Monday, January 31, 2011

Veggie Meatloaf & Potatoes

The Chef: Michelle from Amy's Kitchen

The Menu: The newly vegan Amy's Veggie Loaf with mashed potatoes and a vegetable medley of peas and carrots. This wonderful meal was finished off with their yummy Chocolate and Orange Cakes!

The Goods: We have been very fortunate to have Amy's Kitchen cater lunch for us a few times in the past, and we've never been let down! Today was a wonderful treat, especially since we vegans will be able to dine on the veggie loaf from now on (formerly, it contained honey). The loaf will be hitting shelves at the end of March, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. It's one busy week at the VNHQ starting with today. Tomorrow, we will be having another special lunch guest—Kris Carr of Crazy Sexy Diet! Also, if you haven't heard, there will be a special episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, in which she will be discussing her one week on "The Vegan Challenge." So yes, it's a very exciting week for vegans!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Green Juice and Green Pasta

The Chefs: Jennifer and Evolution

The Menu: Evolution's Essential Greens juice and green pasta—made up of spinach, kale, olive oil, and garlic—on top of spinach pasta.

The Goods: Last week I tried raw kale for the first time and this week it's green juice. I've sipped green juice before, but I avoided it because to be honest, I didn't love the taste. After reading a few chapters of Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr, I decided that I needed to get over my hangup (I dare you to read her book and not try green juice). So I drank it and I actually liked it. The green pasta is a recipe from a cookbook my fabulous friend Diana made me as a gift. I secretly think she was tired of me bugging her to make the green pasta for me. The pesto is made up of blended spinach and kale, olive oil, and garlic. Greens are good and delicious (like seaweed snacks from the January 25th blog post on This Just In). Want your very own copy of Crazy Sexy Diet? We've got a great Crazy Sexy Life giveaway, which ends January 31st, so enter now. Free stuff is where it's at.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Atlas Café Salad

The Chefs: Elizabeth and Atlas Café

The Menu: Atlas' signature salad, which bursts with mixed greens, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, red onions, dried figs, green olives, and a yummy tahini-based dressing. Served with two huge slices of baguette, this was one satisfying salad.

The Goods: It's not like me to deviate from my standard Herbivore salad, but sometimes, you have to get a little wild and crazy. Since it's sunny here today, I took the opportunity to walk over to Altas Café with my awesome friend Joelle and her wonder dog, Lina. Does Atlas get major points for being close to our office and dog-friendly, and for offering a good variety of vegan options? Yes! Will my wild ways continue? Abso-friggin-lutely. Tonight is SF Vegan Drinks—aka always a good reason to go a little nuts—and this week has been a record-breaker. We won Best Website in the 2010 Eddie Awards, today we're finishing the final touches on our March+April issue, and we're gearing up for a visit from our gorgeous, best-selling covergal Kris Carr next week. I'd say pinch me, but this is a dream from which I have no interest in waking up!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Organic Salad Lunch

The Chef: Colleen

The Menu: My favorite lunchtime salad, consisting of organic greens with carrots, olives, sprouts, cilantro, avocado, cucumber, and marinated tofu—all tossed in an orange-balsamic vinaigrette.

The Goods: Although I love all of the neighborhood veggie eateries, nothing beats a fresh, large salad brought in from home. My local market makes the best fresh-squeezed orange juice, so I toss a few tablespoons with some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and sea salt—and voila, a healthy, delicious salad. In some not-as-healthy-news, have you checked out This Week's Must Have on Justin's Nut Butters is coming out with dark chocolate peanut butter cups, something we're very excited about. If you want to stay on the healthy side, enter our weekly giveaway, featuring Kris Carr's best-selling new book, Crazy Sexy Diet, along with a copy of the current edition of VegNews (with Kris as our cover model). Something for everyone!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Salad, Scrambled Tofu, and Black Beans

The Chef: Anna and Herbivore

The Menu: A homemade spinach salad with carrots, zucchini, sweet potato, and balsamic vinaigrette with Herbivore's southwestern scrambled tofu, black beans, and guacamole.

The Goods: I am currently participating in a certain VN cover star's 21-day cleanse (I think it's safe to say we're obsessed), so taking a gluten-free trip to Herbivore was a different experience. I ordered the southwestern tofu scramble but shied away from the delectable blueberry cornbread and skillet potatoes in order to stay on the detox track (not easy, mind you). After my half plate's worth of salad I couldn't even eat a third of my Herbivore grub, so I will save it for a rainy day (and by "rainy day" I mean "about three o'clock this afternoon"). Hopefully the next 18 days will fly bythen I can grab some vegan peanut butter cups from the VegNews Valentine's Store, which just opened this week!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Almond Butter and Jelly

The Chef:

The Menu: Almond butter and strawberry jam sandwich on cinnamon raisin bread.

The Goods: Last week I opted out of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for some delicious pizza, but this week it seems that the simple sandwich is on every VN staffers mind (we're working on our upcoming March+April issue, so keep an eye out for a PB&J appearance!). I made a slight change using almond butter instead, and swapped out plain bread for some cinnamon raisin slices. Yes, I do like my sweet meals extra sweet. As my mom always informs me, "You aren't that healthy with all the sugar you eat!" So I have a little sugar problem, but with the help of Kris Carr's 21-Day Cleanse I'll hopefully be cutting back soon. You could also start delving into this lovely lady's book by entering this week's giveaway, where one lucky winner will receive a copy of Carr's new book and the January+February issue of VegNews where she is featured on the cover. Just remember to start cleansing after all the awesome vegan parties. I'm thinking after this Thursday's SF Vegan Drinks (where you will find me sipping on some tasty Bloody Mary's).

Friday, January 21, 2011

Vegan Japanese Lunch

The Chef: Colleen and Cha-Ya

The Menu: The Takusui one-pot lunch, filled with zucchini, Napa cabbage, snap peas, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, silver noodles, mushrooms, tofu, and pot stickers—all served steaming hot in a light ponzu citrus broth.

The Goods: Okay, truth be told, this isn't exactly what I had for lunch today. This was actually lunch on Tuesday, when I dined at local vegan Japanese eatery, Cha-Ya (two blocks away), with a good friend of mine. Today I had the leftovers from this meal, which weren't quite as beautiful as the original bowl pictured above. A meal at Cha Ya is always nourishing and satisfying. Like most Japanese restaurants, the food is clean and healthy—and at Cha Ya, it's 100-percent vegan. Yes, we know we're lucky. The menu is extensive, offering everything from vegetable sushi and sukiyaki to curry udon noodles and stuffed eggplant. And might I recommend grabbing a meal at lunchtime—not only is there no wait for a table, but they have special lunch pricing that makes it super affordable. In other news, we just launched our Valentine's Day Shop in the VegNews Store, complete with vegan chocolates, lip balms, and, yes, condoms. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vegan Cheesesteak and French Fries

The Chef: Anna and Jay's Cheesesteak

The Menu: A seitan, tomato, and pepper cheesesteak with vegan mayo, grilled onions and lettuce. Oh, you think I forgot the fries? Think again, pal.

The Goods: This morning I woke up craving a huge, yummy sandwich. (Wait. That happens every morning.) Fortunately for us here at VNHQ, the Mission has myriad options for our sandwich-loving stomachs. Jay's stuffed-to-the-brim vessels of vegan victuals are the perfect choice for busy Thursdays (and manic Mondays, and terrific Tuesdays...). Perhaps my sandwich isn't as healthy as some of my coworkers' lunches, and won't protect from winter colds like mushrooms, but it's pretty darn delicious.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Raw Kale Marinated Salad

The Chef: Jennifer and Herbivore

The Menu: Raw kale marinated with lemon olive oil dressing, topped with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, diced onions, avocado, and soy chicken

The Goods: When this morning's Recipe Club popped up in my inbox for a Raw Marinated Kale Salad, I thought, yes, please. I'm new to the San Francisco area and Herbivore came highly recommended by VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria so it seemed like the perfect place to get a raw kale salad. While I love kale as a sautéed green, I've never eaten it raw. With all the health benefits of kale I've learned about while working at VegNews (full of fiber and keeps glaucoma at bay, to name just two), I thought it was time to try it fresh. The salad from Herbivore did not disappoint. Marinated with a lemon olive oil dressing, it was yummy, and true to the facts, I felt fuller after eating it than I do with just regular salads. The soy chicken was dynamite and slices of fresh avocado are one of the major benefits of living in California.

Kale is a major component of green juices (like Kris Carr's Make Juice Not War Green Drink) and while I've always been a fan of greens like spinach, kale, and collard, I've been a little hesitant to try green juices. But now that I've tried raw kale, I think it's time to step it up and get myself a tall green juice. After all, #3 on Kris Carr's recent Top 15 Crazy Sexy Diet Tips is to make juice, not war. Who am I to argue with Kris Carr's Crazy Sexy Diet?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Vegan Pizza, Muffins, and Tarts!

The Chef: Alexandra, Paxti's Pizza, and Candle Cafe

The Menu: A vegan feast of Paxti's California Chicago "Stuffed" pizza with Daiya Mozzarella, a variety of Candle Cafe Vegan MiniMuffins, and Candle Cafe Tarts in both Chocolate Peanut Butter and Raspberry Linzer.

The Goods: After a three-day weekend, the VegNews staff was spoiled once more! New York's Candle 79 and Candle Cafe owners Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza visited the VNHQ, bringing with them plenty of amazing tarts and mini muffins (check out the photos at This Just In). My personal favorites: the sweet carrot mini muffins and the raspberry linzer torte. But really, everything tasted incredible, the company was great, and all our bellies were filled with sweetness. As Editorial Assistant Anna so accurately put it, "We have the best job ever." Oh, and let's not forget that our publisher, Joseph Connelly, also ordered a Paxti pizza full of red onions, spinach, and vegan pizza necessity—Daiya cheese (for all you pizza lovers out there, make sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming how-to pizza guide!). I'd never had Paxti's before, and I'm usually more of a thin-crust pizza fan, but this delectable deep-dish definitely had me on its side. And to think that I was originally going to have a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yoga & Beet Burgers

The Chef: The Plant and Colleen

The Menu: A hearty and delicious all-vegan burger made with lentils, mushrooms, beets, cashews, and bulgur wheat served with organic greens and roasted potatoes.

The Goods: Happy Friday, everyone! Today, I am out of the office at the annual Yoga Journal Conference right here in San Francisco. The weekend is filled with interesting speakers (including a handful on the connection between food and yoga), business classes (everything from a social media how-to to marketing with mindfulness), and dozens of yoga classes from esteemed instructors (including Sharon Gannon and David Life—who promote a vegan lifestyle as part of their Jivamukti-style teaching). Since the conference is just a few blocks from The Plant (the restaurant has a stunning location along San Francisco's waterfront), I decided to pick up lunch from this vegan-friendly eatery. Never having tried its signature beet burger (photo above courtesy of, it was love at first bite. Seriously, one of the best veggie burgers I've ever had. And since I could only finish half, a tasty dinner awaits me. In other news, the VNHQ is closed on Monday to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so Café VegNews will be back on Tuesday. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Salad with Hummus and Falafel

The Chef: Anna

The Menu: Eating this spinach salad with fresh tomatoes, zucchini, carrots, Trader Joe's falafel, and homemade balsamic vinaigrette dressing is like lunching at the Acropolis.

The Goods: Okay, maybe this yummy salad can't transport me all the way to Greece, but its Mediterranean feel makes it easier to imagine I'm sitting on a white-sand beach instead of in a rainy metropolis. The hot falafel and dressing really hit the spot on this gloomy day. (Dressing recipe: mix balsamic vinaigrette with hummus. So hard, right?) If you are similarly in need of something to warm you up (and who isn't, with snow currently in 49 states!), sip on some hot apple cider tea (This Week's Must Have) or whip up some warm, hearty and healthy oatmeal with What's Cooking on Happy lunching!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Cream Cheese and Hummus Bagel

The Chef: Alexandra

The Menu: A toasted whole-wheat bagel, smeared with Tofutti cream cheese on one side and Cedar's Fat Free Original hummus on the other, topped with sliced avocados. Plus some delicious dried mangoes on the side.

The Goods: One of my New Year's resolutions was to eat out less and make more of my own food. So far, I haven't really been adhering to this plan with all the trips to Gracias Madre (no regrets there). Today, however, I was able to fight off local-restaurant temptations and make myself an open-faced bagel sandwich. While not as culinarily complex as a veg tacos or quesadillas, the meal definitely satisfied my belly and I got to stay warm and cozy at the VNHQ. The dried mangoes—which arrived at my front door in a gift package from a friend in France—were also a perfect addition. Here's to many more homemade (or should I say office-made?) meals to come!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Gracias Madre, Take Three

The Chef: Lyndsay and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Three delicious tacos filled with sautéed greens, roasted butternut squash, and grilled plantains, with black beans on the side.

The Goods: We understand that this is the third time we've hit up Gracias Madre since last Monday, but what can we say? It's really that good! And today, the entire VN crew went out with one more addition—our new Associate Editor Jennifer Chen. She is the last of the newcomers for January 2011, so we wanted to make this celebration lunch a really good one. We hope the new year is treating you well so far, and just a tip for all of you who don't yet have a calendar for 2011—the VN Store is having a blowout sale of Sarah Kramer's Go Vegan! 2011 Calendar. Get yours now, while supplies last!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday at Gracias Madre

The Chefs: Colleen and Gracias Madre

The Menu: The always-great Quesadillas de Calabaza, which are two handmade corn tortillas filled with roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions, covered with a green salsa, cashew cheese sauce, fresh cilantro, and toasted pumpkin seeds. Yes, I ate both of them.

The Goods: Where does the week go? I swear, once you hit 30, the weeks go by in record speed. First it's 9am Monday morning, and then, out of nowhere, it's Friday afternoon! Today I enjoyed a working lunch at the VN staff favorite, Gracias Madre. It doesn't hurt that this all-vegan Mexican eatery is just two blocks away, but the food also happens to be incredibly delicious. Everything is made from scratch, the space is gorgeous, and the desserts (which we somehow restrained ourselves from ordering today) are out of this world. Let's just say that our offices are now located in what we feel is the epicenter of vegan dining in San Francisco. In other news, our two new editorial assistants, Alexandra and Anna, just finished up their first week and make fantastic additions to the VegNews team (so glad you're here, ladies!). The VegNews Book Club (hosted by Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig) is off to a great start with busy discussions of The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life, and we just found out that there will be an all-vegan movie theatre opening up in Texas. Yes, 2011 is looking very good, and we're thrilled to be a part of it. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Veggie Burrito with Chips

The Chef:
Anna and Papalote Mexican Grill

The Menu: An enormous veggie burrito, stuffed with black beans, rice, carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and guacamole. Throw in a big heap of tortilla chips with Papalote's perfectly spicy salsa? Don't mind if I do.

The Goods: I went to Papalote today in order to correct a traumatic experience. I know what you're thinking: how on earth could one have a traumatic experience involving burritos? Well listen here. This past Monday on my way to my first day at VNHQ I shuffled down 24th street toward Valencia and BAM! Papalote's windows were covered in brown paper. Could it really be that this delicious food was disappearing from my life? But fear not, dear readers, they were only remodeling. So in order to give myself the proverbial pinch that wakes me from my "Papalote's is closed" nightmare, I (along with fellow VN Editorial Assistant Alexandra) trekked on over there today. And I have to say it tasted better than ever. The carrots were roastier, the black beans were creamier, and I think they gave me some extra super yummy guacamole after I told them about my Monday morning freak out. While devouring my burrito and chips, I couldn't help but think about the So Delicious chocolate Coconut Milk that was delivered to VNHQ yesterday. A girl needs her dessert, right? And in case you were wondering, yes, my stomach is three times the size of a normal person's.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Vegan Miso Soup

The Chef: Elizabeth

The Menu: A quick, easy miso soup with soba noodles, tofu, seaweed, and enoki mushrooms.

The Goods: You know something? The Menu is shorter when you go home for lunch instead of spending bazillions of dollars on fancy salads. There are also hidden bonuses to dining in the privacy of a place that is neither a restaurant nor your office, namely being able to make a huge pot of soup and slurp it to your heart's content. Here's hoping everyone has a lovely bowl of soup this evening!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Vegan Quesadillas

The Chefs: Alexandra and Gracias Madre

The Menu: Quesadillas de Calabaza, which are amazing butternut squash-and-caramelized onion filled tortillas doused in cashew nacho cheese with pumpkin seed salsa on top.

The Goods: Come lunch hour today, I had an overwhelming craving for a burrito, or taco, or quesadilla, or anything with salsa on it for that matter. Being in the best neighborhood in the city for Mexican food can do that to a hungry girl. Since it's only day two for me at the VNHQ, I've got a lot to learn, from what's worth reading (check out the newest discussion at VegNews Book Club on The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life) to what's worth eating around here. Fellow Editorial Assistant Anna Peraino joined me, and after about a good thirty seconds of contemplating we decided on staff favorite, Gracias Madre (pretty sure all of the previous Café VegNews posts led us in the right direction). Neither Anna or I had eaten there before, and we were both thrilled as we shared a delicious and filling meal of quesadillas and beet salad. We dined, we drank (OK, so it was only water), and we talked, about our pasts, our futures, and how excited we are to be where we are right now—working at VegNews!

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year's Lunch

The Chefs: Lyndsay and Herbivore

The Menu: The grilled "Chicken" sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles, with garlic-lemon sauce, plus a green salad and seasoned potatoes on the side.

The Goods: The whole VN editorial crew went out to lunch today, in order to celebrate the arrival of our two new Editorial Assistants, Anna and Alexandra. There were six of us, but only three menu items were ordered—one Raw Red Beet and Spinach Salad, two grilled "Chicken" sandwiches, and three Southwestern Scrambled Tofus (as shown below). I guess you can say we have the same tastes. We're excited to come back to the VNHQ for the start of 2011, and look forward to eating some great lunches—like this one—too!