The Wait is Almost Over!
This Thursday, October 30, from 5-9 pm, The Brick Road Pizza Company is offering hungry Grand Rapidians the opportunity of a lifetime: an all-you-can eat vegan buffet featuring a variety of the appetizers and pizzas that will be on their specialty vegan menu when the restaurant opens in the very near future.
Get Your Tickets Now!
Space is limited to two shifts of 80 people each, one from 5-7 pm and one from 7-9 pm. If you're interested in attending the 5-7 shift, please buy your tickets at the restaurant, located at 1017-1019 Wealthy Street, 616-719-2409. If you're interested in attending the 7-9 shift, please contact Dan Hooley of the Calvin College Students for Compassionate Living at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are first come, first served, and leftovers will be sold at the door.
What's on the Menu?
For starters, there will be five different vegan pizzas: Faux Meat Lovers, Seitan Philly Steak & Cheese, Buffalo Tofu, Taco, and Black Bean. In addition, rumor has it that we'll see a pasta selection, as well as several of Chef Ryan's signature dishes, such as "Vegan Fried Chick'n."
And For Dessert?
Soft drinks and dessert are included in the $10.00 ticket price, and the early word is vegan cheesecake, though Chef Ryan's creativity and ambition are such that there's no telling what other delights will await your sweet tooth at meal's end.
Welcome, Brick Road Pizza!
Brick Road Pizza Company has made a commitment to Grand Rapids vegans. Let's return the favor on Thursday night and help them to get their business off to a booming start! Can we count on you? I knew we could!
Lemon Cheesecake Beyond Belief.
I won't mince words. This is the best vegan cheesecake I've ever tasted, bar none. It is better than the cheesecake at The Chicago Diner. It is better than the cheesecake at Karyn's Cooked. It lasts for about two days when one eats it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've baked it three times in the past month.
Gilding the Lily with Homemade Strawberry Preserves.
The first time I made it, I was a bit shy about serving it naked. So I dressed it with some organic strawberry preserves. It was divine. At two o'clock in the morning, however, once our guests had vacated the premises (along with my sense of propriety) I ate a wedge (almost six inches across) all by itself. There is no need to put anything on this cheesecake but your bare, greedy hands.
The Joy of Vegan Baking
It just isn't kind to dangle this in front of a person without providing the means for prompt gratification. So, on the condition that you promise to purchase Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking, I'll oblige. Any cookbook that sustains a perfect five star rating across 100+ reader reviews is well worth your $13.57 (even in a recession).
Lemon Cheesecake (Recipe Slightly Modified to Reflect Best Results)
For the crust: Graham Crackers; some Mi-Del Ginger Snaps; 1/4 cup sugar; 5 T. Earth Balance. Process crackers, snaps, and sugar to a fine crumb; add Earth Balance and pulse; press into a lightly oiled 9-inch spring-form pan and bake at 350 for ten minutes until golden.
For the cheesecake: 4 1/2 t. Ener-G Egg Replacer; 6 T. water; 24 oz. non-dairy cream cheese (at room temperature); 1 c. granulated sugar; 1/2 t. vanilla; 4-6 T. lemon juice (the recipe suggests 2 T., but I like a strong lemon flavor, so I doubled it and left the pulp in as well); 2 T. lemon zest (again, I doubled it from 1 T.); fresh strawberries for serving (optional).
What To Do: Preheat oven to 350. Using electric hand mixer in a large bowl, whip egg replacer and water together until thick and creamy. Beat in cream cheese until creamy (about 30 seconds--don't go longer!). Beat in sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon zest (beat until smooth, but don't overbeat--this will cause cracking on the surface during baking). Pour batter into crust and smooth top. Bake until center barely jiggles when pan is tapped, 50-55 minutes. It is fine if it puffs up a bit and turns golden brown; it will settle as it cools. Cool completely in pan on rack for at least one hour; refrigerate for at least two hours (but preferably 24 hours) before serving.
Warning: People feel very strongly about this dessert. I slipped a slice into Senator Obama's back pocket just as the 3rd debate was drawing to a close. The ensuing scene was deeply disturbing. Bake at your own risk.
Oprah: How Do We Treat the Animals We Eat?
Everyone knows that Oprah's got a heart for animals. Back in 1998, she was on the hot seat for taking the beef industry to task and getting sued for it (she won). More recently, she's been in the news for leaving a $30 million fortune to her dogs and for her public experiments with veganism. Today, she jumped into the fray of California's Prop. 2 debates, hosting an episode of the wildly popular Oprah Winfrey Show titled How We Treat The Animals We Eat. Among the guests were HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle and a number of industrial livestock producers and smaller-scale "free-range" farmers. Oprah did her best to give both sides their say, but it was pretty clear where she stands.
Mercy For Animals Exposes Cruelty to California Chickens
Nathan Runkle and his crack team of investigators at Mercy For Animals have exposed the conditions inside a major California egg producer just three weeks before citizens will vote on the proposition. Lastly, check out the New York Times' recent endorsement of Prop. 2. Alert your friends and family in California to these important resources.
When one first hears the word "Disneyland", one does not think fresh fruit and veggies, cous cous or tofu. One may think more along the lines of slushies, corn dogs and the ubiquitous turkey leg. While thinking the latter, I resigned myself to meals of onion rings and starvation for the week. Sure, I researched their many restaurants and eateries that proclaimed vegetarian options, but I could not see myself eating salad for four days (despite being vegan, salad does not appeal to me). Ultimately, I decided it was a trip about family bonding and without a positive attitude I wasn't going to survive the week. However, I was pleasantly surprised. I am by no way advocating for trips to Disneyland, but if you should find yourself there with an uncle or two, here is some advice for what to eat.
We arrived close to lunch time and strolled the streets of Downtown Disney to the first eating experience--Rainforest Cafe. I had the veggie burger, without cheese. While I expected a measly patty that would be dry from being under a heat lamp too long, what I got was a massive veggie patty topped with green, leafy lettuce, tomato, special sauce, and pickles. It was perhaps the best veggie burger I have eaten anywhere. It was far from dry and the special sauce gave it a nice tang. It came with sides of fruit and french fries or chips as well.
Catal Restaurant and the Uva Bar
For dinner that evening, we went to the open eating area outside Catal Restaurant, called the Uva Bar. The Uva Bar serves mostly tapas, great little appetizers. I ordered hummous, baba ganoush and pita. Despite their bland appearance, they did have good flavor. In addition, I shared some beets with my uncle. All was tasty and filling.
The Coffee House
Concerned for what I would be able to find for breakfast but open-minded, we wandered into The Coffee House for breakfast. They had Kashi cereal, soy milk, Simply juices and fruit (my usual breakfast). Perfect!
Here I had edamamme as well as cucumber and avocado rolls. It was a nice place and despite the otherwise casual atmosphere, I felt out of place in my black top and khaki capris.
River Belle Terrace
I consumed a veggie po'boy here...and was hungry an hour later. Whole grains are not in abundance at Disneyland and thus some meals were not as filling as others. Thankfully, there was always a snack stand nearby for trail mix or fruit. However, at least the po' boy was tasty.
Easily one of my favorite places to eat at Disneyland, the service was impeccable as well as the atmosphere. Under the artificial darkness created for the Pirates attraction, lanterns softly light the tables. Boats from the attraction floated by as we ordered our dinner from our server. Once I ordered the portobello mushroom with cous cous and salad, the server asked if I was vegetarian. I said I was vegan; he made sure there was no sausage, dairy dressing or cheese on the salad. The portobello mushroom and cous cous was very good. There are three problems that I usually run into with portobellos: 1) The mushroom is cold, 2) The mushroom is rubbery from being overcooked, or 3) The mushroom has no flavor. Luckily, this was not the case with this dinner. When I could not eat the mint chocolate coins at the end of the meal, I was brought strawberries.
If you happen to find yourself in Disneyland, check out the above described restaurants. They certainly made a four day stint in Anaheim much easier than I expected.
Advice for the Next Farmer in Chief on the Hidden Politics of Food
Michael Pollan is no vegan, as I have been perhaps too eager to point out in previous posts. Nevertheless, he talks a lot of good sense in this new article published yesterday in the online edition of the October 12 Food Issue of the New York Times Magazine. Addressed to "Mr. President Elect", Pollan's "letter" states that "Food is about to demand your attention...you will need not simply to address food prices but to make the reform of the entire food system one of the highest priorities of your administration: unless you do, you will not be able to make significant progress on the health care crisis, energy independence or climate change." Hopefully, this truthy article is evidence that Pollan is ready to spend more time speaking truth to power and less time searching for his inner noble savage on infantile boar-hunting expeditions. We can only hope.
Get them thinking about Proposition 2!
After sending them this new commercial, you can follow up with a link to this site where they can learn more about The California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act. For information on what the opposition is saying, you can steer them to this site. Pro or con, the more people talk, the more concern over the lives of animals permeates the culture and becomes an issue on the radar of everyday folks. Let's help to keep the conversation alive!
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