Have you been to Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden in Alameda? Because they’ve got vegan pastries, tea-soaked quinoa, and THE BEST G-D VEGAN PÂTÉ ON EARTH. I wrote it up completely for SF Weekly but I just want to encourage you all to head to the isla bonita for some tasty treats. Plus, heated patio and also, VEGAN PÂTÉ. Get fucked, foie gras, this is where it’s at.
Good news!: Unilever stops animal testing for tea! »
Peta has been fighting against Unilever and their cruel animals tests for Lipton tea and PG Tips for many years and finally, Unilever has promised to end testing animals for tea effective immediately! Huzzah! This is super good news considering Lipton is "the best-selling branded tea in the world."
From Unilever’s site:
Unilever remains committed to its ambition of eliminating animal testing by investing in alternative methods.
Where legal or regulatory requirements call for testing on animals to demonstrate the safety of Unilever’s tea-based beverages or ingredients, Unilever seeks to minimise the testing required and the number of animals involved, and the testing is provided by third parties.
Unilever has made a substantial investment in new non-animal approaches to research and testing including, since 2004, an annual investment of €3m on non-animal approaches for assuring consumer safety. Our research has made good progress in developing new approaches and we work continually with international research and policy groups to share our experience.
Yay for good news! Of course, according to Peta, Unilever has many other companies that do test on animals, and don’t miss the magic words “the testing is provided by third parties,” but this is progress. The tests they were doing for Lipton were all about like eating a ton of sugar and fat and seeing if tea helps you not die. First of all, it’s pretty easy to find some people who already eat a ton of fat and sugar and test the tea on them; second, torturing animals so that we humans can sit around eating poison and not die is ridiculous. Eff that!
Gifts that give back! For vegans and beyond! »
That’s right errrybody, a Vegansaurus Gifts That Give Back list! Because there is nothing like secretly imposing your values on others! I think I’ve got something for everyone on here. I’m kind of known for being the best gift-giver in the world so you’re pretty lucky I’m here. Now, it’s not as easy to recommend stuff for strangers but I found some good presents. Let’s do this!
First up, this is a present for your fashionable dog-lover. What? Why, yes, I guess that does describe me very well! And I can assure you I would love to get this:
This is the “found my animal” set and it’s available at Uncommongoods.com and on the manufacturer’s site. It celebrates all the adopted pups out there! Totally leather-free, each leash has a little brass tag with a number on it, counting your dog among the league of the proud rescue dogs. They have super-cute harnesses on their site too, all totally cotton. The best part, 25 percent of their profits go to the Louis Animal Foundation. Awesome!
Now for the “foodie” (“foodie” is like more stigmatized than “hipster” in my mind) or tea-lover, Douglas Fir tea! You can purchase the tea from my favorite vegan sneaker company, Keep! Made by the Juniper Ridge, 10 percent of sales go toward “protecting the western wilderness.” Ha! You thought I was only going to do animal charities, didn’t you! Well, guess what: lots of animals live in the wilderness so it’s important to protect our environment, too! Plus, I know lots of people that care about the environment and don’t care about animals so they will like the extra benefit from the gift and not know that you are secretly supporting the vegan agenda. Ha! Ha-ha!
Above we have a nice gift set from Aveda. Toiletry gift sets rule. I said it. Plus with this set, you get a little tagua nut accessory, sustainably made by women in Colombia: “Aveda’s alliance with indigenous people and women artisans in Colombia helps support BETTER FUTURES FOR 400 FAMILIES, and helps PRESERVE 400 RAINFOREST ACRES.” Dope!
For the bambino in your life, here’s a super great gorilla from miYim:
A portion of the proceeds go to everyone’s favorite ape-woman, the Jane Goodall Institute. I’m really into the description of the stuffed animal: "…this thoughtful and realistic looking Gorilla…" Does he look thoughtful? Or realistic? Doesn’t realistic mean we’d see his frank and beans?
Here’s another good gift for kids or a family:
The Mission: China board game, available at Amazon, is all about endangered animals! Plus, a portion of the proceeds go to Conservation International. I will admit that I totally enjoy playing board games with my family on holidays. Don’t tell anyone!
Now this next thing, I’m totally into:
A wildlife habitat kit! Awesome! Perfect for the gardener or just I guess anyone with a house or backyard. It’s available from the National Wildlife Federation. So cool! Shut up, it is cool.
For my next trick, candles that give back!:
With Jimmy’s candles, five dollars from every candle goes toward charity. You get to pick the charity from a list that includes Paws SF and the ASPCA, so that rules. I know candles aren’t the most exciting thing ever but you can kind of give them to anyone and they are actually useful, unlike 90 percent of presents. Oh! And all the candles are soy. Shweet.
OK, OK, this list is getting long! I will leave you with one final idea:
OK that’s two but they are from the same place! This is the Treahouse crossbody and the Mend messenger from the Mend collection and they benefit Invisible Children. See, I don’t only care about animals! I care about kids too. But that’s where I draw the line! Kids and animals. They are innocent and we should take care of them. Plus, these bags are FLY! Come on, you know I’m right.
There you have it! A nice list if I do say so myself. Happy holidays!
Anna’s Brooklyn Supermarket Adventures: Sheepshead Bay, Q Train »
Ladies and germs! Jelly-jars and pickled calves’ brains! Lucid fellows and damselflies! Hello, one and all. I invite you, implore you, invoke you to follow me on my MAGICAL ADVENTURES!!
This is the first of a series of posts chronicling Awesome Supermarkets in Brooklyn (and maybe other places). Vast places, rich with eggplant and pineapple and odd varieties of jam! Strange places, with languages that you cannot read! Sometimes even grisly places with strange squiggly meat-parts! But mostly… CHEAP PLACES.
Stay close, bold vegans, under my Whisking Cloak, as I transport you first to Sheepshead Bay. It’s one of the last stops on the Q train, and the population seems to be mostly Russian and Chinese. Lots of little old ladies in fur coats. But don’t get mad at them, they’re little and old and Russian.
(The lady pictured is neither little, old, nor me. I don’t know if she’s Russian or not.)
When you get off the train, a plum of a supermarket is hiding next to the CVS, at 1414 Sheepsheadbay Rd. It is camouflaged, like a secret beehive. Draw closer, dear vegan, and enter the Outer Chamber of Mostly Overpriced Produce. There are baskets hanging from the ceiling, and fake vines! Press onward!
The actual store, Global Wholesale Market, is open seven days a week, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
CHEAP/AWESOME: tea, bread, beer, chocolate, pickled things in jars
Russian supermarkets are good for the winter, or bunkers, or hunkering down. They’re good wartime food. They’re rations, like chocolate and nuts and pickles and jam. The produce isn’t always great, but dollars to doughnuts the bread/tea/chocolate selection is ace.
This Russian supermarket, like some others, induces glee solely through the cheeriness of its displays. A wall of Finn crispbread! A sale on Borscht! Chocolate boxes as big as your torso!
If you poke around a bit, you will find not just huge candy-boxes, but an aisle full of chocolate bars. And many are vegan! And hella cheap! (There are often English translations on the back.)
This chocolate bar is as long as my forearm. Its title is “airated rum chocolate”. Yes, it is flavored like rum. It is vegan, and about $2.
Most tea is under three dollars, and comes in surprising incarnations.
That’s nearly it for pictures, except this weird beer! Just ignore the freeze-dried fish in baskets near the floor.
Oh man, I wish I could show you all the rows upon rows of bread! Squishy whole-wheat with seeds, round nutty loaves, so many kinds of pumpernickel, gigantic round bagels, baguettes, bread so dark and dense it was positively dangerous.
But they cottoned on to my camera and asked me to stop taking photos! And rather than sneaking around, I felt bad, and obeyed. Which is too bad, because the bread and the Things in Jars were completely awesome to behold.
More supermarkets, photos, and neighborhoods to come
Philz Coffee vs. Rodger’s Coffee and Tea! »
Why am I comparing the two? Because one, I love to pit friends against each other in a bloody battle for my affections and two, they both specialize in “One Cup at a Time” coffee. If you live under a rock (or not in the Mission), what that means is, you choose exactly what type of beans you want, and they grind and brew them, mix in your desired quantities of sugar and soy milk, and deliver your dream coffee beverage. IN THEORY. In reality too, actually. After visiting both multiple times and sampling their wares, I can safely say: all this shit tastes the same, might as well be Folgers. If you’re looking for a detailed breakdown of the nuances and complexities and all that made-up bullshit people like to talk, look elsewhere! Hey Condescending Jerkface, this site isn’t called Pretentiosaurus! Although, maybe it should be. Let’s put that in the hat for our next meeting.
So, I’m gonna talk about the pros and cons in terms of vegan baked goods, and the general feeling I get from the place; that’s just how it works around here.
Vegan baked goods
Philz: Carries vegan donuts from People’s Donuts: you’ve come a long way, baby! These are SO MUCH better than when they debuted. In fact, they are downright delicious and come in a variety of flavors, from Newman’s Own (CRUSHED COOKIES ON TOP OF A DONUT. Take a minute.) to blueberry to Bac-O-Bits (!? I don’t know, whatever, I guess the vegans want in on a slice of the bacon money. Because you can serve human shit as long as it’s wrapped in bacon and a group of devotee dumbasses will slurp it up. UGH GROSS). They are all excellent but my favorite remains the cinnamon sugar. Perfect. They also sell Zoe’s Cookies' banana-walnut chocolate-chip cookies, and they are incredible; maybe my favorite vegan cookie in wide circulation in SF? Yes, I think so. They sometimes have some vegan loaf breads but I haven't seen those lately. They are tasty.
Rodger’s Coffee and Tea: VEGAN BEIGNETS CAN I HEAR SOME NOISE FROM THE BACK!? Yes, they sell vegan beignets. Yes, the fluffy fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar. And yes, I want to marry them. They are soooo delicious and rich and you feel like you’re eating a funnel cake and ugh, they are so amazing. One of the best vegan baked (fried?) goods I’ve had ever and a reason to visit Rodger’s alone. WARNING: they are only available on weekends! But maybe if we are always buying them all, they will get wise and know to carry them every day, even Christmas. ESPECIALLY CHRISTMAS.
They also sell an excellent mushroom-and-spinach vegan empanada. Bring it home, heat it up (or have them do it) and enjoy your VEGAN HOT POCKET, BITCHES! And this one won’t try to kill you! They also have a large selection of vegan cookies from Alternative Baking Company (bo-ring but thanks for having them!) and some other vegan trail mix bars and shit. I don’t know, granola bars? Yawn.
General feeling I get from the place
Philz: Good. I like it. Kinda like your grandma’s living room if your grandma was kinda crazy and into the internet.
Rodger’s Coffee and Tea: Good. I like it. Kinda doesn’t seem to know if it wants to serve hipsters or yuppies so hey, let’s hit up both! Whatever, did I mention VEGAN BEIGNETS? Not tons of seating but you’re close to Dolores Park so go there anyway. Bench out front is good for judging LAME AND HIDEOUS* passersby.
BONUS QUESTION: Have I met this “Rodger” and/or this “Philz”?
Philz: His name is Phil and yes, he’s very nice! Also, a friend of mine was Phil once for Halloween and it was amazing.
Rodger: No, but his friend came to a Rocket Dog Rescue fundraiser and gave out coupons for a free cup of coffee! He seems like a good guy to me. These coupons are actually a genius take on the frequent buyer card: your first cup of coffee is free, as well as your last. (Does Philz even have a frequent buyer card? If they do, they don’t market them very well!)
Why not go to both!? Start at Philz, grab several donuts, eat on way to Rodger’s, buy beignets and empanadas, eat on way to Philz. Repeat. YOU’RE WELCOME.
Review: Samovar Tea Lounge! »
First off, they have a vegan cupcake here. It’s chocolate. It’s the size of a walnut. It costs $6. Do with that information what you will, but listen now and hear me later: a cupcake that costs more than a call girl should fucking do something nice for you. Like tell you you’re pretty while doing your taxes and giving you magical powers. Oh, and taste MOTHERFUCKING DELICIOUS. This cupcake did none of those things. One demerit.
Other than that, the veggie and vegan options are clearly marked on the menu and they are plentiful. They even have a vegan Thai iced tea! Most of the meals are centered around a certain type of cuisine—Japanese, Indian, Russian (I KNOW, WTF?!), etc.—or you can order small plates and teas à la carte. It’s a bit pricey for the amount of food you get, but I’ve always been quantity over quality so there you go. I mean, I’d rather have a bucket of pasta—literally, an entire bucket. Like the kind you usually put a mop in. Filled with pasta—than one AMAZING ravioli. I guess you could tell that much by looking at me so A) fuck you for judging me and B) fuck that ravioli and fuck those bitches who take one bite of that ravioli and are like, “This is the best thing I’ve ever eaten!” Well, bitch, that is because you haven’t eaten since the Clinton Administration (those were the days!). I have no time for you or your skinny-ass antics. Seriously, I want to send you all to Jurassic Park to be eaten by dinosaurs like in the documentary.
Get more info on Samovar and its two locations here. Adding links is pretty fun.
[photo via yelp]