A Very Vegan Valentine Gift Round-Up!  »

Valentine’s Day is approaching! I may have touched on this in previous years but I’ll say it again: Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you Valentine’s Day is some made-up Hallmark holiday! It’s as old as dirt! Look it up, bros. 

Now, I don’t think Valentine’s Day has to be some crazy event, I think dinner and flowers is perfect! But if you want to step it up a little from flowers, here are some super gift ideas:

Here’s a sweet treat from Rescue Chocolates, “Wild at Heart” chocolate hearts filled with raspberry ganache! You can find some at Cosmo’s Vegan Shoppe! These are so simple and pretty and the proceeds go to great animal organizations so you’re sweetie will be all the more impressed!

Another sweet gift for a good cause, how much would your main squeeze love a heart full of chocolates from Farm Sanctuary?! SO MUCH! These special “milk” chocolates are fair trade, vegan and organic! Plus you are helping one of our favorite charities (it’s the one and only Eric the piglet’s home!)

This doesn’t need much commentary from me. You obviously need one. Get it from Chocolate Decadence!

Here’s a twist on the traditional candy gift, from Vegan Etsy Team member Feedyourface, Vegan Organic Valentine’s Day Caramels with raspberries, dark chocolate, vanilla balsamic, and white pepper! That sounds YUM with a capital DANG!

Another Etsy candy entry, cute vegan Valentine’s chocolates from MissVeganTreats! I’ve never tried these but they are adorable. I love the skulls! Because they are baddass AND romantic, just like me!

Ok, last Etsy treat gift! This is Iheartveg’s Vegan S’mores Kit: Valentine Edition! I like this because it’s sweets for your sweet but it’s also kind of an experiential gift! Because s’mores aren’t just a food, they are an activity! So you can give your sweetie the kit and then make them together! Ohhhhh, maybe over a campfire! Romantic! Jeez, you’ve outdone yourself. 

Now, here’s an idea! For all the freaks in the crowd, get some vegan whipped cream and chocolate sauce! Oooh la la. 

Lingerie, whether you plan on wearing it for your lovey or giving it to your lovey to wear, is a crowd-pleaser! And this set comes from vegan lingerie shop Purrfect Pineapples and has little white hearts on it. So romantic!

Don’t forget the appeal of an old-fashion card! Only old people give out cards any more and old people are the best so you should give out cards and be like an old person. This cutie cute cute one comes from Vegan Etsy Team member MyZoetrope. You know what would be cute? If a BOY got this for someone! Boys never give cards. That would be adorbs. You guys should do that.

Experiential gifts are all the rage in the past few years, simply because a lot of us just have too much stuff! And really, isn’t it memories that build a romance? At least that’s what I hear. So here’s an idea: get tickets to Urban Food Crawl’s “Suds & Sweets: An evening of beer and dessert pairings” in LA! There will be mini vegan cupcakes and truffles paired with a beer flight! So fun! And nothing stimulates a romance like beer. If you don’t live in LA, you should still totally get tickets to this AND get plane tickets to LA! That would be awesome. I would totally marry you if you did that for me. Or not marry you; Whatever you were going for, I’d be down!

That’s all for now, pals! Have a happy Valentine’s Day and hug your lovey for me.


L.A. Urban Food Crawl: Eat everything, walk forever, you gotta do this!  »

We love Los Angeles! They’ve got insane amounts of delicious vegan food, a delightful temperate climate, and celebrities! Who doesn’t love celebrities? Pretentious assholes/people who lead more fulfilling lives than we do.

On Nov. 11, our pal Jon participated in the L.A. Urban Food Crawl. He said it was an awesome and intense experience, one that led him on a trek in search of good vegan food all over downtown Los Angeles. Like, all over. Like, they walked a long time. Possibly forever. But he didn’t complain! This is more of a food hike than a food crawl. So if you’re in shape and love to eat, and like to burn off what you eat, this is for you. If your goal is to get so large that the only way you can get around is via Lark mobility scooter, maybe take a pass? Or actually, get that scooter and then hop back on the eating train! Either way, it sounds like it was a marvelous, gluttonous, exercise-filled day. These were his findings:

PREPARATION: Wear comfy walk-around clothes and shoes [Ed.: don’t forget shoes!], bring a light sweater or umbrella (depending on the weather, season), and a camera.

THE DETAILS: The tour starts at Pershing Square downtown, and meanders through downtown L.A.’s Historic Core (cultural epicenter of the city until around WWII); ours ran from around 2 to 7:30 p.m. The best way to get there is to take the Metro Rail Red Line to the Pershing Square stop ($1.50 each way!); otherwise, there are plenty of affordable-ish public parking lots. All eating stops were within a few blocks of Pershing Square.

People say to arrive hungry, because you’ll be eating A LOT of food. Lies. Even when you’re stuffed to the gills and think you can’t eat another bite, you’ll find a way to make room for the next tasty vegan dish, because they’re all so ridiculously delicious. Part food experience, part lesson in L.A. history—walkin’ and learnin’ between food stops is a good opportunity to (re)discover downtown (which is estranged from and totally foreign to many Angelenos), and rebuild your appetite.

You’ll make friends if you go alone, but it’s probably better to go with friends—it’s a super-fun experience with a group of pals.

Bring a few extra bucks for booze/treats/distractions (wine and chocolate at Two Bits; tequila at Más Malo; fare for Angels’ Flight cab ride afterward).

Now, onto the good stuff: where and what we ate!

Two Bits Market (210 W 5th St. at Spring Street)

What we ate: Rupee sandwich—white bean puree with artichokes, black olives, squash, and arugula on artisan baguette.
What this place is about: East coast-style corner market and deli. Local! Organic! Fresh! Healthy! Awesome produce in general. Be sure to check out their nice selection of wine.

Nickel Diner (524 S. Main St., between Fifth and Sixth streets)

What we ate: Stuffed avocado with quinoa, pinto beans, red peppers, squash, corn, cilantro, onion, and vinaigrette (from the lunch menu).
What it’s about: Fifth Street is “the Nickel,” hence, “Nickel Diner,” a little American short-order-style diner. The building began as an opera house, then became a burlesque theatre, then a series of restaurants. The owner bought the space during a “transitional” period of downtown L.A.; while the diner was being renovated, they peeled back the wallpaper and discovered the original menu and poetry on the walls, so they restored them. Small space with limited seating; arrive early to beat the lines, rush.

Más Malo (515 W Seventh St., between Grand Avenue and Olive Street)
What we ate: Vegan menudo (chiles, onion, hominy, tofu, lime, tomato broth), crunchy vegan beef taco.
What it’s about: This space was a jewelry store in the 1920s; it has beautiful architecture, including the ceiling and wall adornments; the 400-lb. steel TEQUILA VAULT downstairs has a fancypants tequila tasting room that was the old jewelry store vault. Be sure to inquire about their awesome drink specials—recommended: the Piñata Smash or the Spicy Cucumber margarita)

Pitfire Pizza Company (108 W. Second St. at Main Street)

What we ate: Pumpkin and winter squash pizza (seasonal item!) with Daiya mozzarella, field mushroom pizza with Daiya mozzarella.
What it’s about: Wood-fired artisanal pizzas. Yes, good pizza in L.A. We were all VERY FULL by the time we got to this stop, but the pizza was so delicious that we scarfed it all down in like, 12 seconds. Pretty sure they can veganize any pizza on the menu if you ask. Locations on the Westside and in the Valley, also.

Syrup (601 S. Spring St., between Broadway and E. Sixth streets)

What we ate: Pear and champagne sorbet, Boston iced tea with black tea, cranberry juice, fresh fruit.
What it’s about: Cozy coffee shop with assorted coffees, teas, desserts, etc. People love the sorbet because it’s not too sweet or filling (the not-too-filling aspect is key, ‘cause we had had plenty to eat). Board games and stuff upstairs, wi-fi.

Babycakes (130 E Sixth St., between Main and S. Los Angeles streets)

What we ate: Frozen blondie (frozen frosting sandwiched between two chocolate chip blonde brownies).
What it’s about: All-vegan, gluten-free baked treats, a la NYC Babycakes. New location opening in Larchmont in December. Last stop on the food crawl, so get an extra cookie or three to go. They deliver!

So concludes the food tour. But wait, there’s more! Since you’re already downtown, why not check out this other stuff in the area:

  • L.A. Central Library
  • Grand Central Market
  • Angels’ Flight
  • MOCA
  • Japan Arcade (Little Tokyo)
  • Devil’s Night Drive-In
  • Santee Alley/Fashion District
  • Redcat Theatre
  • Shows at The Smell
  • Bars/old speakeasy joints (the Edison, the Varnish, Library Bar, Seven Grand, Perch)
  • Downtown Artwalk/bajillions of galleries

For those of you not into going downtown, there’s a new tour on the horizon. Organizers Jen and Sheri are starting a Silverlake vegan urban food crawl around the Sunset Junction, which will probably be a little less walk-y than the downtown version.

Yay! Thank you so much to Jen, Sheri, and Jon! And everyone in L.A., go on an urban food crawl right now!


There’s going to be a vegan cupcake and cupcake-themed art party in LA!  »

Cupcakes and art happen to be two of my favorite things (along with elephants, Netflix, and Fla-vor-ice) so I’m so jealous of you L.A. folks! Urban Food Crawl, a vegan food tour company, is hosting Cupcakes + Art: a vegan cupcake competition and cupcake-themed art show! Deets from Urban Food Crawl:

Cupcakes & Art
Sunday, Nov. 6, 3 p.m. at Hold Up Art, 358 E. 2nd St. Los Angeles

The $35 ticket includes entrance to the event, where you’ll be tasting and judging cupcakes from 10 local bakers. Proceeds from the art sales will go to the winning baker’s charity of choice! Stay tuned to our blog for more info on the participating bakers. There are a limited number of tickets available!

Oy, I’m so jealous! You can see the list of bakers and artists on their event page—it includes BabyCakes LA! So. Jealous. Is anyone going? I want a full report! Also, we are sending someone so you’ll get a full report, too. We can give full reports to each other. Good times! Also, they’ll be lots more Urban Food Crawls, so stay tuned to their site to eat so much more. Yay LA!

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