NYC: Come out for boozy vegan fun this weekend! Get your discount code here! »
Hey friends! You KNOW I love the drank, so I’m very excited about the Better Booze Fest this coming Saturday! The run down:
The 1st annual Better Booze Festival comes to New York City on September 20, 2014 at Center548 located at 548 W. 22nd St. Attendees will enjoy two floors of tastings from a variety of brewery, winery, and liquor company brands, a selection of delectable food vendors, as well as speakers, classes, activities and entertainment throughout each session. What makes it better? All beer, wine, and liquor at the event is 100% vegetarian and vegan!
Sounds nice? Sounds nice! You can see a list of the vendors here but our favorite, Champs, will be there serving food along with Great Performances. I don’t know them but I love trying new vegan caterers! Foster Dogs NYC is on the vendors list too so I’m hoping I get to pet some cute pups! Booze and cute pups are my two favorite things!
Tickets WILL NOT be available at the door so you have to buy them here. And just because we love you guys, enter this code to get $45 admission: DrinkBetter
Ok, hope to see you there!
Vegan Vine is ready to answer all your holiday wine pairing questions! Holler! »
Vegan Vine, who makes super excellent vegan wines*, wants to hear your Thanksgiving pairing questions. Because if we listened to regular wine companies, we’d never get to drink red because we don’t dig on the meat, am I right? It’s like Vegan Vine says:
Food/wine pairing suggestions from wine store clerks or on the back of bottles are generally all about what wines go best with animal flesh. You’re not going to find “try this wine with a seitan roulade stuffed with swiss chard and cashew ricotta” or “this wine pairs perfectly with raw zucchini pasta in sunflower seed pesto.”
So true! I asked for a vegan pairing suggestion to lead us off: Planning on apple pie or pumpkin pie? Try it with Chardonnay, they advise! I can do that. I will do that!
So go ahead and ask your questions (like what goes with Field Roast’s celebration roast??)! Questions can be posted on Vegan Vine’s Facebook page or on their Twitter page using the hashtag #veganwine.
Do you have any pairing questions for Vegan Vine? Have at it!
*If you aren’t aware, many wines are not vegan, for various reasons—and if they are, it’s difficult to find out! You can check with Barnivore for more info on specific wines…or just buy Vegan Vine and don’t worry about it! I totally am going to ask for a Vegan Vine wine club membership for xmas.
Tonight: Vegan happy hour at Source in San Francisco! »
The rumors are true—Source now carries organic, GMO-free wines and beers!
To celebrate, we’re hosting our own vegan beer and food fest on our patio, from 4 to 6:30 tonight, Wednesday, March 27. We’ll be serving all-you-can-drink beer and house wines, as well as some tasty bites including mac n’cheese, chocolate stout cake, salads, and bruschetta.
It costs $25, but if you picked up a Source pin on our anniversary, we’ll take $5 off. What a steal, right? Small bites, dessert, AND drinks for $20-$25? This shindig is my little brainchild, and if it’s a success, I’ll get the green light to keep it up, which I’d like to do probably once a month!
Let’s party, vegans—and be sure to bring your omni/vegetarian friends. What better way to show them the thrills of veganism than with cake and beer?
Source is located at 11 Division St. in San Francisco. Call us for more details at 864-9000. See you tonight!
Tonight! Vegan eats and wine at Cerruti Cellars in Oakland! »
Get fancy tonight at Cerruti Cellars with a JLD [Jack London District] Cash Mob event! Per our tipster, Annie:
Cerruti Cellars is a kid-friendly, dog-friendly Tudal Family winery/tasting room located at 100 Webster Street in Oakland. Cerruti Cellars produces award-winning wines from grapes grown in Napa Valley. All wines are vegan and some wines are biodynamic and/or organic.
El Taco Bike will be serving dinner. It will have vegan chips and guacamole and $2 vegan veggie tacos.
Jade Chocolates will be selling amazing vegan (and non-vegan) chocolates.
Cerruti Cellars will be offering exclusive cash mob holiday wine sets at special prices.
Spend $20 on wine and enter to win one of many great raffle prizes from other businesses in the Jack London District.
Hooray! Tacos and wiiiiiiine and supporting local businesses! Get yourself set up for Thanksgiving and winter holiday celebrations in one fell swoop! For more information, get in touch with JLD Cash Mob via Facebook or Twitter.
Domaine du Tariquet Chardonnay!
This is the second bottle of wine that Domaine du Tariquet sent me, and as it was seasonably warm this weekend, I thought, let’s break out a second bottle. Again, I served it to my two favorite wine-appreciators.
Tasting notes from my dad:
A nice, crisp, green apple floral scent with light oak overtures. Very clean on the palate with a slight buttery mouthfeel. Not overdone. There was a flowery, vanilla taste with a light smokiness on the finish.
Tasting notes from my ma:
Very light and delicate green apple on the nose. Detected a hint of grapefruit. No malolactic. Crisp and clean, light and smooth. Hint of sweetness, but the green apple balances it nicely. Noted a touch of minerality on the finish; very smooth. By the nose I wouldn’t pick this to be a Chardonnay. The taste is classic. It’s an approachable, drinkable wine.
Did I like it? Yes! It tasted great with dinner, and by itself.
To find Domaine du Tariquet wines in your area, check out their distributors, or contact your local wine seller. I again suggest you do, as this Chardonnay was lovely.
Domaine du Tariquet Chenin Chardonnay! Domaine du Tariquet contacted me about sampling some of their wines, which they produce without animal products. Awesome, right? I knew my coterie of oenophiles would never turn down free wine, so I said, Yes please, and here we are.
This is their Chenin Chardonnay, which is a bright white that I would definitely drink again. But don’t take it from me; let my fancy-wine-talkers elaborate.
They both got grapefruit on the nose, and appreciated its lovely golden color. My mother liked the “light fruit and citrus on the front end” and the “crisp mineral finish.” My dad also tasted fruit with very little acid, “lemon with peach,” and they both noted the green apple flavor of malolactic fermentation. “It’s a nice, crisp wine that will be ideal served lightly chilled on a summer evening on the patio.”
To find Domaine du Tariquet wines in your area, check out their distributors, or contact your local wine seller. And I suggest you do; this Chenin Chardonnay was delightful.
Vegan Divas makes yummy vegan desserts in NYC! »
Guys, your friend Megan is super fancy. Or at least I kind of was on Thursday! I went to a fancy dessert tasting in Manhattan thrown by Vegan Divas (heads up: the homepage has music. But it’s kind of the greatest song ever). They are an upscale vegan dessert company in New York and I got to try a wide array of their offerings.
Vegan Divas is very much focused on health so their desserts are preservative free, their cookies are fortified with fiber and they substitute spelt flour in place of regular flour. However, they do this without sacrificing taste and presentation. Look how pretty:
Fernanda Capobianco, the owner of Vegan Divas and a vegan of fifteen years, was at the party, as was her husband François Payard, renown pastry chef. François made a pretty funny speech with zingers interjected by Fernanda. An interesting thing François said was that he’s learned that you can better taste the flavor of food when it’s made without butter. He said butter coats your mouth and without it, there is no barrier between you and the food. Interesting! Fernanda then said her piece about the many health benefits of a vegan diet. I was like, OK, but do the desserts taste good?! Well let me tell you, they do!
The chocolate cake pictured above was rich and delicious. In fact, everything chocolate was really good. If you like chocolate mousse, you have to try theirs. It’s made with tofu and I think it’s a signature dish. I thought it was great and I’m not even that into mousse! I am into donuts though and I really liked these chocolate-topped baked donuts (get out of my way, coconut donuts!):
Since the donuts are baked and not fried, we are not talking Ronald’s, but they were good. And you can’t tell from the picture but these are mini donuts! Like mini-mini donuts. Very tiny. I love very tiny food!
My very favorite thing was the carrot cake! I haven’t had a good carrot cake in a while and this really hit the spot. Very moist and yummy but not too sweet:
Another highlight were these wacky “sand” cookies:
I love them! They were salty and reminded me of these wheat biscuit/crackers Carr’s used to make.
Now I will introduce you to my favorite party guest, Hanly!:
OMG Hanly rules, he’s a Seeing Eye dog! And a party animal. Plus, he has his own wine label! Well, his owner does. But his picture is on the label! Alex Elman supplied the delicious wine for the party. I got a chance to speak with her and she said her wines are all vegan and organic. And they were sure tasty! I definitely recommend this wine and it seems to be widely available. You can check for it near you.
Back to Vegan Divas, you can buy their products at a number of places in New York. They also do catering! For those outside of New York, they do say they ship to the continental US (sorry my out of country friends! Now you have to visit me!). My official recommendations are the carrot cake and anything chocolate. And if you are gluten-free or have any other allergies, I think this is the company for you. Order Vegan Divas and have your own fancy dessert tasting! You know what would make it even fancier? Invite me! I light up a room.
Cookbook Review: The Tipsy Vegan! »
I got a gratis copy of John Schlimm’s The Tipsy Vegan to review for you guys! Rachel has been on a cookbook review roll, as I’m sure you’ve read, but when I saw “tipsy,” I knew this book was for yours truly. However, this is not a book of vegan cocktails like I thought! It’s all about cooking with wine and liquor. But there are a handful of cocktail recipes as well, they kick off each chapter.
To sum up the book in three words: Fun, challenging, sassy! That’s right, sassy. The tone of the book is very jovial and lighthearted, which I appreciate. And you are encouraged to enjoy your booze! As god intended. One thing I will say is that I’m not sure it’s really a book for beginners. It’s for more of a mid-level to experienced cook. There are lots of ingredients, lots of different techniques involved, and lots of recipes requiring things like ice cream makers and food processors (which I do not have because I’ve slimmed down my kitchen accessories. Oh, life in the big city!). A bowl and spoon are not going to get you very far here. On the other end of the spectrum, this is just the thing for the uninspired cook! It’ll give your cooking a kick in the pants! The recipes and ingredients are inventive and interesting. And the book is entertaining. I’m a fan!
I tried two of the recipes: Bruschetta on a Bender and Rockin’ Roasted Potatoes With Racy Rosemary and Mustard. The potatoes, the recipe for which you can get over on NYT, had vodka in them, which I had because my first housewarming gift was a half-empty bottle of Ketel One (#classy). Both recipes called for vermouth, but the potatoes said you could use a dry white wine instead and the bruschetta said a fruity red would work too. As I don’t know what I’d do with a bottle of vermouth and you better believe I know what to do with two bottles of wine, I opted for the wine. But the book said I could!
I don’t know what you call the sauce I made for the potatoes but it was damn good! Like, I was about to lick the bowl, horseradish and all. I had a little sauce left over and I put it in a cup to save in the fridge. I’m thinking Brussels sprouts!
The bruschetta was interesting because it called for thyme instead of your typical basil. My bro and sis-in-law were ‘bout it for the bruschetta! They both had like seven pieces. I liked it too but I did miss the basil. But there’s really no need to buy a cookbook with a basil bruschetta recipe, is there? And red wine on the tomatoes? Genius! Why don’t we do that all the time? We can from now on. Pish, I don’t even remember what life was like before red wine-soaked tomatoes!
Sweet Instagram pic of the bruschetta. Oh, Instagram, how I love you. Follow me: @MeganRascal!!!
Check it, I scored the Bruschetta on a Bender recipe for you! With permission from Da Capo Press, naturally:
Bruschetta on a Bender
Ingredients4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and very coarsely chopped
2 tsp. kosher salt
12 slices crusty French or Italian bread, about 3 inches in diameter
1 garlic clove, peeled and split
3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp. dry vermouth or a fruity red wine
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, or 1 teaspoon dried
1 tsp. dried oregano
Freshly ground black pepper
Toss the tomatoes with the salt and drain for 30 minutes in a large colander set over a bowl.
Under a hot broiler, toast the bread slices on both sides.
Rub the toasted top of each slice with the split garlic clove and lightly brush the top of each slice with the olive oil
Gently press down on the drained tomatoes to extract even more juices. Then transfer them to another bowl and toss with the balsamic vinegar, dry vermouth, thyme, and oregano.
Season with the pepper to taste. Spoon the tomato mixture in small mounds on top of the toasts and serve at once.
Yield: 12 bruschettas
Yay! Now you can make the bruschetta just like your pal Megan.
There are a lot of other great-sounding recipes I still want to try, namely the Merlot ice. Basically a Merlot slushy, it requires a food processor. I’m about to get one just to make it. Can you imagine? A Merlot slushy? Be still my heart!
Before I sign off, I’ll add another point: this book doesn’t really feel like a vegan cookbook, it feels like a “regular” cookbook. It’s not really about being vegan and you aren’t making approximations of omni recipes you’ve been missing; you’re making fun and exciting recipes that are also vegan. I think omnis would certainly enjoy this book too and if not for the title, I doubt they’d notice the absence of animals products. It’s definitely a good cookbook if you’re entertaining a mixed-diet crowd! So I say check it out and get a little crazy. A little crunked, even. Go for it.
My dad noted its “deep red color,” and said that it was “not overly oaky,” while he tasted “raisin and dried cherry, with a spicy finish.” He felt it would be a “great complement to leek soup and grilled pineapples.” My ma also liked the “very deep and rich” color of the wine. She got “oak on the nose, and cedar,” and tasted “cherries and blackberries.” She also found the tannins to be “nicely balanced.”
I thought it had a good strong flavor, and was dry without making your mouth pucker. Very good, would drink again.
Let’s remind ourselves why specifically vegan wine is a good thing: Because, as our beloved Barnivore has taught us, even the most innocent-seeming alcohol might have been filtered through animal products, which is unnecessary and also totally gross. Vegan Vine takes away the risk—you always know your drink is cruelty-free, which is awesome.