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07/12/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Yug Vegetariano in Zona Rosa!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Zona Rosa is a business district that includes a gay center. There was a strong Korean presence in Zona Rosa, including Asian supermarkets and restaurants, which are very useful for vegan cooking. Asian supermarkets were especially refreshing because while the grocery stores in Mexico City have a great deal of local products, they don’t have the best international selection. I ate Ramen noodles and fried rice few times a week.

Yug Vegetariano was the first local vegetarian restaurant I went to, and I ate there so often I tried almost everything on their menu. It is within a block from El Ángel de la Independencia, in the corner of Paseo de la Reforma.


A few of my favorites from Yug Vegetariano are the bread and the enchiladas de mole. The bread slices are vegan (but the rolls, sticks and butter aren’t) and served as complimentary appetizers, which was nice, but save them for soups. I had enchiladas de mole without cheese. I thought the flavor of the mole was very delicious, slightly bitter and savory, and the enchiladas were filled with textured soy protein and vegetables. The dish also comes with yummy refried black beans.


The carnitas vegetarianas con guacamole y frijoles refritos (vegan roasted pork with guacamole and refried beans) were fantastic. You can taste the creamy refried beans, guacamole (it contained too much onions for me, but sometimes they vary) and the soy carnitas. They aren’t that chewy, but they are a bit salty, greasy, and tasty with guacamole, beans and salsa. They are a must!


The pancita de setas (literally “tummy mushrooms”) soup was unique, with mushrooms and vegetables. The mushrooms were very tough and chewy. The broth was a bit watery, but the soup was overall light and interesting. Definitely eat it with complimentary vegan bread slices.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/11/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Pulqueria Las Duelistas in Centro Histórico!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.


The Centro Historico district is largely known to tourists since it embraces Zócalo (aka Plaza de la Constitución), the largest square in Latin America. There are plenty of historic colonial landmarks to see in that area, but this is about the food! So let’s drink some pulques at Pulqueria Las Duelistas. (Drink along on Twitter!)

Pulque is a traditional alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant (known for fermented agave), and most of them are made vegan. They are a must-try! However, I wouldn’t recommend drinking them on the day of your departure, they move through your digestive system quickly.


Guayaba (guava) pulque; apio (celery) pulque in a glass rimmed with lime, salt, and chile, and in a pitcher. The glass of guayaba cost 20 pesos (approximately $1.50 US), and the pitcher of apio cost 40 pesos (approximately $3 US).

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/10/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Nevería Roxy in Polanco!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

If you are a luxury hotel or fashion fanatic, I would recommend staying in Polanco, which is a trendy, upscale neighborhood situated at the edge of Bosque de Chapultepec. You might expect to pay more in Polanco when it comes to dining or shopping.


Tamarindo (back) and mamey ice cream.

If you want to get some vegan ice cream, try Nevería Roxy in Polanco in front of Parque Lincoln (Lincoln Park). It’s a classic ice cream parlor that has been around for years. Get a bola grande scoop, but make sure you get it without a cone since it may not be vegan (most cones are not vegan). I got mine in a traditional glass cup.

Vegan flavors include chico zapote (similiar to kiwi), fresa (strawberry), guanábana (soursop), guayaba (guava), lima (lime), limón (lemon), mamey, mandarina (mandarin), maracuyá (passionfruit), melón, naranja (orange), piña (pineapple), tamarindo (tamarind), and zarzamora (blackberry).


The mamey was smooth and delicious. The mamey fruit made the sorbet creamier due to its thick, soft texture. Tamarind gave the ice cream a very sweet, nutty, and tangy flavor.

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and PinterestCheck out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

07/09/2012

Guest post: Eating vegan in Mexico City: Tacos Hola (El Güero), Azul Condesa, and Nirvana Vegetariano in Condesa-Roma!  »


Welcome to Vegansaurus’ weeklong guest series on eating vegan in Mexico City! All content by Rika of Vegan Miam!

I spent all of April in Mexico City (Distrito Federal), the capital of Mexico and the largest city in North America. Mexico City is divided into colonias (neighborhoods). In this series, I’ll guide you through a few of the colonias I explored, and some of the beautiful, delicious vegan food I ate.

All the neighborhoods are unique in their own ways; you just have to decide want you want to do, and eat. Tip: If you don’t speak Spanish, have some phrases prepared about to your dietary preferences. Many people speak some English, but there’s no guarantee.

Condesa-Roma was my favorite neighborhood in Mexico City; it reminded me of Berlin and Portland, Ore. If you are traveling on a budget, I would recommend staying in Condesa-Roma, where you can also enjoy food and architecture at the same time.

One taqueria in Condesa offers delicious, vegan-friendly, slow-cooked tacos: It is officially known as Tacos Hola, or El Güero, and has been open since 1968. It is located on the corner of Amsterdam and Michoacán. Vegan fillings offered include guacamole (so creamy and good!), acelgas (braised chard), nopales (cactus), and arroz (rice). Add condiments like pickled vegetables (onions, peppers, jalapeños), salsa verde (very spicy pureed raw habañero), salsa roja (medium-hot), and lime wedges.


My first time at Tacos Hola I had tacos with acelgas, nopales, and guacamole (15 pesos, approximately $1.12 US). The second time I added rice to make a perfect vegan taco. The addition of pickled vegetables turned out to be delectable, along with the heat from the jalapeños. I couldn’t taste the nopales very much, but I could taste the creamy guacamole and braised chard very well. 


My partner got nopales and arroz, and added the spicy pickled vegetables and medium-spicy salsa roja. If you really want a spicy salsa, go for the green one!


At Azul Condesa, I ordered a vegan-friendly dish from their seasonal mango menu: guacamole with chunks of fresh mango, served with tortilla chips.


My partner ordered organic hibiscus flower enchiladas, served with light tomato and smoky chipotle sauces. Make sure to ask for it without cheese (“sin queso”)! 

If you would like to try something different, such as a fusion of traditional Afro-Carribean and Mexican dishes incorporating a variety of tropical fruits, I would recommend the buffet at Nirvana Vegetariano. You can get lots of food for not much money (60 pesos, approximately $4.50 US).


The tamales are freshly made with grilled vegetables. They were really yummy! Best tamales ever! You’ll want to avoid the tamales a block of feta cheese on top, though.


Nirvana Vegetariano also offers fresh corn tortillas, rice, plantain and eggplants, vegan gyro-like meat with hint of pineapples, and much more to make your own tacos. I really like the plantain and eggplants; it tasted sweet and roasted, especially creamy. Everything was very delicious—I had no complaints!

Based both in Oregon and worldwide, Taiwanese vegan Rika has run an international and travel vegan blog since July 2011. She documents and photographs vegan cuisine, airports/lounges, groceries, products, and home cooking. She also spends her time abroad caring for and feeding feral cats and dogs. You can find her on Twitter and Pinterest. Check out all her posts for Vegansaurus!

02/09/2012

Guest post: Vegan friendly vacation to Mexico!  »

Ever been to a MAGICAL city? My idea of a magical city would be one that feeds me truly delicious vegan food from the time I drag my ass out of my 10,000 thread count sheet covered bed until I pass out from too much tequila at night. Have you ever experienced such a thing?

Colibri Custom Catered Travel is committed to serving travelers who seek sustainable and organic farm-to-table, gluten free, and/or vegan cuisine. Now that I have your attention, the locale for this fabulous vacation happens to be Travel + Leisure Magazine's #4 pick for top ten world destinations: San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

For seven days and nights, your trip includes all custom catered meals, outdoor adventure, town and farm tours, musical performances, tequila tastings, cultural experiences and more. A spacious hacienda in the middle of the historic center of town provides both private rooms and spacious dining areas under one roof. Your hostess and founder of Colibri, Cate Lazen is not only a former San Miguel de Allende resident, she was also diagnosed with celiac disease years ago and she knows how hard it can be to trust a restaurant with our vegan or gluten-free needs. Hence, a business built around the freedom to travel and eat well without worry. Cate is quite magical herself and the cost of the trip pays off in spades just to hang out with her!

Hold on to your sombrero, there is MORE! Colibri’s vegan chef Alicia Rivero has fantastic ideas for stuffing our vegan pie holes. Just to mention a few, how do these sound? Artichoke Dip with Basil Infused Olive Oil, Panzanella Bread Salad with Fresh Herbed-Tomato Sauce, Farm to Table Pizzas, Potato Gnocchi with Truffle-scented, Pesto Sauce Braised Eggplant in “Creamy” Saffron Sauce, Root vegetable Latkes with Red Onion Compote, Breakfast Granola with Nut Milks and Fresh Berries, and French Toast.

The list is lengthy, but these are just a few that sound drool worthy. Colibri supports sustainable farming, non-GMO foods, responsible water use and fair treatment of farm workers. San Miguel de Allende’s organic movement is in high gear, promising fresh, seasonal produce that serves as the foundation for vegan dishes. . Through Colibri you will get your foodie on responsibly. Check out how to get a tan, meet a hot lover, and eat your brains out without Montezuma’s revenge on their Facebook page.

Keri Siry lives in New Jersey with her 2 dogs Sammy and Honey Bee, new cat Hank and her 4 year old daughter Gemma and husband Darryl. Vegan for 8 years, Keri loves to share recipes and meatless know how via her blog at the Politics of Food.

08/25/2011

Police academy hangs dog from flagpole, Mexico gets PISSED  »

These pictures surfaced on Twitter last night along with a gagillion tweets with the hashtag #cachorroneza (Neza puppy) denouncing the abuse of the poor pup. Who would do that to a puppy? Mexico is pissed! The location of the flagpole has been identified as Colegio de la Agencia de Seguridad Estatal in the city of Neza, Mexico. What I can gather from google translate (my Spanish is rusty!), that’s a private* police academy.

Some news sources have covered the story but there’s been no explanation from the school about WTF happened. They are however now aware of the power of social media to get the word out! It’s a great tool for civil unrest, is it not?

As terrible as this action is, the reaction from the public makes me feel hopeful that there are good people in the world who don’t think you can just do whatever you want to an animal. Go Mexico! Go Twitter!

I hope you are safe now, cachorro Neza, but I worry you are not. I will wish for the best though! You deserve a nice family and a warm bed.

*Update: Readers have told me it’s public and run by the government. Awful!

05/20/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday! On Friday! WTF FOR REALS!  »

You guys, I’m done with school! Like forever! My cap and gown have been rented (for an exorbitant amount), my graduation fees (HIGHWAY ROBBERY) have been paid, and my thesis has finally, after months of agony and edits, been signed off on. As much relief as I feel, I’m also feeling kind of lost! Allen says that I should take this time to reflect upon the last two years of my life and maybe journal about it. I’ve been taking his advice very seriously and have thus spent my time playing piano on the iPad (here is my technically and emotionally perfect rendition of Vivaldi’s Winter”) reading Strangers in Paradise, eating cake, and watching YouTube clips of Ukraine’s Got Talenthere is my favorite performance, a voluptuous woman doing some awesome belly dancing!

Allen doesn’t mind anything except the piano-playing (not to mention the fiddling I’ve been doing!), because it disrupts his quiet reading time in the evening. The other night he couldn’t take it anymore and quietly asked whether I was sure that the first movement of the “Moonlight Sonata” was supposed to last 25 minutes and suggested that perhaps I would be happier playing at Nordstrom, where he would happily drive me, instead of keeping my talent hidden under a bushel by playing just for him. He is so considerate! The best part about the iPad (besides “Puzzlequest” and “Sally’s Salon”) is that it is highly portable and ensures that I will be able to take my piano with me when we go on vacation next week! Who needs Cirque de Soleil when you’ve got a full orchestra whenever you want it? (Actually! Allen and I are going to Vegas, so if you have any suggestions on shows and things we should see/do, that would be awesome!)

Since this is a happy time for many of us (Who else is graduating? Let’s get crazy!), I thought that I would spend the space I have for WTF Wednesday to share some happy/incredibly weird things with you. Take cat hair jewelry, for instance:
No one’s getting hurt, people are ostensibly happy with it, and yet it is one of the weirdest things I have ever seen. Now, I’m not hating, but I’m also hoping that this isn’t going to be a trend. I know that these are one-off works of art, but is it just me or does it look like these ladies (IS THAT LINDSAY LOHAN?) are wearing bejeweled anal beads* around their necks? That’s one way to make something not only stylish (-ish) but also functional. I am also worried that this might lead to other trends with people making jewelry out of dog and ferret hair and pretty soon you’re going to see embarrassed balding animals walking around because their human caretakers have decided they need more fur for their sweaters. I admit that when I first saw this I pictured myself wearing a beautiful and comfortable hamster-hair scarf, but after discussing it with Allen, he wisely pointed out that I would need at least 57 hamsters and would need to be constantly brushing them, leaving no time for anything else, including piano practice. Then Allen promptly went out and adopted me a hamster. JOKE! Allen says we can’t get a hamster until we come back from vacation, but the fact that he has agreed to me having one at all is amazing because Allen’s experiences with hamsters aren’t as tender and beautiful as my own.

You know what else Allen won’t let me have? A cat! I have been begging him to adopt one with me, but Allen is not a fan. He once actually explained why, but since his story was based mostly in Mexican folklore, I did not understand it. I only understand Russian folklore, which is why I have to step on someone’s foot after they step on mine for fear that we would become mortal enemies, and why I scream bloody murder when someone crosses over as I am laying down, as this means that I will not grow any taller, even though I’ve been 5’8” since I was 18 years old.

Speaking of Russia and cats, however, here is is a video of a cat who is having serious nicotine withdrawal. This kitten, whose name is Simone, apparently found a cigarette just lying around (also, this is how I started smoking. My dad just left cigarettes around so I’ve been puffing away since I was a toddler) and decided that she was going to smoke it (or chew it. Unclear!) and had a hard time letting her friends take it away from her, which just proves that interventions are hard for everyone. I once tried to hold an intervention for my guinea pig, Katherine, who had a problem with pumpkin seeds, and she shrieked at me and pooped all over my hands. I just let her have as many pumpkin seeds as she wanted from then on.

Speaking of interventions, there’s some good news for cats and some bad news for lonely Floridians this month. The senate has passed an anti-bestiality bill that was inspired by the death of a pregnant goat who was asphyxiated during rape, but took three years to pass. There’s been some controversy about this, mostly about the fact that humans are animals and the bill does not define the animals that are being protected as non-human animals, thereby prohibiting sex in the state of Florida altogether—but come on, I think we all get it. Just stop having sex with animals and everything will be fine. And while we’re at it, stop snorting bath salts.

That is not good for you! That’s all for this week. Send me links for two weeks from now (BECAUSE I AM GOING ON VACATION!) and have a safe and celebration-filled Wednesday!

*I can write about anal beads because I am an adult! lay off, mom!

02/16/2011

Hello, friends! It’s WTF Wednesday!  »

So Valentine’s Day happened, and it was pretty awesome, right? Any holiday that allows meto eat as much chocolate as I want and force Allen to take me out to an expensive dinner accompanied by many presents is a good one for me. Allen is actually kind of screwed this time of year because as soon as he is done paying the credit card bills for all of the presents I demanded in the name of commercialized romanticism, there’s my birthday! And our anniversary is only 13 days after that! I am going to need to rent another apartment just to be able to contain all of the presents I will be receiving (if Allen knows what is good for him). And Allen is going to have to pay for that apartment. And bring all the presents in. And fan me as I lay on a couch and eat bon-bons, because that is what you do when you love someone. Or at least, that’s what the Hallmark cards say!

While Allen spares no expense in order to keep me happy, a city in the nation of Kyrgyzstan is taking a decidedly different approach when it comes to the thousands of stray dogs living inside its walls. Stray dogs, friends, are a huge problem; I agree. Therefore I am glad that the city of Bishek is building shelters for these dogs and making sure they find proper homes. Just kidding! Bishek officials have decided that this is too expensive and have chosen instead to send teams of hunters out to shoot the dogs early in the morning and late at night. Approximately 10,000 dogs will be murdered due to budget constraints. That’s 5,000 more than last year. Bishek City Hall Spokesman Pavel Klimenko urges the world not to consider the act barbaric. Oh, OK then! As long as you asked! I really wish it worked that way. I bet Lindsay Lohan would also like to tell the boutique she stole from that she understands what she did doesn’t “look good,” but she urges them to not view it as theft. Problem solved! Trial canceled.

Listen up, Bishek, you don’t get to do that! What you’re doing is, in fact, incredibly barbaric and wrong. I get that you’re an impoverished nation, but what are you doing to control the breeding of all these dogs in the first place? Obviously not a lot considering that you “had” to kill 5,000 last year. Why don’t you get on that? Perhaps once you’ve stopped committing barbaric acts you won’t have to worry as much about assuring us that everything’s fine. 

Surprise, surprise: More bad shit is happening over in Ciudad Juarez. This time, it’s 35 animals who froze to death in the Chihuahua Zoo! So much for the idea that Mexico is a sunny wonderland year-round! This really sucks. Not only does it suck that the animals are in the zoo, but also because they’re in trapped in cages and wouldn’t be able to do anything about their predicament even if they knew what to do—which is doubtful, because they don’t really teach you how to live outside of captivity in the zoo. Beyond that, where were the people who were supposed to be taking care of these animals? Was it too cold for anyone to show up at the zoo to see that all the heating was cut off? Did they attempt to do anything, or did they just suppose that fur would keep these animals warm during the coldest period Mexico has had in the past six decades? There are too many questions and not enough answers that don’t make me want explode like a dormant volcano, raining fire and brimstone on the people in charge of this debacle!

Here’s some more about animals freezing; luckily this time we know who to blame! Remember last week when we talked about that woman who sent a dog in the mail? Yeah, she was bad and we are super glad she is not getting her dog back, but what about breeders? Breeders send animals on planes all the time! Then they breed more animals, and I’m sure many of these animals end up in shelters because people decide they don’t want them anymore, and then they die because people don’t get pets from shelters but from breeders, perpetuating this horrible cycle of animal death and cruelty. Then kittens die. Adorable hairless kittens. So who’s to blame? The breeder who recklessly sent an animal in the cargo hold of a plane from Utah to Connecticut? Delta, for leaving the kitten on the ground in seven-degree weather for 50 minutes? Or the new owners, who would have “thrown a tantrum if they knew their cat was dying,” but didn’t think it more prudent NOT to have a cat a flown to them in the first place? The kitten’s name was Snickers! Let that be on your conscience, breeders and people who buy from them!

Thanks for sending me links, Tim, Alexandra, and Megan Rascal! Please send me more links for next week and have an awesome rest of the week. Thank god it’s a three-day weekend!

[Mark Bundy from Laura!; Homeless dog in Kyrgzstan from RIA Novosti; Hairless kitten photo from Consumerist]

08/27/2009

Road Trip: Aguas frescas in Mexico City!  »

¡Buenas tardes! Welcome to a vegan’s guide to eating in Mexico City—with no Spanish!

First thing to learn, you are the only one who calls Mexico City “Mexico City;” everyone else calls it D.F., which is pronounced “day-effay” and stands for distrito federal, or, federal district. In order to get you used to this, so that when you go you too can be mistaken for some other nationality (or at least sound like you know a thing), henceforth we shall also be using this abbreviation.

D.F. street food, while generally delicious-looking and -smelling, can be a tricky business if you don’t speak Spanish—like me! The control you have to give up when you’re speaking through a translator, for people who are using to asking about every ingredient in every “vegetarian” dish in a new restaurant, it’s dismaying. Do not despair; not everything is scary and foreign and dangerous and GOD TAKE ME HOME NOW. Some things are vegan by default!

I love vegan-by-default foods; they’re usually noncontroversial, meaning you can suggest them to, say, your uncle who refuses on principle (I know) to eat tofu without ever saying the word “vegan,” and everyone can partake and enjoy, and there’s no SURPRISE IT’S VEGAN at the end, which apparently some people don’t like. Look, there are people in the world who hate fun, you can’t change them.

In D.F., one of these vegan-by-default items is the agua fresca, which is essentially like  drinking fruit; no, not like juice, exactly. You choose one or more fruits that you would like to drink, and the person throws them into a blender with some cold water, blends until everything is evenly textured, pours it into a Styrofoam cup the size of your (my) (read: enormous) head, and there you are, the best fruit drink you’ve ever had. Yes, you can get them here in the city, but do they make them fresh? NO, they ladle them out of plastic tubs, and you don’t get to choose from a multitude of fruits that won’t even be cut until you ask for them. Oh Mexico, your fruit is outrageous.

My introduction to a proper agua fresca was strawberry-lime; first the man blended the strawberries with water, and while the blender was still moving, he threw an entire lime in as well. Entire, as in, skin and seeds and pulp and pith and all, the whole little round green thing, he popped it right in and covered the blender again. When it reached the proper texture—maybe 90 seconds—he poured the entire contents of the blender through a metal strainer and into one of the aforementioned gigantic cups, and gave it to me. I don’t think it cost more than 20 pesos, i.e., less than $2, and it tasted like heaven. Light and tart and fruity and so, so good; if only I had a larger stomach, that I could’ve finished it before it got warm; it took me a whole hour to drink. Good hydration is especially important in D.F., where the elevation makes the atmosphere thin and in combination with the pollution can turn your mouth and eyes into individual deserts. Don’t let this happen; drink aguas frescas. Drink them with cantalope, with pineapple, with mango or papaya (if you can taste it properly); drink them as often as you need. You can’t drink the tap water so you’ll have to buy something whenever you’re thirsty, so you might as well get a drink that is both unique to your location and a magical taste bud wonderland.

For reference, here is a list of Spanish words for fruits. Remember, the accent indicates the stressed syllable!

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