Tuesday, September 6, 2011

{Custom Made} Shortbread Cookies

Husband is really into shortbread. Since it is a cookie, I am also a fan. However I can’t say that I would be the first in the shortbread line at the bakery.

Shortbread always reminds me of your Great Aunt Mary or your grandmother’s friend with a ridiculous nickname like Boopie or Dodo. Not really sure why, but it just makes me think of old folks.

I bet if you were to investigate the sale of Sandies, you would be sure to find an older clientele. Nothing wrong with it, it is just my humble observation. Without old people, we would not be able to enjoy in such spirited treats as starlight mints, ice cream sandwiches, and early bird specials.

But, I digress.

I saw this recipe from Pittsburgh favorite Emily Levenson forever ago and I decided to try it out with my fancy new cupcake cookie cutter. The pictures are with my old camera so they are slightly atrocious. However, the cookies are yum, yum, yummy and super easy to make. Plus, you get to dip them in chocolate and make them even better. Excellent...

Recipe after the jump.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Creamy "Cool" Slaw

Do you ever have one of those foods that you really can’t explain why you like it so much, but you just do…

One of my pre-vegan favorites was coleslaw from Kentucky Fried Chicken.

I will give you a second to absorb how awful everything about that statement is. However, at one time I could easily gobble down some KFC sides like I was on the tasting payroll. Clearly, I am no longer a visitor to KFC, but I still have a special affinity for coleslaw.

When I saw this recipe in Appetite for Reduction, I knew I had to try it. Here is a lowdown of why I love it.
  1. It has only a few (cheap) ingredients.
  2. It is lower in fat / calories that most other coleslaw.
  3. It is insanely easy to make.
In the spirit of Labor Day picnics, this is another excellent summer barbecue treat to impress all your friends. Who needs nasty old KFC anyway?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Southern Macaroni Salad

I am back…
I am still a little broken, but I am back.

It is still summer and I think summer comfort foods are to often ignored. I don’t really know why, but give me a big ear of corn on the cob and macaroni salad and I am a happy Chubby Vegan. The last few weeks have made me seek comfort foods a little bit more than necessary.

Sometimes I drown my sorrows in food. Yeah?! What?!? Want to fight about it?
<puts up fists>

Anyway, this Southern Macaroni Salad is a gift from the vegenaise gods and my bud Terra. She sent me the recipe and also snuck it into our work staff newsletter. Let’s give it up for vegans editing the staff newsletter!

I made this macaroni salad with orecchiette pasta, which looks like a beanie (or a condom.) I saw some at the store and thought they were cute and it made this just a little bit more formal. Of course you could use any pasta, but you will lose some cool points.

Summer is (sadly) drawing to an end, so make this soon. Perhaps a labor day picnic food…? Although, whoever said foods need to be restricted to a season? I will eat ice cream on January 1st and be just fine with it.

Take that society!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Rest in Peace Nana Bear

Yesterday we lost one of our dogs, Nana. She was the sweetest little angel and we were so lucky that she graced our lives. She brought us so much spirit, joy, and unconditional love and it was unbearably hard to say goodbye to her.

Nana had been suffering from lymphoma and mammary cancer for over a year. Her pain and discomfort became too much to bear and we finally decided she was ready to move on into her next life.

In between uncontrollably crying yesterday, I sat silent most of the day. I decided the best way for me to move through my grieving process was to share Nana’s story. Her life was full of difficulty up until her last two years. Her life is so important to me and her story needs to be shared. Thanks for reading.

Husband and I had fostered a dog named Jesse James from the Washington County Humane Society a little over two years ago. I stood firm that we were foster parents and would not be adopting him. Much to Husbands dismay, Jesse was adopted by his previous foster family. He was with us for only a month.

When Husbands mom was visiting, we decided to take a trip back to the Washington County Shelter because another dog that I was considering fostering was there. When we arrived the other dog was in the process of being adopted. We were so happy! Being animal lovers we decided to go back and visit with the other shelter dogs. Sitting alone in a cage was a little old beagle named Jasmine. She had a face that only a parent could love. We looked at each other, picked her up out of the cage, marched up to the front desk and said, “She is coming home with us.”

Jasmine didn’t have much of a story. She was a stray beagle that ended up at the shelter in her old age. Judging by her teeth (which were in bad shape) the shelter believed her to be about 10 or 11 years old. Like most beagles in Washington County, she was probably a hunting beagle; unloved, over bred, and used only for a job. This was a little over two years ago.

When we got her home our little old lady fit in perfectly. I was standing firm that we were only fostering her. We even took her to an adoption event in hopes of her finding a forever home. Of course, she had other things in mind. She knew our house was just right.

After fostering Jasmine for about two months, we received a call from a family who was interested in adopting her. Husband took the call and said, “Sorry, she is no longer available.” We adopted her the next day.

Her kind and loving attitude along with her old age gave her the nickname, “Nana Bear.” This was the perfect name for our elderly lady. Her name stuck and we said goodbye to Jasmine and hello to Nana.

Nana made herself right at home. She loved to cuddle and sit on our lap. Like most beagles, she loved to eat. She loved her new brother Buddy, although she made sure to tell him when she didn’t want to play. She followed Husband around everywhere he went and we started calling her his shadow. She liked our other dogs, but she always made it clear that she loved her Daddies the most. Well, that is unless Mom-in-law was visiting.

Nana was an incredible dog. She was the most caring, gentle, and loving dog anyone could ever ask for. She never barked. She never fussed. She even taught herself to go potty in the drain in the basement. You couldn’t ask for a better dog. We loved her so much.

As time grew, Nana started to grow tumors on her little body. First, tumors started to grow on her mammary glands. We could have removed them, but with her old age the Vet advised us that her recovery may be far too hard and painful. At that point we decided that we would continue to love and care for Nana as long as she would let us.

Almost a year later, her disease spread to her lymph nodes. The lymph nodes in her neck and back legs began to grow quickly. Although we kept her on a variety of medicines they grew too quickly.
Over the past few weeks her condition began to deteriorate rapidly.

Having a sick dog is one of the hardest things to endure. Nana could never tell us when she hurt. She never barked or cried. She carried on. She gave us love always. She never let us onto her pain although we knew that she was uncomfortable. As time went on her pain got worse and worse. Over the last few days she had difficulty breathing and began to throw up everything she ate. We spoke with the Vet and had to make one of the hardest decisions ever.

When you love and care for an animal as much as we loved Nana, the decision is unbearable. I would sit next to her rubbing her head and asking for her to just tell me if she was ready, if she was done fighting. She would just look at me with those beautiful brown eyes and give me her love. That is all. That is what she was best at.

When we brought her to the vet’s office yesterday, I kept on telling her that it will be okay. It was as if there was nothing more I could say to her. I would say, “Daddy loves you” and “it will be okay.” This was the first time I have ever lost an animal and I had known it would be hard. I didn’t imagine just how hard it would be. 

When we walked her into the office I started to feel numb. I lost feeling in my feet and hands. We laid her down on the couch and sat with her. We petted her and kept on telling her that it would be alright. The feeling was indescribable. I had played out in my mind what the moment might be like and it was surreal. I couldn’t believe that the day had come. I knew she was in pain. I knew what was best for her. This day when she looked at me you could tell that she was done fighting. She was ready to say goodbye.

What happened after was a blur. All I can remember is when the doctor said, “That’s it,” I burst into uncontrollable crying and hyperventilating. I couldn’t bare it. I still can’t. I could not believe our little angel was gone.

As I sat next to her, I couldn’t believe it. She just looked like she was asleep. I sat with her and the same thing kept replaying in my head, “Because I knew you, my life has been changed for good.” This line is from a song in the musical Wicked that was playing on repeat in my head. Because I knew you Nana.

I've heard it said,
That people come into our lives for a reason,
Bringing something we must learn,
And we are led,
To those who help us most to grow,
If we let them,
And we help them in return,
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true,
But I know I'm who I am today,
Because I knew you.

Like a comet pulled from orbit,
As it passes a sun,
Like a stream that meets a boulder,
Halfway through the wood,
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you,
I have been changed for good.

I think this describes my feelings best. Nana was the so special. She was my angel. She came into our lives for a reason and brought us unbelievable joy. I love her so much. I still cry every time I think of her.

Regardless of what we believe, I know she is in a better place, a happy place. She is sending me love from wherever she is. I miss her. I will always miss her.

Because I knew you Nana Bear, my life has been changed for good.

Thank you and Daddy loves you. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Madonna

When I was a little boy, I would imagine what my life would be like as a grown up. Like most boys, I had fantasies of playing for the Patriots, having a wife and kids, being a marine or firefighter being best friends with Madonna.

When she burst onto the scene I was just a baby. I was born in May of 1982, and her first single dropped in October of ’82. Coincidence? I think not.

Susan Sarandon once said that, “The history of women in popular music can, pretty much, be divided into before and after Madonna.” I couldn’t agree more. She has single handedly changed cultural norms of gender, sexuality, religion, and popular music. She truly is an icon.

When I was little, I would sneak in my house to watch her videos on MTV. I remember watching the Girlie Show on HBO and being glued to the TV. When I was 19, I saw her in concert (Drowned World Tour) for the first time. I went to Madison Square Garden, alone, and stood on the floor. When she ascended onto the stage I cried like a 12 year old seeing Justin Bieber. I saw that show four times. I have seen her in concert 6 times. The 5th time (Re-Invention Tour) I was lucky enough to be about 10 rows from the stage. There was a moment where I swear she looked at me. I felt it.

Maybe I am a super fan. Maybe I am a little obsessed. It doesn’t matter. For a chubby gay boy like me she has always represented the culmination of fashion, sex, music, love, freedom, confidence, and power. She was an escape when I may have not been at my happiest. Some people turn to drugs, I turn to Madonna.

Today is her birthday and what better day to step back and realize the impact this one woman, whom I have never met, has made on my life. 

Happy Birthday Madge… and thank you.

While I can't say that I have an absolute favorite Madonna song or moment, here are a few of my all-stars after the jump...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pineapple Upside Down Cupcakes

I love when people take desserts that are usually meant to be made into cakes or pies and create a cupcake version. Tiramisu, chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, and the list goes on and on.

For a chubby guy like me it is nice to have desserts in cupcake form. The smaller version keeps me from eating an entire cake or pie. Seriously. Don’t act like you have never thought of it.

Cupcakes are something close to heaven. Small, quick, and personal size; each one has its owns distinctive beauty. Who doesn’t love them?

I know the cupcake trend has been dying a slow death but I am going to chain myself to the doors of the bakery and hope it never goes away. I love you cupcakes. I even wrote a song about you…

Okay maybe not.

Here is a cupcake version of Pineapple Upside Down Cake… Fun, right?

More after the jump…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My New Obsession...

It is green.
People waste it far to often as just garnish.
It is a really strong plant that does not mess around.


Kale is sort of the "it" vegetable right now. People are always talking about juicing it or just eating it raw. There are always lovely kale salad recipes online. It is SUPER healthy. Plus, my farmers market always has the best varieties of organic kale for super cheap!

When I visited Mecca a few months ago I had a kale and avocado salad that was to die for.

Kale is also very common in Portuguese cooking. Since I was born in a Portuguese community with a Portuguese grandfather, one would think I had tons of kale growing up. Wrong.

I feel like I have rediscovered a vegetable. Don't you love that? My new favorite way of eating kale is about as simple as it comes. Ready for it?

My insanely simple kale recipe, after the jump.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Beagle Freedom Project

Marci loves to relax.

Did you know…?

Beagles are the most commonly used breed for lab testing? According to the Beagle Freedom Project, “Beagles are the most popular breed for lab use because of their friendly, docile, trusting, forgiving, people-pleasing personalities. The research industry says they adapt well to living in a cage, and are inexpensive to feed.”

As a loving beagle daddy, this breaks my heart. As an animal lover it infuriates me.

I can’t even imagine the pain and torture these animals must endure. It is unbelievable… Of course, all of this is an excellent reminder to try and purchase products that are not tested on animals. This can be tough and may cost a little more money, but you know it’s worth it. Their lives (and safety) are worth it.

Someone sent me this video and, clearly, I can’t watch it without crying. This video has a happy ending, but make sure to get your tissues out. It is also a great reminder of just how hard life can be for dogs in lab captivity.

Finally, in case you need a reminder, please remember to adopt if you are looking for an animal companion. If you don’t know that already, I will be happy to personally come to your house and smack you upside the head.

If you would like to adopt a beagle, I will be happy to tell you anything you want to know!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Pride Cupcakes

The last few weeks have been so exciting for the LGBT community.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is nearing its final day…
The state of NY has legalized same sex marriage…
There seems to be an increase in glitter protests…

All around, it has been an exciting couple of weeks! What better way to celebrate than with some rainbow pride cupcakes?

I actually made these in June for the wonderful Pittsburgh Pride celebration and am finally getting around to posting it. But with such an exciting week of LGBT events, I think it still fits.

So make some pride cupcakes, hug a gay person, and figure out more ways to throw glitter at Michelle Bachman.

Recipe and an inside picture after the jump…

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Provincetown: A Vegan Guide

Last week I was fortunate enough to head to one of my favorite places in the world- Provincetown, MA.

For those of you unfamiliar with Provincetown, it is the easternmost city in Massachusetts. In addition, it is also one of the most gay friendly cities in the US. Provincetown is the perfect mix of everything I love: beach, sun, drag queens, food, and liquor.

Husband and I headed there for a lovely vacation that gave us a much needed break from all of our dog drama and stress.

Since I had not been to Provincetown in almost 9 years I couldn’t really remember much of their food options. The last time I was there I probably would have settled for pizza and ice cream; clearly times have changed.

Here is my quick and dirty lowdown of vegan Provincetown and a few fun pictures from my adventure.

An eclectic, very “old-Cape” restaurant that has just about anything you can imagine on the menu. The server was really nice and super accommodating. They do have a specific “vegetarian” section and made distinctions about dairy, etc. I had the “Jewel in the Crown,” which is essentially a tofu curry stir fry. Not the best curry I have ever had, but it was good relatively speaking. Like most of Provincetown, it’s a bit on the pricey side!

Governor Bradford
The GB is a Provincetown staple, right in the middle of town. I had the spaghetti... Do I need to say any more? Make sure to go to their drag queen karaoke and see Anita Cocktail; she is a friend and an all around hoot.

Tiny’s is an intimate rooftop restaurant right on the main drag. They had an exquisite vegan Caesar salad and wonderful vegetable pakoras. Two big thumbs up for Tiny’s! The menu was also clearly marked, which I love. I would say this is a must visit for any vegan visitor to P-town.

Devon’s was literally right next to our hotel and it was so good we ate there twice. I always think finding good vegan breakfast can be a bit of a challenge. Devon’s had tofu scramble AND vegan French toast. This is another must visit! The outdoor seating is lovely, the servers are precious, and there is a bowl of the best raspberry jam I have ever had on every table.  All around, perfect.

So this is not a restaurant, but it is the best place to purchase vegan / organic fare if you have a kitchen. Plus, they have a wonderful take out cooler with amazing sandwiches. Husband and I split a peanut curry wrap that was just perfect. It is a little pricey, but with its size and location that is to be expected. I have a special place in my heart for small organic food markets and this place did not disappoint.

Not a restaurant, but the Harbor Lounge was just a super cool bar. Wanted to make sure I share!

This is a fun little Mexican place right in the center of Provincetown. We went in for a light lunch and they had clearly labeled vegan black beans and rice, which is one of my favorite light meals.

I didn’t have the chance to go here, but they have a really nice menu with a ton of vegan options. If you ever make it to Provincetown, make sure to go and tell me about it! Everything on the menu sounded great!

An ice cream place that had vegan fruit sorbet... I didn't go, but I am happy they had some type of frozen vegan treats!

More pictures after the jump...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Sad Day in the Burgh

Vegan Mostess (my favorite)
While I was on vacation last week, one of my favorite Pittsburgh institutions closed its doors.

Dozen Bake Shop has been serving up lovely cupcakes and baked goods over the past several years, staring out as a little place in Squirrel Hill and expanding to a number of store fronts around the city. For whatever reason, they abruptly announced their closing last week.

I have posted about Dozen before; they were an excellent place for a 3:00 cupcake fix. They were one of the few places that offered vegan cupcakes (and awesome molasses cookies) daily and year round in Pittsburgh. It was such a shame to see them go. *tear*

I have visited many other awesome bakeries and cafés that serve delightful vegan baked goods, but Dozen will always old a special place in my heart.

This song pretty much sums up my feelings.

Do you have a favorite vegan dessert place? Comment and tell me about it! Maybe I can add it to my "must visit" list...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mini Lasagna Cups

I feel like I am always on a quest to find the perfect appetizer to bring to a party.

I like to bring things that are easy to make, pretty/cute, delicious, and make believers out of non-vegans. Can you get all of those things in one hors douvres hor douvres whore devre  horedevres whores devils appetizer?

When you are the token vegan bringing anything to a party, it better damn well be delicious because you have about 5 seconds to make a believer out of any skeptic. Of course this always makes me laugh, since clearly vegans eat only things made of dirt and broccoli.

I recently saw a recipe for non-vegan mini lasagna cups and I thought they looked like a perfect party treat. I made them and they pretty much fit all of my qualifications. I brought them to husbands’ softball game and a fellow chubby (non-vegan) woman damn near fainted from how good they were.

When I told them they were vegan she pretty much did a spit take.

*pulling at suspenders*
My work here is done…

Recipe after the jump…

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Missing In Action

Buddy's Recovery

You can just call me the Chubby stranger because that is what I have felt like!

So here is the low down. I have four dogs, Pepper, Marci, Buddy, and Nana. My dog Nana has been really sick over the past few months. She is about 13 and has mammary cancer. We really thought we were going to lose her two weeks ago and then miraculously she started feeling much better.

I will spare you the gross details, but she is now feeling much better. Yay Nana!

However, by some cruel twist of fate, another one of our dogs (Buddy) got hurt. We are not really sure how, but he managed to rupture 4 disks in his neck and upper back. We think it was a furniture related accident. He was in more pain than I think you can even imagine and then he lost his ability to walk. What followed was a very costly surgery and will now be a very long recovery.

A very special person in our life helped us more than I can even explain and saved Buddy’s life. That person and the neurologist and staff at the Pittsburgh Veterinary and Specialty Emergency Center (PVSEC) are Buddy’s Angels.

This all happened right up against what was to be the first week long vacation Husband and I were going to have in a long time. Thanks to Mom-in-law we were still able to go away for half of it, which was lovely.

There you have it. My patience and emotions have been stretched fairly thin over the past few weeks.

Back to food tomorrow! I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait! 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

Oh hello blog… It’s me, Chubby. Sorry, I have been away.

Here is a recap…
  1. My elderly dog, Nana Bear, has been really sick. She has cancer and we thought we were going to lose her. Luckily she pulled through and is now acting like she has never heard the word cancer. YAY!
  2. I had a quick (and unexpected) trip to NYC- my happy place.
  3. Upon my return, one of my other dogs (Buddy) decided he felt left out. He hurt his back and was screaming more than I ever heard a dog scream in my life. Emergency trip to the ER Vet, lots of drugs and money later; now my house is a dog hospital.


All of this makes me want to drink. Yep, drink. Since it is summer, I feel it is only fitting to drink my favorite summer beverage- a frozen margarita.

Alas, my blender is in the shop. So, we will have the next best thing: a margarita cupcake!

Oh man these are good. You know how some “drink desserts” are just a little off. Not these babies… They are just the perfect mix of summer and fun to make you want to eat every last one. The recipe is from my go-to vegan goddess, Isa Chandra Moskowitz.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do. They are L-O-V-E-L-Y.

Info after the jump…

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

For the Love of (Stuffed Crust) Pizza

 Who doesn't love Pizza?

That greasy mess is as American as credit card debt and shopping at Wal-Mart. But, alas, I am a pizza fan. Ever since discovering that Papa John’s original crust pizza (sans cheese) is vegan I have been spending a bit too much time on the pizza train.

Then I saw this lovely from one of my all time favorite food bloggers, Meet the Shannons.

Mexican + Pizza = quite possibly the best food combo since Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I made a few minor adjustments from the original recipe, but nothing major. The result is nothing short of a pizza miracle. I officially bow down to this Shannon family masterpiece.


Recipe after the jump…

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cute. Dog. Overload

I talk about my dogs a fair bit because, well, they are awesome.

Clearly I think my dogs are the best thing since tofu tacos. However, sometimes I have to step aside and let other canine friends get some attention for their pure awesomeness.
Enter Mamma Biscuit. Here is the lowdown:

Lives in the best city in the world (check)
Has two daddies (check)
Eats a vegan diet (check)
Shares an undying love for Madonna (check)
Has an exquisite sense of fashion (check)
Rescued from a terrible life (check)

When vegan superstar Isa Moskowitz tweeted Mamma's blog I was in cute overload. Clearly, I have to share it with all of you…

Please share some love for Mamma Biscuit and her lovely daddies. She made a new Chubby Vegan fan and I hope you will join me in sharing her some love.

Chubby Vegan

A couple more of my favorite pics, just because...

Pose... werk... *snaps*
Pearls make everything better...
Move over Anna Wintour!
I feel the same way girl...
¿Quien es?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sweet Potato & Cauliflower Curry

I like recipes. For so long I have clung to recipes as if they were life or death. I am slowly getting over that however because some of my favorite meals are those that you just throw together.

You know the kind; figure out what you have in your house, mix it in a pot, add some spices, and hope for the best. I have a friend that is a pro at that- although 9.9 times out of 10 it ends up being something Mexican. The moral of the story is that salsa, chili powder, and black beans make everything better.

Which we all know is true.

This is my throw it together for Sweet Potato & Cauliflower curry. It is the shell of a great recipe so you can add to it what you would like. It really came out of me having sweet potatoes and cauliflower that I needed to use, throwing them together in a skillet, adding some spices, and here you go.

Do you have a favorite throw it together recipe? What is it? 

Recipe after the jump…

Monday, June 13, 2011

Everyone Needs Some Pride

In case you didn't know, June is Pride month. I have a really fun Pride food post to share soon but I just couldn't resist sharing this video with all of you today. For two reasons:
  1. It is unbelievably awesome.
  2. This kid is the exact same as me at 9 years old, except he isn't chubby.
What better way to celebrate Pride than a video of boy who can work it out to “Vogue” at 9 years old?

Pride is a time to celebrate everything that makes us special. Since I have no videos of myself as a 9 year old busting it out to Madonna; this is the next best thing. This kid (Robert Jeffrey) is the exact same age as me. His parents took him on a trip to NH as a 9 year old and there was a vendor offering people the chance to lip-sync in front of a blue screen. What we are left with is magical...

I plan to celebrate Pride by recreating this video at every chance I get. How about you?

Happy Pride Everyone!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Walnut Lentil Manicotti

If you have ever read my bio on the right side of the page, you can see I very clearly say, “I don’t write recipes.”

I lied.

I finally wrote my first Chubby Vegan original and I must say I am pretty happy about it. Now, I read lots of recipes- lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of recipes. So, if by some chance I got the inspiration on this recipe from something else than I apologize if I am ripping it off.

For now though I will take the credit and check this off my bucket list. Move over Martha, Chubby Vegan is moving in.

Okay, maybe not...

I was so excited about this recipe that I made my neighbor and her family come over and try it. Her 12 year old stepdaughter, who is unreal picky, loved it. I think my work here is done.


Presenting my first Chubby Vegan original, Walnut Lentil Manicotti!

Recipe after the jump…

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vegan Los Angeles (Day Two)

Another Gratuitous LA Beach Scene
When I look back at my posts, I think I say things are “the best ever” or “the most delicious meal I have ever had” way too much.

Maybe I am just colorful?
Perhaps I over emphasize a bit?
Could I just like food that much?

I don’t know really. But what I do know is that these places in Los Angeles carry my highest recommendation. Both places were just awesome. Really, Bess pointed me in the right direction and I owe her a debt of gratitude. By gratitude I mean Madeleine Bistro donuts the next time I am in LA.

Anyplace that serves a good vegan breakfast is okay in my book. Add on some Babycakes cupcake tops and you just scored an A++ for me. I enjoyed my first ever Benedict (vegan or not) at M café, which was served with a grilled whole-grain baguette, steamed kale, tomato, tempeh bacon and topped with soy hollandaise. It was perfection on a plate. Plus, it was one of the best presentations I have seen in a long time. Yes, please!

Because I couldn’t resist, I also had some Babycakes cupcake tops too. Dessert for breakfast is okay, right? It is when you are chubby.

Veggie Grill is a vegan chain serving up “fast-food esque” vegan fare in the greater Los Angeles area. Really, I think this place alone is enough to make me want to live in LA. I had the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich which I haven't been able to stop thinking about. I think I may have dreamed about it a few times. This came with a side of perfect vegan macaroni and cheeze and we ordered sweet potato fries as an appetizer. To save you from my gushing, I will just say you need to add this place to your vegan bucket list, ASAP.

A little more after the jump...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Vegan Los Angeles (Day One)

Gratuitous LA Scenery Shot
I am really lucky.

I get to travel to some very cool places for work. While I am there, I believe it is my duty to check out as many cool places as humanly possible. Naturally, for a chubby guy, this means eat at as many places as I can.

During my last trip to Los Angeles I made sure to visit some of LA’s finest vegan eateries. Much like New York City, Los Angeles is a vegan wonderland. LA is one of the only places I have been where you can drive around and see vegan eateries literally anywhere. Most cities you have to go to the “special” part of town to find an all vegan restaurant; you know the part of town that is just a little bit run down and everyone rides a bike.

Since I ate at a fair amount of places in LA, I am splitting it and all of its vegan loveliness into two posts:

Real Food Daily (RFD)

I was joined by the lovely, incredible, sweet, amazing, and just all around awesome Bess from I Dream of Greenie for my first trip to Real Food Daily. Bess gave me lots of wonderful recommendations for my vegan tour of LA and this was definitely one of them. RFD had a solid menu with plenty of really fun and eclectic choices. We started off with the “Not-chos” that were covered in melted cashew cheese and guacamole. Really doesn't get much better than that.

I had the “Burger with the works,” which included avocado, tempeh bacon, melted cashew cheese. This burger was about as big as my head and I almost had a hard time finishing it. Alas, that burger was no match for me. It was, by far, one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had. It came with a lovely vegan Caesar salad too; a perfect accessory to a great burger.  

Finished it off with some mint chip ice cream and a heaping topping of “I can’t wait to go back.”

Madeleine Bistro

Well not really. But, Bess brought me a donut from Madeleine Bistro and it was incredible. It was one of those pastries that just gets better with each bite. It just melted in your mouth. I want more. Now…

One more after the jump...

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