Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lamb's Bread, vegan gem in the rough, Columbia, South Carolina

Unlikely.  That's the highest probability I gave Columbia, South Carolina for having a vegan restaurant.  Now I freely admit I have been wrong before, and I might even be wrong again some time but I was very off base here.  Lamb's Bread is a quaint, African, Caribbean, Asian fusion restaurant in a nondescript brick blockhouse building.  I drove right by the first time and there isn't much on the street.  I did see the neon sign for a "COSMIC COLON CLEANSe" which might have momentarily shut down all other thought processes.  If nothing else it's interesting to think of that as the result of lunch.

I remember driving by and seeing the Colon Cleanse sign.  Sort of held my attention and I missed the BIG sign.
The decor seems to trend heavily toward African culture, heavy on the dark wood masks and sculptures. Eclectic is certainly a word that applies here.  There's also a stage.

Front door to the left, ordering counter to the right, stage in the center.


Menu which changes daily.
The owner's daughter is friendly and helpful, (I'm sorry I, once again, forgot to ask your name).  The food, she said, changes daily and is a fusion of whatever strikes her dad's fancy.  This day it was an Ethiopian Stew with Mock Chicken.  I'm a big mock fan so I ordered that.  You get 3 sides so I picked the rutabaga, since I wouldn't know one if someone hit me with one, and since I was in the land of Collards, the collards.  I ordered the brown rice but looking at the list now I probably should have given the curry potatoes a try but that also would have been two roots.  I paid and sat down to wait.  On the way to the table I passed through a time portal.

There was a small stand with the familiar yellow magazine that I grew up with.  National Geographic.  I looked and thought, "Oh, a look back to the Vietnam War," since anyone who grew up with body counts as part of the prime time dinner hour news would recognize a picture from that era.  I was more than a little surprised to see that this was an original 1965 issue.  I might have actually looked through the pictures as a 9 year old in 1965.  It was interesting to see the writers bent on the war at that early stage of the conflict.  Sad too, knowing what was to come.

The short wait for the food ended my reminiscing as a beautiful full plate of food was set before me.  The rutabaga was like a soft orange tinged potato with just a hint of sweet.  I think it might have been my first bite of this tuber and it was cooked perfectly.  Each piece held the fork nicely with no hint of being overcooked or mushy.

One of the few plates of food I couldn't finish even though I would have liked to!
The collards which I had high hopes for just tasted like greens with just a gentle touch of seasoning.   I don't know how much flavor collards actually bring to the table and have cooked them before but these, flavor wise, just reminded me of "greens,"  but texture-wise were cooked perfectly and retained a bit of bite and not overcooked.  

I was surprised as I took a bite of the brown rice.  It had a hint of curry flavor.

The Ethiopian stew was a delicious sweet brown sauce with green peppers and onions covering pieces of a commercially available mock chicken.  

You could miss it if you weren't looking for it.  I did.  It surely doesn't look like a restaurant and don't be looking for a big sign on the building.
I would like to have spent a few days in Columbia just to taste a few more dishes from Lamb's Bread.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Lime Fresh Mexican Grill, vegans and omnis eat in Florida

I found Lime Fresh Mexican Grill almost by accident.  It didn't come up in a Happy Cow search, (Vegout on iPhone actually), but I found another trick is to look at Google Maps and search for "vegan" or "vegetarian."  I get a lot of pizza places but sometimes a new place pops up.  When I looked at their online menu, (their website is slow to load and you have to listen to music while it does so don't be doing this when you're on the phone to your boss pretending to work ... unless of course you're a vegan restaurant reviewer), it said the same thing as on their paper menu.  Vegetarian friendly.  But there's a caveat there and that is just because a place is vegetarian friendly they don't necessarily have any idea about how to be vegan friendly.  Trust me, this has been proven out by real life experiences.  Over.  And over.  And sadly, over again.

I called and asked about vegan options.

"We can make anything on the menu vegan." said the young lady who answered the phone.  (I thought, "chicken?" but let it go).  As I was moving the phone away from my ear to hang up she said, "Oh, and sir, the beans are vegan and not cooked in any animal products."

I thought tentatively, " ... Eureka?"

Off we went.  The place is in an outdoor shopping center.  It's bright, noisy-ish and very up beat.  There of course was a line so this New Yorker felt right at home in this Miami locus of suburban activity.  Someone comes out and hands you a menu, asks if you have any questions.  You order at the counter, (which took like 3 minutes of standing in line to get to), and get a number on a stick and a server brings you your meal.  I must say, the staff is friendly, happy, and what I found surprisingly nice, attentive.  Our drinks were refilled, (well ... not my beer, drat!) , hot sauce brought over, napkins, and more chips.  I've never seen that level of service at places where service comprises only food delivery to your table.  Congrats on that Lime.

Those tables are really comfy now but in a few months they'll be molten puddles of metal surrounded by amazing humidity.
I see the same willingness to prepare my food the way I like repeated on the menu.  I just say I'm a vegan and don't want any animal products or cheese on my burrito but put everything else you have on there.  The person taking my order was helpful, although mentioned cheese once but said, "Oh, no cheese, right."  I think there needs to be a bit of responsibility on our parts when we order to keep the, "no animal product, no butter, no milk, no cheese, no stock ... " litany going.  Yes, it's tiring, frustrating and should in a perfect world be un-necessary but it isn't and it is.
"Anything (literally anything) on the menu can be prepared to your liking"
So here's the downside, unless you're a welfarist, in which case you'll be overjoyed, every item on the menu containing animal says, "Humanely raised."  I quite honestly think this is a feel good bunch of BS because there's no way to humanely shoot a bolt through any animals head or slit their throats.  (Off of soapbox).

My first dish was the black bean soup.  It was hearty and flavorful without any one overpowering taste.  There is nothing lacking in this soup and it loses nothing by being cooked in vegetable broth.

And a few gratuitous chips.  I love the crunch chips add to mushy foods.  We had a bowl of
chips and salsa and they were refilled so there was never any shortage.
A little off center on the targeting reticle there chef.
My burrito was ordered in a large whole wheat tortilla with rice, beans, onions, peppers, lettuce, and pico de gallo.  Every bite was delicious.  I tried 3 different hot sauces brought by our server but ended up using most of the "Don't say we didn't warn you..." one.  
This burrito was huge but I stood up to the challenge.
All the ingredients were balanced in quantity, and I think this kind of food is either good or it's not.  This place definitely was above the bar for casual, quick serve, Mexican food.

Sorry about the blurry picture.  One handed iPhone pictures are difficult and this was either
a 2 fisted burrito or a 2 handed picture.  
Lime is a definite contender for the times I'm with someone who must have their meat and I must not.  The staff and the ingredient choices make this an almost perfect choice for a traveling vegan.  There are several Florida locations.

Why is this place different than any other Mexican restaurant?  I didn't HAVE to explain vegan, although I did reiterate a few more times at the register.  They seem to get it.  I didn't have to play 20 questions with the order taker.  I didn't have to pull out vegan passport and go over phrases in Spanish, keeping my fingers crossed that I was understood and the rice was, in fact, not cooked in chicken broth.

I felt relaxed and confident when I bit into my food and that is the difference.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Loving Hut Orlando

On the way to the airport we stopped at Loving Hut so I could pick up a take out meal for dinner.

I never know what to get, partially because I want it all, partially because I just want stuff that will travel well and partially because I have a hard time envisioning what the picture will taste like.  I love menus with pictures actually.  I know, not a very food snob kind of thing to say.  Often the pictures aren't close to what you get but take a look at the Orlando Loving Hut pdf menu and you decide.  I think it was pretty close. 

Your typical "to go" container doesn't hold up very well in a cramped corporate jet cockpit and spilling vegan sauce all over the radio stack isn't something I want to explain to the boss in the morning.

I know better than to order fried food but I did so much want to try the Sea Wonder, a dish with tempura batter fried mushrooms, seaweed and soy protein.  And if it wasn't so darn high in calories I'd live on fried food.

I also got the Club Sandwich and the Summer Rolls.

No, I don't know when to stop and my eyes have always been, and most likely will always be, bigger than my stomach.

1/4 of the Club Sandwich, Sea Wonder and Summer Rolls.
The spring rolls were by far the best thing but the jury would be out had I eaten the food when served instead of an hour later.  The soft rice paper wraps were strong enough to hold the roll together and the vegetables were fresh and crisp and combined well. They were the least damaged by time and packaging.  

Cucumber, tofu, carrot, jicama, wrapped in lettuce, wrapped in the rice paper.  Excellent way to get your raw veggies.  

The Sea Wonder had a wonderfully thick, (like I used to love love my onion rings until I realized there was egg and milk in the batter!), batter.  Inside was a stringy thing that resisted being bitten all the way through.  I have to have these again when they're hot and crispy because they have such potential.  Don't get these to go!

Seaweed added a nice flavor but it was greasy and stringy.  Probably not served that way in-house!
Now for the club sandwich.  It first of all has 4 slices of bread which I think is definitely 1 slice too much.  It's like eating 2 sandwiches stacked up on top of each other.  It too, sadly, was a little bit soggy but the flavors of the contents reminded me of a hearty club sandwich of old.  Vegan mayo, ketchup, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce and tofurky ham, (could have used a bit more of this ingredient!), all came together very nicely to give it that deli/diner memory bite.  I might have added tempeh bacon if I was making this at home but aside from the soggy bread due to the travel I'd get this again and toss one slice of bread.

This has the potential for a go to meal on the run.
I previously had a Loving Hut burrito, (in NYC), which I couldn't eat fast enough and that would have probably been a better choice but I'd order this meal again if I had time to sit and enjoy it the way it was meant to be served.

Tell subway you'd like to see a vegan option! I used to eat at Subway an awful lot when I was a vegetarian but since their Vegimax has egg in it I gave that up. Encourage Subway to come up with a vegan option that is more than salad on a roll.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Should vegans support clean food and water?

If it was only possible to support one without the other. Here's a letter I just penned. What are your thoughts?

As a vegan I'm not sure I should support anything which might make meat safer. One good outbreak and the industry which profits not only from animal suffering but the extremely inefficient use of animals to convert plants to a luxury food item and one of the largest causes of greenhouse gasses would take a tremendous hit. Part of the reason meat needs inspection is the putting of profits above people. We can feed 20 people a plant based diet on the food used to fatten up a cow to feed one person a meat based diet.

Environmentally, the production of meat takes a truly unbelievable toll on soil and water purity, with pollution runoff literally killing off towns and water supplies across the nation. Globally, the raising of crops to feed animals when it should be going to provide food (and water) to the indigenous populations is another crime caused directly by the misuse of our precious resources.

Put the money for defending big food and agriculture into vegan education and you will multiply the benefits exponentially for all.

Marty Krutolow

On Mar 23, 2011, at 5:03 PM, Sarah Alexander, Food & Water Watch wrote:

Dear Marty,

I don't know if you've seen this yet, but critical cuts to food inspection are being proposed by the Republican-led House. We've just released a funny video showing what kind of "budget burger" you might end up with if these cuts go through.

Check out our video and ask your members of Congress to keep important food safety inspections to protect your health!

Thanks for taking action,

Sarah Alexander
Education & Outreach Director
Food & Water Watch

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ethos, a vegan eatery in Orlando, FL

I like this place even before I walk in.  There's an outdoor seating area, warm brown woods and soft tan colors, and I can see paintings on the wall.  It's welcoming.  I like the word "vegan" in the sign out front.  I like no apologies.

The sign was actually from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Outdoor dining area.  Was better lit than the picture shows.
It just gets better as you walk in.  There's a counter for ordering, you get your number on a stick and pick a table and your food is brought to you when it's ready.

It looks like there's not much seating but when you turn the corner ...
there's a whole other room.  I like a place that doesn't cram in tables, (a la NY "bistro"), and even has room, and the philosophy, for a couch! 
I must have missed the bake sale as that counter was pretty empty.  Good thing I'm not a dessert person.  No really, I'm not.   Well, a vegan Mississippi Mud Pie might be nice.
Big menu board.  Must get a lot of old people like me who can't see anymore.  Very friendly and helpful service too!!
Some of the food is made with Gardein and some is made from commercially made seitan.  I wasnted something inhouse so I ordered the Black Bean Burger with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. I find it interesting that at some point I started to look at a menu and realized I craved greens.  I ordered the small Spinach Salad also.

And perhaps the most important part of the meal, (just kidding.  No I'm not), beer.  How nice to just look at the beers and get whichever one I wanted knowing they were vegan.  I could choose any one I wanted.  And there were 2 to choose from!  Didn't even have to break out my iPhone to look at

The Spinach Salad had an orange ginger dressing.  I tasted a soft heat from the ginger but didn't taste orange.  It was more like a ginger soy vinaigrette. The salad itself was made up of fresh spinach with red onions, nuts and raisins.  It was fresh and bright and as much as I can say about a salad, it was a good one and I actually enjoyed eating it because I liked it, not because I hear a voice in my head saying, "Eat your spinach!"

As you can also see, number 25 was my lucky number.
The Highland Brewing company's oatmeal porter was thick dark and rich.  Cold.  Frozen glass.  Nuff said about the beer.

I wasn't a big fan of the mashed mashed and gravy. It wasn't bad or off but I'd say it tasted "vegan."  Perhaps I was looking for a darker mushroomy gravy or a more chickeny one.  I liked the rustic chunk with skins of the potatoes . Ah, what the heck, I finished them too.

There were actually 2 burgers in the ciabatta.
The burger was an in house made black bean burger with carrots and what seemed like a bean puree holding it together, (although I was told there was flour used as a binder also), served on a ciabatta and was very good.

Better shot of the coleslaw and potatoes.
The beans combined with the other ingredients gave the sandwich a nice flavor and bite.  The ciabatta might, just might, have been too much crust for the burger but if you held on with both hands and made a commitment to go for it, open wide and attack with gusto, (and not worry about getting sandwich smoosh all over your face), it all stayed under control. Lettuce, tomato, fine thin sprouts, veganaise and ketchup cradled the burger.  The menu said mustard too but I didn't taste it.

I loved the flavor of the burger.  I got some nice bites of seared crust on the burger but much of that, like any soft veggie burger, got a little lost in the bread crust.

I just enjoyed being in this place and I will definitely go back if I have another trip to Orlando that doesn't involve a kid and a big mouse!

Ethos Vegan Kitchen  on Urbanspoon

Stardust Coffee, Orlando, FL

Since there's no website, (!free wi-fi and no website?), here are the particulars:
Stardust Coffee 
1842 East Winter Park Road, Orlando, FL 32803(407) 623-3393 
OK, so much for the public service announcements.  Oh, and don't smoke.  Oh, and don't do drugs and other bad stuff.  Oh, and of course, don't eat animals.  Right, right.
So it's the first day I'm flying with a new pilot, who as most are, is a carnivore.  He seems to be open to trying new things but I am a kind and magnanimous sort where other's food needs desires are concerned so I find Stardust on Vegout as a veg friendly place.
The place is nothing short of eclectic and reminds me of a place I used to frequent in New Haven called Ron's Place.  I have no idea why I used to go there except it was where the "different" freaks hung out and I was also getting into Punk music, (hello Ramones).  Ron's had black walls if I remember.  
So this place is like a video library from the late 1800's.  I know but if they did this is what it might look like.  Just shelves of stuff, didn't seem to be in any kind of order or categories, (pre Dewey and his system).  I'm sure there was but I didn't see it.  There was a smaller room off to one side where someone was singing screeching into a mike.  Maybe it's my age, (aw jeeze), but it didn't have that foot stomping hootenanny rhythm I'm a kin to.
It did stop after a short while and that was it for the entertainment at least while we were there.

OK, so be forewarned, I held the camera in a vertical position so this video is on it's side.  You either need to crane your head all the way on it's side, tip over your computer or skip the video.

You order at the small counter and then go sit with a number on a stick to wait for your food. It took me a while longer to order because of this amazing beer cooler.  I gave a workout, that's for sure.  And the first few I looked up had really nice looking bottle designs but  weren't vegan so not to create a riot in the line behind me I just went with the Peak Organic.
Beautiful looking Hummus, veggie, and Pita Plate.
The appetizer was interesting.  There were marinated red peppers, which I don't think I ever had before, which were excellent.  The other veggies were fresh and crisp.  The pita had some spices including paprika and a little heat so I'm thinking a touch of cayenne.  (Yeah, cayenne.)  I found the hummus surprisingly a bit bland, in need of some salt and perhaps a squeeze of lemon to brighten it up.  I did however find a whole garlic clove the next day.  My little tiny hotel fridge actually froze the entire contents of the take out container, which was about half of what was served.  It was a little bit frozen and a bit of a different color than garlic.  I thought it was a freakin' garbanzo bean so bit right into it.  

Colorful food seems to be the order of the day night.
The main course was the vegan burrito.  Interestingly, there is no Daiya here.  It's like finding a new civilization with no electricity.  How in the world of vegan chefs/cooks/restaurant owners can this not be on your menu.  OK, even if Daiya isn't then how about just some good old vegan cheese?  Nah.  Anyway, this was a pretty outstanding burrito in it's own right.  I asked for the vegan chili and it was flavorful and had a bit of welcome heat.  I think the salsa was made inhouse as it was chunky and had a nice flavor.  If it's not I would like to know the brand.
Now here's the funny, (ha, ha), thing.  The guy I'm with, bear in mind it's his first time eating with me on the road, first trip, first exposure to my picky and strange eating requirements, orders a chicken quesadilla.  Not really out of the park strange, especially since this ISN'T a vegan restaurant.  Now I didn't actually hear this and can't testify to it in a court of law.  When the server put my plate down he said something like, "Here's your burrito with no dairy, no meat, no chicken, and no cheese."  Then he put down the other plate, said something and left.  My buddy looks at me and asks, "Did he just call me a murderer?"  I'm like, stymied at this very moment in time.  I really don't know what to say so all that comes out is, "Nah, I didn't hear that.  Did he?""Well, yeah I think he did.""I didn't hear that.  I know he said something.""Yup, I think he just called me a murderer."
Now we went on to discuss all sorts of sophomoric stupidity like whether there might have been a hocked lugi on the quesadilla or maybe just some wayward spit.  Listen.  Regardless of your personal feelings about people and their food choices, if this was in fact said, it might have ruined any inroads I might have made about changing ONE individuals food choices SOME of the time.  Of forever.  It was pretty thoughtless.  It didn't make him feel any more welcome in a place I chose because I'm a vegan.  I mean, you really don't know if this guy was on the verge of a mindful breakthrough about his food or a day away from going vegan.  It's a pretty crappy assumption that it is your place to chastise someone who orders meat in your OMNIVORE restaurant.  It's your job to assist, serve, shut up and leave.  Of course, if you didn't actually say this just disregard this rant paragraph and, if you'd be so kind, make an appointment for me at the nearest otologist. 
Now, also to be fair, my buddy said the food, "... tore him up." I didn't get into specific details, and I felt just fine.  So I'd consider going back but I'm pretty pretty sure he'll take a pass

Stardust Video & Coffee on Urbanspoon

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Little Lads, a vegan find in the basement

I am still amazed when I come across something new that has been around a long time.  Apparently a lot of people know of this vegan restaurant in downtown Manhattan, tucked away in the basement of 120 Broadway.  I find my jaw just hanging open more and more.

In the building lobby there is no storefront but if you have keen eyes, (I didn't), you see the Lower Arcade, (where are pinball machines?  Is there more on some upper arcade?  SkeeBall?)
I got yelled at for taking this picture.  They should have saved their voices.  I can't remember everything on the sign but "Boot Black" was one and Little Lads was the other. It is the Wall Street subway stop.  I don't remember what it said, vegan or veggie or what the last word was.  There is no other sign or advertisement.  Nada.  Thank you Vegout!
 Down the stairs and you end up in a sterile office building basement.  Keep going, it's worth it.

This is certainly a "fooled you" entrance.  So sterile and marble-y.  
Once you see the signs you know two things.  The place isn't slick but has an owners personal influence and you're also in the right place if you're philosophy aligns with mine.

I like the education board to the left.  I couldn't agree more.  Pricing is in the middle and I didn't realize but they have a regular menu also.

The pricing will be clearer the second time you eat here.  Well, perhaps the third.
Basically, lunch for 2 with a bottle of water was about $12.  It's not all you can eat but I saw some people pile up their plates like they were in a stomach stretching contest.

Lot's of vegan health related items.  To the right of the freezer is a TV playing tapes of MacDougall, Robins, and others.  I saw a clip of plaque being pulled out of a coronary artery.  Never saw that before.  Makes you think even more about why people eat animals.  And there is the little lad who was doing a fine job of cashiering and making you feel welcome.
As you enter for the first time there is so much to catch your attention.  Theres the fruit, there's the tv, clothing, DVDs, cake and cookies.  A cash register.  Two actually as there was a young lad, (really), learning about money, math and customer service.

This blew me away.  The largest, prettiest, most welcoming fresh fruit display I've seen in a restaurant.
It's like a maze and fun to see what's around the next corner.  We took trays, plates, plastic silverware and made our way around.  I didn't see anything I didn't want to try.  I sent off an email to inquire about how many items are vegan and the reply was,

Little Lad's uses no animal products or by-products in anything that we make.  No cheese, eggs, dairy, meat of any type.  Totally plant based.  Honey is used in only 2 items - Marinated Bean Salad and Sesame Honey cookies.  Thanks.
Maria @ Little Lad's."

I'm not sure if the bean salad was marked as containing honey but I also didn't have any cold bean salad. I'll update the post when it's clarified.

The dining room was almost empty when we got here but it was a bit before lunch hour.  Soups were to the left, a hot table with 6 items and a cold table to the right and right center.
There is no lack of choices at Little Lads including hot dishes, cold salads, fruit, starches, veggies and soups.
One soup was the Jamaican Bean Soup with a mild flavor and a hint of coconut.  I should have put more in the bowl!  The other soup was a Corn Chowder which looked delicious too.

Jamaican Black Bean Soup.

The hot table had 6 items.  I loved loved loved the Chop Suey although I'm not sure it was anything like the dish but reminded me of Chef Boy R D Beef a roni.  A delicious mouth feel and flavor and I could have shoveled that dish in all afternoon.  The carrot and regular slaw was crisp and bright.  The beans and rice were a nice combination but the dish which I thought would more than likely be so-so was surprisingly outstanding.  It was the mixed vegetables, the unsung hero.  Who'd have thought but I should have had 2 big spoons of that!

The Harvard Beets were not to my liking and the Butternut Squash, which I love, had a taste I didn't care for.  You can't like everything but I think this was a successful meal.  
From front clockwise: Harvard Beets, Chop Suey, Cole Slaw, Beans over brown rice, mixed veggies, orange slices, and butternut squash with some carrot slaw in the middle.
I worry when I see a place that I like that doesn't have a lot of business but by the time we left the dining room was more than half full.  We also got there a bit before lunch hour started.  That and the fact that this place has been here for years makes me think it will be around for a long long time.
One of the two dining rooms.  It was about half full when we left.

I'm looking forward to many more return visits.

Little Lad's Basket on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

NYC Vegan Street Vendor fights for survival

I enjoy walking up Broadway because in the pavement are plaques honoring those who were given ticker tape parades.  It makes you wonder about history when you see things like the Shah of Iran but that's another thought for another kind of blog.  I walked right by my destination of 120 and when I look up at the corner of Broadway and Liberty St. this is what I see:

It's all vegan.  Note the hand written sign, "Save the Liberty Street Vendors."
On one hand I was overjoyed to see a vegan street vendor, on the other I was disappointed because I wanted to eat at Little Lads and knew I'd have to support the vendor.  I asked about the 99% and they used to sell chicken.  They're 100% vegan now but I guess the importance of getting a new sign took second place to stopping the selling of animals.  That's an ok decision in my book.

5 bucks for 4 items?  How could you go wrong?  

I just wanted a taste so I ordered a veggie burger.  It's made of lentils and brown rice primarily and is home made.  I was just going to get the burger naked to taste it but broke down when asked about putting other things of deliciousness into the pita, including hot sauce.  (Sucker!)

One of the more colorful sandwiches I've had.  The sliver of burger is to the right.
The sandwich was delicious.  It's a hard to eat sandwich as is any sandwich with multiple textures in a pita.  As you can see it's starting to come apart.  It's filled with veggies more perfectly cooked than you'd expect from a street cart.  You can see the burger pales with all the other veggies but that's ok.  It had a nice flavor even if it was one of the more "fall apart" veggie burgers I've had.  I was charged $3.00.  If I worked downtown I'd have this every day I couldn't have a sit down lunch.

Now here's the kicker.  Of course it's the vegan guy (and a few others to be fair), getting shafted.  Apparently Brown Brothers Harriman, a privately held financial services firm offering a range on international investment and banking services, has nothing else to do to help wealthy people make more money or manage what they have.  They are trying to get the group of vendors off "their" sidewalk, according to the guys in the food cart and the petition.  BBH is saying that they own the sidewalk.  Really?  Nothing better to do BBH?  (It might not be them.  It might be the building management.  If you do nothing to help then you're part of the problem either way BBH, and it's YOUR name on the building!)

On a plaque in the plaza honoring Helmsley, a NY real estate mogul, there was something about how he helped to build the fiber of New York City.  Well, in my humble opinion, street vendors are a part of the fabric.  They cater to the working man who can't afford $100 lunches.  Leave them alone.  Here's a link where you can find more information and help.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Agriculture Industry Pushes To Make Undercover Filming Of Farm Animal Abuse Illegal

I'm sorry. This is all a big misdirect.

Going vegan is the only way to assure that animals are not treated this way. Not cameras, not welfare laws, not larger crates or sharper neck slitting blades or any of the other red herrings out there. If you truly care about animals, in addition to your health and the environmen­t, go vegan. Putting a camera, (or undercover investigat­or), in every slaughterh­ouse in the world to make sure animals are stroked and calmed and not kicked in the face if they can't walk is like putting a band aid on a broken bone. It may make you feel good to do it but it's not going to stop anything.

If you care about animal cruelty, stop killing and eating them.

Go Vegan.


Marty's Flying Vegan Review


Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Quick easy Indian dinner

Saute up some onions, ginger and garlic in a few Tbs of oil.  Toss in some fenugreek leaves, cumin seeds, cardamom seeds and garam masala.  Cook a few more minutes and add some leftover Gardein Crispy Tenders.  When those are heated through remove and add leftover brown rice, water and soy yogurt.  Stir to combine, add frozen corn and peas.  When heated, season to taste with salt, pepper and a few shakes of Cayenne.  Add back Gardein.  Mmmm.

Almost like Indian Risotto.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vegan Pita Pizza

Quick lunch:

Not using tomato sauce turns this into a dripless pizza.

Heat a whole wheat pita in the toaster oven.

Sautee up a handful of chopped onions in some canola oil.  Add a handful of sliced red pepper and about a 1 1/2 inch slice of Lightlife Gimme Lean Beef, crumbled.  Seasonings were Adobo, Bill's Beaf, a shake of garlic powder and 2 twists of pepper.

Cook until the Gimme Lean is seared.  Toss in a handful of Daiya and remove from heat and stir.  When melted, spoon over the pita.  Top with shredded spinach and chopped tomato.

This lasted about 2 seconds after the picture was taken.  It never stood a chance.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

National Pancake Day? I'm loving it.

Yourveganmom proposed a National Pancake Day.  Actually she declared one.  I'm in.

Your Vegan Mom

Vegan hotel room meals and the Newark Food Coop, Newark Delaware

Twice a year I am down in the Wilmington area for training and my choice is to stay in a suite or studio where I have a full size fridge, microwave, a stove/oven and a minimal set of dishes, pots and pans.

My first stop is usually to the Newark Food Coop and the Asian grocery right behind.  I find it easier to shop here for some stables I need back home and truck everything back to NY in the car than to shlep everything from Chinatown on the subway, especially since there are a lot of glass bottles and jars.

This is from my first night, easy microwaved Amy's Quarter Pound Veggie Burgers.  I had some Ezekiel 4:9 bread I had brought down, some daiya and organic salad greens, spinach and tomato.  Nothing fancy but a lot better than I could have gotten at just about any restaurant ... and I knew it was all vegan.

There's also a toaster in the room so there was a nice light toast to the bread too.
Amazing fresh organic heirloom tomatoes.
Tonights dinner was actually cooked.  I wanted something more than a sandwich or seitan burrito so this was my cooked dinner night.  The bread was multigrain I got from the coop for free.  Seems they were getting a bread delivery the next day and were giving away day old bread.  After toasting it I put a bit of earth balance and daiya on it and tucked it under the broiler for a few minutes.

The organic whole wheat penne was from the bulk area of the coop and that was boiled up to al dente and set aside as the sauce was cooking down.  I started that with half a chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic sweating down in a frying pan in a little bit of grapeseed oil.  The coop has an amazing spice section

I mean, seriously, this is heaven for someone who loves to cook.  Like me. This must be like ... a million, no, two million dollars worth of spices.  Maybe a billion, I don't know.
and I had a little bag of crushed red peppers and another of Italian seasoning mix which went in while the onions and garlic were cooking.  

I added some red pepper strips and some cut green beans and a few minutes later tossed in some Lightlife Gimme Lean beef style.  When all this was cooked down I added a can of organic Muir Glen Roasted crushed tomatoes.  After a few minutes I tossed in a large handful of nutritional yeast to give it a nice cheesy flavor and thicken it up.  Then I tossed in the pasta and stirred it up.

This is why I prefer to cook rather than eating out.

Newark, Delaware is a college town and there are only two places that come up on Happy Cow.  Shame more young people haven't gotten the vegan message yet.   

Where can you walk in off the street and get a vegan meal like this in Newark, Delaware.  
Breakfast has been pretty standard for me, Amy's Breakfast Burrito with Daiya Cheese melted on it.  But.  The Newark Food Coop also has about 15 different kinds of organic, fair trade coffee so I've been drinking this:

I wanted a 3 bean rating, whatever that meant.  It means good coffee is what it means.
So thank you to the Coop for being my main source of nourishment for my twice a year training and making it EASY to be vegan on the road.  And thank you too to Wang's Oriental Food Store which is right behind the coop.  Here's part of my last dinner in Wilmington on this go around.  I have a few more vegan items in the freezer.  Hope they'll make it all the way home.

Mao Mao Corp also had many animal products in the shelves there but this was only Soybean, Mushroom, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Lily Flowers and seasonings.
The Vegetable Duck had a very nice combination of earthy sweetness.  It was chewy but not tough, the lily flowers added a nice crunch, (think bamboo),  and made a perfect addition to the bun which is mainly mushroom and green vegetables.

My two totally processed ingredients. 
I put a dollop of Sambal chili sauce on the bun and it added a nice kick to the savory flavors.  And a big red dot.
As I've mentioned before, having a car and being able to find a coop, natural market, Whole Foods, ethnic market or anyplace that you can get what you need is half, if not three quarters, of the battle.  Having a way to heat up your food is the last quarter of the battle.  This is my preferred option unless there's a place in a town offering vegan options that I want to try.  Eating this way in your room always comes with the added benefit of never having to ask yourself, "Is this cooked with chicken stock?"