! I warn you if you go though that seating is limited. But we got there at 6:30 on a Tuesday and there were plenty of places to sit. But by the time we left, people were waiting to sit. I also advise that you TRY EVERYTHING! Because it’s so good. Oh, besides the one in Union Square, there’s also a location in Chelsea Market.imageBONUS! They have all these exciting almond butters they make in-house! I got my big bro this truffle oil/thyme almond butter because those are his favorite things and I’m so nice to him. 

Disclosure: we dined for free because we are very fancy! I paid full price for the almond butter though, and I’d do it again! Because I’m so nice to my big bro!

06/09/2014

All-vegan ice cream shop formerly known as Lula’s makes peanut-butterific vegan ice cream!  »

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Jess being cute. My cone is on the left (your left) and her peanut butter chocolate chip is on the right. 

As the weather was mostly pleasant here in NYC last week and her main squeeze was out of town, I got to go on an ice cream date with my friend Jess. You guys remember Lula’s Sweet Apothecary? Well, as you may recall, they had some drama last year. I don’t know much about it but I know they didn’t really close, but they don’t go by Lula’s anymore. They also don’t go by anything else so…I will call them the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s I suppose. Regardless, I hadn’t since whatever happened, so Jess and I decided to see how things were going over there. 

First of all, they had espresso ice cream. MY FAVE. Second of all, they were all out of it—I guess it’s not just MY fave. However, all was not lost as I took a chance and got the vanilla ice cream with peanut butter crunch swirl and it was FANTASMIC! The swirl wasn’t really crunchy, just peanut buttery, which is what I was hoping. Jess got the peanut butter chocolate chip. I gave it a try and it was delicious as well! Even if they have the espresso next time I go, I think I will get one of the two we got. Or maybe the espresso. OR MAYBE ALL THREE BECAUSE I DO WHAT I WANNA. 

I have to say I think the ice cream there is better than it used to be when it was Lula’s. Is that possible? When I first moved to NYC, I went to Lula’s a few times and while I liked it, I didn’t find the ice cream that flavorful. Or there were flavorful options but they weren’t classic ice cream flavors. Like the maple pecan was great, but the traditional options weren’t as plentiful and were just a little underwhelming. Maybe it’s all in my head, but I swear, the flavors now are perfect! TWO peanut butter options?! BE STILL MY PEANUT BUTTER-COVERED HEART. 

And you’ll be happy to know they still have all the vegan candy bars for sale, including personal fave Go Max Go’s Thumbs Up

So if you haven’t been to the Sweet Apothecary formerly known as Lula’s in a while, go! Tis the season!

The address is 516 E 6th St, between ave A and B. 

03/18/2014

Hey New York: Free food at Terri on Thursday for the Great American Meatout!  »

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Who wants to come to lunch with me on Thursday? Or breakfast? Or dinner? To celebrate this year’s Great American Meatout, Terri in the Financial District is offering $10 of free food for anyone who mentions the Meatout. That is an actual meal’s worth of food! And it’s all vegan, and everything I’ve had (and I work around the corner, so I go here … often) has been good, so really, what else do you need to know?

The Terri in question is at 100 Maiden Lane in Manhattan, and is open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 20. Celebrate the Great American Meatout 2014 with free vegan food — what could be finer?

07/24/2013

Restaurant review: Rawlicious Soho!  »

Meave: Remember how I was saying last week that we are really lucky vegans? Let’s double that sentiment, because recently Megan and I were invited to a tasting at Rawlicious Soho, the new Rawlicious spot at 249 Centre Street in Manhattan. Of course we said YES to fancy free food, because what are we, not hungry? Not eager to try new dishes? Not kind of obsessed with cashew cheese and raw vegetables? Well, maybe the last one is more me than Megan, but still. To Rawlicious Soho we went!

imageMeave: First they brought us this plate of nut-and-seed flatbread topped with dill cashew cheese, caramelized onion, and cherry tomatoes to share. It was beautiful, vibrant, and really tasty. If you’re not eating all of the tomatoes you can get your hands on during the summertime, you are missing out. They’re perfect when they’re ripe and totally nasty out of season, so take advantage of the summer and get snacking.

Megan: Yeah, the whole thing was great but the tomatoes were out of control. I was like, where the hell did they get these and can I get a 100 more? That was true across the board—they must have some super taster finding their fresh veggies, everything was just perfect.

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Meave: Next, they brought us each a plate of their taco salad, which was made of avocado, salsa, walnut refried beans, red and green onions, cashew sour cream, and sundried tomato nacho chips, over romaine lettuce. You guys, I loved this salad. I still think about it. The avocados were perfect, firm and yielding and buttery in that avocado-y way. The walnut refried beans I could’ve eaten alone, forever, but with the crispy lettuce and the tangy cashew sour cream—a really great combination. Though I have always been partial to taco salad (it was my main jam at Gratitude before all the ugliness).

Megan: The avocados were cray! Totally perfect! And ditto on the walnut refried beans—who ever heard of walnut refried beans?!

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Meave: Then they brought us each a slice of flatbread pizza with cashew cheese, pesto, tomato, zucchini, mushroom, and basil. Rich! basil-y! Unctuous, you guys, the combination of cashew cheese and basil was unctuous, so rich and savory, plus the firm vegetables and the crispy flatbread—so good.

It was at this point that we realized we were both getting pretty full.

Megan: Loved the pesto! Additionally, damn, why’s Meave gotta use words I have to look up?

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Meave: After we managed to eat our entire pieces of pizza, they brought us plates of their pad thai with kelp and zucchini noodles, carrots, red cabbage, green onions, and cashews in a “tangy Thai sauce.” Crispy-crunchy, savory-sweet, and very good. Not as spicy as I would have liked it, but the textures were delicious, and it was nice and cool on a hot summer afternoon.

Our lovely server, who had been vegan for all of three weeks (hooray!), had to box our dishes for us, as we were both reaching stomach capacity.

Megan: I have to differ on this one, I wasn’t that into the zucchini noodles. I’ve never been a big fan of raw food but everything here was so great I think I’m a changed woman! But this is the kind of dish I think of when I think of raw food—“noodles” that are all crunchy. Not my thing. Good sauce though (but I don’t like spicy).

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Meave: But of course we had room for this tiny, flawless dessert: a brownie bite with coconut “frosting” and chocolate banana ice cream. Because it’s sweetened with dates (and bananas), you could really taste the walnut, cacao, and coconut flavors. Again, the texture was incredible. I should really stop being surprised that raw desserts can be so goddamn good, but still, this was amazing and I am in love with it.

Megan: Guys guys guys, this thing was OFF THE HOOK. Why am I not eating this little chocolate wonder all the time?! And I usually don’t even like coconut (I know, I’m that picky vegan) but this was perfect! The banana chocolate ice cream was awesome. The whole thing was awesome. It was my favorite part of the meal. 

Meave: It stands to reason that we would be biased, as Rawlicious offered us this tasting free of charge, gave us a table with really great lighting, and were totally accommodating and very nice. Of course we’re biased. Still, the food was very, very good. The restaurant space itself is charming, light and airy with an exposed brick wall and bright, interesting art.

Megan: I’m not at all biased because I’m stone cold and hard to impress. But I was impressed. I just don’t usually go in for raw food so I was skeptical, but the food was so good! And yeah, my first reaction was, whoa, this place is nice! It’s not at all hippie like Cafe Gratitude or something—which is another association I have with raw food (despite Pure Food & Wine). When I think of raw, I think of crunchy cold food and new-age crap. This place is not like that! I even liked the paintings, and I’m hella snobby about paintings. So the place is upscale—but comfortable all the same. Our waitress was soooo nice. Like Meave said, a brand new vegan! I gave her some tips of course because I’m me. 

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Meave: I would absolutely go again. Especially on a date! Definitely I would invite a gentleman here for a beautiful meal in an attractive space, where the lighting makes everyone look like a total babe.

Megan: Agreed except it wasn’t the lighting, Meave is a total babe. In conclusion: I WANT MORE CHOCOLATE BANANA BROWNIE BITES!

05/06/2013

Jay Kitchen Pop-Up Dinner: Fine dining by vegan wunderkind Jay Astafa  »

Late last month, your Vegansaurus was invited to attend a fancypants vegan pop-up dinner by up-and-coming vegan chef Jay Astafa. As part of our constant effort to bring you the most important news on the best vegan dining, we accepted.

The pop-up was an eight-course tasting menu of Jay’s savory vegan delights, with dessert by vegan pastry chef and fellow wunderkind Dani McGrath, and wines by the Vegan Vine.

Here are some photos that I took. They’re … adequate.

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First course: King oyster mushroom scallop with aged balsamic caviar and green pea purée

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Second course (one of my favorites!): Spring crostini duo (ramps & cashew chèvre; sorrel-mint pesto, micro pea tendrils, green peas, cashew parmesan)

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Third course: Chilled potato and leek soup with chive olive oil foam

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Fourth course (SO GOOD YOU GUYS): Ravioli with asparagus and ricotta (house-made cashew cream butter, cashew parmesan)

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Fifth course: Smoked cauliflower steak with sunchoke purée, morels, fava beans, snap peas, green garlic, truffle vinaigrette, shaved black summer truffle

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Sixth course: House-made cheese plate with aged cashew cheese and brie, strawberry-rhubarb compote, orange-infused vegan honey, rosemary-almond crackers

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Seventh course: “Dragon Breath” caramel popcorn

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Eighth course: Grand Marnier-infused chocolate rart with pistachio gelato, raspberry coulis, pistachio tuile, raspberry pop candy, fleur de sel salted caramel powder

Lucky for you, Ms. Hannah “Bittersweet Blog” Kaminsky took much better pictures of the menu that really do Jay and Dani’s dishes justice. She also has Jay’s recipe for the sorrel-mint pesto crostini, which was one of my favorite dishes and which I fully intend to (attempt to) reproduce, because holy moly, it was so good. Go see for yourself!

To find out more about Jay Astafa and Jay Kitchen, follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He also catered Farm Sanctuary’s Fashion Loves Animals event (which we attended, too!) last weekend. Keep an eye out for more from this super-talented kid; he is amazing, and we are lucky to have him on team vegan.

(And seriously check out Hannah’s photos, they are gorgeous.)

Got a tip about an awesome vegan-friendly event? Let us know! We love fun!

04/12/2013

NYC: Come to Mooshoes this Sunday!  »

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Mooshoes is having a special sale this Sunday in honor of spring! I think spring is great so it should definitely be honored with vegan shoe discounts. Details:

Please join us on Sunday, April 14. from noon to 6 p.m. for our annual Spring Fling.

Spring is finally here and you need some new shoes to get you started. We have so many new styles to choose from that we don’t want you to have to narrow it down to just one..so we are offering a 15 percent discount on all of our new spring arrivals. We are also offering an additional 10 percent off already discounted merchandise. Prices start at $29.99! 

Expect some fun beverages (spiked or non spiked lemonade, anyone?) and tasty treats from Dunwell Doughnuts to make this shopping day a little sweeter.

Dunwell Doughnuts? Sold!

Mooshooes is located at 78 Orchard St. in Manhattan.

11/08/2012

Hey NYC! Amanda Cohen, the chef at Dirt Candy (a Megan Rascal love!) is giving a talk about her awesome restaurant, cooking with vegetables, and her new cookbook (Dirt Candy: The Cookbook), which looks awesome.
If you want to attend, just RSVP, and then get your vegetable-loving self over to the NYU Fales Library at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. It’s a free event, and there’ll be snacks! It’s sponsored by the Wagner Food Policy Alliance and NYU Meatless Mondays.

Hey NYC! Amanda Cohen, the chef at Dirt Candy (a Megan Rascal love!) is giving a talk about her awesome restaurant, cooking with vegetables, and her new cookbook (Dirt Candy: The Cookbook), which looks awesome.

If you want to attend, just RSVP, and then get your vegetable-loving self over to the NYU Fales Library at 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12. It’s a free event, and there’ll be snacks! It’s sponsored by the Wagner Food Policy Alliance and NYU Meatless Mondays.

08/15/2012

New York’s WABC channel 7 News spotlights Vegan Divas! Vegansaurs already know that Megan Rascal loves Vegan Divas and has attended two of their parties, which is no surprise because she is the vegan queen of the East Coast. But now regular news-bringers are talking about it! And loving it! The best part of this little piece is the end, when the field reporter, the two anchors, and that dude on the side (I don’t know your newspeople, New York) are enjoying the goods so much they can barely talk. Vegan desserts are the best!

08/03/2012

Vegan Divas: New vegan bakery in NYC!  »

If you recall, a few months ago I went to Vegan Divas dessert tasting and had a lovely time. Well guess what? They opened a bakery! Yes, the Upper East Side just got a vegan bakery. Yay richies! Get your vegan on.

They invited me to the opening, promising free desserts and champagne—do they understand me or what? Hint: they understand me. My absolute favorite thing was the baby chocolate cupcakes pictured above. Aren’t they darling (that’s Upper East Side talk!)? And very good. I actually would say their chocolate stuff is their best stuff. It’s always a nice, rich, semi-sweet chocolate that’s not too sugary. Love it. I also like the funny “sand cookies” that are pictured behind the cupcakes. They are funny and I’m not sure everyone would like them. I love them—they are a bit salty, that’s my favorite: salty+sweet. 

These donuts are good as well. But all their donuts are baked, not fried, so we’re not talking Ronald’s. Good though. Of course I recommend the chocolate! It’s not surprising their donuts are the baked kind, the whole place is very health-conscious. For those calorie counters, you’ll be excited to find that all the items on the menu include the calorie count next to them—and everything is pretty low. All the ingredients are natural and everything is kosher too. So everybody can eat this stuff! And the prices aren’t bad in my opinion, especially considering the quality of the ingredients. 

They don’t just have dessert, they will also be having quiche. I haven’t sampled it yet but I love quiche so I’m excited! And they have juices—see? Healthy stuff! I didn’t try the juice because I didn’t want it to interfere with my champagne intake, but I’m sure it’s good. If you like juice! And it came in cute little glasses. Baby glasses! 

Oh the other thing I tried were the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies! They were party favors so I had them at home. I actually had two for breakfast this morning! Yeah, I’m all about health too. The cookies are nice and soft; I don’t like crunchy chocolate chip cookies so that’s perfect for me. They also had oatmeal raisin cookies but I’m allergic to cookies with raisins in them. Ok I’m not exactly allergic but still, raisins better stay away from my cookies.

All in all, a great bakery, especially for the health-conscious set. I’m glad we have another bakery in the city! For you non-NYCers, you can order lots of their products on their site. Bon Appétit! That’s more Upper East Side talk. I’m basically bilingual. Trilingual if you include Philadelphian.

03/16/2012

NYC: The Vegan Shop-Up is coming to Manhattan!  »

That’s right! The Shop-Up is making its Soho debut on March 24!:

Please join us in big bad Manhattan for this mini version of Vegan Shop-Up! Exciting! You’ll find us behind the beautiful tea shop In Pursuit of Tea, so stock up on artisan treats and enjoy a nice hot cup on your way out. As always we’ve got a long list of drool-worthy goods to bring you so get ready for the best selection of chocolate coated cake truffles, raw sweets, gluten-free baked treats, kale chips, sauerkrauts and chutneys, sandwiches, fresh juices, teas, and more!

We’re still holding our regular Shop-Ups at& Pine Box Rock Shop in Brooklyn, so don’t worry.

See www.veganshopup.com for the full list of vendors. And join our facebook and twitter for even more updates!

Saturday, March 24, noon to 5 p.m.
In Pursuit of Tea (back room)
33 Crosby St. (btw Broome + Grand)
FREE!

How do you like that action? This is a lot more convenient for me! So come out, drop cash money, and be the best vegan you can be.

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