Vegan nacho cheese: a love story, I mean taste-off  »

I was on a mission. A mission to gorge out elegantly eat every new vegan cheese on the market. For you! My most unselfish venture ever! To let you know, as the vegan consumer, where to spend your hard-earned dollars!
In the ring:
Food for Lovers Vegan Queso

Nacheez (mild and spicy versions)

Here’s what I have to say. If you are looking for a fight, go watch Rocky. Or The Fighter — it’s totally streaming on Netflix right now—‘cause I only have great things to say about both products.

Here’s how the taste-off went down. Sarah M. Smart came over with a bag of chips. I had the cheese. We ate.

Food for Lovers

  • Spicy. I have a high tolerance, and didn’t notice until the roomie tried some and cried out “Whoo! That has some kick to it!”)
  • Made in small batches by Crystal and Chris Tate in Austin, Texas.
  • Every time I eat it, I think I belong in Austin. (SXSW!)
  • Would bring it to a Superbowl party. Or somewhere there are sports. I don’t know. It has that taste to it. The only bros I know watch Star Wars, so I’d bring it to a screening of that. Non vegan guys would scarf this down. And not know it’s vegan.
  • Has gluten. Sorry, celiac sufferers.
  • Has nutritional yeast in it. I’m a vegan who dislikes nutritional yeast. NOT ANYMORE! I love this product! Cheesy, spicy, plus the tomatoes and peppers within taste fresh.
  • No need to heat up. Can be eaten at room temperature.


  • Comes in spicy and mild flavors! Spicy is good for me, mild is good for a dish like, mac ‘n’ cheese. Or my mom, pepper is too spicy for her.
  • Doesn’t have gluten.
  • Made by Isla Hess in Sacramento, Calif.
  • Every time I eat it, I feel like maybe Sacramento isn’t a such a bad place after all. Maybe as a vegan, I could have a life out there.
  • With this product, I imagine my girlfriends coming over, talking about things we do, putting on avocado face masks and making chili cheese tofu dogs without FEELING GUILTY! Cause Nacheez has so few calories with mucho taste! Bikini body, here I come. (Not. I just drank a six pack)
  • OK, I love road trips. I miss gas station nachos. Nacheez brings me back.
  • Has to be reheated. Not room-temperature friendly. But you own a pot and have a stove top, right?

All in all, both are worth your hard earned dollars. Food for Lovers is definitely a queso in the most delicious form ever, whereas Nacheez fills the void of the nacho cheese you’ve been missing.

Nacheez mac ‘n’ cheese:

What happens when Sarah M. Smart and I drink Trader Joe’s-brand Corona and wine:

Thank you so much Isla Hess, and Crystal and Chris Tate for providing your delicious and amazing products free of charge!

Both vegan nacho cheeses are available at Rainbow and Vegan Essentials.


Interview: raw vegan superstar Lydia Kindheart!  »

If you haven’t heard of Lydia’s Organics, Loving Foods or Kitchen, then (a) you must not live in the SF Bay Area or (b) you live under a rock. If it’s the latter of the two, get yourself to Rainbow or your nearest Whole Foods, stat! I recommend her raw nori crackers, mint chocolate truffle, a slice of raw cheesecake and some kale chips— you won’t be disappointed! Every time I scout the raw and prepared-meal sections of those stores I see more of Lydia’s products! She’s taking the Bay Area vegan scene over with her amazing vegan, raw, gluten-free and organic snacks, meals, soups, spreads, appetizers and desserts! I am so jealous of those of you living in Marin County—you can just shimmy into her cafe! That’s it, road trip to Fairfax!

I was extremely eager to pick Parisian-turned-Californian/creative vegan force in the Bay Area/successful business owner Lydia Kindheart’s brain.

Lydia’s daughter Sonya—who’s 20 and never eaten meat!—and Lydia Kindheart at a festival

Vegansaurus: How long have you been vegan?
Lydia Kindheart: Off and on. On for mostly 30 years.

What inspired the lifestyle?
Girlfriends in high school, reading lots of books, asking questions and experimenting on myself. I started fasting at a young age and saw the direct effect of foods and well being.

Are you raw? How did you make the transition from cooked foods to raw foods? What do you see as the benefits of a raw food diet?
[I am] 98 percent [raw], mas o menos. I turned vegetarian at 16, then raw very quickly by 17. Raw foods are simpler, closer to their source, holding their vitality and life itself. Raw foods are alive, cooked foods are not. They use less resources, fossil fuels, etc.

How do organic foods play a role?
I am into health and well being for myself, all people, animals and life forms. Organic is the only way to work with the Earth, as opposed to poisoning life itself.

Do you have any advice for the beginning raw foodist?
Focus on your intake of greens and water; watch your sugar and nut intake. Use dehydrated crackers to help with transitioning—for that ‘bulk’ that one is used to.

What are the the most important tools?
A Vitamix, one’s teeth.

What are some raw foods to live by?
Kale, herbs, seaweed, sunflower seeds, lemon, watermelon and figs.

Your raw foods are absolutely amazing and taking the Bay Area by storm! What goes into your creative process for recipes/products?
Spending lots of time in nature, being in my heart, caring for people to serve them healthful alternatives.

Can you tell us the story behind Lydia’s Organics?
Since I was a little girl, I have always loved making food for people. As I learned about what foods can do and how they can affect people, it stirred up a passion and way to care for people and connect with the Earth through simple living. I had the opportunity to take over a smoothie shop in Fairfax and opened a raw food cafe—it then continued on this journey. I had never thought of creating a a business like this, it has led me to where it is now—to nourish as many people as I can with healthful, loving foods. My daughter, Sonya, and mother, Jacquie, have been integrative parts and support to this creation. Were were all three serving food at the first raw food event in San Francisco.

As a small, vegan, business owner, do you have any advice for budding vegan entrepreneurs?
Get some professional advice for logistics and unknowns. There is heart, dedication and hard work, but it takes practical logistics to implement our dreams.

Any favorite raw recipes you’d like to share with the Vegansaurus readers?
Pâté—Equal parts carrots and soaked almonds. Some celery, lemon, green onions, dulse seaweed and dash of salt. Grind until semi coarse in a food processor. It’s great in rolls and as a spread, especially with avocado. I’m not very good at recipes, I just kind of make dishes up, but it’s about playing and experimenting and creating what you personally like!

Thank you, Lydia!


Today is Customer Appreciation Day at Rainbow Grocery: 20 percent OFF, BITCHES!!!  »

Yes, that means all groceries are 20 percent off from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m at Rainbow grocery so GO GET IT!!!



If you were important, you’d get free vegan queso for Earth Day  »

Cameron Diaz is getting a jar of Food for Lovers Vegan Queso for Earth Day and I’m not pleased. I’m super-jealz—WHY HER AND NOT ME?!  Life is so hard and unfair sometimes. I’m also mad because I was just in Austin last month—the city of its conception and the only place I’ve been recently that it’s available for purchase—and didn’t pick any up since somehow I’m so out of the loop I didn’t know it existed.  Maybe Cameron does deserve it more than me.

Distinctive Assets (a company that puts together gift bags for celebrities—I can’t wait till I’m famous) approached Chris and Crystal Tate, creators of the world’s first vegan queso, about using their product as swag for A-listers for Earth Day. Of course they said yes. Being able to use celebrities to promote your vegan product is an incredible opportunity to reach the masses (my mom has a subscription to US Weekly, I know what I’m talking about)!

Crystal and Chris are also featured in this month’s VegNews, as they just had a super hip vegan wedding. I imagine all vegan weddings are hip (NO GRILLED VEGETABLE PLATTERS) [Ed.: We’re totally putting that on a sticker! Don’t steal it, thieves!], though I have yet to attend one. No one knows yet if the images used for the article were real or stock photos. SNAP! Sorry, VegNews, you know I still love you.
Natalie Portman is also getting a jar. I thought the baby in her womb was forcing her to indulge in animal products?  She can send her jar to me. Thanks, Natalie!

MOST IMPORTANTLY, when is Rainbow getting this in? Until then, I’m ordering mine from Vegan Essentials! [Ed.: Rainbow is totally carrying it now!] I’m awesome and won a gift certificate, which allowed me to feel like a fantastic celebrity who gets free shit for no reason. I already know what I’m doing with my jar!

This is Jenny Bradley's first post for Vegansaurus! She is one of our new regulars (you’ve already met Rachel! And there’s more where MORE! we’re a godammed clown car of new writers! Not really, just four! That’s a regular car!) and she’s really, really great. As you can tell. Anyway! Yay, Jenny!


Rainbow Grocery’s Customer Appreciation Day is TOMORROW!  »

It’s 20 percent off everything you want at Rainbow so get up on this! It’s tomorrow today, Tuesday, Mar. 8, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. That’s plenty of time to buy your bulk granola, 15 pounds of Daiya, and several dozen cases of almond milk. Be prepared for crazy-ass crowds and possible fisticuffs in the baked goods section but you know, that’s life during Depression 2.0. Honestly, I look at it as good practice for Judgment Day. 

[Hat tip, Shelly!]


No lying about this weekend with so much to do!  »

First, Bay Area friends, don’t forget to enter our contest to win two tickets to the premiere of Bold Native in San Francisco next Saturday, Nov. 18! The contest ends on Thursday, Nov. 11, and entering is as easy as commenting on the pertinent post with your favorite ice cream flavor. Nothing to it, this competition.

OK, this is mainly (exclusively) Los Angeles-centric, but that’s all right, we’re happy everyone’s here.
First, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Roxy Theatre on Sunset, it’s Vegan Beer Fest no. 1, as sponsored in part by Quarrygirl (hooray!)! We mentioned it once, and now it’s in a more prominent position! The pertinent details are still on other sites, however. Have lots of fun, and do consider a guest post for us!

Immediately following Beer Fest (!!), have a sober driver take you to Venice for the release party of The Kitchen and The Garden Patch cookbook, from 6 to 9 p.m. at Me & Blue, 566 Rose Ave. (at 6th Avenue). We continue to recommend this event as well—a lovely vegan cookbook and recipe samples? You are strongly encouraged to pay them a visit, yes.

Saturday and Sunday!
SF Green Fest fall 2010 has arrived! Remember last year’s? We got vegan corn dogs and saw creepy milk-soliciting, Tessa tried a preview taco from Gracias Madre, and A QUEEN spoke. Among other things.

How can this year possibly compete with solicitation and the author of Overcoming the Angry Vagina? For starters, if you have spent $10 or more at Rainbow since Nov. 1 and through Nov. 7, bring your receipt to Green Fest for free admission! Now, that is either a savings of $5, since one-day admission costs $15, or a savings of the full $15, since you were going shopping at Rainbow anyway, you vegan hippie weirdo.

Amy Goodman and Dolores Huerta and y/our state Senator Mark Leno will speak! There are a bunch of Slow Food-related speakers, too, which is why we say, go listen to some people talk about less aggravating subjects. At a skim, the food options look like Gratitude, Chad’s Grill (?), Donna’s Tamales, Star Anise Foods, and Underdog; various chocolates, bars, drinks, and produce; Tofutown North America, makers of Soyatoo! vegan whipped cream!, and our BFFs Sugar Beat Sweets!!

SF Green Fest fall 2010 will happen at the SF Concourse Exhibition Center, at 635 8th St. at Brannan Street. It’s open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Have we missed anything? You should let us know, via email or a comment, and we will happily update this post. Enjoy your weekend!


Drown your end-of-coupon-days sorrows TONIGHT at SF Vegan Drinks!  »

Yes, it’s the last coupon day at Rainbow, ever. You were already planning to camp out in line from dawn till dusk to save 20 percent off a barrel of flax seed oil, so why not follow it up by drinking the pain away at SF Vegan Drinks? Or show up early, and drunk-shop for the final two hours of crazy. And speaking of drink specials, I hear we have those? Here are the details, from Lyndsay (who said “hi” as I walked by on Valencia Street yesterday and didn’t realize until it was too late who it was SORRY LYNDSAY I THINK YOU’RE GREAT I AM JUST BLIND):

Just a heads up that the September installment of Vegan Drinks is Thursday, Sept. 30 at Martuni’s (Valencia @ Market). This a fantastic chance to mingle with other interesting vegans while enjoying drink specials—this month: $5 Rock Sake Pomegranate Lemonade Martinis—a host of non-alcoholic beverage options, and all-you-can-eat vegan hot dogs and popcorn!

A representative of Rock Sake will be joining us and will provide a variety of free samples. Looking forward to seeing you! 

Here’s the thing. Coupon day is hell, but 20 percent off everything you could ever want has been hard to pass up. I hate waiting in lines, and I complain bitterly about it, but I’ll also miss getting all that free stuff without having to shoplift. Not that I would ever shoplift from Rainbow in a million years. There’s a lot of love in the people who make that grocery store happen, and they’re still worker-owned; how great is that? While other people are busy with wage theft and exploiting immigrant labor, places like Rainbow give me hope for humanity. 

Also giving me hope/dulling my hopelessness for humanity: drinking. SF Vegan Drinks is sponsored by Vegansaurus and VegNews, and we’ll be there tonight! So show up! At Martuni’s! From 6 to 8 p.m.! Sí se puede!


No more coupon day at Rainbow!  »

No more Rainbow Coupon Days, y’all. This is the last month. I’ll be spilling out some organic almond milk for my fallen homie. Good write-ups of the pros and cons of coupon day in both UA & ML, so I’ll spare you the eulogy/celebration/tears. I guess I’ll just have to steal extra from the Whole Foods bulk section to make up for the loss. LE SIGH. I only worry for the phonebook. Now that its only purpose is gone, is there any need to make these landfill-overflowing machines anymore?? PLEASE STOP!

(via Uptown Almanac via Mission Local) [I refuse to do the @ sign in their name because it’s hella goofy.]


Vegan Schnitzel by Fry’s Vegetarian (a South African company!? Hell yeah!) now at Rainbow Grocery. We have confirmation that it’s fucking delicious and before not seen in the states! They have hot dogs and chicken nuggets and other shiz too and it’s in the freezer section.
I’m so having this with mashed potatoes and 7 glasses of South African Shiraz (read: 15 cans PBR) tonight. I’m so doing that.

Vegan Schnitzel by Fry’s Vegetarian (a South African company!? Hell yeah!) now at Rainbow Grocery. We have confirmation that it’s fucking delicious and before not seen in the states! They have hot dogs and chicken nuggets and other shiz too and it’s in the freezer section.

I’m so having this with mashed potatoes and 7 glasses of South African Shiraz (read: 15 cans PBR) tonight. I’m so doing that.

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