Eat this NOW: cupcakes and pie in a jar from Fox & Fawn Bakehouse! »
You gotta eat these cupcakes right now. Fox & Fawn Bakehouse make honestly some of the best cupcakes I’ve ever eaten in my life! I know I say that almost every time I write about anything (best ass-kicking of my life! best lobotomy of my life! best shit sandwich of my life!) but for real, I really really really mean it this time, for real! The cake was spongy and light, and the frosting was sweet but not cloying. Deeeeeelicious. Man, I could eat a few right now and that’s no joke! These are the cupcakes you wish you could make but you just don’t have the skillz to pay the cupcake billz. Speaking of honesty, I honestly have no clue how my fingers haven’t fallen off from all the typing I’ve done in the past month. The fact that I can still walk upright and (kinda) speak English are miracles.
Anyway, you will not regret getting these cupcakes into your mouth, so go ahead and order from them immediately. Oh, and the pie in a jar? RIDICULOUS. It’s a PIE in a JAR and it’s the perfect wedding favor, housewarming gift, present to yourself for making it through the day. Also, Fox and Fawn Bakehouse prices are extremely reasonable! $24 for a dozen is only $2 per cupcake and that’s way less than what you spend in a store. THE DEAL! It is AMAZING! So order a bunch of stuff and fan them on Facebook and generally just eat the shit out of their goodies because even though I got some for free (doesn’t guarantee a good review or even a review period), I’m totally planning on ordering cupcakes from them and PAYING. This is the Real Deal, people, because I don’t like to pay for shit, ask anyone. I mean, ANYONE.
Oh and if you’re not into special ordering things (I don’t know why this would be the case but maybe you’re too poor or don’t think you’re special enough), you can track them down at the Benicia Farmers’ Market, where they’ve been selling out!
Plus, look at this damn logo:
[Cupcake photo by Damien Jay! Thanks, Damien!]
Those are the vegan desserts at Source. Just trust that they are all fucking amazing. Vegan snowballs! Devil dogs! Twinkies! Peanut butter and jelly sandwich cookies! MAGIC! LIGHTS! Please note that any names that might infringe on Hostess territory have been changed to something more adorable and less sue-able.
Man, screw our petty copyright laws except for when they benefit me and my soon to be patented, “deepfryolatoricecreammakercookiedoughfactory.” IF YOU STEAL THAT MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL BECAUSE NOBODY ELSE WILL! (Or something else that Tommy Lee Jones has said in a movie.) (I don’t know, I’m so very very tired.)
Also! A full review of Source to come (we love) and ALSO: anyone ever been to Greece (Athens, Santorini, Crete, specifically) or Russia (Moscow, specifically)? WHAT’S GOOD TO EAT OR DO THERE? Holler at me PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE I LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU AND GOOD NIGHT.
Guest post: Adventures in DIY ice cream! Plus, a recipe! »
You know those types of friends that you bond with specifically over one thing? Maybe it’s a particular TV show or a band that you secretly love? That’s the type of friendship that my buddy, Jack Shirley, and I have, except we bond over food, or more specifically: desserts.
Jack owns his own recording studio, The Atomic Garden Recording Studio in East Palo Alto, Calif., but he is also on a covert mission to single-handedly take down the ice cream industry and give all of his friends diabetes. Jack has been making his own vegan ice cream for about a year now, after getting an ice cream maker for a gift.
“I love ice cream, and when I went vegan, I realized that there is no good vegan ice cream,” explained Jack. He’s right; there’s always something off about it, and it never quite tastes like the real thing. Ask anyone who’s tried his ice cream, and they’ll tell you that he’s definitely on to something. “It’s way easier than anyone could imagine,” he said.
About a year ago, Jack and I started creating a master list of possible flavors, just in time for summer. Since then, the list has grown, and he’s still eagerly taking suggestions. He even offers it as a perk to bands who record with him. The first flavor he ever made was Orange Chocolate Chip, which he got out of the vegan ice cream cook book Vice Cream.
Vice Cream focuses on making dairy-free ice cream from a cashew- or a coconut base. “Cashew–based ice cream is pretty rare,” Jack said, as he explained why he thinks his ice cream is different from the other vegan ones sold in stores. “Cashew is a very neutral base, so I try to only use a coconut base when I want the flavor to taste like coconut.”
Jack told me that it wasn’t the easiest in the beginning because he didn’t follow the instructions very well. But, with constant practice, creativity with flavors, and a little bit of trial and error, he’s got it down. So here we are, a year later, and Jack doesn’t even bother to greet me at the door anymore. “Try this,” is what he usually says to me as he forces a spoon towards my unfortunately large mouth, knowing I won’t refuse. Little does he know, I’ve used our food-dependent friendship in order to get exclusive ice-cream-making tips!
Tip 1: Let the base sit in the fridge overnight.
Vice Cream claims that you can also stick it in the freezer for a short amount of time, but apparently overnight in the fridge is the way to go. Jack says this helps the cashew taste to dissipate, leaving an even more neutral base.
Tip 2: Use alcohol-free extracts.
The book calls for alcohol-free extracts for a reason! When you use alcohol when cooking, the strong taste of alcohol burns off. When you’re making ice cream, the lack of heat leaves the alcohol in, and it can change the flavor of your ice cream.
Tip 3: Use real vanilla bean!
Using real vanilla beans instead of extract actually tastes better, and will help overpower any residual cashew taste.
Want to try it yourself? Here are two basic recipes, adapted from Vice Cream.
Vanilla—Makes about 1 quart (average home ice-cream-maker size)
2 vanilla beans
2 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces
2 cups water
1 cup maple syrup (Jack uses agave nectar and it works pretty darn well.)
Cut the vanilla beans into small pieces, and grind them to a powder in a coffee grinder.
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute, or until smooth.
Place the mix in the fridge overnight.
Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Chocolate—Makes about 1 quart
1 3/4 cups organic cashews or cashew pieces
1 3/4 cups water
1 cup maple syrup (or agave nectar)
2 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. alcohol-free almond extract
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend on high for about 1 minute, or until smooth.
Place the mix in the fridge overnight.
Pour the mix into your ice cream maker and use according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
You can serve it immediately (it has a nice soft-serve texture when it’s fresh out of the maker) or place it in the freezer to devour later.
If you’re bored with plain old vanilla and chocolate, get creative! Jack has made tons of different flavors. His favorites? Strawberry, blackberry vanilla chocolate chip, piña colada, key lime pie, and eggnog. If you’d like to suggest a flavor for Jack to attempt, go ahead and send him a friendly email.
Jack says it’s really a trial-and-error process, though. “Not every recipe in that book will give you amazing ice cream,” he said, but I think he was just being his usually cocky self.
There are two things that Jack knows really well in this world: music and ice cream. Now you know why I want a shirt that says “I visited Atomic Garden Recording Studio and all I got was this amazing album and some shitty love handles.”
Elysse Grossi is a scientist, a health educator, a vegan food fanatic and a co-owner of Sweet Cups, based in the East Bay. She grosses people out with her other blog, Under the Microscope. Laugh at her boring life on Twitter @glassheart.
Eat new flavors of Coconut Bliss; gain 10,000 pounds! »
Coconut Bliss has four new flavors. I already had a mega-ladyboner for the existing ones, so I flipped at the chance to try them. (Dear Luna & Larry: I would flip at the chance to re-try all the old ones, like, a million times each as well, thanks.) You asked for my thoughts? Oh, you didn’t? Well, TOO BAD:
Lunaberry Swirl: This is your typical crystalline berry-flavored swirl in vanilla base. It’s got blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries without that weird texture that makes berries gross (I hate fruit). The flavor is pretty mild, and the whole experience reminded me of those single-serving ice cream cups with the wooden spoons they’d give you at ice cream socials. Help me out, guys: What were those called? It’s driving me bananas! Fruit joke!
Mocha Maca Crunch: It’s crunchy, all right; my jaw is like the Hulk now. It contains maca (revered by Aztecs or somebody for its energy- and libido-boosting properties), mesquite, coffee, and cocoa nibs. Lucky for me, the coffee flavor was not too strong (I hate coffee; related: I’m an alien). The texture was pleasant, but it could have used a soft swirl (fudge maybe?) to balance out the crunchiness.
Chocolate Walnut Brownie: This has real brownie bits! I’m in heaven! They are gluten-free and soft and chewy! My dream has been realized! Also, I don’t always love chocolate-flavored stuff or even chocolate itself (I know! What is wrong with me?!), so I was pleased that I enjoyed the chocolate base. It’s probably the best chocolate ice cream in the biz, yo.
Ginger Cookie Caramel: This one was the winner. You didn’t know it was a contest? Surprise! Soft, molasses-y, gluten-free cookies pair up with an uber-yummy caramel swirl. The ginger flavor is really strong, so if you don’t like ginger,
you are dead to me you won’t like this. This ice cream brings back memories of that one time I made gingerbread cookies except less disastrous.
Veganlicious has a recipe up for vegan creme eggs! Since they appear to be sold out in the states—oh wait, no, Queenbalch has them back in! REORDERED!—unless you want to order from England (WHO WOULD DO SUCH A THING NOT ME), this might be your only option. It actually looks like it might be kinda fun? Maybe? You like to work for your dinner, don’t you? DANCE!
Vegan creme egg TASTE-OFF! »
Yo! So I found two VEGAN creme eggs* that you can buy commercially. Or, kinda commercially, meaning that you can order them wherever you are (in the United States?). Is that what commercially means? Probably not. ANYWAY. First off, there’s VeganSweets vanilla creme eggs and secondly, there are these ones in Queenbalch’s Etsy shop!
Okay so first, the VeganSweets ones. Here is what they look like in package:
Adorable! There are 12 in a package. And here’s what they look like when you cut into them:
Creamy goodness! And the taste is OUTRAGEOUS. I loved them because they weren’t too sweet and the chocolate was rich and delicious. A vegetarian who tasted one said that they are very reminiscent of the real deal, they just taste like a high-class version. They’re also about half the size of the Cadbury creme egg so, hey, you can eat more! Or just have one as a snack and not go all Tom Cruise on Oprah. Or I guess we’re saying Charlie Sheen now? Anyway, you’ll be the opposite of those psychos. Anyway, they’re $9.99 plus whatever shipping to your house from Maryland. Speaking of, you could double up your shipping with them and get all sorts of other delicious Easter candy, including VEGAN PEEPS.
Next up! The Etsy one! Here’s the pic from the listing:
Cute! When they arrive, they’re actually wrapped in deliciously shiny silver foil, and your mouth starts to water, imagining the Willy Wonka experience it’s about to have. You get six eggs (they’re roughly the same size as an actual cadbury creme egg) for $9.99, plus $4.50 shipping. BUT CHECK OUT WHAT THESE FOOLS LOOK LIKE INSIDE:
HOT DAMN THAT LOOKS LIKE YOLK, SON! These are very sweet, almost buttery. They were a little TOO sweet for me (lie, I’m still hella eating them), but Jonas liked them better than the VeganSweets ones for that reason. Plus, cracking them open and having that freaky creme that looks like yolk ooze out will give you the same gross thrill that you get from the actual Cadbury egg. It’s SO GROSS, yet SO SATISFYING!
Okay so, they’re both awesome. If you’re into super-sweet realistic replications, go with Etsy’s Queenbalch. If you want a classier, more delicate egg that’s still authentic-tasting, go with VeganSweets! If you have the money, get both and do your own taste-test! Or if you have kids and you celebrate Easter, it would be fun to mix them up as basket treats, as the different colored foils look cute and festive together.
Oh, and if you don’t want to buy, you can always make your own! Kids might have fun doing that too or they might just hate you forever for making them work for their candy. It’s a toss-up!
Now please excuse me while I go eat both of those beauties DON’T HATE.
Delicious OCD caramels for a cause! »
Obsessive Confection Disorder (OCD! Adorable!) makes amazing vegan caramels (which we discovered via SFoodie last month!) and we love them. We extra love them their special “compassionate caramels,” which are infused with fresh lavender and sprinkled with lavender dust. They’re so fancy and so delicious, and they’ve got a heart of (caramel) gold.
The compassionate caramels were created to honor a close friend of Melodi, the genius behind OCD. Her friend recently lost her battle with breast cancer and Melodi wanted to do something to honor her memory. So, she’s selling the “compassionate caramels,” with every cent raised going to the Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services. They’re $5 for “two honkin’ ounces” and every bite is fucking amazing. Seriously, I will give these caramels an official review but trust, RIDICULOUS. Let’s gorge! The caramels are available for pick-up in central locations in Napa or SF, or she can ship directly to your mouth. For more info, contact Melodi!
Do good while getting fat, what could be better? Don’t answer that!
[Please excuse this crazy post, I wanted to get it up because I think it’s really important and awesome, but I am currently doing 90 other things and so AHH, everything is crazy! Especially me! NOW ORDER CARAMELS! Oh, and make sure to specify that you want the vegan ones!!]
Vegan Peeps, y’all! And they’re called “tweets.” Way to work the Easter angle, Chicago Soy Dairy! They’re gonna be available soon, in two flavors: orange “bunnies” and lemon “chicks.” These are naturally flavored and colored and coated in vegan beet sugar. And they’re Kosher certified, so literally ANYONE can eat them. Except diabetics. Yeah, diabetics should probably stay away.
Product review: Mi-del Gingersnaps! »
It occurred to me that I’ve never reviewed Mi-del ginger snaps—WTF have I been doing?! These cookies are AWESOME! Like, forget the gold coin, put one of these under my tongue when I die and I’ll totally be riding to the underworld in first class. What? I don’t know. I’ve been “reading” again. All I’m trying to say is that these gingersnaps are EXCELLENT. Be warned though: they are addictive. I’m so serious. Anytime I bring them around, people totally get hooked. OMG and then I served them to my friend Luna last week with hot apple cider for her big American Halloween and homegirl basically died. Like, she’s dead. I miss her.
I may have forgotten to review these because I became obsessed with them in my pre-vegan days, but these are definitely vegan. Also, you should holler at the chocolate snaps if you get a chance because they are most excellent as well. You can find these cookies all over; I know they have them at Whole Foods and I just bought some at Back to the Land, the natural grocery near me in Brooklyn.
Interview: Daniel Clary of Alkemie Dairy-Free Ice Cream! »
Daniel Clary is the 28-year-old mastermind behind the raw, delicious and dairy-free Alkemie Ice Cream. His story of how the ice cream begin as an idea a few years back and evolved into something tasty, edible and accessible is not only interesting, but totally inspiring.
How long have you been vegan?
Full-on about seven years now; mostly veggie all my life. My dad went to farmers market every weekend. It was always [a] local and sustainable mindset from a very young age. My mom fed us tofu very young. Carob was my first “chocolate.” I naturally gravitated toward the veggie foods early on.
Are you vegan for health, environmental, animal rights reasons, or a combination?
As much as the environmental aspect and animal rights movement are very important to me, my main reason is health. That’s my mission…to do my part in changing the health of the world. Once I went full vegan, my health improved dramatically. Not that I was ever sick or “unhealthy,” but when the full switch came, it was like my internal lightbulb went on. Huge difference. And now I try to maintain high raw foods, which only created a new level of health and clarity in my life.
How much of your diet is raw?
I would say about 65 to 70 percent on any given day; some days it’s 100 percent. I’m vegan before I’m raw for sure. But raw foods really changed my life.
What is your favorite animal?
Dogs! Just got a puppy! He’s 12 weeks old now. A springer spaniel named Winston. [Vegansaurus PSA (per usual, we always be judging you): Always rescue a dog! Even if it’s a purebred! All purebreds have rescues, including the ADORABLE springer spaniel!]
Favorite vegan food to make?
As a chef, my favorite foods/flavors to work with would have to be Thai. I spent two months last year in Southeast Asia—mostly in Thailand—and I fell in love with the food. My heritage is half-Latin, [and] my mom’s side is from Central America, so Latin/Spanish flavors would be second. Fusing the two together excites me as well.
And as a chef?
I was a personal vegan chef for four years before taking this project on full-time. I worked for families throughout the peninsula, weekly service, catering events, private dinner parties…
Favorite vegan dish at a restaurant/favorite vegan restaurant?
Favorite restaurant would be Millennium in SF, and Pure Food in NYC. Favorite dish—hmmm, so many! I would say a killer Thai curry, or my vegan paella.
How long ago did the idea for Alkemie begin, and what are its origins?
It all started when I began absorbing myself in raw foods, about 2006-07. I worked at a small raw vegan cafe part-time to really dive into the art of preparing it (versus spending an ungodly amount of money to go to a raw school). I was blown away by what I was creating: the textures, flavors, specifically the desserts. I have a HUGE sweet tooth, and these desserts were blowing my mind—better than any standard cooked vegan desserts. Initially my mission was to create a business model around that. I wanted to open my own raw vegan bakery. But the costs, overhead, labor, etc. just didn’t pan out to be a viable business.
Then I thought of just doing one thing, and doing that one thing well. I literally one day was eating some Coconut Bliss, and thought: ICE CREAM! Why not ice cream? Who doesn’t like ice cream? And at that point I had NEVER experimented or created a raw ice cream, but I have never been satisfied with ANY of the vegan ice creams out there. They just didn’t embody what classic dairy ice cream does, and I knew that with the raw foods, I could potentially come up with something stellar, so I started experimenting.
How long was it between the time you perfected the recipe to the time you were packaging and selling the product?
The formula was perfected in spring ‘08. Then I decided to take some time off, travel, do some soul searching, research…I came back from Thailand and then went straight into selling at farmers market in fall ‘08, and was doing that about a year. The response was amazing. People were floored by the ice cream. So without knowing exactly where to go next, I just kept on selling every week, until things started happening last summer.
I met my investor/business partner. I met the VP of Whole Foods. I was networking and meeting amazing connections. We then took this idea [and] started researching on how to take it to the next level. Found Boulder Ice Cream. Fell in love with the staff, did our tasting for NorCal, and got the green light a week later.
Honestly, it’s surreal. I’ve worked so hard my entire life, to finally have my dreams manifested—it’s, well, words can’t describe.
How did the name come about?
It all started in Thailand. I went there also to get inspired with a name for the company. I knew it was a beautiful land and people and surely I would come up with something. Halfway through the trip, after meeting so many people and telling them my story, vision, et cetera, I was coming up with nothing. When I was in Chiang Mai, I met a fellow traveler from London. We were talking one day about traveling, books, following your signs, et cetera. She said if I really wanted to read a book that will change [my] life, I should read The Alchemist.
So I bought the book when I was in Bangkok, [and] brought it down to the islands with me. One day, I had nothing to do; decided to pull the book out, head to the beach in the morning and start reading. I didn’t put the book down.
The message had such an impact on me. It was very simplistic in what it was saying: follow your dreams; trust your heart; follow the signs. But it was like that “a-ha!” moment for me.
So, after putting the book down, the name stuck in my head. I knew what alchemy meant literally: a transmutation of metal into gold. But I wanted to know more. So I went straight to the computer and looked the word up. The very first definition I found was: “any seemingly magical process of transforming ordinary ingredients into something of true merit.” The name of the company was born.
Do you see yourself dedicating yourself 100 percent to this, or do you still eventually want to open that bakery?
Good question! I do eventually want to venture out, and take on other projects, whether its the bakery, a small restaurant, an actual ice cream shop…still not sure yet. Once this business takes off and I can focus on other things, then I’ll decide.
Anything else you wanted to add or share?
We will be coming out with new flavors soon. Also, a little insider info: one of the flavors had a small error in production—the dark chocolate. The end product had too much free water added, which made it less creamy and more icy than the other two stellar flavors. It’s still good, just not perfect. It has since been corrected on the most recent production run and should be in the stock as the others are sold and rotated out. Just one of the inevitable growing pains small businesses go through.
If you want to stay in the loop about this product (because, let’s face it, ice cream is the best food ever), you can become a fan on Facebook, download the iPhone application, and even follow Alkemie on Twitter. Also, be sure to check out the blog for dates and information on in-store appearances.
Natalye just started graduate school studying creative writing, which means that she no longer has a social life, and her drinking has increased exponentially. She has a shiny but relatively useless college degree in journalism and music, and does freelance work, sometimes writing about indie music in Oakland. When she has down time, she’s usually sleeping, but rides her road bike when she can and makes both a killer vegan pizza and the most amazing mixtapes ever. Her updates are private, but you can follow her on Twitter and she’ll probably accept your request if you’re cute enough.