Local media outlets greet Burritotown with a well-deserved hero's welcome!
The early reviews are in, and all indications point to massive success for Burritotown--Grand Rapids' brand-spankin' new vegan-diner-within-a-vegan-diner that, beginning on July 6, will be slinging tacos and burritos to hungry night-owls from 10pm to 3am (Wednesday to Sunday) after Bartertown closes its doors for the day. If you haven't tapped into the buzz yet, make sure to check out what The Rapidian, Rapid Growth Media, and Vegan Grand Rapids have to say about the hardest-core soft-opening our fair city has seen since Bartertown blew it up over a year ago.
Best ingredients money can't buy: real food, radical ideas, dynamite creativity.
The genius of Burritotown is that it takes everything we love about Bartertown--fresh, responsibly-sourced food, an empowering environment, and inspirational people-- and wraps it all up into an irresistible package that is available to everyone at a time of day when demand for food is high, but ready access to beautiful, sustainable, healthful options is virtually non-existent. Thanks to Burritotown, Grand Rapidians will soon enjoy regular opportunities to dine out late without killing ourselves in the process.
The big difference: being the change they want to see in Grand Rapids!
And the feel-good factor in supporting Burritotown is as much about social and spiritual sustenance as it is about physical sustenance. Do a little research on the people behind the food (Brandon Hill, Dallas McCulloch, and Ryan Cappelletti), and you'll discover individual and collective contributions to life in West Michigan that are transforming our region into the hub of progressive midwestern culture that we are grand rapidly becoming. We have one or more of them to thank, for instance, for documenting what it's like to live in the best beer state in the union, unleashing some of the world's most ferocious conscience-core, initiating a bomber craft-brewing co-op, founding a blistering punk scene, keeping the dubstep party on, growing one of the most radical farm-to-table enterprises in America, and--of course--revolutionizing vegan culture in West Michigan again, and again, and again, and yet again. Spread the good word, like 'em up on Facebook, and let's set this new jewel into the GR crown for keeps!
Support this revolutionary partnership and get some terrific perks for your effort!
Just ten days left to throw our support behind this terrific collaboration between Tree Huggers and Bartertown to bring a package-free vegan grocery store to Grand Rapids! Visit their Kickstarter Page and donate now!
Big Update at WakeUpWeekend.Com!
If you haven't checked out the new website yet, now's the time! You'll find an updated schedule with abstracts and dozens of links pertaining to lectures, workshops, and other events, as well as new posts on 3 terrific sponsorships and a grant and veg eats in Grand Rapids. Stay tuned for further updates on the KINSHIP Exhibition, the Sixth Annual Vegan Chili Cook-Off, and the Adoption Benefit Show! Also, please consider liking us on Facebook and sharing our new website in your status to help us generate buzz and boost attendance. Thanks in advance for your help! We can't do it without you!
Posters Hot Off the Press and a New Online Home!
With just over two weeks until blast-off, posters are going up and we've got a brand-new dedicated website up at wakeupweekend.com! By entering your email address and clicking the "Follow" button on the bottom of the sidebar at the right, you'll enroll for email updates that will keep you apprised of all new developments. Look for short abstracts of the above listed events (along with links to venue maps) later this week, as well as an invitation to sharpen up your vegan chili chops for this year's CHILI-TIME SHOWDOWN. In the meanwhile, please direct all ideas, feedback, kind offers to be a clean-up crew volunteer, and early-admissions chili intentions to email@example.com.
Mark your calendars for January 19-21, 2012 in Grand Rapids, MI
The 2012 Wake Up Weekend Vegan Chili Cook-off is just a month away! And what better time to heighten the anticipation than to give you a taste of what's in store for the biggest Wake Up Weekend ever! What do I mean by big? Allow me to explain.
Wayne Pacelle, "The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them"
Thursday, January 19, 7:30 pm, Calvin College Chapel
Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, will kick things off with a public lecture on his new book, The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them. Called The Barnyard Strategist by the New York Times, Pacelle's journey as the leader of the largest animal protection organization in the United States has taken him everywhere from animal rescue operations, to demonstrations on Capitol Hill, to the sets of The Oprah Winfrey Show and The Ellen Degeneres Show. Learn more about his motivation for writing the The Bond here, and then join us on the 19th to get your autographed copy at the reception and book-signing following his lecture.
Bryant Terry, 5th Annual Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture
"Out of the Factories and Into the Fields: Cooking as Inspiration for Liberation"
Friday, January 20, 3:30 pm, Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall
Whether he's urban farming in his home city of Oakland, articulating a new politics of food activism, or dishing up greens with Martha Stewart, Bryant Terry is all about re-envisioning cooking as a powerful tool for exposing interconnected forms of human and animal oppression, and inspiring our liberation into more redemptive ways of eating and of being together around the table, around the neighborhood, and around the world. In this, his second Wake Up Weekend appearance, Bryant will bestow upon us the honor of pre-releasing his brand new book, The Inspired Vegan, due out for the rest of the world on January 24. Meet Bryant and get your signed copy hot off the press at a reception following the address that will also feature catered appetizers from the book.
Nathan Runkle, "Inspiring Compassion: Putting Our Ethics on the Table"
Saturday, January 21, 3:00 pm, 106 Gallery, 106 South Division, Grand Rapids
When I was 15, I was mostly chewing gum, lifting weights, and listening to hair metal. When Nathan Runkle was 15, he founded Mercy For Animals, thereby laying the groundwork for what has become, a decade later, the premiere boots-on-the-ground animal advocacy organization in America. When it comes to exposing the injustices that animals undergo in modern food systems, Mercy For Animals is in a league of its own. Heard about that Norco Ranch investigation that helped to seal a landslide victory for Proposition 2 in California? MFA. How about the investigation of Sparbo Farms that recently resulted in McDonald's and Target dropping their main egg suppliers? Also MFA. When he's not appearing on CNN, Nathan and his organization are behind the scenes investigating cruelty and mobilizing the resulting footage into award-winning documentary films such as Fowl Play and Farm to Fridge that are changing the way the next generation thinks about, buys, and eats food.
A Weekend With All the Fixins'
And of course, we'll set off all of the above with the usual array of Wake Up Weekend fineries: a vegan potluck on Friday night, a vegan brunch on Saturday morning, an amazing art exhibition (titled KINSHIP curated by Brett Colley and featuring work by Adam Wolpa) and the VEGAN CHILI COOK-OFF on Saturday evening, and benefit show on Saturday night! Stay tuned for the official poster and schedule detailing the whole nine yards COMING SOON! As ever, all of these terrific community events--with the exception of the Saturday brunch ($12)--are free and open to the public! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2012!
A Feast For the Mind, Heart, and Stomach with a Great American Activist!
Paul Shapiro is on the vanguard of the American animal protection movement. When Paul talks about animals and food, people listen. From members of the food industry, to journalists and social critics who write about it, to animal advocates seeking to reform it, all parties to the discussion are playing close attention to Paul Shapiro.
Paul's talk, "Blessed Are the Meek: Showing Mercy to All Creation", will address the prominent role played by the standard American diet in exacerbating various moral and practical problems for human beings, animals, and the environment, and then go on to suggest that a commitment to more intentional eating practices can be a powerful tool for people of faith who wish to seek justice, love mercy, and tread a bit more lightly on the planet. Wherever one may stand on matters religious, all animal advocates have a vested interest in being able to understand and communicate with audiences of faith, so coming out to hear what Paul has to say is in everyone's best interest!
Please join us for a Vegan Thanksgiving Potluck immediately following the talk. This potluck is the perfect opportunity for those unfamiliar with the diversity, beauty, and deliciousness of plant-based cuisine to enjoy a very pleasant surprise! The hope is that anyone and everyone who loves a good old fashioned holiday feed will join the fun! If you cook, please consider showing off your talents by bringing a dish to share. Also, please bring your own table service to help us decrease our carbon footprint.
To learn more about the speaker, visit the websites for the Calvin Center for Christian Scholarship or the Humane Society of the United States. For inspiration on what to bring to the potluck, visit ChooseVeg.com or VegKitchen.com. Hope to see you on Monday!
Mushroom Carpaccio served on a Himalayan Salt Block
I've known for years that Chef Kevin Dunn is a vegan culinary genius, but virtually every time I experience his chops at The Heritage Restaurant, a student-run fine-dining establishment under his direction in the nationally renowned Secchia Institute for Culinary Education at Grand Rapids Community College, I walk away astounded. If you haven't been to The Heritage in awhile or--gasp!--ever, there's no better time than the present! Make a reservation during Restaurant Week and get a three-course vegan meal for $25.
Onion Tarte Tatin
Black Bean Soup
Vegan Bibimbop with a Mango "Yolk"
Rice Pudding with Cranberry Sorbet
A Hero's Welcome, Please, For This Tasty White Bean and Barley Burger!
There's a new vegan burger in town to put alongside the best vegan hotdogs in America. After months of meticulous research and test-kitchening, Jonny B'z Dogs and More Chef Matt Bendle has created--completely from scratch--a delicious and truly unique white bean and barley based patty (chock full of other fresh whole foods) that can be piled high with all your favorite Jonny B'z veg toppings. Keep it light with lettuce, pickle, tomato, ketchup, and a little Amish relish, or fatten it up with fried onions and barbecue sauce. Whatever you do, get there soon so that your suggestions can be incorporated into the evolution of another signature Grand Rapids vegan staple!
Just two days left to claim your Bartertown Kickstarter prize package!
With a successful kickstart in the bag, several packed-out private events under their belt, an impressive soft-opening behind them, and a series of free vegan cooking classes already underway, Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes is just days away from being open to the public. It's also just days away--two days, in fact--from closing out its kickstarter effort, which means that all those incredible incentives and prizes offered in return for your early support of the restaurant are going away too! Remember: $10,000 was the minimum amount that had to be raised for funding to take place, and while that minimum goal has been met, we are still free--for the next two days--to put our money where our mouths are and cash in on those limited-edition rewards. Feast your eyes on what your support can help to make possible in our fair city:
Support Local Fellowship and Global Justice By Eating Vegan Baked Goods!
I realize it's a lot to ask. To be sure, being the change you want to see in the world by eating lemon ginger lace cookies, orange cranberry scones, sweet potato chocolate chip muffins, coconut heaven cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, and raw chocolate truffles (among other culinary hardships) demands significant self-sacrifice. Nonetheless, the good folks at Square Inch Community would have us kick our selfish interests to the curb and support them in a new initiative--The Ready Table--designed to help Square Inch members, their friends and family, and anyone else who is interested to learn various lost arts of living that enhance fellowship in our communities and help us to live more intentional, compassionate, sustainable, and just lives as individuals and families.
Cooking, Baking, Canning, Fermenting, Dehydrating, and Sewing with a Purpose
Local artist, blogger, and Ready Table coordinator Erika Jane describes the project as follows:
"When our church was transitioning from meeting in our pastor's home to meeting in a larger shared community space we had many discussions about what we wanted our church to be. One common hope was to keep the feeling of family and home even though the meeting space would no longer be an actual home. The solution we have come up with is to have monthly workshops where we make things together that are typically made with family at home. We are naming this project The Ready Table. There is significance to engaging intentionally in DIY practice within a contemporary convenience culture, where anything you could ever want is on roll-out at Walmart. Educating and instructing each other, we can work together towards more simple living, in hopes of bringing Shalom."
Place your order by Wednesday, June 22 for pick-up on Sunday, June 26!
The intent of the vegan bake sale is to raise awareness of The Ready Table initiative, as well as funds to put on its free community workshops, the first of which--a vegan baking class led by Erika Jane, Marie Dershem, and Susan Halteman--is scheduled for later this month. In addition, 25% of the bake sale proceeds will support the efforts of sixth-grade Square Incher Hannah Dershem and her friends to raise money for GirlUp!, a United Nations Foundation program that seeks to ameliorate the lives of adolescent girls living in underserved or high-risk communities around the world. Presuming you're ready to stuff your face for justice (or even just for the love of baked goods that rule!), fill out the following order form by June 22 (or click here if your browser doesn't like the embedded version). Happy eating!
This Weekend! Green Cuisine on the Silver Screen at the Star Theater!
Starting this Friday, June 17, the acclaimed documentary film Forks Over Knives will be in town for a short run at the Star Theater. Peruse show times, purchase your tickets in advance, and give that omnivorous friend or family member the gift of potentially life-saving insight into the plentiful benefits of plant-based eating. Curious about the pros and cons of the film's approach? Check out these reviews by Roger Ebert and the author of a blog called Let Them Eat Meat. We're all for hearing both sides of the story here. And lest we stand accused of ignoring the off-point ranting of overrated hacks who can't imagine life without cheeseburgers, here's Rex Reed's take on the film.
Put your money where your mouth is so we can start eating!
If you're as excited as I am about the massive influx of vegan cuisine, creativity, education, and excitement that the opening of Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes will bring to the world, then please do your part to kickstart Bartertown. While giving to a good cause is its own reward, in this case you needn't even be an altruist, as there are some amazing returns on your investment: from limited edition postcards, t-shirts, and aprons, to the opportunity to name menu items, to custom catered in-home dinner parties and events, to your face painted into the mural, every pledge level entitles you to a piece of Bartertown history along with the bragging rights that come with being a Bartertown Backer.
Something for everyone!
If you're feeling especially generous, there's even a box to click to pledge your support with no strings attached so that our friends can reinvest the totality of your gift in the business. And even if you can't pledge any financial support at present, you can still be an important part of the team by pledging solidarity on their Facebook page and spreading the good word to your supportive friends and family! Don't miss this opportunity to help Grand Rapids take a GIANT LEAP toward our goal of becoming the vegan capital of the midwest! Stay tuned to extraVEGANza! for exclusive sneak-peeks of mural progress, menu development, and--of course--drool-inducing photos of Bartertown fare.
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words! (Again!)
With a combined event attendance of over 700 people, this year's festivities were the biggest and best ever! Have some ideas about what you'd like to see on the program in 2012? Tell us! In the meanwhile, be sure to keep up that agitation for the animals by getting involved with terrific organizations like Farm Kind, Grand Rapids for Animals, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, Sasha Farm, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegWestMichigan. And keep up that vegan stamina by eating your veggies at Bartertown and Brick Road Pizza! Afraid that you missed the chance to score an official, handprinted Wake Up Weekend 2011 Program and Commemorative Poster (see, respectively, below and above)? Fear not! Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we'll send you one wherever you are for just $5.00 (postage included).
WAKE UP WEEKEND 2011--MARCH 10-12, GRAND RAPIDS, MI
All events are free and open to the public (excluding the optional vegan buffet at Brick Road Pizza on Saturday morning ($11.00) and the Adoption Benefit Show on Saturday evening ($6.00). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to email@example.com.
Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, Brick Road Pizza, Calvin College Students for Compassionate Living, ExtraVEGANza!, Farm Kind, Humane Society of GVSU, Not One Sparrow, VegWestMichigan, and VegFund.
Some 20 years ago, "feminist-vegetarian critical theory" was born in the groundbreaking publication of Carol J. Adams's The Sexual Politics of Meat. Adams's thesis is that meat-eating is a central symbol of the patriarchy, and that we can't dismantle harmful systems of male domination until we recognize the link between how women are objectified and (visually) consumed and how animals are objectified and (literally) consumed. Adams's powerful multi-media presentation is the result of two decades of her continued work mapping the interdisciplinary terrain opened by this provocative thesis across the fields of theology, philosophy, visual culture, literary theory, psychology, eco-feminism, and social work in domestic violence education and prevention.
Join the Founder and Executive Director of Mercy For Animals--one of the nation's most influential animal advocacy organizations--for a workshop on how our current food system affects the interests of our fellow non-human creatures, and how our food choices can become powerful tools for cultivating the virtues of compassion, mercy, and good stewardship.
At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum, Post Punk Kitchen, and ChooseVeg never disappoint.
**Please help us to reduce our ecological footprint by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.
7:30 pm--Carol J. Adams, Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series***
Fourth Annual Address: "Anthropomorphism: The Christian Double Standard"
Covenant Fine Arts Center Recital Hall, Calvin College
A vegan reception and book signing follows the lecture.
Anthropomorphism, roughly speaking, is the ascription of human-like traits to non-human beings. How does anthropomorphism figure into human attitudes and actions toward God, animals, and even other human beings? What are the potential risks and rewards of anthropomorphizing others and what recourse do Christians have upon acknowledging these prospects for re-imagining and deepening their relationships with God, human beings, and other animals? Come follow Carol J. Adams on a trailblazing journey through these and other fascinating related questions in a brand new presentation commissioned especially for this event!
***The Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series is an independent event established by a friend of Calvin College and supported this year by additional help from Calvin College Gender Studies and The Office of Multicultural Affairs. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly permitted us to include Adams' lecture on our program.
Join Harold Brown, President of FarmKind and star of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home, for a state-of-the-field discussion of recent developments in veganic agriculture--the practice of organic farming without the use of animals and their byproducts or the killing of free-living animals who reside on or around the farm.
11:30 am--Vegan Brunch
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
A vegan buffet of Brick Road brunch favorites: all you can eat for $11.00 (kids half price!). Need I say more?
While many Christians are increasingly hospitable to the idea that environmental stewardship or "creation care" is an important aspect of Christian living, comparatively few have investigated the implications of that idea for their attitudes toward and practices concerning the non-human animal creatures with whom we share the Earth. Join Ben DeVries, founder of the web-based animal welfare organization Not One Sparrow: A Christian Voice for Animals, to learn more about why authentic "creation care" demands a serious commitment to "creature care".
5:00 pm--Fifth Annual Vegan Chili Cookoff
Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes, 6 Jefferson, Grand Rapids
In addition to the chili-time magic you've come to expect from you and your peers' relentless pursuit of the perfect vegan chili, this year's highly-anticipated cookoff will also feature eats and sweets compassionately crafted by our hosts--the good folks at Bartertown Diner and Roc's Cakes. This event is open to the public and the privilege of tasting chilis and sampling Bartertown's wares is completely free of charge. But if you want a shot at the bragging rights, there is an entry fee of $10 per chili payable at the event. As if you need any further incentive, first prize is $50 in Bartertown Bucks, a Guest Chef Internship at Bartertown, your chili on the menu, and a limited edition t-shirt. There will also be prizes for 2nd and 3rd place as well as for the coveted Chili-time People's Choice Award.
If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org at your earliest convenience. In a pinch, you slackers out there can still register a chili on the day of the event, but it will greatly help our planning to know your intentions in advance. Please plan to have your chili on site and ready to eat by 4:30 pm.
8:00 pm--Adoption Benefit Show
featuring Damned Dogs, Radiator Hospital, and Royl Space
(106), 106 South Division, Grand Rapids
Your $6.00 admission gets you three musical acts for one great cause: our goal is to raise $420 to cover a year's room and board at Sasha Farm for Moose, a former veal calf who will be relocating to the sanctuary later this month. Read all about it at our Adoption Benefit Show event page.
Questions? Need more information? Drop a line to email@example.com! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2011!
Stuff Your Face for a Good Cause on Sunday, February 20!
Remember how much fun we had at Brick Road Pizza during last year's Wake Up Weekend festivities? Well, they're looking forward to having us back again this year, and to help us put on a good show, they're hosting a fundraiser for us this coming Sunday, February 20, 2011 from 11 am to 2 pm. Your $11.00 admission (kids half price!) gets you an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet as well as a euphoric altruism-induced buzz from the knowledge that 25% of the proceeds will go to help us pull off one of the most ambitious Wake Up Weekends ever, including two evening lectures by feminist vegan legend Carol J. Adams, workshops on animal rights activism (Nathan Runkle), veganic agriculture (Harold Brown), and religious animal welfare advocacy (Ben DeVries), and a vegan chili cook-off hosted by our new friends at Bartertown--Grand Rapids' brand spankin' new vegan diner and cakeshop. Wake Up Weekend kicks off on March 10 (stay tuned for further details and a full program), but please join us on Sunday to get the ball rolling!
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is for GR's Newest Vegan Entrepreneurs
Another vegan coup is unfolding right here in little ol' GR. Local chef, filmmaker, record producer, and now vegan entrepreneur Ryan Cappelletti is opening Bartertown and ROC's Cakes--a worker owned, vegi-vegan-raw diner and cakeshop located at 6 Jefferson Street in Grand Rapids. If you're as excited as I am about this incredible development, please show your love by coming out to a Bartertown benefit on Monday, February 21st at the Wealthy Street Theater at 8pm. In addition to the singular opportunity to support an amazing new venue in our fair city, your contribution of $5.00 includes admission to a screening of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (the film that inspired the name "Bartertown"). Your contribution of $10.00 buys admission to the movie plus $5.00 in Bartertown Bucks to spend at the diner. Limited edition tees and other ground-level merch will be for sale as well. Mark your calendars and see you there!
Rosemary and Fennel Sausage with Bell Peppers and Puttanesca
It's Vegan Pizza Day, so needless to say the extraVEGANza! crew was busy. Since vegan pizza speaks for its damnself, I'm just going to step aside and flaunt the grip. Many thanks to Splinters and Noodles for cooking up and sharing these incredible pies!
Pesto Potato with Kale and Daiya Mozarella
Bananas Foster with Chocolate Ganache and Walnuts
Vegan Caesar a la Moles
Vegan Frozen Pizza and Other Reasons to Revel in the Arrival of 2011!
If the advent of Tofurky Pepperoni Pizza isn't a reason to celebrate the new year, I don't know what is. But there are plenty of other reasons too. For instance, the weather should be a bit better than usual for this year's Wake Up Weekend, which we've moved to March 10-12 to accommodate the schedule of our headline speaker, Carol J. Adams. (Learn more by reading all about her recent presentations at Harvard, Stanford, and Berkeley, or check out this old extraVEGANza! write-up on her groundbreaking vegan feminism. We're hoping to have Harold Brown in town as well for a screening of Peaceable Kingdom: The Journey Home". Stay tuned for further details!
Better get your prep on with this helpful instructional video!
After surviving the obligatory onslaught of bizarre hypothetical questions about what she would do if she lived on a remote jungle island, or was offered a hamburger by a cancer-ravaged uncle in his final act of hospitality, etc, our hero manages to turn the tide and convert her inquisitor into an eager proponent of the abolitionist approach. Optimistic? Maybe. But who couldn't use a little optimism on Thanksgiving?
Sunday! Get Your Place in Line to Benefit Sasha Farm!
From 11am to 3pm this Sunday, November 14, Brick Road Pizza Company will host an all-you-can-eat vegan Thanksgiving buffet to benefit Sasha Farm, Michigan's largest sanctuary for rescued farm animals. Admission is $12; kids 12 and under are free! For more information on the event or if you have any questions, simply click here to read all about it. Hope to see you on Sunday!
Stoke your Hope at Merry Lea's Autumn Conference on Climate Change
Mark your calendars for September 17-19, check out the conference program, read up on the presenters, and get your registration on file for a stimulating weekend of fieldwork and reflective discussion on the beautiful grounds of Goshen College's Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center in Wolf Lake, IN. Questions? Contact Jennifer Halteman Schrock, Coordinator of Public Programs. For more information on Mennonite efforts to work toward a more sustainable world, check out Mennonite Creation Care Network.
Thursdays Through October: Farm Fresh Produce at 1905 Madison SE (near Burton)
If you attended Bryant Terry's unforgettable cooking demo at Wake Up Weekend 2010, you're already aware of the problem of urban food deserts--places in the city where lack of access to fresh, affordable, healthful food threatens the well-being of the people who live there. Thanks to a partnership between the Kent County Health Department and the Greater Grand Rapids Food Systems Council, there's a new food oasis in town where fresh, locally-grown produce from regional farms and community gardens are available and EBT-Bridge Cards are accepted for payment. To become a vendor or to learn more about the market, contact Yvonne or Christy with your questions. Don't miss this important opportunity to help make widespread food autonomy a reality in our community!
Making All Your Comforting Favorites One By One
Inspired by the recent film Julie & Julia, Annie and Dan Shannon set out to veganize every recipe in the fabled Betty Crocker Cookbook. Follow their epic journey of veggie transformation from Cornbread and Bacon Stuffed Porkchops to Bacon Cheeseburger Hash and beyond at Meet the Shannons. All I can say is that Harvest Health better stock up on the Fakin' Bacon.
...the occasional Slurpee might work in a pinch.
For years, I've been dreaming of the day when vegan soft serve comes to Grand Rapids. There's nothing in the world like pulling that lever and watching that creamy vegan goodness wend its way into the cone or cup like a coil of frozen rope! Eating it isn't so bad either. For now, alas, vegan Grand Rapidians must take other measures, such as crafting our own alternatives at home (The Vegan Scoop: 150 Recipes for Dairy Free Ice Cream that Tastes Better Than The Real Thing can help with that), or scouring the streets of our fair city for free Slurpees on that one day in July when childhood dreams come true. According to The Chicago Rabbinical Council, the vast majority of Slurpee flavors are kosher and vegan, but you'll still want to choose wisely, as some of the "Yo-creme" flavors contain dairy (we didn't see any such flavors on our trek, but maybe they're out there). In any case, occasional use is probably the best bet, since high fructose corn syrup isn't exactly power food. Except on July 11, of course.
With New-England-style buns and fixins' galore, Jonny'z always on my mind!
Prepare to crave these hotdogs. If you've already been to Jonny B'z Dogs and More, then you know exactly what I mean; the merest recollection that these dogs are readily available just minutes away is enough to get me out the door at almost any time of day (until 2:00 am Thursday-Saturday, even!).
Dine-In or Carry Out
For those who fancy eating in, there's a spacious dining room tricked out in hotdog hues and adorned with flatscreens to facilitate watching those Tigers while you clean up the junkyard. We prefer to take these puppies out for some guerrilla doggin' in the streets, at the park, on a friend's porch, or in front of the telly, tee-vee-dinner-style. One time we even snuck them onto the patio for a nightcap at The Winchester (the kitchen was closed and it was after 'last call', okay?).
"Do-It-Yourself": Assembling The Vegan Junkyard Jonny
Here's how it works: Jonny B puts a jumbo vegan dog into a fresh-grilled New-England-style bun and then you tell him how to stack it up (anyway you want it!) for one low price of $3.39 per dog. My jam is to double-down on the Vegan Junkyard Jonny with catsup, mustard, onions, pickles, tomatoes, lettuce, kraut, housemade Amish relish, sport peppers, haystack onions, and--new this week--Jonny's veg chili, concocted by special request to answer the call of his vegan die-hards for the perfect chili-dog! Set that GPS to 638 Wealthy Street SE without delay, and we'll see you at Jonny B'z!
Gut-Busting Vegan Eats. 200 Whiskeys. Authenticity Galore. Welcome to Stella's.
The good folks who brought us HopCat have done it again, this time with with a fist in the air for GR's ever-burgeoning vegan community. If the idea of getting your veg grub on at a punk-themed whiskey bar sounds strange, rest assured that your gustatory satisfaction is in very good hands at Stella's Lounge. General Manager Garry Boyd is the brew guru who took HopCat from zero to 3rd Best Beer Bar on Planet Earth in just over a year. And Chef Ryan Cappelletti is the creative juggernaut who helped to design essential elements of the original vegan menu at Brick Road Pizza, and who is as at home producing punk and hardcore records and directing documentary films on local Michigan beer culture as he is slinging wings and the best double-decker lentil burgers you've ever failed to get your mouth around.
Chef Ryan Cappelletti with the Inimitable "Hellbent for Lentils" Burger
Authenticity is in the details, and Chef Ryan is all about the little things. When you notice, for instance, that the 85% vegan menu boasts items from Little Rooster Bread Company, a local artisan bakery on the grounds of Lubbers Family Farm just outside Grand Rapids, you may think to yourself: "Wait a minute--I've checked the label and it isn't vegan!" Well, Ryan solved that problem by commissioning custom vegan buns that are made exclusively for the hot dogs at Stella's. Other notable details include murals by local artist Erwin Erkfitz, a seemingly omniscient jukebox, and a small arcade featuring two pinball machines and a half dozen upright video cabinets retrofitted to play over 100 classic games for a quarter a turn. Zaxxon anyone? Maybe Congo Bongo?
Not Just a Bar, but a Lunch and Dinner Destination
Skeptical? If you can scroll through the following without abandoning whatever you are doing and proceeding directly to the alley behind 53 Commerce, you've got a lot more will power than I do.
Blessed Black Wings (Vegan Chicken Wings)
Refuse/Resist (Vegan French Toast and Eggs)
Jigsore Quandary (Vegan Corned Beef)
For Whom the Dog Tolls (Vegan Dog) [blogger's note: best hot dog ever]
Hellbent for Lentils (Vegan Burger)
View from the Arcade
Hope to see you at Stella's ASAP! Let's show our new friends on the alley how much we appreciate the special treatment! Check out the full menu if you need further motivation.
Want to Learn to Grow Produce Sustainably and Get College Credit?
Have I got the program for you! Agroecology, with its emphasis on biological systems, is an important part of the growing effort to make human activities compatible with natural ecosystems. The Agroecology Summer Intensive at Merry Lea consists of four academic courses along with practical and experiential components. Students study Soil Properties and Management, Vegetable Crops, Agroecology and Small Farm Management and Produce Marketing. They may earn either 6 transferable undergraduate credits in 41/2 weeks or 12 credits in 9 weeks.
Students live on site at Merry Lea's Platinum LEED Certified Reith Village.
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is owned and operated by Goshen College, Goshen, IN, a Mennonite Christian liberal arts college in northern Indiana. Students live on site at Merry Lea's Rieth Village, a field station that has earned the platinum LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The setting provides an outstanding laboratory where lectures, fieldwork and daily living are closely allied. Intrigued? Check out the program brochure or peruse these FAQs. Convinced? Fill out an application!
Uncomplicated Chili Con Tempeh Will Keep You Warm in the Winter.
Admit it. You've been imagining that alternative possible world in which Bryant Terry showed up to compete in the Wake Up Weekend chili cook-off rather than judge it. Those of you who took home the ribbons had better be grateful that this possible world didn't obtain, because his Uncomplicated Chili Con Tempeh might well have swept all categories. The recipe says 6-8 servings, but Bryant must know some folks with big appetites, because we'll be basking in chili heaven--breakfast, lunch, and dinner--for the next several days! Make this recipe now and fill those tupperware containers for the week!
A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words!
What do activists, artists, chili cook-offs, community organizers, eco-chefs, panel discussions, philosophers, potlucks, restauranteurs, town hall meetings, and a combined event total of over 600 participants have in common? Wake Up Weekend, that's what! Thanks for helping to make 2010 our most successful year to date! Have some ideas about what you'd like to see happen in 2011? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meanwhile, see if you can locate your smiling face among the crowds!
In Just One Week, A New Champion Will Be Crowned!
If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to email@example.com ASAP and tell us: (1) your name, (2) contact number, (3) e-mail, (4) recipe name and (5) recipe description (optional).You may register on-site at the event as well, but it would help us in our planning to have some idea of how many entries there will be. Last year's festivities drew a record-shattering 28 chili entries--Can we raise the bar to 30 this year? Not without YOUR help!
The showdown begins at 7 pm sharp on Saturday, January 23, 2010 at the gallery at 106 South Division, Grand Rapids, MI. If you have a crockpot or some alternate means of keeping your chili warm throughout the competition, we encourage you to use it. Please arrive no later than 6:30 so that we can have your chili ready to serve promptly at 7:00 pm.
Can't Contribute a Chili?
That's okay! There are plenty of other ways to participate. We'll need people to bring soft drinks, chips and dips, and other finger foods to supplement the chilis, as well as extra bowls, plates, cups and utensils to share with those who forget to bring their own.If you can help in any of these ways, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
Get Smart: Sample 12 Chilis at a Time
Several attendees at last year's event had the wherewithal to think ahead about how to maximize their chili-tasting prospects. Their solution? Bring a muffin tin!
WAKE UP WEEKEND 2010--JANUARY 22 & 23, GRAND RAPIDS, MI
*All events are free and open to the public (excluding the optional vegan soul food buffet after Bryant Terry's cooking demo; the buffet is just $10.00 per person at the door). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to email@example.com.
Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, Brick Road Pizza Company, Christian Vegetarian Association of West Michigan, DAAC, ExtraVEGANza!, G-Rad, Not One Sparrow, OrganicAthlete of Grand Rapids, Students for Compassionate Living, and VegWestMichigan.
Stay on the cutting edge of the movement by learning from the people who are making it happen. From rights to welfare, from religion to art to politics, from veganic agriculture to urban gardening to Proposition 2, our panelists know the score. Join us for this workshop and you will too!
Harold Brown (Farm Kind, Hector, NY)
Brett Colley (Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI)
Ben DeVries (Not One Sparrow, Kenosha, WI)
Lisa Oliver-King (Our Kitchen Table, Grand Rapids, MI)
Paul Shapiro (Humane Society of the United States)
At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum and Post Punk Kitchen never disappoint.
***Please help us to reduce our ecological footprint by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware*** and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.
"Animal Sacrifices", Dr. John E. Hare, Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University.
*The Animals and the Kingdom of God Lecture Series is an independent event established by a friend of Calvin College. Since the lecture is free and open to the public and likely to be of interest to Wake Up Weekend participants, the College has kindly allowed us to include Professor Hare's address on our schedule.
SATURDAY, JANUARY 23, 2009
11:00 am--Bryant Terry's Vegan Soul Kitchen
Brick Road Pizza Company, 1017 Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids
Why read about him in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, or Mother Jones Magazine, when you can hang with Bryant Terry in person right here in Grand Rapids, get some expert instruction on how to battle the social ills of structural racism and food insecurity by eating more sustainably and compassionately, and then stick around for an optional $10 all-you-can-eat buffet custom designed for the event by Bryant himself. Copies of Vegan Soul Kitchen will be available for purchase on site! Already have it? Bring it along and turn it into an autographed copy!
*Bryant's visit is generously sponsored by the Calvin College Office of Multicultural Affairs, Student Activities Office, the departments of Art and Art History, Biology, and Philosophy, Students for Compassionate Living, and our friends at Brick Road Pizza Company.
2:30 pm--Lecture: "Justice for Animals: What May We Hope?"
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
3:30 pm--Town Hall Meeting: Just Eating--Making a Difference in YOUR TOWN, USA
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
Join our panel of activists, professors and friends for an open discussion on approaches to transforming local food systems in cities such as Grand Rapids, MI, Ithaca, NY, Washington, D.C., and others.
5:30 pm--Opening Reception: Named and Nameless
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
An exhibition featuring the work of Sue Coe, Brett Colley, Kate Daughdrill, Erika Jane, and Adam Wolpa. This exhibition deals with the complicated relationship between human and non-human animals, exploring industrialized farming practices, domestic companionship, and entertainment through the lens of global and local consumption and visual culture. Named and Nameless addresses the construction of societal belief structures and values, and seeks to uncover paths to justice and peace within this manufactured environment.
5:30 pm--Open Studio: The Artist is the Human is the Animal*
Division Avenue Arts Collective, 115 S. Division, Grand Rapids.
An exhibition featuring the work of Rebecca Green, Justin Kellner, Molly Pettengill, and Cory Scneider. All proceeds from sales of artworks will benefit Farm Sanctuary.*
*Please note that the opening reception for this event is on January 15, 2010. Doors open at 6:00 pm with a screening of Earthlings following at 7:00 pm. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided by Brick Road Pizza Company.
7:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-Off
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
You know the drill on this one: Best. Vegan. Chili. Ever. (Made by YOU, if you've got the guts to compete, anyway.) All the traditional categories will be back, along with a brand new CHEF'S CHOICE honor awarded by celebrity guest judge BRYANT TERRY!
*If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP to request a registration form. Last year's festivities drew a record-shattering 28 chili entries--CAN WE RAISE THE BAR TO 30 THIS YEAR? NOT WITHOUT YOUR HELP!
9:30 pm--Film Screening: Fowl Play--The Untold Story Behind Your Breakfast*
Division Avenue Arts Collective, 115 S. Division, Grand Rapids.
Since the exclusive premiere of the original version of Fowl Play at Wake Up Weekend 2008, the film has won multiple awards on the festival circuit. Come check out the critically acclaimed latest version.
Questions? Need more information? Drop a line to email@example.com! See you at Wake Up Weekend 2010!
Mark Your Calendars: January 22-23, 2010 in Grand Rapids, MI!
It's that time of year again, when wistful memories of 2007, 2008, and 2009 conjure great expectations of good times yet to come! Good times such as, for instance, taking pointers on how to get your Vegan Soul Kitchen up and running from eco-chef and bestselling cookbook author Bryant Terry, or getting the inside scoop on recent animal protection legislation from HSUS überActivist Paul Shapiro, or learning about veganic agriculture from abolitionist icon Harold Brown of Farm Kind. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. You've come to expect speakers galore, vegan eats in abundance, artworks o'plenty, and--of course--the opportunity to compete for bragging rights in the battle royale of vegan chili cook-offs. We're going to bring it all, and then some, so set the dates aside and let's get ready to rumble! Stay tuned for the full schedule coming soon!
Traveling for the Holidays? Plan Your Vegan Takeover Before You Depart!
Just type the name of the city or the address you'll be visiting and let VegGuide do the rest. You can search reviews of almost 10,000 veg-friendly restaurants worldwide, from North America to Europe to Africa to Australia. We have our friends at Compassionate Action For Animals and Mercy For Animals to thank for this fantastic collaborative effort, so click that "Donate" link to express your appreciation!
TONIGHT! The Truth About Food (FOR FREE!) in a Neighborhood Near You!
Doors open at 6PM and the reel gets rolling at 6:30. There will be information tables to browse and a question-and-answer discussion after the show. This event is sponsored by Aquinas College's Students Striving for Sustainability, WMCO-OP, and Slow Food West Michigan. Why not make it an evening to remember by visiting Brick Road for some vegan pizza before the show, and The Meanwhile for a local pitcher and some post-film discussion?
HBO Star Has Big Love for Turkeys. You Should Too!
As Thanksgiving draws nearer, it's time to start thinking about how to get our should-have-been national bird the widespread public respect she deserves. What better way to do so than to join Ginnifer Goodwin and Farm Sanctuary in celebrating this noble bird through participation in the 2009 Adopt-a-Turkey Program? This year's adoptees are an especially winsome bunch, and your one-time donation of $25.00 gets you or the recipient of your gift of compassion an adoption certificate and a full color photo of your adoptee. Who will it be? Bubbles, Gideon, Mello, Olive, Rhonda, or Hawthorn? For a gift of just $150, you can sponsor the whole flock! On our last Thanksgiving in the Windy Cindy, we sponsored a turkey called Whisper whose photo adorned our table while we feasted on bird-free vegan vittles from The Chicago Diner. Three cheers for new and better traditions!
A Concerned Parent on a Moral Quest to Feed His Child Right
Readers of good fiction (especially good fiction written by youngish, controversialish authors) have likely dipped into one or both of Jonathan Safran Foer's celebrated novels, Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Given that the protagonist of this latter book is a winsomely presented child vegan, it is not altogether shocking that Safran Foer has turned his talents more explicitly and non-fictionally to the question of the moral implications of Eating Animals. The conceit? He is now a concerned parent, and the prospect of his failure to provide a compelling moral example for his son is looming ever larger. Curious? You can get an early glimpse of the first chapter of the book (due out tomorrow) in Safran Foer's recent New York Times article.
Farm Sanctuary's Gene Baur Will Be There! How About YOU?
Friend of extraVEGANza! Annie Smolinski has done us a great service and organized the first ever Farm Sanctuary Walk for Farm Animals right here in Grand Rapids! As if the opportunity to raise funds for this important cause weren't motivation enough, Annie has gone the distance to secure both an in-person appearance from Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder Gene Baur (who will walk with us on the 1.5 mile tour of East Hills and Eastown) AND an optional all-you-can-eat vegan buffet at Brick Road Pizza after the event! You've seen Gene in Peaceable Kingdom, read about him in The New York Times, and watched him on Larry King Live--now it's time to join him on a late summer stroll through a couple of your favorite neighborhoods in our fair city, gorge on some vegan pizza, and show Gene that we Grand Rapidians are prepared to walk what we talk about animal compassion!
Mark Your Calendars and Register Now!
DATE: Sunday, September 20, 2009
TIME: Registration 12:30 pm, WALK at 1:00 pm
PLACE: Brick Road Pizza Parking Lot (Behind 1017 Wealthy SE)
HOW TO REGISTER OR DONATE: Go to Farm Sanctuary's Firstgiving Webpage and click on "register for an event" or "donate to a friend's page". Grand Rapids' registration site is on page three, and your $15.00 registration fee includes a t-shirt if you register before September 13!
AFTER THE WALK: Meet and greet Gene, who will talk to us about Farm Sanctuary's efforts on behalf of animals, and stay for an optional vegan buffet at which we'll school him in the art of eating vegan wings!
QUESTIONS: Contact Annie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We've worked hard to earn our place in the animal advocacy big leagues! Now it's time to put on our game faces and git 'er done! See you on September 20!
200 Million a Year Suffer This Merciless Fate.
Mercy for Animals just released this harrowing footage of standard egg industry practices for dealing with unwanted male chicks at Hy-Line North America's hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. You can read about Hy-Line corporate headquarters' response in this article from yesterday's Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, but allow me to share the most chilling sentence: "Instantaneous euthanasia by maceration is specifically supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Federation of Animal Science Societies, Agriculture Canada, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and European Union (EU)." As long as our culture continues to suborn the treatment of animals as property, the people in the white coats will continue to assure us that there's nothing morally wrong with grinding up millions of unwanted male chicks alive. Please share this information with family and friends and encourage them to be the change they want to see in the world by boycotting eggs!
Even Time Magazine is Ready to Face the Music
With the New York Times advising us to curb the "Meat Guzzler", Foreign Policy calling meat-culture "The Slavery of Our Time", The Washington Post declaring our diets "The Meat of the Problem", and Scientific American exhorting us to put down"The Greenhouse Hamburger", I suppose it was only a matter of Time until the widest tributary of the journalistic mainstream would observe the necessity of "Getting Real About the High Price of Cheap Food".
Say Goodbye to "Cheap" Meat
Time's Bryan Walsh is not mincing words here: "We don't have the luxury of philosophizing about food. With the exhaustion of the soil, the impact of global warming and the inevitably rising price of oil -- which will affect everything from fertilizer to supermarket electricity bills -- our industrial style of food production will end sooner or later. As the developing world grows richer, hundreds of millions of people will want to shift to the same calorie-heavy, protein-rich diet that has made Americans so unhealthy -- demand for meat and poultry worldwide is set to rise 25% by 2015 -- but the earth can no longer deliver. Unless Americans radically rethink the way they grow and consume food, they face a future of eroded farmland, hollowed-out countryside, scarier germs, higher health costs -- and bland taste. Sustainable food has an élitist reputation, but each of us depends on the soil, animals and plants -- and as every farmer knows, if you don't take care of your land, it can't take care of you."
With periodicals as mainstream as Time Magazine beating the war drums this loudly, it's tempting to hope that our country's state of denial is finally starting to lift. Do your part! Share this link! Better yet, go vegan!
Ezra Klein Joins the Litany of Truth-tellers About Meat-Culture
While denial and shoulder-shrugging even among otherwise discerning people are still par for the course when it comes to reckoning with the fallout of meat-culture, it's hard to deny that the winds of change are a blowin'. They're gusting near to gale force, for instance, in this recent article from the Washington Post by celebrated progressive blogger Ezra Klein. Thanks to Amelia Hicks for the tip!
Or Treatise On Why Guilford Connecticut Is The Best Place In The World.
I absolutely love family restaurants. Diners? Even better. The problem, of course, is that most establishments of this ilk are about as vegan-friendly as a Damascus coffin handle encased in foie gras and deep fried in lard. Needless to say, we were happy as clams at high tide to find occasion to break up the drive from Philly to Chatham with an unforgettable meal at the one-of-a-kind Shoreline Diner & Vegetarian Enclave in Guilford, Connecticut.
And The Specials Are: Ribeye Steak, Swordfish, and JERK TEMPEH?!?
So you're thinking that Shoreline might not be the real article? That maybe it calls itself a diner when it's really just a hipster haven thinly-veiled with a few chrome stools? Well, allow me to quell your skepticism by using this mechanized claw to win my kid a plush stock car. Ion 9-Ball anyone?
Exhibit A: The Dessert Case
If you're still on the fence, consider this totally boss dessert case that greets one immediately upon entering, filled with such diner staples as cheesecakes, custard cups, chocolate parfaits, bear claws, and...vegan fudge cake and vegan napoleons?
Exhibit B: Hospitable Family Proprietors on the Premises
When I asked Georgette Anthis (right) what inspired her family to add vegetarian and vegan offerings to the traditional menu, she replied that "a diner is supposed to be a place where there's something for everyone, and as dietary trends have changed over the years, it became clear to us that we needed to introduce some new things if we wanted to stay the same." Beautifully stated, Georgette! We couldn't agree more!
Exhibit C: An Unforgettable Lunch!
Of course, the real proving ground is the menu. Once again, The Shoreline shines! The four members of our party each ordered something different in order to get a sense of the overall strength of the vegan options, and every single thing they served us was terrific--expertly conceived, masterfully executed, beautifully presented, and (most importantly) delectable!
Vegan 7 Bean Chili
Grilled Tofu for the Beedle
Jerk Tempeh with Saffron Rice, Pineapple, and Peppers
Did I mention the Tempeh Reuben?
Penne with Mushrooms, Sundried Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Olives
BBQ Tofu with Cole Slaw and Corn on the Cob
Vegan Triple-Decker Fudge Cake
This giant slab of heaven was particularly sublime. I would happily drive the 14 hours from Grand Rapids to Guilford to get another one, perhaps as early as next summer. If you're ever in Connecticut (or New York, for that matter), do yourself a favor hit up The Shoreline Diner. Prepare to be dazzled!
Oh No They Didn't. Oh Yes They Did.
When news of Go Max Go's new vegan candy bars reached me about half an hour ago, I felt both happy and sad. I felt happy because Snickers (Jesterz), Milky Way (Twilight), Three Musketeers (Buccaneer), and Almond Joy (Mahalo) are about the only non-vegan foods that tempt me any more. I once ate a smashed, partially unwrapped midget-sized Milky Way that I found on the floor when nobody was looking and was wracked with guilt for days. Now I can just pop a Twilight Bar instead!
I'll be able to draw these logos from memory by tomorrow morning.
The reason I felt sad is that I always suspected that I'd end up weighing 1,100 lbs and have to spend the remainder of my life on a mattress in the living room. Now that fate is virtually assured. I'm going to install a rotisserie in the living room ASAP, since I'm going to need to have these things spinning behind glass in my immediate purview at all times. These are the places in Michigan where we can get them. There's nowhere in GR on that list, so it's time to start bombarding Harvest Health with requests.
Escape to the Mediterranean on 28th Street just off the East Beltline.
The Kentwood commerce district just got a lot more vegan friendly, thanks to La Crave Cafe & Grill--a glittering gem of a restaurant that offers fresh, beautiful, healthful, delicious, and reasonably-priced Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine in a fun, ambient, hospitable setting. Their ample menu, while brimming with all the traditional omnivorous fare, nonetheless offers vegans an enormous variety of options, including up to six appetizers, five salads, two soups, several main courses and lunch specials, an extravagant vegan mezze combo for two, a variety of fresh juices and smoothies (note that some include honey), and an exotic selection of Middle Eastern coolers.
Dining on the Terrace
The decor at La Crave is nothing short of flamboyant, environing its guests in dramatic--even whimsical--murals of Mediterranean vistas accented with paintings hung in ornate golden frames. Particularly imaginative visitors might even fancy themselves dining on the set of Verdi's Otello. Famagusta is not Beirut, of course, but there is something very "opera" about the setting at La Crave; it's great fun, really. When you're there--and I do mean *when* and not *if* (and preferably sooner to later)--don't miss the opportunity to meet owner Sam Ayyad and manager Lynn Vitanovski, both of whom are extremely gracious and devoted to learning more about what their guests want to see at La Crave. You can read about them (as well as about several of the scrumptious offerings on their vegan mezze platter) in their Grand Rapids Press Review.
So what's good there, you ask?
The omnivorous critics seem to agree: just about everything! But what about the vegans? We started with a sweet, refreshing iced beverage called Jallab--a rich elixir of dates, grape molasses, and rosewater with a flotilla of pine nuts patrolling the rim. We moved on to a battery of fantastic appetizers--hommous, fattuch, baba ghanouge, tabbouli, grape leaves, and vegetarian kibbe--before wrapping it up with an an assortment of lovely, lightly grilled pita sandwiches and a generously portioned falafel lunch plate special. Everything we ordered was delicious and gorgeously presented. We've got the photos to prove it:
Vegetarian Grape Leaves
Falafel Lunch Special with Almond Rice
All in all, we had six seasoned aficionados of Mediterranean food in our party, and all concurred that La Crave serves up the very best we've tasted in town (several former Chicagoans in the crowd even compared it favorably to the Windy City's famous Sultan's Market). Blaze a trail to 2923 28th Street SE at your earliest convenience; if your experience is anything like ours, it will quickly become a beaten track!
Meat: "The Slavery of Our Day"
Jim Motavalli of Foreign Policy is the latest pundit to predict the imminent demise of meat-culture in a piece titled The Coming Vegetarian Revolution. I'll believe it when I see it, but I have to admit that even the increasing frequency of the prediction is heartening.
Now Playing on a Computer Near You: The Distinguished Speakers of WW09!
Whether you're bummed that you had to miss this year's Wake Up Weekend events, or thrilled at the prospect of re-living them, your ship has come in thanks to the hard work of the Calvin Video Network, which recently posted nicely edited footage of virtually the entire 2009 program to Vimeo.
Belgian City Goes Meatless One Day A Week
Finally, some evidence that there are at least a few public servants in the world who refuse to let denial or bondage to corporate interests cloud their judgment about the looming dangers of meat culture: "On the eve of what is being touted as an unprecedented exercise, the biggest queue in the Flemish university town of 200,000 yesterday was for signatures - to collect a bag of wholefood goodies and sign up for "Donderdag - Veggie Dag", turning the burghers of Ghent into pioneers in the fight against obesity, global warming, cruelty to animals and against the myth that meat-free eating amounts to a diet of soggy lettuce, a slice of tomato, and a foul-tasting bean burger." Three cheers for Belgium! America, you're on notice!
Another Amazing Event Brought to You By Calvin College Student Activists
Mark your calendars for this Saturday, April 25, and join Calvin College Residence Life in celebrating the Mad Farmer Food Fest from 10:00 am to 3:30 pm in the outdoor ampitheater of the Knollcrest East Apartments (see SE corner of this map) for great food, an on-campus farmers' market, and a series of fantastic workshops on eating right.
Tickets are $5.00 for adults and just $2.00 for children, and the price of admission includes lunch catered by Brick Road Pizza and Marie Catrib's, a keynote lecture on "Practicing Resurrection through Food Choice" by Karen Lubbers of Lubbers Family Farm, and breakout sessions on a variety of topics of interest to vegans, vegetarians, and omnivores alike.
Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Calvin College Box Office or onsite at the event. Peruse the full schedule of activities here and plan to make a day of it! Where else in Grand Rapids can you eat vegan pizza, support local farmers, have your face painted, participate in a vegan bread-making workshop, and learn about the ethics of eating from the good folks at places like Mixed Greens and Mud Lake Farm, all for just $5.00?Comments (2)
An Organic Vegetable Garden at the White House? Really?
"Is a Food Revolution Now In Season?" asks Andrew Martin in the Business section of Saturday's New York Times. Apparently, everyone from Michelle Obama, to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, to boar-hunting noble savage Michael Pollan, to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and Gwyneth Paltrow are on the bandwagon, but I'm afraid I'll have to see it to believe it.
Predictably, the v-word goes unmentioned, but I suppose it would be curmudgeonly not to celebrate the widespread public favor that organic produce is currently enjoying. When we applaud the slow food movement, however, let's see to it that we take care to frame compassion for animals as a central part of the story. "Sustainability" in and of itself is not enough, as some of the more prophetic voices in our movement have reminded us.Comments (1)
No Such Thing as "Sustainable" Beef, Study Shows.
A recent study conducted by German scientists confirms what common sense already clearly suggests, namely that the resource-intensive process of fattening and killing cows for food spells trouble for the environment even when it's done organically. My top two favorite quotations? I'm glad you asked: (1) "Vegans eat in a decidedly climate-friendly way" and (2) "Anyone who believes that by buying a ribeye steak from an organic store they are automatically contributing to climate protection is mistaken."
Other highlights of the article include a candid rebuke of "greening" efforts in the German government and elsewhere that continue to insulate livestock production from due environmental criticism (because of powerful lobbying interests), and an interviewee who just can't bring himself believe "that the world will come to an end because of cows burping and farting." Greed and denial--always a winsome combination! Möchten Sie es auf Deutsch lesen? Klicken Sie hier. Many thanks to Clayre for the tip on this article!Comments (2)
Join Forces With a Great New Vegan Vlog
Recent college graduate Michelle Taylor has taken her passions for clear, engaging communication and compassionate eating and channeled them into an excellent new vegan blog comprised of a series of brief video clips designed to demythologize the transition to a whole foods, plant-based diet. Check out Vegan Break and show your support for Michelle's exciting new initiative!
Watch CBS Videos Online
Heart Attack Grill Disgusting on All Fronts, But Truthful At Least
Is honesty still a laudable trait when what you're being honest about is that you're a sexist, speciesist idiot with a devil-may-care attitude toward your own health and the health of others? At Heart Attack Grill, the slogan is "A Taste Worth Dying For!" and the burgers are named the single, double, triple, and quadruple "bypass". The website brags that "Flatliner Fries" are "deep fried in pure lard," and Lucky Strike filterless cigarettes are sold at the counter. There's even a "kill a friend" marketing program that awards free meals to people who send links to the website to unsuspecting associates. Too bad willing human beings aren't the only victims of this deplorable establishment.
Better Safe Than Sorry: Please, No Peanut Ingredients in Potluck/Cook-Off Foods
Due to the nationwide salmonella outbreak that has been linked to peanuts, we are declaring Wake Up Weekend 2009 a peanut- and peanut-ingredient-free event. While it is disappointing to have to rule out so many delicious recipes in one fell swoop, I suspect we'll all be happier without the specter of a mass outbreak looming over our festivities. Apologies to Jimmy Carter, as well as to those of you who may have been planning a peanut-based contribution to our events. Luckily, the peanut-free options for tasty vegan vittles are practically limitless! Let's stay on the safe side and exploit some of those!
It's Not Too Late! Register Your Chili Now!
The Wake Up Weekend 2009 competition is heating up, but with just nine registrants so far, we're still a full five chilis shy of the high bar of fourteen contestants set back in 2007. We'd love to SMASH that record this year, and we know you've got it in you.
The showdown begins at 7 pm sharp on Saturday, January 24th, 2009 at the gallery at 106 South Division, Grand Rapids, MI. If you have a crockpot or some alternate means of keeping your chili warm throughout the competition, we encourage you to use it. Please arrive no later than 6:40 so that we can have your chili ready to serve promptly at 7:00 pm.
Please send your name, contact number, e-mail, recipe name* and recipe description** (optional) to email@example.com.
*By "Recipe Name," we simply mean the banner under which your chili will march into battle, e.g., "Vic's Veg Volcano" or "Torrid Thai Surprise."
**Like a fine wine, a well-crafted vegan chili is a complex affair. Incarnate for us the essence of your masterpiece. Particularly creative, humorous, or otherwise noteworthy descriptions may be published on ExtraVEGANza! to motivate others to compete and to attend (descriptions will be published anonymously in order to preserve the fairness of the competition). Look for a new post early on Friday with a rundown of the highlights!
Can't Contribute a Chili?
That's okay! There are plenty of other less intensive ways to participate. We'll need people to bring soft drinks, chips and dips, and other finger foods to supplement the chilis, as well as extra bowls, plates, cups and utensils to share with those who forget to bring their own. REMEMBER: To keep the Wake Up Weekend free of charge and still feed the masses, we need to count on a little help from our friends. If you can help in any of these ways, please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAKE UP WEEKEND 2009--JANUARY 23 & 24, GRAND RAPIDS, MI
*All events are free and open to the public (excluding the all-you-can-eat Saturday brunch, which is just $10.00 per person at the door). Donations to defray costs are cheerfully accepted. Questions? Write to email@example.com.
Our annual two-day celebration of animal-friendly food, art, education, and advocacy brought to you by Animals & Society Institute, Brick Road Pizza Company, ExtraVEGANza!, G-Rad, Not One Sparrow, Oven Mitt Bakery, and Students for Compassionate Living.
Stay on the cutting edge of the movement by learning from the people who are making it happen. From rights to welfare, from religion to politics, from the laws of the heart to the laws of the land, from grassroots to goliath, our nationally recognized panelists know the score. Join us for this workshop and you will too!
Harold Brown (President, Farm Kind, Hector, NY)
Ben DeVries (Founder, Not One Sparrow, Kenosha, WI)
Adam Durand (Campaign Director, Animal Rights International, Rochester, NY)
Bee Friedlander (Managing Director, Animals and Society Institute, Ann Arbor, MI)
Nathan Runkle (Executive Director, Mercy for Animals, Columbus, OH and Chicago, IL)
At an event where omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans are coming together in fellowship, a vegan bill of fare insures that everyone can enjoy what's on the menu! What's your favorite vegan recipe? Bring a dish to share and find out where others come down on this appetizing question! Need a few ideas? Vegan Yum Yum and Post Punk Kitchen never disappoint.
***Please help us to reduce waste and carbon emissions by bringing your own washable or recyclable dinnerware*** and perhaps an extra setting or two for our out-of-town guests and last-minute participants; a limited number of recyclables will be on hand for those without table service.
Two great films by two great directors, one of whom--Adam Durand--will be on hand to introduce his work and take questions after the screening. Did you know that the idea for "Fowl Play" was hatched at Wake Up Weekend 2007 and that the original first-cut of the film was edited here in Grand Rapids for our sneak preview screening at Wake Up Weekend 2008? Now in 2009, the final version has been nominated for Best Documentary in a national film festival in Hollywood, but YOU get to see it first right here in Grand Rapids. Look for special mention of Wake Up Weekend in the credits!
SATURDAY, JANUARY 24, 2009
11:00 am--Vegan Brunch at Brick Road Pizza
Tofu scramble, french toast sticks, vegan fried chikn, and all your favorite specialty pizzas and salads are on the menu at this $10.00 all-you-can-eat vegan juggernaut that Chef Ryan promises will be a day to remember! Whether you're a Wake-up-Weekender or just a hungry Grand Rapidian, come on out! Everyone is welcome!
3:00 pm--Panel: Animal Exploitation and Questions of Race and Gender
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
"Thinking and Eating at the Same Time: Reflections of a Sista Vegan"
Michelle Loyd-Paige (Dean for Multicultural Affairs, Calvin College)
"Speciesism, Sexism, and Racism: The Intertwining Oppressions"
Nekeisha Alexis-Baker (Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary; Co-Founder, Jesus Radicals)
7:00 pm--Vegan Chili Cook-Off and Print Sale Benefit
(106), 106 S. Division, Grand Rapids
You know the drill on this one: Best. Vegan. Chili. Ever. (Made by YOU, if you've got the guts to compete, anyway.) Add vegan cornbread lovingly prepared by Oven Mitt Bakery, and a print sale that puts the artwork of Wake Up Weekend within everyone's reach, and you simply can't say no! Come on out and help us raise a few dollars for our participating animal charities, and we can show the world that compassion is recession-proof!
*If you plan to enter a chili into competition, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org ASAP to request a registration form. Last year, we were a bit light on chili (and a bit heavy on chili-eaters), so let's anticipate another big turnout and get as many of you to put your culinary prowess on display as possible!
See you at Wake Up Weekend 2009!Comments (1)
As the holiday known regrettably as "turkey day" approaches, please encourage friends and family members to think before they eat. Consider recommending to your loved ones the possibility of adopting a turkey this year, and then filling up instead on some of the vegan thanksgiving delicacies described here, here, and here, among many other places.
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 email@example.com. 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.
Farm Sanctuary President and Co-Founder to Speak at Calvin, Wed 9/24
Gene Baur is undoubtedly one of the most influential animal advocates in the United States. Since co-founding the renowned Farm Sanctuary in 1986, Gene has been in the trenches fighting for the dignity of farm animals--whether that means going toe-to-toe with industry PR people on Larry King Live, testifying in local, state, and federal hearings on animal welfare laws, sharing the good news with the New York Times, or rubbing shoulders with vegan celebs to raise awareness and capital for the cause. Imagine our surprise, then, when this animal compassion juggernaut called to express his interest in opening the Michigan leg of his book tour right here in Grand Rapids!
Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
On Wednesday evening, September 24th, 2008 at 7:30 pm in Science Building 010 at Calvin College, the Students for Compassionate Living will host Gene Baur for a public lecture followed by a book signing. Please consider coming out to give Gene that unmistakable extraVEGANza! welcome and to grab your own signed copy of his new book, Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food. Don't miss this opportunity to meet and greet one of the great champions of our cause!
...Or Why I Spend Very Little Time at the Grocery Store
Here are 18 reasons to become a member of Trillium Haven Farm: Arugula, Basil, Beets, Broccoli, Carrots, Cantaloupe, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Frisee', Kale, Patty Pan Squash, Peppers, Radishes, Red Onion, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Yellow Squash, and Zucchini. Believe it or not, it tastes even better than it looks!
One Last Hurrah Before E.W. Arrives
Our families have been very generous to us on the baby shower front. My sister Megan and her husband Jeff gave birth to their second child and bought their first house less than three months ago, but that didn't stop them from opening their beautiful new home to host one last party for E.W. before the big day. My Mom and sister planned the event together, and Megan cooked, baked, sauced, and frosted a table full of mouthwatering vegan eats.
Farmers' Market Flowers
Together, Megan and I have racked up a combined total of almost 14 years of graduate study in philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. For both of us, ready access to fresh, beautiful, inexpensive flowers from the South Bend Farmers' Market has helped to sweeten the cup of sadness that is reading and dissertating on Heidegger in the Michiana area. Luckily, waxing eloquent on Heidegger's understanding of the relation between mythos and logos in Plato's philosophy is not my sister's only talent, as the following smorgasbord of animal-free comestibles clearly attests.
Succulent Summer Melon
Pesto Bruschetta with Fresh Tomato
Tofu Satay with a Trio of Dipping Sauces
(Mini) Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World!
Using Isa Chandra Moskowitz's foolproof recipe for global domination, Megan crafted 150 E.W.-sized cupcakes in delectable varieties such as Chocolate Mint, Coconut Heaven, and--Meg's specialty--Creme-filled Chocolate "Fauxstess" Cupcakes (just like the ones Mom reluctantly used to let us buy twice a year for fieldtrips to the Museum of Science and Industry, only smaller, cuter, and without the hydrogenated lard and excessive packaging; they tasted amazing, even unaccompanied by the coal mine exhibit, giant walk-through heart, and Jewel-brand "Red Pop" wrapped in tinfoil. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Meg, Jeff, Mom, and Dad for throwing the party, and to our friends and family who showered us with thoughtful gifts for E.W.! He is one lucky little hombre to have such a warm and generous community awaiting his arrival. Any day now!
Homecooked North African cuisine served up with Eritrean hospitality.
It is probably rude to begin a post by issuing an emphatic command to readers, but allow me to be blunt: if you haven't been to the Selam Store, stop what you are doing and proceed immediately to the corner of Michigan and Grand lest you be deprived for a minute longer of the culinary and cultural adventures that await you there. Uncle Juan and Splinters have been raving about this place for months, but a busy summer had thwarted my best intentions to visit until yesterday lunch. I was a fool to wait! Indeed, I was so bowled over that I rounded up Noodles and Moles and went back for dinner less than five hours later!
Update that Rolodex: 654 Michigan Street. 616-242-9089.
You're going to want these numbers on file, because at $5.50 per person for a generously portioned vegan combo of traditional Ethiopian/Eritrean stews served on injera, it's almost cheaper to go out than to cook a meal at home. And the food is just incredible; we had shiro wat, yemiser wat, gomen, vegetable aleecha, and a white lentil and garlic stew, all of which were top notch. The injera is especially exceptional. According to a friend who has ties to the local Ethiopian community, the Selam Store is regarded statewide as the source of the best, most authentic injera available; apparently, people who are in the know come from all over Michigan to get it. That won't surprise you when you taste it.
How do I love thee, Selam Store? Let me count the ways...
Delicious as it is, the food itself is just one of many exciting aspects of the Selam Store experience. It is a store, after all, where one may purchase a variety of dry goods from a quirky assortment including hand-woven Eritrean baskets (such as these), staple ingredients for North African cuisine, household items like toilet paper, detergent, and dishware, and a host of other unpredictables, such as boxes of cartoon-animal-emblazoned band-aids stacked with the candy and a towering display of off-brand cologne ("If you like Drakkar Noir, you'll love...").
A place that lives up to its name.
"Selam" means "peace" or "accord," as in what comes about when two people embrace one another with a heartfelt handshake. The store itself really embodies that spirit, from the placard hanging above the entrance to the family-style seating that makes it near to impossible to avoid befriending the other diners in your midst. Our evening meal opened into a stimulating hour-long conversation with three people we had never met before, all of whom we're now hoping to see again soon. Even when you have the place to yourself (as we did at lunch), the host and proprietor of the store--an older Eritrean gentleman--will win you over with his generous willingness to share recipes and answer questions about North African life and culture.
See you at the Selam Store!
Whether you can't find Eritrea on a map to save your life, or you're fluent in Tigrinya (one of the country's two official languages), you'll feel right at home at 654 Michigan Street. Hope to see you there!
Vegan. For the People. For the Planet. For the Animals. It's that simple.
Nonviolence United, a nonprofit NGO out of Boulder, Colorado, has done the movement a great service with this excellent 12-minute video that details the variety of pressing reasons--human, animal, and environmental--for choosing a vegan lifestyle. Instead of relying on the tired tactics of doom, gloom, shame, blame and gory images of suffering animals, the folks at NU have given us an inspiring vision of veganism as a smart, green, compassionate way to live well for ourselves, the earth, and our fellow creatures. The video embedded above is a self-contained 9-minute edit (drat, those YouTube length restrictions!), but the full version is well worth watching. Share it generously with family and friends! And don't forget to register your support with Nonviolence United for doing us all such a good turn with this positive, upbeat resource!
Fetuses Love Those Vegan Eats!
Since Vegucator Jr. refuses to imbibe anything but the very finest vegan amniotic fluid, he insisted on having his Grand Rapids shower at Restaurant Bloom and his cake catered by The Oven Mitt Bakery.
Doting Grandparents to the Rescue!
Though we were reluctant to spoil him thus at so tender an age, his generous Grandparents decided that it couldn't hurt to indulge him, so long as enough friends and family were there to teach him object lessons in the values of hospitality, fellowship, and community. (Thanks Mom and Dad McCausland!)
Almond Gazpacho With Peeled Grapes and Chives
"E.W.", as we affectionately refer to him, began with a refreshing chilled soup studded with toasted almonds, peeled grapes, and chives and drizzled with a fruity, light-bodied olive oil.
Baked Tofu with Roasted Vegetables and Soy Caramel
Preferring to keep his entree a bit more traditional, he chose a delicate baked tofu with roasted carrots and petite summer squash.
Supine Sextuplets in Baby Blue
And then it was on to a flamboyant finish, with a designer cake and cupcakes skillfully executed in Lavender Lemon by his honorary Aunties Noodles and Curly, a.k.a., The Oven Mitt Bakery (drop them a line and maybe they'll craft a custom vegan fantasy for your special event).
Pastel Teddy Platoon
E.W. requested that we express his heartfelt gratitude for all the lovely gifts, which he plans to put to very good use beginning sometime on or around August 30th. He also asked that we end this post with a sentiment beautifully expressed on his new animal themed baby dish set hand thrown and custom painted by local ceramist and friend Betsy Ratzsch.
God Bless the Animals! Amen.
Your Chance to REP VEG at a Local Pie Baking Contest
Some people say that the proof is in the pudding. However, the true gourmand knows that the proof is in the pie crust, and the TRUTH is in the VEGAN pie crust. Truthseekers, get out your rolling pins, for the day of reckoning is well nigh upon us:
There is a $15.00 entry fee for bakers, and the lazy ones among us can just show up and sample the pies for $1.00 a taste. For information on how to enter, visit the promotional page on Facebook, or contact the organizers at 616-454-7900 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Proceeds go the AmeriCorps VISTA program of the Creston Neighborhood Association.
Though this event is not officially a VEGAN Pie Bake-Off, that just makes it all the more important to get as many delectable vegan offerings on the table as possible. Curly's Deep Dish Country Apple and Karyn's Chocolate Silk with Soy Topping are pictured here to stoke your motivation. A coordinated effort from extraVEGANzers could make a real impression, as everyone would be wondering why the vegan pies were disappearing first! COMMENT NOW and share your favorite vegan pie recipe!
Convenient and Delicious
At a recent family baby shower in a city graced with a Whole Foods Market, the bill of fare for the weekend included a number of memorable offerings from the expansive Whole Foods delicatessen. My favorites were the above-pictured tofu napoleon with wilted swiss chard and roasted red pepper, as well as these items:
Artichoke Ravioli With Pinenuts
Vegan Sonoma Salad
General Tsao's Vegan "Chicken"
"Stockfree" Green Manure. All The Nutrients, None Of The Exploitation.
The Associated Press recently published this fascinating article on veganic farming. Unlike most organic farms that use animal products such as manure, bone meal, and blood meal to fertilize their crops, veganic farmers take out the middle man (in this case, the animals who process plant foods into manure) and put composted plant matter--"stockfree" or green manure--directly onto their fields instead. The famous Huguenot Street Farm in New Paltz, NY offers this helpful explanation of the basic principles of veganic farming, and Friends of Animals goes into a bit more depth in this article. If you're in the market for a whole book on the subject, Jenny Hall and Ian Tolhurst's Growing Green comes highly recommended by our friend Harold Brown of Farm Kind. If you're looking for a more hands-on experience, consider this Veganic Farming Training Program offered by the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, AZ.
Arugula and Artichokes. Enough Said.
Well, okay, there's some fakin bakin on there too, and some splinters-style dressing--you know, with the Braggs, brown rice vinegar, vegannaise and fresh lemon juice. Visit Trillium Haven Farm at the Fulton Street Market and get your greens on!
Nurses and Clayre Take Veganism To the Altar
Until June 13, 2008, it had been quite some time since I had enjoyed the pleasure of eating a big, fat, frostingy piece of wedding cake at a friend's nuptial celebration. After all, it isn't every day that brides and grooms put compassionate eating front and center in planning their special day. But our good friends Nurses and Clayre did just that, weaving their commitment to intentional living into every aspect of the celebration, from the homily (offered by Clayre's uncle) to the wedding feast (expertly catered by Marie Catrib's) to a three-layer vegan cake lovingly crafted by the father of the bride! Congratulations and best wishes to Nurses and Clayre, and thanks for showing us that a good old-fashioned Christian wedding and a public testimony to the moral and spiritual significance of our daily consumer habits are 100% compatible. Now, eat your cake you beautiful people!
What do you get when you combine a banana with three scoops of Turtle Mountain Creamy Vanilla, macerated pineapple, macerated strawberries, crushed Newman-O's, dark chocolate hot fudge and a maraschino cherry? A banana split, dummy.
BBQ. Cole Slaw. Kaiser.
Uncle Juan's favorite childhood sandwich was something he affectionately refers to as "Soul on a Roll": shredded barbecue and spicy cole slaw on homemade kaiser rolls. The sandwich lives again, veganized and shown here with a side of black bean and corn salsa.
Birthday at Bloom, Pizza Party, Craig's Cruisers
My birthday was almost two months ago, but the memories are still lucid enough to merit posting a few of the culinary highlights. The above cocktails we enjoyed on the outset of our birthday dinner at Restaurant Bloom greased the skids for a juggernaut of a three course meal that began with...
Crispy Fried Artichoke Hearts with Pickled Vegetables
They are every bit as delectable as they look, but if you'd like to try them, you'll have to make a special request since they are not a standard menu item. And while we're on the topic of eating outside the parameters of the work-a-day bill of fare, feast your eyes on the main course:
Poppyseed Encrusted Tofu with Kale, Chanterelles, and Barley
We enjoyed the tofu immensely (especially the unusual pairing with barley as the starch), but we all agreed that the standout of the evening was the sweet course, a thoroughly unpredictable yet delectable juxtaposition of...
Avocado Soup and Lemon Sorbet with Candied Citrus Rind and Pistachio
This dessert was sublime. I recommend talking Chef Miller into reprising it the next time you visit the restaurant. Suffice it to say that the Bloom birthday celebration ended on a very high note indeed. Of course, just one birthday celebration is hardly adequate, and since Aunt Curly's birthday is just a few days after mine, we had our third annual "April Birthdays" bash on the weekend, complete with...
A Pizza Party to End All Pizza Parties
As if there wasn't enough white flour in those crispy crusts, we served the pies with a side of coconut heaven cupcakes. We figured this ultra-light fare would settle well during a few laps around the indoor go-kart track at Craig's Cruisers. And we were right. As an added bonus, the combined total of game room tickets amassed by people in our party was sufficient to procure a prized set of neon fangs per person, as well as several dozen plastic dinosaurs.
To create this fast, simple, and surprisingly good soup begin by softening about a cup of split peas in two cups of vegetable broth. While doing this, sauté a chopped onion, minced garlic, and thinly sliced carrots until soft, all in a large pot. Add oregano and basil, and then five to six cups of vegetable broth. Once simmering, add the softened split peas. Cook until the vegetables are how soft you prefer them. Add garbanzo beans and a lot of spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, the soup is ready. This soup cooks in less than a half hour, needs few ingredients, and can easily be made in large batches and eaten later.
Spring Has Sprung! Fire Up the Grill!
Where, oh, where could these delicious whole foods have been grilled to such succulent perfection? On my patio, naturally, with the U.J. presiding over the first backyard barbecue of the spring. Kettle Kebabalooza.
Taking Veganism to Church
As a Mennonite youngster, I worked the church potluck circuit with reckless abandon--especially the dessert table. Back then, it would have been difficult to imagine a church potluck without animal products. But as the evidence mounts that industrial livestock production has serious repercussions for creation, more and more faith communities are taking notice of the moral and spiritual significance of eating. As a case in point, Splinters and I are members of a small group at Sherman Street CRC that recently put on a multi-cultural, intergenerational vegan potluck with over 40 parishioners and friends.
Enchiladas, Lasagna, and Dahl, Oh My!
I brought our favorite Seitan Enchiladas with Salsa Verde (from Ann Gentry's spectacular Real Food Daily Cookbook) along with a side of refried black beans.
Others prepared vegan lasagna, Indian dahl, African groundnut stew, fresh salads and fruits, and a variety of other amazing offerings. Suffice it to say that no one went away hungry, least of all those who spent any time near the sweet table, which boasted vegan coconutty cookies (from Wealthy Street Bakery), "cockeyed" chocolate cake with coconut frosting, chocolate banana cupcakes with peanut butter creme frosting (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World), and a transcendent ginger coconut macadamia carrot cake that obliterated my previous conception of the standard for vegan desserts.
Rediscovering the Intersection of Food and Faith
Though a lot of vegans have given up on seeing the church as a potential ally in the struggle for justice for all God's creatures, there is reason to be hopeful. As Christine Gutleben of the Humane Society of the United States points out in a recent editorial in the New York Times, the principles of compassion, mercy, and justice for animals are built into our faith traditions, just waiting for visionary people of faith to reawaken the church to their significance for our everyday lives. For more information on the resurgence of religious interest in these matters and links to resources that can help you communicate the message of compassion for animals in your own church community, check out the Animals and Religion initiative of the Humane Society of the United States.
Have Injera, Will Travel
Having friends who are culinary geniuses has its privileges. Several weeks ago, for instance, Uncle Juan and Aunt Curly stopped by to drop off the leftovers from a homemade Ethiopian feast that they had whipped up on a whim. We were more than happy to reprise the feast at our house!
Southern Fried Seitan and Mashed Potatoes
Now that winter is officially over and the bounteous whole foods of the spring and summer months are soon to appear, we're saying a fond farewell for the season to our comforting cold-weather favorites.
Swiss Seitan and Mashed Potatoes
We'll miss you, "meat" and potatoes, but the promise of those crisp, bitter baby greens and fresh vegetables galore will surely cushion the blow! Call your friends at Groundswell and Trillium Haven to reserve your share of the produce-palooza!
Compassionate Eating as Care of Creation
As many of you know, I spent the summer writing a booklet on the intersection of animal ethics and faith issues (from a Christian perspective) for the Humane Society of the United States. The result of this endeavor is finally available online and you can check it out here. The limited edition version of the publication (which is not yet featured on the website) includes 14 amazing collages by our very own Adam Wolpa. We hope to have a pdf of the limited edition up soon, but until then you can check out Wolpa's collages here.
Something for Everyone
While the argument developed in this booklet is grounded primarily in broadly Christian assumptions, my hope is that there may still be some strategic value in the booklet for people who do not share these assumptions. After all, many non-Christians who care about the plight of animals still have a vested interest in being able to appeal to Christian audiences in a language that such audiences can understand and appreciate. Moreover, there are certain empirical facts about the fallout of our dependence on industrial animal agriculture that all of us have a vested interest in knowing, regardless of our diverse religious identities. Pages 23-36 focus specifically on these empirical issues, so if you're allergic to religious discourse but still interested in the general topic, you can skip straight to this section of the booklet for a succinct overview (with recourse to the latest scientific research) of the hidden human, animal, and environmental consequences of the traditional American diet.
VegMichigan Goes All Out on April 13th!
Those of you who attended this year's Wake Up Weekend! will remember enjoying fellowship with our friends from the East, VegMichigan. On April 13th, we'll have a chance to see them again, this time on their side of the state, at the Metro Detroit Great American Meatout in Ferndale, MI. With free food from local veg-friendly restaurants, product samples from veg companies, and a cavalcade of excellent speakers, this event is a "must attend" for Michigan vegans on a mission! Tickets may be purchased in advance here at a discounted rate of just $7.00 per person ($3.00 for students, children 5 and under are free). Interested in free admission to the Meatout plus a free subscription to VegNews Magazine? Consider joining VegMichigan; membership has its privileges! Interested in carpooling or joining a Grand Rapids caravan destined for the Meatout? Leave a comment below and we'll see what develops.
Gridiron Gluttony Two Years Running
What do chik'n style seitan sandwiches, Philly cheeze steaks, potato salad, barbecued seitan skewers, nachos, sweet potato fries, Kettle chips, spinach artichoke dip, french onion dip, margarita cupcakes, boston cream cupcakes, and a BEHEMOTH chocolate raspberry-filled football cake have in common? They all graced the table several weeks ago for our second annual vegan Superbowl blowout. We were a bit concerned that we might not be able to top last year's showing, but suffice it to say that no one went away hungry.
Tofu Stir Fry with Pineapple, Green Beans and Almonds
Cobb Salad with Chick'n Style Tofu and Smoked Tofu Crumbles
Tofu Sammy With Fresh Veggies and Sprouts
Tofu Quiche With Broccoli and Tempeh Bacon
One night, two friends and I wanted Enchiladas. We began immediately, not needing a recipe. The only unconventional thing we did was use half enchilada sauce and half marinara. The results were impressive and we had a pan full of delicious enchiladas.
Ringin' in the New Year--Mexican style!
So we got the gang together on December 31st and cooked up a Mexican feast: stuffed tamales, sweet potato and black bean enchiladas, fried tofu fresco in a roasted tomato and poblano sauce, and nachos with refried black beans and cheezy sauce. Oh. And we had sopapillas with agave nectar and 9 dozen cupcakes for dessert.
An American classic!
We do it by layering crispy fried strips of smoked tofu atop thick slabs of nootch-dusted fried tofu atop a heaping helping of sauteed kale sandwiched between two veganaise-slathered slices of Ezekiel Sesame sprouted grain bread. The fries are hand cut organic Yukons oven baked in canola oil, salt and pepper and served with tofu-feta. Mercy!
Keep the comfort, kick the heart disease.
Uncle Juan made the seitan, Aunt Curly played roast master, and Moles cooked up a leek and bean cassoulet with a biscuit top to serve on the side. Sublime.
With my extended family, we had a good showing of vegan options.
Applesauce, spinach salad, and tortellini filled with artichoke and cooked with marinara, sundried tomatoes, and mushrooms began the meal well.
Still, the best part came with the vegan cheesecake. It tasted nearly identical to the type I ate and long for now. Vegan cream cheese amazes me again, being a key ingredient to this dessert.
This year my family's Christmas meal went totally vegan!
First, we started with vegetables sautéed in ginger, a salad that included artichoke heart and avocado with an onion vinaigrette dressing, and a vegan cheese fondue sauce for dipping bread. The cheese fondue was incredible, mainly thanks to vegan cream cheese, but tempeh bacon, scallions, and mustard intensified the goodness.
After the main course, we had chocolate fondue. Some cacao, soy milk, and sugar made a delicious, albeit non-healthful dessert. Using cherries, bananas, and beer bread to dip, the dessert's richness was irresistible. I think everyone ate far more than stomachs could comfortably hold.
Hungry for the cornmeal crust?
Or is the personal pita pizza more your speed?
We couldn't decide, so we had both!
"Conscious Comfort Food" on North Wells in Chicago
This Thanksgiving holiday, we've been stringing together carbo-comas like Notre Dame losses to U.S. military academies. Our latest flirtation with food-induced flat-lining was at the celebrated Karyn's Cooked, a vegan "comfort food" restaurant in Chicago's North Loop.
Casual "Come-As-You-Are" Ambience
Karyn Calabrese, the owner of this warm and welcoming establishment, is famous in Chicago for her nutritional consultancy, yoga studio, and raw food restaurant, Karyn's Raw Gourmet (click here for a glowing review). Lucky for us, however, her husband is a reluctant health nut, and so she's still in the practice of producing stealthily healthful simulacra of all of his artery-clogging traditional favorites.
Whoever Said "Let Them Eat Cake" Sure Wasn't Kidding
Our table was adjacent to this tantalizing array of vegan desserts, a number of which were 100% raw. Before we had even ordered appetizers, Moles was already contemplating a slice of the chocolate silk pie.
Dessert, however, was an awfully long way off. We started with a trio of appetizers: a basket of tofu, broccoli, and mushrooms lightly dusted in cornmeal and coconut and then fried; grande taco salad with spicy tvp, guacamole and homemade soy cheese; and Thai satay skewers with peanut sauce.
Next came a soup course of cream of broccoli with cornbread.
Steak Sandwiches, Barbecued Ribs, and Flautas! Oh My!
The restaurant promotes this fare as "conscious comfort food," but we all agreed that the "comfort" far outweighs the "conscious." Pictured below are the thinly-sliced tofu/seitan steak sandwich with onions, peppers, romaine lettuce and chipotle sauce on a toasted demi multi-grain baguette, the BBQ ribs with corn on the cob and cole slaw, and a Flauta special featuring tofu-carrot filling, guacamole, and pico de gallo.
We love it when a plan comes together.
Remember that business about the chocolate silk pie? Moles got her wish, and I got mine: a piece of Coconut Cake that measured six inches across. We're already looking forward to our next trip to Chicago!
Tofurkey (Faux-turkey?) Day at The Chicago Diner
For those who wish to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings without going to the hassle of cooking for 7 hours, The Chicago Diner has come up with the perfect solution: a carry-out vegan feast complete with a salad of organic field greens, roasted squash soup with maple pepitas, roasted veggie turkey (oven baked tofu with chestnut filling and veggie gravy), beefy wellington (pastry crust with seitan, mushroom pate, and tofu filling with peppercorn sauce), pumpkin ravioli with creamy hazelnut sauce, cranberry relish, 7-grain stuffing, green beans almondine, wild rice pilaf, maple mashed sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie!
No Turkey. No Hassle.
The only work involved in this unforgettable feast was setting the table, shoveling the food onto the plates, and recycling the cute little lunchboxes. Another great Thanksgiving in the Windy City!
Biscuits and Gravy. Bubble and Squeek.
This dazzling down home brunch is from a couple of weeks back, but as I was preparing today's Thanksgiving post, I stumbled onto the photo and couldn't resist putting it up. Bubble and squeek, for those who may not know, is a traditional Irish dish of potatoes and cabbage mashed together with salt and pepper and skillet fried into a pancake. Pile on the horseradish!
With a few friends and a lack of communication, our curry became incredibly spicy. After tasting it, I think everyone added some crushed red pepper. Regardless, it was delicious, and the mild lentil soup complemented it perfectly.
Need a father figure?
The Papa is always there for you. This time we served him up with a little nutritional yeast and some Yves Veggie Pizza Pepperoni that we crisped up in olive oil. We admit that the idea of smothering The Papa with phony pepperoni sounds vaguely Oedipal, but this is one patricide that you can indulge with a clear conscience.
When it comes to vegan Chinese, there's only Juan.
And he'll have you saying "UNCLE!" in no time, because this food is just too much: all your favorite tastes from Chinatown and not a single animal product to be found! For instance, get a load of this hot and sour soup with mushrooms and root vegetables.
Or this hot and sweet stir-fried eggplant.
Or these stir-fried veggies with rice noodles
As if Uncle Juan's formidable talents weren't enough, this potluck also featured Moles's mind-blowing cashew broccoli with tofu and Curly's amazing coconut tapioca.
I know, I know. Too many superlatives in one post. But that's what happens when you've got three culinary juggernauts at a single potluck. Does anyone know the Chinese for "MERCY!"?
Dazzled! Floored! Dumbstruck! SPEECHLESS, even.
Okay. So I'm not speechless (it would probably take a to-scale model of a Lamborghini Diablo sculped in batter-fried tofu and floating in an Olympic-sized pool of ponzu sauce to render me speechless). But I am indeed dazzled, floored, and stricken by the long-awaited arrival of Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero's VEGANOMICON: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook. It's true: the implacable post-punk kitcheners who brought us Vegan With a Vengeance and Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World have struck again, this time delivering the most comprehensive and accessible vegan cookbook we've ever seen.
Noodles's First Veganomicon: Leek and Green Pea Cassoulet with Biscuits
With over 250 tantalizing recipes built on easy-to-find, reasonably-priced staple ingredients, The Veganomicon covers every imaginable corner of the culinary landscape. Allow me to rehearse the categories in the Table of Contents: Snacks, Appetizers, Little Meals, Dips and Spreads; Brunch; Salads and Dressings; Dressings; Sammiches; Vegetables; Grains; Beans; Tofu, Tempeh, and Seitan; Soups; Casseroles; One-Pot Meals and Stove-Top Specialties; Pasta, Noodles, and Risotto; Sauces and Fillings; Breads, Muffins, and Scones; Cookies and Bars; Desserts; Menus for the Masses. HOLY SMOKES! Get ready for a flurry of new posts!
Moles's First Veganomicon: Tofu Florentine.
All we need is some yellow corn bread to round out the color wheel. It's 90 degrees, but at least we can pretend its autumn.
Tell Papa to "Hold the cheese!" and then pile it up yo' bad self.
Good ol' Papa John's often offers a carry-out special that can score you a large one-topping pizza for just $5.99 (or thereabouts, depending on the city). We've had great luck getting the Easttown franchise to substitute extra sauce for the cheese on a large mushroom pizza, and then we bring it home and doctor it up with onion, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, and some sliced Tofurky Beerbrats (or whatever else is on-hand).
Here's our method: (1) make the call or order online; (2) pre-heat the oven to warm; (3) chop veggies and fako-sausage; (4) make the pick-up; (5) put the pizza in the warmed oven; (6) sautee Tofurkey sausage slices in olive oil and set aside; (7) sautee veggies and spices together in olive oil (onions first with oregano and rosemary, then peppers, then garlic, then tomatoes, then throw the Tofurky back in for a warm-up); (8) pile on your homemade toppings and kick it into hog-it-all mode for the ultimate impromptu pizza fix.Comments (3)
Thought your Gyros days were over? Think again. This recipe will blow your mind. In a small bowl, combine 2 T. soy sauce, 1 T. water, 2 t. dried rosemary, 1 t. oregano, and 1/2 t. garlic powder. In a skillet or frying pan, sautee 8 oz. of seitain slices (either homemade or store bought) in olive oil until browned, and then pour the above mixture over the top and simmer on medium heat until the liquid is absorbed. Serve immediately on pita bread with all your favorite trimmings.
"The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it."
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that. And he must have been thinking of folks like Curly and Uncle Juan when he wrote it. Because today, when I got home from a long slog with an overdue writing project, my dear friends had engineered a surprise bar-v-que in my absence. They let themselves in, fed the dogs, and then slaved away for hours on what can only be described as one of the most satisfying summer meals I've ever enjoyed. I don't have the words to express my gratitude, so I'll steal some from the legendary Marcel Proust: "Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
"Blossom" is an understatement. With barbequed chikin-style seitan (homemade by Curly, of course), dill potatoes, spicy ginger green beans, grilled sweet corn, onions, and peppers, and a tossed salad of spicy bitter greens, this was a veritable soul explosion. Honestly, I almost cried. Here are some highlights:
Readying the Webber Kettle
Uncle Juan likes to do everything on the grill, no exceptions. So the potatoes and the green beans got their own little foil pockets, while the seitan, corn, peppers, and onions went straight onto the fire.
The Honorable Grill Master UJ Presiding
Barbeque Seitan Crisping Up With Sweet Corn
Curly's barbeque sauce is not something you're gonna forget anytime soon. She brings the heat, and she brings it large. Just look at these triple-slathered seitan cutlets makin' the corn jealous as a valet at a Rolls-Royce convention.
Summertime BVQ Ambience
Nothing like a little fruit of the vine to limber up the ol' palate. Since Unc and Curly handled the food, I got to play sommelier. While the food was cooking, we enjoyed a little Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Valley, and then uncorked a 2005 Lolonis Redwood Valley Zin for dinner. Organic. Vegan. Perfect.
Using Up the Leftover Heat
A good Grill Sergeant never lets the fire go to waste. Uncle Juan pressed the glowing embers into the service of prepping a few halved Trillium Haven eggplants for a fresh batch of Baba Ganouj in the AM. Thank you, friends! This was an unexpected gift that I will never forget!
Baba Ganouj (with roasted Trillium Eggplant), Quinoa Tabouli, Cucumber Soy Yogurt, Spiced and Toasted Pita, and Freshly Sprouted Alfalfa. It's summer, it is.
These breaded babies were quickly dunked into a ginger miso almond orange sauce and then [chomp].
Lasagna with grilled zucchini, mushrooms, onion, tofu ricotta, and homemade marinara, and for dessert... Pineapple Right-Side-Up Cupcakes! Vegan Cupcakes are indeed taking over the world!
Adults only--and no animatronic animals!
The exclamation "Pizza Party!" really doesn't do this occasion justice. In truth, it was an all out Pizza Gorge-a-thon. I haven't eaten this much pizza at one sitting since junior high when I won the Grand Prize "Party at Showbiz" for selling 53 magazine subscriptions to a total of five elderly neighbors. My fingers ballooned to the size of toilet paper tubes, and I was haunted for weeks by dark dreams involving "Fatz Geronimo"--the animatronic keyboard-playing gorilla from the Showbiz house band, "Rockafire Explosion".
Silly Rabbit, Fatz is for kids!
When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I ate pizza like a child (with banjo-wielding animatronic bears, lots of nappy dead meat, and congealed bovine mammary fluids). When I became a man, I gave up childish ways, and began eating designer vegan pizzas with toppings such as salted lemon puree, roasted beets, walnut pesto, tofu ricotta, and leeks.
Salted Lemon Puree, Roasted Beet, Arugula, Leek
Walnut Pesto, Tofu Ricotta, Mushroom, Tempeh Bacon
Pizza Caprese (Tofu, Tomato, Basil, Garlic, Salt and Pepper)
Another Jaw-Dropping Performance from Chef Miller.
Technically, the act of jaw-dropping is necessary for masticating even the most lackluster meals, so I suppose I should have said "awe-inspiring". After our third trip to Bloom, we're still waiting for signs that Chad Miller is a genuine human being and not a humanoid form of culinary super-intelligence from the vegan planet Perfectopia. Okay. He's human. There are animal products on the menu. (Make sure to harangue him about that when you visit. And you will. Visit. And harangue.) But when you're eating his vegan fare, you'll find it very hard to believe that an omnivore is pulling the switches. There are no sauces to disguise ingredients, no lame pasta-and-overcooked-vegetable travesties, and absolutely NO portobore-o mushrooms in the vicinity. Just lovely, fresh whole foods (and a little tofu) imaginatively combined, expertly prepared, stunningly presented, and affordably priced (the dish pictured above is $12.00 on the dinner menu). Enough effusive praise already. Here's what we had for dinner:
Nature's Bounty, Ligurian Olive Oil, Sea Salt
This dish is on the regular menu under "starters". It sounds silly, but the sea salt in this tasty little cornucopia (sans horn) is mind-blowing all by itself.
Chanterelle Mushroom Soup, Peanut, Corn, Chives
It looks and tastes like a cream soup, but the secret is a little tofu in the puree. Rich, savory, earthy, and...
...poured out before you table-side by the chef himself (so that you can enjoy seeing the ingredients that escaped the mixer before they're "in the soup", as it were).
The next step was a set of three tofu dishes. The one pictured at the top of the post is braised tofu, carrot, onion, carrot puree, and chives. The liquid was quite simply an onion lover's dream. I could have eaten it on its own as a soup! The other two dishes featured perfect pan seared tofu and...
Roast Beets, Candied Orange, Soy Caramel, Micro Greens
Pinto Beans, Corn, Bell Pepper, Caramelized Onion Puree, Pink Peppercorn
Did you know that pink "peppercorn" isn't really peppercorn at all? It's a flower bud from the rose family, apparently. Though I didn't get this dish, I did manage to steal several of these remarkable ersatz peppercorns. Amazing flavor. Finally, it was time for dessert...
Bring us a figgy, gingery, cucumbery treat (if you have one on hand)!
Some of these ingredients may seem like strange bedfellows, but I am at a loss to express how delicious, refreshing, and light this unlikely dessert tasted. You're looking at roasted fig and diced cucumber in a light vanilla bean syrup with ginger sorbet, crushed candied almond, and candied ginger (the garnish is a cucumber sauce).
This spinach and onion stuffed pastry is as beautiful to eat as it is to look at.
These cookies are irresistible, and a snap to make. I slightly modified the recipie I found at Post Punk Kitchen by cutting the amount of sugar nearly in half, using only one teaspoon of vanilla, adding two teaspoons of almond extract, and adding about a 1/4 cup of coconut to the mix. The only question is... are they better than Coach Carson's Cookies?!??!!?Comments (2)
Yukon Golds mashed with earth balance and "buttermilk" (soymilk and vinegar) topped with "Punkrock Chickpea Gravy" from Vegan With A Vengence, served with spicy broccoli and a Trillium lettuce.
This is a spot on version of the summer classic. Fresh organic tomato, fresh basil from the garden, and a hunk of raw China Rose tofu drizzeled with olive oil, served on toasted herb sourdough and seasoned generously with salt and pepper. Summertime!
Exalted Vegan Cuisine Just Down the Block
It is notoriously difficult to find passable vegan cuisine in a restaurant that caters largely to omnivores. It is even more difficult to get satisfaction when the bar by which you measure passable vegan cuisine has been set by the finest vegan chefs in the world, whose gustatory revelations are still emblazoned on your palate from the Vegetarian Awakening conference back in April.
Culinary Genius in the Bloom of Youth
That's why we were absolutely blown away when Chad Miller, 24-year-old co-owner and executive chef of Restaurant Bloom right here on Cherry Street in Grand Rapids (he's the headless-but-not-breadless torso in the above photo), dished up one of the most innovative, aesthetically pleasing, and downright delectable vegan dining experiences we've ever had the pleasure of enjoying. To get a sense of how much we loved Chad's cuisine, take into account that we've also had the pleasure here, here, here, and here, among other places.
Pea + Rhubard Reduction + Coconut = A Really Good Start
I suppose we shouldn't have been too surprised, since Chad received his training at GRCC, home of Chef Kevin Dunn, the vegan culinary pioneer who brought Vegetarian Awakening to Grand Rapids. In any case, we gave Chef Miller 4 days notice (he recommends a minimum of 2), and he prepared a tour de force of six inspired vegan dishes--three courses each for the ladies and the gentlemen. My antique 2.0 megapixel camera, Bloom's ambient lighting, and my remedial photographic sense have conspired against my intent to provide pictures that do justice to Chef Miller's breathtaking platings. Nevertheless, the following photos will give you at least an inkling of his considerable talents.
Carrot in Variations, Sunflower Seed
Toasted Almond Gazpacho, Pickled Cucumber, Grape, Powdered Vanilla
Smoked Tofu, Sugar Snaps, Baby Potatoes, Pea Puree
Chanterelle Mushrooms, Baby Zucchini, Lentils, Ligurian Olive Oil
Roast Banana, Chocolate Sorbet, Cashew, Smoked Salt
Fresh Strawberry, Fresh Blueberry, Vanilla Bean Tapioca, Pistachio, Basil
Bloom is not an exclusively vegan restaurant. And they are as yet in the process of acquiring a liquour license, so dinner was still a glass or two of Sancerre from perfect. But the food was so ingeniously and meticulously conceived, expertly executed, and beautifully plated that those thoughts didn't occur to me until dinner was over. Go to Bloom and put this guy through the VEGAN paces! He's got the chops, and then some.
Rake those veggies over the coals!
You don't have to eat animal corpses or use nasty petrolium-laden briquets to enjoy the taste of summer. Just grab a bag of natural hardwood charcoalfrom Harvest Health, fire up the grill, and throw on asparagus, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes and pineapple for a great VEG twist on fajitas.
The solution? Turn off the stove and EAT IT RAW! At least that's the route we decided to take in a shameless attempt to impress the daylights out of our celebrity vegan friends Harold and Linda Brown and Dr. Kerrie Saunders when they dropped in for a weekend visit earlier this month. We had hoped to do a public event, but schedules were tight, so there wasn't time to do much of anything but eat and run. Here are some of the highlights:
Raw Green Gazpacho
Raw Sun Burgers with Mini "Krab" Cakes
(Almost) Raw Spring Rolls
Raw Fettucini Alfredo
Raw Coconut Peppermint Pattie
Secure Your Pineapple Moustache While Supplies Last!
It may look a tad on the fufu side, but this itsy bitsy little velvet hammer has some serious bell-ringing heft. Get out the blender, and throw in some tequila, some lime juice, some Cointreau (or triple sec), a handful of ice cubes, and a few sizeable chunks of fresh pineapple. Whirl until smooth, drink it up, and keep that frothy tropical stache as a little flavor saver for later.
If you read my last two entries, "A Few More 'Inconvenient Truths'" and "Vegetarian Is the New Prius," you know that a plant-based diet is a good choice for the planet, your health, and animals. Of course, there are other things we should be doing--from cutting down on our consumption to working for governmental change to buying organic and on and on--but where diet is concerned, a vegetarian diet is the hands-down best choice for those of us who care about animals and the environment.
I heard from a lot of people who wanted help in making the transition to a vegetarian (or mostly vegetarian) diet. Let's face it: If you've been eating meat all your life, this sort of a change can be daunting even just to think about, let alone act on. Happily, it's easier than ever today to make the transition from meat-eater to vegetarian, and the following suggestions should help even the most die-hard carnivores make the switch.
If you're not ready to give up meat completely, start by eating meatless meals one or two days a week. The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, Columbia University's School of Public Health, and other public health schools have designed a "Meatless Monday" campaign to help Americans avoid our four top killers--heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer--by eating meat-free at least every Monday. The "Meatless Monday" program provides recipes, meal plans, nutritional guidelines, cooking tips, and more.
My only problem with the campaign is that some of the recipes feature fish, and fish are definitely not vegetables. If you're eating fish, you're eating meat, and the recent studies on fish are even scarier than the studies on beef or any other food. The three-part front page series in the Chicago Tribune about brain damage and other health problems caused by mercury, PCBs, and the other toxins found in fish and the front page piece in the Wall Street Journal about the teen whose fish consumption put him in remedial classes should be enough to turn anyone off fish consumption. For omega-3 fatty acids, go with flax seeds, walnuts, and leafy greens.
Second: Give Up the Little Animals First
Although many people tend to stop eating red meat before they give up chicken, turkey, or fish, from a humane standpoint, this is backwards. Birds are arguably the most abused animals on the planet, and birds and fish yield less flesh than cows or pigs, so farmers and fishers kill more of them to satisfy America's meat habit. If you choose to give up meat in stages, stop eating chickens and turkeys first, then fish, and then pigs and cows. Some will suggest that cattle are the worst for the environment, but that seems like hair-splitting to me. As I discussed in my previous post, the Amazon rain forest is being cut down to grow soybeans to feed chickens; it's chicken and pig farms that are poisoning the Atlantic Ocean, and vastly more energy is required if we eat the chickens who are fed grain rather than eating that grain directly.
Third: If You Can't Give Up One Particular Animal Product, Give Up All the Other Ones
One friend told me that he just loves burgers too much to give them up; I suggested that he give up all animal products except burgers. Some of my friends can't give up ice cream or cream in their coffee or whatever―so give up everything but that. That's a huge step forward, and I suspect that after eating mostly vegetarian for awhile, you'll decide that those burgers or that ice cream aren't so tasty anymore. And you'll probably find that you enjoy the faux meats and dairy-free options just as much.
Fourth: Examine Your Diet, and Substitute
Take a look at the meals that you and your family already enjoy, and you'll probably notice that many of them can be made without any meat or with mock meats (which are great transition foods) instead of animal flesh. For example, instead of spaghetti and meat sauce, make spaghetti and marinara sauce, or instead of beef burritos, try tasty bean burritos. Replace ground beef with the vegetarian variety made by Boca or Morningstar Farms, which can be found in just about any grocery store. Or try Morningstar Farms' faux chicken strips and steak strips and Boca's Chik'n Patties. If you need help putting together a shopping list, check out the product reviews at VegCooking.com before you head out to the store.
Mock meats, nondairy cheeses and milks, and other vegetarian foods are sold in most major supermarkets these days, and health food stores offer even more. Silk soy milk is probably one of the most recognizable vegan products on the market--you can even order it in your latte at Starbucks. And if you like to bake, look for egg replacer, a powdered mix that can be used instead of eggs in cakes and other baked goods, at the local health food store (or just use applesauce). But don't forget to eat your vegetables--as well as plenty of whole grains, fresh fruits, and legumes--before filling up on cake and coffee!
After a few meatless meals, you'll likely realize that you don't miss meat and are ready to go meatless for good. But don't beat yourself up if you slip up every now and again--before long eating vegetarian will come as naturally as breathing.
I know that some readers who are already vegetarian may take issue with the idea of relying on faux meats (I can predict all the raw food comments, the macrobiotic comments, and so on), but mock meats and soy milk are superb transition foods. Certainly going with real foods, as Michael Pollan calls them--things that your grandmother would recognize--is a great idea, but don't worry about it if you find that mock meats make the switch easier for you. Animals are going to be happier either way.
Fifth: Eating Out
If you're eating out, there are countless restaurants that cater to vegetarians and vegans. VegCooking.com features regional vegetarian restaurants, restaurant chains that offer vegetarian options, and links to other Web sites that list vegetarian-friendly eateries. Ethnic restaurants, especially Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Chinese, and Mexican restaurants, are always a good choice, as they offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. If you're still looking for a burger and fries, many restaurants, including Johnny Rockets, Denny's, and Ruby Tuesday's, serve veggie burgers. Just don't drive yourself--and your dining companions--crazy worrying that your veggie burger was prepared on the same surface as the hamburgers. It might be a bit aesthetically troublesome, but it won't harm animals (or the planet) if your food is cooked on the same grill as meat. Unless you absolutely can't stomach it, let it pass.
Sixth: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Vegans and vegan wannabes, I believe that when you're eating out, you also shouldn't be too concerned about ingredients that make up less than 2 percent of your meal. You'll obviously want to avoid dishes served with meat, cheese, or eggs, but it doesn't really matter if there's a modicum of butter or whey or other animal product in the bun that your veggie burger is served on. You won't stop animal suffering by avoiding such minuscule amounts of animal ingredients. But you may give your nonvegan friends--not to mention the restaurant wait staff--the idea that vegans are difficult to please. The goal is to show others how easy it is to eat in an animal-friendly manner and that restaurants can satisfy vegan customers without having to do cartwheels.
I know, again, that some will post their protest, and I understand the desire to eliminate every last bit of animal ingredients from one's diet, but let's face it: Even vegan foods cause some animals to be tilled up in processing. (Note: Since more than 70 percent of all grain, soybeans, and other crops are fed to farmed animals, not to humans, there is a lot more tiller death in chicken, turkey, pork, and beef than in plant foods, but the point should still give vegetarians a bit of humility.) Vegetarianism is not a personal purity test--our positive and reasonable influence on others is just as important as our own commitment to a conscious and compassionate diet.
When you consider your choices--heart disease, colon cancer, plus-size pants, melting ice caps, gale force storms, and animal suffering vs. good health, energy, a trim physique, a livable planet, compassion, and tasty, diverse foods--it's clear that going vegetarian is an excellent choice as we move toward living a more conscious life.
Thank you to all readers for your compassion, and I look forward to meeting you on the journey toward more conscious eating.Comments (1)
Isa Chandra Moskowitz: Read the Article, Buy the Books.
Since receiving copies of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World for Christmas, Noodles and Moles have been churning out these naughtycakes like nobody's business. You've seen them on the blog: Chocolate Mint (for New Year's), Coconut (for the start of interim classes), Mexican Hot Chocolate (for Uncle Juan's birthday), and most recently, Boston Creme (Harold Brown's favorite).
Now these little devils are HEADLINE NEWS in the hoity toitiest cage-liner in Hearstville. Check out what "The Gray Lady" has to say about our favorite post-punk vegan! Believe it or not, this fantastic piece was the most e-mailed article in the paper after it ran yesterday morning. Vegan fever, from sea to shining sea!
Hotter than the flanges on my chrome dual-exhaust kit!
Growing up in the eighties meant loving stuff that was "custom"--custom T-shirts with nicknames on the back, custom conversion vans with airbrushed mountainscapes, custom trapper keepers with the PVC flap specially designed for the custom photographs, etc. If you wanted to live the swank life back then, it was all about being able to throw down the custom card when the kids started talkin'. That's why I'm on fire for this totally custom Coconut Cake that showed up at the cookoff rockin' the extraVEGANza 'tude like a Yosemite Sam mudflap on a jacked-up El Camino. If you were lucky enough to chase your chili with a forkfull of this pistol, then you know exactly what I mean. SIZZLIN'!
Last night, this dinner fell out of the clear blue sky, potluck style, onto my table: sweet potato burritos with a yellow heirloom tomato sauce, bayless black beans--and the two big surprises--curried rice and buckwheat cornbread (courtesy of Uncle Juan and Curly). The buckwheat cornbread (which was brimming with grains and seeds) was one of the most unique panbreads I've ever tasted (that's a cue to the chef to post the recipe...)
As the year comes to an end, we can't help but think back to the many highlights and culinary triumphs, especially those shared with good friends. Well, tonight we didn't have to think too far back into the reaches of our memories, for tonight in December, one of these "Best of" moments was in full effect.
Noodles whipped up these curry vegetable pouches on a bed of greens, seeds, and raisins. The Vegucator, Moles, Splinters, and Pickles were all left speechless. Maybe it was the perfect texture of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, and onion? Maybe it was the spicy coconut cashew curry sauce? Maybe it was the chick pea, cardamom, cayenne crust? Maybe it was the flax oil, Bragg dressing on the greens? Maybe it's when it all comes together and rose colored shades abound ...
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