vegansaurus!

03/04/2014

JB’s Top 5 Bay Area Vegan Eats!  »

Isn’t weird when you are a tourist in a city you spent so much time living your day-to-day life in? Do you know what I’m talking about here? You move away, you come back to visit friends and go to some show or something, and you plan everything out according to where you’ll be all day and where you are staying! The thing I get all up in arms about when I’m visiting a locale I used to live is the food! I want to go to all my favorite places, even if it overrides everything else on the trip (fun for everyone hanging out with me, I can assure you). I’ve been thinking about my fave haunts in the Bay Area; specifically the places I would be most disappointed if I didn’t get to hit up while visiting. Okay, I told myself I couldn’t over think this, so top-of-my-head, 15 seconds to write-it-out-list includes:

Hella Vegan Eats 

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Their Lusty Lover’s tacos, with cornflakes, seitan and mac’n cheese, are what my dreams are made of! I haven’t met a menu item I’m not enamored by, including their chicken and waffles brunch sandwich and the beet burger on a donut bun! You can find where Sylvee and Tiff are set-up for the day on their Twitter, Facebook  and Instagram accounts (@hellaveganeats). 

Flaco’s 

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Flaco’s in Berkeley is so flavorful, fresh and affordable! My favorite menu item is the soyrizo soft tacos! Word of warning, they are not playing with their hot sauce! I can take my spice, but I went into a semi-panic halfway through my first meal there. Now I play it safe and go with mild because I am terrified. Also, Flaco’s is closed on Mondays, which I forgot on my last visit which left me sad. 

Timeless Coffee Roasters 

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Timeless in Oakland has an array of both savory and sweet treats, including cheesecake, danishes, bacon and cheddar scones, and “chicken” pot pies! 

The bakers at Timeless are so incredibly talented. Coming from someone in the same trade, every time I go in I’m both inspired and I want to just throw in the towel! Timeless has raised the bar tremendously when it comes to vegan pastries and desserts; if you’ve been there before you know what I’m talking about! Their blueberry cheesecake is now the only cheesecake that exists to me, and worth two trips on my last visit! 

Donut Farm

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Donut Farm in Oakland, baby! Lay your pretty eyes upon the most glorious of feasts, including cold-pressed coffee, mushroom gravy smothered biscuits, tempeh bacon and sautéed southern greens! 

Best brunch and donuts in the Bay, hands DOWN. I never went there for the weekday lunch menu because I was in the city, doing city things (you know how it goes when you live in San Francisco). I also only ever ordered the biscuits and gravy because vegan biscuits and gravy are so special! I love Donut Farm so much. I love the feeling I get when I walk inside, I love how friendly everyone is, how happy the customers are and I also REALLY SUPER DUPER ENJOY that even when it’s very busy, I never feel stressed out there. There was something about going to brunch in the city, and everyone’s energy being insane with every thing so crowded. Did I mention I work in restaurants? I notice the craziest things when I go out to eat! Anyway, I WILL LOVE DONUT FARM UNTIL THE END OF TIME! (They have a choice of soy or coconut creamer for your coffee; it’s the little things that count!) 

Thai Idea

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Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls sans mayo, crispy spring rolls and Volcanic “beef” entree! 

I’ve lived a life that has included devouring Thai Idea’s Firecracker Balls, and now I don’t want to be without! I know this joint may seem like the wild-card here, but I just loved going to eat at Thai Idea. Everyone in my parties always enjoyed their food, the staff didn’t get cranky about large groups and they offer vegan shrimp. Plus there is that BYOB policy, which is everywhere in Chicago but I never see in California! I think the food is creative and flavorful, and the plating is beautiful! Recently their health score fell pretty low, so I hope they can get that back up because I would hate for them to close down! The score doesn’t faze me too much because I’ve worked in a lot of kitchens and some places get caught while others, for some reason, do not. 

So that’s my list. I generally like comfort foods that are easy on the budget and casual, yet innovative, satisfying and tasty. Tell me your Bay Area faves so that when people google where to eat when visiting, they’ll see all of our ideas! Did you know you can upload photos in Disqus? Do it! I want to see a plates of your most highly-regarded vegan restaurant meals! I also want to give a shout-out to Weird Fish, Mission burritos, the chocolate Heaven Dogs I used to make at Source, Benders, the oyster mushrooms at Millennium and From the Garden Greenhouse brunches

02/25/2014

Vegan berry danishes: a love story!   »

At this point in time, February 2014, I have been vegan for almost SEVEN years. Six and half years ago, I never could have imagined I would make it this long. I went vegan straight from being an omni, and that first year definitely had its ups and downs. My boyfriend at the time was vegan and we were working as bakers at The Chicago Diner, so it made sense to try veganism out. Obviously it stuck, and I am loving this lifestyle more and more with each passing year! 

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A lot of times I talk about things I miss, because there are a lot of treats from my omni days that I sometimes wish I could still eat. Yes, physically I could still eat them, but it’s not worth it to me. I try to keep things positive and only talk about the foods I miss when I find vegan versions that remind me of the originals! It’s so exciting when that happens, like with So Delicious Coconut Milk Minis filling the spot in my heart that had been missing Eskimo Pies! I didn’t even know that void was there until I bit into the delectable treat! 

One of my very favorite breakfast foods, beside blueberry Toaster’s Strudels, used be cheese danishes. If they had berries in them, I’d probably eat two. Maybe the berry danish sugar coursing through my body, ready to be burned off, was why I always loved PE, even though I was scared of the alphas and scared of the ball.

2013 was a big year for me and the berry danishes. I had THREE! THREE BERRY DANISHES! I know that number doesn’t sound like much, but before those three, the number was zero. 

My very favorite one was from Sweet Pea Baking Company in Portland, Oregon. The reason it was my favorite was because it had not only berries in it, but CHEESE! It had a sweet vegan cream cheese in there, and I was so happy. Actually, I think ECSTATIC is the better word here. Do any other vegan bakeries make them like this? I must know!

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Sweet Pea Baking Company amongst the other stores at the vegan mini-mall in PDX. 

imageThe danish I loved and still think of fondly. Is that an apple slice I spy? Were there apple slices as well? I don’t know, all I can remember is that there were cheese and berries! 

Now, this is a little out of order, but the first danish I had last year was on my trip to the Grand Canyon, at Nami vegan bakery in Phoenix. 

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I would take another trip to Phoenix just to eat at Green vegetarian restaurant and Nami! 

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Though this particular danish didn’t have cheese in it, the flaky pastry layers and fresh blueberry filling more than made up for it! 

Unfortunately I do not have a picture of my danish from Timeless Coffee in Oakland! Sometimes I just gotta eat my food and not worry about snapping a photo, feel me? Timeless is one of my favorite Bay Area eateries, definitely in my top 5! In fact, even though I moved down to Southern California last week, I’m coming to SF for a comedy show, because a Jen Kirkman live podcast taping is a show NOT to be missed! Of course the first thing I’m going to do after landing in Oakland is hit up Timeless with my partner-in-crime, Britney! We need fuel (and probably some liquid courage) before we ask our favorite comedienne to sign everything on our person and possibly for a photo we can post all over social media. 

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Since it would be blasphemous to leave you with no pictures of Timeless treats, I present you with the best breakfast beverage of all time (iced coffee) and my second favorite breakfast pastry, the scone! Timeless makes vegan, savory, cheddar, bacon scones and they are phenomenal!

11/20/2013

Vegan guide to SF Bay Area Thanksgiving!   »

Hey friends! Thanksgiving, aka the most glorious time of the year, food-wise, is quickly descending upon us! I can’t wait to see all of your festive food pics this year! In a quandary about what to eat? I got you covered! Of course if I missed anything, be sure to mention it in the comments! After all, that’s how our relationship works, for better or for worse.

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Source restaurant will be offering their annual Gobble Platter, complete with “gobble”, gravy, creamed spinach, candied yams, homemade cranberry sauce, and a side salad. This meal is pretty epic, and I’m seriously looking forward to it! I’ll be eating it as my employee lunch (yippee!) before scooting off to the Peninsula to eat with my own family. Of course Source will be offering an array of desserts, including spice cake snowballs with orange frosting and a living pumpkin cheesecake (from me to you!), though not included in the $20.95 platter price. Mention Vegansaurus for 10% off your Gobble Platter, which will be available all day Thursday and Friday. Call 415-864-9000 for more information, or to make take-out/reservation arrangements. 

Souley Vegan is offering a SCRUMPTIOUS looking Thanksgiving day brunch buffet, 11am to 5pm. There are so many items to choose from, including a tofu loaf with rosemary gravy, blueberry waffles, herb mashed potatoes, southern fried tofu, pumpkin cheesecake with warm caramel sauce and your choice of two mimosas or draft beers. The price of this buffet is still up in the air, but I was told it will be in the ballpark of $20 - $25. Call 510-922-1615 for more details

The Plant Cafe is offering a prix fixe three-course meal, which includes a soup course, salad course, and featuring an entree of a red-wine braised portobello mushroom and lentil stew, with a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. I believe the entire meal is gluten-free as well as vegan. The meal is by reservation only, from 2pm - 8pm. It’s $50 for adults and $25 for children under the age of 12. Wine flights are available for $25. Call 415-984-1973 for more details, or to make reservations! 

Hella Vegan Eats is offering a “Festive Feast,” which is available for pick-up or delivery on Wednesday, November 27th. Time is running out, as they ask you please place your order by Thursday, November 21st! I love Hella Vegan Eats so very much; I can only imagine how spectacular their Thanksgiving feast must be! Reserve your order by calling 510-282-8233. (Please note side-dishes and desserts are only available in addition to the Festive Feast) 

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New-to-the scene cuties, Ashley and Kyle Knies, of From the Garden, are offering a Thanksgiving meal box, which they will deliver to you on Wednesday, November 27th (minimum order, two boxes). The boxes of food are $30 each and includes such delectable items as  an Herbed-Lentil loaf, apple-cranberry stuffing, green bean casserole with crispy onions, and garlic mashed potatoes! Dessert is also available for an additional fee. To reserve a box, or ask any questions (single savory items, and couple selections of pies are available) email chefkyleknies@gmail.com! 

Millennium is almost surely doing something because they always do so if you want to fancy it up, holler at them pretty soon (415-345-3900 x10) because I know they sell out and that would suck if your fancy thing was a bust because you slept on it. (And Uh, if you can, let us know in the comments what the deal is??)

If you want to bring home the Thanksgiving fun, you can get Hodo Soy Beanery yuba roast (supposedly very delicious!) from goodeggs.comOf course, Whole Foods always offers a vegan dinner available for pick-up at their many locations, while “faux turkeys” or holiday roasts are now sold at Rainbow, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. For your dessert needs, I’m always pretty stoked with the ready-made pies at Rainbow. There’s also Mission Pie, Timeless Coffee and of course pumpkin spice cinnamon rolls at Cinnaholic! Make sure you make your orders asap, as many bakeries have strict deadlines and cut-off dates!  

BONUS: If you know people in Los Angeles — check out our Los Angeles Vegan Thanksgiving Guide!

{Source Gobble Platter photo via Quarrygirl!}

07/12/2013

The next East Bay Vegan Bakesale is coming!

Just like before, the bakesale will be held in front of Issues (20 Glen Ave at Piedmont in Oakland) on Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, as usual, will benefit two great causes: Bad Rap for pit bulls, and Girl Army, Oakland’s peer-taught self-defense collective! Please check out both these very worthy organizations, and get ready to show your support for them in the form of chowing down!

To further tempt you, the participating bakers include Vegansaurus favorites Timeless Coffee, Cinnaholic,  Pepples Donuts, and Fat Bottom Bakery!
Plus there’ll be a prizes, including:
A $50 gift certificate to Millennium RestaurantA gift certificate to Hella Vegan EatsA gift certificate and prize packs to ISSUESA gift certificate to Timeless Coffee Roastery and BakeryA “Tea Tasting for Two” at Tea Here NowA $30 gift certificate to University Press BooksA $25 gift certificate to Amoeba BerkeleyA subscription to VegNews and a pack of zines!
Not bad, right? Get more info and keep up with the EBVB with Twitter and Facebook. See you on Sunday, Oakland!

The next East Bay Vegan Bakesale is coming!

Just like before, the bakesale will be held in front of Issues (20 Glen Ave at Piedmont in Oakland) on Sunday, July 14, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and, as usual, will benefit two great causes: Bad Rap for pit bulls, and Girl Army, Oakland’s peer-taught self-defense collective! Please check out both these very worthy organizations, and get ready to show your support for them in the form of chowing down!

To further tempt you, the participating bakers include Vegansaurus favorites Timeless CoffeeCinnaholic,  Pepples Donuts, and Fat Bottom Bakery!

Plus there’ll be a prizes, including:

A $50 gift certificate to Millennium Restaurant
A gift certificate to Hella Vegan Eats
A gift certificate and prize packs to ISSUES
A gift certificate to Timeless Coffee Roastery and Bakery
A “Tea Tasting for Two” at Tea Here Now
A $30 gift certificate to University Press Books
A $25 gift certificate to Amoeba Berkeley
A subscription to VegNews and a pack of zines!

Not bad, right? Get more info and keep up with the EBVB with Twitter and Facebook. See you on Sunday, Oakland!

03/28/2013

Homemade vegan creme eggs: Can it be done?  »

imageLiza Eckert attempts to make vegan creme eggs chez elle for Persephone, with mixed results. Mainly because her electric mixer gave out before the ingredients of the creamy centers were fully combined, and then she ran into trouble with apportioning the chocolate shells … but, she says, “Nothing, not even weird consistency or uneven chocolate, will stand between me and my creme eggs.”

Have any of you attempted to make creme eggs? I loved the Cadbury’s original more than life itself as a kid, and had an excellent grown-up version at Timeless the other week—creamier centers with a sort of lemony finish to the vanilla, offset by darker chocolate—but I’ve never felt inclined to do them myself. There’s a recipe on VegWeb, though, for the brave!

[photo by Liza Eckert for Persephone Magazine]

01/17/2013

Get ready, Bay Area: New vegan kid on the block Timeless Coffee is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 19! The festivities include a build-your-own-dessert extravaganza, with a free drip coffee included with every creation. Look at this menu: Chick-O-Sticks, you guys. Chick-O-Stick and peanut butter frosting. TWINKIE CAKE.
Get your butts to 4252 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday to party down with Timeless! Welcome them to the neighborhood, your hearts, and most importantly your beautiful stomachs.
[Photos from the Timeless Coffee’s Instagram, which you really should follow]

Get ready, Bay Area: New vegan kid on the block Timeless Coffee is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 19! The festivities include a build-your-own-dessert extravaganza, with a free drip coffee included with every creation. Look at this menu:
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Chick-O-Sticks, you guys. Chick-O-Stick and peanut butter frosting. TWINKIE CAKE.

Get your butts to 4252 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday to party down with Timeless! Welcome them to the neighborhood, your hearts, and most importantly your beautiful stomachs.

[Photos from the Timeless Coffee’s Instagram, which you really should follow]

12/19/2012

Guest Post: Timeless Coffee is Oakland’s newest, all-vegan coffee shop!  »

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Carrot cake and cappuccino, so effing delicious

Timeless Coffee, the brand-spankin’-new coffee shop on Piedmont Avenue, is a perfect blend of quality coffee, delicious food and excellent service. It’s hard to expand past a general review of “Yaaaaaaay!” but I’ll do my best. The airy coffee shop has counters full of house-baked pastries and candies and boasts a delightful variety of different coffee roasts, available as a pour-over or quick Fetco-brewed option. My first sip of the Sightglass pour-over called to mind every Dale Cooper quote on the “damn fine” quality of a superb cup of coffee. I drank it black as midnight, and boy was I happy.

As a coffee-loving, Oakland-based vegan, I hadn’t realized what I was missing until I walked into Timeless. Up until this point in my veganism I’d accepted that if I wanted good coffee, the only accompaniments available to me were bagels, Pepple’s donuts, or an elusive Fat Bottom Bakery cookie or scone. No longer. There is something so wonderful about a wide variety of delicious vegan treats right alongside your cup of joe. Violett at Timeless makes a killer selection of biscotti, Hostess-inspired baked goods, cookies, muffins, chocolates, and weekend cinnamon rolls. Having tried the house-made “Twinkie”, the Chocodile, and the carrot cake, I can guarantee that even the mightiest sweet tooth will be satiated. Pre-wrapped to-go items are also available. It took every bit of self-restraint to not stock up my cupboards with peanut butter cups and almond biscotti.

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The “Chocodile.” Holy diabetes, this thing was good

Timeless is 100 percent vegan, right down to the barista-quality almond and soy milk used for espresso drinks. But if you show up and don’t see anything listed as “vegan,” don’t fret, it was a purposeful decision to keep the v-word off of the menu. By not branding themselves as a vegan café, Timeless is able to appeal to all walks of life. In regards to opening up the shop in his own neighborhood, RJ said, “I’ve always thought that Piedmont Avenue lacked in the vegan department. … Living here for eight years, it’s very limited, but I love this neighborhood so much. I knew the neighborhood would be open to it.”

His assessment seems to be correct, as he says the vast majority of patrons have been delighted about the vegan menu, even if they didn’t realize their peppermint fudge brownie and espresso combo was cruelty-free until after the fact. “People have been really excited that they’ve had it, and found out later. Their minds kinda changed. That was Violett’s and my approach to it, that it’d be a positive thing.”

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A little on the pricier side, but you definitely get what you pay for

Despite only having opened on Dec. 10, Timeless was bustling with patrons when I went this week. Several people already knew RJ by name and seemed to have established Timeless as their regular spot. RJ, along with part-owners Violett and Sam, hopes to expand the menu soon, offering savory accompaniments like bacon-cheddar scones. Ultimately, they’d like to offer a weekend brunch and bi-weekly late dinner service with a fixed menu. RJ, a veteran roaster who helped establish Sightglass, even wants to start roasting beans in-house. This unobtrusive and beautiful coffee shop has already hit all the right notes with me and I’m excited to see what new creations they unveil in the coming months.

Timeless Coffee is located at 4252 Piedmont Ave. in Oakland.

Courtney Flynn lives in Oakland and spends way too much time inventing vegan recipes, reading science fiction, and crocheting hats for her dog, Blender. She sometimes remembers to update her blog, where she likes to write about food, restaurants and products that don’t suck.

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