Monday, March 31, 2008

Sexism in the Animal Rights Community

I was interviewed several weeks ago by Kara Jesella of The New York Times. She asked my opinion on perceived sexism in the animal rights community.

Here's the article she wrote. Sadly, her editor cut my quotes out of the piece. Damn.

Anyway, I told Kara my feelings: sexism runs rampant in our society. It's also prevalent in the animal rights movement. Take a look at the vegan strip club and some PETA anti-fur campaigns to see what I mean.

We all need to be conscious of all liberation struggles, not just animal liberation. We should not undermine one group to prop up another (e.g. objectifying women in order to spread the message of animal rights).

What do you all think?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dog Shot and Killed By Arrow

A dog was shot with an arrow yesterday here in Seattle. The 150-pound Mastiff died this morning from internal bleeding.

You can view a picture here, but be forewarned that it is graphic and upsetting.

This is sick and makes me really angry. I'm not sure what I would do if someone hurt my dog. I love him so much.

Seattle Animal Control is investigating and is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

NYC Trans Fats Ban in Effect?

I saw a post on SuperVegan about Foodswings celebrating its fourth anniversary this coming Sunday. I used to love going to Foodswings when visiting NYC (when I lived on the east coast).

However, I stopped going when I learned that they use trans fats in their food. This is disgusting and something I would never expect from a vegan restaurant. Also, the owner voiced his opposition to the trans fat ban in NYC, which I was not too fond of.

So, this brings me to my question for my readers: Has the ban on trans fats in NYC gone into effect yet?

I'd really like to go back to Foodswings, but will never do so while they use trans fats.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Ricochet Sugar-Free Mints



I've found my new favorite mints: Ricochet. Richochet mints are made with xylitol, so they are sugar-free and suitable for diabetics.

The mints are made by Emerald Forest.

The only flavor I've seen (at Sidecar for Pigs Peace) is Peppermint, which is really good.

The tin contains small 100 mints. Each mint has just one calorie and really freshens your breath. I'm very impressed with these.

Here are the ingredients: Xylitol, natural peppermint oil, natural hibiscus powder.

Has anyone else tried these or any other flavors? What is your favorite mint?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Illegal Killing of Endangered Mountain Gorillas

Michael Markarian blogged today about a park ranger arrested for spearheading the disgusting (and illegal) killing of endangered mountain gorillas in Congo.

There is a picture showing four gorillas strapped to makeshift stretchers. I've decided not to post the image here. You may view it on his blog if you so desire.

Michael points out that only about 700 mountain gorillas remain in the wild. He says, "The ranger apparently orchestrated the slayings to deter and demoralize environmentalists who are working to preserve the gorilla’s rainforest habitat."

What a poor excuse for a human being. Things like this make me sick to my stomach. Gorillas are beautiful creatures. Why do some people partake in such violence? I think it has a lot to do with our detachment from our natural world and one another.

Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies, Vegan Style

I came across the recipe for Mrs. Fields Chocolate Chip Cookies from Top Secret Recipes a while ago. The cookies - once veganized - are wonderful.



Here's my vegan version of the recipe:

1 cup softened organic margarine (I use Earth Balance Whipped Spread)
1/2 cup organic evaporated cane juice
1 1/2 cups organic packed brown sugar
Equivalent of 4 eggs (Egg Replacer)
2 1/2 teaspoons organic vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour (sifted)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking soda
18 ounces organic semisweet chocolate chips (I use Sunspire)

You can access the recipe for instructions here.

Update: Rather using both of your hands to roll the dough into golf-sized balls, I highly suggest using a spoon in one hand to dig out some dough and the other to help place it onto the cookie sheet. This is far less messy and much easier as the dough is very sticky.

The recipe makes two dozen awesome vegan cookies. They're so moist and chewy!

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Everyone who tries my cookies loves them (even non-vegans). I'm bringing some to my work meeting today for my coworkers.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Vegan Easter Basket

Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you can't have an Easter basket. I put together a vegan Easter basket as a surprise for my fiancee. Take a look below.



I filled the basket with the following goodies:


I was able to buy all of this at the one-stop vegan shop here in Seattle: Sidecar for Pigs Peace.

Did anyone else have a vegan Easter basket?

CEO of Annie's Naturals Wants Your Feedback


John Foraker, CEO of Annie's Naturals, wants your feedback on their organic Goddess dressing.

John left a comment on my post about my organic salad with Goddess dressing. He wants to know what you think about a larger size for the organic Goddess dressing.

You can read his comment and give your feedback here.

(Image courtesy of Annie's Naturals.)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Organic Oatmeal Packets Provide an Easy Breakfast


Looking for a quick, delicious, and filling breakfast? I highly suggest Apple Cinnamon instant oatmeal. I usually don't have much time in the mornings, so I end up eating something easy like this.

It's made by Nature's Path, the same company that makes those awesome vegan, organic, whole grain waffles I blogged about a few days ago.

The oatmeal is all organic and made with whole grain steel cut oats. Here is the full list of ingredients: Organic rolled oats, organic evaporated cane juice, organic dried apple, organic cinnamon, sea salt, natural flavor.

There are eight packets in a box. Each packet has 190 calories, 2g of fat, 14g of sugar, and 6g of protein. I always eat two packets, though, as it takes more to fill me up. I guess 14g of sugar in each packet is kind of high, but at least it's not refined sugar. That counts for something, right?

I've also tried the Maple Nut flavor, which is really good as well.

Has anyone else tried any of the other flavors?

As an additional bonus, it's a local product for me. Nature's Path is based in Blaine, WA and their distributor is in British Columbia.

I'd like to start making my own oatmeal like Katie and Jennifer, but these packets are perfect for those mornings I'm in a rush, tired, or just plain lazy.

(Image courtesy of Nature's Path.)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Lunch: A Big Organic Salad

After realizing I hadn't had a salad in a very long time, I decided to make it my lunch today (after eating my leftovers from the Araya's - the all vegan thai restaurant here in Seattle).

My salad was all organic and consisted of baby greens, red bell peppers, carrots, and cucumbers. Nothing fancy, but good. I topped it with Goddess Dressing, the best dressing in the world. Here's a picture:



I'm glad Annie's Naturals finally released an organic version of Goddess Dressing. That was one of the few non-organic things I was buying. For those of you familiar with the dressing, have you noticed it's only available in the small (8 oz) size?

Tip: For those of you who don't like dressing, I suggest you give Goddess Dressing a try. I really am not big on dressings, but I love this one.

My Eco-Friendly Wedding Invitations


Now that my fiancee and I have sent out our invitations and everyone has seen them, I can share them with you.

We ended up going with the Cosmo invitations, made by InviteSite. They're said to be perfect for a contemporary garden or outdoor wedding. (Our wedding is going to be outdoors in a park.)

We're really impressed with them. We've received numerous compliments from our guests as well.

Here's a picture of the open invitation (before having been put together):



All materials in the Cosmo set are eco-friendly. Some items are completely tree-free and some are 100% post-consumer recycled. Take a look at InviteSite's list of eco-friendly invitations.

We decided to order the materials only from InviteSite and put the invitations together ourselves. (My fiancee deserves the credit for most of this, as I am not the artistic one). They gave us Word document template files, which we customized to our liking. Then, we printed the invitations and RSVP cards and put them together.

After going through the process I have some pros and cons about InviteSite:
  • Pros: Eco-friendly, beautiful materials, friendly customer service, templates provided

  • Cons: Minimum order of 50 sets, unable to order online


The pros definitely outweigh the cons. Maybe they'll add Internet ordering in the near future. The minimum order requirement is obnoxious for people with small weddings - we're expecting 30 guests - but we plan to use the extras as our thank you cards.

If you're planning a green wedding I highly recommend InviteSite. Just be sure to look at their eco-friendly list and ignore the rest.

If you'd like to read more about our upcoming wedding, I posted a few weeks ago about planning my vegan wedding.

(Images courtesy of InviteSite.)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

California to Be Aerially Sprayed With Biochemical

I hadn't even heard of the plan to aerially spray California with a biochemical until I received the following disturbing email from one of my readers:

The California Department of Food and Agriculture, at the invitation of the governor, is aerially spraying our state with a toxic combination of carcinogens and endocrine disruptors encapsulated in particulate plastic. Their lame excuse for doing this that a moth is going to wipe out all agriculture in the state. The moth, called the light brown apple moth, or LBAM, is actually misclassified as a class A pest. In New Zealand and Hawaii this moth does negligible damage to plants and is kept in control by natural predators. Yet, our governor declared California to be in a state of emergency and began spraying the central portion of the state near Monterrey Bay.

The end result was hundreds of dead birds, hundreds of sick people and rivers and the ocean fouled with toxic sludge. Many people have fled the area, but unfortunately, this is a statewide program and the government will not only continue aerially spraying central California, they are coming next to the SF Bay Area. 7 million people will be sprayed with an untested chemical containing 'secret' ingredients, the nature of which are being kept secret because of patent laws that protect the rights of the manufacturer. Spraying will begin in August.

The city governments of Berkeley, Oakland, Marin and Alameda are desperately trying to stop the CDFA and our governor ... but the Monterey local government did this as well and that didn't stop the spray.

The particulate plastic the toxins are contained in enters deeply into the lungs and remains there, permanently. The ingredients that have been disclosed are documented causes of breast cancer, sterility and a host of other scary things. This junk will be in our bodies, in our water, in our soil forever unless we can stop this egregious plan.


This isn't the first time California will be sprayed. Monterey county was sprayed last year. Take a look at this article that states hundreds of people were sickened after the spray.

Apparently, spraying will begin on June 1, 2008 for Santa Cruz & Monterey counties. The Bay area will be sprayed beginning August 1, 2008. The plan is spray again every 30 to 90 days as well.

There are some really cool things about California, but the state government is not one of them. This is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. This biochemical will kill wildlife, harm the environment, ruin organic produce, and pose a huge health hazard.

The main website leading the effort to protect California is LBAMspray.com.

Here's an article about the plan in the San Francisco Chronicle. Also, take a look at this article that reveals the political motivation and vested interests in performing the spray.

The biochemical is called CheckMate and is produced by Suterra, a company based in Bend, Oregon. Here's their contact information, should you desire to let them know how you feel:
Suterra LLC
213 SW Columbia St
Bend, OR 97702
Phone: 866-326-6737
Fax: 541-388-3705


Thanks to the Ellis family for informing me about this issue. They are writing about this as news unfolds on their blog Vegan Reader.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Chance (Vegan) Encounter

I walked outside my apartment building today and met Chris Rouse, the lead singer of Seven Generations. Chris seems like a really cool person. They played a show here in Seattle last night.

Anyway, if you like punk and haven't listened to Seven Generations yet, you should check out their MySpace page.

"Vegan revolution!"

Awesome Stir-Fry Dinner


My fiancee made a great meal last night for dinner. It was a stir-fry with wild rice, tons of veggies, and chickpea gluten puffs. She made the chickpea gluten puffs from the Veganomicon recipe for chickpea cutlets.

The chickpea gluten puffs were so good!

I love wild rice. It's totally worth the $7/pound and long cook time (about an hour). Have you ever had wild rice? If not, I suggest trying it. You can find it in the bulk section at Whole Foods and probably at your local health food store.

What'd you have for dinner?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

OT: Blog Goodies

I've decided to share with you all what I'm using to interact in the blogosphere. I've found some cool services.

As you may have noticed, I've installed the Feedjit widget on my blog. You can click on the map image to view a live traffic map of visitors to this blog. I'm very interested to see where all of my readers come from. Hi to everyone!

I'm using a cool tool called Commentful to track blog comments. You install two buttons on your browser toolbar: Add to Commentful and Commentful Watchlist. Whenever you comment on a blog and/or want to follow-up on new comments, click the Add to Commentful button. Then, periodically click the Commentful Watchlist to check if there have been new comments left since your last visit.

For my RSS reader, I'm using the web version of Newsgator. I like this service better than Google Reader. It's free as well, the UI is better, and you can tag and save posts.

What do you use? Feel free to share.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Vegan, Organic, Whole Grain Waffles!


I've finally found vegan, organic, whole grain waffles! Actually, credit is due to my fiancee who found them while we were shopping at our local co-op the other day.

They're made by Nature's Path. The flavor I bought was Pomegran Plus, although it looks like all of their waffles but one are organic and whole grain.

I managed to eat the box of eight waffles in just two days (my fiancee had two of them). Each waffle has 95 calories, 2.5g of fat, 2.5g of protein, and just 3g of sugar.

I recommend enjoying them with your favorite organic maple syrup.

Has anyone else tried these?

(Image courtesy of Nature's Path.)

Shame on You Governor Gregoire


The governor of Washington, Christine Gregoire, signed a bill on March 13 to reinstate the use of dogs in hunting cougars.

I am absolutely disgusted at how our society deals with overpopulation problems and animals deemed nuisances. Take a look at my previous post regarding the killing of stray cats to deal with the feral cat problem.

The full text of WA House bill 2438 is available here.

The governor completely went against the wishes of her constituents, as Washington state voters approved an initiative in 1996 to put an end to the use of dogs for the hunting of cougars and other animals. The measure was passed overwhelmingly with 63% of people voting to ban the practice.

It's wonderful to have elected officials who don't even represent their constituents. I can tell you that the people of Seattle most certainly do not support this bill. The governor may have just lost her reelection.

Here's an article from today's Seattle Times that explains the counter-productiveness associated with the heavy hunting of cougars.

The law goes into effect on June 12, 2008.

Feel free to contact Governor Gregoire and let her know what you think. I'll be letting her know my thoughts.

Thanks to Michael Markarian for drawing attention to this matter and for the image used in this post.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Sacramento: Recommendations Wanted

Where should I eat in Sacramento?

I'll be traveling to the area (near Rancho Cordova) at the end of this month for work. It'll be a quick in-and-out trip, but in case I have time for lunch I'd like to know where to go. I've never been.

I'm sure some of my readers live in or have been to Sacramento.

What vegetarian or vegan restaurant would you recommend I visit? What's the best restaurant there?

Thanks!

Friday, March 14, 2008

While I Work, They Sleep

While I work, my pets get to sleep. Take a look...



Delilah insists on taking up the entire dog bed, and Reilly loves her so he lets her have it.


Here's where Reilly usually sleeps during the day. He loves the couch.


Notice how the arm of the couch is ripped up? Courtesy of the cats.


Say hi to Owen. He's the monster cat who's teaching Delilah bad habits.

Vegan Canned Cat Food


Vegan canned cat food is great when you've run out of food or are traveling. For me, it's a godsend, as my cats will not let me be until they've been fed.

I try to keep at least one can of Evolution canned cat food on hand for such emergencies.

I noticed this morning that I had forgotten to make more kitten food (see my previous post on making vegan kitten food). Delilah was not going to wait for me to make her food.

When on the road with my cats (pretty rare and usually only when moving), I bring a bunch of the moist canned food, as it's much easier than the alternative: carrying a bag of kibble and soaking it before every meal.

Anyway, I highly recommend the product. My cats like both flavors (vegetable stew and gourmet entree).

(Thanks to Vegan Essentials for the image.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

On Killing Stray Cats

Recently, I've been reading a lot about stray cats being killed and it's now time for me to comment.

Taste Better blogged about the fact that China has begun killing stray cats in preparation for the Olympics. Take a look at this horrifying article about Beijing's cat death camps.

The Chinese government's plan to deal with their feral cat problem is disgusting. They should be ashamed of themselves.

Deb at Invisible Voices posted about this article on CNN.

The article is appropriately titled, "Town puts price on cats' heads." The town of Randolph, Iowa is offering $5 for each feral cat brought in. The cats will be kept at a veterinarian clinic for an unspecified amount of time. If a cat's "owner" does not claim the cat, s/he will be euthanized. Wonderful.

And, to make matters worse, John Snyder, Vice President of Companion Animals at the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), supports the killing of strays! The CNN article states "he doesn't have a problem with humanely killing a stray cat."

John: Rounding up stray cats and killing them is never humane!

Is HSUS actually in agreement with PETA on euthanization? Is that their solution to the pet overpopulation? I hope not. I hope the comment made reflects Snyder's own opinion, and not that of the organization at large.

I am pro-pet. I love my dog and cats, and believe companion animals enrich our lives in more ways then we know. That said, we do need to control the overpopulation problem. It's terrible that millions of animals are dying in our shelters each year. HSUS estimates the number of shelter euthanizations to be between three and four million.

I have a better solution to our pet overpopulation, involving a four-pronged approach:
  1. Put a ban on breeding


  2. Spay and neuter your pets (Bob Barker had it right)

  3. Keep your cats indoors

    • Cats wreak havoc on the ecosystem, as they are unnatural predators introduced by us

  4. Send feral cats to sanctuaries or leave them be


Does anyone else have any ideas? Please feel free to share.

What I Had for Dinner


My fiancee made this tasty dinner tonight.

The meal consisted of sprouted pasta and oven roasted tempeh, carrots, zucchini, kale, sweet potatoes, and yukon gold potatoes. It was topped with herbs, parma, salt, and pepper.

It was really good. We ate while we watched The Biggest Loser (one of my guilty pleasure TV shows).

I love these plates. We found them at a thrift store in Portland.

Goodnight!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Vegan Tag, I'm It!

I was tagged earlier today by Vegan Linda. Thanks, I feel so special!

I'm supposed to share five facts about myself. Here we go:

1. I'm getting married in May to the greatest girl in the world. We're in the midst of planning our vegan wedding.

2. I've been vegan straightedge for six years now. Woohoo! I also eat almost entirely organic.

3. I've lived all over, including the DC area, southwest Virginia, Australia, and Seattle. I thought I'd want to stay in Seattle, but I don't. I can't stand the weather. I never thought I'd say this but I actually enjoyed living in DC more.

4. I can and do crack almost every joint in my body. It's a bad habit.

5. One of my favorite places in the world is in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

I'm tagging Chocolate Covered Vegan, Happy Herbivore, Pleasantly Plump Vegan, VeggieGirl, and Vegan Noodle.

Rules:
Link to your tagger and post these rules.
Share 5 facts about yourself.
Tag 5 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vegan Pound Cake


After seeing VeggieGirl's post about baking pound cake, I decided to make the Vanilla Yogurt Pound Cake from Veganomicon for myself.

It's really good. I found out that my fiance had never had pound cake! She really enjoyed it. It really does taste just like non-vegan pound cake.

I'm happy with the consistency as well. This was the first time I zested something (I used lemon and orange zest).

The only thing I changed from the original recipe was using whole wheat flour instead of all purpose flour. I also used an 8.5" x 4.5" loaf pan instead of a 9" x 5" pan.

Anyway, this is my favorite thing I've baked. I'm really pleased with the result. If you're looking for something to bake, I highly suggest the vanilla yogurt pound cake.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Let's Make Vegan Kitten Food

Do you have a kitten? I'll show you how to easily make food for him/her.

You may recall from a previous post (Veganizing Your Pets) that I feed my dog, cat, and kitten a vegan diet. Well, here's how I make my kitten Delilah's food.

Recipe

I use the Chickpea Tofu recipe in the Vegekit instructions. (Vegekit is made by Harbingers of a New Age.)

I double the recipe and use 16oz of tofu rather than 17oz, as 16oz is a common size package for tofu. So, here is the recipe I use:

25 oz organic canned garbanzo beans
16 oz organic firm tofu
2/3 cup Vegeyeast (also made by Harbingers)
2 1/2 T Vegekit
8 tsp organic olive oil

Here's a picture of everything you'll need:



I recommend using organic for as much as possible.

Step 1: Drain and rinse the chickpeas



Why do canned chickpeas smell so bad? I love chickpeas, but they smell disgusting right out of the can.

Step 2: Pour the chickpeas into the food processor



Step 3: Crumble the tofu and add it to the food processor



Watch out for cats! If your cats are like mine, they'll go after the Vegeyeast.





Step 4: Add the Vegyeast, Vegekit, and olive oil



Step 5: Blend until mixed

Note: Do not blend too much. You want the food to be thick, not smooth.



Doesn't that look appetizing? Smell it. It smells awful because of the Vegekit, but Delilah loves it. She can't wait for me to put her food down.

So, there you have it. Vegan kitten food!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Vegan Visitor Guide to Washington, DC


The Washington, DC metropolitan area is very vegan-friendly. If you're headed to DC, you're in for a treat! This post is intended to be used as a guide for vegans visiting Washington, DC. I was born and raised in the Virginia suburbs of DC and know the area very well. Feel to contact me with any questions.


RESTAURANTS

Let's get right down to it. If you only have time and/or money to visit one restaurant in DC, Virginia, and Maryland, here's where you should go (separated by state).


Best vegetarian restaurant in DC


Java Green is definitely the best vegetarian restaurant in DC. I LOVE Java Green. I used to work three blocks from the restaurant, which was very dangerous, as I would go for lunch almost every day.


The basics
  • All vegetarian (almost all vegan)

  • 1020 19th St NW

  • M-W 8:30am-8:30pm, Th-F 8:30am-9:00pm, Sat 11:00am-6:00pm, Sun Closed

  • Menus: Food and Drink


Java Green is all vegetarian and almost all vegan. Almost everything is vegan by default, but some sandwiches contain dairy cheese. Anything on the menu can be made vegan.

The food is amazing. Much of it is organic, and you can have your sandwich made on whole wheat. Oh, and the drinks (smoothies and frappes) are made with vegan whipped cream (made by Java Green)!

I can't say enough good things about Java Green. The owner, DJ Kim, is an amazing person. He is vegan and has such a positive outlook. I've gotten to know him over the years and each time I see him he greets me with a hug (although I know I'm not special because he hugs everyone). Each time I leave he says, "Peace brother."

Java Green was named the Most Progressive Restaurant in the United States by PETA. The restaurant is 100% wind-powered and near everything is biodegradable and compostable.

My recommendations

If you're only going to go once, get the Spicy Chicken Rice Bowl and the Drumsticks appetizer. If you don't particularly care for spicy food, get the Chicken Java (ask for soy cheese). The Spicy Chicken Rice Bowl was a favorite of omnivores at my old office. It pleases everyone.

Also, you must get a frappe. It's pretty much required by locals. I recommend the Mocha Nut Java or the Sunset Beach. Amazing drinks. The drinks are usually made vegan by default, but feel free to confirm by asking for soy. And, don't fret, the whipped cream on top is vegan! Funny story: I ordered a frappe when I first visited Java Green and was upset to see whipped cream on top when I received my drink. I told DJ I was vegan and didn't want whipped cream. He pretended at first that it was dairy and then informed me that it was vegan. So, yes, the whipped cream is vegan.

My food recommendations include the following:
  • Spicy Chicken Rice Bowl

  • Chicken Java (ask for soy cheese)

  • Drumsticks appetizer

  • Veg Max

  • Temptation

  • Spicy Sausage Rice Bowl

  • Chicken Deluxe

  • California Gimbob


My drink recommendations include the following:
  • Mocha Nut Java

  • Sunset Beach

  • Vanilla Ginseng

  • Agave Ginger

  • Green Tea Latte

  • Tango Acai


Getting there

Driving and parking in the city is usually unbearable, especially during a weekday. I highly recommend you take advantage of the great public transportation in the area: the Metro. The train will take you most anywhere in DC, usually within several blocks.

Take a look at the system map of the Metro train system. Java Green is just two blocks from Farragut West on the Orange and Blue lines, and two to three blocks from Farragut North on the Red line.

Oh, Java Green also has a vegan brunch on Saturdays from 11am-3pm.

Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, Java Green is providing drinks at my wedding.


Best vegetarian restaurant in Virginia


Sunflower is the best vegetarian restaurant. Period. It's my favorite restaurant that I've ever been to, thus far, and I've been all over (Australia, New Zealand, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, New York, and more). Seriously, it's amazing! It's worth going to DC just for the food here.

The basics


Sunflower pleases everyone. It's a wonderful place to take omnivores, even picky ones. I have yet to meet someone who didn't like the Sunflower.

My fiance, best friend, and I visited Sunflower so often that they know us all by name.

Anyway, when I lived in the DC area, I visited their Vienna location, the only one at the time. They've since opened another location in Falls Church, right next to Seven Corners. If you don't already know, Seven Corners is the most awful intersection in Northern Virginia. It's a mess. But, it's worth dealing with to visit this new location.

So, which location should you visit? The menus are about the same. The Vienna location was first and has been around for 11 years. It's smaller and cozier. The Falls Church location is less than a year old and is much bigger. The atmosphere is nice, but I prefer the coziness of the Vienna location (it may also have to do with the fact that I've been going there for six years).

My recommendations

If you're going just once, you HAVE to get the General Tso's and Fried Chicken appetizer. I guarantee you'll love it. It's the best vegan meal I've ever had a restaurant, hands down.

My recommendations:
  • General Tso's Surprise

  • Fried Chicken

  • Sweet and Sour Sensation

  • As You Wish Garden

  • Curry Supreme

  • Songbird

  • Kale & Burdock Deluxe


I'm not big on the desserts, so I almost always skip those. You probably won't have room anyway, as the meals are big portions. If you're looking for dessert, I recommend heading to Sticky Fingers Bakery.

Getting there

I recommend driving or bringing your bike on the Metro. The Vienna location is about two miles from the Vienna Metro station. The Falls Church location is impossible to reach by walking (Fairfax County, VA is not kind to pedestrians or bicyclists). You'll have to drive or take a bus from a Metro station.


Best vegetarian restaurant in Maryland


The Vegetable Garden is the best restaurant on the Maryland side of DC. I've only been several times, but enjoyed the food. I think I like the dessert even better, though. Their cakes are amazing.

The basics
  • All vegan (but rumors of honey in some desserts)

  • 11618 Rockville Pike

  • M-Thur 11:30am-10:00pm, F-Sat 11:30am-10:30pm, Sun 11:30am-9:30pm

  • Menu


If you're looking for somewhere you can be in-and-out I recommend The Vegetable Garden. While the food is good, the customer service is not so hot. I always feel pressured to eat my food quickly, as the workers just stand there and watch you, waiting for you to finish. Then, they're quick to run over and drop off the check. So, great if you're pressed for time, but not if you're for a peaceful place to take your time and chat with friends. Also, in my experience, they're not very friendly. Instead, they're more matter-of-fact and just focusing on the business and the food.

I believe The Vegetable Garden is 100% vegan, although I remember hearing rumors of honey in some of their desserts. I'd ask just to make sure. They may have phased that out by now.

Some meals are organic and are clearly labeled as such. This is wonderful but I feel like I should choose an organic meal over a non-organic meal.

My recommendations
  • Sesame Veggie Chicken

  • Lemon Chicken

  • Chicken with Cashew Nuts

  • Key Lime Pie


Getting there

There's no need to drive. The Vegetable Garden is directly across the street from the White Flint Metro station on the Red line. Be sure to use the pedestrian underpass to cross Rockville Pike. Don't wait at the light.


Alright, those are the best vegetarian restaurants in each state/district.

If you have more time, be sure to check out the following:


You can access a very comprehensive guide to the DC area at VegDC.com.

(Image courtesy of dailyjoe.)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Vegan, Organic Cocoa Puffs


I just discovered vegan, organic Cocoa Puffs! Words cannot express how excited I am. The cereal is called Chocolate Blastems and is made by Health Valley.

I had two bowls for breakfast this morning, with Vitasoy smooth vanilla soymilk (my favorite soymilk).

It's debatable as to whether original Cocoa Puffs are vegan, as vitamin D is one of the ingredients. Unless specified, vitamin D is almost always D3, which is never vegan. Does anyone know whether the vitamin D in Cocoa Puffs is D2 or D3? PETA says it's vegan, but we all know they list some products that aren't entirely vegan.

Regardless, even if original Cocoa Puffs are vegan, there now exists an organic and healthier version. Also, Health Valley is a division of Hain, which is a good company in my opinion.

They're really good! They definitely taste like Cocoa Puffs, but even better (or maybe I just think that because I know they're much healthier).

Chocolate Blastems are also made with 100% whole grains (corn meal, wheat, and oat). Here are the ingredients:

Organic whole grains (organic whole corn meal, organic whole wheat flour, organic whole oat flour), organic evaporated cane juice, organic cocoa powder, organic sunflower oil, natural flavors (chocolate, vanilla), sea salt, calcium carbonate, soy lecithin, natural vitamin E (for freshness).


Chocolate Blastems also contain less sugar than Cocoa Puffs (8g versus 13g per serving).

I bought my box at Whole Foods, as PCC (my local co-op) doesn't have them. I paid $3.29 for the 9oz box.

I definitely suggest you give them a try. What's your favorite vegan cereal?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Herbivore Magainze to Stop Publication

Josh Hooten, editor of Herbivore Magazine, wrote today in his blog that Herbivore Magazine will cease publication after this year.

This definitely saddens me, as I've enjoyed Herbivore Magazine throughout the years. As Josh points out, there is a "painful lack of vegan, vegetarian, and animal rights media." His magazine was a welcome addition that will be greatly missed.

For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Josh, he is a wonderful person. Josh: I wish you the very best in your next endeavor. You've really helped the animal rights movement and I know you'll continue to do so with whatever lies ahead for you next.

Thank you (and all the contributors over the years) for the great publications you've put out.

Planning My Vegan Wedding

I'm back from the east coast, where my fiance and I spent a little time planning our upcoming vegan wedding.

Our wedding will be entirely vegan, with food provided by Gail's Vegetarian Catering, cake by Sticky Fingers Bakery, and fruit drinks by Java Green.

It was nice to be back in the Washington, DC area and enjoy some much-appreciated sun. However, now that I am back home, you can expect regular posts again from me.

Have any of you been to the DC area? What vegetarian restaurants did you go to?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alba Organics Lip Balm No Longer Vegan

Take warning: Alba Organics lip balm is no longer vegan! They've switched to using beeswax. All three flavors (coconut cream, passion fruit nectar, and pineapple quench) are not vegan anymore.

You can see the new ingredients on their website here for yourself. You can also email them your feedback here.

Thanks to Vegan Chai for the heads-up.