Tuesday, November 30, 2010

California Burrito

The Chef: Gabrielle and Taqueria el Buen Sabor

The Menu: This monstrous "California" burrito was filled with tofu, sautéed green peppers, mushrooms, and onions, salsa, rice, refried beans, and probably about a million other things I'm forgetting due to my food coma. Sides of complimentary chips and salsa were also too hard to pass up.

The Goods: Why on earth you don't see more burritos on Café VegNews lately is beyond me. Our neighborhood, the Mission District, is the taqueria central of San Francisco, so Editorial Assistant Brooke Still and Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig decided today was the day for a giant burrito. I'm trying to find the best burrito in San Francisco, which is proving a little challenging because I'm a naive Canadian who knows very little about makes a burrito truly great, but I do know what my taste buds like, and Taqueria el Buen Sabor delivered. In non-burrito news, don't miss our application deadline (tomorrow, December 1!) to have your own vegan wedding featured in VegNews' annual wedding issue!

Monday, November 29, 2010

We Be Lovin' Sushi

The Chef: Lyndsay and We Be Sushi

The Menu: A sushi feast, including seaweed and spinach salads, inari, avocado and cucumber rolls, shiitake mushroom rolls, eggplant rolls, and delicious veggie tempura rolls to top it off.

The Goods: Yes, this may seem like a lot of food, but it was shared between Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and myself. Plus, it was super cheap, which always wins me over. We Be Sushi actually has two locations on Valencia Street, and this was our first time at the second location, and we found it to be more veg-friendly, and it was just downright cute inside. We at the VNHQ are back from a wonderful four-day weekend due to the holiday, and we're getting ready for one of the busiest months of the year—December! One of the many things happening is our 2011 Vegan Wedding Application deadline this coming Wednesday. If you've had a vegan wedding this past year, be sure to apply before it's too late!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Herbivore Knows Sandwiches

The Chef: Gabrielle, Lyndsay, and Herbivore Restaurant

The Menu: A marinated tofu wrap packed with pickles, avocado, veggies, and garlic spread, along with potato salad and green salad. We were feeling particularly famished, so we also split an order of spring rolls with peanut sauce.

The Goods: While this meal can hardly outdo the Thanksgiving feast we enjoyed yesterday, today's lunch was still a pretty epic affair. Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and I thought it only right to set the tone for the Thanksgiving holiday by ordering a hedonistically large meal at Herbivore. I easily devoured my entire tofu wrap while Lyndsay enjoyed her vegan chicken sandwich, and we also shared the Vietnamese-style spring rolls. Pretty much the only thing that could have improved this meal is pie. Since we enjoyed so much delicious food, we though we'd sneak in this bonus picture of our delicious spring rolls. Happy Thanksgiving (eating) everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

VegNews Annual Thanksgiving Feast!

The Chef: Native Foods Café and Colleen

The Menu: One of our favorite meals of the year featured a Native Foods' Wellington (layers of roasted portobello mushrooms, orange-glazed yams, seitan, organic kale, caramelized onions, and stuffing, all wrapped in a decadent puff pastry), shallot-mushroom gravy, balsamic-roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade cranberry sauce, and Colleen's Holiday Salad with baby greens, dried cranberries, sliced apples, and caramelized pecans. And we haven't even touched dessert yet.

The Goods: The VegNews staff anticipates this day all year long—and for good reason! Have you checked out that menu above? Every year, the week of Thanksgiving, the VN team sits down to a sumptuous vegan Thanksgiving meal that we don't stop talking about until the next feast rolls around. Southern California-based Native Foods Café, once again, provided the incredible centerpiece to our meal: The Native Wellington. If you need a stellar main course for your holiday table, this is it. And they ship overnight anywhere in the country! Of course, a lovely feast such as this has to have a dessert finale, and we went with one of our favorites: VN columnist Beverly Lynn Bennett's Pumpkin Cake with Vanilla Buttercream, straight from our brand-new VegNews Holiday Cookbook. It's a cinch to make, and always a crowd-pleaser. Accompanying the multi-layer cake is some delicious chocolate-peppermint bark made by VN Publisher Joseph Connelly—we couldn't get enough! Check out more mouthwatering photos here, and Happy Tofurky Day to all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Delightful South Indian Fare

The Chef: Lyndsay and Udupi Palace

The Menu: The Masala Uthappam served with Sambar and chutneys.

The Goods: It's Monday, but not just any Monday, because it's the week of Thanksgiving, and we are truly excited at the VNHQ! In celebration, Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and I decided to dine on some delicious South Indian fare at Udupi Palace, which never disappoints. Tomorrow, the entire VN staff will be partaking in our annual Thanksgiving feast, featuring the Native Food's Wellington, which was part of our giveaway last week. This week, we're giving away a $100 Alternative Outfitters Shopping Spree. Don't forget to enter for your chance to win!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Friday Pizza Party

The Chef: Colleen and Paxti's Chicago Pizza

The Menu: Chicago deep-dish vegan pizza stuffed with spinach, red onion, crushed garlic, and Daiya cheese (pie no. 1), and artichoke hearts, green olives, red bell peppers, and Daiya cheese (pie no. 2). Served alongside this delicious meal was a platter of organic fruit—satsuma tangerines, red grapes, and strawberries—and, of course, the requisite sparkling apple cider we all love.

The Goods: Just another Friday here at the VNHQ. Well, not really. Today's pizza party celebration was bittersweet, as our beloved Associate Editor, Liz Miller, is moving back home to St. Louis. The VegNews staff bid her farewell today with a lunch of what may be the best vegan pizza on the planet. That is, if you like a super-thick, ultra-gooey pie filled with all your favorite toppings. Yeah, we're into that. We're also currently into The New York Times! Published just moments ago on its website is a short piece on VegNews along with three of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes. Check it out here! Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Polenta Rancheros

The Chef: Liz and Boogaloos

The Menu: A side of grilled polenta squares with salsa ranchero and cabbage salad paired with a plate of whole-wheat toast.

The Goods: I'm a big fan of pairing two substantial sides into one satisfying meal, and these two small plates definitely hit the spot. I'm also a big fan of enjoying breakfast for lunch (or brunch, as the kids call it), so basically this was the perfect midday meal. If enjoying a hearty vegan brunch at a local vegan-friendly diner isn't an option for you, might I recommend eating breakfast leftovers for lunch? Trust me, tofu scrambles do taste just as good four hours later—especially if served with crunchy toast and spicy salsa.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Cha Ya, Round Two

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant

The Menu: An incredible, all-vegan Japanese spread. I devoured the Taku Sui, which comprised rice noodles, gyoza, kabocha squash, snap peas, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and mushrooms, all served in a hot pot with a side of rice, miso soup, and dipping sauce. Oh, and maybe I also ordered a Vegan Roll, with a bunch of awesome veggies and tofu. And in the distant, top-left corner of the photo, you can just make out one Laura Hopper Beck's delectable serving of vegetable tempura.

The Goods: You know what's good? A place that's so good that when your co-workers tell you about their awesome lunch, you're immediately inspired to follow their lead and go there the very next day. This is, in fact, the case with Cha-Ya, and I was thrilled to go there with the lovely Laura and Colleen. There's just nothing better than a satisfying lunch with fantastic company to power through the remainder of the workday.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Soba at Cha-Ya Japanese

The Chef:
Gabrielle and Cha-Ya Vegetarian Japanese Restaurant

The Menu: A steaming bowl of Kinoko (mushroom) soba noodles in a savory broth, with nori, shimeji, shiitake, portobello, and oyster mushrooms.

The Goods: This is my first day back to work after a horrible weekend spent fighting the flu, and when my container of quinoa salad that I packed this morning broke on my way out the door, I knew I needed to treat myself to lunch. Fortunately, Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and Associate Editor Liz Miller were happy to join me at Cha-Ya, an 100-percent vegan Japanese restaurant a mere block from the office. Despite the fact that San Francisco is experiencing a new-to-me phenomenon known as a "November heat-wave," I knew my recovering immune system could still use some soup. I'm a wild mushroom freak—the more obscure the variety, the betterand Cha-Ya left me extremely satisfied, with leftovers to boot.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soup and Spring Rolls

The Chef: Lyndsay

The Menu: An impromptu lunch of tomato basil soup and two tofu spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce.

The Goods: I did not have lunch planned today, but I did have an errand to run—I needed some dry red wine for a special dinner that I am making tonight. So I was off to Whole Foods, and I just figured I'd pick up something there. I landed at the sushi hub, and I picked up a delicious tofu spring roll, and even though I wanted more, my money had already run out. Luckily, I had a can of this flavorful tomato soup at my desk which completed my meal. Simple, yet satisfying. Thanksgiving is fast-approaching, and there's a great new feature over at VegNews.com about the wonderful animal known as the turkey, and where you can visit one (or two) at farm sanctuaries near you!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Colleen's Friday Salad

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: My favorite lunchtime salad—organic greens, English cucumber, cherry tomatoes, olives, shredded carrot, green onion, avocado, fresh garlic, and grilled Gardein "chicken", all tossed in an orange-balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: I am a creature of habit, what can I say. I'll do my best to change up my go-to lunchtime meal, but you'll most likely be seeing some variation of this (delicious) salad every Friday. Don't get me wrong—the food in the Mission is as good as it gets (vegan Mexican, Japanese, comfort food, raw food, fresh-baked pies, and so much more literally exists all within a two-block radius of the new VNHQ), but I enjoy bringing my own lunch. I like to eat as much organic as possible, I like to know where my food comes from, and it just tastes good. For some major homemade-food inspiration, have you seen the just-released VegNews Holiday Cookbook? VegNews' editors have armed you with everything you need this Thanksgiving to create an unforgettable vegan feast. Get your copy now! And have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stacked Veggie Salad

The Chef: Liz and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A fully-stacked salad of mixed greens, peas, shredded carrot, sauteed veggies, cucumber, and chickpeas topped with a dollop of garlicky hummus.

The Goods: As a rule, I don't like eating meals served buffet-style, but all bets are off if there is a well-stocked salad bar in sight. Whether overpaying for a crisp kale salad at my neighborhood Whole Foods or making due with the cheaper but less awesome selection at my local Safeway, I love that salad bars let me do the deciding—like choose-your-own-adventure novels, except with vegan food. At Valencia Whole Foods the offerings adhere to the Goldilocks Principle: they are just right. From fresh salad bar basics to a vegan-friendly, build-your-own falafel bar, it never fails to satisfy. Additionally, VWF have a great selection of vegan desserts, which I unfortunately forgot to peruse. Lucky for me, we call baking an Apple Pecan Flip in the middle of the workday "recipe testing" here at the VNHQ.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Manicotti and Colorful Salad

The Chef: Elizabeth and Valencia Whole Foods

The Menu: A highly enormous salad with mixed greens, spinach, roasted red peppers, corn, beets, chickpeas, and Annie's Goddess Dressing from our friendly neighborhood salad bar, plus a delicious vegan Holiday Manicotti. Butternut squash ricotta with vegan Bechamel topped with cheese? Well, fine.

The Goods: You might have heard recently about our Holiday Cookbook, about which we're pretty stinking thrilled, and it's been a really tough couple of weeks talking about holiday recipes, editing holiday recipes, and thinking about holiday recipes basically non-stop. I'd finally had enough and made one of the 35 incredible holiday recipes, and it was pretty much the best decision of the week so far. Hope everyone is having an equally delicious day!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Picnic in the Park

The Chef: Lyndsay and Gabrielle

The Menu: Just your classic picnic with leftovers from the past week, including Paper Masala Dosa from Udupi Palace, cheeseless takeout pizza, and some raw goodies from Lydia's Kitchen.

The Goods: It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood, so Editorial Assistant Gabrielle Pope and I decided to take our bikes to nearby Dolores Park. With the sun shining, and the park having just enough people and lovable puppies running around, we were in paradise, which is just what we needed. It's been quite busy at the VNHQ with the holidays fast-approaching, and we just can't get enough of our VegNews Holiday Cookbook. If you haven't purchased this insanely good e-book yet, get to it! You really don't want to miss what's inside.

Monday, November 8, 2010

South Indian Feasting

The Chef: Gabrielle and Udupi Palace

The Menu: Chili and onion uthappam with sambar and chutneys.

The Goods: I was craving dosa, uthappam, or really anything carb-y and spicy, so I went for an uthappam at the nearby Udupi Palace, accompanied by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig. When I insisted that Lyndsay try the Paper Masala Dosa, I honestly didn't anticipate that Lyndsay's dosa would be, literally, three feet long, but she didn't complain. My uthappam was a delightful pancake of mixed veggies and chilies, accompanied by a tasty sambar and tomato, peanut, and coconut chutneys. A fine way to start out the week, leading into the holidays! Speaking of which, you might want to check out our brand new VegNews Holiday Cookbook, packed with amazing vegan recipes for all your holiday occasions!

Friday, November 5, 2010


The Chef: Colleen and Taqueria Cancun

The Menu: Two vegan tacos—complete with black beans, seasoned rice, chopped onion, cilantro, and hearty strips of avocado with soft corn tortillas—and a side of chips and freshly made salsa.

The Goods: Today, I needed to eat lunch fast, as it's just been one of those days. Two blocks from the new VNHQ is one of San Francisco's three locations of Taqueria Cancun, a local taqueria that is full of character and vegan options. For $4.60 ($2.30 each), I filled up on two scrumptious (and healthy!) tacos and a basket of (unhealthy!) tortilla chips. Oh well, we do our best. I was in and out in 15 minutes, ate for less than $5, and enjoyed a delicious meal. So what do we have on tap today? First off, we launched the VegNews Holiday Cookbook and can hardly wait to start cooking our holiday feasts. We're also prepping for this weekend's Green Festival, right here in San Francisco, of which VegNews is a long-time sponsor. So if you're heading to the Green Festival, stop by the VN booth to say hello and pick up a subscription!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Veggie Soup, Tortilla Triangles

The Chef: Liz

The Menu: A bowl of Progresso Garden Vegetable soup paired with homemade baked whole-wheat tortilla chips.

The Goods: When I'm in a hurry, my favorite simple snack or side is a batch of homemade tortilla chips. Just throw a lightly oiled whole-wheat tortilla in the oven for five minutes and voila: you have the perfect dipping instrument for soups, salsas, and sauces. However, it's now 3:30, lunch is but a distant memory, and I'm left with one question: Where are the Cinnamon Cookies? Oh, that's right, we ate them all. My afternoon cup of coffee is not going to be happy about this.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sushi And Good Company

The Chef: Gabrielle and Tao Yin restaurant

The Menu: Sushi! An avocado and shiitake mushroom roll, accompanied by a wakame seaweed salad.

The Goods: Lacking lunch plans, VegNews Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig, Associate Editor Liz Miller, and I made a last minute decision to check out Tao Yin, a restaurant literally steps from our offices offering both Chinese and Japanese food. Mushrooms and avocados may very well be my very favorite foods, so wrapping them up in rice and seaweed and serving them with ginger, wasabi, and soy sauce can really only improve on things, all the while reminding me of my time spent traveling in Japan just a year ago. Looking for more Japanese-inspired eats? Our brand-new November+December 2010 Veggie Awards issue features sushi and Eggplant Kabayaki recipes. The issue is on newsstands now, so be sure to pick one up!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Gracias Madre, Go!

The Chef: Elizabeth and Gracias Madre

The Menu: A never-before-heard-of sandwich called the amazing Gracias Madre lunch special torta with a side of delicious Caesar salad and house made pickles!

The Goods: A little group headed out from the VNHQ today to one of our absolute favorite lunch places, Gracias Madre. Yes, it's possible to eat this exact same sandwich every time you go there and be totally satisfied each and every time. Today we enjoyed the company of Carmen, one of GM's chefs, who tipped us off to a new dessert: a pumpkin cake served with dulce de leche ice cream and a vanilla sauce drizzle. Holy heck. Whether you're celebrating Dia de los Muertos, the Giants' World Series win, or you just want a yummy piece of cake, we definitely recommend picking up a piece of this insanely delicious cake.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Marinated Tofu Sandwich

The Chef: Gabrielle and Herbivore restaurant

The Menu: A marinated tofu sandwich piled high with tomato, avocado, pickles, and lettuce, paired with a delicious salad dressed with a mustard vinaigrette.

The Goods: It's Monday, I forgot to pack a lunch, and I was absolutely famished. What to do? Oh, hey, just head to that fully-vegan restaurant around the corner from the VNHQ. I feasted on this sandwich accompanied by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig and Associate Editor Liz Miller, where we all enjoyed the sun streaming through the windows on this gorgeous fall day in the Mission. May I direct your eyes to the most exciting thing to launch on November 1 other than Vegan MoFo? That would be the 2010 Veggie Awards, and the results are in!