HSUS wants you to be a better activist. Learn how on Monday! »
It is marvelous, isn’t it, being vegan? Every new dish you make is Amazing! and every new restaurant is an Adventure! and you know, you 100-percent absolutely no-question zero-doubt Know that your lifestyle choices are the Right Ones. No animals suffered for your food or clothes or shiny hair, and doesn’t it feel great to have such a clean conscience?
It’s just that, as a vegan, you know that living animal-product-free is the minimum. That’s one of the secrets you learn once you’ve properly committed yourself to veganism, right? The anger and guilt and shame you feel for the treatment of animals the world over; they are so strong, and impossible to assuage with a vegan diet alone. No, you’ve got to do something.
Bay Area residents (and visitors with good timing!) are in luck, because on Monday, Nov. 15, the Humane Society of the United States will be holding a free community seminar on how to properly do something, namely, effectively advocating for animals. Because as much as you’d like to chain yourself to a pet shop door and demand all the animals within are given to rescue organizations, that is really not the best use of your time and energy.
Instead, the seminar will address “factory farming, wildlife protection, puppy mills, and local animal issues, and will offer techniques for improving your persuasiveness and engagement as a citizen advocate.” That last one will be especially pertinent, “improving your persuasiveness and engagement as a citizen advocate.” So no more yelling at owners of purebred puppies in Dolores Park, then? Or standing by the “organic” meat section at Whole Foods and snorting really loudly and derisively whenever someone picks up a package? Check.
Here is the best part, as far as your Vegansaurus is concerned: the seminar will be led by HSUS California State Director Jennifer Fearing, a.k.a. the HBIC of the passage of Prop. 2. She directed a hardworking team to victory despite mighty opposition from giant egg conglomerates, which is impressive on its own, but she is awesome in general—you’ll see. Eighth District state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) will also attend, and “will be available to chat with folks and answer questions,” so that’s all right.
It’s completely FREE and should be helpful—HSUS is doing amazing work nationwide. All you have to do is RSVP, and then be at the SF SPCA at 250 Florida St. at 16th Street by 7 p.m. on Monday! The meeting is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. Animals need advocates who know what they’re doing, and this is a wonderful opportunity to learn what exactly a good animal advocate does. So go! Tell your friends—even, no, especially the non-vegan ones, and RSVP for all of you and go!
SF Chefs. Food. Wine. [sic] »
This long weekend—beginning Thursday evening and pushing on through Sunday afternoon—a multitude of local “food stars” (I don’t seem to have the vocabulary for this event, or at least to be able to say things like “food stars” without “can you believe I’m writing this nonsense” quotation marks.) will converge on Union Square for the 2009 SF Chefs. Food. Wine. [sic] event. Vegansaurus, loving food, has pored over the schedule for you to see if any of the events might be veg-friendly, and while nothing is explicitly labeled as such, there are a few seminars with potential. However (over-)pricey ($150-per-day), we want you to feel prepared. What follows is the Vegansaurus official SFCFW09 preview/guide; all quotes are direct from the SFCFW site.
10 a.m. Culinary Luminaries: A discussion with Martin Yan and Georgeanne Brennan, Bay Area “legends.” Yan Can Cook but not right now.
10:30 a.m. Cocktails Get in the Mix: learn about and taste “basic ‘families’ of cocktails,” and Bay Area-style cocktails and culture
10:30 a.m. Mixology 101: Learn about and taste, um, basic cocktails and so on. SFCFW is all about getting you sloshed before lunchtime if you aren’t in it for the m/eats.
3:30 p.m. Desserts and Sips with the Stars: a demo focusing on seasonal ingredients, plus tasting.
4 p.m. Chocolate Chronicles: an “interactive chocolate experience” demo/lecture plus tasting. There is the possibility of vegan confections, as proper dark chocolate is vegan by default.
4 p.m. Biodynamic Wines: Presumably filtering wine through fish bladders is not biodynamic, but I am no vintner.
4 p.m. Green Cocktails: as in, organic ingredients and “green business practices.”
4 p.m. As Seen on TV: competition: Jamie Lauren (Top Chef 5) vs. Chris Costentino (Iron Chef America); you don’t eat anything, and you can think about how Jamie Lauren used to be a vegetarian and her veg dishes on Top Chef, which if you’ve been to a booze seminar might lead to some heckling not that Vegansaurus endorses that sort of behavior.
10 a.m. Culinary Matriarchs: A panel discussion including Annie Somerville of Greens, the first vegetarian fine-dining restaurant in the country. No matter how you feel about milk, Greens earned a lot of respect for (relatively) cruelty-free dining, and that is a thing.
10 a.m. Green on Reds and Whites: Taste wines from new regions and grapes with Michael Green of Gourmet magazine. Most of the maybe-veg-friendly events are boozey. Watch your filings.
10 a.m. Pizza Toss: “learn and taste how these…styles of pizza come to be” with “experts” from Delfina, Pizzaiolo, and Grand Cafe. Pizza—crust, sauce, fresh basil—was originally vegan, and the modern crust certainly ought to be. WHO KNOWS?
10:30 a.m. Pinot Envy: learn about/taste pinot noirs from different Northern California terroirs. Usual wines-may-contain warning applies. Christ these puns are tired.
10:30 a.m. Agave Academy: a “tequila ambassador” explains why “100 percent blue agave tequila” is the best, ever; learn its history, methods of production, &c. Because 10:30 on Saturday morning is exactly when you want to taste tequila.
3:30 p.m. Views on Reviews: Irritating and/or irrelevant reviewers such as Nish from Yelp, San Francisco Magazine's food editor, and writers from Tablehopper and the Marin Independent Journal “share their insider secrets” on how/what it’s like to be a food critic. I only put this in to point out its inessentiality.
3:30 p.m. Bayside Brews: the SF Brewers Guild discusses past/present/future of local beer production, plus tasting. All the breweries listed on Barnivore are safe,
3:30 p.m. SF Cocktail History: Learn about and sample cocktails popular in the pre-prohibition city. Oh if only there were a guarantee these cocktails were vegan.
3:30 p.m. Chefs in the Garden: “Tips and secrets that will take you from the earth to the plate,” though technically animals walk the earth, so there’s no guarantee this will be a vegetarian event. It sounds good, but don’t abandon your inner skeptic just yet.
3:30 p.m. Old Vine Zinergy: Learn about/taste “the world’s oldest zinfandel vines,” some of which are over 100 years old, and all of which grow in California. Caveat drinker.
3:30 p.m. As Seen on TV: Jennifer Biesty vs. Ryan Scott (both of Top Chef 4) discuss being on TV and which of those TV dishes they especially loved. Then they are awarded a cookware set. Doesn’t sound like anyone will force meat down your throat, but neither does it sound interesting in the least.
3:30 p.m. Catch a Sonoma Cab: in Sonoma County vintners are trying to replicate Bordeaux-style Cabernet Sauvignon blends, which “are influenced by” their environment. Blah wine isinglass egg whites blah.
3:30 p.m. Molecular Cocktails: “GELS FOAMS PEARLS AND MISTS”!!! Boba tea is vegan, so maybe some of this stuff will be too.
10 p.m. to 2 a.m. CHOCOLATE ENCHANTMENT
Featured chef: Jean-Francois Houdre; plus, “several of San Francisco’s famous chocolatiers” who go unnamed. Also, cocktails and wine. There could be some vegan things but who can say.
10 a.m. Heirloom Seeds: seminar on flavors, advantages, importance of cooking with “traditional varieties of plants known as heirlooms” with Daniel Patterson of Coi and a “seed preservationist.” You cannot as yet raise an animal from a seed, so this one may well be veg-friendly. Although it could be all, Here are some delicious heirloom vegetables LET US FRY THEM UP WITH LARDONS.
10 a.m. Sunday Bloody Sunday: Offensive fucking name, nice. but: A lesson on making a bloody mary, both classic and new recipes; also, SKYY VODKA-sponsored build-your-own-bloody-mary bar.
10 a.m. The Perfect Pull: How to source, roast, prepare the best coffee ever. Includes a representative from mortal enemy Blue Bottle Coffee, so you can go, but not with our blessing.
noon to 3:30 p.m. GRAND TASTING: Industry Focus
If you’re going to attend the GRAND TASTING any day, go Sunday, because Eric Tucker will be there. Doesn’t say if he’s cooking, but he is listed in the “local chef lineup.”
3:30 p.m. Diner’s School: “some of the country’s top restaurant stars…reveal the secrets and unwritten rules of a successful service exchange,” i.e., you have no manners, please stop embarrassing your country and yourselves in nice restaurants here and abroad.
3:30 p.m. Seductive Syrahs: Learn about/taste this “rising star” in Northern California vineyards. Hey did you know that thing about fish in wine?
3:30 p.m. Alsace in Anderson Valley: Learn about/taste white wines made in Mendocino County from Alsatian varietals.
One caveat: This event is sponsored by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which has opposed the citywide health insurance program, Healthy San Francisco, since its inception in 2006. GGRA objects to Healthy San Francisco’s requiring restaurant owners with 20 or more employees to contribute to their employees’ health care. If you attend, maybe wear a big, passive-aggressive Healthy San Francisco button or similar; that’ll definitely prove your point.