vegansaurus!

02/03/2014

Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga: Go there!  »

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It’s my last week as a resident in the Bay Area, and while I am reminiscing about my life as a NorCal girl, I am very excited to begin new adventures in the city of angels! I was the last Vegansaurus contributor left in the bay, where this blog started, and now I’m leaving! Oh well, things change, right? At this very moment my life is in boxes in my parents’ garage, so yeah, I’d say things change.  
Before I make it to LA however, there will be a month-long pitt-stop in Temecula, where members of my family are starting to relocate. I am trying to convince my mom that we would have a blast visiting the Temecula wineries, as neither of us has gone wine-tasting before. Since she only enjoys white zin, I’m sure you can imagine that my convincing, begging and pleading, is not going very smoothly. If you have any tips for me about how to go about vineyard crawling, or want to join me in sampling all the vino Temecula has to offer, it would be greatly appreciated. We’ll discuss in Disqus below.
Alright, on to the point of this post! In June of 2012, my sister picked me up from Ontario airport and gave me a list of vegan restaurants in the area we could stop at on the way to her place. After closely examining a few menus I chose Bright Star in Rancho Cucamonga! I’ve been promising my little sis I’d do a recap of our meal, as we both loved it, and as a lady of my word, almost two years later, it’s here! Another note about our trip: I sang Rancho Cucamonga to the tune of La Cucaracha over and over again. She laughed every time. She was also about six months pregnant, so I’m guessing her maternal instinct must have set in big time because normally she has no patience for my shenanigans (I don’t blame her).
All of the details of my family life aside, I am grieving moving away from my beloved Bay Area, but am very excited to eat my way through southern California! Okay fine, I’m excited about much more than that, like, somewhat affordable rent for a studio apartment, warm beaches, celebrity sightings and Temecula wine tours. Alright, alright, alright, without further ado, I present you with one of the restaurants I am most looking forward to revisiting when I get down south: Bright Star Thai Vegan restaurant! 

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They have miso soup! I love miso soup and I hardly ever get to order
it when I go out! 

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Tempura vegetables with vegan shrimp! I was SO STOKED!

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I got the orange chicken dinner special, which came with salad, a spring roll, fried brown rice and the miso soup pictured above. All this for $8.95! I am not the biggest fan of rice, so I gave it to my sister and I think I must’ve been able to eat most of the tempura veggies in return. We are the perfect dinner companions! 

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My sister got the Bright Star Pad Thai with soy chicken. She is not vegan, and possibly what you would refer to as a picky eater. However, she is a fan of soy chicken and kept exclaiming “I can’t even tell this is vegan!” with a huge smile on her face. 

We were so happy with our visit to Bright Star! I was delighted about my sister being into vegan food, I tried to see how far I could push this thing. We tested another one of my favorites, Food For Lovers queso and she liked it! She took me to my first Fresh and Easy, where I found Gardein chicken and overly-packaged vegetables, so we had vegan taco night at her house, with her hubs and cutie-pie sister-in-law! 

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The Gardein chicken tacos were a hit and I have also been just looking for any excuse in the last year and half to show this picture off. 

Bright Star is located in Rancho Cucamonga along with Viva la Vegan’s original store! You can make a whole vegan afternoon of it all! Side note: I get really tired of Thai food because it feels like that’s all everyone wants, all the time, but I thought Bright Star really rose above what I am used to. We also went to Earth Bistro while I was in Temecula, but I only like to spend my time writing about things I enjoyed. I’m thinking they might be worth another shot since I’ll be in town for a month, but my sister and I were not pleased. 

You can find Bright Star Thai Vegan Cuisine at 9819 Foothill Boulevard, Unit F, in Rancho Cucamonga. You can reach them by phone at 909 980 9797.

01/07/2014

Viva la Vegan Grocery Express es muy awesome!   »

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Moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles meant giving up shopping at Rainbow Grocery, which was almost a tragic enough reason not to make the move (sorry friends, you mean something to me, too, I swear!). BUT when I found out about Viva la Vegan’s new(ish), Grocery Express in Santa Monica, I knew I wouldn’t be forced to forage the streets of Los Angeles for mock meats and vegan provisions. This place, to put it simply, RULES. I’m not certain, but I’m pretty sure they carry every vegan item that exists.* It certainly feels that way. Plus, as an avoider of gluten (I know, I know, Hail Seitan), there is a bounty of options. There are also a million glutinous options for those of you who aren’t thwarted with belly aches after consuming it’s deliciousness.  

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Amongst some of the exciting things I bought were: VEGAN LOX (aka Smoked Salmon by Sophie’s Kitchen) AND GLUTEN FREE BAGELS (by Culver City’s Rising Hearts Bakery, owned by Follow Your Heart). They also carry every Follow Your Heart salad dressing, flavored mayonnaise and sauce (who knew they had like, a zillion!?!). And, drumroll please! BEYOND MEAT’S NEW “BEEF” CRUMBLE (which isn’t available anywhere else in retail yet)!!! It’s sold in 5lb bags in the freezer section, in case you rush over to buy some (which you should)).

So if you live within, like, 100 miles of LA, you should visit this store! Unless you live 100 east of LA, then you should go to their main location is Rancho Cucamonga, which has to be the most fun to pronounce word, and means “sandy place” in English.

Happy vegan shopping!

*This statement not supported by any actual facts.

01/01/2014

The Vegansaurus fave finds of 2013!  »

Happy new year, everyone! In honor of the passing of the 2013 calendar year, we here at Vegansaurus have compiled a list of our favorite vegan finds of the last 12 months. Keep in mind some of the products were not necessarily new to the market, just new to us! What better way to celebrate the new year by discussing what we loved in 2013? Okay fine, pizza, champagne and friends is pretty good way too. 

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I’ll start with myself because I, Jenny, am very excited about this list! I would like to be a gentlewoman, but I’m going first. In no particular order, my very favorite vegan finds of 2013 are as follows:

  • Green New American Vegetarian
    A super restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona! My pal Britney and I stayed in Phoenix two nights, on a trip to see the Grand Canyon. We ate at Green three times. I need to make it back in 2014 for their Big Wac burger and “cream cheese crab” puffs. Nami bakery, another vegan spot, is located right next door and they are so much fun to follow on Instagram (@namivegansweets). 
  • New Vegan Skincare Finds
    On the skincare front, I discovered
    Too-Faced mascara and Own eye cream! Vegan beauty life-savers! 
  • Olives for Dinner
    More specifically, Erin’s recipe for hearts of palm crab cakes! I love them so much, I make them constantly. You may not know this, but I’m kind of the vegan seafood queen. At least that’s what Holly, aka Veganadian, has dubbed me, and I’m taking it! 
  • Artisanal vegan cheeses
    Last but certainly not least. My two faves this year were the smoked
    Punk Rawk Labs cashew cheese and Kite Hill’s White Alder. I’d pick some up for my NYE party, but I don’t like sharing them! 

Now onto the rest of the Vegansaurus crew! 

Rachel:

  • Best vegan cheesesteak
    Spak Brothers in Pittsburg. The seitan was perfectly sliced thin and fried crisp, with just the right amount of mayo and daiya cheese, and a perfect bun. Worth the road trip!  
  • Earth Balance’s new cheese puffs and popcorn
    Probably the most addictive new food products to hit store shelves…ever? [JB note: Thanks, Rachel! Just picked some up because now I can’t get them out of my head!]
  • The Northface Thermoball Hoodie
    The best synthetic alternative to down puffies ever made. My day job,
    Backpacker Magazine, gave them an editor’s choice award; I’ve got one and it rocks! 

Sarah E. Brown:

  • Defiant Daughters
    Defiant Daughters: 21 Women on Art, Activism, Animals and the Sexual Politics of Meat. [Our Sarah was one of the contributors!]
    I was thrilled to put to paper some of the many ways that Carol J. Adams’ work has impacted my life and activism career, and to share how my relationship with my brother Asher grew due to our mutual love of Carol’s book The Sexual Politics of Meat and shared commitment to veganism!
  • I am Healthy" juice
    From Cafe Gratitude, at Larchmont in LA . It’s pretty standard with kale, celery, cucumber and lemon juice but you can’t beat it.
  • Brussels sprouts
    I totally fell hard for
    Brussels sprouts this year; I blame Vedge Restaurant

Caroline:

  • Viva La Vegan grocery express
    In Santa Monica. VEGAN GROCERY STORE: need I say more? They have every vegan item you could imagine!
  • Sophie’s Kitchen vegan crab cakes 
    Jenny Bradley turned me on to these and 
    they are SO good in vegan “fish” tacos. [JB note: See everyone?! I am the vegan seafood queen!]
  • Follow Your Heart’s fiesta blend shreds
    They equal nacho and quesadilla heaven! 
  • The tofu “egg” salad on gluten-free bread from Flore.
    This is the sandwich of the century! 
  • Stuff I Eat restaurant
    In Inglewood, CA.
    Definitely in my top five fave vegan restaurants ever. They have a variety of comfort foods, and raw fare. It’s reasonably priced and the staff is SO nice and welcoming. 

Andrew:

  • Stuff I Eat restaurant
    It’s vegan soul food! I’ve never had such hospitality at a restaurant before. They told us everything about the food and were genuinely interested in how long we had all been vegan. One of the cooks even came out and sat down at our table! 
  • The Bad Ass breakfast sandwich from Locali
    Not that I found it 2013, but I moved to LA this last year and it was my go-to during my move. I’ve taken all of my guests there, out-of-towners especially. [JB note: it’s true, he took me to Locali to get one before he, Caroline and I hiked to the Hollywood sign a few weeks ago! It’s scrumptious!]

Megan Rascal:

  • Wynn hotel 
    A vegan mother-loving oasis. 
  • Center City Soft Pretzel Company
    My fave Philly soft pretzels are vegan! AND YOU CAN GET THEM SHIPPED TO YOU!
  • Paulie Gee’s
    The Greenpoint, BK favorite has an extensive vegan menu and their vegan ricotta is out of control! 
  • Gristle Tattoo
    And more generally, the joy of vegan tattoos!
  • My new vegan friends Jess and James
    The dynamic duo, are just the coolest most best and show me lots of great vegan food and terrible, terrible 90s music. [JB note: there is such a thing as terrible 90s music?]
Stuff I Eat restaurant made it on the list twice! Something tells me Andrew and Caroline went there together (probably because I saw the pictures on Instagram). If they love it, I’m sure it’s fantastic! What a fun list, and seeing it, I now know I have a whole bunch of new stuff to try out in 2014 (soft pretzels delivered to me and faux down??? YES PLEASE, THANK YOU). What were your favorites? Any of ours? Let us know what you discovered and loved in 2013! Happy new year, peeps!  
Party dog photo via cutest paw.com
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