Bliss Grand: New vegan restaurant in Brooklyn! »
About two weeks ago, I got to attend the opening celebration of the new Bliss Grand restaurant in Williamsburg, BK! Finally I can tell you all about it. The Bliss Grand owners have another venue in the area, a more casual place, but they wanted to open a more upscale restaurant. Mission accomplished! The place is very nice. Here’s the back bar area:
I love the exposed brick! The party was hosted by none other than Joshua Katcher. Here’s our handsome host:
To his right is the main dining area.
I totally drilled Joshua on vegan fashion. He told me he has some more items coming out from Brave GentleMan now that he’s launched the suits. He’s going to have some more affordable accessories and home items to complement his suit line. We also discussed the diligence it takes to create ethically sourced, sweatshop-free fashion. He is thorough!
They had a number of dishes out for us to try. My favorite thing we had were these little empanadas!:
Well actually, the empanadas were great, but it was the sauce that blew my mind! It’s a cashew margarita cream sauce and it is out of control delicious. It had a rich parmesan cheese flavor. And it totes has tequila in it because they are hardcore.
Other super popular items were these truffle oil fries (we eat truffle oil, no? They don’t still use pigs to find truffles, do they?) and this kale salad. Someone said the fries were possibly the best fries they ever had. And they were definitely delicious:
Other than the amazing food, I must also say the owners were incredibly nice. And not JUST because they kept me rich in delicious vegan wine.
The Bliss Grand is located at 167 Grand street at Bedford. Definitely worth the trip!
Guest Post: San Diego Part 1: Evolution Fast Food »
Alternative title: ”Hey, we have vegan food too!”
Growing up in Rhode Island for the better part of my existence, I’ve grown accustomed to having my local habitat being played as the second fiddle. The music and art industries, whether through concerts, shows, or just the available exposure itself to these, seemed to skip the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (yes, that’s our real, full name) altogether. Everyone assumed this was do to our close proximity to Boston and New York and no one from Lil’ Rhody (yes, that is our real “nickname”) wants to drive to New York or Boston because they’re “wicked fah!” San Diego, I find, kind of sees similar persecution. America’s Finest City is well-populated, and has its own vibe with plenty of culture. But we in the vegan community never seem to hear much about what St. Diego has to offer by way of animal-free food consumption—instead, we in SoCal hear much ado about L.A. More people, mainly us compassionate ones, should know of the mini-vegan food Mecca that is in San Diego.
San Diego was supposed to get the mother of all vegan restaurant chains, Native Foods Cafe, but that either fell through, is still being constructed, or Monsanto stepped in and bought the property. Having a world-renowned chain like Native in The 619 (or The 858 or The 760) would have been huge. Both for me and my friends who live there but also for the San Diego vegan community. However, there are equally as tasty treats deep within the cozy confines of the city. If fast food-themed is your bag, similar to Native Foods, there is Evolution Fast Food. E.F.F. is a must-see for me each and every time I’m in S.D. I have a “go-to” choice and “back-up” ready to order. A back-up is sometimes needed because they tend to sell out of their daily “specials.” Which leads me to believe they have a good sized customer base ready and willing to try new things. During my most recent visit just this past week, they had a new special available of which just the description alone made me weak in the knees and caused cold sweats. It was like I was back in high school when my man parts would do what they wished, when they wished. Male-hormonal rages aside, this is what the board read:
- Carne asada
- & cheese!
And all these fine basic descriptors were supposedly wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla. I say supposedly because that Bad Larry was sold out. Bummer. Upon learning the bad news I was back in flashback mode, this time elementary school when I learned Santa Claus didn’t actually check his list twice. Luckily, my standby order is impeccable and cured my sadness post haste. I’ve been a burger-and-fries type of guy since long before my vegan days. And the Bacon Cheeseburger at E.F.F. fits the bill to a T. They’ve recently started using Gardein for their patties on all their burgers, but if processed mock meats aren’t your thing, they also have a house-made bean patty option. I’m a fan of Gardein, so I recommend the O.G. version. The bean patty is too… beany.
Options are always awesome as a consumer, especially when you’re a vegan consumer when you’re about to consume vegan goods. It’s like little bits of Christmas morning each time someone behind the counter asks you a closed ended question regarding your order. In addition to the bean patty or Gardein patty, you can also choose between standard fries or the sweet potato version. I’m excessively sweet as it is, so I always opt for the regular spuds. I’m kidding. Sort of.
Evolution Fast Food isn’t really known in my circle of non-vegan compadres in San Diego. Most think it’s still called one of their previous names and others assume all they serve is wheat grass shots and tofu slabs. It’s a brilliant take on the prototypical fast food menu, just vegan’d out. But they also do soft serve ice cream, smoothies and desserts. Best of all, the entire restaurant is 100% vegan. So you’ll never have to worry about cross contamination or wondering if a bun or slice of bread is also fitting to your compassionate ways. There is also a “drive-thru” window, perfect if you’re feeling nostalgic and want to re-live the times the whole family went down to those golden arches. As far as convenience however, you’re better off parking and walking up.
Stay tuned for San Diego Part 2: Ranchos Cocina!
Andrew E. Irons is a blogger from Long Beach, California. He co-created and contributes to a Rhode Island based Hip-Hop website, The Echo Chamber Blog, under the pseudonym Verbal Spacey. You can track his daily diatribes by following him on Twitter.
Meet the spicy green leaves salad with spicy bean curd dressing, crispy tofu, topped with crispy rice noodles at the Green Elephant in Portland, Me. It costs $6 (WHAT) and Erin of Olives for Dinner had this to say about it:
this salad is amazing. Super-fresh and packed with tons of crisp carrots, tomatoes, tofu and noodles, it’s the perfect dinner to enjoy after gorging on multiple appetizers. I love it that Green Elephant isn’t stingy with any of their sauces, which allows for a liberal drenching over every inch of a dish.
Read the entire review of her meal (with photos) at Green Elephant! It sounds so so good! Thanks for letting us know, Erin!
Guest review: Azna Gluten Free bakery! »
I was visiting Never Felt Better in Sacramento when the owner, Shawn, gave me a tip: if I had the time, I should visit the gluten-free and vegan bakery called Azna Gluten Free, located in Cameron Park (about 30 miles east from Sacramento). It happened that I did have the time, so I decided to make the trip.
Although Anza normally offers sandwiches, burritos, lasagna, and calzones, in addition to their sweet items, they didn’t have any sandwiches available to eat when I visited; I made do with a baked good instead. Of course, it was still difficult to make a decision. After conferring with a fellow customer and gazing over the display, I picked a mini cinnamon roll and blackberry scone, as well as a spoonful of some roasted yams and sweet potatoes (cooked with olive oil and many seasonings, and the only savory items available).
Really, EVERYTHING on their menu is vegan and gluten-free; I could eat ANYTHING I wanted. I was in special-diet heaven.
The scone was a little crumbly, but the berries added sweetness and made it a little moister. The mini cinnamon roll was chewy and yummy and just the right size. The roasted yams were delicious, I couldn’t believe how well-seasoned they were. I wanted to just keep eating them, but I got too full.
The service was friendly and fast, even though there was just one guy there, and he seemed to be in charge of baking AND serving the customers. Prices were on the moderate end—my entire “meal” cost $10.25 with tax—and I left feeling more than satisfied.
Geanna lives in Portland, Ore. where she can be found hiking, eating, or writing about food (sometimes she goes to work, too). Find her on Twitter @greenvegnliving or check out her blog, Green Vegan Living.
Guest review: Sage’s Cafe in Salt Lake City! »
OK, more like a guest review-by-text. My dad, who is a very nice person who introduced me to kimchi and cooking without recipes, spent two nights in Salt Lake City recently, and because he is a very nice person, he agreed to eat a vegan dinner and take photos, just for Vegansaurus! I would’ve asked you readers for recommendations if there’d been more time; instead we did this last-minute style and asked Google, which said: “Sage’s Cafe.” So there my dad went, and these are his results!
Tuesday was all-you-can-eat vegan pizza night (OMG WHERE IS THAT HERE, BAY AREA? WHERE?) but my dad opted for a French onion soup, and basil pesto pasta with walnuts, because he is a man with self-control? He didn’t really provide an explanation, but one of his dining neighbors offered him a taste of her pizza (woo woo!) and he said it was “good.” But, let’s get to the food he did eat. First, the soup:
He says it “was delicious!”
Main course: basil pesto pasta!
I can’t comment on the quality of the food, except to say that vegan French onion soup sounds delightful and I wish I had some right now. My dad says that the food was “excellent,” and the service “efficient and friendly.” If he happens to be in SLC on the next all-you-can-eat vegan pizza night, that’d be his choice, as there were “many different pizza choices.” Pithy! Also via text message!
[Thanks to Meave’s dad for the photos, and for making this review happen!]