vegansaurus!

10/13/2011

This is the Vegan Vine's sauvignon blanc. I “made” my parents sample it with me; their two main hobbies are riding bicycles and drinking wine, so I figured their opinions would be interesting.
Why specifically vegan wine? 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.
My fancy parents and I enjoyed this sauvignon blanc quite a bit. My dad said he got “green apple, limeade, and a hint of citrus in the nose;” “lemon and green apple in the taste;” and he found its “bright, clean finish” that was “not too acidic” “very drinkable.” My ma got “citrus and Gravenstein apple” in the nose, “lemon and slight green apple” in the taste, and  she liked the “clean, bright, crisp finish” that was “not too sweet.”
I liked it too.
I did find it a bit too alcoholic, though; I prefer a higher alcohol content in my beer and a lower in my wine, and this one registers 14.5 percent, meaning the third of the bottle I drank was fairly intoxicating.
Vegan Vine has two more varieties, a cabernet sauvignon and a red blend. They sent them to me as well, and once I’ve tasted them, I’ll have opinions on them for you as well. Maybe even this week; wine does make an excellent dinner.
*Sorry, millennia of winemaking tradition, I got a B- in intro to viticulture and enology, that means I have knowledge.

This is the Vegan Vine's sauvignon blanc. I “made” my parents sample it with me; their two main hobbies are riding bicycles and drinking wine, so I figured their opinions would be interesting.

Why specifically vegan wine? 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.

My fancy parents and I enjoyed this sauvignon blanc quite a bit. My dad said he got “green apple, limeade, and a hint of citrus in the nose;” “lemon and green apple in the taste;” and he found its “bright, clean finish” that was “not too acidic” “very drinkable.” My ma got “citrus and Gravenstein apple” in the nose, “lemon and slight green apple” in the taste, and she liked the “clean, bright, crisp finish” that was “not too sweet.”

I liked it too.

I did find it a bit too alcoholic, though; I prefer a higher alcohol content in my beer and a lower in my wine, and this one registers 14.5 percent, meaning the third of the bottle I drank was fairly intoxicating.

Vegan Vine has two more varieties, a cabernet sauvignon and a red blend. They sent them to me as well, and once I’ve tasted them, I’ll have opinions on them for you as well. Maybe even this week; wine does make an excellent dinner.

*Sorry, millennia of winemaking tradition, I got a B- in intro to viticulture and enology, that means I have knowledge.

09/19/2011

Patxi’s pizza with wine and beer: a love story  »

On Aug. 31, I participated in a Patxi’s pizza, beer, and wine pairing. Let me tell you, I love pizza and beer! I love pizza and wine! I especially love those things for free.

The whole event was what I imagined being on an episode of Check, Please! must feel like—as in, the intense conversations about food and beverages at restaurants. When I was broke, lonely and up too late, living in Chicago, I watched that show all the time. Then, the first time I went to Patxi’s, what do they happen to be filming? Check, Please! Bay Area! You can see my cameo on my favorite show here, at the 1:21 mark. Yes, I am stuffing my face—but with a fork! I don’t know what possessed me to pick up a fork to eat pizza; that never happens, even if it is the instant mess known as Chicago-style. On that fateful night in July, I had a Daiya cheese, spinach, and mushroom-stuffed pizza with Sierra Nevadas. Fullness and contentment to the max!

The second time I went to Patxi’s, it was to take part in these pairings. Also in attendance were Raj Irukulla and Meredith Arthur of Chow, Amy Sherman of Cooking with Amy, Personal Sommelier Courtney Chochran and Laiko Bahrs of Patxi’s Pizza and coordinator of the night. I went in all, “I like pizza and beer, yum,” and very quickly felt like a college freshman in a class with seniors. However, I faced my intimidation and ate, drank, even offered some insight (very much to the tune of “pizza, wine, beer, YUM!”).


First vegan pizza! Thin crust with Daiya and tomatoes.


Second vegan pizza! Chicago-style deep dish with Daiya, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach, red bell peppers, mushrooms, garlic, and red onions.

The wines we drank included zinfandel, cabernet sauvingnon, pinot noir, and sauvignon blanc. The beers included Widmer hefeweizen, Sweetgrass APA, New Dogtown pale ale, and Bud Light.

I concluded that:

  • Pinot noir doesn’t go with pizza or me
  • Zinfandel and cabernet are so very tasty, but too strong for pizza
  • Sauvignon blanc pairs incredibly with spinach salad
  • Sweetgrass APA tastes very similar to Sierra Nevada, is therefore delicious and now my new favorite beer. That means it goes with all foods, all occasions
  • Hefenweizen and pale ales are not my thing and do not go with anything, ever, not even lemons (Sierra Nevada doesn’t count, as it’s darker than a typical Pale Ale)

And, now, I know you are going to think I’m crazy, but Bud Light goes really well with Chicago-style pizza. The entire table agreed! (We also had sampled all of the libations and eaten a lot at the point that the Bud Light was served). Its lightness compliments the flavors of the pizza and doesn’t weigh one down as much as a fuller-bodied/calorie-dense beer.

I learned that I like light beer with pizza. Plus I can totally pack more pizza in my stomach that way. Although, if someone else is buying, I’ll drink whatever is in front of me and it will be just fine!

Laiko emailed the group’s (vegan-relevant) conclusions:

  • Zinfandel was great with the extra-thin-crust pizzas
  • Sauvignon blanc was a nice pairing with cheese or Daiya extra-thin-crust pizzas, light on toppings
  • Cabernets and pinots competed with the tomato sauce and deep-dish flavors
  • Beer paired well with spicier pizza
  • Turns out Bud Light is great with deep-dish with lots of toppings

What do you guys think? What are your favorite adult beverages to pair with pizza?


Perfection! Pizza, wine, and a loose crayon. My pizza fell face flat on my plate as it was being served, but I was all “No problem here!”

09/12/2011

This Wednesday’s Millennium Winemaker Dinner — Special for Vegansaurus readers!  »

Hey! You know how you want to be fancy all the time but you also need to hoard your groats!? Well, we’ve got a solution! Well, kind-of!

Millennium is offering their Millennium’s September Winemaker Dinner THIS WEDNESDAY for $60 instead of $75 if you mention you heard about it on Vegansaurus! It’s just that easy! So, you can’t be HELLA poor if you wanna go, but you can be cheap and wanting of an extra $15 in your pocket. You can use that money to buy me diamonds and rubies and a pony and seven sandwiches LAY OFF ME I’M STARVING.

Here’s the skinny from Millennium:

Our wine director Chris Tavelli is thrilled to partner with Terra Savia for our September winemaker dinner. Owner and Winemaker Jim Milone is a fourth generation Hopland Winegrower and has been making wine for over 30 years. He adheres to the highest standards of organic certification and, committed to land conservation and wildlife preservation, considers impact on our environment throughout the winemaking process. Jim produces one of the few organic California sparkling wines and uses the traditional Champagne method. Eric Tucker, Emmy Miller and their team are excited to have the opportunity to create a five course globally influenced, locally sourced menu around these delicious wines. Join us for an unforgettable evening with Chris and Jim Milone from Terra Savia who will be on hand to discuss the wines and to answer any questions you may have.

"put more effort in the vineyard and minimize treatment in the cellar; winemaking starts when you lay down the first compost in the Fall and prune in winter."

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
6-9:30pm
Sparkling Wine Reception 6pm
Dinner Served Promptly at 6:30pm
5-course menu with wine pairings
*$75/person $60 for Vegansaurus readers!!
*(before tax/gratuity)
Space is limited, please call Alison to reserve your seat at the table today
415.345.3900 x 13

Below is a sneak peek (sexy!) at the menu!

AMUSE
2009 Chardonnay
En Croute
seared king trumpet mushroom, Chardonnay cream sauce, fried nori

ONE
2007 Blanc De Blanc
Bruscetta
almond crusted champagne grape, macadamia nut “cheese”, Bosc pear, frisee

TWO
2007 Meritage
Baked Yuba Roll
carrot-parsnip kinpira & tofu filling, tea smoked plum sauce, red wine-star anise caramelized cabbage with apples

THREE
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon
Empanada Verde
plantain crust, chile & citrus marinated Portobello mushroom asada, pineapple-cacao mole, grilled watermelon salsa

FOUR
2008 Petit Verdot
Brik Pastry Beggar’s Purse
shelling beans & chanterelle mushrooms, “gorgonzola” soft polenta, stewed tomatoes, pine nut toasted bread crumbs

FIVE
A SWEET SURPRISE… (ooooh…)

02/03/2011

Pause Wine Bar in Hayes Valley: Vegan desserts galore (ish)!  »

So, Pause in Hayes Valley officially opened yesterday, Feb. 2, and it’s looking miiiiighty fine! Now, you might be asking, what does some snob wine bar have to do with you, dear vegan? Well, the desserts are provided by none other than Sarah Smart of Rocket Ship Ice Cream! We looooooove this stuff, it is so g.d. delicious, truly outstanding dessert deliciousness. 

Anyway, Pause is the sister wine/food bar to Dog Patch’s Yield (GET IT?) (snark aside, this is a delightful place for vegan lushes!) and is also owned by Millennium's wine director, Chris Tavelli—so, uh, this dude should know from vegan options. In fact, there appear to be quite a few on their short menu. I reallllllly hope we can get that dessert sampler platter veganized! It looks hopeful, as Sarah says:

Be sure to stop by for poppyseed vegan donut holes and lemon marmalade…butterscotch and chocolate ice cream terrine from Rocket Ship Ice Cream or assorted cookies and truffles. 

Um, YUM. I will be sure to stop by. Thank you, Sarah!

[Photo from Eater SF]

08/24/2010

Vegansaurus NYC: Cocoa V!  »

Hey people, one quick thing: you have to go to Cocoa V before you die! It’s an all-vegan, all-organic, all-fair trade chocolate and wine bar. CHOCOLATE and WINE! What else do you need? That’s pretty much it.

Really it’s not all chocolate and wine, they also have baked goods and a savory menu so I went to Cocoa V for brunch this weekend. I ordered the “daily whimsical quiche,” which was a spinach-onion-Daiya quiche. It was OK. Although I have publicly proclaimed Daiya to be the bomb, I think I’m over it. It has such a distinct Daiya flavor and I’m finally just tired of it. It’s like there’s all these ingredients in the quiche and all I can taste is the Daiya. But the consistency was good and the crust was good—it was a nice little quiche. I was with two friends and we started with the Cocoa V trio which was an edamame pate, hummus, spiced nuts and “toast points” (basically crostini). That’s a picture of the edamame pate on a toast point on stage right over there. This stuff was GOOD. Below is a picture of my friend’s tofu salad wrap she ordered. I tried it, it was kind of bland but good. I guess it’s what you might expect a tofu salad wrap to be like.

After the savory stuff, we got chocolate fondue! You see pals, I’m a baller and I’ll have chocolate fondue for brunch if I damn well please. The fondue wasn’t the best I’ve ever had but it was very good. Then, after the fondue, the REAL fun began! I bought all kinds of chocolates and stuff for people! You see pals, I’m the man. We got to sample this one chocolate I highly recommend you try, it was the spiced chocolate tile with cloves and those holiday spices like that. My friend Kevin said it tasted like Christmas. I liked it because it was salty and I love the chocolate + salt combo. There were so many different chocolates! I got some pretzel clusters for my brother because I’m so sweet and I got a chocolate cat-face on a stick for my friend—again, because I’m so sweet. “Chocolate cat face on a stick” sounds really gross but it’s really cute. It’s just chocolate in the shape of a cat’s head. That still sounds weird but you know what I mean!

We dabbled in the baked goods too; my friend got a red velvet cupcake but hasn’t eaten it yet so I can’t attest to the flavor but I can say it was very pretty. The scone pictured is my chocolate-hazelnut scone I’m going to have for breakfast tomorrow. DON’T WORRY! I already tried it just so I could let you know that it’s super delicious. But the rest, that’s for breakfast, I swear. I didn’t try any of their wine so I’ll have to go back again. Normally, I’m all for morning time boozing but wine in the morning wasn’t appealing today. You may notice there are many pictures in this post but I assure you, this is only a few. It started to pour outside so I was in Cocoa V for about three hours and there were so many pretty things, I got my shutter-bug on.

If you live in New York, you have to go here probably tomorrow. If you visit New York, you really should make a stop here, it’s worth it. If you can’t wait, have no fear! You can order online! Because there is a god! And god wants you to get fat off vegan chocolate! DON’T DISAPPOINT GOD.

11/10/2008

Review: the Parkway Speakeasy Theater!  »

For being delightfully in the heart of Oakland, the Parkway Speakeasy Theater place sure sees a lot of Skinny White Bitches.* In fact, I can count the number of black people I’ve seen here on one hand AND I ONLY HAVE TWO FINGERS. That’s a lie about the two fingers but wouldn’t that be cool? And by cool, I mean horrible. Other than the not-so-delightful gentrification (wait sorry, revitalization) of Oakland, I do enjoy sinking my fat white ass into one of the comfy (yet probably highly unsanitary) couches to enjoy a second generation first-run movie or art house feature. They also have special nights with horror films, kids’ films (you can bring your gross baby that night) and tons of other special events. But the coolest thing about the parkway is that you can GET ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES DURING THE MOVIE. OK, not all alcohol, it’s only beer and wine but there are decent selections in both categories. The second most awesome thing about The Parkway is that you can enjoy your movie while snacking on VEGAN PIZZA (they make their own vegan cheese, kinda like a fake ricotta but it works, and tons of vegan toppings!) They also make a few vegan sandwiches and salads and various other vegan-friendly snacks (and often vegan cookies!!)! It is a very satisfying experience. The vegan stuff is clearly marked on their menu and they’re open to suggestions so you can email them or leave a comment card when you’re there and they’ll try to accommodate. It was loud-mouthed vegans who got the vegan stuff onto the menu to begin with it so it pays to speak up and FIGHT THE POWER! Or NICELY MAKE A SUGGESTION!

Two more things: It’s only $5 admission price and it’s two-for-one on Wednesdays! Love that as I’m hella cheap. Also, they have a second location in El Cerrito if you want to enjoy a movie out in the sticks. El Cerrito is totally far away.

*Oh and calm the fuck down, Skinny White Bitches of the world. I don’t need any hate mail because I used such an offensive slur against your people. If being called a Skinny White Bitch is the worst thing that has ever happened to you well then, LIFE IS GOOD.

[marquee photo by disrupsean; beer and popcorn photo by queenkv]

10/03/2008

Road Trip: Ubuntu in Napa!  »

Sometimes you just want to get the fuck out of dodge. On occasion, we’ll feature different veg-friendly places to visit and dine that are within an hour or two from SF. Let’s start with Napa because I’m a classy drunk. LET’S GET WASTED! SHOW ME YOUR BRA! WOO!

I’ve been to Ubuntu three times and look forward to a fourth visit like it’s my job.  

First visit
A really wonderful, super-romantic dinner. The food was delicious and perfect, especially the coconut watermelon basil soup. That soup is ridiculous. It will change your life. It’s better than the sex (that you have, most likely. Not me, I am amazing at sex). It is like drinking the blood of virgins. Eating it is what winning gold at the Olympics must feel like. The wine list is filled with sustainable, organic and biodynamic (wtf does that mean?) wines. The prices were totally reasonable based on quality of service and food. I didn’t see one heifer doing yoga. Just the thought of a Skinny White Bitch running around with a yoga mat under one arm and a little crop-top (YARG) that says “namaste” on it is enough to make me lose my shit/lunch so plus-multiple-stars for that. I cannot hang.

Second visit
Holy shit, why am I impossible to take out in public?  I did quite a bit of wine-tasting with my friends Maria, Ed and Suzanne in downtown Napa before (including one place that I thought was a free tasting room but was actually a bar! Oops, we have to pay for that?! Thank God I have fabulous slut friends who are willing to exchange numbers for many bottles of free wine!) and so wasn’t entirely prepared to enter a classy establishment for dinner.

DO NOT INFORM THE HOSTESS THAT YOU ARE DRUNK WHEN YOU ARRIVE. You will be rightly cut the fuck off.  it went a little like this:
Hostess: Hello!
Laura: I’m DRUNK!
Hostess: OK, what’s the reservation under?
Laura: I’m DRUNK!
Maria: It’s under “Ed.”
Laura: HE’S DRUNK TOO!!! HAHAHA!
…and so on and so forth. Don’t worry, I hate me too.

Once seated, we were politely and tactfully informed that we were being cut off because of my outburst and the, you know, being openly intoxicated in a nice restaurant thing. the wait staff and management at Ubuntu handled it VERY well. They never made us feel unwelcome or called out or anything like that.  and the food helped. I swear, everything tastes even more amazing when you’re drunk. That is, it tastes amazing until you want to die. I wanted to die right before dessert so I headed out to the car to take a power nap. It felt so good, I can’t even tell you. We then headed back to the city and don’t worry for my safety and for the safety of others, kind Vegansaurus readers, I didn’t drive! Ed was sober sister and is an excellent driver and made an amazing mix CD.  if you’ve never seen Maria and Ed perform Usher’s “Love in This Club,” you are missing the fuck out. You have not lived until Ed has looked you in the eye and told you he wants to set you free, sexually, emotionally, mentally, physically. Or however it goes [Ed.: “physically, mentally, sexually, emotionally”]. It’s hot, trust me. I think they’ll be doing it tomorrow at Temple bar, in fact. You should totally be there.

Third visit
To celebrate my friend Joel’s recent entrance into adulthood a good 10 years before his time (i.e., buying a house at 25. OVERACHIEVERS! UGH!). The food was equally as delicious this time and I remember it all very well. The soup remained the star of the menu—who knew that coconut and watermelon and basil and edible flower = magical magicallity. Well, I guess I do now and so do you. We had more of the delicious chickpea fries, the creamy polenta was delicious as was the farro (far less saltier this time, I wonder if they’d gotten complaints?) and finished it off with the super-tasty almond milkshake and yummy mini-vegan carrot cake cupcakes.

The cupcakes are not on the regular menu so make sure to ask for them—beg if you have to! Actually, they only have ONE vegan dessert on the regular menu and it’s some whack shaved ice shit. I mean, it’s good but COME ON. One vegan dessert at a vegetarian restaurant* isn’t enough. I guess that’s my only complaint. That and the soup isn’t endless, like at the Olive Garden (those people are geniuses!).

In conclusion: Ubuntu. Delicious when sober. Delicious when drunk. Delicious for dinner. Delicious for lunch.  Please someone send that into the New Yorker poetry editor, kthx!

*sorry, “vegetables” restaurant! they don’t like the term “vegetarian,” I guess it turns off the snob foodies and the snob foodies LOVE this place. It annoys me that they don’t embrace “vegetarian” but hey, the New York Times named it one of the 10 best new restaurants in the country. I’m sorry but that’s fucking awesome for a vegetables restaurant.

UPDATE 10/5/10: Not so much enamored with Ubuntu anymore. We sad.

[interior photo via yelp; food photos by Joel, of Joel and Nibbler]

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