vegansaurus!

06/03/2014

First ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival is THIS WEEKEND  »

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Bay Area: Did you also watch the drool-worthy photos from the second annual La Vegan Beer & Food Festival roll in on Instagram and Twitter with stomach-rumbling envy a few weeks back? Just me? Well surprise, surprise, we’ve got our very own (granted, relatively more intimate but just as fun-sounding) vegan beer and food fest going down this weekend! Envy-drool no more.

The first ever Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival takes place this Saturday, June 7, 11am-5pm, in the beer garden/art gallery space Classic Cars West, 411 26th St., Oakland. It’s free entry but like all food pop-ups, you’ll pay for your eats as you go.

The awesome ladies behind popular vegan pop-up Hella Vegan Eats will be serving up their signature blend of out-of-this-world colorful dishes:  Lusty Lover mac & cheese tacos, mini potsticker burritos (yep), “chicken” and waffle bites, and smoked seitan reubens.

And Black Spring Coffee, Curbside Creamery, Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery, S+M Vegan, Rhizocali Tempeh, and more will join Hella Vegan Eats in the gallery.

I recently got on the S+M Vegan tip when I discovered their cashew cream cheese in specialty flavors, which you can pick up at Berkeley’s newish vegan store, Republic of V. The plant-based couple behind S+M is also know for pop-ups and cooking classes. Their Saturday menu is still being fine-tuned but they say it will be a selection of their favorite foods from different countries, inspired by their travels. That will likely include a Drunken Chicago Dip sandwich featuring savory beer-infused seitan served au jus with crunchy giardinera and sweet peppers in a Dutch crunch roll, a Drunken Croque Monsieur sandwich with thin slices of hickory smoked tofu, secret cheesy sauce, pickles and mustard au vin rouge, a take on Okonomiyaki (savory Japanese pancake) stuffed with Tater Tots and veggies brushed with sweet soy glaze and a Kartoffelsalat (German potato salad).

On the sweet side, Black Spring Coffee, which opened its doors last year, is known for yummy vegan pastries, as is fellow Oakland coffee shop, Timeless, which has warm house-baked treats. Black Spring will have pastries and iced coffee; Timeless is bringing pour over coffee, chocolates, and even more pastries. Oh and Curbside Creamery will have vegan ice cream sandwiches!

CommonWealth Café & Pub is bringing a variety of beers and ciders.

Plus, there’ll be DJ sets by Alexa Pantalone and Melissr Elliot. Even cooler? It’s for a good cause: 20% of food sales benefit Rocket Dog Rescue.

Better start warning your friends of an onslaught of incoming vegan food photos. Come to think of it, is there an official Oakland Vegan Beer & Food Festival hashtag yet? I’ll keep a look out.

The goal is make this a biannual event, with one in the spring and one in the fall, and smaller nighttime versions taking place once a month. 

04/25/2014

SF Bay Area! To finish off Oakland Veg Week with a tasty-ass bang, S+M Vegan will have a special pop-up on Sunday, April 27 from 11-2 at Baia Pasta (431 Water Street). The menu is above and it looks pretty damn delicious, so maybe you should be there to eat all the food?? Plus, it’s during the Jack London farmers market so you can get a bunch of shopping done at the same time. LOOK AT YOU MULTI-TASKING YOU ARE SO TALENTED. 

SF Bay Area! To finish off Oakland Veg Week with a tasty-ass bang, S+M Vegan will have a special pop-up on Sunday, April 27 from 11-2 at Baia Pasta (431 Water Street). The menu is above and it looks pretty damn delicious, so maybe you should be there to eat all the food?? Plus, it’s during the Jack London farmers market so you can get a bunch of shopping done at the same time. LOOK AT YOU MULTI-TASKING YOU ARE SO TALENTED. 

04/10/2014

Have fun, Oakland: S+M popup at Beer Revolution on Friday!   »

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Did you have plans for Friday, Bay Area? If they don’t include hitting up Beer Revolution in Oakland for the S + M vegan BBQ, cancel ‘em! Or modify them, I don’t know! Please, just make sure you check this out, and then tell me everything. I’ve been hearing amazing things about this new vegan popup in town! I want to see all the pictures too, because your vegan food, cats and cocktails are what I live for on Instagram. Could I be anymore of a cliche? Answer: no. 

03/04/2014

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:

Hella Vegan Eats 

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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 

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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 Coffee Roasters 

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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

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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

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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

02/25/2014

Vegan berry danishes: a love story!   »

At this point in time, February 2014, I have been vegan for almost SEVEN years. Six and half years ago, I never could have imagined I would make it this long. I went vegan straight from being an omni, and that first year definitely had its ups and downs. My boyfriend at the time was vegan and we were working as bakers at The Chicago Diner, so it made sense to try veganism out. Obviously it stuck, and I am loving this lifestyle more and more with each passing year! 

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A lot of times I talk about things I miss, because there are a lot of treats from my omni days that I sometimes wish I could still eat. Yes, physically I could still eat them, but it’s not worth it to me. I try to keep things positive and only talk about the foods I miss when I find vegan versions that remind me of the originals! It’s so exciting when that happens, like with So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis filling the spot in my heart that had been missing Eskimo Pies! I didn’t even know that void was there until I bit into the delectable treat! 

One of my very favorite breakfast foods, beside blueberry Toaster’s Strudels, used be cheese danishes. If they had berries in them, I’d probably eat two. Maybe the berry danish sugar coursing through my body, ready to be burned off, was why I always loved PE, even though I was scared of the alphas and scared of the ball.

2013 was a big year for me and the berry danishes. I had THREE! THREE BERRY DANISHES! I know that number doesn’t sound like much, but before those three, the number was zero. 

My very favorite one was from Sweet Pea Baking Company in Portland, Oregon. The reason it was my favorite was because it had not only berries in it, but CHEESE! It had a sweet vegan cream cheese in there, and I was so happy. Actually, I think ECSTATIC is the better word here. Do any other vegan bakeries make them like this? I must know!

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Sweet Pea Baking Company amongst the other stores at the vegan mini-mall in PDX. 

imageThe danish I loved and still think of fondly. Is that an apple slice I spy? Were there apple slices as well? I don’t know, all I can remember is that there were cheese and berries! 

Now, this is a little out of order, but the first danish I had last year was on my trip to the Grand Canyon, at Nami vegan bakery in Phoenix. 

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I would take another trip to Phoenix just to eat at Green vegetarian restaurant and Nami! 

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Though this particular danish didn’t have cheese in it, the flaky pastry layers and fresh blueberry filling more than made up for it! 

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my danish from Timeless Coffee in Oakland! Sometimes I just gotta eat my food and not worry about snapping a photo, feel me? Timeless is one of my favorite Bay Area eateries, definitely in my top 5! In fact, even though I moved down to Southern California last week, I’m coming to SF for a comedy show, because a Jen Kirkman live podcast taping is a show NOT to be missed! Of course the first thing I’m going to do after landing in Oakland is hit up Timeless with my partner-in-crime, Britney! We need fuel (and probably some liquid courage) before we ask our favorite comedienne to sign everything on our person and possibly for a photo we can post all over social media. 

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Since it would be blasphemous to leave you with no pictures of Timeless treats, I present you with the best breakfast beverage of all time (iced coffee) and my second favorite breakfast pastry, the scone! Timeless makes vegan, savory, cheddar, bacon scones and they are phenomenal!

02/04/2014

Hella Vegan Eats (our favorite!) are inviting bakers and eaters to boycott the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics with them on Friday, Feb. 7th at Black Spring Coffee Company (2930 Telegraph Ave, between 30th St & 29th St in Oakland) from 4pm-7pm! All proceeds benefit Queerussia LGBTQ Network outreach & activism! 
EVERYONE GO! Bake some stuff and drop it off! Or go visit and buy all the stuff! It’s for a very worthy cause and plus you know it’s gonna be the most delicious.
Let’s raise lots of $$$ and awareness! See you (and your friends! and family! and frenemies! and enemies! and that dude you picked up on the corner!) there! 

Hella Vegan Eats (our favorite!) are inviting bakers and eaters to boycott the opening of the Sochi Winter Olympics with them on Friday, Feb. 7th at Black Spring Coffee Company (2930 Telegraph Ave, between 30th St & 29th St in Oakland) from 4pm-7pmAll proceeds benefit Queerussia LGBTQ Network outreach & activism! 

EVERYONE GO! Bake some stuff and drop it off! Or go visit and buy all the stuff! It’s for a very worthy cause and plus you know it’s gonna be the most delicious.

Let’s raise lots of $$$ and awareness! See you (and your friends! and family! and frenemies! and enemies! and that dude you picked up on the corner!) there! 

07/24/2013

Bring Vegan Ice Cream in Oakland: Curbside!  »

There are few things as implicitly good as an ice cream cone on a warm summer’s day. It’s one of those restore-your-faith-in-humanity kind of joys. I was lucky enough to sample some vegan offerings from a budding Oakland ice cream business, Curbside Creamery. Curbside is still working on funding to build up their brick and mortar storefront (conveniently located in the Temescal Alley, so hip, so posh), but my friend Riley and I were invited to sample some cones and talk with the owner and proprietor, Victoria “Tori” Wentworth.

 While Curbside will have both dairy and vegan options, Tori was inspired to open up her business after visiting the all-vegan powerhouse of deliciousness, Lula’s Sweet Apothecary in New York. Having a delectable vegan option was a high priority to Tori, based both upon her own politics and the dietary preferences of some close friends. “In my personal life, I’ve been vegetarian since 2006, due mostly to a heightened awareness of where meat comes from (or rather what it goes through) these days. Many of my friends over the years have been vegan, so the realities of that diet have always been part of my life in a big way. That’s why I was aware of the real lack of good vegan options… We all know that buying ice cream in a pint from the store is NOT an equal experience to going to a shop with your friends and getting a fresh scoop on a cone.”

While Curbside’s exact process is a trade secret, Tori worked very hard to ensure a good vegan product, toiling with the cashew-base base of the ice cream until she got it just right. Whatever she’s doing with the cashews, it works. We sampled the Valrhona Chocolate and the Chai Tea. Both were a perfect balance of sweet and creamy, and were a delight to eat out of Curbsides mobile tricycle stand. In the future, Tori will cycle through flavors so every concoction will ultimately have a dairy and a vegan version. Curbside also takes cross-contamination very seriously, and has designated scoops and cleaning tubs. This is both for vegans wanting to avoid animal residue and people who come in with nut allergies.

For updates on Curbside visit their website. If you are dedicated to the principal of helping to open a great vegan-friendly ice cream shop right in Temescal, consider donating to their Kickstarter.

Courtney Flynn lives in Oakland and spends way too much time inventing vegan recipes, reading science fiction and crocheting hats for her dog Blender. She sometimes remembers to update her blog, where she likes to write about food, restaurants and products that don’t suck.

07/12/2013

The next East Bay Vegan Bakesale is coming!

Just like before, the bakesale will be held in front of Issues (20 Glen Ave at Piedmont in Oakland) on Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, as usual, will benefit two great causes: Bad Rap for pit bulls, and Girl Army, Oakland’s peer-taught self-defense collective! Please check out both these very worthy organizations, and get ready to show your support for them in the form of chowing down!

To further tempt you, the participating bakers include Vegansaurus favorites Timeless Coffee, Cinnaholic,  Pepples Donuts, and Fat Bottom Bakery!
Plus there’ll be a prizes, including:
A $50 gift certificate to Millennium RestaurantA gift certificate to Hella Vegan EatsA gift certificate and prize packs to ISSUESA gift certificate to Timeless Coffee Roastery and BakeryA “Tea Tasting for Two” at Tea Here NowA $30 gift certificate to University Press BooksA $25 gift certificate to Amoeba BerkeleyA subscription to VegNews and a pack of zines!
Not bad, right? Get more info and keep up with the EBVB with Twitter and Facebook. See you on Sunday, Oakland!

The next East Bay Vegan Bakesale is coming!

Just like before, the bakesale will be held in front of Issues (20 Glen Ave at Piedmont in Oakland) on Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, as usual, will benefit two great causes: Bad Rap for pit bulls, and Girl Army, Oakland’s peer-taught self-defense collective! Please check out both these very worthy organizations, and get ready to show your support for them in the form of chowing down!

To further tempt you, the participating bakers include Vegansaurus favorites Timeless CoffeeCinnaholic,  Pepples Donuts, and Fat Bottom Bakery!

Plus there’ll be a prizes, including:

A $50 gift certificate to Millennium Restaurant
A gift certificate to Hella Vegan Eats
A gift certificate and prize packs to ISSUES
A gift certificate to Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery
A “Tea Tasting for Two” at Tea Here Now
A $30 gift certificate to University Press Books
A $25 gift certificate to Amoeba Berkeley
A subscription to VegNews and a pack of zines!

Not bad, right? Get more info and keep up with the EBVB with Twitter and Facebook. See you on Sunday, Oakland!

07/08/2013

Oakland City Council adopts citywide Meatless Mondays!  »

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Looks like one Bay Area city is earning its MMU badge of honor! Just like the city of Los Angeles and the Oakland Unified School District, the city of Oakland has resolved that Mondays should be meatless.

What does that entail? Not the Meatless Monday police yanking the animal parts off omnivores’ plates, of course. “The resolution encourages residents to eat meat-free meals on Mondays and restaurants, businesses, and other local institutions to offer more plant-based foods at the start of every week to improve community health, environmental sustainability, and to reduce the number of animals factory farmed.”

What’s your favorite place to eat meatless in Oakland? Check out our Oakland tag for suggestions, and if we haven’t covered it, let us know! Then share the best meatless (read: animal-productless) spots with your omnivorous friends and neighbors. What if they don’t know about Timeless Coffee yet? Take them on a Monday!

[You love the MMU, the official mascot of Vegansaurus’s Meatless Mondays? Check out Megan Rascal’s entire MMU library on Flickr!]

05/09/2013

Come to the Oakland Cat Vid Fest on Saturday and support the East Bay SPCA  »

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Saturday is FULL of events on both coasts, you guys. And this one sounds like so much fun: the Oakland Cat Vid Fest! How much fun? Let’s see:

The Great Wall of Oakland is collaborating with the Walker Art Center to bring the Internet Cat Video Festival to Oakland! On Saturday, May 11, from 3 to 10 p.m., an estimated 5,000+ cat-lovers and friends will be celebrating felines and exploring the low-art of Internet cat videos together, in real-time, as we transform West Grand between Telegraph and Broadway into a cat-lovers wonderland. Best of all, proceeds benefit the East Bay SPCA!

During the day, cat-lovers and their allies can peruse cat and pet products and arts and crafts from a host of vendors, adopt cats from local rescue centers, learn about kitten fostering, listen to live bands, nom delicious human food from local food trucks, and participate in a plethora of cativities, including art projects.

As the sun sets, festival attendees will gather in front of the Great Wall to view the Bay Area premiere of #catvidfest, [Minneapolis, Minnesota’s] Walker Art Center’s curated collection of Internet cat videos. See your favorites: “Henri,” “Cats Playing Patty Cake,” and “Cat Says NOM NOM NOM.” The Great Wall’s artist in residence group, Bandaloop, will perform a cat-themed aerial duet off the 100-foor wall before the screening.

The Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival is a unique community event celebrating cats, art and technology while educating the public on the importance of cat adoption and kitten fostering.

Ridiculous and delightful, right? Check out this recap of the original CatVidFest that now works as a preview for Saturday’s event!

For more information, visit Oakland Cat Vid Fest online.

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

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