Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vegan Cheesesteak

The Chef: Alexandra and Jay's Cheesesteaks

The Menu: A seitan cheesesteak packed with mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, and vegan mayo.

The Goods: Office Manager Lyndsay and I had originally planned on getting the highly recommended spicy BBQ chicken sandwiches from Rhea's Deli (sounds amazing, right?), but they had to deny us because their oven wasn't working. Lyndsay comforted me as we walked away from the land of broken dreams, our lunch seemingly ruined. Fortunately, all was well when we decided on a staff favorite, the trusty Jay's Cheesesteaks, for an equally as delicious sandwich. Upon ordering, the man behind the counter informed us that not only does Jay's have more than 10 different seitan sandwich options, they now carry vegan Italian hot dogs! We both still decided on cheesesteak, but I'm keeping my stomach ready for trying out those hot dogs in the near future. With SF Vegan Drinks tonight, I might end up eating one sooner rather than later...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Cereal and Emergen-C

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: Shredded wheat with soymilk, and a glass of Emergen-C on the side.

The Goods: It's a gorgeous week (finally!) in the SF Bay area, but unfortunately, I've been sick for the past several days, which is a real bummer. So I am working from home. However, my cupboards are also bare, so this is my "Feel better" lunch. You may be asking, "Where's the soup?" Well, in my opinion, it's just too hot for soup, so I decided on a cold bowl of shredded wheat and some Emergen-C—I'm hoping the boost of vitamin C will help me feel at least a little better. So yes, I will be going grocery shopping once I'm done being sick, and I'm hoping my next meal is bit more exciting than this one. Speaking of exciting, don't forget about the Matt & Nat giveaway being featured on!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Vegan Chicken Sandwich

The Chef: Jennifer and Herbivore

The Menu: Grilled soy chicken sandwich on French bread with a side salad and roasted french fries, and a green juice.

The Goods:
After reading about the 7 Best Vegan Sandwiches, I really wanted to eat a big sandwich, so I headed to Herbivore. It did not disappoint. VN Editorial Assistant Alexandra Chang had the soy chicken shawarma, and we shared half and half because what's better than having one sandwich? Having two. After my first venture into trying green juice on this very blog, I found I actually like it and even ordered one at Herbivore. So the moral of the story, friends, try out something new. I used to turn away from green juice (it looked like sludge to me) but now I've made baby steps to enjoying it to the point where I'm considering buying a juicer. Need some green smoothie recipes to get you started? Check out Katherine Lawrence's two green smoothies on VegNews TV.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vegan Quesadillas and Savvy Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: One of my signature savvy salads (in this case does "savvy" mean "leftover"? Why yes it does!), consisting of kale, red leaf lettuce, cucumber, grated beets, tomatoes, chopped hearts of palm, and fresh basil, all topped with Follow Your Heart's new Vegan Ranch Dressing. (The ranch, along with a Caesar and White Balsamic Dijon dressing, debuted at Expo West, and we can't wait until they are all available in stores!) Oh, and on the non-salad side of the plate, I had two delicious pepperjack quesadillas, courtesy of Daiya.

The Goods: Basically, I think you can pretty much eat anything in the world on the non-salad side of the plate, so long as the salad side of the plate exists. Quesadillas? Don't freaking mind if I do! Speaking of things I wouldn't mind, we are currently giving away a Matt & Nat bag over on I mean, holy crap! If only I were elibgle to win, le sigh. Good thing Elizabeth Pastoria and her good friend Elizabeth Hastoria are entered! (OK, just kidding, but not at all kidding about the fact that you should enter to win said sweet bag!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Mexican Posole Soup

The Chef: Colleen and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A hearty bowl of posole soup from Gracias Madre brimming with hominy, cabbage, avocado, fried tortilla strips, cashew creme, fresh lime juice, and Mexican spices.

The Goods: The perfect antidote after a week of being sick (no fun), this rich homestyle posole was just what the doctor ordered. VN Managing Editor, Elizabeth Castoria, turned me onto this soup a few years ago (her family hails from the Southwest), and I have been loving it ever since. When Gracias Madre opened in the neighborhood more than a year ago, my dreams of a go-to source for a vegan version came true, and I seriously can't get enough. I walk into the restaurant and order a cup to go, but what I really want is the whole darn pot. And I'll pay for it—it's seriously that good. Speaking of posole and the Southwest, we're proofing our May+June issue today (weddings! ramen! banana cream pie!), and we have a terrific piece on traveling to Santa Fe. Yes, a handy guide to a veggie weekend trip to this eclectic and stunning city. Happy travels, everyone, and stay dry!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Salad and Vegan Nachos

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: A spring mix salad topped with edamame, green peppers, carrot, avocado, and Follow Your Heart White Balsamic Dijon Vinaigrette. Oh, and what's that over there? Why, it's a heap of homemade vegan nachos!

The Goods: The weather today is less than ideal (let's just say my umbrella turned inside out nine times on my walk to VNHQ), so any chances of going out for today's lunch were scrapped. Luckily I always bring a salad from home, but today I needed a little something extra. So I reached into our stores of Daiya pepperjack and Beanfields chips and voila! Zesty nachos. The warm, peppery cheesiness was the perfect accompaniment to my greens and a tasty antidote to the cold, gloomy rain pouring down outside. Is the weather in your hometown bumming you out too? Check out our 10 mood-boosting tips, and get out of that rut faster than I can whip up another plate of nachos (which I am going to do. Right. Now.).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Indian Curry

The Chef: Alexandra and Sticky Fingers Bakery

The Menu: Home-made Indian curry with tofu, garbanzo beans, potatoes, and spinach on rice, plus a ginger cupcake with blueberry frosting from Sticky Fingers for dessert.

The Goods: While this isn't the prettiest meal featured on Café VegNews, it's definitely not lacking in the flavor department. Curries have to be one of my favorite foods, mostly because they are packed with amazing spices. I also love it when they're thick with vegetables, and this one is no exception. And since the VNHQ gets delicious deliveries every day, it's not hard to add another special element to lunch. The cupcake from Sticky Fingers satisfied my sweet tooth (no meal is complete without some form of dessert), and has me dreaming of visiting DC. Luckily, the Bay Area is an equally great place to be. There's tons of veg-restaurants and events (like SF Vegan Drinks coming up!), vegan luminaries come here to meet and discuss future books (check out VN Publisher Joseph Connelly's Press Pass post on Jeffrey Masson's book in the making), and of course, VegNews is here. You can't beat that.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lemongrass Tofu and More

The Chef: Lyndsay and Sunflower

The Menu: A gigantic lunch for cheap, including lemon grass tofu, hot and sour soup, an imperial spring roll, salad, and brown rice.

The Goods: I haven't been to Sunflower since last year (too much Gracias Madre, I suppose), and boy did I miss it! So I begged editorial assistant Alexandra Chang and VN volunteer Robin Webb to go with me today. The dishes are full of flavor and totally satisfying, and do you see how much food is on that plate? This vegetarian lunch special is only $7.95! I don't know about you, but I'm impressed—and full, with leftover food to spare. I'll stop gushing about this great restaurant now, but speaking of cheap, check out some great decorating tips over at Savvy Vegan. Decorating on a budget is always a good thing.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Spinach & Kale Pesto Pasta

The Chef: Jennifer Chen

The Menu: Spinach and kale pesto with Jovial whole grain Einkorn pasta, topped with Parma.

The Goods: This is a meal I love making because it's a recipe from a dear friend and it's the perfect meal to make a big batch to have for lunches during the week. Since I make this pesto a lot, I have stopped looking at the recipe, but here's the general breakdown. In a large pan, I sauté one head of spinach and one head of kale (you can sub-in a bag of frozen of each green) until cooked. In a sauté pan, I warm a few tablespoons of olive oil and add chopped garlic, and cook until the garlic browns. I add the spinach and kale to the olive oil and garlic mixture and toss until coated. My final step is using my immersion blender to create the pesto. Of course, I also cook pasta and then combine the pesto and pasta. After a fantastic weekend in Los Angeles with VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria attending the 25th Genesis Awards, this warming meal was a perfect way to feel like I was back at home.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Rainy Day Quesadillas

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Fresh tortillas broiled with Daiya's new Pepperjack cheese, along with an organic green salad with Follow Your Heart's just-launched vegan Ranch dressing

The Goods: The (fantastic) aftermath of Expo West continues. Given today's stormy, rainy weather, our wonderful Associate Editor Jennifer Chef offered to bake up quesadillas for the staff so we could all stay in and keep warm. How could we say no? We're lovin' the new Pepperjack flavor, as it boasts a nice kick while being totally meltable in some of our favorite foods (quesadillas being one of them). And we couldn't be more happy with Follow Your Heart's new Ranch dressing—this is the real deal, people. We could pour this on everything, and maybe we just might. As soon as we finished up lunch, a delivery arrived: cupcake kits from Sticky Fingers! On top of winning Food Network's Cupcake Wars, dealing with the post-show press, they found time to send us a few of these adorable kits. It was a very good day—especially given how busy we are with the May+June issue, which goes to press on Monday. Packed with vegan weddings, a fascinating exposé on product recalls, an interview with HSUS' Wayne Pacelle, and so much more, get ready for another incredible edition of VegNews! In the meantime, have a fabulous weekend, and if you're heading to the Genesis Awards in Los Angeles, be sure to say hello to VN editors Elizabeth and Jenn!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Business Lunch @ Gracias Madre

The Chef: Colleen and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Cream of beet soup made with a cashew cream and topped with fresh cilantro, alongside a pair of pan-fried potato cakes with lettuce, cilantro, and vegan sour creme

The Goods: I love business lunches in the Mission. Let's see, will it be Gracias Madre, Herbivore, Cha Ya, Cafe Gratitude, Udupi Palace, and the list goes on. Today, we took our (non-vegetarian) out-of-town guest to a high-powered lunch at Gracias Madre, what may be the nation's only all-vegan Mexican restaurant and our 2010 Restaurant of the Year. Yes, we talked business, numbers, trends, etc., but, frankly, it's the food that matters most. This bright-pink soup tasted even better than it looks, and the potato cakes were flat-out divine. After four days in Anaheim at the Natural Products Show (check out photos here!), it's great be back in the groove in San Francisco. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Falafel, an Orange, and Salad

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Half a falafel wrap from TaDah Foods, an orange, and a spinach salad topped with carrots, red bell peppers, and balsamic vinaigrette

The Goods: I'm trying to keep it simple this week (I can't imagine why) so this lunch of fruit, salad, and a little bit of falafel with hummus is just what I needed. The orange was super sweet, the greens fresh, and the falafel flavorful. Between Expo West, daylight savings, and the dreary San Francisco weather, everyone in here at VNHQ feels a little bit off, so it's nice to eat something simple and tasty, even with an entire table (and refrigerator!) of goodies mere steps away. Luckily it's week three of VN Book Club's coverage of Veganist by Kathy Freston. The discussion on Freston's tome will keep me from day-dreaming of vegan-marshmallow Dandies!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vegan South Indian Food

The Chef: Alexandra and Udupi Palace

The Menu: A mixed vegetable uthappam (rice and lentil pancake) with chutney and three amazing dipping sauces.

The Goods: We're back from Expo West 2011, and though it was hugely successful and bigger than I ever imagined, it's great to be back in foggy San Francisco. After spending a weekend munching on snack bars, chocolate, ice cream, mini quesadillas, pizzas, and burgers, I wanted one nice hearty meal to enjoy. Office Manager Lyndsay and I walked over to Udupi Palace, one of my favorite Indian restaurants in the city. The servings are huge, the service is super friendly, and there's nothing quite like a restaurant that makes you feel like it's night when it's day (hence the dimly-lit photo). Now it's time to go through all the amazing new products we scoped out this weekend! Jealous that we scored so much? Then enter in this week's giveaway to win something for yourself—a $100 shopping spree at MooShoes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Marinated Kale Salad with Avocado & Tofu

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A marinated kale salad in an olive oil-meyer lemon vinaigrette, topped with seasoned tofu and avocado—all washed down with fresh coconut water.

The Goods: It's no secret that VN staffers love kale. In fact, one might say we're obsessed. I wonder if it's because of the constant deluge of product samples here at the VNHQ—just this week, we've received TWO cinnamon roll deliveries (complete with a buffet of icing) and a box of coconut caramels. So let's just say that kale makes it all okay. I finely chop organic kale, marinade it for at least an hour in a homemade vinaigrette, and then toss it with seasoned tofu (marinaded and baked with Bragg's, sesame oil, and a touch of maple syrup) and avocado. Yum! Speaking of sweets, the entire VegNews team is headed to Expo West tomorrow in Southern California, where we'll be reporting live on hot new vegan products (don't miss our updates by following us on Twitter or fanning us on Facebook). We'll be back on Café VegNews next Tuesday for another full week of delicious vegan lunches. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Vegan Burrito

The Chef: Anna and Papalote Mexican Grill

The Menu: A veggie burrito stuffed with rice, black beans, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and guacamole, plus tortilla chips and the Best. Salsa. Ever.

The Goods: Happy Mardi Gras to all! While today is quite possibly the worst day of the year for insecure people named Tuesday, it's one of the best for the rest of us. An entire day devoted to indulgence and gluttony? I'll take one those with a side of indigestion, please. In honor of this most dizzying of days, I decided that a big fat burrito would be a delicious and fitting lunch. Now all I need is a brownie to wash it down. Want to win a membership to Allison's Gourmet Brownie-of-the-Month Club? It's the first prize in our eight weeks of Vegan Bucket List Giveaways, so enter now! And the next week, and the next week... You get the idea.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kale Salad

The Chef: Alexandra and Herbivore

The Menu: The beloved marinated kale salad with soy chicken, avocados, tomatoes, and cucumber.

The Goods: Office Manager Lyndsay, VN volunteer Robin, and I ventured to Herbivore for a refreshing and healthy lunch. After a weekend spent indulging in baked goods, I definitely needed to do a mini-detox to start Monday off right. OK, so I had a Pepple's doughnut for breakfast, but who's keeping track? If anything, kale salad is so deliciously good for you, it reverses all the negative effects of previously eaten foods. That's (unproven, but highly likely) science for you! After going into cupcake overload this week—Food Network's Cupcake Wars airs Tuesday night, featuring two vegan bakers and VN's own Twitter chat with said bakers takes place the following night—everyone will want to believe my kale salad theory.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Very Sloppy Joes

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: A delicious vegan Sloppy Joes sandwich, which consists of onion, red bell pepper, and textured vegetable protein. A side of pretzels and an apple helped to top off this satisfying lunch.

The Goods: I took a small hiatus from cooking, so once I got back to it, I needed to keep it simple—at least for the first few meals. These yummy Sloppy Joes were just the ticket! I followed the insanely simple recipe from The Urban Vegan cookbook, written by VN Contributor Dynise Balcavage, which I recently purchased since I'm a fan of her blog. Now don't be fooled! Not all of her recipes are this easy, but I look forward to trying the more intricate ones, such as the Nouveau Pot au Feu (a French stew), which I've heard really good things about. It's been a busy week at the VNHQ, but every week comes to an end, and we hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vegan Chicken Wrap & Green Juice

The Chef: Jennifer and Herbivore

The Menu: A vegan chicken shawarma filled with avocado, potatoes, hot sauce, pickles, tahini, hummus with a side green salad, and a green juice.

The Goods: It's been raining all week in San Francisco so today when we saw a sliver of sun, we ventured out to one of our favorite restaurants, Herbivore. Our break-your-ribs funny VN columnist Laura Hooper Beck joined us for lunch. It was my first time meeting her and I laughed just as hard as I do when I read her column, "Ask Laura." VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria's obsession with Herbivore's soy chicken is spreading (just like her affinity for puns)—and now I'm convinced that we should put soy chicken on top of everything. So the vegan chicken wrap stuffed with all sorts of goodies was the perfect way to indulge in my addiction. I ordered a green juice (packed with spinach, parsley, apple, and more) and it was a refreshing drink for what turned out to be a lovely day to dine al fresco.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Vegan Tom Yum Soup

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A vegan tom yum soup with tofu, seaweed, and rice cakes. The secret ingredients in this super-simple soup? Veggie chicken stock and tom yum paste.

The Goods: This might not be the prettiest soup on the planet, but I tell you what: it's freaking delicious. I love the chewy little rice cakes (not the puffed rice kind, these are gummy discs of joy), and the soothing quality of a huge bowl of soup. Maybe I was recently in Florida for four glorious days, basking in the heat, and maybe I needed a return to warmth when faced with today's drizzly SF weather—if only by way of soup. One more new find that's currently combating the cold is the yummy Red Velvet Tea that arrived today. Hello, cake in a cup! Between the tea and the soup, it's almost like being back on the beach.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vegan Pizza Day @ VegNews

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: A cornmeal-crusted pizza covered with Daiya's new Pepperjack Style Shreds, fresh spinach, black olives, and garlic—accompanied by a trio of salads from local vegan eatery Herbivore (marinated kale salad with faux chicken, organic green salad with avocado, and spinach salad with walnuts in a hemp dressing).

The Goods: When the shipment of Daiya's brand-new cheese arrived to the VNHQ last week, we immediately started planning how to best devour the cheese maker's latest flavor. Today, I brought in a couple of Vicolo's cornmeal crusts (also available in a gluten-free version), piled on the Pepperjack and toppings, and baked up these two pies. At 12:30pm, when the entire office smelled of toasted pizza dough, gooey cheese, and roasted garlic, staffers lined up to fill their plates with this taste test-turned-lunch. Of course, it's our job to try every new vegan product on the market, so it's our duty to devour homemade vegan pizza. The verdict? We're in love. This new flavor is both spicy and smooth, and would taste great on your favorite Mexican dish (we'll also be whipping up a batch of quesadillas later in the week). And to end any vegan meal, how about a bite of one of Sjaak's new candy bars? We're giving away a set of them here, so don't miss your chance to win!

The two pizza pies, just before baking.