vegansaurus!

03/28/2014

Los Angeles! You need to get in on this! It’s an event at Mohawk Bend where you get to eat all of Tal Ronnen’s food and then hang out with your stomach out and have the best night of your life. It’s gonna be the most delicious thing that’s ever happened to you or anyone you know, and it’s only $35 and will totally sell out, so you should probably get on it now. 
Details:

Join us for the next event in our Authors Worth Celebrating Series and meet Tal Ronnen, Chef and Co-owner of prized Los Angeles restaurant,Crossroads Kitchen and author of New York Times Bestseller “The Conscious Cook.” *** Space is limited, reservations required. Please e-mail authors@mohawk.la to reserve. ***Enjoy a four-course prix fixe meal of Chef Tal Ronnen original dishes prepared in collaboration with our Executive Chef Erick Simmons followed by an intimate Q&A. Menu: ~The appetizer duo: Grilled artichokes with Caesar dressing and sweet onion beggar’s purses~Cream of asparagus soup~Kale ricotta tortellini with saffron cream sauce~Oven roasted banana rum cheesecake with spiced pecan crust and maple rum sauce
The dinner costs $35 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Books will be available for purchase.

Also, I’ll be there so come by and say hi and let’s be best friends, OK?? BEST FRIENDS!!!

Los Angeles! You need to get in on this! It’s an event at Mohawk Bend where you get to eat all of Tal Ronnen’s food and then hang out with your stomach out and have the best night of your life. It’s gonna be the most delicious thing that’s ever happened to you or anyone you know, and it’s only $35 and will totally sell out, so you should probably get on it now. 

Details:

Join us for the next event in our Authors Worth Celebrating Series and meet Tal Ronnen, Chef and Co-owner of prized Los Angeles restaurant,Crossroads Kitchen and author of New York Times Bestseller “The Conscious Cook.” 

*** Space is limited, reservations required. Please e-mail authors@mohawk.la to reserve. ***

Enjoy a four-course prix fixe meal of Chef Tal Ronnen original dishes prepared in collaboration with our Executive Chef Erick Simmons followed by an intimate Q&A. 

Menu: 
~The appetizer duo: Grilled artichokes with Caesar dressing and sweet onion beggar’s purses
~Cream of asparagus soup
~Kale ricotta tortellini with saffron cream sauce
~Oven roasted banana rum cheesecake with spiced pecan crust and maple rum sauce

The dinner costs $35 per person (tax and gratuity not included). Books will be available for purchase.

Also, I’ll be there so come by and say hi and let’s be best friends, OK?? BEST FRIENDS!!!

12/20/2013

LA: Sunday Suppers & New Year’s Eve at Crossroads   »

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Attention Angelenos! Tal Ronnen’s Crossroads has started showcasing both local and national chefs with their Sunday Suppers at Crossroads series. What does this mean, you ask?!? It means there will be even MORE reason to get your tuckus to Crossroads for their amazing food. So far, Scot Jones, their executive chef, kicked things off on December 8th with an Italian inspired menu. CIAO BELLA (the only Italian I can pretend to know, and I still Googled it).

Last week I couldn’t NOT see what Top Chef Masters/Iron Chef America/OPRAH’S PERSONAL CHEF, Chef Art Smith’s “soulful Southern menu” was all about. Seriously? Nailed it! He came around to talk to patrons and casually admitted that he and Tal had cooked a similar menu for HH Dalai Lama. You know, NBD. 
People, the fried green tomato salad!!! I DIED. (Fried food in a salad? Why didn’t I think of that??). And the Southern fried “chicken” was ON POINT. I’m from the South, so I take my fried faux meats seriously. The breading was off the chain good, ya’ll.

Don’t be too bummed you missed out (okay, maybe be slightly bummed), every Sunday there will be a guest chef and a special menu. Follow them on Twitter for the most up-to-date goings ons.

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Also, they’re hosting a special 6-course, New Year’s Eve dinner with a late seating (a less expensive, earlier seating with a 5-course menu is also available, if you want to dine there and party elsewhere). The menu looks amazeballs (no surprise)! EGGNOG ICE CREAM!

Be sure to make a reservation pronto and get ready to spot some vegan celebrities! This place is a WeHo hot spot.

Pics are from Crossroads’ Twitter. 

This is a guest post by the wonderful Caroline Netschert. Caroline is an undercover east coaster living in LA, an experimental cook & recipe tester. She swings both ways: cooked & raw. You can see her latest meal or adventure on Instagram, Twitter (both @wakeupcaroline) or her amateur blog: vegansciencelab.com

10/30/2013

Forbes names vegan food a top food trend of 2013!  »

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Go Forbes! Now I know we will get some people like, “trend? TREND?” but we consistently have been seeing veganism as a “trend” in the last half a dozen years AND if we’ve learned anything from beets, many things that start as trends, become menu staples. So! Here is what Forbes has to say!:

High-end Vegan
"The new wave of veganism is more about health than animal welfare," says Mike Thelin, co-founder of Feast Portland. "For better or worse, this is why it will have more staying power." Witness the rise of such eating plans ("diets" seems too limiting) as Vegan Before 6 and the China Study. Chef Tal Ronnen opened L.A.’s vegan restaurant Crossroads after catering vegan for celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and the wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi. Now he creates artichoke "oysters" (pictured) with artichoke puree, crispy oyster mushroom and kelp caviar and "crab cakes” composed of hearts of palm, apples, and beets, with nuts refined into non-dairy cheeses. Matthew Kenney of M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica does similarly photogenic dishes and has a cooking school to back it up. It’s not just a west coast thing: Chef Jose Huber of the Amway Hotel Collection in Grand Rapids, Mich. goes vegan for a month each year to taste test recipes such as a cauliflower steak.

Fine, a lot of people follow vegan “meal plans” for health but that’s better than nothing and I have seen many people start out for health and eventually get to the animal rights reasons. Because a lot of people aren’t even aware of what happens to animals used for food but once you start reading about reasons to be vegan, that stuff is going to come up!

I really couldn’t be happier that Forbes is down with veganism. Now the riches will be all up on it and make us even more yummy restaurants!

04/01/2013

Kite Hill Cheese Is Here  »

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Meave reported on Kite Hill cheese rumors last month, and we’re back with an update. The rumors are a reality, and the fabled cheese has arrived OTS at Northern California Whole Foods. 

We took to the streets to report on the new vegan product that has all the vegans (and omni food-lovers!) dropping their edible panties (and checkbooks!) for. Here’s our HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM:

I learned the following from the Whole Foods in Los Gatos cheese people:

1. Kite Hill has an exclusive contract with WFs and will only be available at Whole Food stores for a year — after that, the rest of the world can have at it.

2. It’s currently only at Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Oakland Whole Foods, but it’ll expand to either 9 or 11 more Northern California WFs “very soon”. They weren’t sure which stores, but they THINK Redwood City and Berkeley are in. Los Angeles folks can try the cheeses at Crossroads, Tal Ronnen’s new vegan restaurant on Melrose, and I think there’s a cheese shop opening up next door or inside the restaurant or something CONFIRM OR DENY PLZ.

3. As of last Friday, all No Cal WF stores were sold out, but the’re supposed to get shipments this week. If you call in advance, make sure the employees look in the dairy case, and not with the vegan cheese!

OK, so what I tried… descriptions from Kite Hill’s FB page:

Costanoa, a semi soft dusted with a piquant blend of paprika and fennel pollen; and White Alder, a soft ripened cheese with a delicate white rind, pungent aroma and velvety texture. 

There’s one more flavor — Casuccio, a soft fresh with a supple, silky texture — but they didn’t have it at Whole Foods.

The people working the cheese section at Whole Foods were crazy about both cheeses, but particularly loved the White Alder. They were all genuinely excited about it, and impressed by it. 

I sampled it with a professional food critic (an omnivore!) and she thought it was good, if a bit salty. My vegetarian sister liked it a lot, but said it didn’t “trick her” into thinking it was cheese. She mentioned that it was crumbly like tofu, and not creamy like cheese — which was also my experience eating it. However, if the critic or my sister didn’t know it was vegan to begin with, who knows if they would’ve been able to tell. 

For my part, I thought it was good. Very good, especially when I ate it as instructed on the Kite Hill FB “info” page.

Costanoa:
Costanoa is a semi-soft cheese encrusted with a piquant crust of paprika and fennel pollen. Its texture is smooth and compact, making this cheese excellent for slicing and serving on crackers or fresh baguette rounds. We love to offset Costanoa’s buttery, earthy, peppery flavors with a pairing of fresh or caramelized figs.

Suggested wine pairing: A crisp, zesty dry white wine with citrus or floral notes. 

White Alder:
White Alder is a soft ripened velvety cheese with a white, fluffy rind. It has a tangy mushroomy flavor profile with a rich, silky texture and pungent aromatics. This cheese is best served straight from the refrigerator and pairs well with white grapes.

Suggested wine pairing: A dry white wine such as a Chardonnay with fruit or citrus notes or even Champagne.

I did think both flavors were a little salty, but mainly delicious. I preferred the White Alder because the rind was extra fun and reminded me of brie; I would be excited to eat this as part of a cheese plate at a fancy restaurant.

That said, I’m not sure if it’s as revolutionary as all that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — the more good vegan cheeses on the market, the better. Plus, the fact that the Whole Foods cheese people were SO excited about it, got me excited, too. Because if they say it tastes like cheese, it must taste (at least kinda) like cheese, right? And if the rich people are willing to switch from their cow cheese to this vegan cheese, that’s a good thing. And, uh, it’s gonna have to be rich people because this shiz is NOT cheap: White Alder is $14.99, Costonoa was $13.99 for six ounces. 

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So, what’s up? Have any of you tried it? What did you think?? 

UPDATE:

From San Francisco Magazine, here’s the list of Whole Foods the cheeses will be available at (and when!):

The brand will debut today (March 25) in Whole Foods Los Altos and Palo Alto; Tuesday in Oakland, Berkeley, Noe Valley, Franklin, and Potrero Hill; Wednesday in Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Sebastopol; and Thursday in San Jose, Cupertino, and Capitola. The cheeses are all exclusive to the Bay Area until they go national later this summer.

UPDATE 2:

Super Vegan tweets that Crossroads is out of Kite HIll and won’t have it back for “awhile”. DEMAND IS HIGH, MY FRIENDS. 

03/13/2013

Rumor mill: Is Tal Ronnen starting an artisan vegan cheese company?  »

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Dear lord, please let Ecorazzi’s rumor-mongering be correct. Could Kite Hill Cheese be the fancy-pants fromagerie we’ve been waiting for?

Just wait till all those “I’d go vegan, but I love cheese too much” whiny-pants vegetarians hear about this. No excuses left, you big babies! Vegan up and eat your fancy cheeses or accept your weaknesses, donate extra money to a farm-animal rescue group, and hush.

[Photo by starfive via Flickr]

05/08/2012

Rumor alert: Ellen may not be opening a vegan restaurant after all!  »

Word on the street (and by street I mean the internet highway) is that Ellen and Portia’s SoCal vegan restaurant may not be happening after all! Oh no! I was looking forward to this collaboration of superstars—Ellen, Portia, Chrissy Hynde, Steven Bing, Tal Ronnen and Waldo Fernandez. I was also looking forward to hooking up with a Sugar Daddy, because I knew there was no way in hell I’d be able to afford eating at that joint, being a restaurant worker myself.

As excited as I may have been about a new vegan hotspot opening up, I did have my reservations. Everyone wants to open a restaurant. Everyone thinks they’ll be great at it, but the truth is, most new restaurants don’t make it in their first year.  It’s hard work. Nevermind that the people who can handle working in the restaurant industry are bat shit crazy. The turnover rate is astronomical. If you haven’t read Laura’s “Top 10 Reasons You Can’t Be a Professional Chef" for SF Weekly, get on that! She got some flack in the comments section that it was unrealistic, but those people are dead wrong.
My point is that working in this industry is my career, and I love it, but it has been both the best and worst experience of my life. It’s tough, mentally and physically. So if Ellen and Portia want to keep their sanity, maybe they should run the other way. Plus, I’d hate for them to be the jerk owners who show off their shiny new cars, while their staff juggles two jobs—because let me tell you, this industry does not pay well (that is a paraphrased sentiment from Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential, but also true of my own experience. You can love or hate that guy, but Kitchen Confidential is THE first-hand account of working in the industry, and I for one, really enjoyed its harsh honesty).

{Photo via Ecorazzi.com}


12/13/2011

You gonna be in Palo Alto tonight? Well then you totally have to go meet vegan chef Tal Ronnen when you eat at LYFE Kitchen! While you’re at it, will you please try their healthy(-ish) vegan fried chicken for me (so curious!), and get tips on deep-frying kale from Tal.
Let’s talk all about frying things when you get back, because that’s hella fun. Then, we’ll have a deep-fry party and invite the president! Oh my, I fear I’m getting ahead of myself.
The details on the flyer are above, so do it to it!

You gonna be in Palo Alto tonight? Well then you totally have to go meet vegan chef Tal Ronnen when you eat at LYFE Kitchen! While you’re at it, will you please try their healthy(-ish) vegan fried chicken for me (so curious!), and get tips on deep-frying kale from Tal.

Let’s talk all about frying things when you get back, because that’s hella fun. Then, we’ll have a deep-fry party and invite the president! Oh my, I fear I’m getting ahead of myself.

The details on the flyer are above, so do it to it!

08/23/2011

LYFE Kitchen to open very soon, and here’s the menu!  »

LYFE Kitchen (Meave wrote about them earlier this year) is set to open “later this month” (it’s already August 23! When, dammit! When!) at 167 Hamilton Ave in Palo Alto. As a refresher, LYFE kitchen is an experimental healthy fast food restaurant from some former McDonald’s head honchos, Oprah’s chef Art Smith (WHAT’S UP, O!), and vegan chef extraordinaire, Tal Ronnen. Because of Tal’s involvement, there are tons of vegan options on the menu, and they all look damn good. That’s a picture of the vegan corn chowder, I WILL EAT YOU. I THOUGHT all the desserts were supposed to be vegan, but they’re not marked as such, even though that banana run cheesecake sounds like something from Tal’s cookbook?? I dunno ‘bout that!

I got to interview Art Smith earlier this year and he was a very charming Southern gent of adorability and I fell straight in love with him. He told me Moby played his wedding’s after-party (yes, a wedding with an after-party! MARRY ME, ART! I, too, love to party hard!) and the whole thing was vegan (at Moby’s insistence, although Art thought it was a great idea, too!). Man, TO BE RICH AND IN LOVE. Although not to be a bitch but to be a total bitch, I’d probably have Leslie Hall play my after-party. Sorry, Moby! You just can’t work a gem sweater like my girl Leslie!

Anyway, what do you think of the menu? Will you be going to Palo Alto to eat there? I am pretty sure I will because even though the target demographic is soccer moms, I can eat just as much as those bitches! Also, I’d like this idea to succeed, and for the vegan options to sell well, and for LYFE Kitchen to grow bigger than McDonald’s and for us all to eat vegan banana rum cheesecake in a field of dreams! LET’S DO THIS.

04/26/2011

Steve Wynn is all, “IN YOUR FACE, KATE MIDDLETON!”  »

Steve Wynn, American vegan gazillionbilliontribillion$$$$$aire and some woman 1/8th of his age are getting married the same weekend as Prince William and Kate Middleton. Here’s the joker Wynn and his terrified lucky bride-to-be!

I like to imagine Kate Middleton and Steve Wynn as Anne Hathaway and what’s-her-name—Goldie Hawn’s more unfortunate looking daughter? WHAT IS HER NAME? She’s in that awful movie that I’ve watched like nine times (I hate myself), Bride Wars. Middleton and Wynn grew up best friends, both dreaming of their wedding days (just like a woman!) and now, they’re 23 and 72 (respectively) and wedding dress shopping together and looking at china patterns and whatever rich people do before they get married AND THEN, they head to the Plaza to book it for their big days, and it’s only available one day and so they have to sabotage each other and duke it out to see which wedding REIGNS SUPREME. I think that’s basically what’s going on here, I mean Middleton obviously did something to Wynn’s face for him to look like that, right? OMG LAURA YOU ARE SO MEAN AND NO GREAT BEAUTY YOURSELF! Actually, you’re wrong, I am very attractive. HA!

Anyway, if I have to choose which wedding I’m going to, it’s totally Wynn’s because you know that menu is gonna be all vegan. Ecorazzi thinks Tal Ronnen is the chef so it’ll likely just be massive platters of Gardein stuffed with Gardein. I’ll take it!

03/29/2011

Here’s the clip from the Ellen Degeneres Show where she helps the family go vegan. It features supervegans Kathy Freston and Tal Ronnen. There are cute little kids! The food looks good too. I think I watched this video too early in the morning. OR! It’s time for breakfast tacos!

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