It’s your boy Chase Utley for Peta! As the resident Phillies fan, I love Chase Utley. He’s totally into adopting animals, and I’m totally into him. At Peta you can enter to win an autographed jersey! OMG I WOULD DIE KILL ME NOW I LOVE CHUTLEY!
Vegansaurus roadtrip: Grindcore in Philly! »
Yo, cuz! I been chilling in Philly again and I finally got to check out vegan coffee house Grindcore. LOVE IT. It’s hella crazy! What you see above in the coffee cup is an ALMOND MILK latte! Have you ever heard of such a thing? I hadn’t! You can also get a rice milk latte and every other kind of non-dairy milk latte! So cool. Plus, they have pastries from like four different bakeries! Above is a chocolate chip scone (the food of my people) and a sweet potato chocolate chip blondie! The scone was off the hook and the blondie tasted like pumpkin pie with chocolate chips—holler! Behind my treats is my sister’s PB&J. She said it was like the best PB&J ever. Behind THAT is my sister’s fake fur coat—she was worried everyone would think it was real! So cute, right? So cute.
Now the other great thing about Grindcore is that the customers are like straight-out-of-Portland crazy! There was a couple sitting next to us discussing the guidelines for their group house. The boy was wearing a cat collar! Like, one a cat would wear. Hot pink with a bell—and hopefully it was a breakaway collar, safety first! Then the couple started “hand dancing.” They were moving their hands around together and were like, “hey, we’re hand dancing.” And I was like VOM. Then they got up and started noodle dancing. And I was like VOM. But I looked around and it seemed like everyone else was like WTF as well so there’s still hope for the world.
The women working there were so nice! They even toasted my sister’s bread for her PB&J. It’s all about toasting the bread. OH AND a girl got a call-back from America’s Next Top Model while we were there! It’s basically coffeehouse to the stars. Next time you’re in Philly, you have to stop by Grindcore. Especially you Portlanders, if you miss home.
Philly: heaven for veggies with meaty friends! »
Me and my sis decided to try the re-done Khyber Pass Pub in Philly and once again, I was impressed with the mix of über meaty meat and clearly marked vegan food on the menu at a Philly spot. I have a lot of meat-eating friends and in SF and New York; when we go to dinner, it’s kind of a struggle to find a place where I want to go AND they can get meat (because OMG what if they don’t eat meat for a meal). Usually either we all go to a veggie place that only I want to go to, or we go to some meat-loving place and I try to figure out with the waiter what I can eat. In Philly, however, they are really good at having places that are heaven for meat-eaters and vegans alike. It kind of rules! Here’s a sampling of the Khyber menu, these four items really appear on the menu in a row:
**Vegan BBQ Pulled Pork spicy vinegar-ketchup barbecue sauce, coleslaw
BBQ Brisket barbecue sauce, fresh horseradish
Fried Green Tomato BLT Benton’s bacon, mayo, tabasco peppers remoulade
**Grilled Vegan Sausage our seitan sausage patties, lettuce,
roasted poblanos, red onion, pickles, creole mustard, vegan mayo
See that mix? Crazy. Do you know what I had at Khyber? A vegan po’ boy! I am not even kidding! I couldn’t get a pic because it was very dark but trust, it was good. It had vegan fried chicken, vegan mayo and then just kind of hoagie toppings. Honestly, I prob wouldn’t order it again just because it was kind of plain but I’m definitely glad I tried it at least once. A vegan po’ boy! Imagine that! And then while I’m eating that, my sister gets this crazy BBQ brisket sandwich. What a world.
There are several other places like this in Philly. Khyber seems to be affiliated with this other place my sister and I like, Dos Segundos Cantina—in fact we were there a few nights ago and I got these INSANE vegan chorizo, vegan bacon and butternut squash tacos! INSANE. At the same time, you can get crazy meat-filled tacos at Cantina as well.
Then there are these other places that are all related to eachother, Monk’s Cafe, the Belgian Cafe and a few other spots, and they all have good vegan options alongside crazy meat stuff. Check out a piece of Belgian Cafe’s menu to the left, where else can you get salmon frenchstuff AND seitan meatballs?
Oh and let’s not forget my favorite place, the POPE (Pub on Passyunk East). Their seitan fingers are out of control! Then at the very same venue, you can get chicken fingers. You know, if you like dead chickens. But see what I’m saying? Everyone can be happy! You don’t have to drag the omnis to some veggie place they will resent! And you don’t have to order a side-salad! You can get actual vegan food.
And another great part about POPE and these other places I’ve mentioned? They have all kinds of awesome BEER. The Cantina even has a crazy tequila menu that I will never become familiar with because I hate tequila. At all these places, the food is great, the beer is great, they are super casual pub-type places AND you can get great vegan food while satisfying your omni pals! What’s not to love? We need more places like this in SF and NYC! Do you know of any good ones?
[Top photo is the vegan cheesesteak from POPE, from my cheesesteak round-up!]
The Washington Post lets its vegan flag fly in Philly! »
On the Washington Post website, one writer chronicled her weekend of vegan eating in Philadelphia, and about her roadtrip to Vegan Treats! I JUST told my sis we have to make a trip out there next time I’m in Philly! Vegan Treats is all the way in Bethlehem, PA. It’s a regular pilgrimage.
The writer, Melanie D.G. Kaplan, is not actually vegan; she eats a “largely vegetarian diet.” I largely congratulate her on going vegan for a weekend though! However, I must warn you about the ending, as it almost took my heart out: “if I ever felt hungry again, maybe I’d eat a small green salad. With goat cheese.” Um, fuck you very much. But the rest of the piece is pretty good, as she covered some real vegan ground! She and her vegan pals went to Blackbird, which I just visited myself, and they went to Grindcore, which many of our lovely commenters recommended to me. They were pleased with both—they must have good taste! (My Taste = Good Taste.)
There is one point they seem to have missed, it doesn’t look like they went to Horizons? Maybe they’d been there before? Still, to cover vegan food in Philly and skip Horizons, that’s kind of criminal. Horizons is off the chain! It gives Millennium a solid run for its money.
All in all, it’s a very positive review. I think this is all a part of the vegans-are-dominating! trend. I feel like we have officially cornered the market on baked goods—the people have bowed down to the vegan cupcake! NOW we have to get them on board with the vegan savory boat! Ideas? I’m always just like, “Hey! Heard of vegetables? They’re grrrreat!” Or I go with the whole, “Milk is totally half-pus” thing. JK, no I don’t! Because I don’t like to think about it either. Gross!
In conclusion: let’s all move to Philly for the weekend! I’d say forever but the hipsters get tiring. But for a weekend? Let’s DO THIS!
Road trip: Blackbird Pizzeria in Philly! »
I was in Philly again, because it seems I’m always in Philly again—it’s that dang Bolt Bus! So cheap and easy! I like my buses like I like my women. On the other hand, I like my men like I like my sandwiches: vegan and cheesy. Lucky for me, everyone in Philly was talking about this new vegan pizza spot Blackbird! And Blackbird, it turns out, has one of the best vegan cheesesteaks in the city. And you know I’m an expert.
My sis went to Blackbird with me and she got the chickpea salad sandwich (pictured left). She was totally into it! She said she might have to get it even when I’m not around—high praise from an omnivore. Back to the cheesesteak! In the parlance of my youth, it was BANGING! It comes with peppers, onions, and mushrooms so if you are crazy and don’t want that stuff, say something. Lately people in Philly keep serving me mushrooms that are clearly from a can! WTF? Don’t they know who I am?! Blackbird is not using canned mushrooms, I can tell you that. The seitan is sliced very thinly, like a real cheesesteak would be (or at least a quality one). And the cheese is Daiya,* which I have been down on lately, but this sandwich revitalized my taste for it! The Daiya was all up in there; it was a gooey delicious mess. I loved this sandwich! It gets 5 out of 5 Veganstaurs! I almost went back that night and got another but I took the bus to New York instead: WRONG DECISION.
Things I want to do next time: try their yukon gold pizza! It’s pizza topped with potatoes! PIZZA topped with POTATOES. Did I stutter?! Amazing. They also had vegan whoopie pies—pumpkin and chocolate—I’ve GOT to get one of those next time. And next time I will not let bus schedules dictate my dinner! Vegan cheesesteaks all around!
*Has everyone else heard this rumor that Daiya is releasing a pepper jack next month? Exciting!
Shelter dogs make the best running buddies! »
Another day, another tearjerker from Philly! Well, this one probably won’t make you cry but it’s super-adorbs. The Monster Milers is an organization in Philadelphia that hooks runners up with shelter dogs so they can go jogging together! For the dogs, getting regular exercise and companionship can be the thing that keeps them sane during their shelter days. For the people, Monster Milers say dogs are great running buddies because they are good motivators and they also keep you safe when you go running at night—Philly’s a rough town! But if you were jogging with a cute bully, nobody would mess with you! That’s my word.
Monster Milers encourages adoption in general but more specifically they target the running community. Nice strategy! And I bet if someone goes jogging with a dog a few times, it’s REALLY hard not to end up bringing it home. I mean, look at Chicken Dumpling! RIDICULOUS.
Homeless kids and animals take care of each other in Philly! »
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on vegansaurus.com!]
How clucking sweet are the pictures in that video?! I just found out about this awesome organization Hand 2 Paw in Philly that gets homeless kids to work in animal shelters. It’s mutually beneficial! The animals get much-needed attention and the benefits to the kids are numerous. For one thing, the unconditional love of an animal can be very therapeutic, especially for a kid who maybe never received a lot of love. Also, the most difficult thing about getting a first job is not having work experience. In a shelter, there are all kinds of opportunities to learn about office work, management and general operational skills.
The End Dogfighting campaign: the HSUS helps ex-dogfighters with education and looooove »
Stereotypically, your Vegansaurus loves public radio. We also love dogs, DUH, and pit bulls particularly. Today’s Morning Edition returned that love hundredfold, with a story about personal and canine redemption.
The End Dogfighting campaign began in Chicago in 2006, expanded to Atlanta in 2008, and has just begun in Philadelphia. It “recruits former dogfighters and young, at-risk pit bull owners to take weekly training classes with their pets.” And you know what happens when people take their dogs to quality training classes on a regular basis? MAGIC—or, you know, the humans and animals develop mutual respect and love. According to Chicago program leader Tio Hardiman, “there’s a connection between fighting pit bulls and struggling to live in a violent society…. [K]eeping guys out of the world of dogfighting is good for them, their dogs, their families and the rest of the community.”
They also say that Michael Vick’s “testimony” about his former dogfighting exploits is really helpful, as he shares a socioeconomic background with many of the programs’ participants. Look at multimillionaire, making a difference!
What you need to do, though, is go to NPR and listen to Elizabeth Fiedler’s report—like all dogfighting stories, it’s got some horrific elements, but hearing the people talk about their experiences themselves, while the dogs bark all happily in the background, is way more valuable than reading a description.
Mike Vick wants a dog. For serious. »
This is my dog Figaro, in his Eagles jersey. It was the first piece of clothing I ever bought him. When I adopted him in Philly, he weighed a measly ten pounds—he should be twenty-five or so. Everyone was staring at his skelator body and making comments so I got him the Eagles jersey, 1. to cover up his ribs, 2. to ingratiate him with the sports-obsessed city of Philadelphia. I put the shirt over his bony ribs, took him to our favorite dive and a star was born! He was a hit. Everybody welcomed a new Eagles fan into the world.
Figgy has not worn his Eagles Jersey since Micheal Vick became a member of the team. We were not pleased, to say the least! How could my beloved Eagles throw morality to the wind and hire this dog-murderer? BECAUSE PEOPLE CARE MORE ABOUT SPORTS THAN ANIMAL CRUELTY. This isn’t that big of a surprise to me but it’s still disappointing. I guess you just hope people will pull through for you when they are faced with an issue like this but Vick scores touchdowns and that’s the bottom line for many.
I’ve written about Vick on vegansaurus before but the issue seemed to have died down recently. When I was in Philly for Thanksgiving, I saw that Vick is more popular than ever. Guess we’re over this whole dog torture thing! Now we can get back to football. Hu-freaking-za. But just when you think we’re done with it, Vick announces to TheGrio.com that he wants to own a dog again! (there’s a lame commercial at the beginning, sorry!):
Yeah, he really said it. And now we have to reevaluate the situation. Has Vick redeemed himself at all? Of course he can’t get a dog yet anyway, the judge ruled he can’t have a dog for at least three years. But if he could, is that really a good idea?
Since his release, Vick has been working with The Humane Society to educate kids about dog-fighting. The Humane Society’s president Wayne Pacelle, who has worked with Vick, had this to say, from CNN.com: “He’s been going through counseling, he’s been speaking to kids twice a month, and he needs to interact with animals,” said Pacelle. “If he continues to hit these markers, then if his daughter wants a dog two or three years down the line,… I’m saying that we should be open to that possibility.”
PETA also weighed in on the issue; from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Just as convicted pedophiles aren’t allowed free access to children, anyone who is responsible for hanging, electrocuting, or shooting dogs and who causes them to suffer in other unimaginable ways should never again be allowed access to dogs,” Lisa Lange, vice president of the group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, told the [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “All things considered, it is a very small price to pay, especially compared to the suffering endured by the dogs who were abused and killed in the Bad Newz Kennels.”
Yeah, I’m not really sold on this pedophile-comparison. The “small price to pay” comment is definitely on point though. But what about redemption? Has Vick made up for some of the damage he did? When asked about the HSUS work with Vick, Pacelle makes good points. From CNN.com:
“What he did is terrible, there’s no question about that,” Pacelle said. “But this is an issue of protecting animals in the future. And endlessly flogging Michael Vick is not going to save one animal. But putting him to work in communities to save animals and educate people about the problem of dogfighting — especially with at-risk kids — is the way to help the problem.”
What Vick is doing with the HSUS does seem like the right thing to do. He can’t make up for what he did but what he’s doing now could go a long way to preventing dog-fighting in the future. Just telling kids it’s “wrong” is a positive step for the movement. Though I don’t think it’s an excuse, when Vick says no one ever told him dog-fighting was wrong, I believe him. You can’t underestimate the influence one’s childhood has on them. But still, as an adult, you have to know electrocuting an animal is not OK, right?
Ultimately, if you want my opinion (and I know you do!), should Vick be allowed to get a dog? HELL NO. Why does he even have to ask? It’s annoying. It’s like, you’re doing good with your community service, don’t rock the damn boat. I love dogs and if I was touring around the country talking about how great dogs are, I’d probably want one too, but big deal! You know why you can’t have a dog, suck it up. And sorry you look like a jerk to your daughter but guess what: you are a jerk! And that is one of the consequences. I do think it’d be great for him to volunteer with shelter animals and donate every last cent he has to help abused dogs. Maybe if he did that and maybe if his reason for wanting a dog was, I don’t know, because he wants to help a dog, then maybe I would feel differently. But he wants to play hero for his daughter and show people he’s changed—those are not good enough reasons to let him get a dog. If he ever mentions anything about ending suffering or changing a dog’s life, then we’ll talk.
Review: Sweet Freedom Bakery in Philadelphia! »
There’s a new vegan bakery on the U.S. scene! Sweet Freedom recently opened it’s doors in Philadelphia (up the street from the famous Govinda’s!). Fear not, San Franciscans and beyond, they ship! It’s a $40 minimum but you could do it for something special or, you know, a Tuesday.
I went to the bakery with my sister and Fig. I know, they are a thousand times adorable, but he’s spoken for and she’s too young for you! Sweet Freedom is not just vegan, it’s also gluten-free and allergy-friendly (like no peanuts and stuff). It’ll please the lot of us!
I got a chocolate chip banana cupcake with chocolate and vanilla frosting, pictured above. I also got a chocolate cupcake with mocha frosting AND a slice of the cinnamon sugar loaf. You know how I do! The cinnamon sugar loaf was AMAZING. It has a gooey cinnamon sugar layer on top and swirled within. YUM. It’s not beautiful like the cupcake but it was delicious. The chocolate chip banana cupcake was a bit disappointing. It was good—had good flavor—but it was kind of grainy at the end, a bit of a protein bar flavor. Not sure what was going on there. I preferred the mocha cupcake; ooh the frosting! SUPER!
The day I went they didn’t have any donuts, which I had totally been looking forward to. They also didn’t have the pumpkin loaf on their menu but I think that may have been excessive with the cinnamon sugar loaf. JUST KIDDING! I would have gotten both. Ah well! I will just have to rely on cupcakes to get chunky. Le sigh.