Commercial fishing SUCKS. It is absolutely terrible. Vincent Peone of College Humor made this beautiful video—reminiscent of that Chipotle happy-times free-range pigs video, notes Fast Company—called “The Story of Sushi” to illustrate the nightmare behind those tidily cut and arranged pieces of dead fish. He created it at the behest of Bamboo, a sustainable sushi restaurant in Portland, Ore., so it ends on the same cheerful, “look at us kill stuff in a less abhorrent way” note that bothers me so much about that Chipotle ad. I know some of you loved it, but ugh, those “happy” pigs. At least this video doesn’t pretend like fish are at all pleased to be caught.
My issues aside, this is an important topic. Overfishing is ruining our oceans! So watch it, and maybe pass it on to your favorite sushi-eaters. Because you’ll feed more hummingbirds with sugar-water than saltwater, right?
Healthy Food in Fashion included a fashion show, silent auction, and vegan food and drinks, and was a fundraiser for the New York Coalition for Healthy Food, which works to get “healthier, delicious, plant-based foods” into New York public schools. We love healthy school lunches! Further, and possibly more importantly, that sushi looks delectable. Go read about the whole thing on Ecouterre, already!
[photo by Amanda Coen]
The Vegansaurus Diet: Megan Rascal! »
Hey guys, did you know we have a little series called the Vegansaurus Diet? Readers can submit their weeklong adventure in vegan eating! Jeez louise, do you want to be internet famous? Here’s your chance! For inspiration (and attention), here’s my Vegansaurus Diet!
[Ed.: Megan wrote a whole lot of excuses as to why she didn’t vary her routine or cook a lot this week, which frankly is 0 percent important when compared to the fact that she recorded a regular old week of vegan eating. You think models are embarrassed to have eaten, like, the same $30 salad from the same restaurant for a month? NO. And you’re vegan, you’re obviously more interesting than someone whose job is “skinny.”]
Tuesday, Jan. 11
I start the day with my favorite breakfast: multigrain english muffins with Earth Balance and grape jelly! Plus, two Yves breakfast patties; I love those little guys. Vegan sausage is generally a solid bet, am I right? I always recommend sausage items when I take the omnis somewhere new. Then I had about five to 10 clementines. I can’t help it! They are so good! Of course I’d prefer satsumas but they just aren’t very good on the East Coast. Sad face.
For lunch, I had what I’ve had for the last two weeks: sushi! I only like avocado rolls so that’s what I had, along with edamame and veggie spring rolls. Then I had 10 to 12 clementines.
Snacks: tamari almonds and—drum roll!—clementines!
Dinner: An Amy’s non-dairy burrito. I like ‘em.
Wednesday, Jan. 12
Today for brekkie I went a little crazy and mixed it up: apples and peanut butter! It’s not just for children. Today I had a Honeycrisp apple but I’m really into Pink Ladies—Gala apples are totally played out. For lunch I had sushi and edamame again. For dinner I had a toasted multigrain english muffin with peanut butter and strawberry jelly. Nothing beats a PB+J!
You’ll notice a lack of clementines. I ate them all yesterday and then it snowed and I was too lazy to trek through the snow for some more.
Friday, Jan. 14
Apples and peanut butter for breakfast! Sushi and edamame for lunch! For a snack, I had two Lightlife sausage links and a cup of applesauce; it’s a good combination. I think I like the Yves sausage patties better but the Lightlife is a solid alternative—they have more flavor—but they’re a bit tough. For dinner I had Dr. McDougall’s roasted peanut noodle! Apparently it’s in his “Asian Entree” series. I’m a big Dr. McDougall fan—have you tried the miso ramen? It’s out of control. I’m a big peanut fan too so I was very excited when my interests came together in noodle form. It wasn’t the most amazing thing ever but it was pretty darn good for something that recommends you microwave it for best results. Lastly, for dessert, I had toast with I. M. Healthy chocolate soy nut butter.
Sunday, January 16th
I had a lovely breakfast: oatmeal and a chocolate chip banana muffin from ‘Snice, with Earl Gray tea of course. For dinner, I ordered from Dao Palate! It’s a vegan pan-Asian place. It’s yummy! I got spring rolls and pad thai (pictured left).
Monday, Jan. 17
I had an english muffin with jam for breakfast. Sushi for lunch, duh. Now for dinner, I had some crazy good stuff! It was my sister-in-laws birthday and we had a big party for her at Gemma in Manhattan. The waiters were so nice and got me all kinds of vegan food! I had bruschetta that had these killer grape tomatoes; then a nice little salad; pasta with tomato sauce and basil for the entree; and raspberry sorbet for dessert! And champagne—lots of champagne.
That is my week in eating! My diet is basically the same as a 10 year-old’s, a 10 year-old who really likes sushi.
Would you like to be featured on Vegansaurus? Of course you would! So submit your Vegansaurus Diet already!
Mark Bittman has it GOING ON(ish). A fabulous how to article on fish-free sushi in The New York Times. He’s really making it happen(ish) over there. Okay, he does mention one with gross meat and gross egg but the recipes are 90% vegan with some really delicious, innovative combos and a slide show tutorial on how to make sushi OMG SO FUN.
Tuna Rolls, now synonymous with diarrhea, discharge, and fraud! »
If the idea of eating raw fish didn’t turn you off already (seriously? DISGARSTING!), I don’t know if the news that ordering a Tuna Roll could end with both bizarre cases of diarrhea (WTF, mate?) and waxy intestinal discharge is going to do much to change your mind.
For the rest of you: Scientists doing DNA testing at Sushi Restaurants (in order to make identifying species of fish easier and more efficient) have discovered that many of these restaurants are either serving an endangered species of tuna, fish that couldn’t be identified, or fish that could pose a health hazard to the diner (did i mention waxy intestinal discharge?).
Here’s an idea: Stop eating fish!
Being vegan, most of the time it’s easy to make decisions at restaurants. Usually at most there’s two or three vegan or veganizable items on a menu. With years of practice, it takes about three seconds to flip through a menu and zero in on what I can eat with pinpoint accuracy. (It also “helps” if your parents are there: “Look honey, they have tofu!”)
It can be a little daunting to eat someplace with a really big vegan menu. Cha-Ya’s menu is about six pages long and everything on it (over 50 items) is vegan. I’ve eaten some meals here that were oddly disappointing, and others that were “fuck yes” amazing.
My advice for navigating Cha-Ya is this: only get things you’ve heard of before at other Japanese restaurants. Simpler is better. Their tempura is awesome. Their gyoza is amazing. The miso soup and sushi are really good, too. Things like cold soba salad are OKAY, but wouldn’t you rather have something fried? They also have something called “Moon Garden.” Don’t get that. Just don’t. And though you might have heard of natto before, don’t get that unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing. Do enjoy some warm sake with your meal. Do get the ice cream sundae for dessert: it’s vanilla So Delicious with green tea sauce, adzuki bean sauce, pineapple chunks, and toasted nuts. Um, yes.
Cha-Ya has sort of a weird ambience, though. It’s bright and clean and sterile in there, like a cafeteria in the future. This is the case at all three locations so it must be what they’re going for. Japanese people are crazy! I can say that because I once dated someone Japanese, that’s how it works. They only accept cash so be sure to bring some. At the Mission location, they were kind enough to install an ATM inside, but that also makes it feel like you’re eating in a liquor store. The other two locations have ATMs nearby. In other news, ACCEPT A FUCKING CREDIT CARD WHY DON’T YOU IT’S 2009 GODDAMN.
Sushi Bistro opens second location in the Mission! »
Sushi Bistro opens a second outpost tomorrow (July 23) at 24th Street and York Avenue and looks to have some decent vegan sushi offerings. Obvs you’ll be seeing our fat asses in line tomorrow night.
Here’s the entire veggie section of their menu, (almost entirely) copy-and-pasted because it all looks so g-d delicious:
Crunchy veggie roll
Lightly deep-fried vegetables with crunchy tempura batter outside, drizzled with sweet sauce.
Avocado and Tuscan dried tomato wrapped in a seaweed, ﬂash-fried and served with spicy sauce.
Shiitake veggie roll
Grilled vegetables, topped with shiitake mushroom and house sauce.
Avocado with crunchy outside drizzled with sweet soy.
Avocado and asparagus, served with ponzu sauce and garlic onion aioli.
In the sun
Avocado, cucumber and mango wrapped in soy paper topped with thin-sliced tomato.
Cucumber, mixed greens, avocado and salad dressing.
Avocado and/or Cucumber
Shiitake mushroom nigiri
We were lamely scooped on vegan happenings in the Mission (Mission) AGAIN. I’m ashamed/lazy. Ugh.
Review: Eiji! »
Eiji is a super-tiny sushi place on Sanchez at 16th Streets. It would be easily missed if it weren’t for the gigantic sign-flag out front that screams, “TOFU!!!!!” How is a vegan supposed to resist? You can’t fly a flag the size of a sperm (hee) whale that says only “TOFU!!!!!!” and not expect to be descended on by my people. And we vegans would be oh-so-right in doing so because the homemade tofu is phenomenal and unlike anything you can buy in the stores (even hippie stores like Rainbow!). There are several kinds, most of which can be served vegan. I know you’re like, “SOME? it’s TOFU, bitch.” and I’m like, “A) you gotta relax with calling me names and B) Yes BUT this is Japanese food made by Japanese people and these fools be lovin’ to put fish flakes on everything, you know?!” So sometimes they can all be made vegan (depending on if you get the nice waiter or the mean waiter) and sometimes only some of them can be made vegan. The hot tofu dish is by far the best and is naturally vegan, kinda like a vegan chawan-mushi (hot savory custard, DUH). UGH SO GOOD. Hot and sweet and it just melts in your mouth and send you straight to heaven. It’s the whole package. It’s the massage and it’s the happy ending.
Apart from the homemade tofu and bizarrely inconsistent service, you must go for the mochi. The mochi is so in demand that you must actually eat in the restaurant to get it. And you can’t just order mochi, you must eat a meal. And even with these crazytown rules, they still sell out of mochi pretty early so put your order in when you arrive to ensure that there will be mochi waiting for you at the end of the meal. Oh man, that pisses the other tables around you off SO MUCH. They are like, “WAH WE FINISHED FIRST, I THOUGHT YOU WERE OUT OF MOCHI, HOW DID THOSE PEOPLE GET SOME WAH” and I’m like, “It’s because we’re better-looking than you.” And that is both a truth and a lie. You see? Anyway, the mochi is house-made with huge fresh strawberries and adzuki bean paste. It’s the best in town and worth the trip. From Mars, even.
Other than that, the veggie sushi options are pretty pedestrian, although high in quality and freshness: cucumber, avocado, squash, etc. They are expertly rolled too and it’s nice to see sushi that is packed tight like an 18-year-old’s ass. What? I’m so sorry.
Oh and make a reservation. And be on time. If you’re not on time, your table will be given away and you will be scolded. It’s no fun.
Review: Minako Organic Japanese Restaurant! »
Admittedly I love giving every restaurant high ratings because I want everyone to just be fucking happy (I am a classic middle child) but Minako really does deserves the heaps and heaps of praise I’m finna heap on its tiny ass. If you understood that last sentence, bravo!
1) In a city where Japanese cuisine = sushi = FISH TIME IN GROSS-ASS DEAD FISH TOWN, there aren’t tons of choices for us vegans. Sure, if you want another cucumber roll, you can go to Red Box or wherever the fuck the omnivore retards of this city are freaking out about, or you can head to Minako for some fucking SELECTION. An entire special vegan menu full of selection! Thas right! I love the fried veggie eel (the veggie eel = worth living for and you MUST try!) and avocado roll and the grilled eggplant with miso glaze appetizer. The tofu house dish is basically hollowed out (I believe it’s house-made) tofu stuffed with a million surprises. The miso soup is vegan as is the tempura (which is the best I’ve ever had). My parents lived in Japan for a few years and are crazy-picky about their sushi and they love it here. Even my dad eats vegan happily at Minako. This is saying a lot since my dad would happily dine on the tears of human babies if given the option. He’s delightful. Oh and they are constantly adding vegan dishes to the menu and there is always a delicious vegan special or two.
2) The cranky chef mother/super-fresh waitress daughter combo can’t be beat. Plus, mom makes her own ume. I’ll pass (gross!) but it’s cool that she does. Some people (read: assholes) complain about them being too up in your business or curt or cranky or whatever but fuck it, eating at Minako is an experience worth having. And if you’re good to them, they’ll be good to you. It’s like family. Or the mob. You choose. They don’t need more customers so why would they put up with a bunch of jerks? I really wish this was how it worked at my job. I’d be such a lunatic to people who gave me any attitude or tried to get me to work period. I’d get hooks for hands and force people to let me give them back massages. I’m off task here.
3) On my last visit the music included Barry Manilow, Air Supply, Pavement and Eazy-E. YES, PLEASE!
Once when I was eating here, this guy—who, by the by, was a DEAD RINGER for a black Chuck Norris. You know when you see people but they are like the Chinese version of your white friend or the Mexican version of your Korean friend? It’s a trip. Well, this dude was Chuck Norris’ straight-up black twin—ordered and ate half the menu and when he was done, a Michael Jackson jam was turned way up and he and the waitress dirty-danced (!) for a couple of minutes. It was so great. This is the kind of magic that Minako holds. If you’re not into that, there is an Applebee’s in Stonestown you should hit up.
5) It’s on my top-five favorite restaurants in San Francisco list. I really love this place and would eat here at least once a week if my checkbook allowed. Currently my checkbook doesn’t allow for much more than a generic Vitamin Water at Walgreens but you know. I’ll get back on top sometime soon. I just gots to work hard and I will achieve my dreams! This is the land of plenty! USA! USA! USA!
[photos via yelp]
Review: Medicine Eatstation »
At first I thought that I could not find the words to describe how much I loathe stupid Medicine stupid “Eatstation” (it’s not even a word and no I will NOT teach my browser to learn it, as I did my name and the various permutations of “vegan”), but then I discovered that yes, yes I could.
I used to work right next to the Crocker, and I didn’t have to technically leave the building to get to Medicine from my office. Now, if I hadn’t been stuck with shitty insurance* that charged me a zillion dollars for my various medications and therapy, and refused to cover my nutritionist costs even though I have a medical diagnosis that should allow me free nutritionist visits for the rest of my crazy life, I would buy lunch more often. Still, after a year of employment at my that job, I felt as though I’d plumbed the depths of the third-floor food court (OF HELL), including Medicine. In fact, I tried it three times. Why? Because I am incapable of learning my lesson the first time, is why.
Each time I’ve gone, the service has been slow, and the staff at the counter has always been rude. They ignore the customers, they keep one register closed despite an out-the-door line (people, NO, just, go get soup), and two out of three times I’ve seen them stop taking orders to chat with each other. Just flat-out stop working! Christ, it was just terrible.
The food is also BAD. I’ve had their signature Medicine roll, the miso-braised eggplant—which is no longer on the menu—and a cold soba salad, and they were equally yet singularly yucky, not to mention overpriced. The worst offense was the limp, squishy, tasteless soba. My mother, a white lady from south Jersey who now lives in a Bay Area suburb and teaches spinning classes to other suburban white ladies, can make better cold soba salads, and she hasn’t been to Japan since 1984. Truth. [NB: do not be fooled by the picture, that food is the opposite of delicious.]
Also, the prices are astronomical. Wonderful Japanese restaurants like all-vegan Cha-Ya and very-vegan-friendly Minako don’t charge so much for such simple dishes, and when their prices do match Medicine’s, the food is incomparably better.
FURTHERMORE, after a much-ballyhooed temporary closing, Medicine reopened and was no longer vegan, instead serving local, wild-caught, long-lived, guaranteed-happy, volunteered-to-be-murdered-so-honored-were-they-to-be-part-of-Medicine’s-cuisine fish as well. Maybe this isn’t so bad—now it’s not a shitty overpriced pretentious vegan place, it’s just a shitty overpriced pretentious place, so it isn’t contributing to our bad reputation. But no, think of the fish!
The last time I went in, the day of the terrible soba, I waited for 45 minutes for it. I know, right? After all that I still wasted three-quarters of my unpaid-yet-mandated lunch hour waiting to get food I couldn’t even manage to finish once I got it. About 30 minutes in, another front counter girl ended the personal phone call that she’d been engaged in when I arrived, and handed me a “Sorry About the Wait, Let Us Make It Up to You” card, good for a whole 15 percent off my next purchase at Medicine, expiring that Friday. Because of course I was going to come back, I am a stupid, stupid person.
Truth: I did not.
*Never complain about your insurance, because one day you may find yourself with two weeks’ of pills left and zero medical coverage, and then you will miss the days of paying a lot of money for those medications, because whatever “a lot” was, it wasn’t as much as the retail price.
[photo via yelp]