This cat and owl are Best Friends Forever (until one of them decides to eat the other one). This video is so cute and great, and the soundtrack has me chair dancing (NEVER STAND UP TO DANCE WHEN A CHAIR IS AROUND), but the question remains: Who do you think will do the mudering and who will be the murderer? Something this adorable, this dangerously adorable, cannot last, right?
Guest post: Eating vegan in Barcelona! »
At first glance, Barcelona doesn’t seem like the vegan-friendliest city. This is bull-fighting country, after all. You see butcher shops everywhere, tempting though completely NOT vegan pastries in bakery windows, and smell not-so-pleasant wafts of seafood in the air. But frankly, I was surprised with how many vegan choices I’ve stumbled upon during my various visits to this city. Barcelona is not only full of amazing buildings, museums, and churches—it is quite progressive when it comes to food. I’ve been lucky enough to travel here three times (for work, mind you, but yeah, I know) and I always discover new vegan or vegan-friendly restaurants.
I found the awesomely named Cat Bar on my last trip to Barcelona. An all-vegan bar named after my favorite animal!? Oh my, I think this could work. Owned by U.K. ex-pats, Cat Bar is a cozy little joint in El Born (the best neighborhood!). Weirdly, it is located right next to a cycling shop that sells San Francisco’s Chrome Bags, so I felt very much at home. I was super-hungry from a morning trip to Park Güell, so I ordered a veggie burger and a pint of BrewDog, a vegan beer brewed in Scotland. They have an eclectic, ever-changing menu with options like quiche, sushi, hummus plates, goulash, and gluten-free chocolate balls, as well as local beers from Barcelona and the Catalunya region. Cat Bar’s website is terrible, so just check out their Facebook for more information. They also have this handy map to navigating Barcelona’s vegan scene.
Juicy Jones is another favorite when I’m visiting BCN. They have a large, sit-down restaurant in the Raval neighborhood (which, to me, is the most intriguing and mysterious of all the Barcelona neighborhoods) as well as a smaller spot with counter-only seating near the Barcelona Cathedral. Juicy Jones is crunchy. This is dreadlock zone, folks. But having living in Santa Cruz for many years, it’s not a big deal to me. As the name implies, you can get various kinds of freshly-made juices and smoothies. They have rotating specials, including an Indian-inspired thali rice plate. My favorite, however, is the tofu bocadilla. A bocadilla is a sandwich on a hard roll, and in Spain, they loooove them bocadillas. The roll at Juicy Jones is fantastic; crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside. My bocadilla was garnished with sprouts, lettuce, tomato, and some sort of vegan pâté. The hummus plate is also quite good, though it has nothing on Maoz.
Oh yeah—they have Maoz here! Vegansaurus has already sung the praises of the mind-blowing all-veg falafel joint that is Maoz. There is one location in Barcelona close to La Rambla on Carrer de Ferran. Another great “para llevar” (takeout) place is Wok 2 Walk, which is just up Carrer de Ferran from Maoz. When I’m working, I live off this place. You pick a noodle or rice (stay away from the egg noodles, obviously), your favorite ingredients (vegetables, tofu, pineapple, etc.), and a sauce (I like the curry coconut). A dude whisks it all up in a wok and in minutes, you have a giant to-go container of stir-fry. While it might be tempting, don’t grab an Estrella Damm beer with your dinner. Sadly, Spain’s ubiquitous cheap beer is not vegan.
La Bascula is a rustic restaurant in a defunct chocolate factory tucked away in an alley in El Born. The old-school European ambience alone is enough to visit at least for a café sin leche, but the food is pretty good too. It is mostly vegetarian, but there are a few solid vegan options. I went there for lunch and had a satisfying seitan bocadilla, but when I went back for dinner on another visit I had a fantastic zucchini, tofu, and lentil dish served with basmati rice. Sesamo is a little fancier, and perhaps more “autentico” than some of the other restaurants listed here. They have vegan and vegetarian tapas (small plates), and the standout is a dish of roasted vegetables with vegan goat cheese. The rocket salad with pear (pictured) is not only beautifully presented, but also damn tasty. They also serve ENORMOUS cocktails.
Cruising around La Rambla and need a pick-me-up? The open-air market off the Rambla, La Boqueria, sells fresh juices for just 1 euro. Gelaati! has both soy and rice milk-based gelat,o as well as fruit sorbetto, which is a must if you’re visiting Barcelona in the summer. I ate it in February, however, because a little rain can’t keep me away from my gelato. If you run out of cruelty-free toiletries on your travels, the chain Natura is a good bet for picking up soap, shampoo and more. They’re everywhere—even in the Barcelona airport!
If you’ve tried all of these places (I salute you!) and want to find something else, Barcelona has its very own guide to vegan/vegetarian restaurants and shops, aptly called Sin Carne. ¡Felices viajes!
Ginny Mies is a lifelong Northern Californian who loves long -istance running, metal, margaritas, and is way too amused by her cats. She’s also Mission Mission’s vegan correspondent.
Madrid knows how to treat its gay penguin couple, Inca and Rayas: Give them an egg to raise! ABC News has the story about the two Gentoo penguins, who for six years have been “like the best of friends, living cooperatively because they’re in the same enclosure” at the Faunia Park. And finally, they’re getting their own adopted baby to raise.
Spain’s doing better than you, Canada. Of course I hate zoos, but as long as they’re around, the animals within them had better be treated with dignity and respect. Equal rights for same-sex couples!
How do Spanish vegans celebrate Easter? With hot cross buns for semana santa, a.k.a. Holy Week! The crosses represent the crucifixion. Taste that delicious religious murder.
[photo by juanelos via Flickr]
Warning: scary video. This is a recent video from Animal Equality reveals cruelty at a pig farm in Spain. For those who don’t want to watch it, basically it’s pigs being stabbed with swords. Towards the end it gets super graphic while a pig is disemboweled. Yeah, not for the faint of heart.
Three of the workers in the footage have been arrested. I haven’t heard anything about supervisors getting in trouble but according to Animal Equality:
Animal Equality has found that these events occur frequently on the farm El Escobar owned by Francisco Vera Sanchez, and that the farm managers are aware of this. In fact it is they who request these actions, have been filmed engaging in them, and have established these methods as the norm for killing animals at the farm.
El Pozo, the company said to be the retailer for this pig farm, seems to be a very big brand in Spain. It is also readily available in the UK. I can’t tell if it’s imported in large amounts to the US.
Share this fun video with all the bacon lovers you know! If they want to enjoy their fried muscle and fat, they should at least be witness to where it comes from.
San Franciscans Jenn and Heather spent Christmas in Barcelona this year! For lunch, they made garbanzo bean and chorizo tacos with fresh salsa and homemade tortillas—all of it from scratch! Felices fiestas to you two, too!
I love doing a “vegan” search on Flickr. UGH the photos, so many people are eating such good-looking food. I envy all of you.
Today we’ve got polenta with roasted vegetables—from Madrid! Vegans are everywhere, you guys. Vegansaurus could really use a travel fund. Or an anything fund, this site runs on LOVE. Maybe a little egotism, but mostly love.
[photo by Brocco Lee!]
Catalonia bans bullfighting! Viva España! »
Bullfighting is so nasty and I fucking* hate it! So I was very glad when Meave reported that an amendment to the animal protection laws in Catalonia, Spain passed! Bullfighting is so over, jack!
I was totally happy about this animal victory but on Facebook today, one of my Spanish friends criticized the motives behind the ban, claiming it’s a matter of politics and not concern for animals. My friend Santi, who says he hates bullfighting, also had this to say:
They are doing it to say we are not Spanish. Make no mistake, Catalans also like bullfighting considering the number of people turning up to arenas. They have used this to say we are not like them to the world!
I do have to point out that the anti-bullfighting side used the fact that bullfighting has been declining in popularity as an indicator of public thought, so I question just how much Catalans like the “sport.” According to the Barcelona Reporter, “Barcelona’s last bullring is so unprofitable that the company managing it intends to give up the business next year.” The Guardian also reported the ban, focusing on the political implications of the issue. Pro-bullfighting peeps are saying Catalonia is using the ban as a big fuck-you to the rest of Spain.
Guess what has two thumbs and couldn’t give a shit about the motives that ban bullfighting?! THIS GUY! Bullfighting is disgusting and anyone who likes it is despicable. I said it! I don’t care why, I’m just glad it’s on its way out. Another thing I’m a fan of: matadors getting totally thrashed by bulls. I’m pro that. Fuck those douchebags.
Many of the bullfighting supporters also say the ban is an attack on Spain’s cultural heritage. An op-ed on cnn.com from last month addressed this cultural heritage argument. See, major news outlets aren’t always big ol’ jerkwads! The author, Jordi Casamitjana, is a consultant for PROU, a super-dope anti-bullfighting organization. Casamitjana says:
Many pro-bullfighting activists have argued that the “sport” is an important part of the Spanish culture and should not be banned. But cultural heritage is no excuse for inflicting pain on a frightened and confused animal. This campaign is not a matter of arbitrary prohibitions or of stomping on people’s individual freedoms. It is a matter of suffering.
Do you love this guy or what?
If you don’t think bullfighting is fucking repulsive, watch a few youtube videos like this one supplied by SHARKonline. I don’t want to post them on here because they make me cry and I don’t want to make you guys cry because then you’ll all be at work looking like a bunch of nancies.
Bonus! The story of Ferdinand the bull! Of course in real life, they’d totally stab him to death but still, Ferdinand is totally adorbs:
[can’t see the video? watch it on vegansaurus.com!]
*My parents are dedicated Vegansaurus readers and they get upset at the foul language because they are so very old and square. So to them, I must apologize for dropping the f-bomb but bullfighting makes me so mad!
[bull illustration from PROU website]
Just when you think the world has gone to hell, a famous person comes along to save the day! Famous people are our modern-day superheroes—their superpower being that society actually cares about them. I love you Ricky Gervais!
Sign the petition here!