Store Review: Loyal Army!  »

The stuff at Loyal Army is so fucking adorable it’ll make you barf kittens. The cuteness, it’s painful like a migraine. Like the kind of migraine you get when you look at me because I AM SO CUTE SOMETIMES IT CROSSES THE BORDER INTO REPULSIVE.

Loyal Army is a relatively young, SF-based company (the flagship store is in the Upper Haight!) that makes cute hoodies, cute shirts, cute bags and cute accessories in all sorts of different cute overload prints and designs. They have stuff for women, men, teens, tweens, kids, toddlers, babies and preemies (aww). Actually, their stuff is probably most suited for kids because some of this shirts makes grown people look straight up ridiculous. If you’re 30 and wearing a t-shirt with a talking stack of pancakes on it, I’m gonna automatically lose respect for you. Actually, I’ll probably try to be your best friend but really, you can do better.

MOST IMPORANTLY, Loyal Army launched a line of t-shirts and tote bags with an “Animals Have Rights Too" theme, including a dog and a cat hugging in a heart-shaped explosion of adorability! It will make you want to tear your eyes out because you JUST CAN’T TAKE IT and it’s on sale for $12! The coolest part is that 20 percent of the proceeds of the sales of these shirts and totes go to Rocket Dog Rescue, a local dog rescue group that saves dogs from the shelter and abuse and neglect situations and puts them into loving homes <3.

And, with that, I promise I will never use the word, “cute” again in any of my reviews. We can start a dollar jar for every time I fuck up. Then, at the end of the year, you can take the dollar jar and buy yourself a Delorean.


Chocolate Covered!  »

Chocolate Covered is straight Willy Wonka PIMP y’all! What? I don’t know. Anyway, I believe they have the best selection of fancy candy in all of San Francisco, and I’ve been around the candy block, if you know what I’m saying. (whore!) (shut up!) It has a fantastic selections of chocolates from all over the world, and MANY of them are vegan. Jack (the awesome owner!) and Pali (his awesome employee and president of Rocket Dog Rescue! That’s why there is almost always a super-cute dog hanging out in front!) know TONS about chocolate and can point you in the direction of the perfect treat to calm your ravenous craving. They’re also really generous with the samples so you don’t run the risk of paying a bunch for something you hate. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the quality is so high that in the end, it really saves you from being as big of a fat-ass as you want to be. God bless the limitations of my wallet. Sometimes. Jack also makes these really cool cyanotype tins and boxes with any picture you want on it! I got one with a picture of my mom and niece on it, both looking all crazy. It’s now on the mantle at my parents’ house. BEST DAUGHTER EVER.

This is a little unrelated, but I need your help: Does anyone know where I can get one of those “chocosaurus” t-shirts that were huge in the late ’80s? It was from a series of t-shirts with dinosaurs on them doing various things like shopping or getting manicures or some shit. I think they were thinly veiled metaphors for crazy women and how much they just LOVE to eat chocolate! And buy shoes! HILARIOUS! Anyway, I REALLY want that chocosaurus t-shirt.


Other Avenues! Also, FAT PEOPLE RULE!  »

Other Avenues co-op grocery is second only to Rainbow and that’s just because Rainbow is a lot bigger and a lot less in the middle of fucking nowhere. Other Avenues is an all-vegetarian (yay!), all-organic (yay!) grocery store in the Outer Sunset. It’s a pain the ass to get to but if you happen to be out near Ocean Beach soaking in the rays (read: getting high) then you should definitely stop in. Highlights include: Maggie Mudd soy & coconut ice creams by the pint, Black China Bakery brownies and cupcakes (and lots of other vegan baked goods) and an intense bulk foods section including lots of varieties of chocolate-covered nuts. Delicious.

Man, if left to my own devices, I would eat directly from a trough of dark-chocolate-covered almonds until I died. Which brings me to my next point. Here at Vegansaurus, we (read: Laura) are (read: is) proud to be fat and awesome. I’m tired of reading that an answer to a mean case of the fats is simply to go vegan. I’ve been vegan for years and years and didn’t lose any weight and I’m not a total junk food vegan either. I also have insanely good blood work and am in great health, you can ask my doctor who was on my case for being vegan until he saw my test results. We’re all born with a pretty much pre-determined weight (or range of weights, fluctuating between like 10-20 pounds) that we live comfortably at. For a few of us it’s 100 and for a few of us it’s 300 and for most of us, it’s somewhere in between. And THAT’S OKAY. As long as you’re eating in accordance with what feels right to your body (being vegan helps with that A LOT) then you’ll probably be pretty damn healthy. This book, Rethinking Thin, helped me come to terms with this fact. It’s written by a SCIENTIST with FACTS, not a skinny bitch with, ummm….

So for people who are looking at veganism as a get-thin-quick scheme, that might not be what happens. You’ll find your cholesterol will go down and your blood pressure will thank you and you’ll most likely be able to control your diabetes without medication and get serious relief from other health issues. Oh and you’re also doing the right thing for the planet and animals and other humans but no, you will not drop five dress sizes in two minutes. And you shouldn’t do that anyway. Because people who diet themselves super-skinny look FUH-REAKY (in other news, BOW DOWN to LFB. Love that crazy anorexic psychopath!) and you’re probably already super-hot and don’t need to lose those last 10 pounds. They’re on your ass for a reason, so that people will want to have sex with you, moron.

And let’s face it, fat people are simply the greatest. We RULE both in size and in general fabulousness. Move over skinnies, we’re comin to getcha! And by getcha, I mean eatcha.

I wrote this list, “Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know!” (along with two fabulous friends, Joy & Erica) years ago because we wanted to get out some facts about fat people. I now must post this list wherever I write because that’s how I do AND YOU CANNOT STOP ME, SKINNY.

And with that, I present:
Things About Fat People That Skinny People Don’t Know. A list.

  1. FAT PEOPLE CAN BREAKDANCE HELLA GOOD. You don’t know because we only do it around other fat people, but you have not lived ‘til you’ve been to a fat dance party!
  2. FAT PEOPLE ARE INDESTRUCTIBLE. The fat, in essence, acts as padding. We’re keeping it secret for right now, but someday we’re going to rise up, unite, and put you Skinny Bitches in your place in a conflict that we have titled Fat War One, or World War Fat (the exact name is yet to be determined).
  3. FAT PEOPLE CAN LEVITATE. Just cause we’re heavy doesn’t mean we can’t float. Ever notice how you never see fat people taking the elevator?
  4. FAT PEOPLE CAUSE HURRICANES. We all get together and run in a clockwise direction, then in a counter-clockwise direction.
  6. OUR NATIONAL BIRD: Fried Chicken. Vegan, of course.
  7. DO NOT CHALLENGE A FAT PERSON. Especially DO NOT CHALLENGE a fat person if there is a candy prize involved.
  8. FAT PEOPLE DON’T CRAP! All the materials you Skinnies waste as feces, we efficiently recycle as lard.
  10. FAT PEOPLE DON’T WEAR SHOES. We just spray paint our feet so we can get into restaurants.
  11. ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE ALCOHOLICS. But not in a bad way.
  12. FAT PEOPLE DON’T SLEEP IN BEDS. We sleep on huge sticks of Earth Balance.
  13. FAT PEOPLE NEVER ACTUALLY EAT. It’s a common misconception.
  14. MAHATMA GHANDI WEIGHED 600 POUNDS. We know, we were there. Which brings us to our next point…
  16. FAT WOMEN HATE THE UBIQUITOUS “CHUBBY CHASER.” He is a harasser, and always at least two feet shorter than she is.
  17. FAT PEOPLE LOVE BABIES. Especially deep fried.
  18. OUR FAVORITE SKINNY PERSON IS: Fuck you, we don’t like any skinny people.
  19. MAKE NO MISTAKE: Hitler was never fat.
  21. FAT PEOPLE DON’T PROCREATE, THEY DIVIDE. We do however have a lot of sex…for pleasure and sport.
  22. THE INTERNATIONAL FAT CONFERENCE IS HELD ON JANUARY 26 OF EACH YEAR. It’s held in the sky…we all levitate up really high…I mean where else would we fit? We decide the events of the upcoming year, such as whether you Skinnies get Christmas (Don’t forget Santa is a very fat man).
    1. Fix the Oscars (Why do you think Gwyneth Paltrow won?)
    2. Telekinesis (So we don’t have to move. Ever.)
    3. Time travel.
    4. Infiltrate Hollywood…at all.
    1. Water
    2. The 12-month calendar.
    3. The telegraph (Samuel P. Morse was freaking enormous)
    4. The Spanish language.
    5. Van Gogh.
    6. Hammer Pants (I know…even we make mistakes.)
    7. The popular situation comedy “Who’s the Boss?” (Tony Danza is a skinny android created by the Fat Nation.)
    8. We wrote the song “Respect” in 1692 but it didn’t get made for 350 years because of Skinny Politics (they are skinny, but they are strong).
  27. 27. ALL FAT PEOPLE ARE FUNNY. It’s simple genetics.
  28. LITTLE FAT KIDS LEARN TO READ EARLIER THAN LITTLE SKINNY KIDS. And it’s not just because they have no friends so they have to sit at home and read all the time.
  29. BARRY WHITE: fat.
  30. PUPPIES: fat by their very nature. And who doesn’t love puppies?
  33. FAT PEOPLE CAN RUN HELLA FAST. You just can’t see us because it is SO fast. And if you see a fat person walking really slow, it’s just because they are trying really hard to walk at a normal pace.
  34. JESUS: THE FATTEST MAN TO EVER WALK THE EARTH. The crucifixion story as you know it is not exactly what happened. It was actually attempted twice because the cross broke the first time.
  35. FAT PEOPLE LOVE TO FAN DANCE. It is unfortunately the only thing we do not do well.


Foods Co  »

So it’s come to this: I’m tired, friends; tired of fighting the good fight against NIMBYs and ninnies; tired of feeling like it’s become Valencia Street vs. The Rest of the Mission; tired of having to defend a misogynist and Starbucks because my neighbors are insane. Is it class warfare? Not in this economy, I would think. What does this have to do with vegan living? Oh ho! Let me put on some coffee and tell you all about it.

Once upon a December 2007, Joel and I ventured into Foods Co (1800 Folsom at 14th), searching for fortified cereal. For reasons unknown, Rainbow Grocery only carries unfortified cereal, as if all non-animal-eaters have the same iron needs. Wrong-o! My companion has iron stores a-plenty, while I am a point (there’s a scale) away from anemic. Yet we eat nearly identical diets, and I take a iron-ful multivitamin, so what’s the difference? I’m just no good at absorption, is what it is. So to Foods Co we went for torso-sized packages of iron-rich wheat products.

Our total purchases included two half-gallon cartons of Florida’s Natural-brand orange juice for $6, and the biggest box of Kix I have ever seen. The cereal aisle was packed with fancy-pants name-brand boxed cereals, like Cap’n Crunch (iron content: 25 percent RDA) and Tricks (iron content: 20 percent RDA); off-brand cereals in bags instead of boxes; and finally what I really wanted, the Kroger (Foods Co’s parent company) brand of cereals in massive bags that give you twice the volume for half the price of a box of something General Mills.

Those shelves were mostly empty though, save some generic cheerios, generic rice krispies, and a mostly eaten chicken drumstick.

Take a moment.

It’s horrible that good grocery stores like Rainbow can be prohibitively expensive to people in lower tax brackets, and they’re left to buy non-perishables in disorienting big-food mausoleums, among hordes of drunks and weirdos and constant arrests in the parking lot. Then we all get to laugh about it and feel special for all the awesome deals we get, like, the hell with Safeway, I’m shopping at FOODS CO! And aren’t we so clever with our slumming and penny-pinching?

Now, I didn’t ever have to go back here; the chicken bone was disgusting, and I have the time, money and energy to buy my fortified cereal at other places. What really bothers me is that people who need to shop at Foods Co. have to put up with the filth and chaos mentioned in other reviews. Rainbow, less than a block away, is such a magical paradise of cleanliness, nice products, helpful friendly staff, (mostly) non-aggressive shoppers—what’s the difference? It can’t only be the huge meat department. Is it the hours? Foods Co is open every day from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., while Rainbow’s hours are just 9 to 9.

No, friends, it is the prices. The prices are low, and the quantities are high. Foods Co is a standard grocery store—produce, meat, dairy, canned foods, dry goods, frozen items, household supplies, cleaners of various sorts—with other stuff mixed in, like paper products, batteries, and Vitamin Water in bulk, for example. If your income is below $40k, and you’re supporting a family with children (read: locusts) and old people (read: medications!), you obviously need to get the most food for your grocery budget.

Rainbow has a bad reputation for being, as I said, prohibitively expensive, but the bulk items are affordable, especially staples like flour, oats, rice, and beans. The produce is mostly organic, I believe all the dairy products at least come from small, not-as-abusive-as-they-could-be farms, and the bulk tofu, also, is cheap and delicious. But you all knew that already, right? How affordable bulk tofu can be, and how easy it is to make a variety of meals out of it? Sadly, that is not well known outside of vegetarian society, and even within it there are plenty of us who still believe that a cruelty-free diet has to cost more than an omnivorous one. Counterpoint: vegan burritos cost less than a carne asada con queso y crema. Milk prices are kept artifically low, a system which cannot last forever. Eventually there won’t be any more room for all those cows and pigs and chickens being kept for an omnivore’s meals, what with all the people making more people, whose need for space takes precedence over everything else.

The last time I went to Foods Co was 28 Jan. 2009; I bought three half-gallon cartons of Silk-brand soymilk plus Omega-3 DHA ($3.99/each), two half-gallon cartons of Florida’s Natural orange juice ($2.98/each), two boxes of Wheaties, and two boxes of Apple Jacks: total bill was a little over $32. I keep going to Foods Co because the price for the soymilk I drink is close to $1 cheaper than anywhere else, including Rainbow, and sometimes Rainbow doesn’t have it when I want it, whereas Foods Co shoppers never seem to want it as much as Rainbow shoppers do. Do not mistake this tone for sardonic; I understand why.

Another luxury of mine is having the time to go to both Rainbow and Foods Co (they are nearly kitty-corner to each other on Folsom and 14th Streets) and make the most of my budget at both places. Not everyone has the privilege to do this—time is money, right, and some of us work two jobs, or weird hours, or can only spend so much time shopping because babysitters are too expensive and bringing children along to the market is basically a nightmare, especially during the 4-to-7 p.m. shopping rush hour. Terrible.

But friends, Foods Co is not (only) a nightmare. Nor is it a place to be mocked because you and your $10 beers are “above” it, and only shop there because you looooooove Cinnamon Toast Crunch (brand-name is vegan, off-brands are not) or Life Cereal or so you can buy cheap-ass garbage bags and giggle at the people ahead of you buying 10 packages of ground turkey and a gallon of whole milk, exclusively. If you are shopping at Foods Co, then you are as good as everyone else as Foods Co: it is a class-leveler. If prices really didn’t matter to you, you wouldn’t shop there in the first place. I can buy enriched cereal much closer to home, but Foods Co has higher variety and lower prices, and I need the savings.

There’s no shame in needing to save money. There’s nothing wrong with Rainbow stocking its shelves with exclusively organic, unenriched cereals. There’s nothing wrong with going to a national chain store settled in the Mission to buy products you need at an affordable price. Foods Co employs our neighbors, just like Rainbow. Foods Co has an educational website that addresses concerns of its vegan and vegetarian customers, just like Rainbow. Of course I am not advocating shopping at Foods Co to the exclusion of Rainbow—a vegetarian co-op grocery with all kinds of vegan specialty items vs. a national discount grocery chain? please—but Foods Co clearly has a place here, not only for The Poors, The Uneducateds, The Basically Carnivorous (of every economic stratum: do you even know what a vegetable is?), but for we vegans as well. Plus imagine if the vegan items start selling better—maybe they’ll start stocking more of them, too. And when a discount grocery store stocks more inexpensive vegan foods, then that exposes more people to veganism, and who knows what that might lead to?

Hope, like an unopened bag of “Fruity O’s” [sic], springs eternal.


San Francisco Herb Company  »

Please dispel a myth for me: please tell me you have heard of and shop at the San Francisco Herb Company. Presently I’m under the impression that I am one of five people who know about this little treasure, and I have such a big head about it, and it needs deflating.

Vegansaurus is both an eating and a living guide, and without SFHC you are not living as well as you could be. At this delightful store, open just 10 to 4 Monday through Saturday, you can buy all the herbs and spices your heart desires, in bulk, on the super-duper cheap.  Tell me, how can you go wrong with that? You cannot, is how!

If you’re especially smart, you’ll know that you can freeze herbs and spices to keep them fresh, so you can buy a package of cumin or cinnamon or fines herbes the size of a baby without the risk of losing it to staleness. Amazing, right? YES, YES IT IS.

SFHC carries wonderful things for baking, like arrowroot and cream of tartar; also pints of almond, vanilla, and lemon extracts for just under $11 each. I’ll give you a minute to recover from your understandable shock; who knew quality extracts could come so inexpensively? Not you, until now!

You can buy catnip, for sending your kitties on harmless and hilarious drug trips. For people who can stand this sort of thing, SFHC sells pre-mixed potpourri and ingredients for making your own blends. This is not my pleasure—potpourri being the devil’s perfume and all—but if it’s yours, this is a good place to purchase some.

As for specific recommendations, you absolutely must get some smoked paprika. I know ordinary paprika isn’t much besides pretty red powder, but smoked paprika is a  miracle spice: it makes your cooking taste meaty. What? YES. Add it to your lentils, to your tofu, to your anything you want to taste barbecue-ier and to which you want to impart a deeper and more complex flavor. Smoked paprika: spice of the now. If you need more advice, the staff of San Francisco Herb Company will definitely give you their experienced opinions.

Herbs and spices are expensive, which sucks, because without them, your cooking is bland and terrible, which tends to deter you from cooking, but eating out all the time is expensive too, so what do you do? You buy your herbs and spices from San Francisco Herb Company, saving lots of money, improving your cooking, and letting you spend that saved money in nicer, more delicious restaurants than the closest/cheapest taqueria.


Store review: Micio Mambo!  »

Micio Mambo is an awesome all-vegan boutique off of Grand Avenue in Oakland. I wrote this hilarious epic review about them but then Firefox fucking crashed and since Tumblr doesn’t auto-save, I don’t have it anymore. I’m so pissed, I hate the internet SO FUCKING MUCH. The review was funny and touching and marvelous, nothing like it has been written, before or since or ever. My genius is lost and it’s freezing in this house, I’m so cold. So, so cold.

Okay so Micio Mambo. Cruelty-free and environmentally friendly shop filled with shoes, bags, bath and body stuff, jewelery, shirts and much more. Everything is very reasonably priced and Ursula, the super friendly and adorable owner has a good eye for cute shit and you’ll want all of it. If they don’t have something you’re looking for, mention it to her and I bet she can order it. She’s super.

So the first time I came to Micio Mambo it was for an East Bay Animal Advocate’s* fundraiser party. At this benefit, I met Pia the chicken. It was my first time meeting a chicken nose to beak and it was GREAT. Pia was a sassy little girl who preferred observing the activity from the safety of her crate and after what she’d been through, you couldn’t blame her. EBAA had recently saved Pia and a bunch of other chicks that were discovered at a post office in Oakland en route from an evil Santa Cruz hatchery to an evil “farm” in Washington state. They were ONE DAY OLD. They were found in SHIPPING BOXES. FUCKING A. When people argue about whether humans are inherently good or evil, I just want to rip my hair out. Humans are an awful fucking plague on this earth. Seriously, how did it get this bad? It’s like we’re living in the alternate 1985 from Back to the Future Part II when Biff is in charge and the streets are on fire and gangs of hoodlums roam the city just shooting at nuns and babies and your dad is dead and your alcoholic mom is trapped in a relationship with an abusive psychopath and you’re too much of a good for nothing delinquent that you can’t do anything to help her OH AND THE DELORIAN ISN’T WORKING AND YOU (read: the entire human race) ARE SCREWED! Seriously, that future is now and the future is fucked.

What I’m trying to say here is that if I lived through what Pia lived through, I wouldn’t be the lovely, sassy lady that she was. I’d be pecking out eyes and karate-chopping fools in the balls and shit. That’s all I’m trying to say.

*Now stop reading this and go give them all your money. They are one of the few groups that are actively pursuing real change for animals. So instead of getting up at the 3 a.m. on Black Friday to stand outside in the freezing cold just to buy more hideous shit you don’t need from TJ Maxx, why don’t you stop by Micio Mambo and support a great local business and then make a donation to EBAA?! ‘Tis the seasons, motherfuckers!


Review: Rainbow Grocery!  »

Rainbow Grocery is an all vegetarian grocery store complete with many vegan baked goods (including Sugar Beat Sweets! Ow!), a delicious bulk foods section and a bath and body section that you’ll never want to leave. I mean, never. It’s so great in there. I plan to conceive, birth and raise my child* inside its delightful womb. I’ll be the 2.0 version of Natalie Portman in that movie where she gave birth in a Wal-Mart. I plan to consummate my relationship with the vegan potato salad, give birth to a vegan donut and then raise it with the help of the kind hippie staff and several heads of organic lettuce. I like to call it, Living the Dream. This is why people come to America, folks. Or at least why they come to San Francisco. Actually, that second part is kinda true. Not the fucking a potato salad and giving birth to a donut part but about the coming to SF to live near a place where you can get nine types of non-dairy ice cream, biodynamic** brussels sprouts and vegan dog food for reasonable prices (higher than Safeway but less than Whole Foods. Not bad).

One especially cool thing to keep in mind is that they publish coupons in the back of the AT&T Yellow Pages that allows you 15 percent off on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays for 6 months out of the year. It’s so odd to find these coupons in your yellow pages where there are normally just adds for chiropractors and plumbers but hey, I ain’t complaining! UPDATE: Not anymore! Senior citizens (60+, it pays be old!) and SF Bike Coalition members get 10 percent off every day.

*That I’m never going to have. Bring a child onto this planet? I’m no fool! Our world is FUCKED and you’re irresponsible, stupid and vain if you plan on having one. Or you know, do what you want. I’m not one to judge.
**A method of organic farming that uses an astronomical sowing and planting calendar. basically it means that the produce is grown in accordance with the cycles of the moon (?!) in fields that are plowed by fairly paid farm workers (?!) who are tucked in every night with a hug from santa claus (!!). I thought it was a bunch of bullshit the first time I heard about it but it turns out it’s a real thing that just sounds insane. SO INSANE THAT IT WORKS. I GUESS.

[photo by Friend of Vegansaurus Amit Gupta!]

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