Friday, April 29, 2011

South Indian Fare at Udupi

The Chef: Lyndsay and Udupi Palace

The Menu: The mixed vegetable uthappam with sambar and chutneys.

The Goods: The VNHQ is practically empty today, with everyone gone except myself, and our two editorial assistants, Anna and Alexandra. To liven things up a little, we decided to have a special lunch at Udupi Palace, which is just about two blocks away. The restaurant seemed to be unusually busy, but we received our food right away, and it was extra delicious, if I do say so myself. We wish you a happy weekend!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Chef: Colleen and Herbivore

The Menu: A marinated kale salad with soy chicken, plus fresh cucumbers, tomatoes, and lemon

The Goods: I knew what was in store this afternoon, so I had to keep lunch healthy today. Tomorrow is VN editor Jennifer Chen's birthday, so we celebrated with a homemade vegan German chocolate cake (see below) that was consumed in minutes. But getting back to lunch, we're so fortunate to have the always-reliable Herbivore restaurant just minutes from the VNHQ. With cocoa buttercream, pecan-coconut filling, and chocolate cake on the horizon, I opted for the marinated kale salad with soy chicken. And, as always, it was delicious. Are you in or around San Francisco tonight? Head over to Martuni's for Vegan Drinks! Sponsored by VegNews and Vegansaurus, there will be drink specials, vegan popcorn, and lots of great people. Happy Thursday!

VegNews staffers devoured this multi-tier vegan German chocolate cake. We love birthdays around here!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Kale Salad and Extras

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: A marinated kale salad with cucumber, plus soy chicken and roasted beets

The Goods: Perhaps I was inspired by VN Office Manager Lyndsay's post on Savvy Vegan discussing cheap workout tips, but I have decided to eat healthier and work out more. Sure, it's almost May, but isn't any time the right time for a new resolution? This VN favorite is the perfect blend of health and deliciouness: the tasty dressing balances the vegetables perfectly, and the additions of soy chicken and beets are like icing on a cake (if both the icing and the cake were not filled with sugar).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Pasta with Marinara Sauce

The Chef: Alexandra

The Menu: Linguine and marinara sauce with bell peppers, onion, and garlic (even though you can't see the veggies very well in the photo). And an orange.

The Goods: When I was younger, one of my favorite breakfasts was leftover spaghetti. Now it's my go to carb-heavy, comforting meal. There's something so satisfying about piles of pasta topped with thick tomato sauce (read more about other delicious sauces here), or any pasta dish for that matter. To add a bit more nutrition to the meal, I started with an orange. Hopefully I don't go into a carb coma anytime soon, especially since I have VN's third Twitter chat to look forward to tonight! We're talking with founders of some of the most successful vegan businesses including Sweet & Sara, Chicago Soydairy, Vegan Essentials, and Veggie Grill to chat about how to start a vegan venture.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Louie Castoria

The Menu: A delicious bowl of (what else?) Bachelor Soup, accompanied by a big shredded kale salad with carrots, shredded beets, cucumbers, and avocado, and vegan eggplant Parmesan with Daiya and the best homemade marinara sauce on the planet.

The Goods: One of the best parts of Mondays is that they come right after the weekend, which often means that you get to relive part of your work-free revelry by lunching on leftovers. Today, I got to enjoy not only my favorite soup (I've seriously had it six times in the last week. Send help.), but also dined on leftover eggplant Parmesan made by my very own dad! He's a genius when it comes to translating Italian classics into vegan versions, and this crispy, delicious dish leftover from Easter dinner was no exception. Here's hoping that everyone had a wonderful weekend, and that we all get to enjoy the week ahead.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Asian Marinated Kale Salad

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: An Asian-twist on the Marinated Kale Salad recipe with seaweed strips, toasted sesame seeds, and marinated bean curd noodles and a cup of Zola Açaí Original Juice.

The Goods: When I usually make the VN Marinated Kale Salad for dinner, I top it with avocado, mushrooms, and Gardein chicken. But since I had none of those ingredients except for organic kale from the farmers' market, I decided to do some cooking improv. Thanks to my local Asian grocery store, Ranch 99, I had some bean curd noodles (imagine tofu spaghetti-sized noodles), a bag of shredded seaweed strips, and toasted sesame seeds. I tossed them in with my lemon-olive oil dressing and hoped for the best. Turns out, it tasted like a great big seaweed salad, which I love. My husband calls me the cooking MacGyver because I take random ingredients and make a meal. I attribute my random-ingredients cooking skills to living in New York City, post-college, on a tiny salary. But hey, it still comes in handy!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Vegan Tomato Soup and Caesar Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A fantastically delicious cream of tomato soup, topped with cashew cream, roasted pumpkin seeds, and chopped cilantro, accompanied by a perfectly pert Caesar salad of romaine, Caesar dressing, avocado, and more pumpkin seeds!

The Goods: You all know how we feel about Gracias Madre. When you go back to a single restaurant so frequently, it would seem easy to get sick of the offerings there. Does that ever happen at Gracias? Heck no. The daily soup special is my secret weapon against lunchtime repetition, as it's always rich, usually cashew-cream based, and switched up daily. The tomato is probably my favorite, which meant that I was a very lucky gal today. Little-known fact? I freaking love pumpkin seeds! And they were in both dishes! Huzzah! I also had the good fortune of dining with our High-Tech Chef columnist, Jesse Miner. There's definitely nothing better than delicious food paired with great company.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thank God for Herbivore

The Chef: Colleen and Herbivore Restaurant

The Menu: A faux chicken sandwich on toasted focaccia bread with vegan mayo, lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles—plus a chocolate bar from Chocolate Decadence as a sweet ending to the meal

The Goods: This sandwich has been calling my name from the fridge all week long—it was boxed-up leftovers from lunch at Herbivore last week—and today I enjoyed every last bite of it. We know we're lucky that one of the go-to vegan restaurants in SF is right around the corner, and I was reminded of that today. We're very grateful for our new office in our new location, after many years of being sequestered in a much quieter part of the city where very little vegan food exists. And that lovely chocolate bar you see? That was a gift from VN Associate Editor, Jennifer Chen, who always seems to be passing out chocolate and gifts. Thank you, Jenn. And our wonderful volunteer extraordinaire, Frankie, dropped by on Monday with some homemade treats for the staff—plus Meyer lemons and sprigs of fresh rosemary (see photo) that she grew herself. Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Salad, Veggies, and Biscuits

The Chef: Anna and Lyndsay

The Menu: A spring mix salad with carrots, zucchini, cucumbers, sweet potato, avocado, and black beans topped with Follow Your Heart's White Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette dressing, a biscuit, and roasted vegetables

The Goods: VN Office Manager Lyndsay surprised the office today with a fresh batch of Abby's Biscuits, roasted vegetables, and frosted sugar cookies. Add that to the bagels VN Associate Publisher Colleen brought us for breakfast and can see how a salad is necessary. Plus, if you eat salad, that means you have have more cookies, right? Cancel out the good with the bad? Using that logic, I can eat an entire bag of Dandies if I promise to eat salad for dinner. Methinks yes.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Falafel and Tomatoes

The Chef: Lyndsay and Le Petit Marchet

The Menu: A falafel wrap with hummus and tabouli, with a side of chopped tomato.

The Goods: When I'm feeling a bit lazy, and don't feel like cooking, my go-to is Sure, it's not always economical, but sometimes you do what you gotta do. I ordered this falafel from one of the many restaurants on the site, and I'm never disappointed. It's also one of the cheaper places to order from, so win win. I hope everyone's having a good start to the week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Beet Salad

The Chef: Alexandra and Herbivore

The Menu: A giant roasted beet salad with soy chicken and avocado.

The Goods: Behold the mighty beet salad, large and hearty enough to satisfy anyone's hungry stomach. VN Associate Publisher Colleen Holland surprised us today by treating the staff to a delicious lunch from Herbivore, and I knew exactly what I wanted to try. We're big kale lovers at the VNHQ, but deep down, I know I'll always be more loyal to beets (not that there's a real rivalry at all). With the added soy chicken and avocado, this meal filled me up more than the usual sandwich. Eating on the sunny deck didn't hurt either. Here's to a relaxing weekend!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Vegan Pizza

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: Vegan pizza with spinach, tomato, and Daiya pepperjack cheese.

The Goods: I recently moved to Berkeley, which is a vegan haven, and VN Editorial Assistant Alexandra Chang (a University of California Berkeley graduate) told me to head to Berkeley Bowl for its large produce section. She was not kidding. I felt like a kid in a veggie candy store. I might have bought my weight in kale and giant Fuji apples. So when I was running out the door this morning, I hadn't packed a lunch but I grabbed a tomato and some baby spinach. When I got to the office, I decided to make the VN staff vegan pizzas topped with fresh tomato, spinach, and Daiya pepperjack. We sat outside, enjoying the beautiful San Francisco weather. Instant mood booster, indeed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Really Good Rice and Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: Some truly fantastic saffron rice and a huge salad of kale, grated beets, sliced cucumbers, grated carrots, sliced Field Roast Sausages, and Annie's Goddess Dressing.

The Goods: You know what's rad? Eating for free. Maybe it's not totally true, since obviously you have to purchase groceries, but when it's easy as can be to breeze out the office door for lunch and wind up with a $12 salad before you know what's hit you, eating at home can feel like you're eating for free. I was lucky enough to have some leftovers from dinner last night (the fancy pants rice and salad) to which I added the sausage and dressing. A delicious meal in fewer than five minutes flat? Yes, please! Upon returning to the office, I found the four new Coconut Bliss flavors awaiting trial. If there is a better mid-week treat, I don't even want to know about it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kale Salad with Marinated Tofu & Avocado

The Chef: Colleen
The Menu: Another delicious marinated kale salad topped with sesame-soy tofu and big hunks of fresh avocado. Delish!

The Goods: Although it doesn't seem like it, I really don't eat kale salad every single day for lunch. Sometimes I mix it up with leftovers or a bagel sandwich, other times I go out to lunch with colleagues or for business meetings. I promise! But today the sun is shining, and I couldn't have been happier sitting on the VNHQ deck with fellow staffers eating my marinated kale salad. The dressing was extra zesty due to the (very welcome) gift of lemons from editor Jenn Chen's mom—picked fresh from her new Berkeley backyard. And the tofu was baked with soy sauce, sesame oil, and maple syrup for a really nice glazed addition to the salad. Despite striving to be healthy today, I can't stop thinking about doughnuts after hearing the big news that Seattle-based Mighty-O Donuts won Food Network's Donut Champions last night. The vegan lifestyle has officially taken over the world, and we couldn't be more thrilled to be a part of it. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Vegan Meatball Sub

The Chef: Anna and Ike's Place
The Menu: The Meatless Mike: meatballs, soy mozzarella, and marinara with lettuce, tomato, red onions, and Ike's Dirty Secret Sauce, plus a bag of Dirty potato chips and a watermelon Blow Pop for dessert!

The Goods: Whoever said Mondays are the pits? Thanks to the finally-reopened Ike's (hallelujah!) providing me with a delicious vegan meatball sub, my Monday was anything but. I finished the entire thing, and still wanted more. Maybe I'll be able to write off that "extra stomach" surgery as a medical necessity to my insurance company. Need help ordering vegan fare at your local sandwich shop? Check out the first installment in our new Vegan 101 series on food, which gives you the low-down on how to order, shop, and cook like a vegan pro.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vegan Pozole and Greens

The Chef: Alexandra and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A bowl of pozole filled with spices, beans, and cabbage, and topped with crispy tortilla chips and cashew nut sauce. Plus, a large side of kale.

The Goods: VN Publisher Joseph Connelly offered to take me out to lunch, and let me pick the dining spot. I haven't been to Gracias Madre in a couple months and thought it would be the best way to ease into a sunny, beautiful weekend. The pozole was exactly what I needed, a belly warming and filling soup. It was also the perfect amount of food, which is surprising since I usually tend to eat enough for two or three. I even got a box (I honestly cannot remember the last time I had leftovers to take home) to keep my kale for later. Perhaps this is me turning a new leaf. Less indulging + more saving = savvy vegan. Or maybe I'll just go eat a Sjaak's candy bar in a couple hours. Who knows?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Green Salad with Chicken

The Chefs: Lyndsay and Herbivore

The Menu: A mixed green salad with grated beets, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and grilled vegan chicken—topped with a Dijon dressing.

The Goods: I had a huge bagel with Tofutti cream cheese (not pictured) this morning, so I needed a lighter lunch. I understand that this is the second Herbivore salad this week, but what can I say? Being just about a block away, it's convenient, and the salad is delicious, so that's what I chose. To read something a little more exciting, check out Associate Publisher Colleen Holland's new Press Pass post on her sneak peek of Animal Place Sanctuary! It will make you want to book a trip right away.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

VegNews Signature Mac 'n' Cheese

The Chefs: Jennifer and VegNews

The Menu: VegNews' signature Mac 'n' Cheese recipe

The Goods: I just moved to Berkeley, and after unpacking what seemed like a billion boxes, my kitchen was finally organized. My first meal to make in my new home? Why, the VN signature mac 'n' cheese of course. If you haven't made it, I suggest you run home right now and whip up a batch. If you have made it, then you understand why this vegan version makes grown men weep and non-vegans want to get with the program. Have I oversold it? No way. I even posted up the recipe on my friend's Facebook page, ordered her (suggested nicely) to make it, and she did. Her response: The cheese sauce is amazing! And it is. That's why I always double the ingredients for the sauce.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Satisfying Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: One of my all-time favorite salads: Herbivore's mixed green salad with grated beets, bean sprouts, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and grilled vegan chicken, all topped with a Dijon dressing.

The Goods: Yes, I could pretty much totally eat this salad every day. You know what makes an already-fantastic meal even better? When you get to share it with someone wonderful. Today I had the pleasure of dining with my mom and my sweetie, and couldn't have asked for a better lunch. Here's hoping everyone had equally great meals!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Kale Kick-Off

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Marinated kale salad topped with sliced avocado and baked teriyaki tofu

The Goods: With temperatures in the high 70s in San Francisco today, I needed a fresh salad to cool myself down. And my go-to lunch salad these days is marinated kale (finely chopped kale in a lemon-olive oil vinaigrette with sea salt) topped with avocado and baked tofu (I cube a block of tofu, marinade it in Bragg's, sesame oil, orange juice, and maple syrup, and bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes). It's healthy and delicious—and the ideal lunch before a surprise dessert: vegan ice cream! Sarah from San Francisco-based Rocket Ship Ice Cream dropped by our offices today with just-made batches of Toasted Coconut, Sweet Mint, and Coffee ice cream, and we happily devoured all three. We needed some good news in the ice cream department after the closure of our beloved MaggieMudd this weekend (custom cakes will still be available through its website). Clamoring for your own vegan sweets? We're giving away three dozen cinnamon rolls (complete with icing) on this week. Good luck!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Vegan Mexican Food and Confusion

The Chefs: Anna and Gracias Madre

The Menu: The torta-and-Caesar salad lunch special and olive oil-roasted potatoes topped with spicy cashew-nacho cheese

The Goods: I hadn't been to Gracias Madre in more than a month (blasphemy, I know!), so when my friend asked me where we should go for lunch, I knew just what to say. I decided to venture away from my typical order of tacos and instead noshed on the sandwich-tacular lunch special. The combination of creamy black beans, avocado, and cashew cheese with spicy pico de gallo and crunchy lettuce was heavenly, and the potatoes my friend and I shared didn't hurt, either. On my way home, I ran into VN Publisher Joseph Connelly at a nearby pizza place. I could have sworn it was a Gracias Madre-induced food coma (it's happened before), but Joe was noshing on a slice with decidedly non-vegan cheese topped with decidedly non-vegan pepperoni and sausage. Joseph said he was inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi's redefining of vegetarianism to include fish, and "just wanted to remember what pig tastes like." I can't really judge. I bake with refined sugar, after all. We might have lost Joseph, but at least we gained Paula Deen!'s April Fool's!