Monday, April 23, 2012

Gone To Tumblr!

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Two veggie tacos with rice, black beans, avocado, and salsa.

The Goods: Friends, it's with a mixed bag of emotions that we bid adieu to Café VegNews. Since October 29, 2007, we've blogged about lunch here at the VNHQ every single day. Café VegNews was our first foray into blogging, which seemed like the height of media savvy five years ago. (Remember pre-Pinterest era?) More than 1,000 posts later, we've hosted an amazing roster of guests, eaten our own weight in kale salads many times over, and watched as new technologies made way for newer (and, in many cases, better) opportunities to share our world with our readers. On that note, we couldn't be more thrilled to debut VegNews on Tumblr! We'll meld behind-the-scenes scoop such as what's for lunch and the newest products arriving at the office with our favorite content from around the web, event photos, and more. It's a bit bittersweet to say so long to the blogs we've worked so hard to build, but, well, they're just so five years ago. As always, thank you for reading. Here's to what's next!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Summer Salad and Pesto Pasta

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: Spinach salad with fresh tomatoes and a brown rice pasta tossed with cilantro pesto and artichoke hearts

The Dish: It's 80 degrees, sunny, and Friday. Life is pretty grand, my friends. I whipped up the pasta dish with some cilantro pesto from Bolani, a local company that makes Afghan vegan sauces and dips. I swear by the spinach, pumpkin, or potato bolanis (a thin savory wraps filled with veggies). It's the first really hot day in San Francisco so I dined on the deck with my fellow VN staffers today. If you're in the Bay Area, be sure to stop by the SF Vegan Bake Sale on Sunday, April 22 from 12pm to 4pm, right here in front of the VNHQ headquarters. I'm baking a bundt cake for the occasion so come and get a slice!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Copycat Kale

The Chefs: Rashida and Herbivore

The Menu: Kale salad with avocado, cucumber, cherry tomatos, onions, and faux chicken

The Dish: Well, friends, I finally caved. After three months of hearing fellow VN staffers gush about Herbivore's kale salad—made extra awesome with the addition of chicken chunks—I finally decided to give it a shot. What took me so long? This salad of refreshing greens, rich avocado, and savory mock meat was an ideal warm-weather dish, perfect for devouring while soaking up rays on our gorgeous deck. Sunshine is awesome, but global warming is not. Check out 5 Ways Being Vegan Saves the Planet, and have an eco-friendly Earth Day this Sunday!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Indian Pancake with Coconut Chutney

The Chef: Colleen and Udupi Palace

The Menu: Mixed vegetable uthappam with a trio of chutneys (coconut, ginger, and tomato) and sambar soup

The Dish: Today, we had a business meeting scheduled during lunch, and our acquaintance had a hankering for Indian food. So off we went to the all-vegetarian Udupi Palace just two blocks away, taking us back to the VegNews Great Adventure to India. Those were the days! I had a delicious vegetable uthappam (Indian pancake) with dipping sauces that really hit the spot. Speaking of travel adventures, we just announced the 2012 VegNews Vegan Yoga Retreat to Mexico, and are so excited to be returning to the Mexican coast for amazing vegan food, top-notch yoga, breathtaking scenery, and wonderful camaraderie. We hope you'll join us!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Kitchen Sink Salad

The Chef: Anna and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Pesto pasta with sun-dried tomatoes atop a salad of corn, carrots, fava beans, hummus, dried cranberries, cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, and some other stuff I can't remember.

The Dish: I wasn't really hungry when lunchtime rolled around today, so I figured I might as well try to get some greens in there. Sure, pesto pasta isn't necessarily the "green" I went to the store with the intention of buying, but at least I got some of the leafy stuff in, right? My stomach was mostly filled with taro fries that we taste tested earlier in the day, and just so happens to be one of the seven delicious, taro-based recipes in our July+August feature. Want to get your hands on a copy before it hits store shelves? Order a subscription today!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pre-Coachella Kale

The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: Knock, knock! Who's there? Kale! Kale who? Kale with soy chicken, cherry tomatoes, carrots, avocado, and onions! (I'm looking for new and inventive ways to describe the contents of this kale salad.) 

The Goods: It's an action-packed week, so I'm packing my brain with superfoods in preparation. In addition to our super-awesome Twitter chat this Wednesday with vegan parents (including one of my favorite interview subjects ever, Mayim Bialik), I will be heading to weekend two of Coachella in a mere 72 hours. At the top of my to-see list: vegan freak-folk maestro Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel, who apparently stole the show last weekend and who is one of my perennial musical idols. Looking for your next travel adventure? Check out the 5 Vegan-Friendly Towns on our Radar, all of which offer as many plentiful plant-based eats as they do enthralling activities. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Super-Sized Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: An enormous salad of mixed greens, spinach, chickpeas, grated carrots, kale, avocado, tofu, and a Health is Wealth Mushroom and Onion Sprout Burger.

The Goods: It's Friday, and that's pretty good. Whether you're already at Coachella (like one of our lucky editors!), heading to a cabin for a weekend of city-living detoxing, or just enjoying a break from the rain, there's something we're sure you'll enjoy: and Anderson Cooper giggle fit.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Salsa Master's Delight

The Chefs: Hilary and Papalote Mexican Grill

The Menu: A ridiculously tasty burrito stuffed with black beans, rice, guacamole, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms, and generously doused in Papalote's unbeatable salsa. 

The Dish: Thursday is the new Friday. Online Editor Anna Peraino is abuzz with her imminent departure to Coachella Music Festival (which I will follow her to, but next weekend) and we're hungover from our sugar-heavy ice-cream bar taste test from yesterday afternoon. (Keep an eye on our Instagram account for potential sneak peeks from Coachella!) Plus, it's burrito day! Papalote is one of our go-to taquerias, but for info on where to find the best vegan Mexican fare in your hometown, try Yelp's new veg-friendly filters. Also, Friday is not the new Saturday, so we'll see you next Friday, aka tomorrow. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Cheesy Vegan Pasta with Homemade Garlic Bread

The Chefs: Rashida, Hilary, and Colleen

The Menu: Mama Sue's Gourmet Pasta topped with a mixture of Victoria Fine Foods' bean and mushroom marinara sauces and Café Indigo's vegan seitan cheesesteak, with a side of Colleen's homemade garlic bread

The Dish: We here at VNHQ are a resourceful bunch, as evidenced by Editorial Assistant Hilary Pollack's genius idea to take the various odds and ends in our kitchen and transform them into a cheesy, seitan-y Italian feast. Add Associate Publisher Colleen Holland's incredibly addictive garlic bread into that equation and you've got one full (and very happy) staff. Want to know what goes on behind the scenes at VNHQ? Add us on Instagram for the full scoop!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Lunch on the Cheap

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: Baked potato with roasted red pepper hummus, Pesto Vegenaise, and ribbons of spinach

The Dish: Okay, I'll admit it. All I brought to eat at work today was a potato. My fridge at home is running on empty, and this morning on my way out, I discovered one lone Russet potato lurking amongst the root-growing garlic and onion in my pathetic produce basket. So thank the heavens for random condiments in the VegNews fridge! At 11:30am, I popped the potato into our convection oven, and one hour later I topped it off with Cedar's new fat-free roasted red pepper hummus, a dollop of Pesto Vegenaise, and some chiffonaded spinach leaves. It just goes to show that a healthy lunch doesn't need to be expensive or complex. That said, would I rather be on a food tour of one our five under-the-radar great vegan cities? Absolutely. Until then, I'll be eating potatoes in preparation for what I am sure would be excellent vegan eats.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Surprise! It's Kale Salad.

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: Kale salad with cherry tomatoes, carrots, onion, and avocado. 

The Dish: You might think, what with the frequency with which we ingest this kale salad, that it's our absolute, hands-down, 100-percent favorite. Well, it is—in San Francisco. But when we're lucky enough to be within a 50-mile radius of the Veggie Grill, we're sure to nosh on the All Hail Kale Salad, which is, by far, the most spectacular kale salad in existence. Seriously—we dare you to prove us wrong. (Really! We'd love to know!) Want to get a behind-the-scenes look at Veggie Grill, including an interview with the chain's CEO? Check out our newest video on VegNews TV

Friday, April 6, 2012

Vegan Mexican-Style Corn Cakes

The Chefs: Rashida and Herbivore

The Menu: Grilled corn cakes with black beans and potatoes, topped with chipotle salsa, vegan sour cream, and guacamole

The Goods: I've been fighting a nasty sinus infection/allergy attack/mystery affliction all week, so spicy soup may have been a wiser choice. But the thought of these corn fritters and their equally delicious brethren (by which I mean delicately spiced beans and Herbivore's house potatoes) had me abandoning my soup-y intentions and my hope of ever breathing through my nose again. Besides being tasty, this meal was entirely gluten-free, which is a word we've been hearing a lot around these parts lately, with everything from lasagna to cookbooks ditching the stuff. Want to give gluten-free cooking a shot? Check out these 5 Spring-Friendly Gluten-Free Recipes from VN contributor Allyson Kramer!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Fresh and Fresher

The Chefs: Hilary and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: Nourishing, veggie-packed spring rolls with goddess dressing, and a side salad of mixed greens, tofu, and white beans.  

The Goods: Yesterday's meatball-phoria could not be topped, no matter what I set my sights on for lunch today. Destined for a downgrade, I decided upon good old veggie rolls and salad, mainstays that never leave me feeling groggily overstuffed. Besides, should I require a late-afternoon snack, our fridge is still packed with the spoils of Expo West, including some of our Best Of Show picks. I can't wait to nosh on Hodo Soy's Egg-less Egg Salad for lunches to come! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Vegan Italian Meal Dreams Are Made Of

 The Chefs: Jennifer and Louie Castoria

The Menu: Big, delicious, glorious vegan meatballs covered in an authentic Italian sauce over Mama Sue's Gourmet Pasta and stuffed in a baguette from Bread Workshop with Galaxy mozzarella cheese, and a side salad.

The Goods: When I was a kid, I wanted to marry an Italian guy because I love Italian food. I didn't end up marrying an Italian, but I can live my dreams through Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria's dad's cooking. I kid you not when I say that these vegan meatballs are the best on the planet. I fact checked it. Also, that sauce. I would write a sonnet about that sauce, if Shakespeare hasn't already. If my day couldn't get any better, Luna & Larry, the makers of Coconut Bliss, sent over ice cream bars and pints for our July+August Taste Test! I must be dreaming. Or full of deliciousness.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Quick Vegan Mac 'n' Cheese

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Peter

The Menu: A highly delicious, gluten-free, and sunflower seed-based mac 'n' cheese, plus the best salad of all time. The salad included kale, romaine, artichoke hearts, cucumbers, avocado, hearts of palm, grated carrots, and red cabbage.

The Goods: Today we were rich in great food and guests! To be totally accurate, Peter cooked all the food, and we were so grateful that he did! In addition to our hero chef, we were joined by the lovely Whitney of Eco-Vegan Gal, and three members of the Pollack family: Hilary (OK, fine, she's here all the time), her mother Polly, and Reggie, who was easily the fluffiest guest. If there's anything better than enjoying a fantastic meal with wonderful people outside in the warm sunshine, we don't want to know about it. (Because it's obviously a lie, there's nothing better than that!)

Friday, March 30, 2012

Vegan Burger and Pickles

The Chef: Jennifer

The Menu: A veggie burger from Hilary's Eat Well, topped with Daiya's jack cheese, Wildbrine miso horseradish kimchi and red beet and cabbage sauerkraut

The Dish: We eat a fair amount of veggie burgers here at VNHQ (for example, yesterday's beet burger that will be in the July+August Veganize It! column) so you know it has be pretty delicious for us to eat it during lunch. I also like that you can literally pop this veggie burger in the toaster to cook it. Healthy fast food indeed! We picked Wildbrine's line of pickled veggies as a Best of Show award winner and I can't get enough of its kimchi. (Don't tell my co-workers, but I think I ate most of the jar in our fridge.) Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Vegan Pasta Day!

The Chef: Anna, Colleen, and Lyndsay (really just Colleen and Lyndsay) 

The Menu: Pasta day! Fresh spaghetti from Mama Sue's Gourmet Pasta covered with sauce from Victoria Fine Foods, salad, garlic bread, and a wedge of beet burger

The Dish: I am happy to be reporting from the front lines—of deliciousness, that is! (Yes, cold medicine will make you say things like that.) The VN staff decided to start cooking up a weekly pasta day, and I must say, it's one of our best ideas yet. But what's that beet burger doing in there, you might wonder? Wonder no more! Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig is testing recipes for our upcoming July+August issue, and that ridiculously tasty patty is one of them! Want to make sure you get the recipe (plus our latest vegan city showdown, vegan weddings 2012, and more)? Subscribe today!

The delicious lunchtime spread! Hello, garlic bread. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

No-Oil Hummus Wrap and Mushroom Barley Soup

The Chefs: Hilary and Whole Foods Market

The Menu: A no-oil hummus wrap filled with carrots, tomato, lettuce, and avocado, and a comforting bowl of mushroom-barley soup. 

The Goods: While I've oft heard healthy-eating buffs such as the Esselstyns extol the virtues of a no-oil diet, I never had the incentive to give it a shot for myself (I've noticed that things that are bad for you taste good! Weird!). But, whilst idly shopping at Whole Foods today, I saw that they had prepackaged wraps of the oil-free persuasion and decided to go for it—but paired with a rich soup just in case. It tasted like health, which I suppose is a good thing. I'll be ditching the coat in favor of cutoffs next month for Coachella Music Festival (as will Online Editor Anna Peraino) and I can't wait to swelter in the desert heat. Will you also be in attendance? Check out our guide to a Weekend Getaway to Palm Springs for the scoop on the best food and fun under the Mojave sun. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Portabello-Tofu Sandwich

The Chefs: Rashida and Duc Loi Supermarket

The Menu: A humungous tofu-portabello sandwich with tomatoes, lettuce, stewed onions, and a generous helping of avocado

The Goods: A couple weeks ago, one of our local produce markets, Duc Loi, premiered its new sandwich menu—complete with a sizable veggie sando (hold the mayo) that I've been eager to try. In venturing out to grab this handheld feast, I risked being victim to the grey clouds looming overhead, but one bite of the sandwich, with its slabs of juicy portabello and marinaded tofu, would have been worth every soggy step in the event of a downpour. Luckily, I only felt a few drops, but if your weekly forecast is looking gloomy, soak up some culture (while staying dry) at the movies. Check out 7 Can't-Miss Films of 2012 for ideas!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pesto and Peas

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A pasta salad of sorts with pesto, tempeh, garbanzo beans, peas, and bell peppers

The Goods: After an extremely fun weekend of scooting down to LA for the Humane Society's Genesis Awards on Saturday, my dinner when I got home last night was decidedly of the "throw together whatever's in the fridge" variety. So, with some on-hand cashews, garlic, frozen spinach, and one bunch of fresh basil, this impropmtu pesto came to be. Back at the VNHQ the excitement continues, as tomorrow we'll be talking veganism and manliness in our Twitter Chat, and Thursday we're headed out for SF Vegan Drinks! Whew!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Pasta Party

The Chef: Colleen & Jenn

The Menu: Brown rice penne pasta with Victoria Vegan's Vodka Sauce, along with organic greens, avocado, and tomatoes tossed with Petrini's Classic Italian Dressing plus homemade herb-slabbed garlic bread

The Dish: Ladies and gentlemen, we love Fridays around here. Not only are we just hours from the weekend, we often celebrate by ordering in food or having a staff potluck. When a slew of pasta sauces arrived recently from Victoria Vegan, VN Editorial Assistant Rashida Harmon suggested we have a pasta party, and today it came to life. It's a gorgeous day here in San Francisco, we lingered on our rooftop deck while listening to 80s music, and enjoyed a homemade lunch prepared by our very own Colleen Holland and Jennifer Chen. And to finish it off, VN Publisher Joseph Connelly surprised everyone with gingersnap nutella s'mores (vegan nutella, that is). It's good to be vegan. Have a wonderful weekend!

Homemade s'mores with gingersnap cookies, hazelnut nutella, and Dandies' marshmallows. Yum.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Big Ol' Veggie Burger

The Chef: Rashida

The Menu: An adzuki-bean burger with green chili from Hilary's Eat Well, topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, Wild Brine pickles, and Chipotle and Tartar Sauce Vegenaise, and a Fentimans Victorian Lemonade.

The Dish: When your office's fridge is packed full of vegan burger patties, pickles a-plenty, and condiments of all shapes and sizes, you definitely can't take it for granted. With that in mind, I scoured through our supply of gourmet goodies at lunchtime and whipped up a sandwich featuring what I'm now certain is the holy trifecta of burger toppings: chipotle mayo, tartar sauce, and dill pickles. My burgers will never be the same! Grilled pineapple and avocado mash more your burger-topping style? Check out our guide to Southern California's Top 3 Veggie Burgers and start salivating!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Seitan Sandwich Sampler

The Chef: Anna and Upton's Naturals

The Menu: An assortment of seitan wraps and sandwiches with a side of blue potato chips. Yum!

The Dish: We knew it was going to be a good day today. Not only were these yummy sandwiches delivered to our doorstep, but we also received a big ol' dose of sunshine after weeks of rain and clouds! The staff celebrated with a sandwich sampler on the VN rooftop deck, followed by a rancorous game of Scattergories. Want to check out the full spread and find out about more behind-the-scenes goings on at the VNHQ? Be sure to follow us on Instagram!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Kimchi Quesadilla and Kale Salad

The Chefs: Hilary and Associate Editor Jennifer Chen

The Menu: Quesadillas made with Galaxy Foods Vegan Mexican-Style Shreds and Wildbrine's miso-horseradish kimchi and fresh organic kale with lemon, olive oil, avocado, and dill-garlic sauerkraut. 

The Goods: Having just completed our May+June cover, the VN staff almost remembers what it feels like to be sane. Between the eatstravaganza of Expo West and the hubbub of wrapping up our late-spring issue, I had almost forgotten the joy of making one's own lunch instead of scarfing whatever was fast, pre-made, and readily available. Associate Editor Jennifer Chen and I got wild by whipping up the above creations with awesome fermented products from Wildbrine, one of our 2012 Best of Show Winners. And now that some of the stress has melted away, I look forward to celebrating at a vegan-friendly bar—happy hour is just around the corner. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mango Quinoa Salad & Taro Lau Lau

The Chefs: Jennifer and VN columnist Jesse Miner

The Menu: A mango quinoa black bean salad and a taro lau lau, a veg take on a Hawaiian dish, filled with sweet potatoes, taro, and collard greens

The Goods: After our Expo West eating extravaganza, I turned to Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Quinoa Salad Black Beans & Mango for a nutritious, delicious dish. It's so simple to make and after downing as many samples of So Delicious' new almond milk mocha bars as I could find—this healthy salad is much needed. The banana leaf-wrapped treat you see behind my main lunch is a sneak peek of our July+August food feature on taro. This is chef Jesse Miner's take on a traditional Hawaiian meal using taro, sweet potatoes, and collard greens as the filling. I can't wait to share all of his exciting recipes and his wife Erin's vast knowledge of Hawaiian history and culture with you.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Vegan Pizza Forever!

The Chefs: Rashida and Paxti's Chicago Pizza

The Menu: Vegan deep-dish pizza with spinach, red onions, and melted Daiya cheese, topped with crushed garlic.

The Goods: There are few things better than a steaming-hot vegan pizza delivered to your doorstep, especially when the view outside your office looks like this and all you want to do is have a dance party to '70s hits indoors, where it's dry and warm (true story—this just happened). I promised myself that I would abstain from anything but salad and greens for at least a week following our trip to Expo West, at which I definitely overstuffed myself sampling our Best of Show contenders … but one mention of Patxi’s gooey, cheesy, spinach-and-onion-loaded pizza had me abandoning my ascetic intentions faster than you can say “juice cleanse.” Health shmealth, pass me another slice!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vegan Sausage Sandwich

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: The highly addictive vegan sausage sandwich with marinara, hummus, and avocado on foccacia, served with a big jumble of a salad including pasta salad, lentils, grated carrots, tomatoes, and greens.

The Goods: Holy moly! Still fresh from the insane-o excitement that was Expo West, we are now right up against our deadline for the May+June issue! That's right, we're putting the finishing touches on our spring issue, which seems appropriate as the heaves have decided to open and douse us with a very springy amount of rain. Yes, friends, it's crazy times in crazy town here at the VNHQ, which means that it's the absolute perfect time for a solid lunch of trusty, standby dishes. VWF doesn't disappoint!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Vegan Taco Time!

The Chef: Anna and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Rice and bean tacos topped with pico de gallo and avocado.

The Dish: It's Taco Tuesday! On Wednesday! Really, every day is Taco Tuesday for me. San Francisco is getting its April showers a few weeks early, and rainy days always mean comfort food in my book. Enter: cheap, tasty tacos. If you're ready for springtime eats, check out the five delectable (and gluten-free!) dishes in our new food feature—every one of them features the best of springtime produce!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Daily Kale-y

The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: Crunchy, nutritious kale mixed with savory chunks of soy chicken, avocado, and lemon olive-oil dressing. 

The Goods: It's our first day back at the office from the glorious insanity of Expo West and in spite of the plethora of goodies that we got to bring back to the office, I had to pay a visit to my much-missed old friend kale salad. It was a long and awesome weekend of strenuous (awesome) judging of the best new vegan products, and we've rounded up the 12 best and crowned them our 2012 Best of Show Winners. Be sure to check out our Instagram account for the full visual rundown of all the sights and sounds of this year's action-packed event, from the most mouthwatering foods to the staff hijinx. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Exceptional Women in Publishing Luncheon

The Chefs: Jennifer and Parc 55

The Menu: Layers of potato and eggplant on top of a bed of red quinoa and mushrooms.

The Goods: It's a busy but amazing week for the VN team. Five of us—Associate Publisher Colleen Holland, Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria, Online Editor Anna Peraino, myself, and Art Director Sutton Long attended the Exceptional Women in Publishing Conference. It was a wonderful day of learning, networking, and connecting with other professional women leaders in the publishing and media world. I went to some fantastic panels such as Publishing for Women by Women and Content Execution from Pioneers in the Field (with our very own Associate Publisher on the panel). During the lunch, which honored Dwell President Michela O'Connor Abrams with an award, the VN team dined on an eggplant and potato stack over red quinoa. Tomorrow, the five of us and the rest of the VN team are flying down to Anaheim for the Natural Products Expo West. We'll be back in the office on Tuesday, March 13 and Café VegNews will resume to its regular schedule then. In the mean time, follow our Instagram account for all the latest new vegan products from Expo West! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Vegan Meatball Sub and Chicken Caesar Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A delicious meatball sub and side of chicken Caesar salad.

The Goods: We are running full-court press this week, as tomorrow most of our staff will attend the Exceptional Women in Publishing Conference, and then on Thursday we all head down to Anaheim for Natural Products Expo West. Oh, and we're in the last week of design for our May+June issue, and we just launched a little something called our Instagram account. While there might not be much in the way of sleep or sanity this week, there will definitely be tons of awesome new vegan products, yummy meals (like this one!), and inspiration!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Paella Monday

The Chefs: Colleen and Peter

The Menu: A sumptuous Spanish paella with artichoke hearts, Italian bell peppers, pepperoncinis, olives, celery, and broccoli

The Dish: Our dear friend, Peter Ryan, dropped by today with a freshly made skillet of vegan paella that we obliterated in what seemed like minutes. But it was so good! Peter, a talented chef whom I predict will one day have a very successful vegan restaurant, is always whipping up delicious food for VN staffers, and since he lives just a few blocks away, we see his friendly face often, which is wonderful! It's a gorgeous day here in San Francisco, and enjoying this perfectly seasoned dish immediately transported us to the coast of Spain. In other news, our entire team is heading to Anaheim this week for the annual Natural Products Expo West (hello, new products GALORE!), and a few of us will be at the Exceptional Women in Publishing conference on Wednesday where I'll be speaking. Happy Monday, everyone!

The gorgeous skillet-baked paella before we dug in on our sunny rooftop deck.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Taco Friday

The Chefs: Jennifer, Colleen, and Hilary

The Menu: A taco bar with freshly made guacamole, green chile tortillas, salsa fresca, black beans, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes and lettuce. Bonus bar: nachos topped with Galaxy Mexican shreds, tomatoes, and black beans and quesadillas filled with Galaxy Mexican shreds and Daiya Jack and Cheddar Cheese.

The Dish: Editorial Assistant Rashida Harmon is a genius. She came up with the idea of combining the Galaxy Mexican shredded cheese with the black beans we got in with the EZ Bean Cooker. And that's how Taco Friday was born. Combined with a beautiful day on the deck, it was the best way to celebrate not one, but two different types of vegan cheeses (Daiya's new wedges and Galaxy's new shreds) that both melt and taste great. I'm also impressed that the EZ Bean Cooker made a batch of black beans in 50 minutes (no pre-soaking required!). It doesn't get better than this, friends. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Soup, Soul, and Salad

The Chef: Hilary and Gracias Madre, Souley Vegan, and Herbivore

The Menu: Mexican-style cream of butternut squash soup from Gracias Madre, macaroni and cheese and yams from Souley Vegan, and leftover kale salad from Herbivore.  

The Dish: As we near the end of the week, leftovers are plentiful. As you may have seen in Rashida's delectable post from yesterday, Souley Vegan hath bestowed plentiful bounty upon our grateful office, and even post-ginormous feast there was still much to be enjoyed. I also had some remnants of one of my many, many, many Herbivore-derived kale salads, and then I had to throw in the soup for good measure because it's raining. The key to a successful lunch is balance, so check out 7 Steps to Becoming a Healthier Vegan for tips on how to maximize your meals. Or, you could always go the opposite route and stock up on vegan Samoas, Thin Mints, and Tagalongs. Tis the season!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

So Much Soul Food!

The Chefs: Rashida and Souley Vegan, with help from Lyndsay

The Menu: Barbecue tofu, mustard greens, vegan mac and cheese, mashed brown-sugar yams, black-eyed peas, red beans and rice, okra gumbo, and biscuits

The Dish: In an astounding turn of events, one of my favorite veg restaurants in the Bay Area sent the entire VN staff several bags full of its famed soul-food sides—including the deliciously creamy mac and cheese and the black eyed peas, both of which are always on my must-order list. Word has it that these dishes are hitting freezers in coming months, when Souley Vegan debuts its new line of frozen entrées, giving vegans and frozen-food aficionados something to celebrate. Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig was kind enough to whip up some fluffy vegan biscuits for lunch as well, thereby topping off an already-delicious meal and stuffing my stomach to capacity. If you're looking for like-minded food fans with whom you can share a big bowl of barbecue tofu, check out our suggestions for Creative Ways to Meet People!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Leftover Lunch

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: Lots of leftovers, consisting of quinoa, some sort of eggplant-and-tomato sauté (this happens at my house a lot), and half of a meatball sub with grilled onions and Daiya mozzarella

The Dish: Welcome to my Tuesday. Between writing for our July+August issue, getting ready for Natural Products Expo West next week, and participating in design meetings for our May+June issue, it's amazing I found time to eat at all! Since I'm scarfing down this big plate of food while typing up these words, there's no room (literally or figuratively) for dessert, but if you have time for some sweets I highly suggest you whip up some veganized Girl Scout cookies that Annie and Dan Shannon of Meet the Shannons whipped up for us. Thin Mints, Samoas, and Tagalongs, oh my!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Herbivore Smorgasbord

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Herbivore

The Menu: A roasted beet salad with grilled tofu and avocado; a vegan beef quesadilla with guacamole and salsa; and an Indonesian noodle salad with cucumber, cabbage, greens, sprouts, grilled mushrooms, and peanuts, all tossed in a peanut dressing.

The Goods: As might already be clear, I was particularly hungry when I ordered lunch today. VN volunteer extraordinaire Peter Ryan stopped by for lunch, and asked me to surprise him with a choice of salad, but somehow (even though I know that Herbivore's salads are enormous), two salads just didn't sound hearty enough, hence the quesadilla. The triple-threat lunch you see above was awesome for two main reasons. One, everything was really tasty. Two, now I don't need to worry about what to get for lunch for the rest of the week—the answer is leftovers! If you need a little help deciding what to eat today, check out our Pinterest account. There are food boards of inspiration galore!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Big Freakin' Bahn Mi

The Chefs: Elizabeth, Anna, Jenn, and Lyndsay

The Menu: Big, beautiful bahn mi sandwiches stuffed with marinated tofu and veggie duck, pickled carrots and daikon, cucumber, Vegenaise spreads, and Organicville's Sriracha. Sides of chips, both crinkle-cut and straight up, rounded out the meal.

The Goods: Today, friends, things are extra good at the VNHQ. The very brilliant Jennifer Chen decided that the best way to celebrate Friday would be to bring in the makings for these stellar sandwiches (the recipe for which you can find in our January+February issue!). Jenn marinated the tofu and veggie duck, and brought in fresh rolls, and Lyndsay made the pickles. Did the awesome staff stop there? No, these tasty main dishes were just the beginning. Jenn also treated us to homemade Hot Chocolate Ice Cream, complete with extra marshmallows. (The recipe comes from our summer issue from 2011.) And as if that wasn't enough, Anna brought in a package of Birthday Cake Oreos, which Jenn crumbled into a delicious ice cream topping. Oh, and did we mention that it was warm and gorgeous on our deck and we were fortunate enough to share today's splendor with Sam Hartman, the author of our VegEscape to Louisville, KY in our March+April Man Issue? Like I said, things are extra good. Hope everyone has an equally excellent weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cauliflower 'n' Cheese

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Leftover cauliflower mac on a bed of spinach

The Dish: A few days ago, my cauliflower-loving roommate and I were trying to think outside the skillet (the two of us cook stir-fries more often than we care to admit). In a stroke of inspiration, we decided to bake up some cauliflower with the cheese sauce from VN's Allison Rivers Samson's Vegan Macaroni and Cheese, aka the best mac 'n' cheese on the planet. After one more tweak to the recipe was made (Daiya shreds on top instead of breadcrumbs), we waited 20 minutes to see if our culinary experiment was successful. And boy howdy, was this stuff mm-mm good. Its cheesy, salty, filling deliciousness is the perfect prep for SF Vegan Drinks, where I will be celebrating some awesome San Francisco weather with $5 vegan White Russians. Live nearby? Come party with us tonight!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: A melty-hot whole-wheat quesadilla stuffed with cheese, tomatoes, and onions, and laden with pico de gallo, sour cream, and guacamole. 

The Goods: Our pals over at Herbivore just unveiled a newly revamped menu that includes gems such as the above, a toasty creation of Daiya-oozy goodness. Associate Editor Jennifer Chen and I basked on the deck in the ridiculously warm weather (I'm talking  in the 80s, people!) and pretending that we were on a Mexican vacay, especially since Publishers Joseph Connelly and Colleen Holland are undoubtedly enchanted on the VegNews Great Adventure to India as we speak. No worries, though—we'll be getting wild in their absence at SF Vegan Drinks tomorrow night! I am going to be getting so down with some beer-battered fried pickles, not to mention the libations. Party on, Wayne! (Party on, Garth.)  

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vegan Jambalaya and a Huge Cookie

The Chefs: Rashida and her mom

The Menu: Vegan jambalaya with seitan, Field Roast's Smoked Apple Sage sausage, collard greens, and tons of Cajun flair, and a chocolate chip cookie from the Veggie Grill for dessert.

The Goods: Happy Fat Tuesday, friends! My mom was feeling festive last night, so she whipped up some vegan jambalaya, jam-packed with faux-meat and greens. I'm happy to report that this piquant concoction tastes even better the next day—which is a good thing, considering test driving recipes from our upcoming Greek food feature left me too full to eat all my leftovers (hence the tiny lunch portion). Though my meal was sadly lacking in King Cake, Jennifer Chen, VegNews’ lovely associate editor, just returned from Southern California with Veggie Grill chocolate chip cookies in tow, thereby kickstarting my requisite Mardi Gras overindulgence. Partake in some indulgence of your own tonight by following our advice on How to Throw a Great Vegan Mardi Gras Party. Seitan Creole and veg Muffaletas? Don’t mind if I do!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Oh, Ike's

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Ike's Place

The Menu: A freaking delicious Vegan Womanizer: breaded vegan chicken with marinara sauce and vegan cheese on Dutch crunch bread, served with chips.

The Goods: You know what? Friday is fan-freaking-tastic. First of all, it's Friday before a three-day weekend, so that's a pretty good start. Then, for lunch honorary VN staffer Peter volunteered to go pick up sandwiches for everybody from Ike's. You know what makes any day better? An Ike's sandwich, that's what. We got to enjoy said sandwiches on our gorgeous deck in the sun with puppies (see below). And then we were lucky enough to receive a delivery of the highly delightful No Whey Chocolates! We are spoiled rotten. Here's hoping that your weekend is off to an equally awesome start!

Getting some quality time with Khane yesterday. We had more sun and good times on the deck today!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pasta Two Ways

The Chefs: Jennifer and longtime VN friend Peter

The Menu: Spaghetti in tomato sauce, a baked version of spaghetti with a layer of spinach and topped with Daiya cheddar cheese, and a side salad, covered in Parma!

The Goods: It's a good day, my friends. First, I give you our canine editors, Cal and Khane, who just gave us notes on our May+June issue (my article came back with quite a few red marks). Second, I present you with pasta two different ways. VN friend Peter, who is also the guardian of our canine editors, made us a homemade tomato sauce then served it over spaghetti and then a baked version with spinach and Daiya cheddar cheese. Third, we got in samples of Follow Your Heart's new Vegenaise flavors! We're talking vegan tartar sauce, pesto, horseradish, barbecue, chipotle, and roasted garlic. Life is good.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The Chefs: Hilary and Herbivore

The Menu: Herbivore's raw kale salad with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, onion, carrots, and soy chicken.

The Goods: Our old mainstay Herbivore has just rejuvenated its extensive menu with tons of new fodder, but my at-least-weekly dates with my beloved kale salad will never cease. On my to-do list for future visits, however: the quesadillas, grilled "beef" and tahini vegetable salad, and coconut ramen noodle soup. This weekend, I got to indulge my foodie-ism in Brooklyn with treats such as the lemon-lavender doughnut from Dun-Well Doughnuts and spicy Cubano sandwich from Champs, so although it may appear that I munch on a lot of leafy greens, trust me—I know how to self-indulge, good and proper.