Product review: Larrupin Mustard! »
If you have ever tried Larrupin Swedish-style Mustard-Dill Sauce, you know that it is the best condiment known to humankind. Unfortunately Larrupin is most conveniently available only within the realm of Humboldt County! Which is why every time I have a friend going on a road trip up there, I have them bring me back a jar! There are quite a few of us who went to college at Humboldt State now living in the Bay Area, and we know the power of the Larrupin.
If you have never been to Arcata, I suggest you think about a trip up there ASAP. It’s beautiful, and the vegan eats are abundant. If a trip to Humboldt is not in the cards, never fear! You can buy Larrupin Mustard online! I did this when I moved to Chicago, as I was homesick for my college town/former home/California in general.
Ilsa Hess, the creator and chef of Nacheez, got me this particular jar pictured above. We met up at Gracias Madre one night, and it turns out that we both went to Humboldt State, and actually know a few of the same people! Small world. Ilsa obtained some Larrupin for me, and now I am ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. She likes to eat her Larrupin with Gouda Sheese on lightly toasted sourdough, while I like mine with raw crackers and Tofutti cream cheese. However, if you lived in Humboldt, you know it is best with a Los Bagels slug and “cream” cheese. Nothing beats that!
"Great! But what does it taste like?" you ask. Larrupin is sweet, yet pairs beautifully with savory foods, like a Chik’n burger, sandwich, or bagel—basically, anywhere you would normally add mustard. The dill, vinegar, and turmeric keep it from being overly sweet, yet the dill is understated. Which is good for me, because I am not the hugest fan of dill.
Watch Humboldt County while eating your Larrupin to get a better idea of the place it comes from and also how I spent seven years of my life. Actually, Rural Rock’n’Roll is a better showcase of my past, but I quite enjoyed Humboldt County. The clothing in that movie is so bad, but SO SPOT-ON.
Yummy vegan breakfast time! »
Today we’ll be making the quick and easy cream cheese and jelly on toast! I forgot how much I loved this stuff! And boy, so simple: toast two pieces of pumpernickel bread, spread with vegan cream cheese, then top with your favorite jelly! Voilà! Yummy vegan breakfast time!
Today I used Follow Your Heart vegan cream cheese but sometimes I use Tofutti cream cheese. I can’t decide which I like better but I think maybe Tofutti. No, never mind, I can’t decide! Stop pressuring me!
To complete your morning, I suggest watching the Gummi Bears like I used to do every morning before school:
[Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!]
Hold the phone: Tofutti is releasing a vegan ricotta!? »
According to NorthJersey.com, Tofutti is set to unleash “Better Than Ricotta” verrrry soon. Delightful! I know Tofutti products are mainly for lactose intolerants and those who keep kosher but hey, us vegans reap the rewards! Except never buy that Tofutti salmon cream cheese because that shit is for real salmon. Nas. tay.
The interview with Tofutti founder, David Mintz, is enjoyable because he’s obviously a world class kook. I mean, just look at him:
He’s all, “All this ice cream! It is so good! Mamma mia!” Actually, if I was surrounded by that many frozen treats, I’d probably look the same. Only one way to find out: Ice cream party at my place! As soon as this fucking cleanse is over GOD HELP ME.
Anyway, here’s a snippet from the interview to further demonstrate his awesomeness:
Q. Why was dairy-free ricotta such a challenge?
We made a cream cheese. That was tough. But ricotta has a certain type of texture. Even dairy people have a difficult time with it. That’s why you don’t see many companies making ricotta. I’ve spoken to a number of dairies and they say, well, it’s a temperamental product, it’s not that easy to make, there’s a lot of labor involved. It’s a very delicate and temperamental cheese. And when you cook with it….
Q. It has to perform a certain way?
Exactly. Who doesn’t love pasta with cheese? Especially young people. Pasta and cheese—there’s nothing finer. On the way to heaven they’ll be serving you pasta and cheese.
The man has a point.
[Hat tip, Vegan Break!]
Product review: Tofutti Flowers! »
As I’ve said before, I’m in this for the attention and the free stuff. Recently we got free stuff: Tofutti sent us a box of the new popsicle/ice cream bars they’re making, called Flowers, because they contain real flower and nectar flavors.
Popsicles in general are genius, and I love them, but this popsicle was not the best one I’ve ever had. The chocolate coating was all right, but it made my teeth feel weird if when I bit it, like they were rubbing together the wrong way. Possibly I am having enamel problems, as my long, long unemployment continues and I continue not to be able to afford to see a dentist. Still, this is the same effect that eating food cooked with vinegar has on my little molars, and why the Flowers’ chocolate coating should do that to them.
The Flowers’ creamy insides taste, um, interesting. I’ve had hot hibiscus tea, which I did not like and agua de Jamaica, which is lovely, but never so many flower-flavors combined. The mixture is odd. The strawberry flavor dominates the others, and underneath there are funny hints—should I call them “notes”?—of flavors I couldn’t identify. The chocolate coating, while mediocre, did make a good combination with the ice cream.
I have certainly eaten better vegan ice cream popsicles; but I haven’t had many—any?—that were fruit-flavored, and none that had flower nectar. The novelty is nice, but if I were buying vegan ice cream popsicles at the store, Tofutti Flowers wouldn’t be my first choice. Maybe second or third, you know? But that’s Tofutti, I think; they make some products that no other companies do, or ones that are much better than any alternatives—their cream cheese and sour cream are the best available, and the Cuties were the first tiny vegan ice cream sandwich on the market. Not everything they make is the greatest, but it’s reliably good. If really novel foodstuffs are where they’re going, then that’s great. This is an interesting experiment, anyway.
[for those interested, here are the ingredients lists, directly from the package:
Bar: water, sugar, corn syrup solids, corn and soy oils, isolated soy protein, tofu powder, maltodextrin, cocoa butter, vanilla with other natural flavors, natural flower and nectar flavors (rose, marigold, calendula, citrus blossoms, hibiscus, jasmine and lavender), strawberry flavor, guar, xanthan and carrageenan gums, soy lecithin, salt, veg. mono- and diglycerides.
Chocolate coating: coconut oil, sugar, organic evaporated sugar cane juice, cocoa processed with alkali, soy lecithin, salt, vanilla with other natural flavors.]
When in NYC, get yourself to Absolute Bagels. My friend Leda suggested it and girl knows what she’s talking about. Not only are the actual bagels the biggest pillows of delicious dough you ever ate, they also have aprox 50 types of vegan cream cheese to slather on them. My last visit, I indulged in TWO BAGELS, an everything with veggie cream cheese and a plain with walnut raisin cream cheese and GIRRRRRL, these bagels are NO JOKE. So what if they’re roughly 2 million calories each? They’re amazing and delicious and there is no better vegan cream cheese selection in all of NYC and you can wander up the block to Columbia and see five-year-olds carrying Birkin bags (Are those still in? Sorry, I live in 2000! She was a good year!) and the Ghostbusters building. LIFE IS GOOD.
Review: Lanesplitter Pizza & Pub! »
Lanesplitter is a local pizza-and-beer chain in the East Bay that serves up some fantastic thin-crust vegan pizza. It’s not made with a traditional fake cheese, instead it’s like a ricotta style tofu mixture…sounds fucked but is actually pretty damn good. They have lots of veggies to choose from and everything mixed up tastes amazing. They also have vegan calzones which make a good grab-and-go item if you call ahead. The vegan eggplant bake is heaven for everyone.
I rarely eat in because the staff consists of incompetents, assholes, and incompetent assholes. I am told that their house-made micro-brews are pretty good but they just taste like beer to me. I dunno. Are you so fancy that you can tell? I can’t. If you put me in a blind beer taste test, I’d be able to recognize two beers: Bud Light, and everything else. I’d be taking shot after shot of beer, yelling out, “nope!”, “nope!”, “Bud Light!”, “nope!” Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun. Is anyone in? You buy the beer! Email me! So anyway, all their microbrews are on tap but if you want to enjoy them, you have to drink there. Apparently Lanesplitter (and Johnny Law) don’t trust me to leave my pint of fancy brew untouched on the ride home. They are smart.
[photos via yelp]