Interview with Vegan Author/Model David Raphael Hildebrand! »
David is a vegan model and author from Philadelphia living in Brooklyn! Just like me! Except the model and author part! AND GUESS WHAT: We have the same birthday (February 25th and I love Edible Arrangements)! So we are both Pisces by popular understanding. It is hard being a Pisces so we are naturally bonded and new best friends.
David was kind enough to do an interview for us! We love to interview
attractive interesting vegans! Without further ado:
First of all, how cool are people from Philadelphia?
D. R. Hildebrand: Very! Put it like this, on a scale of one to two we’re definitely a two.
Next of all, why are you vegan?
D. R. Hildebrand: Why am I vegan? Because the moral of life is not to take but to give; and I’m not willing to take what I wouldn’t otherwise be willing to give.
How long have you been vegan?
D. R. Hildebrand: I was raised pesco-vegetarian. My oldest sister was on a class trip to a farm when I was still a toddler and she came home a changed lady. The whole house went vegetarian and that, as a result, was the way I came to know the world. When I graduated from college I lived abroad for two years, in Germany and Israel. Almost as soon as I arrived in Germany I met a spunky Aussie sheila named Sarah who was running rootsofcompassion.org and was a vegan chef (Sarah has actually cooked for Sea Shepherd. Pretty cool, no? If you’re ever in Melbourne, definitely visit her). Anyway, Sarah introduced me to vegan pastries, vegan activists, and to a little thing called—are you ready for this?—conscious consumerism. It’s wild, I know. That was about eight years ago and I’ve been clean ever since.
D. R. Hildebrand: Are you kidding? Camels! They have this warmth, this air of aplomb. They’re so gracious.
Got any companion animals? Pictures!
D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t. I travel too often and that would be unfair.
D. R. Hildebrand: That’s a tough one. Call me extravagant but I really enjoy rice and beans. I make a mean tuna melt (chickpea and soy) and a pretty kick-ass sweet potato kugel. This might sound over the top, I know, but I love a freezing cold apple with peanut butter. Am I glutton? [Ed. note: I love apple and peanut butter too! I’m all about Pink Ladies right now]
D. R. Hildebrand: Hmm, another good one. I tend to get new ideas straight off the web. Vegan with a Vengeance is pretty much an obvious necessity though.
Favorite vegan restaurant?
D. R. Hildebrand: Oh, you’re killing me, I’m starving! A few way up on the list are definitely Sacred Chow, Pure Food and Wine, Angelica Kitchen, Wild Ginger, Gobo, and Counter, but really that’s just not a fair question. I’ll tell you there’s this tiny, really tiny place called Terri at 23rd and 6th that’s maybe a year or two young. The Thanksgiving sandwich is insane. The meatball sub, the cupcakes… And they keep stacks of The China Study front and center for sale. Love that little joint. [Ed. note: that’s up the street from my work! I go there all the time! The chickpea tuna melt is out of sight and when the omnis are good on Meatless Monday, I get them apple cider donuts from there]
Who’s got better vegan food: Philly or NYC?
D. R. Hildebrand: Please don’t hate me Philadelphia… [Ed. note: they are not a forgiving people]
Vegan celebrity you want to bang?
D. R. Hildebrand: Now that’s just shocking. I assumed we were both advocates for non-violence.
D. R. Hildebrand: When PETA’s at its best—stealth, savvy, brazenly creative—they rock. When they get all puerile and lose their cool—pie throwing, blood slinging—they rock less. The celebrity campaigns have been great. What they need to do is connect more with kids. We all need to connect with kids. Compassion needs to be a lifestyle and a culture. Children already seek it so why not bring it to them and cultivate it?
D. R. Hildebrand: I don’t see the humor in belittling personifications, but that’s just me…
So, you model, are you super into fashion? Who’s your favorite vegan designer?
D. R. Hildebrand: If jeans and T-shirts count as fashion, then yeah, I’m into fashion. I have a lot of respect for Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart (former model by the way) of Vaute Couture, MATT & NAT, Olsen Haus, Dalia MacPhee. I have a lot of respect for Stella McCartney, too. She fights a much more rigid status quo than most people realize.
Are a lot of models vegan or what?
D. R. Hildebrand: You know, I’ll show up for a shoot in New York and the catering company will bring almost no meat or dairy. It’s amazing. My guess is the number is pretty high. Of those who do eat and drink non-vegan meals, many probably do so rarely. I’ve definitely never heard of a model on an Atkins or South Beach diet. Those are just a crock of shit and everyone knows it.
What’s your book about? Is the protagonist vegan? Any overt or covert vegan messages?
D. R. Hildebrand: I thought you’d never ask! It’s called Walking Marina and it’s a straight-forward look at the male modeling industry. The protagonist journeys through a gauntlet of experiences and does, along the way, gravitate to veganism. Yes, there are covert and overt vegan messages throughout, not because I am, but because it jives with the plot. You can find the book at my site, www.drhildebrand.com, or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc.
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Do you have any amazing nicknames I should know about?
D. R. Hildebrand: None that I can think of. Got any suggestions? [Ed. note: we’ll be taking suggestions, audience!]
Are you willing to have Vegansaurus over and cook us a vegan feast? If so, what day?
D. R. Hildebrand: Absafrickinlutely! Why not tonight? [Ed. note: OMG no one ever says yes! I don’t know how to respond!]
Any questions for Vegansaurus? Anything!
D. R. Hildebrand: Yeah, how’d you get so darn vegalicious?
There’s actually a recipe!: 1 part Earth Balance, 2 parts vegan chocolate chips and a half ounce of sunshine!
Philly dude smuggles a gagillion pounds of elephant ivory »
You know I always cover the Philly beat but today I am not happy about it! This art dealer jerk smuggled a ton of ivory from Africa by staining it and carving it to appear antique. The 1975 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) made the trade of ivory illegal in the U.S. but apparently, you can still import and sell ivory that is over 100 years old. This is one of the largest seizures of ivory in U.S. history: “All told, agents of the federal Fish and Wildlife Service seized 491 carved tusks from Mr. Gordon.” Jesus Christmas, that’s SO MANY! And remember, elephants are endangered. Stone cold bummer.
Just goes to show you, you can’t trust anybody! So maybe we should tell everyone they shouldn’t buy any ivory because it might be new. Plus, tacky!
[Picture from the Department of Justice. Mad official, yo]
What would we do without Etsy! Totally die, probs. This cute shirt by Sneaky Pablo (based in Philly! Hey-o!) is a mere $20 and 25 percent of proceeds go to a local animal shelter. Huzzah!
So, on a scale of one to adorbs, what do we think?
[via One Green Planet]
The beatification of the pigeon »
Hey young world! It’s the art beat! You know I love pigeons so when I read about this art installation in Philadelphia, I was so excited. Then I was so sad to see it closed on Saturday! We missed the show. But! We can still look at the pictures!
Matt Zigler created The Mobile Museum of Pigeon Culture and History, a pigeon museum in a Pod (you know, those storage containers popular with the college set), to venerate the disrespected bird. Along with the mobile museum, the installation included a series of altars, “Five Saintly Pigeons of the Book of Columba,” to various pigeons with a seed dispenser nearby to provide offerings. Zigler is not fucking around; he set out to elevate these birds to saints. As the bearer of so much public disdain, this is just what the pigeons need! You got to make serious moves. No half-stepping for Zigler and the pigeons—they’re like, “bow down, bitches!” Jeez, pigeons, relax.
Hopefully the mobile museum will travel nearby soon, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, be kind to your local pigeon.
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.