Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Simple and Satisfying

The Chef: Brooke

The Menu: Basmati rice and edamame with Braggs, and watermelon for dessert.

The Goods: I've never, ever, claimed to be a chef. I don't think it's because my mother hasn't tried to teach me, and it's certainly not because I don't like eating, but rather I just enjoy simple foods more than anything else. I come home from a long day at the VNHQ, and nothing sounds better than some steamed rice or a PBJ. That's what I did last night, and thus that's what I had for lunch. The edamame was an amazing addition, as was the watermelon that my ever-gracious roommate cut up for us. It was a perfect light lunch for a heavily exciting day as we edge toward the final hour of voting for the Veggie Awards—polls close tonight at midnight PST, so be sure to vote and let your voice be heard!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Simple Veggie Sandwich

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Café food at its best from the Outer Sunset's Java Beach—a classic veggie sandwich with lettuce, tomato, avocado, cucumber, and mustard on ciabatta bread. All this came with a side of chips and a refreshing lemonade.

The Goods: In anticipation of our move to a new location, we are changing things up a bit and have retired the Café VegNews kitchen. The VN Staffers are now going solo during lunchtime, and will take turns reporting their lunch each day, be it going out to a trendy restaurant, or packing a PB & J. Today, I had the pleasure in dining with Associate Editor Liz Miller, and Editorial Assistants Gabrielle Pope and Brooke Still. We're looking forward to our new lunchtime adventures, and we hope you do too!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Soup and Salad

The Chefs: Colleen and Chas

The Menu: A classic lunch combo, le soup et salad. The soup was a stew of sorts with potatoes, carrots, veggies, and other goodies while the salad included romaine lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, grated carrots, and avocado.

The Goods: If you're hoping that the mention of Chas in the chefs here is our subtle way of announcing that our lunchtime hero has returned, you're not alone. (Seriously, we miss that guy big time.) Unfortunately, he has not. He did, however, freeze one of his amazing soups for us before he departed, which Colleen thawed out today and paired with a delicious side salad for a perfect end-of-the-week lunch. Today did see the return of another of our favorite fellows, Mr. Paul Russell, tech guru extraordinaire to VN. He's now on his way back to his native England, but it was lovely to lunch with him while he was in town. With that, we bid you all a happy weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sumptuous Stir-Fry

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: An Asian-inspiried spread of fluffy basmati rice and veggie stir fry, including wok-fried broccoli, cashews, mushrooms, carrot, and spinach.

The Goods: Colleen's scrumptious stir-fry was exactly the healthy fare we needed to prepare us for a fabulous Thursday night of indulgence at SF Vegan Drinks. We're pumped to throw back a few fruity martinis, nosh on a veggie dog or two, and mingle with fellow awesome San Francisco vegans. We're also looking forward to this month's summer-themed drink special, mixing hints blueberry, cranberry, blackberry, and raspberry, which the all-star bartenders at Martuni's have concocted especially for the event. Be there, or be

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tofu Salad, Garlic Breadsticks

The Chef: Colleen and Elizabeth

The Menu: A splendid, savory salad featuring romaine, mixed greens, shredded carrot, and baked tofu squares marinated in one of Colleen's signature vinaigrette dressings. This simple summer lunch was punctuated with fluffy garlic and herb breadsticks which Elizabeth whipped up with a batch of Trader Joe's pizza dough.

The Goods: It's day three of sunny, warm skies in San Francisco, and we're embracing the fresh weather with light, healthy lunches. Despite the recent spike in temperature, we know it won't be long before SF's classic cool weather returns, which is why several VN staffers are looking forward to coat shopping with Vaute Couture this weekend. Yes, the all-vegan fashion house is taking its cruelty-free threads on the road for a select few California pop-up shows, including two dates in SF. If you haven't made an appointment yet, we definitely recommend you do, because these coats are pretty much the cutest thing you'll ever own. But, no big deal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Easy Salad & Edamame

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A robust, flavorful salad of mixed greens, green olives, shredded carrot, cherry tomatoes, avocado, celery, and basil dressed in a zesty summer vinaigrette. Colleen added some crunch to our veggie-filled lunch with fresh, salty edamame.

The Goods: In a bid to outshine yesterday's super sunny lunch, today's al fresco fare was even more satisfying, as San Francisco's two-day high temperatures have us riding a serious vitamin-D wave. When the hot, hot, heat gets to be too much, however, it's good to seek fun indoors, preferably where there is air conditioning. Ready for the perfect summer evening event? Enter to win two tickets to see vegan comedian Myq Kaplan's performance in San Francisco at The Warfield on Sept. 10! Kaplan was recently a top-five finalist on NBC'S Last Comic Standing, and VN recently caught up with the meat-free funny man to discuss everything from eating vegan on the road to sharing veganism with fellow contestants.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Beach-friendly Burritos

The Chef: Colleen and Joseph

The Menu: A sunny spread of crisp salad featuring romaine, cherry tomatoes, avocado, carrot, and garbanzo beans tossed in a fresh lemon vinaigrette courtesy of Colleen. Joseph complemented our sweet salad with a savory rice salad of short-grain brown rice, marinara, and seasonings, and baked Evol Tofu & Spinach burritos added some protein to our otherwise balanced meal.

The Goods: This light, refreshing lunch was the perfect fare for our al fresco lunch. Yes, summer has finally come to San Francisco, and while the rest of the country beckons for the chill of autumn air, we're ready for sunshine at the beach. We're thrilled to hear that the SF forecast predicts sunny skies through the end of the week, which also just so happens to be our last week of voting for the 2010 Veggie Awards. If you haven't submitted your choices for this year's very best vegan people, products, and places, get a move on! With a little more than one week left, the polls are close, and every vote helps your top picks push past the competition. If you've already entered your winners, encourage your friends to stuff the ballot box with their favorites as well.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Chef Chloe Coscarelli!

The Chef: Chef Chloe Coscarelli

The Menu: A mind-blowing meal by award-winning vegan Chef Chloe Coscarelli! Chloe served up a delightful spread, with a main course of perfect panini, including garlic white bean spread, avocado, balsamic grilled eggplant, red onion, fresh basil, and spices pressed between crunchy slices of toasty bread. Along with stacked sandwiches, Chloe served refreshing, tangy lemonade, cheesy rotelle pasta mixed with fresh peas, sweetened strawberries in an expertly carved watermelon—in the shape of an adorable narwhal—and a crunchy, light salad of mixed greens with avocado, onion, and cherry tomatoes.

The Goods: If you think Chloe couldn't possibly top this all-star spread you obviously don't know Chloe. After enjoying our hearty, perfectly summer-themed lunch, Chloe served us the tastiest, most decadent dessert we've ever had. Yes, this three-layer chocolate cake, housing three, yes three, layers of fluffy, silky white icing, was indeed topped with powdered sugar-dusted ripe raspberries. And no, there is no way that words can actually capture how tasty this rich wonder was, but we think this picture does it semi-justice. We're so grateful to Chloe and her lovely mother Shelley Coscarelli for driving up from Los Angeles to prepare us a completely incredible meal, which we will probably never stop talking about. It was such a pleasure to have Chloe prepare us another splendid meal and spend her afternoon with the VN crew, and we can't wait to see her again! We already knew that Chloe had overwhelming cooking chops—she did win Food Network's Cupcake Wars, of course—but getting to hang out with this bright, lovely lady was the perfect end to another wonderful week.

Visit VN's Facebook page for more fabulous photos from Chef Chloe's visit to the VNHQ!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Semi Pad Thai

The Chef: Gabrielle

The Menu: A lovely, VN kitchen take on pad thai sans the peanuts, with rice noodles, tofu, and spinach marinated in a lovely, tangy sauce of lemongrass, garlic, onion, ginger, lime juice, and Braggs Liquid Aminos.

The Goods: Today, Ms. Gabrielle turned out her first meal in the VN kitchen, and lets just say we're pretty darn happy she did. As ardent fans of all things noodles, we were pretty much in heaven with this flavorful, gluten-free feast. In addition to preparing her first lunch at the VNHQ, Gabrielle also posted her first Press Pass entry today! Read all about her adventures touristing the city, and find out which doughnut shop she recommends you check out, asap. Today's balanced meal was exactly what we needed on this chilly Thursday, but we're hoping for brighter skies tomorrow when award-winning vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli stops by the VNHQ to generously cater us a homemade meal. We're totally thrilled to catch up with Chloe and her equally fantastic mom, Shelley. That is, assuming we don't die of anticipation before lunch. We'll work on that.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cheesy Quesadillas!

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A phenomenal South-of-the-border spread including homemade tofu cheese quesadillas with a savory side of flavorful basmati rice topped with seasoned black beans and slices of fresh avocado. Elizabeth balanced our hearty lunch with a light, crisp mixed greens salad including mushroom, avocado, bell pepper, and tomato.

The Goods: Summer is here! Okay, admittedly, it's been summer for quite some time, but our generally cloudy City by the Bay has recently experienced an unusually sunny spurt of weather, and we're not complaining about it. We absolutely love dining al fresco, so soaking up some rays while noshing on tasty quesadillas pretty much made our day. In fact, if you need us, we'll be working from the beach for the rest of the afternoon. And by working, we mean working on our tans.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Spaghetti & Salad

The Chef: Brooke

The Menu: A molto bene batch of spicy spaghetti made with whole-wheat spaghetti, olive oil, Daiya, and Organicville's Portabella Pasta Sauce. Brooke complemented this pleasing pasta dish with a crunchy, simple side salad of romaine, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and chickpeas.

The Goods: In addition to enjoying a fabulous meal, today's lunch hour at the VNHQ was made extra special by a visit from the adorably awesome Jenny and Heather Goldberg of Spork Foods. We're pretty much obsessed with these ladies and everything they do—from tasty, themed cooking classes to professional vegan catering, Spork Foods does stylish, compassionate cuisine like no one else. These gals have a ton of new stuff happening this fall, and we can't wait to share all the juicy details—but for now, if you need us, we'll just be begging them to relocate to San Francisco.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Celebratory Ike's Sandwiches

The Chef: Ike's Place

The Menu: Seriously satisfying, fully-stacked vegan sandwiches from Ike's Place, including one Green Goblin, one Meatless Mike, and a whopping three Brutus' (pictured above).

The Goods: WE LOVE IKE'S! These sandwiches are, hands down, the best in the city—nay, the world. You may be wondering why we differed from our daily, office-made lunch today, and the answer is simple: we're celebrating! This morning, VN Publishers Joseph Connelly and Colleen Holland made a monumental step for VN's future by signing a lease for a new space in San Francisco's Mission District! We're totally pumped to relocate the VNHQ to a happening new neighborhood nudging every great vegan and vegan-friendly restaurant in the city. We won't relocate right away—you know we're going to thoroughly beautify the space first. Once we're all moved in we'll definitely share pictures—yes, it will not be unlike how your friends gush about their new babies, or how your aunt gushes about her cats. We're just that excited.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Indian Eats

The Chef: Joseph

The Menu: A spread of Indian-inspired delights including fragrant, slow-cooked five-spice rice mixed with peas paired with a satisfying stir-fry of zucchini, carrot, and punjab eggplant marinated in a spicy, flavorful sesame seed sauce. Joseph rounded out the meal by serving up a simple spinach salad topped with a savory, saucy dressing.

The Goods: It's Friday! Yay! We're not sure if you're big fans of the weekend, but for us, Saturdays are pretty much akin to Christmas morning. This weekend, half the VN staff is happily working over—not for—the weekend Saturday and Sunday at the second-annual Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival here in semi-sunny San Francisco. The stacked line-up features a handful of fantastic veg musicians, from punk rockers Social Distortion to indie darlings My Morning Jacket, and we can't wait to revel in all the festival fun. We're also looking forward to all the tasty, local vegan eats available at the event, ranging from veggie burgers to gluten-free vegan sandwiches and vegan sausages. Yeah, not bad. Come Monday, we'll be sure to report on all the Outside Lands fun on Press Pass.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tofu & Spinach Burritos

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Mouthwatering Tofu & Spinach Evol burritos filled with potatoes, black beans, tofu, spinach, and tomato salsa wrapped in a doughy whole-wheat tortilla. Lyndsay paired these easy-to-microwave wonders with a helping of homemade guacamole and a simple side salad of romaine, spinach, and carrot.

The Goods: We're big fans of Evol eats, from its tasty wraps to big-time burritos, this no-fuss, no-muss line of products hits the mark for any occasion. While we've never met a burrito we didn't like, but, we have a sneaking suspicion that these burritos, made with 80-percent organic ingredients, are as good for your body as they are tasty for your tummy. Sorry if we're not making complete sense here: That's the burrito coma talking.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Flour-Free Fajitas

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Free-form fajitas featuring pan-friend tempeh and veggies including carrot, bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic, and spices served over fluffy, flavorful basmati rice. Elizabeth finished off this free-form fajita feast with a great green salad of spinach, carrot, tomato, and sunflower seeds.

The Goods: Who says a hearty helping of fajitas calls for an extra side of carbs? We say, in a pinch, the exclusion of tortillas doesn't matter one bit—it's the savory fixins' that really make the fajita. While we wouldn't say that these fabulous fajitas were exactly skinny, we do think they'd meet the approval of one Skinny Bitch author, Ms. Rory Freedman. In Skinny Bitch, Freedman, along with co-author Kim Barnouin, discuss the pros of whole grain carbs and meat-free substitutes, so we think they'd love our Latin-inspired lunch. Want to win a copy of Skinny Bitch and read all about it for yourself? Enter VN's weekly giveaway for the chance to win a copy, along with a signed copy of our 2008 Veggie Awards Issue featuring cover girl Rory Freedman.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rice and Bean Salad

The Chef: Brooke

The Menu: Savory salad! Brooke whipped up a lovely rice and bean salad by throwing together seasoned basmati rice, black beans, kidney beans, romaine, tomato, and bell pepper, all marinated in a buttery, zesty olive oil and lime dressing.

The Goods: No, we're not complaining about our satisfying lunch of rice and bean salad, and yes, we're now requiring that all salads consist largely of perfectly cooked basmati rice. Sorry about that, lettuce. In other news, Colleen, Joseph, and Lyndsay are back at the VNHQ after a four-day weekend spent in Chicago—and they've reported back with all the details! Aside from working the fantastic, two-day VeggieFest Chicago show in Naperville, Ill., they enjoyed meals at The Chicago Diner and Karyn's on Green and toured the Vegan Essentials headquarters. Are we jealous? Maybe. It's okay though, because we remaining staffers will take any excuse to enjoy a leisurely trip to the Windy City.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lunch Break

The Chef: Nobody!

The Menu: Everything from bagels to green beans to ready-made spaghetti.

The Goods: With almost half the VN staff enjoying the sights and sounds of the Windy City, we remaining staffers decided to strike out on our own today. From running errands to taking afternoon walks, we enjoyed the freedom that is the routine workday lunch break. If it wasn't a desire to change things up, our unusual lunch hour might be attributable to the fantastic lunch of homemade pizza that Abby prepared on Friday, which was pretty much the end-all, be-all of fantastic meals. Apparently we're not alone in our ardent love for pizza, as evidenced by the serious love our readers express for plant-based pies. Don't worry, we totally agree that vegan pizza is probably the best food in the universe, which leads us to our next question: Where is the pizza?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pizza, Pizza!

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Pizza! Abby prepared two tasty pizza pies with crispy, homemade crust, slathered in rustic marinara and topped with cheddar and mozzarella-style Daiya cheese, black beans, and veggies including mushroom, tomato, and onion. Abby paired our pizza slices with a lovely side salad of romaine, onion, black beans, tomato, and mushroom. Bellissimo!

The Goods: If you haven't noticed, we're pretty big fans of pizza. The many virtues of vegan pizza are daily romanticized in these here offices, so today's lunch was, lets just say, greatly enjoyed. Sadly, Colleen, Joseph, and Lyndsay missed out on our pizza bounty, as they are in the Midwest for a weekend of sun and vegetarian fun at VeggieFest Chicago in Naperville, Ill,. If you hail from the Chicagoland area, be sure to stop by the festival, meet VN staffers, and renew your subscription. Happy weekend, everybody!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Coconut Curry, Cucumber Salad

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Comforting coconut curry, fragrant and flavorful basmati rice, and a refreshing cucumber salad rounded out Thursday's satisfying meal. Colleen threw together this tasty curry with tomatoes, mushroom, bell pepper, collards, and potato, and served up a crisp salad of mixed greens and cucumber, lightly dressed with a sweet vinaigrette.

The Goods: We love having lunch guests here at the VNHQ, and today's lunch included not only our beloved weekly guest, VegWebmistress Laura Beck, but also fantastic VN contributor and activist extraordinaire Jasmin Singer. In addition to our lovely guests, we have even more reason to celebrate today, as it marks VN Editorial Assistant Gabrielle's first day on the job! Yes, between launching the 2010 Veggie Awards poll this week, anticipating the arrival of our September+October issue, and welcoming Gabrielle, you could say its been a pretty great week thus far.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Potato Soup, Simple Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A silky, garlicky soup of russet potatoes, green chiles, and a whole lot of garlic made for a soup-er satisfying lunch. Elizabeth paired this warming main with fluffy slices of vegan French bread and finished it off with a fresh, crunchy salad filled with mixed greens, mushroom, bell pepper, and tomato.

The Goods: If there's something wrong with the classic soup-and-salad combo, we don't want to be right. Basically, we're huge fans of this balanced lunch break standard. Another well kept secret: We're also huge fans of all things chocolate, sugary, and made of ice cream. Maybe that's why VN staffer Brooke decided to indulge in some to-die-for dessert at San Francisco's Holy Gelato! last night, and because it was Brooke's first trip to a vegan-friendly ice cream shop, she chronicled the adventure on Press Pass.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Spaghetti & Vegan Meatballs

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A molto bene Italian spread including whole-wheat spaghetti with vegan meatballs, toasted Daiya cheesy bread, and an arugula, spinach, and mushroom salad. Liz took the semi-homemade approach to pasta sauce by combining Lucini Tuscan Marinara with diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and roasted red peppers and crafted vegan meatballs by rolling dollops of Harmony Valley Vegetarian Hamburger Mix in bread crumbs. No, that's amore.

The Goods: This gluten-licious lunch was the perfect perk-up after a particularly chilly San Francisco morning. While dining on our Italian feast, we discussed a few of our favorite things: cake, Mad Men, and the 2010 Veggie Awards! The competition is fierce, and nominees and fans alike are launching world wide web campaigns to rally for their favorite vegan people, places, and products in our annual reader poll. We're thrilled to see all of the healthy competition spreading, and we're even more thrilled to tally up the winners when the polls close on August 31. Haven't weighed-in on your vegan top choices for 2010? Do it! Right now! Then tell all of your friends—in this election, every vote really counts!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Cheesy Tortillas & Veggies

The Chef: Abby

The Menu: Homemade cheesy tortillas ala Savvy Abby's signature recipe plus one heaping helping of Daiya cheese. We filled these burritos to the brim with fluffy quinoa and a savory mix of veggies including broccoli, red cabbage, black beans, potatoes, collards, and onions topped with fresh, slightly spicy salsa and a little extra sprinkling of Daiya, just for good measure.

The Goods: Happy August! Today is an exciting day, and not just because Abby whipped up a tasty batch of cheesy vegan tortillas. No, today is extra exciting as it marks the launch of the 2010 Veggie Awards polls! Yes, from August 2 to August 31 you have the chance to sound off about your favorite vegan people, places, and products—and the chance to win fabulous prizes! Polls opened today, so there's no time like the present to submit your votes. Let the electioneering begin!