Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pesto Pasta and Salad

The Chef: Joni and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Pesto pasta topped with sun-dried tomatoes with a side salad of tossed greens, chickpeas, black beans, carrots, corn, and balsamic vinaigrette dressing.

The Dish: At least one person (usually more) seems to chow down on Valencia Whole Foods' offerings of delicious vegan fare every single day. I'm addicted to this pesto pasta, introduced to me via Editorial Assistant Hilary, but I'm even more addicted to the beautiful sunshine gracing San Francisco today, enjoyed on our newly revamped VNHQ deck! Consider making an appointment to the Vaute Couture Pop-Up Show for this Friday or Saturday, so you can check out the VNHQ deck's facelift and pick up some new veg threads. Also, today marks the final opportunity to vote in the Veggie Awards, so voice your opinion before it's too late!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Mean Gardein Bolognese and Salad

The Chef: Hilary

The Menu: Gardein beefless tips, whole-wheat gnocchi with mushroom-shallot tomato sauce, and a green salad with cucumbers and miso dressing. 

The Dish: Today I somehow resisted the almost-irrepressible urge to eat out (our office is surrounded on all sides by delicious vegan stuff) and went home for leftovers. Last night I decided to address the Gardein problem in the freezer that I share with my three roommates. Exhibit A:

Somehow, we've been accumulating Gardein Beefless Tips like crazy, and they're multiplying. Soon they would escape the freezer and start taking over the whole house, so I had to cook and eat some of them before things got out of hand. I decided to sauté them with some shallots and mushrooms, throw in some pasta sauce and cherry tomatoes, pour it on some whole-wheat gnocchi and call it a bolognese. It turned out to be a super-tasty savory extravaganza that I will only have to repeat approximately 12 times in order to use up all of the Beefless Tips. Gardein took home Product of the Year in last year's Veggie Awards. There is only one day left to decide who will be awarded this year, so vote now for your favorites! 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Brunch at Lunch

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: Southwestern scrambled tofu with black beans, house potatoes, salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream, and a hearty slice of blueberry cornbread.

The Dish: A well-known fact about me: I'm a serious breakfast-food gal. Give me a tofu scramble at any time, and hey, some house potatoes wouldn't hurt either. Today was no exception, and Herbivore hit it out of the park with this dish. My favorite part was the warm cornbread, which had just the right amount of sweetness to it. Let us know what your favorite vegan restaurant is by voting in The 2011 Veggie Awards! But you better hurry—there are only a few days left to vote! Polls close August 31 at 11:59pm PT.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mushroom Soup and Crazy Salad

The Chefs: Hilary and Whole Foods Market 

The Menu: Hearty mushroom barley soup, an arugula salad with sweet corn, gigante beans, kalamata olives, miscellaneous fruit, and marinated tomatoes, washed down with Synergy's Grape Chia kombucha. 

The Goods: Most of our staff is off stuffing their little faces and brains with goodness at Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Ore., so there are only three of us monkey-shinin' around the near-empty VNHQ. I needed to console myself from coworker withdrawal by blasting New Order all morning and enjoying a warm bowl of mushroom soup from the Whole Foods hot bar (love you, boo!) and a colorful, haphazard side salad with everything but the kitchen sink. One perk of the desolate office environment: I can enjoy my alien-looking—but delicious and Omega-3 rich—chia-kombucha drink free of controversy. Fellow kombucha supporters, I implore you to vote in the 2011 Veggie Awards and show the world that it is more than just a vinegary soda! So much more. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Pizza Party

The Chefs: Joni, Colleen, the VegNews staff, and Patxi’s Chicago Pizza 

The Menu: Fresh green salad with ripe avocado and cherry tomatoes, and sinfully delicious vegan pizza from Patxi’s made with spinach, crushed garlic, red onions, and Daiya cheese on a whole-wheat crust.

The Goods: Colleen decided to throw a pizza party at the VNHQ (thanks, Colleen!), since most of the staff is embarking to Portland this afternoon for the Vida Vegan Blogger Conference. They will spend the weekend getting to know the world’s best vegan bloggers and gorging on Portland’s outrageously delicious vegan food (Portobello Vegan Tarttoria, anyone?). On the other hand, I will be here in San Francisco, dreaming of sunny Portland and all it’s culinary delights, as I schlep box after box into my new apartment this weekend. Now to continue working through this pizza-induced food coma…

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Of Spring Rolls and Salads

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A big ol' spinach salad with marinated fava beans, grated carrots, cherry tomatoes, and a huge dollop of hummus, paired with the trusty spring rolls and their delicious dipping sauce.

The Goods: Hello, greens! Really, is there anything better than a huge plate covered in veggies? I say no! Well, maybe a year's supply of Coconut Bliss ice cream, or a Vegan Treats dessert party. Or if you were really dreaming big, a totally vegan cruise! Since nobody likes a taunter, turn these dreams into reality by voting in the 2011 Veggie Awards, which will automatically enter you to win each of those dreamy prizes. Speaking of fantasy, let's talk about lying on patch of hot sand as the summer simmers on—a topic I happen to discuss in my post that's up on Crazy Sexy Life today. Happy dreamy reading!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Quinoa Chickpea Salad

The Chef: Jennifer 

The Menu: Chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, romaine, and quinoa with a Goddess dressing

The Goods: In preparation for the blogging conference Vida Vegan Con in Portland, Ore., I've been eating a bit healthier because I plan on consuming my weight in vegan food in the food-truck capital (I'm looking at you, Native Bowl). Thanks to vegan cookbook author extraordinaire Isa Chandra Moskowitz for the lovely salad and dressing recipes from Appetite for Reduction. That book has been my go-to for awesome, healthy meals. The multi-color cherry tomatoes are from my mom's backyard garden and I've been snacking on these little gems for weeks now. If you can't make it to Vida Vegan Con to network, chat tonight with top bloggers including Kathy Patalsky, Chloé Jo Davis, Allyson Kramer, and more special guests during our "Blog to Business" Twitter Chat at 6pm PT. Never done a Twitter chat before? It's as easy as making this salad, trust me. See you there!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Doing the Dosa

The Chefs: Lyndsay and Udupi Palace

The Menu: The Spinach Masala Dosa, served with ginger, tomato, and coconut chutneys.

The Goods: I've been on an Indian cuisine kick for the past several days—I'm hoping the spices will help clear up my sinuses. I have leftovers from a decadent Indian-inspired dinner I made last night from Appetite for Reduction, but I was invited to Udupi Palace to eat dosas with editorial assistants Hilary Pollack and Joni Sweet, and I couldn't resist. My meal was delicious as always, and I still have my leftovers from last night to look forward to—win win! We have now come to the final 10 days of our Veggie Awards Survey. Be sure to vote before it comes to a close, and get in the running to win some awesome prizes.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Burmese Deliciousness

The Chefs: Joni and Yamo Burmese restaurant

The Menu: Spicy Burmese vegetable curry made with carrots, mushrooms, okra, broccoli, eggplant, zucchini, and green beans, served with rice.

The Goods: During an awesome date with my boyfriend at Burma Susperstar celebrating the much-anticipated arrival of the September+October issue last night, I developed an uncontrollable obsession with Burmese food after my first bite. Fortunately for me, I got to indulge in round two of Burmese deliciousness at Yamo, just down the street from the VNHQ. While not the elegant atmosphere of the acclaimed Burma Superstar, this hole-in-the-wall had a line out the door, with people waiting for access to one of the 10-or-so prized stools at the bar in front of the open, bustling kitchen. Yamo’s skilled chefs seemed used to the lunch rush, and managed to get everyone in and out as quickly as possible, giving me just enough time to savor every last carrot, broccoli, and grain of rice, doused in Sriracha sauce, before delivering the bill. Walking back to the VNHQ on this chilly, cloudy San Francisco day, the curry kept me warm from the belly out; I will surely be back to Yamo’s in the near future to feed my newfound Burmese cuisine obsession. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Half Sandwich, Half Shawarma

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: Get ready. It's half of the grilled chicken sandwich and half of the shawarma. The sandwich is on perfectly fluffy bread, and has slices of tomato and pickle, and the shawarma is wrapped in lavash with tahini dressing, pickles, and potatoes. Plus, I had a side salad with a yummy Dijon mustard dressing.

The Goods: You know how sometimes there are really difficult decisions in life, such as trying to choose the perfect lunch option between these two stellar savory staples? At times like this, I'm even more thankful than usual to work with some of the finest minds in veganism—including Assistant Editor Anna Peraino, who went splitsies with me. When two friends both get to enjoy two delicious sandwiches, everybody wins. Do you know who'll win Veggie Awards this year? I do—it's the nominees who get the most votes, that's who! So don't leave your favorites hanging, vote already!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Enchilada and Tomato Salad

The Chefs: Hilary and Whole Foods Market

The Menu: A mouthwatering vegan "chicken" enchilada smothered in melted Daiya and an heirloom tomato salad with peppers and dill. 
The Goods: After all of the wild 'n' crazy taste tests we've been conducting at the VNHQ yesterday and today, I'm surprised that I had any room left for a full lunch. However, when I spotted these vegan enchiladas at the local Whole Foods, it was love at first sight (and bite), and as you may have noticed, I've been on a nonstop heirloom tomato bender. While we noshed on the deck, our publishers Colleen and Joseph shared tales of the awesome vegan eats that they got to experience at Chicago's VeggieFest this weekend. According to the cover showdown currently raging on our homepage, it looks like our readers have a craving too—for carrot cake. Whether the apple of your eye is sweet or savory, be sure to give your favorite snacks, restaurants, and products your seal of approval by casting a vote in the 2011 Veggie Awards poll

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Bowl of Whole Foods (Almost)

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: A bowl filled with spinach, brown rice, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, almonds, black beans, homemade hummus, and a sprinkling of Parma!

The Dish: Whether it's because I'm sick or I just spent a weekend gorging myself on Mexican food (thank you, Houston, for both), I wanted a seriously whole-foods lunch. The combination of fresh vegetables with simple grains and beans was supremely satisfying, and the Parma! (fine, I guess there was some processed nosh in there) added a little extra flavor. It might be a week of simple, get-better-soon meals for me, but it doesn't have to be for you! Check out our list of 10 new vegan restaurants across the country and make a reservation stat. I have my eye on Vegeria for the next time I'm in the Lone Star State.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Curry Meatless Chicken

The Chefs: Lyndsay and Family Garden Chinese & Japanese Cuisine

The Menu: The Curry Meatless Chicken, which has onion, zucchini, red and green pepper, and rice, in a delicious curry sauce.
The Goods: I've been doing a lot of cooking these past couple of weeks, and last night I really needed a break. So I did what any sane person would do, and ordered Chinese from my favorite local spot. I'm never disappointed with their meatless chicken dishes, and I was very happy to not have to lift a finger in the process—unless you consider opening the door for the delivery guy. Once again, after a busy and speedy week at the VNHQ, it's finally Friday. We wish you all a merry weekend!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Holy Guacamole!

The Chefs: Joni and Jeremy

The Menu: Amy’s Kitchen pre-made black bean burrito topped with Jeremy’s spicy guacamole, a side of Beanfields bean and rice chips, and sweet, crispy palmier cookies for dessert. 
The Goods: In between preparing updates for, writing VegNews Dailies, and consuming mass amounts of caffeine via cup after cup of coffee, I managed to stop and take a break with a California-inspired lunch. My boyfriend Jeremy makes the most amazing guacamole ever, with onions, spicy red peppers, lime juice, and more. Whenever he makes it, we’ll put it on everything we eat until not even a molecule of the green stuff remains in the bowl, so I had to take some to work with me before it all disappeared. And as for the Beanfields chips, the VNHQ staff cannot get enough of them; there always seems to be an open bag tempting us somewhere in the office! This lunch was great and will surely power me through the rest of this writing-intensive day. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Vegan Mushroom Cheesesteak

The Chefs: Hilary and Jay's Cheesesteaks

The Menu: A crunchy roll spread with vegan mayo and mustard and piled high with thin-sliced seitan, lettuce, mushrooms, grilled onions, tomatoes, pickles, and avocado.

The Dish: Endless brainstorming sessions (for our amazing 2012 content!) exhausted my levels of thinking power, so I had to refuel by mainlining this massive, falling-apart-with-goodness sandwich to my face while simultaneously being pulsed with sweet vitamin D on our rooftop deck. Somehow, I had resisted visiting Jay's for months despite frequent walk-bys, but today it was the only antidote to my stomach rumbles. Needless to say, post-cheesesteak I am feeling totally Mensa, and the well-fed VNHQ is collectively churning out some of our best fodder yet for voracious vegan minds to chow down on. To make sure you don't miss a beat, why not subscribe today? Even better, why not indulge yourself (as I certainly have) via a relaxing yoga retreat in Mexico, VegNews style? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cheap, Fast Mexican

The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Black beans, Spanish rice, sliced avocado, warm tortillas, chips, and fresh-squeezed carrot juice

The Dish: After a long morning meeting (hurray for the 2012 story lineup!), I ran out of time to prepare lunch. So I hopped over a block to my favorite taqueria, Taqueria Cancun, for a side of rice and beans ($3.50, serves two) and a glass of delicious carrot juice. And voila! A fairly healthy meal in 10 minutes for less than $5. The Mission is full of these hole-in-the-wall eateries where one can eat cheap—and fast. And that comes in very handy on days like today. We've got a lot happening around the VNHQ this week, from our 2012 story meeting to the Veggie Awards (don't forget to vote!) to the launching of our first-ever VegNews Street Team next Monday (street team members are receiving their official Welcome Packs this week). So much to do, so little time. Taqueria Cancun, you saved me!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pesto Pasta

The Chef: Anna and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Cashew-pesto pasta with slow-roasted tomatoes on top of a bed of greens and carrots

The Dish: This pesto pasta is killer. It's tasty, filling, and comes in just the right amount (for three dollars, no less). I decided to health it up a little by adding the greens, and I must say, my experiment turned out nicely. Coworkers Colleen, Elizabeth, Jennifer, Hilary, and I all enjoyed our various lunches (three out of the five consisting of Valencia Whole Foods' offerings) on our sunny deck, happy to have the September+October issue at the presses. You know what that means—we're already hard at work on November+December! Make your own mark on the issue by voting in the 11th annual VegNews Veggie Awards (the highlight of the November+December issue, if we dare say so).

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bean Burger and Salad

The Chefs: Lyndsay

The Menu: A homemade bean burger, served with a sandwich roll, and topped with all of the good fixings—Vegenaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato, lettuce, and sliced jalapeños. Don't forget the salad on the side.

The Goods: These burgers are the Better Bean Burgers from VN columnist Robin Robertson's Vegan On the Cheap, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. The recipe calls for black beans, but I only had kidney, and I also switched the red onion for shallots. Luckily, the results were quite good, and I was so happy to have such great condiments in my fridge to top it off. I've been cooking up a storm this past week, because I am actually recipe testing for Robin's new cookbook. It's my first time running a test kitchen, and I am having a ton of fun. You may just be seeing some of leftovers in the near future, but for now I'll just say happy Friday!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Burrito Party!

The Chefs: Jennifer and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: A burrito stuffed with refried beans, avocado, rice, pico de gallo; a melon agua fresca, two spicy salsas, tortilla chips, and Beanfield's Pico de Gallo chips.

The Goods: Don't worry. I didn't eat all of this by myself for lunch. The VN team and I chowed down on delicious burritos from our local taqueria after we wrapped up our stellar September+October issue. We can't wait for you guys to see it. VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig taught me an important trick to making an awesome burrito even better; Stuff it with tortilla chips! Genius. This launched into a discussion about stuffing potato chips into PB&J sandwiches and French fries into veggie burgers. Needless to say, we were all pretty stuffed from our delicioso lunch. But I'm not too stuffed to dream about a VeganTreats dessert party or a box of Premium Chocolatiers' 30-truffle boxes, which y0u could win simply by voting in our 10th annual Veggie Awards. I already voted (even though I can't win amazing prizes). Have you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

PB&J with a Tossed Salad

The Chef: Joni

The Menu: Peanut butter and strawberry-raspberry jelly sandwich on flax seed bread, and a tossed salad with baby greens, red onion, green bell pepper, chickpeas, and teriyaki tofu, drizzled with Annie's Naturals' Vegan Goddess Dressing

The Goods: The three words that best describe this lunch are simple, quick, and delicious. What more could you ask for with a lunch that you prepare just 10 minutes before leaving the house in the morning? OK, I admit it—a PB&J and a tossed salad are not exciting, novel ideas, but Goddess dressing spruces up even the most boring of meals. According to the SF Gate, Goddess dressing was invented right here in San Francisco by chef Phillip Roemer in 1923, making it a local classic. Annie’s Naturals veganized it and now it is one my personal favorites. If it’s not your favorite, let us know by voting in the VegNews Veggie Awards, the world’s largest survey of vegan people, places, and products. Vote for your favorite vegan restaurant, cheese, chocolate, city, store, cookbook author, blog, website, and more! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quesadillas and Salad

The Chef: Hilary and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Sweet potato and caramelized onion quesadillas with cashew nacho cheese and pumpkin seed salsa; plus a salad of farm lettuce and stone fruit tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette, topped with toasted hazelnuts and served with grilled Acme bread and vegan queso blanco

The Dish: After a late night at Homestead celebrating a friend's birthday, my friend Kris and I decided to meet up mid-workday and take the Tuesday afternoon edge off via the ever-delicious culinary stylings of Gracias MadreI needed something light due to my Cinnaholic hangover and vegan Japanese feast last night at Cha-Ya, so we decided to share a couple of the smaller dishes and call it a lunch. Every time I dine at Gracias Madre, I pray that they'll start selling vats of their incredible cashew cheese so that I can drench everything that I eat in it. They won the 2010 Veggie Award for Restaurant of the Year, and I can't wait to see who takes the top honors this year. Don't forget to vote! 

Kris loves vegan quesadillas and voting in the 2011 Veggie Awards.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Spring Rolls

The Chef: Anna and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Spring rolls with carrot, cucumber, and avocado

The Dish: I know what you're probably thinking—"that's not even half a lunch!" You're totally right. This morning my breakfast consisted of half of a jumbo cinnamon roll from Cinnaholic (thanks to Editorial Assistant Hilary for bringing them in!) and spelt-zucchini rum cake with grilled peaches from Millennium (thanks to Associate Editor Jennifer for that delight). Needless to say, I wasn't that hungry. We all here at VN hope you're hungry for some prizes, because The 2011 Veggie Awards are live and we're giving away some amazing stuff! Vote, and you're automatically entered to win a weeklong vegan cruise. Sounds pretty good to me.