Kite Hill Cheese Is Here »
Meave reported on Kite Hill cheese rumors last month, and we’re back with an update. The rumors are a reality, and the fabled cheese has arrived OTS at Northern California Whole Foods.
We took to the streets to report on the new vegan product that has all the vegans (and omni food-lovers!) dropping their edible panties (and checkbooks!) for. Here’s our HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM:
I learned the following from the Whole Foods in Los Gatos cheese people:
1. Kite Hill has an exclusive contract with WFs and will only be available at Whole Food stores for a year — after that, the rest of the world can have at it.
2. It’s currently only at Los Altos, Palo Alto, and Oakland Whole Foods, but it’ll expand to either 9 or 11 more Northern California WFs “very soon”. They weren’t sure which stores, but they THINK Redwood City and Berkeley are in. Los Angeles folks can try the cheeses at Crossroads, Tal Ronnen’s new vegan restaurant on Melrose, and I think there’s a cheese shop opening up next door or inside the restaurant or something CONFIRM OR DENY PLZ.
3. As of last Friday, all No Cal WF stores were sold out, but the’re supposed to get shipments this week. If you call in advance, make sure the employees look in the dairy case, and not with the vegan cheese!
OK, so what I tried… descriptions from Kite Hill’s FB page:
Costanoa, a semi soft dusted with a piquant blend of paprika and fennel pollen; and White Alder, a soft ripened cheese with a delicate white rind, pungent aroma and velvety texture.
There’s one more flavor — Casuccio, a soft fresh with a supple, silky texture — but they didn’t have it at Whole Foods.
The people working the cheese section at Whole Foods were crazy about both cheeses, but particularly loved the White Alder. They were all genuinely excited about it, and impressed by it.
I sampled it with a professional food critic (an omnivore!) and she thought it was good, if a bit salty. My vegetarian sister liked it a lot, but said it didn’t “trick her” into thinking it was cheese. She mentioned that it was crumbly like tofu, and not creamy like cheese — which was also my experience eating it. However, if the critic or my sister didn’t know it was vegan to begin with, who knows if they would’ve been able to tell.
For my part, I thought it was good. Very good, especially when I ate it as instructed on the Kite Hill FB “info” page.
Costanoa is a semi-soft cheese encrusted with a piquant crust of paprika and fennel pollen. Its texture is smooth and compact, making this cheese excellent for slicing and serving on crackers or fresh baguette rounds. We love to offset Costanoa’s buttery, earthy, peppery flavors with a pairing of fresh or caramelized figs.
Suggested wine pairing: A crisp, zesty dry white wine with citrus or floral notes.
White Alder is a soft ripened velvety cheese with a white, fluffy rind. It has a tangy mushroomy flavor profile with a rich, silky texture and pungent aromatics. This cheese is best served straight from the refrigerator and pairs well with white grapes.
Suggested wine pairing: A dry white wine such as a Chardonnay with fruit or citrus notes or even Champagne.
I did think both flavors were a little salty, but mainly delicious. I preferred the White Alder because the rind was extra fun and reminded me of brie; I would be excited to eat this as part of a cheese plate at a fancy restaurant.
That said, I’m not sure if it’s as revolutionary as all that, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — the more good vegan cheeses on the market, the better. Plus, the fact that the Whole Foods cheese people were SO excited about it, got me excited, too. Because if they say it tastes like cheese, it must taste (at least kinda) like cheese, right? And if the rich people are willing to switch from their cow cheese to this vegan cheese, that’s a good thing. And, uh, it’s gonna have to be rich people because this shiz is NOT cheap: White Alder is $14.99, Costonoa was $13.99 for six ounces.
So, what’s up? Have any of you tried it? What did you think??
From San Francisco Magazine, here’s the list of Whole Foods the cheeses will be available at (and when!):
The brand will debut today (March 25) in Whole Foods Los Altos and Palo Alto; Tuesday in Oakland, Berkeley, Noe Valley, Franklin, and Potrero Hill; Wednesday in Mill Valley, San Rafael, and Sebastopol; and Thursday in San Jose, Cupertino, and Capitola. The cheeses are all exclusive to the Bay Area until they go national later this summer.
Super Vegan tweets that Crossroads is out of Kite HIll and won’t have it back for “awhile”. DEMAND IS HIGH, MY FRIENDS.
Product review: Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Crab Cakes! »
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I miss seafood. Thankfully, many a talented chef and vegan company have heard my incredibly influential sobs, and risen to the challenge of putting this kind of delectable food item on the market! Today, we talk about Sophie’s Kitchen — specifically the crab cakes.
I got these bad boys at Whole Foods, a market I did not previously notice them at until recently. Here’s what I have to say — if you see them, grab them up. Honestly, I could not be more stoked with this product.
I am not a fan of frying my food my food at home, which some of you might find surprising since I eat so much of it when going out. Whatever, let’s move on. I baked them, at 350, for about 15 minutes, or golden brown on the edges. I immediately ate one of them plain, because waiting for both the oven to pre-heat and then the cakes to bake was excruciating. Delicious! I don’t know how Sophie’s Kitchen does it! The best part is that these are gluten and soy-free! The texture is spot on, without being too much, if you aren’t a fan of faux-meats that are exactly like the real thing. The taste itself is also pretty spot-on, without being overly “fishy”, thanks to the wakame powder.
Baked to perfection and demolished in 30 seconds.
Being a San Francisco Bay Area native, hot crab sandwiches were a part of my childhood. They bring back family lunches out, in Marin County while visiting my grandparents, and then my mom replicating those same sandwiches in our kitchen at home. Sometimes the hardest part of being vegan is not being able to eat the food that is linked to my family and our memories. Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Crab Cakes are delightful to me, not only because they are scrumptious, but also because for the first time in over a decade I got to eat a hot ‘crab’ sandwich!
My crab sandwich was nothing too spectacular, as I made it at my grandma’s house with only the crab cake, some french bread and Veganaise on hand. You can bet when I make them at home, I’ll be going all out with an english muffin, green onion, Veganaise and melted vegan cheese. I can’t wait. However plain this one may seem, I was happy none-the-less!
The crab cakes are somewhat small, so I thought I could eat all four that come in a box, no problem. I actually could only get through two, because they are quite decadent!
Last but not least — the ingredients! I know a bunch of you are into analyzing this part of processed and packaged food items, so have at it!
I can’t wait to try all of this company’s other products!
Whole Foods debuts their own brand of vegan meats! »
And we’ve been eating them up and they’re TASTY. Chicken patties, burgers, meatballs, nuggets, THE WORKS.
I believe they’re at all Whole Foods but Whole Foods doesn’t tell us shit so you might want to call a store near you and get the 411 on meatless meatballs and chickenless nuggets and WHAAAT. This stuff is GOOD. $4/package. I think that’s everything
[thanks to wonderful megan and miles for the tip <3 ]
Beyond meat is beyond delicious! »
Ahahahaha! You are gonna have to forgive me for that title, it’s late! I want to be watching 30 Rock on Netflix, but I can’t rest until I deliver the news about Beyond Meat!
I’m super into it. Here’s the deal: it’s very chicken-y, so if you aren’t into faux meats, you probably won’t be into it. I on the other hand, love faux meats, as I didn’t go vegan because I hated the taste or texture of meat, and sometimes I miss it. So there! [Ed.: And it freakily shreds like real dead animal! So amazing! And I think the texture is better than Gardein… less, rubbery? Or something. And almost like, grisly and fatty! YUM.] Anyway, Beyond Meat reminds me of Gardein, except it’s gluten and nearly grain-free.* This is good news for me, because grains tend to hurt my stomach. Also, it’s not pre-seasoned! I’m into this because I like cooking so much so, that I want to season everything myself! Those Gardein chicken strips are ever-so-slightly seasoned, but seasoned nonetheless.
However, Beyond Meat isn’t available to buy pre-packaged like Gardein yet; I’m keeping my fingers crossed though. Oh yeah, I met the creators and they are super cool! We took a picture together, maybe one day I will see it on the internet; man, I hope I was sitting up straight and not blinking.
All grilled up and ready to be consumed by
the masses me!
In San Francisco, I’ve spotted Beyond Meat at the Haight Street Whole Foods and Source restaurant! You know, my place of work. We got a couple bags to try out and luckily the chef is into it! So we’ll get a large shipment on Monday, and we’ll have it in specials or you can request to replace it for ‘cluck’ in any regular menu item. Isn’t that exciting? Your very special day to try Beyond Meat is coming! Let us know what you think when you eat it, I can’t wait to discuss!
[Ed.: It should be at all S.F. Bay Area Whole Foods by the end of next week. I purchased it in Redwood City and in San Rafael in their curry chicken salad in prepared foods—this is the only way I’ve seen to purchase it retail—so I’m pretty sure it’s errywhere! Oh, and here’s there rapidly expanding list of places to buy it!]
Bay Area! Try Beyond Meat this week at Whole Foods! »
Beyond Meat, the vegan chicken meat that’s more real than the real thing but not dead so fun, HAS ARRIVED!! Sample it this week at the following San Francisco Whole Foods stores:
Monday, June 11th: Franklin store (11:15am-12:30pm); Haight store (4:15pm-5:30pm)
Tuesday, June 12th: Potrero store (11:15-12:30); Noe store (4:15-5:30)
Wednesday, June 13th: SoMa store (11:15-12:30)
And then, look for it in the prepared foods cases* it looks like Whole Foods is gonna start making mad deliciousness with it! This stuff is freaky realistic and I think maybe it’s meant more for meat eaters but we gotta support because 1) vegans gotta be all up in it and 2) we love to eat! Hopefully if it gets crazy popular, it can be used to feed people in developing countries a healthy protein for cheap and people will start grilling this shit up on 4th of July and chickens will get to be happy and goofy and take dirt baths and lay in the sunshine and just not give a cluck! SO yeah: eat it, spread the word, make it happen.
*I don’t think you can buy it like, in the frozen or fresh sections yet… but maybe soon??
Hot tip: Escape From New York Pizza in the Mission has vegan slices! »
Pizza party, all the time! Well, at least on Sundays in the Mission. We got a tip from an Escape From New York Pizza employee that their Mission location serves vegan slices from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Get on it, their pizza is yum!
I live next to the Escape From New York in the Upper Haight and I would love to see this happen there, because when I want their Daiya cheese pie, I have to order a WHOLE ONE. The vegan slices at Whole Foods across the street always look kind of nasty, so I end up making a vegan pizza myself, or breaking down and ordering one from EFNY. Then I eat the entire thing because will power is not something I apply to in my life!
When I say “I live next to,” I mean “when I open my bedroom window, the breeze is pizza-scented.” This must be what heaven smells like.
Jo from EFNY in the Mission tells us that she is vegan, so she makes sure the vegan slices are made separately! Thanks for looking out Jo! You just made my life a little brighter. Let’s go get some slices! And beer! See you in Dolores park, hipsters.
Remember, it’s only on Sundays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Mission Escape From New York at 3242 22nd St. (between Mission and Valencia).
Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor go vegan! Let’s hope it sticks! »
In news that I know you are all anxiously awaiting, another celebrity couple tries out veganism! This time, it’s Zoolander and Melody from Hey Dude! Just kidding you guys, I don’t seriously live in a world where actors are the characters they play. (Yes I do.)
Christine Taylor talks all about the transition here. Regarding her kids, she says they are having a harder time with the switch, and explains “My daughter loves veggies but doesn’t love fruit. My son loves fruit and doesn’t love veggies.” That’s so funny, because you know who else like veggies but doesn’t like fruit? Sarah! I just don’t get it. I even love the kind of fruit that everyone has a problem with—berries with little seeds! All the fruit for me, all the time! (except papaya, I don’t like that one. [Ed. note: WORD.])
Christine Taylor is also the spokesperson for Nourish body care products. I looked into Nourish, and it sounds like an awesome company—vegan and organic! I saw that the products are sold at Whole Foods, so I hopped, skipped, and jumped on over to the store across the street in search of body lotion. Sadly, the Upper Haight Whole Foods only carries Nourish body wash, and I prefer bar soap. Lavender mint lotion, you will be mine—I bet it’s at Rainbow!
Your Vegan Celebrity Correspondent
[photo via Ecorazzi]
Beyond Meat: the new vegan meat that’s rocking worlds is coming to Northern California Whole Foods! »
I’ve been hearing about this Beyond Meat stuff for awhile and NPR’s blog has the scoop, which I guess is actually originally from Mark Bittman but the point is, apparently this stuff is insanely realistic (it shreds!?) and super tasty. I know someone who tried it and was so blown away that he invested in it. That’s commitment, people! Money where the mouth is! I really need to get rich so I can invest in wacky vegan shit. I’d so donate to your Kickstarter, I promise*.
Anyway, it’s supposed to be amazing (WE GET IT, LAURA, IT’S GOOD) and I want to try it and LO AND BEHOLD, it’s supposed to be at Northern California Whole Foods soon! Hot damn! Northern California Whole Foods are notoriously way shittier than most Whole Foods because our buyer is an idiot who doesn’t stock vegan stuff because a vegan probably dumped his dumb ass but the point is: WE’RE GETTING IT IN THE BAY AREA FIRST TAKE THAT EVERYONE ELSE. If you see it laying about at a Whole Foods near you, holler at us! We gotta try it! What should we make with it?? What will YOU make with it? What if it’s TOO realistic?? Are we gonna be all “mmmm so good” and then like, “puke this takes like chicken!” and then “mmm so good” again?? I’m developing an eating disorder just thinking about it!
Starbucks bought Evolution Juice! Is this good news or bad news? »
As I’m sure you’ve already heard, Starbucks has bought San Bernadino-based juice company Evolution Juices for an estimated $30 million! Starbucks plans to carry Evolution in their cafes, and also to open juice bars* in the next year. Starbucks has already dropped the “Starbucks Coffee” from their logo, much like Apple dropped “computers” from theirs when they started carrying iPods, iPhones, and iPads. Now, because I am honestly interested in your opinion, tell me: Is this good news or bad news?
I feel torn about this move by Starbucks. On one hand, I shop at Whole Foods and Safeway, and have bought the Just Greens Evolution juice at both. I obviously patronize corporations, so I don’t see the big deal about Starbucks buying Evolution to spread juice to the masses. How is that a bad thing? Plus, I like Starbucks because their internet is not spotty, and I need that in order to write outside of my home. I will always choose to buy coffee from a mom-and-pop operation, but if I need to use the internet to work, Starbucks is the only place I can go that doesn’t let me down.
Starbucks is taking on selling more vegan food options, and now juice (plus beer and wine, right?), and I don’t see this a bad thing. So many people frequent Starbucks; isn’t it a perfect outlet to spread veganism to the masses? Isn’t that what we want? Or are we trying to keep veganism like our favorite indie band—all to ourselves?
The interior of an Evolution store—someone needs to use their spell check! I can’t hate too hard, many of you point out my spelling flaws and it’s super embarrassing! (Though I appreciate it!)
On the other hand, I don’t want to lose the sense of community we gain with small, local business. I don’t want corporations to take over the world, and the hippie in me hates shopping at chains, as I truly believe in supporting local cafes and juice shops. Especially because I live in a city, and I can do just that! I also appreciate that both my college town (Arcata) and my neighborhood (Upper Haight) refuse to let Starbucks in. However, what does one do when they don’t live in a city, but the suburbs, where chains are prevalent? What if you can only get raw juice, or soy in coffee, or vegan food at Starbucks, Safeway, or Jamba Juice? Can we have both? Can we shop at both local and corporate and be OK with ourselves?
I will buy juice and vegan food where it is available, and if it’s available to a larger demographic of people, then I see that as a win for the animals and therefore the environment (except all the plastic packaging). On that note, I will hardly go to Evolution, or buy beer at Starbucks, because I prefer cold-pressed raw vegetable juice and dive bars.
As long as Starbucks is going to try to take over the world, I would like to see an emphasis placed on using compost-friendly packaging! Biodegradable cups would be a fantastic start, Starbucks! Pave the way for corporations to start taking responsibility for the planet by using little to no plastic!
*The first Evolution juice bar opened on March 19 in Bellevue, Wash.
Berkeley Café Gratitude to stay open, Oakland Whole Foods Gratitude to close Feb. 28 »
According the the sign below, the Café Gratitude in the Oakland Whole Foods is closing on Feb. 28. What a bummer. I can’t believe that the Whole Foods Gratitude isn’t a major money-maker. It’s always packed! And packed with all different kinds of people, the kinds of people I don’t normally see in a Café Gratitude. I don’t know, it’s awesome seeing such a diverse crowd eating kale. And that includes me! I always buy a green juice while I’m shopping, and leave with at least one slice of cheesecake. My heart breaks a little at this news! Oh well, there’s always Rachel’s plan. Time to get raw, folks.