Hey San Francisco: This “guide cat” and her brother need a new home »
This is Allie and Noah, two South San Franciscans who need a new home. This is a very special pair of cats: Noah is blind and Allie has taken on the role of his “guide cat.” Their former owners, who are being being sent to Korea by the army, put a collar with a bell on Allie so Noah would always know where she is. A few days after they put the bell on Allie, Noah was getting around the house like a champ. Initially, Noah followed Allie around but now that he’s more confident, he leads the way with Allie close behind to make sure he’s all right. Allie sleeps with Noah and helps him groom himself. She even checks the litter box after he uses it to make sure he sufficiently covered his business.
Aren’t animals the sweetest? Always taking care of each other. And look at Noah’s eyes, so big! They don’t know why he went blind shortly after birth but they think, because of the size of his eyes, that it may just be a birth defect. Allie looks just like my little Mitsy and Mitsy is the best cat ever. Do we have any other owners of gray cats in the crowd? I think they must be the best!
Allie and Noah are being fostered by the Nine Lives Foundation. If you can help the pair, call Debbie Mueller at (650) 670-7056.
Product Review: Quong Hop tofu »
Please welcome guest writer and frequent Vegansaurus photograph-provider Joel!
“In 1906, Sing Hau Lee established Quong Hop, the first tofu shop in America.” This was in San Francisco proper; the company now manufactures its soy products in South San Francisco. “He brought with him his family’s tofu-making secrets that had been a tradition for generations.”
Man! That is old! And old things are quality, unless they’re people! I mean really, what else do you need to know? I obviously consider that to be a rhetorical question cause I am about to tell you the rest of what you need to know.
I’ve been eating tofu for many years, friends, and I am pleased to say that Quong Hop tofu is the best I’ve had the pleasure of stuffing in my face. The irregular edges give it a welcome personality that is entirely missing from your average House-brand tofu bricks. And the flavor and texture are head and shoulders above the rest. Delicate flavor; firm, chewy texture. Great for marinating (it will not fall apart!), great for stir-frying (it still will not fall apart!). The texture becomes a thing of transcendent beauty should you venture to freeze the tofu.
While I’m at it, a quick lesson for those who don’t know. Freezing tofu gives it a meat-like texture, more porosity, and less water content. This means that frozen tofu will work better in almost any application. Why does this happen? A block of tofu contains many tiny droplets of water, totaling a good portion of the weight. When frozen, water expands. That means that these tiny droplets (a) create holes (“pores”) bigger than normal, and (b) compress the interstitial tofu-matter correspondingly. When the tofu thaws, the network of newly enlarged pores allows the water to drain out.
To freeze tofu, simply pop it in the freezer in its original packaging. Once it has frozen solid, move it back to the fridge to thaw. After it’s thawed, drain and use as normal. If you’re in a rush, thaw it in the microwave. If you’re feeling dedicated, leave it out to thaw and put some weight on it so that it newly melted water is immediately drained—this will yield the best texture but is probably not worth the work unless you’re showing off. The simplest thing to do is thaw in the fridge and then squeeze the water out with your bare hands, over the sink. The freezing will have toughened the tofu so it won’t crumble, and the porosity will be such that your hands can easily get most of the water out. This is cool because you can feel like some sort of macho he-man*, able to dry a block of tofu with nothing but a spasm of your mighty delts.
No matter what, you do want to drain some water, but this is where things get tricky. Depending on the application, you might want to treat it differently. For dishes where you’ll be cooking the tofu in a sauce—curries or soups, for instance—you want to drain all the water you can, lest it dilute the cooking liquid. If your recipe cooks the tofu over a fairly low heat, or for a fairly short time—pan-frying with vegetables, maybe—you’ll want to squeeze out most but not all of the water. And if you’ll be cooking over high heat, or for a long time, you’ll want to squeeze out only a little of the water. My example for this is stir-fries. I want my tofu to get nice and crispy, so I cook it over very high heat for about five minutes. If I had squeezed out all the water, it would end up hard and dry through and through. Instead, most of the water I left in steams out the top while the bottom crisps, and is then replaced by the stock or sauce added in the last portion of the stir-fry. Magic!
If this was too in-depth an exploration of cooking nerdery for you, just squeeze out about half the water. Everything will be ok.
Now! My minions! Take your new knowledge and show the tofu-doubters in your life what’s what! Although, for practical reasons, you might want to try it out once or twice by yourself. Get the technique down, and get all the he-man grunting out of the way in private.
*or, uh, a mucha she-woman?**
**obviously I know that the female counterpart to He-Man is She-Ra but that’s not exactly germane to a blog about veganism, is it? Why don’t you write your own blog post about it over at NerdsFightingAboutHe-Man.com and we can talk about it there.
Review: El Farolito! »
I believe this is the best burrito in San Francisco. This is, of course, a hotly debated topic and honestly, I don’t care what anyone else has to say, they’re all a bunch of fucking morons. El Farolito is the best, even if it comes with a side of hep C. And it does. Seriously, this place is not the cleanest. AND WHATEVER YOU DO, DO NOT USE THE BATHROOM. I can’t say anything more but I’ve seen things. Things no man should have to see. I was in the shit, if you will. And I mean that. Also, watch them when they make your burrito to make sure everything is prepared away from and free of meat and cheese products—these fools already think you’re insane for not ordering a taco with a TONGUE in it so you know, do not trust them. In fact, that is a good lesson in life. Trust no one. Except me. Trust me. I would never steal your identity and sleep with your man. By the way, this is you writing from in bed with my man. Hi!!!!
Anyway, El Farolito is the rare place where the food is just as good when you’re sober as it is when you’re drunk. That being said, I would never dine in. I’m a lady and this is no place for a lady. That being said, I’m the drunk redhead in the back most Thursday nights.
DIETER WARNING: one $4.95 super vegetarian burrito (the rice, the black beans, and the whole pinto beans are vegan!) sans cheese and sour cream add extra avocado is your entire day’s caloric intake. This means for the rest of the day, you will be forced to eat celery (THIS IS THE RARE FOOD THAT BURNS CALORIES WHEN YOU ARE EATING IT OR SO I’VE BEEN TOLD I HAVE NEVER REALLY DONE ANY RESEARCH I JUST BLINDLY CHOOSE TO BELIEVE IT!) and your own fingernails. Delicious. Please note, it is entirely worth it.
Three taqueria locations in the Mission: one on Mission Street at 24th Street; one on 24th Street between Alabama and Harrison Streets; and one further out on Mission Street at France Street, in an area called “Mission Terrace.” There is also one in South San Francisco and one in Oakland! Most locations are open crazy-good hours too, from like 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. everyday. Actually, some locations might be until 2 a.m. but I think that’s right. In a city where late-night dining options are harder to find than Bruce Vilanch in a woman’s vagina, that’s pretty awesome. Actually, I guess it’s hard to find Bruce Vilanch doing it with a dude either. I mean, fool be lookin’ like 15 Fraggles stapled together! I love this guy but I worry about his love life.