Thursday, December 23, 2010

Panini Farewell


The Chefs: Colleen and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A freshly made, grilled panini with portobello mushrooms, roasted red pepper, avocado, spinach, and tomato slices—all on rosemary focaccia bread.

The Goods: Although I felt guilty for not brown-bagging lunch today (who has time during these final days before Christmas?!?), all feelings of guilt quickly subsided after one bite of this lovely panini. The folks at our neighborhood health food store/gourmet market whipped up their signature vegan sandwich filled with roasted vegetables, and then added fresh tomatoes and avocado for good measure. For that, I thank them. I am also thankful because the entire VegNews staff is off for our annual break until Monday, January 3. We hope you have a wonderful holiday and New Year celebration, and we'll be back in 2011. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Pre-Holiday Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A big, beautiful kale salad. Kale, vegan chicken, tomatoes, cucumbers, huge slices of avocado, and a super-tangy lemon vinaigrette dressing make a pretty darn perfect salad.

The Goods: We are in what some might call the final countdown. Deadlines are looming, the holiday break is nearly here, and between trying to get everything finished before we leave and making enough Christmas cookies to choke a horse (which, hello, we would never do—not vegan!), time is a precious commodity. If you are feeling similarly crunched, check out our list of three super-quick, cheap gifts. If you have a bit more leisure in your life at the moment (really?! How?), read up on the top 10 events that propelled veganism into mainstream culture this year for a bit of inspiration.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Millennium Meets Gracias Madre

Millennium Restaurant's Larry & Ann Wheat at Gracias Madre

The Chefs: Joseph and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Today, we went all out. We ordered guacamole and tortillas; Brussels sprouts topped with cashew cheese and garlic breadcrumbs; mole enchiladas with steamed greens; butternut squash, seared cauliflower, rice, beans, with house made blue corn tortillas; and finally seasonal fruit cobbler (apple) served with coconut milk ice cream.

The Goods: Two "Restaurants of the Year" met for lunch today when I invited Ann and Larry Wheat, owners of San Francisco's renowned Millennium (five-time Veggie Award winner), to lunch at 2010 Restaurant of the Year (and Café VegNews local favorite) Gracias Madre. Ann and Larry had not been to the almost-one-year-old restaurant yet, and both enjoyed the delicate flavors and perfect spiciness of our dishes, which we cheerfully devoured family-style. Larry then ordered dessert, a ginormous bowl of cobbler topped with a mountain of GM's signature coconut ice cream. And though I had requested "two spoons" since I was already full, three spoons materialized, and I sampled the sweet treat while my tummy expanded.

Gracias Madres' Seasonal Fruit Cobbler

Gracias Madre will soon be a whole year old. How did we ever survive without it?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peanut Butter Pasta

The Chefs: Lyndsay

The Menu: Pasta covered with a delicious sauce made with tomatoes, spinach, peanut butter, and Asian chili sauce.

The Goods: In my desperate attempt to clean out my fridge before leaving for the holidays, I substituted kale with frozen spinach in this recipe from Sarah Kramer's Go Vegan! 2010 Calendar. I'm sad to see this calendar come to end, due to the fact that it has given me some great recipes each month for the past year. I'm not fretting too much about it though, because there is a Go Vegan! 2011 Calendar that I've already got in my sweet little hands. And lucky for you, we are selling it on our VegNews Store. They're selling only for a limited time, so be sure to get yours now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Mexican Fiesta


The Chefs: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Jam-packed veggie burritos filled with rice, beans, tomatoes, onions, and huge chunks of avocado. Accompanying the meal was the requisite chips and salsa (love the tomatillo/guacamole version) and tall glasses of freshly made cantaloupe agua fresca.

The Goods: Yes, we've had our share of Mexican food this week. It's just so delicious, affordable, and plentiful in our beloved new San Francisco neighborhood. Elizabeth, Joe, and I had a lunchtime meeting at the VNHQ this afternoon, and we wanted to introduce the person we were meeting with to the best the Mission district has to offer—and, you guessed it, we brought in an entire Mexican feast from local favorite, Taqueria Cancun. Let's just say that the meeting went well. To top things off, and to celebrate the last day of our Fall internship program, Frankie made Beverly Lynn Bennett's Triple-layer Cheesecake from the January+February edition of the magazine (see photo below). By triple layer, we mean a chocolate wafer crust, peanut butter filling, and chocolate topping, all drizzled with more peanut butter and chocolate. DELICIOUS. We've eaten very well today, but it is bittersweet at the same time. We have a wonderful internship program, but we never want them to leave. You'll be missed, Brooke and Gabrielle!

The Triple-layer Cheesecake from the January+February 2011 issue of VegNews

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Gracias Madre, Gracias Elizabeth!

The Chef: Brooke and Gracias Madre

The Menu: The lunch special—the Gracias Madre torta with Caesar salad and a sampling of the delicious gorditas with avocado!

The Goods: I question whether or not I actually work at VegNews, because today was my first experience at Gracias Madre. I know, it's pretty much blasphemy. But I am one of the gals that lives by the rules of Savvy Abby, and so come 12:30, I normally use every ounce of my will power to resist the amazing veg dishes the Mission has to offer. Big mistake. Gracias Madre taught me that today. The ever-gracious Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria treated Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope, Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig, and me to an amazing lunch today! Rushing in from freezing Mission Street, we started with a delicious holiday drink—hot apple cider. Then we split a plate of the special of the day, gorditas, which are little pancakes covered with avocado goodness. And because it was my first Gracias Madre experience, I figured I had to do it right and order the famed Lunch Special. It. Was. Mind. Blowing. Thank you so much Elizabeth, Gracias Madre, and San Francisco for the best Mexican food of my life. No joke. I guess that's why it's Restaurant of the Year.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The 2010 VN Holiday Lunch!

The Chefs: Colleen and Frankie

The Menu: Today we feasted on what is quite possibly our favorite dish of all time: the VN Mac 'n' Cheese. We know that it's a special day when this baby is taken out of the oven. Colleen also made an incredible side salad, with mixed greens, sliced apples, toasted walnuts, and a maple-balsamic vinaigrette. Colleen wasn't the only one contributing to today's awesome eats, however. The VN cheesemaker extraordinaire, aka Frankie, brought in her latest: peppercorn soft cheese. Yes, this totally homemade, vegan cheese deserves its own photo.


The Goods: Hello, holiday luncheon! If there's one dish we could eat at every celebration for the rest of our lives, it is this Mac 'n' Cheese. Today was the first time that VegWebmistress Laura Hooper Beck tried it, and she died of joy, appropriately. The reason for the fancy eats is that today we toasted 2010, VegNews style. It's been an incredible year in many ways (ahem, just to name a few, remember that 10th Anniversary Issue, our first Great Adventure to India, or our brand-new stylish digs?), and it was wonderful to have the whole staff together to celebrate. It's also when the staff receives holiday gifts from our publishers, Joseph and Colleen. The gifts are always a-ma-zing—last year, we all got Vita-Mixes!—and this year proved just as exciting! Come 2011, you'll see the VN staff cruising around town in our very own Vaute Couture coats!! Pandemonium erupted when we all opened our gifts—it's not every day that you get to take home an amazing coat by a completely phenomenal vegan company on the cutting edge of fashion! Here's hoping everyone has had an equally fantastic day, and thanks to all who've been part of VN in 2010!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gracias Madre

The Chef: Gabrielle and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Three tacos of pure scrumptiousness, including fillings such as mixed greens with garlic, braised turnips, and cauliflower, covered in Gracias Madre's signature cashew cheese with a generous side of savory refried black beans, all on three house-made corn tortillas.

The Goods: Okay, it's official. I might have named
Taqueria Cancún my favorite taqueria in San Francisco as recently as, well, yesterday, but Gracias Madre is in a league of its own. Yes, you've seen us dining at Gracias Madre a lot since we've moved to the Mission, and yes, there is a reason we named them the VegNews restaurant of the year in the 2010 Veggie Awards. The food is amazing! Our lovely office assistant Robin had never been there, so Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and I jumped on the opportunity to take her along. I've decided that the tacos are the best thing to order, since you can choose three different seasonal fillings to top your tortillas. FYI, the kale is still the best choice.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mission Tacos


The Chef
: Gabrielle and Taqueria Cancún

The Menu: Two delicious vegan tacos stacked with beans, rice, salsa, veggies, and avocado, with some chips and spicy salsas on the side.

The Goods: Associate Publisher Colleen Holland has been raving about
Taqueria Cancún ever since we moved the VNHQ to the Mission District, so Editorial Assistant Brooke Still and I were thrilled when she generously offered to take us out for tacos! People, I think I have found my favorite San Francisco taqueria. Four fresh corn tortillas were topped with black beans, savory rice, the most delicious salsa, onions, cilantro, lime, and the true pièce de résistance, huge chunks of avocado. This is my last week in San Francisco before I head back to Canada, so I figure it's only right to fill it with as much Mexican food-eating as humanly possible. Wish me luck!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The BEST Vietnamese Sandwiches


The Chef: Colleen and Saigon Sandwich

The Menu: Toasted French rolls stuffed with marinated tofu, shredded carrots, cilantro, cucumbers, and jalapeno peppers—all drizzled with a bit of soy sauce.

The Goods: Vietnamese sandwiches, also known as banh mi, may be the perfect meal. Fresh, delicious, and, yes, cheap, these unique sandwiches always satisfy. There are a number of shops around San Francisco selling this popular meal, but my hands-down favorite is Saigon Sandwich in SF's Tenderloin district. For just $3.75 a pop, the baguette, sauce, tofu, and vegetables are always just right—and come together for the city's best Vietnamese 'wich. And luck was on our side today, as VN publisher Joseph Connelly surprised the entire staff with sandwiches for all. In other news, we just announced a scintillating cover contest: Whom do you think is on the cover of the next issue of VegNews? Check out all the possibilities here, and let us know your favorite! Also, I am guest blogging for Savvy Abby this week and share my Top 5 DIY Vegan Holiday Gifts. Enjoy, and happy crafting this weekend!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Vegan Vietnamese Round 2!


The Chef: Brooke and Sunflower

The Menu: A healthy serving of leftovers from my lunch at Sunflower yesterday. I had Vegetarian Vietnamese Vermicelli, which was filled with cabbage, tofu, mushrooms, celery, bean sprouts, red leaf lettuce, and mint. One of my Mission favorites!

The Goods: I hate to say it, but I'm a creature of habit. One of my first weeks in San Francisco, I stumbled upon Sunflower Vietnamese Restaurant in the Mission, and fell in love with their Vietnamese Vermicelli. In the past six months, I've easily had it another 10 times. What can I say, it's amazing! If you're looking for a new favorite veg spot in your own city, be sure to check out The Cooking Channel's The Veg Edge, airing tonight at 9 PM! The show features veg superstars such as Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Chloe Coscarelli!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Quick Ziti Lunch

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: An Amy's Kitchen Baked Ziti Bowl, plus enormous side salad from Valencia Whole Foods' trusty salad bar. The baked ziti had a lovely tomato sauce, green peas, and even a little vegan cheese, and the salad consisted of spinach, more peas, corn, garbanzo beans, and a (ahem) generous dose of Parma!

The Goods: Sometimes, we have amazing, freshly prepared lunches from our favorite vegan restaurants and share them with you here on Café VegNews. Then sometimes, like today, we eat like powerful magazine editors. Thankfully, our local corner store has a great salad bar and ample frozen vegan options. It's simply too rainy in SF today to only have salad, and ziti is both fun to eat and to say. Zeetee. If you can't get enough of this comforting carb, check out What's Cooking on VegNews.com for a simple Ziti and Tomato Sauce recipe that's nearly as quick to make as a microwaveable meal.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Thai Feasting

The Chef: Gabrielle and Osha Thai

The Menu: Thai lunch special including a fresh tofu spring roll with peanut sauce, coconut rice, tofu praram (tofu and spinach with peanut curry sauce), and a fresh salad.

The Goods: Though I felt my Mission favorites Gracias Madre and Sunflower pulling me back again today, I decided to branch out and try the Thai restaurant less than two blocks away from VNHQ, Osha Thai, and I dragged Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and our brand new office assistant Robin along with me. With delicious lunch specials including both a salad, appetizer, entrée, and rice, none of us had a thing to complain about! I love a good peanut sauce, fresh tofu, and a pile of greens, and that's exactly what I got. Head over to the VegNews Holiday store to check out gift ideas for both yourself and others, and get exactly what you want!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Brussels and Kale

The Chef: Lyndsay and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Brussels sprouts with cashew cheese gratin topped with delicious breadcrumbs, and a side of kale sautéed with garlic and chilies.

The Goods: The holiday season has taken a toll on my wallet, so I kept it light today with these amazing Brussels sprouts. The kale was actually Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope's, but she was most generous and shared some with me. It's no wonder Gracias Madre was the Editors' Pick for Restaurant of the Year for the 2010 Veggie Awards—the food is absolutely superb, and it definitely hit the spot on this cool Monday. We're really gearing up for the holidays at the VNHQ, and we have a special holiday section at our VN Store to prove it! If you're looking to buy some great cruelty-free gifts this season, be sure to check it out.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Gourmet Leftovers


The Chef: Colleen and Millennium Restaurant

The Menu: An Asian roulade, consisting of spinach, shiitake mushrooms, and seitan all wrapped in a crispy yuba shell; wasabi-edamame mashed potatoes; and my signature holiday salad with greens, dried cranberries, sliced apples, and walnuts tossed in a maple-balasamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: Although I enjoyed a lunch of leftovers today, I knew I was in for a treat by bringing leftovers from a sumptuous meal at Millennium earlier this week. And those wasabi-edamame mashed potatoes were incredible—Executive Chef Eric Tucker never ceases to amaze me. To complement the leftover theme, I still had some dressing from the VegNews Thanksgiving Feast so was able to throw together a nice fresh salad. And voila! My Friday lunch. In other news, has the holiday bug hit you yet? We're feeling it around here, especially with our fabulous all-vegan Holiday Store! Check it out here—and get stocked up on peppermint soy candles, boxes of chocolate, holiday cards, and more. Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Amazing Macaroni!


The Chefs
: Made by Lyndsay and Frankie, eaten by Brooke

The Menu: The amazing VN macaroni and cheese, topped off with some of Frankie's homemade chocolates!

The Goods: So some mornings (read: most) I'm forgetful or lazy or late, and therefore forget or don't feel like or don't have time to make a lunch. These are the mornings I'm grateful for my wonderful VN co-workers, including Ms. Lyndsay Orwig who so graciously shared her VN mac and cheese with me. And yesterday, as you might have read in This Just In, a Ms. Frankie McGee gifted us some homemade chocolate-covered, cream-cheese filled dates and chocolate-covered almonds. Don't mind if I do! That's why I love the holiday season! Are you as emphatic about this time of year as we are? Check out VN's complete survival guide to the 2010 holidays!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Celebratory Salad!

The Chefs: Herbivore and Elizabeth

The Menu: A deliciously huge kale salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, soy chicken, and gigantic slices of avocado.

The Goods: A salad this size is basically heaven for lunch. Packed with my favorite vegetable of all time, kale, and avocado, there's absolutely nothing missing from this fantastic lunch. This salad is celebratory not only because tonight is the first night of Hanukkah (Need recipes? Check here!), but also because today marks our 400th post on Café VegNews! We've come a long way (literally—the office moved across town!) since our very first post, and it's been a pleasure to have our readers along for the ride. Here's to the next 400 delicious vegan lunches!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

California Burrito

The Chef: Gabrielle and Taqueria el Buen Sabor

The Menu: This monstrous "California" burrito was filled with tofu, sautéed green peppers, mushrooms, and onions, salsa, rice, refried beans, and probably about a million other things I'm forgetting due to my food coma. Sides of complimentary chips and salsa were also too hard to pass up.

The Goods: Why on earth you don't see more burritos on Café VegNews lately is beyond me. Our neighborhood, the Mission District, is the taqueria central of San Francisco, so Editorial Assistant Brooke Still and Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig decided today was the day for a giant burrito. I'm trying to find the best burrito in San Francisco, which is proving a little challenging because I'm a naive Canadian who knows very little about makes a burrito truly great, but I do know what my taste buds like, and Taqueria el Buen Sabor delivered. In non-burrito news, don't miss our application deadline (tomorrow, December 1!) to have your own vegan wedding featured in VegNews' annual wedding issue!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We Be Lovin' Sushi

The Chef: Lyndsay and We Be Sushi

The Menu: A sushi feast, including seaweed and spinach salads, inari, avocado and cucumber rolls, shiitake mushroom rolls, eggplant rolls, and delicious veggie tempura rolls to top it off.

The Goods: Yes, this may seem like a lot of food, but it was shared between Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and myself. Plus, it was super cheap, which always wins me over. We Be Sushi actually has two locations on Valencia Street, and this was our first time at the second location, and we found it to be more veg-friendly, and it was just downright cute inside. We at the VNHQ are back from a wonderful four-day weekend due to the holiday, and we're getting ready for one of the busiest months of the year—December! One of the many things happening is our 2011 Vegan Wedding Application deadline this coming Wednesday. If you've had a vegan wedding this past year, be sure to apply before it's too late!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Herbivore Knows Sandwiches

The Chef: Gabrielle, Lyndsay, and Herbivore Restaurant

The Menu: A marinated tofu wrap packed with pickles, avocado, veggies, and garlic spread, along with potato salad and green salad. We were feeling particularly famished, so we also split an order of spring rolls with peanut sauce.

The Goods: While this meal can hardly outdo the Thanksgiving feast we enjoyed yesterday, today's lunch was still a pretty epic affair. Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and I thought it only right to set the tone for the Thanksgiving holiday by ordering a hedonistically large meal at Herbivore. I easily devoured my entire tofu wrap while Lyndsay enjoyed her vegan chicken sandwich, and we also shared the Vietnamese-style spring rolls. Pretty much the only thing that could have improved this meal is pie. Since we enjoyed so much delicious food, we though we'd sneak in this bonus picture of our delicious spring rolls. Happy Thanksgiving (eating) everyone!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VegNews Annual Thanksgiving Feast!


The Chef: Native Foods Café and Colleen

The Menu: One of our favorite meals of the year featured a Native Foods' Wellington (layers of roasted portobello mushrooms, orange-glazed yams, seitan, organic kale, caramelized onions, and stuffing, all wrapped in a decadent puff pastry), shallot-mushroom gravy, balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, and Colleen's Holiday Salad with baby greens, dried cranberries, sliced apples, and caramelized pecans. And we haven't even touched dessert yet.

The Goods: The VegNews staff anticipates this day all year long—and for good reason! Have you checked out that menu above? Every year, the week of Thanksgiving, the VN team sits down to a sumptuous vegan Thanksgiving meal that we don't stop talking about until the next feast rolls around. Southern California-based Native Foods Café, once again, provided the incredible centerpiece to our meal: The Native Wellington. If you need a stellar main course for your holiday table, this is it. And they ship overnight anywhere in the country! Of course, a lovely feast such as this has to have a dessert finale, and we went with one of our favorites: VN columnist Beverly Lynn Bennett's Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Buttercream, straight from our brand-new VegNews Holiday Cookbook. It's a cinch to make, and always a crowd-pleaser. Accompanying the multi-layer cake is some delicious chocolate-peppermint bark made by VN Publisher Joseph Connelly—we couldn't get enough! Check out more mouthwatering photos here, and Happy Tofurky Day to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Delightful South Indian Fare

The Chef: Lyndsay and Udupi Palace

The Menu: The Masala Uthappam served with Sambar and chutneys.

The Goods: It's Monday, but not just any Monday, because it's the week of Thanksgiving, and we are truly excited at the VNHQ! In celebration, Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and I decided to dine on some delicious South Indian fare at Udupi Palace, which never disappoints. Tomorrow, the entire VN staff will be partaking in our annual Thanksgiving feast, featuring the Native Food's Wellington, which was part of our giveaway last week. This week, we're giving away a $100 Alternative Outfitters Shopping Spree. Don't forget to enter for your chance to win!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Pizza Party


The Chef: Colleen and Paxti's Chicago Pizza

The Menu: Chicago deep-dish vegan pizza stuffed with spinach, red onion, crushed garlic, and Daiya cheese (pie no. 1), and artichoke hearts, green olives, red bell peppers, and Daiya cheese (pie no. 2). Served alongside this delicious meal was a platter of organic fruit—satsuma tangerines, red grapes, and strawberries—and, of course, the requisite sparkling apple cider we all love.

The Goods: Just another Friday here at the VNHQ. Well, not really. Today's pizza party celebration was bittersweet, as our beloved Associate Editor, Liz Miller, is moving back home to St. Louis. The VegNews staff bid her farewell today with a lunch of what may be the best vegan pizza on the planet. That is, if you like a super-thick, ultra-gooey pie filled with all your favorite toppings. Yeah, we're into that. We're also currently into The New York Times! Published just moments ago on its website is a short piece on VegNews along with three of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Check it out here! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Polenta Rancheros

The Chef: Liz and Boogaloos

The Menu: A side of grilled polenta squares with salsa ranchero and cabbage salad paired with a plate of whole-wheat toast.

The Goods: I'm a big fan of pairing two substantial sides into one satisfying meal, and these two small plates definitely hit the spot. I'm also a big fan of enjoying breakfast for lunch (or brunch, as the kids call it), so basically this was the perfect midday meal. If enjoying a hearty vegan brunch at a local vegan-friendly diner isn't an option for you, might I recommend eating breakfast leftovers for lunch? Trust me, tofu scrambles do taste just as good four hours later—especially if served with crunchy toast and spicy salsa.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cha Ya, Round Two

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant

The Menu: An incredible, all-vegan Japanese spread. I devoured the Taku Sui, which comprised rice noodles, gyoza, kabocha squash, snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms, all served in a hot pot with a side of rice, miso soup, and dipping sauce. Oh, and maybe I also ordered a Vegan Roll, with a bunch of awesome veggies and tofu. And in the distant, top-left corner of the photo, you can just make out one Laura Hopper Beck's delectable serving of vegetable tempura.

The Goods: You know what's good? A place that's so good that when your co-workers tell you about their awesome lunch, you're immediately inspired to follow their lead and go there the very next day. This is, in fact, the case with Cha-Ya, and I was thrilled to go there with the lovely Laura and Colleen. There's just nothing better than a satisfying lunch with fantastic company to power through the remainder of the workday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Soba at Cha-Ya Japanese


The Chef:
Gabrielle and Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant

The Menu: A steaming bowl of Kinoko (mushroom) soba noodles in a savory broth, with nori, shimeji, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms.

The Goods: This is my first day back to work after a horrible weekend spent fighting the flu, and when my container of quinoa salad that I packed this morning broke on my way out the door, I knew I needed to treat myself to lunch. Fortunately, Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and Associate Editor Liz Miller were happy to join me at Cha-Ya, an 100-percent vegan Japanese restaurant a mere block from the office. Despite the fact that San Francisco is experiencing a new-to-me phenomenon known as a "November heat-wave," I knew my recovering immune system could still use some soup. I'm a wild mushroom freak—the more obscure the variety, the betterand Cha-Ya left me extremely satisfied, with leftovers to boot.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soup and Spring Rolls

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: An impromptu lunch of tomato basil soup and two tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.

The Goods: I did not have lunch planned today, but I did have an errand to run—I needed some dry red wine for a special dinner that I am making tonight. So I was off to Whole Foods, and I just figured I'd pick up something there. I landed at the sushi hub, and I picked up a delicious tofu spring roll, and even though I wanted more, my money had already run out. Luckily, I had a can of this flavorful tomato soup at my desk which completed my meal. Simple, yet satisfying. Thanksgiving is fast-approaching, and there's a great new feature over at VegNews.com about the wonderful animal known as the turkey, and where you can visit one (or two) at farm sanctuaries near you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colleen's Friday Salad


The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: My favorite lunchtime salad—organic greens, English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, shredded carrot, green onion, avocado, fresh garlic, and grilled Gardein "chicken", all tossed in an orange-balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: I am a creature of habit, what can I say. I'll do my best to change up my go-to lunchtime meal, but you'll most likely be seeing some variation of this (delicious) salad every Friday. Don't get me wrong—the food in the Mission is as good as it gets (vegan Mexican, Japanese, comfort food, raw food, fresh-baked pies, and so much more literally exists all within a two-block radius of the new VNHQ), but I enjoy bringing my own lunch. I like to eat as much organic as possible, I like to know where my food comes from, and it just tastes good. For some major homemade-food inspiration, have you seen the just-released VegNews Holiday Cookbook? VegNews' editors have armed you with everything you need this Thanksgiving to create an unforgettable vegan feast. Get your copy now! And have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stacked Veggie Salad

The Chef: Liz and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A fully-stacked salad of mixed greens, peas, shredded carrot, sauteed veggies, cucumber, and chickpeas topped with a dollop of garlicky hummus.

The Goods: As a rule, I don't like eating meals served buffet-style, but all bets are off if there is a well-stocked salad bar in sight. Whether overpaying for a crisp kale salad at my neighborhood Whole Foods or making due with the cheaper but less awesome selection at my local Safeway, I love that salad bars let me do the deciding—like choose-your-own-adventure novels, except with vegan food. At Valencia Whole Foods the offerings adhere to the Goldilocks Principle: they are just right. From fresh salad bar basics to a vegan-friendly, build-your-own falafel bar, it never fails to satisfy. Additionally, VWF have a great selection of vegan desserts, which I unfortunately forgot to peruse. Lucky for me, we call baking an Apple Pecan Flip in the middle of the workday "recipe testing" here at the VNHQ.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Manicotti and Colorful Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A highly enormous salad with mixed greens, spinach, roasted red peppers, corn, beets, chickpeas, and Annie's Goddess Dressing from our friendly neighborhood salad bar, plus a delicious vegan Holiday Manicotti. Butternut squash ricotta with vegan Bechamel topped with cheese? Well, fine.

The Goods: You might have heard recently about our Holiday Cookbook, about which we're pretty stinking thrilled, and it's been a really tough couple of weeks talking about holiday recipes, editing holiday recipes, and thinking about holiday recipes basically non-stop. I'd finally had enough and made one of the 35 incredible holiday recipes, and it was pretty much the best decision of the week so far. Hope everyone is having an equally delicious day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Picnic in the Park

The Chef: Lyndsay and Gabrielle

The Menu: Just your classic picnic with leftovers from the past week, including Paper Masala Dosa from Udupi Palace, cheeseless takeout pizza, and some raw goodies from Lydia's Kitchen.

The Goods: It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, so Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and I decided to take our bikes to nearby Dolores Park. With the sun shining, and the park having just enough people and lovable puppies running around, we were in paradise, which is just what we needed. It's been quite busy at the VNHQ with the holidays fast-approaching, and we just can't get enough of our VegNews Holiday Cookbook. If you haven't purchased this insanely good e-book yet, get to it! You really don't want to miss what's inside.

Monday, November 8, 2010

South Indian Feasting

The Chef: Gabrielle and Udupi Palace

The Menu: Chili and onion uthappam with sambar and chutneys.

The Goods: I was craving dosa, uthappam, or really anything carb-y and spicy, so I went for an uthappam at the nearby Udupi Palace, accompanied by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig. When I insisted that Lyndsay try the Paper Masala Dosa, I honestly didn't anticipate that Lyndsay's dosa would be, literally, three feet long, but she didn't complain. My uthappam was a delightful pancake of mixed veggies and chilies, accompanied by a tasty sambar and tomato, peanut, and coconut chutneys. A fine way to start out the week, leading into the holidays! Speaking of which, you might want to check out our brand new VegNews Holiday Cookbook, packed with amazing vegan recipes for all your holiday occasions!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Cancun


The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Two vegan tacos—complete with black beans, seasoned rice, chopped onion, cilantro, and hearty strips of avocado with soft corn tortillas—and a side of chips and freshly made salsa.

The Goods: Today, I needed to eat lunch fast, as it's just been one of those days. Two blocks from the new VNHQ is one of San Francisco's three locations of Taqueria Cancun, a local taqueria that is full of character and vegan options. For $4.60 ($2.30 each), I filled up on two scrumptious (and healthy!) tacos and a basket of (unhealthy!) tortilla chips. Oh well, we do our best. I was in and out in 15 minutes, ate for less than $5, and enjoyed a delicious meal. So what do we have on tap today? First off, we launched the VegNews Holiday Cookbook and can hardly wait to start cooking our holiday feasts. We're also prepping for this weekend's Green Festival, right here in San Francisco, of which VegNews is a long-time sponsor. So if you're heading to the Green Festival, stop by the VN booth to say hello and pick up a subscription!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Veggie Soup, Tortilla Triangles

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A bowl of Progresso Garden Vegetable soup paired with homemade baked whole-wheat tortilla chips.

The Goods: When I'm in a hurry, my favorite simple snack or side is a batch of homemade tortilla chips. Just throw a lightly oiled whole-wheat tortilla in the oven for five minutes and voila: you have the perfect dipping instrument for soups, salsas, and sauces. However, it's now 3:30, lunch is but a distant memory, and I'm left with one question: Where are the Cinnamon Cookies? Oh, that's right, we ate them all. My afternoon cup of coffee is not going to be happy about this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sushi And Good Company

The Chef: Gabrielle and Tao Yin restaurant

The Menu: Sushi! An avocado and shiitake mushroom roll, accompanied by a wakame seaweed salad.

The Goods: Lacking lunch plans, VegNews Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig, Associate Editor Liz Miller, and I made a last minute decision to check out Tao Yin, a restaurant literally steps from our offices offering both Chinese and Japanese food. Mushrooms and avocados may very well be my very favorite foods, so wrapping them up in rice and seaweed and serving them with ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce can really only improve on things, all the while reminding me of my time spent traveling in Japan just a year ago. Looking for more Japanese-inspired eats? Our brand-new November+December 2010 Veggie Awards issue features sushi and Eggplant Kabayaki recipes. The issue is on newsstands now, so be sure to pick one up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gracias Madre, Go!

The Chef: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A never-before-heard-of sandwich called the amazing Gracias Madre lunch special torta with a side of delicious Caesar salad and house made pickles!

The Goods: A little group headed out from the VNHQ today to one of our absolute favorite lunch places, Gracias Madre. Yes, it's possible to eat this exact same sandwich every time you go there and be totally satisfied each and every time. Today we enjoyed the company of Carmen, one of GM's chefs, who tipped us off to a new dessert: a pumpkin cake served with dulce de leche ice cream and a vanilla sauce drizzle. Holy heck. Whether you're celebrating Dia de los Muertos, the Giants' World Series win, or you just want a yummy piece of cake, we definitely recommend picking up a piece of this insanely delicious cake.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marinated Tofu Sandwich


The Chef: Gabrielle and Herbivore restaurant

The Menu: A marinated tofu sandwich piled high with tomato, avocado, pickles, and lettuce, paired with a delicious salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.

The Goods: It's Monday, I forgot to pack a lunch, and I was absolutely famished. What to do? Oh, hey, just head to that fully-vegan restaurant around the corner from the VNHQ. I feasted on this sandwich accompanied by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and Associate Editor Liz Miller, where we all enjoyed the sun streaming through the windows on this gorgeous fall day in the Mission. May I direct your eyes to the most exciting thing to launch on November 1 other than Vegan MoFo? That would be the 2010 Veggie Awards, and the results are in!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Vegetarian Noodle Soup

The Chef: Liz and Sunflower Restaurant

The Menu: A satisfying bowl of vegetarian noodle soup filled with mushroom, cauliflower, snap peas, broccoli, red peppers, carrot, celery, tofu, and rice noodles paired with a small order of brown rice—all of which I covered in a generous amount of soy sauce. And washed down with a Diet Coke.

The Goods: I live right across the street from Sunflower, so you could say that I'm somewhat familiar with its vegetarian noodle soup, in that I eat it all the time. On top of being a totally tasty way to warm up a very chilly Friday afternoon, this delicious meal—which, due to generous serving sizes, is easily two meals in one—was a mere $7. Does that mean I'll have some extra cash to throw at the East Bay Vegan Bakesale this weekend? You bet it does.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Avocado Salad with an Orange-Balsamic Vinaigrette


The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A huge salad bowl of organic red leaf lettuce, shredded carrots, green onions, chickpeas, and gobs of avocado—all tossed in a homemade vinaigrette made with orange juice, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt.

The Goods: I know this isn't the sexiest meal, but sometimes you just need a good, fresh salad for lunch. After two weeks of (delicious) Indian food on the VegNews Great Adventure to India and a few days of eating at local Mission eateries (the options are endless!), it was time for a healthy brown-bag meal. This hit the spot, and just what I need before a fun night out at San Francisco Vegan Drinks. It's our last of the year, so if you're in the area, join us for $5 Pumpkin Harvest Martinis, 97-cent soy hot dogs, and free vegan popcorn. VN Publisher Joseph Connelly and I leave tomorrow for the much-anticipated Boston Vegetarian Food Fair, so an early Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Gracias Madre Special

The Chef: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: GM's signature lunch special, featuring a fully loaded torta (the sandwich) with black beans, sauteed chiles, cashew cheese, avocado, pickles, and romaine on a delicious roll, a side Caesar salad, and house-made pickles. Yes, you get that all for $10. Yes, the green juice is also delicious!

The Goods: Today I had the pleasure of dining with VN columnist, vegansaur, and all-around human extradorinaire, Laura Hooper Beck. Though I've often (read: nearly every day since we moved offices) enjoyed the lunch special at GM, Laura had never had it and I was thrilled to have the excuse of introducing it to someone new to feast upon it again. You know what else is good enough to eat again and again? Wasabi & Soy Sauce Almonds. Once this torta settles, I'm hoping for a handful—or 10—of these.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Chickpea Picatta

The Chef: Gabrielle

The Menu: Leftover chickpea picatta with shallots, capers, garlic, arugula, and lemon, simmered in white wine; served over roasted garlic mashed potatoes and paired with a simple spinach and corn salad.

The Goods: This picatta from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's upcoming book Appetite for Reduction might very well be one of the best meals I've made recently, which fairs well for the yet-to-be-released cookbook. Isa's recipes (whether authored alone, or with the superstar VegNews columnist Terry Hope Romero) comprise what are hands down my favorite cookbooks, and even my omnivorous mum agrees that Veganomicon is one of the best cookbooks out there, veg or not. Over the weekend I was searching for something delicious to make for the week ahead, and was thrilled to find that Isa had posted some sample recipes from Appetite for Reduction on her revamped Post Punk Kitchen website. I promptly made this recipe (with a tiny modification to allow garbanzos to share real estate with black eyed peas), and served mine over some decidedly not low-fat mashed potatoes that are my own recipe. That is, if you can call potatoes, garlic, a lot of earth balance, salt, and nutritional yeast a recipe, and not just delicious!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

The Chef: Lyndsay and Patxi's Chicago Pizza

The Menu: A humongous slice of leftover Patxi's Chicago deep dish pizza with Daiya cheese, mushrooms, and jalapeños. I accompanied this with a side of a spring mix salad, topped with a homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: It was a rainy weekend in the SF Bay Area, and I just didn't feel like cooking last night. My solution of course was to order this delicious pizza pie, and I'm using pie in the literal sense, because this baby is huge—one slice will fill you up, and if it doesn't, you're super-human. We here at the VNHQ wish you a happy last week of October, and to kick it off, we have the ultimate vegan guide to Halloween candy over at VegNews.com. Enjoy!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sushi Friday

The Chef: Gabrielle and We Be Sushi

The Menu: A spinach inside-out roll, accompanied by a tofu "steak" smothered in sesame sauce.

The Goods: This fine rainy Friday I had the pleasure of dining with Associate Editor Liz Miller and Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig. We'd planned for warming soup at Sunflower Restaurant, which you may remember from Brooke's Café VegNews post on Tuesday, but since Sunflower was packed with people ducking in to avoid the rain, we settled on We Be Sushi. Can I just say much much I love the rain? It reminds me of home, but it also makes me feel like I have the right to eat like a queen. And that I did, with this delicious roll and tofu. I also feasted on a complementary salad with sesame dressing that the kitchen kindly brought out to replace the non-vegan miso soup. Vegans love nothing more than to be considered, and, we're not going to lie, gifted with freebies. A fine start to the weekend!