Guest post: My top 10 vegan reasons to be in love with New York City, part two! »
As I said yesterday, I just moved to California from New York City. It happened very suddenly, and as I’ve gotten more settled, I’ve found a much greater appreciation for how easy and wonderful it is to be a vegan in New York. I miss it, and I wanted to tell you all how much I love it. However, in an effort to spare you all from the longest post in the free world, I have managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list. Yesterday, Nos. 10-6. Today, the thrilling conclusion!
No. 5: Quintessence
When I first got excited about raw food, I had a number of negative experiences with raw food restaurants. I was convinced that it was disgusting and I might never like it. Quintessence changed all that. By far one of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city, Quintessence makes incredibly yummy, indulgent, and healthful raw dishes that put all that other raw food to shame. A pearl in alphabet city’s clamshell, I fantasize about their Caesar salad on the regular. Oh Quintessence, I miss your tiny tables and huge salads.
No. 4: The Vegan Bodega
Eric Hopf and his family are in the process of opening an all-vegan store in downtown Manhattan. Although it’s not open yet, I’m already in love with the products they’re providing and their dedication to the cause. They currently operate as a pop-up until their storefront becomes a reality. If you can, support these awesome people and their endeavors because this store is going to rock.
No. 3: Honey LaBronx
Yes, it’s a bit ego-stroking to put my own podcast co-host on this list. Still, she is one bad bitch. This crazy activist is constantly spotted marching through crowds with a bullhorn, and waving her homemade protest signs in Christine Quinn’s face, and occasionally getting arrested. This queen fights for the animals, she’s exciting, and if it wasn’t for her, I never would’ve ended up in front of a microphone answering questions to new vegans. Check out her cooking show, our podcast, and go see her hot ass live. She is a freaking inspiration, and she looks good doing it. She’s also an okay friend, too, I guess.
No. 2: Soy and Sake
Another of my favorite restaurants in NYC. Soy and Sake saved this sushi-lover from a life of fishless moping. They have most delicious vegan sushi rolls, as well as a plethora of dishes to die for (bourbon chicken! rock shrimp!). It is without question the one restaurant I will always visit in New York. It’s also killer for large parties, and I’ve seen countless omnivores be blown away by their food there. Go! Take friends! EAT SUSHI!
No. 1: Sweet & Sara
Sweet & Sara is basically my favorite vegan company. Their origin story is beyond inspirational, founder Sara Sohn is one of the nicest people you could ever meet, and their products are amazing. AMAZING. The s’mores were one of the first treats I had that made me stop and say, “You know what? I should be vegan. This is awesome!” and I’ve continued to love them with a passion ever since. The last year I lived in NYC I was working in Queens off the 7 train, and I rode by the S&S factory every day, and every day I was reminded that being vegan is fun, delicious, and exactly what I want to be. I love that Sara and her little bunny, Skipper, too. I have half a mind to get a S&S tattoo. Too much? I’m doing it anyway.
Laura Yasinitsky is a writer, comic, waitress, and animal-lover based in California. She has appeared on Comedy Central’s Open-Mic Fight, and writes for US Weekly's Fashion Police. You can follow her silliness on Twitter @LaraYaz.
Vegan Easter candy round-up! »
Hey pals! Easter is coming up! How about a vegan Easter round-up? Don’t mind if I do!
"Speckles" Chocolate Rice Crispy Bunny and Flavored Solid Vegan Eggs from Allison’s Gourmet. This bun is too cute! And I love crispies in my chocolate. These chocolates are also gluten-free and made with fair-trade cocoa.
White Rabbit Ostara Hare Easter Bunny Vegan White Chocolate from Realist Mermaid on Etsy. These are also gluten-free! Who likes white chocolate? Not me! But I know some people do and this actually sounds really good. It’s flavored with organic Tahitian vanilla bean. Yum!
Vegan Easter assortment from No Whey Candies on Etsy! This collection looks AHMAYZING.
And don’t forget your vegan creme eggs from Queen Balch! You know we love vegan creme eggs up in this piece.
Look at this little guy! This Sjaak’s chocolate bunny is filled with almond butter! My mom loves her some almond butter. And this is great for kids with peanut allergies! A special treat. And you know Sjaak’s uses fair-trade and organic ingredients.
For those not that into chocolate (you crazy bastards), Vegan Essentials has these cute sugar chicks and bunnies!
Vegan large Easter bunny girl from Chocolate Decadence! Such a pretty lady! This 12” chocolate statue stands up. Good lord! That’s a big bunny.
For you Peeps fans, Sweet and Sara’s Easter Skippers and Sunnys! These are so cute!
Vegan marshmallow chicks covered in chocolate! Dang, son! These look yums.
From Rose City Chocolatier, a super cute hat box filled with Easter chocolate! This is adorbs. Any kid would die if you got them this!
For another basket, Indie Candy has this great pack of Easter goodies! I love the carrot lollipops, so cute.
There you go guys, I hope you have a happy Easter if having a happy Easter is something you want!
The Ultimate Vegan Gift Guide! »
Last week I told you what to buy the omnis in your life, today we shift our focus to what to buy vegans! If you want to make gifts at home, this is not the post for you; but if you want to buy kick-ass vegan gifts for the vegans in your life, you’ve come to the right place! And most of them are gifts that give back in their own way so you can feel good about giving and your vegan can feel good about getting. Wait, did I really say kick-ass? It’s how I felt! That’s how excited I get about buying presents. It’s my favorite thing to do! And here are my top gift picks for vegans:
I totally encourage you to make your own vegan gingerbread house but it is kind of a hassle. And really, besides eating the cookie dough, decorating is the best part. So what if the pieces were already made and ready for you to decorate?! And someone sent you vegan candies and frosting to decorate with?! Why, that’d be the best! You aren’t just giving someone yummy vegan food, you’re giving them the gift of wholesome, old-fashion fun! And it always feels good to patronize team VeganEtsy.
This is a great gift for kids, families, holiday-enthusiasts, craft-lovers, or people who love pomp and circumstance but just don’t have a ton of time.
You can’t really have a vegan gift guide without at least one Matt and Nat product. But Matt and Nat for Apple? Be still my heart! The only snag is this bag only fits the 13 inch Macbook. I don’t have the bitty 13 incher! But if you know someone who does, this is the greatest present. The faux suede lining is made from 100 percent recycled plastic bottles and all their packaging is made from recycled materials. They also say they occasionally donate bags to women’s shelters and donate vegetarian meals to homeless people. That’s nice.
Belts are one of the few accessories dudes get to wear, so they should take them very seriously. Some of them do—and this goes doubly for vegan boys. It is difficult to find the perfect vegan belt! But friends, I may have found it. Not only is the Captain cruelty-free, the Vegan Collection takes great pains to ethically source their products. They visit the factories where the belts are made to make sure they’re on the up and up. They also seek to keep their products as eco-friendly as they can. Kudos! It comes in black as well but I’m partial to brown.
There’s not really a better present in the world than a Vaute Couture coat, but unfortunately, buying a coat for someone else is pretty difficult. What’s not difficult is buying super-cute over-sized sweatshirts! I have this sweatshirt and it rules (Meave and Laura actually got it for me because they are the best and they know how to keep me happy!). It’s like Animal Farm meets Flashdance. It’s also just about the softest thing in the world. And it’s printed on an “Alternative Earth sweatshop free sweatshirt made of eco-heather fleece (recycled polyester & organic cotton) with water based ink in the US.” Sounds good to me!
Everybody needs a wallet. But a wallet is hard to pick and a hassle to find! So if you know someone whose current wallet is on its last leg, a new wallet is a good gift. You took all the work out of it for them and they can just transfer their cards and move on down the road!
This wallet is extra cool because it’s, “handmade primarily of newspapers and plastic bags collected off the streets of Delhi, India. The production of this wallet helps reduce waste in Delhi, provides fair-wage employment, and subsidizes health-care and education for each employee’s family.” That’s what I like to hear! Plus, I like the way it looks. That’s always nice.
Oh and keep in mind: PETA is polarizing within the vegan community so make sure your giftee is a fan before you pick up this wallet.
This is our Rachel’s bid for the perfect present for your vegan: a pressure cooker! I don’t really understand them or know what they are but Rachel says they RULE. We don’t know which brand is best but she thinks you’ll be fine with one of these Presto numbers. Rachel says these things make cooking beans a snap! I just use canned beans. I guess that’s bad for the environment? I mean I do recycle the cans. But there’s less waist if you get them in bulk and cook them yourself.
So if you know a big vegan cook and they are without one of these babies, go ahead and change their culinary world!
We all know vegans love to eat and they especially love sweets. And the harder the vegan alternative is to find, the more they are obsessed with it! So procuring some excellent vegan chocolate is always a good gift. When it comes to chocolate, there is one place that holds my heart: Cocoa V in Manhattan. Owned by the co-founder of Blossom, Cocoa V is a chocolate and wine bar—my two favorite things! But to your good fortune, you can order from them online! What to order? Well, anything. They have all sorts of exciting goodies like Earl Grey caramels and chocolate edamame clusters, but I HIGHLY recommend the vegan Butterfinger. It’s out of control delicious. And while getting your pals vegan chocolate is nice, getting it from Cocoa V makes it a bit more special. In addition, Cocoa V chocolate is organic and fair-trade. Holler!
I know, it’s a terrible picture, but you get the idea. Do you have a lovely Jewish vegan in your life? This is the perfect gift! Chocolate dipped marshmallows in Hannukah shapes (I don’t know if that’s how you spell Hannukah but that’s how they spell it so I’m keeping it consistent). And you’ll be happy to know that Sweet and Sara is on the “chocolate we feel comfortable recommending” list over at the Food Empowerment Project. A happy Hannukuh indeed!
This is a nice gift for a cat-owner or if you are looking for a present for your little kitty. Actually, lots of dogs like grass too. It aids in digestion! And pet grass is great if someone is having problems with their cat eating houseplants. They have the natural instinct to eat plants and maybe they will stay away from houseplants (that could be poisonous!) if you give them nice grass to chew on. My cat LOVES this stuff. And it’s so cute to watch them eat it because they cock their little heads and do that funny squinty chew. Hilar.
It’s always nice to get a pet-lover a present for their pets because it lets them know that you care about what matters to them. And this 100 percent organic kitty grass is good for the kitty’s health so that is an extra little bit of consideration! Plus, if you buy the kitty garden through the link above, proceeds go to the Humane Society. Good for you!
This is a nice present for the vegan dog or the vegan dog-owner. I got these for my dog and he loves them. I don’t even know if he likes the way they taste actually; mostly he just carries it around the house with him and then chews it down very slowly. But he sure loves to carry them around! It’s very cute. He’s very proud.
I have to warn you, there’s a small chance that these aren’t vegan. I’m positive they’re vegetarian but nothing is telling me they’re vegan. BUT there’s a British version that appears to be the same company that I KNOW is vegan. I think they are the same but if you don’t want to risk it, you can order from Veggie Pets in the U.K. Shipping will be more expensive but peace of mind isn’t cheap! And veggie chews are hard to find. That’s exactly what makes this a nice gift, there are almost no vegan dog chews and not many people are aware of this brand. And chewing is good for dogs! It relieves stress! So your vegan dog-owner will be pleased you searched the world for the perfect chew for their sweet pup.
Know a tiny vegan? Turn them into a superhero with this 100 percent organic cotton, fair-trade shirt from the super-ethical Autonomie Project! And this shirt is extra special because it raises funds for Farm Sanctuary.
This is nice because it makes a celebration out of being vegan. Superheroes are special and so are vegan kids! So vegan kids are essentially superheroes! Don’t check my math. But you know what I mean, it is special to be a vegan kid but it can be good special or bad special—try to make it good special!
This is a no-brainer. Vegans love food and surprises are the best—so surprise snacks every month are great! And remember, if you are one of the first 50 to use the “VEGANSAURUS20” coupon code when you purchase a gift subscription (note: it only works for the gift subscriptions!), you will get 20 percent off your purchase!
This present works for the new vegan, the bored vegan, the acquaintance vegan, the bff vegan—pretty much all vegans. And maybe they will share with you! Surprise vegan snacks for all.
I wrote about John Bartlett and Tiny Tim previously, and I still love them. And this limited edition Fair Isle sweatshirt is dope! Good for the boy or girl in your life or any pal who likes tripods or rescue dogs. These eco-friendly shirts aren’t just adorable, they raise money for animals saved from high-risk shelters.
I especially like this for dudes because dudes are super cute in sweet animal stuff. It’s like ironic but not at all. If I saw a dude in this sweatshirt? Wham bam! I’d be all over that. And then he could tell me all about the Tiny Tim Fund and I’d be like, “OMG let’s get married as soon as I believe in marriage!”
This makes a useful, fun, inexpensive gift that also happens to be adorbs. What’s better than good-looking people with cute dogs? Not much. Chako has got you covered for the hunk-loving pit bull fan and Pinups for Pit Bulls has the ladies.
A calendar can be kind of not awesome as a present but it is awesome when it’s something cool and benefits a good cause like saving pit bulls. Calendars are corny gifts when you’re just getting someone ANY calendar just to have something to give them. But these are more like collector’s items! And if you know a pit bull-lover, they will like this. And they will like it all the more when you tell them it helps pit bulls too.
Another thing to note is that this is kind of the only time of year you can buy someone a calendar. So you might want to take advantage of that.
I have to confess to you that I love “of the month” clubs. I always did. I just love surprises! And it’s like instead of one gift, you get one every [other] month! So do you have a vegan in your life who’s less of a foodie and more of a wino? How about a vegan wine of the [every other] month club! Every other month (for as long as you have the membership), the Organic Wine Company will send your giftee three organic vegan wines. They can get good and sloshed, organic style!
I don’t know why it’s the Bob Linden wine club but that seems like a good sign. I looked into the fair-trade options and boy, that’s a bag of confusion! It seems that the U.S. isn’t very fair-trade wine savvy. I resorted to looking up the individual wines on the Organic Wine Company’s site but of course there’s no comprehensive fair-trade wine list because they get certifications in different countries, etc. etc. etc. BUT of the ones I looked up and was able to find info on, a lot were fair-trade. For many of them, I couldn’t find any info. However, like I said, several on the Organic Wine Company’s vegan list are certified fair-trade by one source or another. But if you don’t want to risk it! I found this online store from the U.K. that lets you order mixed cases (yee-ha!) of vegan, organic, fair-trade wines. Remember though, those prices are in GBPs. Baller.
Another gift from team VeganEtsy! I just fell in love with this silly pillow as soon as I saw it. It comes in small too but go big or go home, right? So if you know a tofu-enthusiast (or a pirate-enthusiast I guess) this is a super cute present. It could be a good gift for a kid, too. It’s fun, sweet, and comfy. And you can feel good knowing you are supporting a vegan business!
Vegans are some biking motherlovers. Not all of them but I think the percentage of vegan bikers runs higher than your average demographic. They are also a farmers market-loving people, no? Then this vegan grocery pannier is the perfect vegan accessory! And this handsome bag is made from salvaged banner vinyl so it’s very environmentally friendly. Plus, North St. Bags is a member of Trillium Artisans, “an innovative, green, nonprofit community economic development program that empowers artisans and actively connects them to markets.” Holler!
This concludes the Ultimate Vegan Gift Guide! I hope I gave you some good present ideas. Like I said last week, gift-giving should be a pleasure, not a chore! So go forth and make your loved ones happy in the way only materialism can!
It’s Sweet Avenue's Thanksgiving desserts! They made pumpkin cheesecake and a sweet potato pie cupcake topped with Sweet & Sara marshmallows, with a side of Chicago Soy Dairy pumpkin ice cream! Oh deliciousness!
Rice Krispies treat Easter eggs! Veganize it, biznatches! »
I saw this saccharine Rice Krispies commercial showing a mom and some kids making these Rice Krispies treat Easter eggs and despite the ridic commercial, I totally want to make them! I am a product of this society SUE ME! You’d just have to substitute in some Sweet & Saras and Organic Earth Balance. Blammo! And for the filling, you could use some Whizzers instead of M&Ms. Bang! You could even fill them with vegan jelly beans if you like that sort of thing. Pow!
Any kid who wouldn’t prefer these over a hard-boiled egg is one to worry about. Has anyone already made these before?
NYC Vegetarian Food Festival is this Sunday! »
Sunday, Apr. 3, is the New York Vegetarian Food Festival! Huzzah! Are you going? I’m going to try and make it. You should be able to recognize me, I’ll be the one that looks extra Hollywood! I don’t know what that means. Regardless, the festival is being held at the Altman Building at 135 West 18th St. from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be lots of dope vendors there like Coconut Bliss, Sweet and Sara, and Foodswings. Sounds like a party!
UPDATE: The festival is totally FREE! Fantastico!
Groupon’s now offering $7 for $15 worth of handmade vegan marshmallows and treats from Sweet & Sara. There’s a limited quantity of Groupons available, too, so you better get on it! You can either pick them up from their store in Queens or have them shipped directly to your ass via your mouth.
YOU GUYS. This means S’MORES! And STRAWBERRY MARSHMALLOWS! and ROCKY ROAD BARK! and VEGAN RICE KRISPY TREATS! and SO MUCH MORE!
Silk Nog and Pumpkin Spice HAVE ARRIVED. They’re on sale at Whole Foods, too! $2.39 for a taste of holiday deliciousness. I just heated up a mug of it and topped it off with some vegan pumpkin spice marshmallows. God, I’m such a glutton. May November and December never end! Yes! I’m calling for an end to the 12-month calendar! REVOLUTIONARY THINKING AND NOTHING LESS IS WHAT YOU’VE COME TO EXPECT FROM YOUR VEGANSAURUS!
Sweet & Sara introduces Pumpkin Spice and Chocolate Peppermint vegan marshmallows! »
I’ll be ordering 1 million of each flavor and then sweetening every single thing I eat and drink with them until they’re gone and then I’ll cry and cry because food is very important to me.
American crazies, awesome people in other countries, vegan marshmallows, illegal meats, travels with produce, expensive shoes on sale and more in this week’s link-o-rama! »
We didn’t have a link-o-rama for a couple of weeks, whoops. Good thing we saved up all those links, so you have tons of good reading for this weekend.
Let’s get some shoes! Vegan shoes, on sale through the end of the month. Ohhhh man, I wear a 7.5 U.S./37.5 EU if anyone wants to buy me a special present for being so great.
Can I kiss, like, everyone in Ghent? Last year, the city decided that Thursday would be Vegetarian Day, meaning city-run cafeterias &c. (they FEED THEIR CIVIC EMPLOYEES? WHAT?) and schools (ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS) would have to serve exclusively vegetarian food every Thursday. According to this week’s episode of the best radio show ever, Inside Europe, this is going really well. The kids love it, the citizens love it, and what the hell Ghent has 91 vegetarian restaurants?!! (note: download the podcast, skip to 49:20 to go directly to the pertinent story.)
Awesome Sharon of Veg Table is moving to Australia! Before she goes, she leaves us a final post on delicious local eating. Not included: her visit to Gussie’s Chicken and Waffles, which she wrote about just for us.
Speaking of linking to our own stuff, have you checked out the posts on John Mackey’s latest jerk-ass anti-fat-people bullshit, and on the travesty that is the new Weird Fish menu? The comments, they are many! We love it when you express your opinions, as long as you are civil/pertinent.
Super-smart Vegansaurus writer Steve contributed to the SF Appeal today, on the subject of non-meat-eaters keeping meat-eating cats. We are pretending not to be jealous that we didn’t ask him to write about this here first. Proud! We are proud, good job, Steve!
Vegetable tourism: in which British people travel the country in search of the birthplaces of famous varieties of produce. It’s quirky! Much like British people! But this seems more worthwhile (and tastier!) than, say, doing Jane Austen novel reenactments at Bath. That is like 10 lorries’ past “quirky” and well into “insanator” territory (READ OTHER BOOKS, GUYS).
Some grumplestiltskin at 7x7 magazine just can’t get over the fact that they don’t serve real actual from-an-animal cheese at Gracias Madre. Just, why call it “cheese” when it’s totally an amalgam of weird stuff, ugh.
Meat-smuggling: not just a single-entendre! Apparently some people do this because in Europe—mostly Italy—they do especially fascinating things with animal parts that are so much more interesting and authentic than the weird and fucked up things people do with animal parts here. GOD, you are SO GROSS, SHUT UP.
But gosh, maybe if the U.S. had laxer meat-import laws, people wouldn’t spend so much time murdering horses and selling their bodies for food. Right? Because meat-eating is like the hardestcore thrill-seeking, LIFE ON THE EDGE!! BEEF!
Oh, Michael Pollan. He doesn’t think it’s possible to make your own Twinkies! I can make you an organic, vegan Twinkie that tastes like French kisses from angels.
PCRM (employer of one of your Vegansaurus editors) made a list of the five best cookbooks of the decade, and guess what, they’re all VEGAN. The actual cookbooks I cannot endorse—one by certain pseudo-nutritionist insanators, another having been published roughly two seconds ago—but the point is that a vegan diet will save your life. Tell your everyone.
Michelle we love you: who wants to veganize the First Lady’s shortbread cookies? Come on, you want to.
Monsanto, the most evil of all agricultural corporations (that we know of), is facing an antitrust hearing from the Justice Department. Considering that “about 93 percent of soybean plantings last year” are connected to Monsanto, I’d say this is pertinent to us vegans. Although considering the DoJ is following up claims made by motherfucking DuPont, this may just end in (more of) our rage tears.
Someone is considering opening an exclusively vegan store in the Bay Area? WHAT YES PLEASE. Be nice and helpful and take this survey and let’s make this happen like yesterday.
Bitches hate Ingrid Newkirk: she is the Anti-Feminist Antichrist and PETA wages endless war on Sensible People’s Precious Sensibilities. Hey ladies!
Kelis “would demand [the chinchillas and minks whose pelts make up her luxurious coats] be put to death" if they weren’t already being raised on farms for the express purpose of being anally fucking electrocuted and made into those "luxurious" coats she loves so damn much. She also demands that the anti-fur brigade turn their attention other causes, like the poor people who pick vegetables, and sufferers of female genital mutilation. Because you know you can’t try to change more than one shitty situation at a time and VEGANS HATE HUMANS, I WOULD MURDER THE REINCARNATION OF EINSTEIN TO SAVE A RABID CAT, DID YOU KNOW?
Big ol’ vegan Erykah Badu released a bonus track from her (maybe) new album today, which is glorious.
Physically bigger vegan Georges Laraque (we’re everywhere!) is the best hockey player in the entire world ever, and raised a ton of money for Haiti recently. You guys I think we should start following the Canadiens.
Thanks, meat-eaters, for wrecking everything for the polar bears. Fucking THANKS A LOT.
Russia, on the cutting edge of being the total embodiment of a heartless fucking bastard, wants to get back on the cutting edge of space travel by sending a monkey to Mars. Don’t worry though, a robot will feed it! I wish this were from The Onion.
Here is an interview with the super-hardcore and super-amazing Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. She tolerates no bullshit and makes delicious food, we adore her.
Some employees of HarperCanada, inspired by friend-of-Oprah Tal Ronnen, took a two-weeklong vegan challenge. Apparently in Toronto it is hard to find vegan bread? I don’t know. Regardless: nice effort!
Forbes isn’t exclusively the domain of classist, poors-hating white dudes you want to punch in the face! It’s also the home of a guy who, following Mark Bittman’s advice, eats mostly vegan. He calls the diet “[his] health care plan,” awesome! If only my vegan diet would scrape my teeth and cure my astigmatism, we’d be peas in a healthy fucking pod!
A significantly less offensive magazine: Potluck Mania!, by super-vegan/author Joanna Vaught, which absolutely deserves its exclamation point.
Vegansaurus favorite Sweet & Sara were featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped series. Hooray!! Also, thanks, now I am dying for a peanut butter s’more. Relatedly, make your own (terrifying) vegan marshmallows!