Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Vegan's 100

I figured I'd jump on the bandwagon that the incredible Hannah put in motion. Please see her original post for details. In her words:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1) Copy this list into your own blog, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten. [I'm also putting asterisks next to these because the bold isn't showing up well on my blog.]
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. [I don't know how to cross out things, so I'll just put a note in brackets next to those things I'd never consider eating.]
4) Post a comment here once you’ve finished and link your post back to this one.
5) Pass it on!

1. Natto
2. Green Smoothie*
3. Tofu Scramble*

4. Haggis
5. Mangosteen*
6. Creme brulee*
7. Fondue*

8. Marmite/Vegemite
9. Borscht (I can't remember if I've had borscht; it's possible.)
10. Baba ghanoush*
11. Nachos*
12. Authentic soba noodles*
13. PB&J sandwich*
14. Aloo gobi*

15. Taco from a street cart
16. Boba Tea*
17. Black truffle*

18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Gyoza*
20. Vanilla ice cream*
21. Heirloom tomatoes*

22. Fresh wild berries
23. Ceviche
24. Rice and beans*
25. Knish*

26. Raw scotch bonnet pepper [I don't think I could take the heat!]
27. Dulce de leche*
28. Caviar [I don't like things that taste like the sea, so probably not.]
29. Baklava*
30. Pate*
31. Wasabi peas*

32. Chowder in a sourdough bowl (I've had other things in a sourdough bowl, but not chowder.)
33. Mango lassi*
34. Sauerkraut*
35. Root beer float*
36. Mulled cider*
37. Scones with buttery spread and jam*

38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo*
40. Fast food french fries*

41. Raw Brownies
42. Fresh Garbanzo Beans
43. Dahl*
44. Homemade Soymilk*

45. Wine from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more* (Only if champagne counts.)
46. Stroopwafle
47. Samosas*
48. Vegetable Sushi*
49. Glazed doughnut*
50. Seaweed*
51. Prickly pear*

52. Umeboshi (I've had umeboshi plum vinegar, but not an actual umeboshi plum.)
53. Tofurkey*
54. Sheese*
55. Cotton candy*
56. Gnocchi*

57. Piña colada
58. Birch beer
59. Scrapple
60. Carob chips*
61. S’mores*

62. Soy curls
63. Chickpea cutlets
64. Curry*
65. Durian
66. Homemade Sausages
67. Churros, elephant ears, or funnel cake*
68. Smoked tofu*
69. Fried plantain*
70. Mochi*
71. Gazpacho*
72. Warm chocolate chip cookies*

73. Absinthe
74. Corn on the cob*
75. Whipped cream, straight from the can*
76. Pomegranate*

77. Fauxstess Cupcake
78. Mashed potatoes with gravy*
79. Jerky*
80. Croissants*

81. French onion soup [Never will this cross my lips!]
82. Savory crepes*
83. Tings*
84. A meal at Candle 79*

85. Moussaka
86. Sprouted grains or seeds*
87. Macaroni and “cheese”*
88. Flowers*
89. Matzoh ball soup*
90. White chocolate*
91. Seitan*

92. Kimchi
93. Butterscotch chips*
94. Yellow watermelon
95. Chili with chocolate*
96. Bagel and Tofutti [I like bagels, but have never been a cream cheese person.]
97. Potato milk
98. Polenta*
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee [I don't care for coffee.]
100. Raw cookie dough*

Hannah's post features links to those items that aren't household names.

Friday, August 22, 2008


I'll just come right out and say it: I read People magazine. I enjoy the escapism, the crossword puzzles, the book reviews, and more. While I very rarely have the chance to actually read it cover-to-cover as I did while I was in college, I still flip through my weekly issue.

Today, the September 1, 2008 issue arrived (I've never understood why they're dated about 10 days in the future) and I had a few moments to read it. You could imagine my surprise upon finding 2 separate and positive mentions of veganism.

The first was a letter from a reader who proclaimed her fierce love for Pamela Anderson. The reader listed Anderson's PETA work and the fact that she is "one of the animal world's staunchest allies" as the reasons for this love. I think it's pretty awesome that this reader wrote in to recognize an animal activist (ignoring her personal drama) and that People decided to print this letter when they could've easily ignored it.

The wedding of Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi was the cover story of this issue. Inside, the article mentions (twice!) that the couple's red velvet wedding cake (made by L.A. bakery Sweet Lady Jane's*) was vegan and states that all the wedding food was vegan ("miniature 'beef' sliders" and veggie spring rolls got shout outs). The couple also discussed their penchant for rescuing animals and their desire to someday live on and run an animal rescue farm.

Thanks for the nice surprises, People!

*Obviously, celebrities get special treatment on a regular basis, so I wasn't shocked that Sweet Lady Jane's created a vegan wedding cake for DeGeneres and de Rossi. However, it's my understanding (and please correct me if I'm wrong), that vegan baked goods are not a regular part of Sweet Lady Jane's repertoire (their online menu doesn't mention vegan options at all). My office has often purchased cupcakes and cakes from Sweet Lady Jane's for birthday celebrations and I am always sitting on the sidelines without dessert (which is fine with me; I'm just illustrating with personal experience). I thought I'd better explain that in case you were to start thinking that this was a vegan (cup)cake mecca, which it's not.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Changing of the Guard

I'm a very sentimental person and I always feel some bit of remorse when it comes to replacing an item I use frequently. Since beginning law school in the summer of 1998 and continuing forward into my career, I've always brought my lunch with me in a reusable Arctic Zone lunch bag. I started off with plain black, then moved onto pink. I don't replace them until they're old or have tears in the lining, so about 2 years of use out of each. The most recent retiree is pictured above next to its replacement (don't worry, I moved the vegan buttons to the new lunch bag), which I'm loving. I've mentioned before that I'm learning to play the guitar and I've been singing my whole life, so the whole skull and crossed guitars graphic speaks to me at the moment.

In the background of the above photo, you'll see my copy of My Sweet Vegan by the incredibly talented Hannah Kaminsky opened to the recipe for Better Banana Nut Muffins. Mine did not turn out perfectly, but that is my own fault for replacing all the oil with applesauce. You see, if I'm going to be the only one eating the baked goods (I ate one and froze the rest), I have no problem with the minor issues that might come from that substitution (mainly, that the muffins stick to the liners more). However, if I were to serve these to other people, regardless of where they stand on the omni to vegan spectrum, I would certainly have made them as the recipe was written. I also replaced the all-purpose flour with spelt flour and left out the nuts. Oh, and for all you Trader Joe's fans out there, I used the dried flattened bananas for the dried bananas called for in the recipe and followed the recipe instructions as written. The flattened bananas didn't hold up as they should have, so next time, I'd just chop the flattened bananas and add them in instead of rehydrating them first. The flavor of these muffins is amazing and, as always, it was a delight to bake one of Hannah's goodies.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Los Angeles Vegan Cooking Classes

Since I can't afford to go this time, I thought I'd let all of you know that there's a cooking class at Madeleine Bistro (Thank goodness they finally improved their website. Good work Chef David and Molly!) on Saturday, August 16, 2008 at 10:30am. Please take the class so I can live vicariously through you! You can read here about what a fabulous time I had at the cooking class I attended there earlier in the year.

Their e-mail announcement is as follows:

As always the class is filled with Chef David’s enthusiasm, humor, and passion for cooking and eating well. The class includes recipes and demonstration, questions and answers, and a three course meal. The classes are always fun and informative so bring a friend to share the experience. The cost is $75 per person; reservations required.

The theme and menu for the next class are...

August 16, 2008 cooking class:

Using Fresh Herbs to Create a Classic French Menu

Soupe au pistou
(Provencal vegetable and white bean soup with rustic basil pesto)
Grilled portobella mushroom with heirloom tomato “béarnaise”
(tarragon-scented hollandaise) , polenta and haricots verts

Cherry tart with lavender crème anglaise

While you're at it, go support the sisters of Spork Foods by taking a class or 12. They have their schedule posted through September, which means you'll have plenty of opportunities to experience the joy that is a Spork Foods class. You can read about the 2 Spork classes I took here and here.

Real Food Daily

I'm shocked that this is my first time blogging about Real Food Daily! It was my first vegan restaurant and still one that I love very much. There are two locations and, a couple weeks ago, I ate at the one in West Hollywood.

I absolutely have my favorite dishes at RFD, but I thought I'd try something new (to me) this time. Knowing that I love Follow Your Heart's Vegan Reuben, I opted for the Total Reuben (from the menu: tempeh, tofu cheese spread, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, sourdough rye bread) with Caesar salad (their Caesar dressing contains tofu, olive oil, lemon, vegenaise, miso, garlic, capers, nutritional yeast, nori & spices) on the side and Iced Roseberry Tea (you can see the color of the tea in the background of the photo).

I hate to say it, but I did not care for this reuben. There was something sweet about it that I'm guessing came either from the cashew cheese or the thousand island dressing and the bread didn't taste at all like rye. Maybe they ran out of rye that day or maybe theirs just isn't very pronounced. Their Caesar salad is also amazing, but the croutons on mine that day weren't great.

Do not let this post discourage you from eating at RFD. Their food is great and there are a lot of options. My favorite sandwich there is the Club and I highly suggest your order it because it's consistently fabulous! The Yin Yang Salad and Cold Soba Salad and Better with Cheddar Nachos are delicious, as are their desserts, hot drinks, and just about everything else I've tried there (which is a lot since I've been dining there for 10 years!). I'm sure there will be many future posts about RFD, so stay tuned...or go try it yourself!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Strawberry Has No Place in Chai

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to meet the blogger behind Vegan Grub at Juliano's Raw for shakes. Since I'd already had their chocolate shake twice, I thought I'd break out of my shell and have something different. It didn't take much contemplation to decide on the Chai smoothie with agave in lieu of honey (from their menu: fruit with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and cardamom). Now, I love chai, but this smoothie tasted absolutely nothing like chai. It tasted like a strawberry shake and I thought it was satisfactory, but nothing special. The chocolate shake, one the other hand, is spectacular! Oh, well, I guess we all have to go out on a limb and try something new every once in a while, right?