vegansaurus!

12/12/2011

Hey NYC: Do you have room in your heart for sweet Johnny “Goggles”?  »

LOOK AT THAT FACE!!! This is Johnny “Goggles” and he is on death row at the Manhattan Animal Care and Control shelter. Really, he could be euthanized any day now and reader Kim wants to see him get a home instead! She’s been spending time with him and says he’d make the perfect dog for some lucky household. Kim and her boyfriend have already adopted a dog and cannot afford to take Johnny in as well but they think he’s so wonderful, they’ve actually offered to help cover his adoption fees for someone that can give him a great new home. 

Johnny is three years old, a pit bull mix with a brindle and white coat. Kim says Johnny appears to have been abused or neglected in his past but is still incredibly sweet and loves affection. OMG I’m crying!

Here’s what some shelter volunteers had to say about Johnny’s personality; the first writes:

I’ve nicknamed Johnny “goggles” because of the brown mask of fur around his eyes. It’s just one of the many sweet, silly qualities this very nice boy has going for him. While some of the other dogs were jumping and barking in their kennels, trying to get my attention, Johnny stayed still, hoping to make eye contact and guilt me into walking him next. It worked, and off we went. Johnny has awesome leash skills, though he does zig-zag a little—a funny trait that makes me think he must be so happy to be outside seeing and sniffing so many fascinating things, he can’t decide where to direct his eyes and nose next. He’s social and friendly with other dogs and minds his manners around people. It helps that he’s so handsome, with a gorgeous white and brindle coat that earned him compliments on the sidewalk. Come meet our Johnny, a dog with so much potential to be a best friend and protector.

Another volunteer writes:

Here’s what Johnny Goggles loves: long walks, feeling the leaves crunch under his paws, sniffing the ground (and finding a couple of French fries left behind in a fast food container, yum!), sitting on a park bench next to his person like a king, and having his back and butt scratched endlessly. Now here’s what Johnny doesn’t love: watching so many other dogs come in the shelter and then get adopted, never knowing if and when he’ll have a loving home of his own. Let’s help Johnny, a medium-size guy with serious BFF potential, find his forever family very soon.

His I.D. number is JOHNNY - ID#A916477.

If you’d like to help Johnny, you can contact the Manhattan Animal Care and Control center—Kim suggests going to the center in person if you can because it’s difficult to connect with the center via phone or email. Kim says you can email her if you need further assistance. She even said she’d be happy to meet with you and accompany you to the shelter to save this dog. So nice! She just really wants to see him saved. So if you’ve been looking to adopt, what are you waiting for? This guy doesn’t have much time. 

12/07/2011

Good things coming your way, NYC! The Green Holiday Festival happens on Sunday, Dec. 11, with all kinds of good stuff. Our pal Louzilla (love you, girl!) sent us this flyer for the event, and says that it is “organized by the same people that brought us the NYC Vegetarian Food  Festival last year. I got an inside look at the list of vendors, and it  looks like it’s really going to be an amazing event to fulfill all your  vegan holiday gift needs in one place. The best part? a portion of the  proceeds are going to benefit For the Animals, which is in dire need of funds!”
Sounds great, right? Be at the Altman Building at 135 W. 18th St. in Manhattan on Sunday, Dec. 11. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you can shop, learn, donate, eat, and be entertained. Get more information at the event’s Facebook page. Thanks for the tip, Ms. Louzilla!
But wait, there’s more: Sarah of Rescue Chocolate, one of the Festival’s organizers, has offered free tickets for our readers who want to go! She has 50 tickets for you East Coast Vegansaurs, so if you can attend, email Sarah no later than Friday at 5 p.m. EST with the subject line: “Vegansaurus wants to send me to the Green Holiday Festival!” Please include your name, and please only enter if you can go. I can’t! But you could! And it’s going to be great!

Good things coming your way, NYC! The Green Holiday Festival happens on Sunday, Dec. 11, with all kinds of good stuff. Our pal Louzilla (love you, girl!) sent us this flyer for the event, and says that it is “organized by the same people that brought us the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival last year. I got an inside look at the list of vendors, and it looks like it’s really going to be an amazing event to fulfill all your vegan holiday gift needs in one place. The best part? a portion of the proceeds are going to benefit For the Animals, which is in dire need of funds!”

Sounds great, right? Be at the Altman Building at 135 W. 18th St. in Manhattan on Sunday, Dec. 11. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you can shop, learn, donate, eat, and be entertained. Get more information at the event’s Facebook page. Thanks for the tip, Ms. Louzilla!

But wait, there’s more: Sarah of Rescue Chocolate, one of the Festival’s organizers, has offered free tickets for our readers who want to go! She has 50 tickets for you East Coast Vegansaurs, so if you can attend, email Sarah no later than Friday at 5 p.m. EST with the subject line: “Vegansaurus wants to send me to the Green Holiday Festival!” Please include your name, and please only enter if you can go. I can’t! But you could! And it’s going to be great!

07/08/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: Cowgirl’s Baking!  »


Cowgirl’s Baking
! Ever heard of it? It’s in Manhattan. I was in the city yesterday and happened by—the same day Laura and I had been talking about this place! See, they had a vegan hot dog eating contest over July Fourth and Laura wanted me to write about it and I was like, Laura, it’s not July Fourth anymore! And she was like, Megan, vegan hot dog eating contest! And then by chance, I walk by. The world is a funny place.

The main thing I had heard about Cowgirl’s Baking is that they sell vegan funnel cake! OMG DON’T DIE! Yes, as you may have guessed, it was delicious. A lot oilier than I remember, but I don’t think I’ve had a funnel cake in like 10 years? It was GOOD. Funnel cake is GOOD. I was HAPPY.

Funnel cake was all I was prepared to buy yesterday (I was actually on my way to dinner—ha!) but I will definitely go back! They have many savory items I want to try, including cheddar biscuits. I love a good biscuit! They also have about a million cupcakes. I want them all.

They have little places to sit but they seriously need some AC like whoa. You should definitely make the trip here one day, for lunch AND dessert. I may even be there when you go! I’ll be the extra-good-looking one. Say hi.

05/18/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: John’s of 12th Street’s new all-vegan menu!  »

I heard some chatter that one of NYC’s oldest Italian restaurants had added an all-vegan menu in addition to their regular menu. Naturally I looked into it. Sure enough, John’s of 12th Street has not just vegan options but an entirely separate vegan menu, which proclaims: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy our Italian specialties made with the freshest ingredients available! All of our vegan dishes are plant-based and contain no animal ingredients whatsoever. We use dedicated cooking utensils for preparing vegan dishes.” Wow! I arranged a dinner immediately with a bunch of my vegan friends and we promptly showed up forks in hand.

John’s is an old-school Italian place. It opened in 1903 and the space has an old-fashioned feel. The waiters are all in white button-ups with ties and have Brooklyn accents. And at one point our waiter actually yelled at an adjacent birthday party to keep it down—for the record, they were being wicked loud—totally awesome.

When we sat down, we were asked if we’d like garlic bread; my friend said we’d like the vegan garlic bread. Our waiter asked if we were all “goin’ ve-gaan tonight?” We nodded and he quickly whisked away our menus and replaced them with the vegan ones. Super exciting. Vegan appetizers, salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts. We were a large party so I got to taste a wide variety. Two kinds of bruschetta (one with avocado!), Caesar salad, stuffed mushrooms, minestrone soup. All quite good. For my main I order pasta with vegan Alfredo, BECAUSE HOW CAN YOU NOT. It was good. I won’t lie, I put a lot of salt and pepper on it but after that it was delicious. My roommate had the tofu spinach ravioli which I though had really impressive texture, just like a traditional ravioli. Another friend let me taste the seitan parm (it was yum) which came with a SIDE of pasta. Would you like a side of pasta? Only with everything please!

Then came dessert. This was the true highlight. I got the vanilla cannoli. Oh man. Cue picture:


Crazy delicious! Some of my friends got the chocolate version but I didn’t taste it because no one was interested in sharing at this point, just scarfing. There was also a panna cotta (surprisingly good) and ice cream from Lula’s (always a delight).

Bottom line: I was ultra-stoked about this trip because I LOVE Italian food, but I wouldn’t tell a vegan from out of town to go out of their way unless they are a major fan like me. Except for the cannoli which IS worth going out of your way!! You should go get one NOW. This is a great place for a large dinner party, especially if it’s a mixed party with vegans and nons. The food is good. It is not unbelievable or particularly special but it is a solid “good.”

I think its super important to point out that John’s is freaking radical for doing this!! How many restaurants can you just walk into and not just have a few options but your whole own entire menu made with special animal-free pots and pans? Like NOWHERE. Go John’s of 12th Street! You are sexy like a vegan! I hope this is the sign of a trend because I would love for more restaurants/bakeries/delis/etc. to have good vegan options. And I MEAN options; one item is not “options.” Yay for vegan Italian food! Is it the best food ever? No. Is it good? Yes! I’ll take another side of pasta please!

[Ed.: Oh, snap! It looks like you can ORDER ONLINE!! Ugh, do they deliver to Oakland? BECAUSE WANT.]

Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in New York City. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s “Open-Mic Fight” and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz and read about her animal friendly adventures at Laura Goes Vegan.

02/28/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: Blossom!  »


I may have finally found a reason to move to Manhattan: Blossom! It rules. It may even be better than Millennium and Horizons, no lie. I went there for my birthday dinner over the weekend and I’m basically dead. Other food has lost all meaning. I don’t even want to look at anything that wasn’t made in that kitchen. I think I have food malaise! Can you die from food malaise? I guess we’ll see (yay, experiment!).

It was so dark inside that I couldn’t get any decent pictures but trust, everything looked dope. For starters, I had the parsnip cappelletti: “Fresh hand-rolled ravioli stuffed with savory whipped parsnip and crushed potatoes, finished with shiitakes and truffle oil.” DAMN. It was amazing. I’ve been really into parsnips all winter and this pasta-parsnip combo was great. People got various yummy things but one of my guests got the ravioli with cashew cream, which I liked in particular.

For my entree, I had the phyllo roulade: “French lentils and root vegetables baked in a phyllo crust, served over a carrot-cream sauce. Caramelized onions and swiss chard complement.” It was great but honestly it kind of just tasted like the lentil Peasant Pie, which is a lot cheaper. But I love the lentil Peasant Pie so I loved this dish too. Half my guests got the rigatoni in porcini cream because god forbid the ominvores step out of their comfort zone! Just kidding, it’s a valid choice and that dish was slamming. The cream sauce was excellent—all the cream sauces were excellent. One friend got the seitan scaloppini which we both agreed was too salty.

Then we got dessert! We all shared the cheesecake, the ganache and the apple cinnamon sticks. The last was my favorite, I think. It was a great mix of sweet and salty. The omnis couldn’t believe how legit the cheesecake was; one guest said it was one of the best he’s had. The chocolate ganache was good, it had a nice cake bottom, but it wasn’t that special. See, I like cake like I like my education: special!

And the wine, oh the wine! Delightful. I’d say though that it was the appetizers that did me in. I want to go back and just get all starters! And wine. But seriously you’d have to be Sir Fatpockets to eat there on the regular. It’s pricey. Worth it, though! And if it were any cheaper, I would live in the gutter just waiting for them to open each day. I wouldn’t get anything done! And I have important things to do. Big things going on, big things.

[generic picture from restaurantsinyc.com]

01/24/2011

The Vegansaurus Diet: Megan Rascal!  »

Hey guys, did you know we have a little series called the Vegansaurus Diet? Readers can submit their weeklong adventure in vegan eating! Jeez louise, do you want to be internet famous? Here’s your chance! For inspiration (and attention), here’s my Vegansaurus Diet!

[Ed.: Megan wrote a whole lot of excuses as to why she didn’t vary her routine or cook a lot this week, which frankly is 0 percent important when compared to the fact that she recorded a regular old week of vegan eating. You think models are embarrassed to have eaten, like, the same $30 salad from the same restaurant for a month? NO. And you’re vegan, you’re obviously more interesting than someone whose job is “skinny.”]

Tuesday, Jan. 11
I start the day with my favorite breakfast: multigrain english muffins with Earth Balance and grape jelly! Plus, two Yves breakfast patties; I love those little guys. Vegan sausage is generally a solid bet, am I right? I always recommend sausage items when I take the omnis somewhere new. Then I had about five to 10 clementines. I can’t help it! They are so good! Of course I’d prefer satsumas but they just aren’t very good on the East Coast. Sad face.

For lunch, I had what I’ve had for the last two weeks: sushi! I only like avocado rolls so that’s what I had, along with edamame and veggie spring rolls. Then I had 10 to 12 clementines.
Snacks: tamari almonds and—drum roll!—clementines!
Dinner: An Amy’s non-dairy burrito. I like ‘em.

Wednesday, Jan. 12
Today for brekkie I went a little crazy and mixed it up: apples and peanut butter! It’s not just for children. Today I had a Honeycrisp apple but I’m really into Pink Ladies—Gala apples are totally played out. For lunch I had sushi and edamame again. For dinner I had a toasted multigrain english muffin with peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Nothing beats a PB+J!

You’ll notice a lack of clementines. I ate them all yesterday and then it snowed and I was too lazy to trek through the snow for some more.

Friday, Jan. 14
Apples and peanut butter for breakfast! Sushi and edamame for lunch! For a snack, I had two Lightlife sausage links and a cup of applesauce; it’s a good combination. I think I like the Yves sausage patties better but the Lightlife is a solid alternative—they have more flavor—but they’re a bit tough. For dinner I had Dr. McDougall’s roasted peanut noodle! Apparently it’s in his “Asian Entree” series. I’m a big Dr. McDougall fan—have you tried the miso ramen? It’s out of control. I’m a big peanut fan too so I was very excited when my interests came together in noodle form. It wasn’t the most amazing thing ever but it was pretty darn good for something that recommends you microwave it for best results. Lastly, for dessert, I had toast with I. M. Healthy chocolate soy nut butter.

Sunday, January 16th
I had a lovely breakfast: oatmeal and a chocolate chip banana muffin from 'Snice, with Earl Gray tea of course. For dinner, I ordered from Dao Palate! It’s a vegan pan-Asian place. It’s yummy! I got spring rolls and pad thai (pictured left).

Monday, Jan. 17
I had an english muffin with jam for breakfast. Sushi for lunch, duh. Now for dinner, I had some crazy good stuff! It was my sister-in-laws birthday and we had a big party for her at Gemma in Manhattan. The waiters were so nice and got me all kinds of vegan food! I had bruschetta that had these killer grape tomatoes; then a nice little salad; pasta with tomato sauce and basil for the entree; and raspberry sorbet for dessert! And champagne—lots of champagne. 

That is my week in eating! My diet is basically the same as a 10 year-old’s, a 10 year-old who really likes sushi.

Would you like to be featured on Vegansaurus? Of course you would! So submit your Vegansaurus Diet already!

01/06/2011

Vegansaurus NYC: Counter!  »


Counter kind of rules—75 percent of my meal was off the hook! It’s just vegetarian but most of the items on the menu are vegan. They have “snacks” where you can get any three for $15—I love that sort of thing, small bites and whatnot. We got the white bean hummus, cornmeal-pepita-crusted kabocha and the roasted butternut and broccoli raab crostini. The crostini was very good but the kabocha was AWESOME. The hummus: meh. It had a bit of a fennel taste and I mother-loving HATE anything that tastes like licorice. Licorice can die in a fire for all I care! Yeah, I said it.

I got the soup of the day, a white bean soup, and it was pretty good but nothing special; the side of brussels sprouts, though, goddamn they were good. I love brussels sprouts! They were the beets of 2006 and I’m still on that groove train. The 25 percent of my meal that I didn’t like was the brown rice salad. It was really hard, the kabocha in it was kind of tough, and the brown rice was minimally cooked. That was a downer, but the rest of the meal was great.

My waitress kind of blew. She was nice enough but she just wasn’t around even though the place wasn’t even a third full. It’s not a big deal; I just could have gotten several more glasses of organic wine, if she’d given me the opportunity! We wanted to get dessert too but she took so long to come over to us that we lost interest in it. I showed her! I only tipped her 15 percent instead of my standard 20!* I think she got the message.

I would definitely recommend this place for drinks and tapas (“tapa” is foodie for “appetizer”!). They have an impressive drink menu and wine list—and you know I like to get my drink on!

*Philadelphians are the nations best tippers!

[Sorry for the generic picture from Counter’s website but I couldn’t get any food shots! Damn mood lighting! Man, I need to get out for brunch more instead of dinner. But, alas, I like the nightlife!]

12/10/2010

How to be a fancy and demanding vegan!  »

Sometimes you may think to yourself, “Gosh, is that Megan Rascal fancy!” but there are fancier members of my family: my brother and sister-in-law are like the New York couple—so hip and chic. They love to go to nice restaurants and when they invite me along, they are always really cool and send me the menus beforehand to check if they’re vegan friendly. However, more often than not, the restaurants they seem to choose are like meaty-meat-meats-a-lot. I don’t know why! There are many meat-centric, yet vegan-friendly restaurants in this big city but they don’t seem to like them. So I’m always like, “I guess I can ask for this one salad without bacon?” And they are like, “great!” And I’m like, “great.”  But this last time, when they wanted to go to Savoy in Manhattan and I saw that there were possibly zero vegan items on the menu, I put my foot down. Well, sort of. I said, “I can make do with the salads I think! Also we have to try this thing people do, like at nice places, sometimes the chef will make a vegan dish that’s not on the menu just with what they have that day. We should try it! I’m scared. Maybe [your wife] will know how to do it.” See, I’m always telling you, I’m shy! So I’m nervous to bother chefs but my brother is not! He called the restaurant before we got there to see what they could do for me. According to him, 

I said something like, “And we have one vegan in our party—do you have options for her?” And she said “Yes, we can accommodate that no problem. I’ll make a note of that on your reservation.” And I said, “OK great! Thank you very much,” and that was it!

Easy peasy! When we got to the restaurant, my brother informed them that he had called earlier and I was the vegan, etc. and the waitress was very nice. She said that two items in the starters could be made vegan and that for the entree, the chef would make something special. I was so happy! I love special stuff. She asked me if there were any vegetables that I didn’t like, but there aren’t really so I told her not to worry about that.

I got a polenta dish without butter for my starter. It was very good. It was kind of like a breakfast cereal, like Cream of Wheat or something. It was good though. But the real excitement came with my entree! The chef made some crazy squash I had never heard of, stuffed with another, mushed-up squash and a bunch of vegetables, topped with a citrus salad and surrounded by kidney beans and these crazy roasted black olive things that were good even though I hate olives. It was AWESOME. And more importantly, it was FANCY! Then I finished with a scoop of chocolate sorbet. AWESOME AND FANCY!

When the waitress came out later and asked me how everything was, I was like, “It’s amazing! Tell the chef it’s great and I really appreciate it.” Damn, I’m classy. You should thank your chef, after all.

So friends, don’t be scared to go into those nice places and make your vegan needs heard! Just make sure you thank them so we keep our good name.

08/24/2010

Vegansaurus NYC: Cocoa V!  »

Hey people, one quick thing: you have to go to Cocoa V before you die! It’s an all-vegan, all-organic, all-fair trade chocolate and wine bar. CHOCOLATE and WINE! What else do you need? That’s pretty much it.

Really it’s not all chocolate and wine, they also have baked goods and a savory menu so I went to Cocoa V for brunch this weekend. I ordered the “daily whimsical quiche,” which was a spinach-onion-Daiya quiche. It was OK. Although I have publicly proclaimed Daiya to be the bomb, I think I’m over it. It has such a distinct Daiya flavor and I’m finally just tired of it. It’s like there’s all these ingredients in the quiche and all I can taste is the Daiya. But the consistency was good and the crust was good—it was a nice little quiche. I was with two friends and we started with the Cocoa V trio which was an edamame pate, hummus, spiced nuts and “toast points” (basically crostini). That’s a picture of the edamame pate on a toast point on stage right over there. This stuff was GOOD. Below is a picture of my friend’s tofu salad wrap she ordered. I tried it, it was kind of bland but good. I guess it’s what you might expect a tofu salad wrap to be like.

After the savory stuff, we got chocolate fondue! You see pals, I’m a baller and I’ll have chocolate fondue for brunch if I damn well please. The fondue wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it was very good. Then, after the fondue, the REAL fun began! I bought all kinds of chocolates and stuff for people! You see pals, I’m the man. We got to sample this one chocolate I highly recommend you try, it was the spiced chocolate tile with cloves and those holiday spices like that. My friend Kevin said it tasted like Christmas. I liked it because it was salty and I love the chocolate + salt combo. There were so many different chocolates! I got some pretzel clusters for my brother because I’m so sweet and I got a chocolate cat-face on a stick for my friend—again, because I’m so sweet. “Chocolate cat face on a stick” sounds really gross but it’s really cute. It’s just chocolate in the shape of a cat’s head. That still sounds weird but you know what I mean!

We dabbled in the baked goods too; my friend got a red velvet cupcake but hasn’t eaten it yet so I can’t attest to the flavor but I can say it was very pretty. The scone pictured is my chocolate-hazelnut scone I’m going to have for breakfast tomorrow. DON’T WORRY! I already tried it just so I could let you know that it’s super delicious. But the rest, that’s for breakfast, I swear. I didn’t try any of their wine so I’ll have to go back again. Normally, I’m all for morning time boozing but wine in the morning wasn’t appealing today. You may notice there are many pictures in this post but I assure you, this is only a few. It started to pour outside so I was in Cocoa V for about three hours and there were so many pretty things, I got my shutter-bug on.

If you live in New York, you have to go here probably tomorrow. If you visit New York, you really should make a stop here, it’s worth it. If you can’t wait, have no fear! You can order online! Because there is a god! And god wants you to get fat off vegan chocolate! DON’T DISAPPOINT GOD.

08/05/2010

Vegansaurus NYC: Curly’s Lunch!  »

I went to brunch with the omnis this past weekend and we decided to go to Curly’s Lunch in Manhattan. I had never been there but I will be back! It was kind of awesome. It’s just vegetarian but they say they will veganize anything on the menu, “just ask.” How sweet? So sweet! I got the Slumberjack breakfast, vegan style. Vegan pancakes, tofu scramble, Curly’s fries and “sham” (fake ham). First of all, I love the name, “slumberjack” and I’m going to have to work it into my regular parlance. It may be difficult but I ain’t never scared! Second, it was the JAM. So good! I loved the sham and the tofu scramble was especially good as far as tofu scrambles go. The pancakes were excellent but I could have done without the fries. I know it’s their thing but curly fries for breakfast? Kind of ick. The omnis got the Slumberjack too but not veganized so theirs came with eggs and whatnot. They were very pleased—they even ate the veggie bacon! I was so proud.

They had a special that day, vegan gumbo. I loved my pancakes and all but vegan gumbo? Yes please! I will get it next time, if they still have it. Or maybe vegan french toast. Who can say!

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