vegansaurus!

04/14/2014

Curry Up Now in San Francisco’s Mission District hits the spot!   »

imageI love drinks in mason jars! It feels so Portland, Oregon

One of my last afternoons in San Francisco, I found myself in the Mission District’s Curry Up Now restaurant. I had been meaning to go for a while, and was in the mood for a light snack. Samosas and beer it was! 

I enjoyed my afternoon pit stop. My only regret is that I was not more hungry, because many of their menu items sounded pretty good! Curry Up has a nice beer selection, along with special vegan and gluten-free menus. The prices were fair, dare I say, even on the inexpensive side? Inexpensive for San Francisco, that is. I thought this would be a good place to grab a bite to eat and a drink with co-workers, when everyone is different levels of hungry and spend-happy! It’s also open late (midnight) on Fridays and Saturdays, which is great because I get HUNGRY when I go out. I don’t always want a burrito; I like variety! 

imageI pretended to be enthralled by the decor (which is actually quite nice) while I eavesdropped on the young, hipster girls at the table next to me discuss Taylor Swift at length. It was a little slice of heaven. 

Curry Up Now has three locations in the Bay Area, including 659 Valencia in San Francisco, 321 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto, and 129 South B Street in San Mateo! 

02/12/2014

Vegan Valentine’s Day in LA  »

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It’s almost Valentine’s Day (didn’t you see the decorations for sale at drug stores during Christmas?!?), and regardless of your feelings about it (insert diatribe about eternal loneliness here), we can all agree that we love special menus at our favorite vegan spots in LA! 

Get fancy at Crossroads with all their vegan Valentine’s glory! They’ll be serving a five-course meal, which will include Italian wedding soup, artichoke ravioli, and RED VELVET CAKE (RED VELVET CAKE!!!)! There will be gluten-free options and the set price includes a glass of champagne. $75 per guest. Reservations: http://crossroadskitchen.com/

Real Food Daily will be keeping the Italian spirit of the holiday with a mostly gluten-free menu. How will you choose between the Calabrese Stuffed Pepper or Lasagna Napoletana as your entree?? Or the Tiramisu Bombe versus the Creme Brulee?? (My advice? ORDER EVERYTHING.) $68 per person. Reservations: http://www.realfood.com/

One of my fave little spots, Flore, will have beet borscht (is that redundant?), a spinach fettucini (isn’t that what "Mouth" was ordering in Goonies!?!), and their classic chocolate/vanilla strawberry cake for $24 per person. No reservation necessary. 

Healthy Junk in Anaheim will have TWO types of lasagna (white wine sauce vs marinara), GRILLED ARTICHOKES with aioli, and chocolate cake. $25 per person. Call to make a reservation: (714) 772-JUNK. 

Just want to indulge your sweet tooth (um, why wouldn’t you?)? Stop by Babycakes (and get some cakes for your baby?), or order from the new online Bramble Bakeshop, which just looks AMAZING! 

Irregardless (which, yes, is a real word now), binge on enough sugary vegan treats that Wilford Brimley will come dancing at your door*. 

Happy VD, Vegansaurs! 

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Those better be Go Max Foods candies, Bigfoot! 

*Diabetes is not really funny, ya’ll, but I can’t resist a joke that involves a bad YouTube dance mix. 

01/15/2014

Muchas Gracias! Gracias Madre is opening in West Hollywood this Friday!   »

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Thanks, LA Times, for this photo. 

When I saw this article posted on FaceBook yesterday, I thought, “THANK MAUDE, THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING!” This Friday, January 18, all your vegan Mexican dreams come true in West Hollywood.* Rumors about their opening date have been flying for awhile now, so this confirmation comes as a great relief! 

Being new to LA has its definite perks (remember when I ate fried green tomatoes at Crossroads?!), but there were a few things I was sad to leave behind in San Francisco. Gracias Madre was at the top of that list! (So was Rainbow Grocery, but then I found Viva la Vegan here.) 

If you’ve never had the mole from Gracias Madre, well, I pity the fool. There are countless ways I could count what’s great about this place (cashew cheese on errthang), and it sounds like they’re kicking it up a notch with this new location. Executive chef, Chandra Gilbert, has some tasty ideas up her chef’s coat sleeve. And the beverage director, Jason Eisner, seems to as well. They posted a few photos on their Instagram showing the process of how the organic tequilas and mezcal they’ll be serving are made. Since I don’t drink, I expect all my lush friends to pick up the slack. I’ll make up for it by eating ALL THE VEGAN FLAN. 

The only info on their website is a link for people interested in working there (please get a job there and give me free food!). I expect they’ll update it soon with the full menu and any upcoming events. 

Spoiler alert: both Gracias Madre locations are part of the same family as Cafe Gratitude (which VS has done several pieces on in the past). I’m pleading the 5th and staying out of that discussion (whilst stuffing my face with controversial, yet delicious, Mexican vittles). 

Los Angeles, “GRACIAS” for giving me another reason to love living here!!!! (Sorry, not sorry for that.)   

*Unless you have some crazy dream of being a vegan luchador, Sorry, I can’t help you on that one. 



09/18/2013

Vegans! Enough is enough! Splitting the tab with meat-eaters is jacked!  »

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Um, how much do we need this app Tab?! I LOATHE when omnivores want to just divide the bill evenly…I’m like, oh hell no, look at the bill! My pears were 2 freaking dollars!*

I’m serious. First of all, meat generally is more expensive than veggie dishes (and in reality it should be even more expensive than it already is—goddamn subsidies) and secondly, half the time I’m getting hummus when I’m out with omnis! The other half the time, it’s a side salad and fries! I’m not paying the same portion of the bill as some jerk who got lobster sliders and chicken-fried bacon or whatever the latest flesh concoction is. And eff that, I’m not paying for your brie either. You think I don’t want brie? I want brie! I just believe it’s not worth the suffering! And I’m not going to pay for a single portion of that suffering any more! Thank you, Tab! And good day, sir!

*that corn and greens are expensive, right? And you know that salmon was more than $13.70 if the greens are $9.50. Or those greens are seasoned with hella truffle oil. And gold dust. Wilted kale in a gold dust-truffle oil reduction, that’s what I’m talking about. Come at me, bro.

06/26/2012

Three days left to help fund the first vegan restaurant in Harlem!  »


Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

Guys! Time is running out to help Seasoned Vegan become the first full-service vegan restaurant in Harlem, New York! Go to Kickstarter right now and put some money down—the gifts for the pledges are pretty awesome. All you non-New Yorkers should pledge enough to get the entrees and then when you come visit the big city, you can have a nice meal! Hey, you can pledge to get the two entrees and then take me with you! Yay, vegan date!

Another way to help is easy and free: 

We found a grant for $250,000. It’s perfect for us but we need your help to qualify. All and we need is for you all to go to MissionSmallBusiness.com, click “Log In & Support” on the homepage, search Seasoned Vegan and vote for us! We can only qualify for the grant if we have at least 250 people click support so please spread the word!

I WANT ORGANIC VEGAN COMFORT FOOD SO PLEDGE AND VOTE!

05/24/2012

Guys, I found the best unexpectedly awesome restaurant this week! It’s in Colorado, so I know most of don’t give a shit, but I want everyone in Colorado to come here and make sure it stays open forever. Plus, it’s in a strip mall in the suburbs, so we can have a universal discussion about that.

The place is called Krishna Kafe, and it’s in possibly the most run-down shopping center I’ve been to (the pothole-to-pavement ratio in the driveway to the parking lot is off the charts), about 15 minutes outside of Boulder in a hit-and-run town called Lafayette. According to my friend who just moved there, it’s where all the people who can’t afford to live in Boulder live, so it kind of makes sense that there’s a big immigrant community, and that some of those immigrants might open restaurants, and that those restaurants might be orgasmically good. 

The place serves chaat-style street food, and in my opinion is approximately 7.5 times better than Vik’s Chaat Corner in Berkeley. My vegan husband and I showed up with our gluten-free friend, and the owner had his wife come out to talk to us and help us order. She was really knowledgeable and accommodating, and suggested dishes we all could eat.

I’m usually really opinionated about my food, but I honestly couldn’t choose which of the three I liked more—they were are richly spiced without being mouth-burning, had an interesting blend of textures, and just SO GOOD. The Indian grocery next door is just an extra perk, too. And it’s cheap!

If you live on the Front Range, make a trip here. For reals. If you ever come to Colorado for skiing and hiking and stuff, and want cheap food and don’t mind wandering out of your way, also come here.

What are you favorite amazing restaurants in random run-down strip malls?

05/18/2012

Social Kitchen and Brewery in the Inner Sunset has tasty vegan options!  »

Social Kitchen and Brewery serves beer and has vegan options—that’s all you really need to know, right? It’s located in the Inner Sunset, which means even when it’s busy, it’s not like trying to find a seat in a Mission bar, feel me? I love this place ‘cause it’s close to my ‘hood, they always respond to my tweets, and there’s specialty crafted beer.


Vegan chili! So flavorful—I was very impressed!


Roasted Brussels sprouts chips! I loved these babies!


French fries! Standard bar food, but look: They come in little metal pails and are seasoned to perfection!

They have more choices than I’ve shown, but since super-eater Sean Hugunin wasn’t with us, there was no need to order every vegan option on the menu.

Let’s not forget the beer!

I always order IPA because it tastes the best. Featured is Social’s Easy IPA—delicious!

Social Kitchen and Brewery is located at 1326 Ninth Ave., in the Inner Sunset. Let’s go, I’m free on Saturday night!

05/08/2012

Rumor alert: Ellen may not be opening a vegan restaurant after all!  »

Word on the street (and by street I mean the internet highway) is that Ellen and Portia’s SoCal vegan restaurant may not be happening after all! Oh no! I was looking forward to this collaboration of superstars—Ellen, Portia, Chrissy Hynde, Steven Bing, Tal Ronnen and Waldo Fernandez. I was also looking forward to hooking up with a Sugar Daddy, because I knew there was no way in hell I’d be able to afford eating at that joint, being a restaurant worker myself.

As excited as I may have been about a new vegan hotspot opening up, I did have my reservations. Everyone wants to open a restaurant. Everyone thinks they’ll be great at it, but the truth is, most new restaurants don’t make it in their first year.  It’s hard work. Nevermind that the people who can handle working in the restaurant industry are bat shit crazy. The turnover rate is astronomical. If you haven’t read Laura’s “Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Be a Professional Chef" for SF Weekly, get on that! She got some flack in the comments section that it was unrealistic, but those people are dead wrong.
My point is that working in this industry is my career, and I love it, but it has been both the best and worst experience of my life. It’s tough, mentally and physically. So if Ellen and Portia want to keep their sanity, maybe they should run the other way. Plus, I’d hate for them to be the jerk owners who show off their shiny new cars, while their staff juggles two jobs—because let me tell you, this industry does not pay well (that is a paraphrased sentiment from Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, but also true of my own experience. You can love or hate that guy, but Kitchen Confidential is THE first-hand account of working in the industry, and I for one, really enjoyed its harsh honesty).

{Photo via Ecorazzi.com}


01/17/2012

Road trip: Pho 14 and more in D.C.!  »

In 2010, PETA named Washington, D.C. the country’s most veg-friendly large city. This is clearly bullshit. Other than Sticky Fingers Bakery, D.C. has no “holy shit you HAVE to go there” kinds of vegan places like SF, NYC, Denver, etc. Nevertheless, there’s some good eating in that city, and over the holidays I did my duty as an American and spent a lot of money eating out so my I wouldn’t have to blame all my weight gain on the vegan Christmas cookies my [awesome] mom made.

I hit up Pho 14 in Columbia Heights with some omnivore buddies one night. Pho is all about accessories, like [insert style pop culture figure whom I’m too big a nerd to keep track of]. The vegetarian broth is kinda sweet but then BAM! add some lime juice and it’s a whole new thing.
Notice the bowling-ball lacquer on the table.

My man DK and I shared some spring rolls (so tightly wrapped!) as an appetizer, then ordered a large tofu pho, which felt like stealing because they split it for us in the kitchen, and the two bowls were huge and dinner was so cheap! This would be a great place to bring a date because you’d look classier than you really were!

Another night, DK and I wanted something romantic near the Mall (the one with the monuments, not the one with Bath & Body Works). Mandu on K Street seemed a good choice given how obsessed we were with Sura in Oakland.

The waitstaff totally got the whole vegan thing, and only brought us munchies that had no shrimp or fish sauce. Our entrees were fresh and filling but a little bland—I wanted to run into the kitchen and whip up a sauce for my bi bim bop, but instead I just ate it all including every tiny little grain of rice.

D.C.’s also know for its Ethiopian food, which I love. We hit up Dukem this time, which had a nasty bathroom, a suspicious taste of butter, and was pricey, pretty much not worth it. Try Etete or Meskerem if you’re there, those are better. But really just go to Cafe Colucci in Oakland, it’s the absolute bestest, I’m considering having children so I can send them there to be indentured servants and learn to cook for me that way.

The actual highlight for me was all about booze, duh: The Gibson, a $12-fancy-cocktail joint near all the Ethiopian places on U Street. Make a reservation and bring a smartphone, because you’re going to need to Wikipedia the shit out of their changing, incredible menu (Akvavit what?). Everything we tried was spectacular—better than SF’s Bourbon & Branch or Williams & Graham in Denver—but watch out for the egg whites they sometimes want to put in things. Gross. Definitely a great date place, especially if someone else is buying! I’m gonna start dating again just so people will buy me drinks; it’s good for my husband, too, though, I swear.

10/03/2011

All October: Sacramento goes vegan. Road trip!  »


Now’s probably a good time to go take that tour of the state capitol you’ve been putting off since fourth grade, because for a limited time only, Sacramento has new vegan dishes!

For the month of October, chefs at 10 restaurants are featuring special vegan options. It’s a contest! The idea is that you go eat the foods, and then vote on what’s the best, and then you can win “prizes” if you vote. There’s also a thing where you’re extra special if you go try the vegan foods at all 10 restaurants. That would take way more eating out than my budget can handle, but if anyone wants to buy me a plane ticket from Denver and subsidize my meals, I’ll share the prizes with you, I swear.

I know zilch about the group that organized this, and whether the prizes are legit or will be like a half-used roll of postage stamps or whatever, but for those of you out Sacramento way, it seems worth checking out. 

The restaurants:

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