The Cruelty-Free Review

A review of compassionate products, foods, and recipes

Snack Attack, Part 2

Remember when I reviewed Earth Balance’s white cheddar puffs and popcorn? I was pretty astounded at how well they replicated the taste of their non-vegan counterparts and was convinced that they were the pinnacle in taste of vegan snack food. But Earth Balance has done it again and while I’m never fond of hyperbole, I will say they have created THE greatest vegan snack food ever! Oh and there’s a couple of other pretty good ones reviewed here, too.

20140217_191547

So, just what is the greatest vegan snack? Sour Cream and Onion Kettle chips. Okay, I am being totally biased as sc&o chips are my all-time favorite snack/junk food indulgence. I have loved them for as long as I can remember. I never even used to like sour cream, except as a flavoring on a chip. In high school I went to lunch at Subway at least twice a week and the best part of the meal was opening up that green and white bag of happiness and popping the first tangy chip in my mouth. Even now as I journey closer to a 100% vegan diet, there are a few things I have a very hard time letting go of, and sc&o chips are one of those things. But I can finally cross those off my list thanks to EB. Their take on my lifetime fave is spot-on perfect. They have the perfect balance of tanginess and sweetness that make sc&o chips so great, plus they’re kettle-style so they have an extra crunch that just rounds everything out. Every time I eat one my mouth does a happy dance. They are also healthier than their non-vegan versions, so that makes them practically guilt-free snacking! Of course, healthier is a relative term since we’re talking about potato chips but who cares! I have a vegan alternative to one of my favorite foods!

20140217_191631

Earth Balance has also come out with a Cheddar flavor kettle chip and while I would never choose them over the sour cream and onion ones, they do taste pretty fantastic. I was worried that they would taste just like EB’s white cheddar puffs but the cheese flavors in each are quite different. While the white cheddar is sharp and strong, the regular cheddar is creamier and more subtle. The best thing is that the chips aren’t overly salty and that really lets the cheese flavor shine through.

20140217_191700

The third snack EB has released is Cheddar Flavored Squares—vegan cheese-its, essentially. I was actually a little disappointed by these—to me, they lack cheddar flavor. It really surprises me too, considering how well the cheese comes through in the chips. They don’t taste bad but I just think they need more cheese flavor. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll eat these any given day over the non-vegan version. Robert on the other hand, prefers these to regular Cheese-Its, and he loves Cheese-Its about as much as I love sour cream and onion chips. So there are both sides of the coin for you.

20140611_132933

20140611_132958

I have seen the Cheddar Squares at Whole Foods, but neither flavor of the chips yet. I actually had to order mine from Food Fight Grocery. They had been sold out for a while, but I checked today and both flavors were in stock. If you are as desperate to try the chips as I was, FFG will probably be your best bet to get them. I highly recommend you do, at least once as they are completely worth it. Happy snacking!

2 Comments »

Women don’t sweat, they glow…

20140303_215430

I like to work out during my lunch break at work. It’s a great way to give myself a boost of energy when I’m lagging halfway through the day and it frees up time after work since I don’t have to go to the gym. I can get in a pretty good sweat doing a tabata workout, but therein lays the problem-the sweat. I never get to the point of being drenched but it would definitely be obvious to others if I didn’t have the decency to reapply deodorant. I also use Pacifica’s Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes to help wipe the sweat glow away :)

Way back when I first started this blog I reviewed Pacifica’s perfume. They have greatly expanded their product line to include makeup, facial cleansers, moisturizers, BB creams, and these wipes. Combining gently cleansing coconut water with exfoliating papaya and soothing aloe vera, these wipes are great for removing excess oil while leaving skin soft and hydrated. Each 8 by 5 inch cloth is perfectly moistened and made without harsh chemicals so they work for any skin type. They aren’t the best at removing make-up though, especially water-proof make-up so you’ll want to stick with a stronger cleanser for that. The coconut scent is refreshing without being overpowering and will make you feel like you’re walking on the beach.

20140303_215604 20140303_215805

What I really love about the wipes is the packaging. I’ve used a lot of wipes in this kind of packaging and without fail every pack suffered from not closing tightly enough to prevent the wipes from drying out. Pacifica’s packaging snaps shut completely, keeping the cloths moist for weeks. 30 wipes come in a pack and cost $5.99, which is a great bargain especially since there’s no worry about the cloths drying out. The package fits easily in a purse, making them travel-friendly. 100% vegan and biodegradable, these wipes are a must-have, whether you use them for regular cleansing or just to freshen up while on the go.

2 Comments »

Arbonne Vegan Protein Shake

*I was provided with free products to try, but the opinions are 100% my own*

20131107_071034

A while back I was contacted by Sara, a consultant for Arbonne International wanting to know if I would like to try their vegan nutritional shakes. For those of you who have not heard of Arbonne (like me, until Sara came along :) ), they offer high-quality skin care, cosmetics, and nutritional supplements that are all botanically-based, cruelty-free, and vegan. Being a big fan of Vega I was definitely willing to try a different product to compare to Vega. If you haven’t read my review of Vega One or just need a refresher on my thoughts, hop over here, and then keep reading.

Arbonne’s shakes come in chocolate and vanilla, both of which I got to try. The serving size is 42 grams, just slightly larger than Vega’s 38.6 grams so I used the same 8 ounces of liquid to mix it with. The first thing I noticed about the Arbonne shakes was how quickly and completely they dissolved. I had no issues with clumps, something I can’t say for Vega. As for taste and texture, Arbonne wins by a country mile. I never despised Vega’s taste although I couldn’t discern much difference between the flavors (I’ve tried the Vanilla Chai and Berry) and I could still tell I was drinking a protein shake. Arbonne doesn’t suffer from the chalky or gritty feel that many shakes have. The vanilla was subtly sweet and didn’t taste artificial. Hands down, the chocolate was my favorite. It was creamy and indulgent and loaded with chocolate flavor. It’s amazing that with a whopping 20 grams of protein per serving (5 more than Vega) that these shakes are so smooth and flavorful.
Speaking of nutritional value, protein is about the only category that Arbonne wins at compared to Vega. Here are links to each product’s nutritional chart.
Arbonne: http://www.arbonnemarketing.com/PK/dl/pk/2069_us_eng.pdf
Vega: http://myvega.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/VegaOne_LargeTub_Berry_CDN_V13_FINAL-P1.jpg

That’s not to say that it lacks in anything but Vega can brag that their shakes provide 50% recommended intake of vitamins and minerals, as well as greens, antioxidants, and probiotics. Which is all well and good but as I stated in my Vega review, it’s so very important to make sure you get the majority of your nutrition from whole, plant-based meals. That being said if you’re looking for a shake that provides long-lasting fullness as a meal replacement, Arbonne comes out on top. I drank it for breakfast each time and went nearly 3 hours before feeling any signs of hunger.
Arbonne also wins in the cost category. A large tub of Vega which contains 20-24 servings (depending on the flavor) will run you about $66. Arbonne is the same price, but with 30 servings per container. Still pricey, but if you’re thinking about throwing down serious money for a protein shake, those extra servings could be a deal-breaker.

And not to throw salt in the wound, but Vega has endured a few recalls last year. In November, Health Canada asked Vega to recall about 108 lot numbers of their shakes due to the product being contaminated with an antibiotic that can cause several severe health conditions. Vega initially refused the recall but under the weight of public protest they complied about a week later. Back in June they recalled 15 lot numbers of their protein bars due to trace amounts of milk found in them. This resulted in changing the labeling to read: “May contain dairy”. You can read the FDA press releases for each recall here:
Vega One Nutritional Shake Recall
Vega One Sport Protein Bar Recall

There doesn’t seem to be as much furor about the bars containing milk as there was for the antibiotic contamination but I’m certainly disappointed by both occurrences. For one, the bars can’t really be considered vegan anymore. Strict vegans and those with dairy allergies definitely have to avoid them. As for the antibiotic contamination I don’t understand why they would resist a recall, even a voluntary one. I know that the actual chances of someone having a reaction were slim but why even take the risk? I’m sure Vega had their reasons but I don’t know if it was worth alienating some consumers.

If you’ve been wanting to try vegan protein shakes for the first time or just looking to change up your routine, consider giving Arbonne a shot. You can’t buy Arbonne in stores so if you’re interested, contact Sara at: sara_kuz@hotmail.com or check out her website at http://www.liveyourdreamlife.myarbonne.ca. She is very knowledgeable about all the products she sells and will answer any questions you may have in a timely manner.

3 Comments »

Guest Post at That Was Vegan?

Hey gang! I’m helping Barb with a guest post while she’s hanging out with elephants in SE Asia. Hop on over there today to see my post, than make sure you come back here Friday for my first review of the year!

2 Comments »

Budget Buy: Avalon Organics Regreshing Vitamin C Renewal Gel Cleanser

Camera pics 107

Facial cleansers are one product I rarely splurge on. Sure, I will spend a little more for a really good mask or exfoliator, but as for a cleanser made for everyday use my requirements are only these: cheap and effective. And those are the two things I love most about Avalon Organics Refreshing Vitamin C Renewal Gel Cleanser.

Starting with the effectiveness, AO’s RVCRGC (you don’t need me to keep spelling it out, do you? :) ) is fortified with (duh) Vitamin C, an ingredient known for its antioxidant properties. Vitamin C also naturally brightens the skin, making it perfect for morning use. Lemon bioflavonoids and white tea extracts help soothe skin, fight the signs of aging, and remove toxins and impurities. The gel lathers up fabulously and only a very small amount is needed. It washes off completely without leaving skin feeling dry or stretched out and is great for any skin type. The bright, citrusy scent works wonders for waking me up, no matter how groggy I feel. It’s like being kissed by an orange (my apologies to Seal for ripping off his song :) )

The value of the cleanser just can’t be beat. At only $12.50 for 8.5 ounces (often on sale for even less at Whole Foods)  and even with every day use one bottle will last me for months. Not two or three months, but more like five or six months. No lie.

Camera pics 108

I emailed AO to verify that this particular product is vegan. The label says 100% vegetarian ingredients but I couldn’t identify any that wouldn’t be vegan. The reply I received assured me that it is in fact vegan. I also inquired if AO would consider labeling that specifies their products as either vegan or vegetarian. I was told that my inquiry would “be forwarded to the leadership team”.  I hope they seriously consider updating the labeling. It certainly would make shopping much easier for vegan-conscious consumers. Why not promote your product as vegan instead of using potentially ambigious phrases like ‘100% vegetarian’. It’s not like you’d lose customers. I mean, who in their right mind would purposely refuse to buy something just because it’s vegan?

Okay, off the soapbox! I simply love this cleanser and have been using it for over a year and I don’t see that changing any time soon.  Cheap and effective might not sound like the best   endorsement for a product but in this case it really is high praise.

Avalon Organics products can be purchased on their website AvalonOrganics.com, natural foods stores, and many chain stores like Target and Walmart.

 

Leave a comment »

The Eyes Have It

 

Urban Decay is a cruelty-free company with a huge line of cosmetics.  From eye shadows to primers, lip gloss to foundation, UD offers something for everyone. Additionally, many of their products are vegan and are easily identified as such with a purple paw print on their website and store displays. Today I will review their eye shadow. Unfortunately they don’t have an all-vegan eye shadow palate, so I will only be reviewing the four vegan shades from the Ammo palate.

DSCN0644DSCN0645

For starters, UD’s eye shadows are perfectly balanced between being light and creamy without being flaky or heavy. They glide on very smooth and blend well, making it easy to customize your look and can be applied wet or dry. Finishes range from matte, to luminous, to shimmery and colors range from muted nudes to bold purples and blues.  Of their 75 available shades, 32 are vegan so there are plenty of options available.

The four vegan shades in the Ammo palate are Smog, Mildew, Maui Wowie, and Shattered.

From left to right: Shattered, Maui Wowie, Mildew, Smog

From left to right: Shattered, Maui Wowie, Mildew, Smog

Smog is a deep coppery shade; Mildew is a mossy green with flashes of gold; Maui Wowie is a metallic golden beige with silver glitter; and Shattered is a turquoise hue with flashes of gold. Of these, Mildew is my favorite. I have green eyes so this shade really compliments them and brings out the gold flecks. It’s a nice shade of green without being too dark. Smog and Maui Wowie are shimmery, neutral shades that look great on their own but also make a good base to layer on other colors. Shattered is bold, gorgeous and perfect for a night out. I always get compliments on how pretty the shadows are, especially when I combine colors. I really like using Smog on the entire lid and adding Shattered as a liner right along the upper lash line. It adds just the right amount of color that’s appropriate for work but still gives a sense of fun.

These shadows have decent staying power, lasting about 5-6 hours before showing signs of creasing. I have yet to find an eye shadow that doesn’t crease so I think that’s pretty good. The colors also stay very strong so reapplying isn’t really necessary, unless like me you forget you’re wearing shadow and keep rubbing your eyes :) I did notice that the shades that contain glitter are looser and I would often end up with some of the shadow falling onto the top of my cheeks during application. With the neutral colors, it actually added a pretty little shimmer to my skin, but with Shattered I had to wash it off since it gave my skin a bluish color. I hold a piece of toilet paper against my skin under the eye while applying to prevent this from happening.

The only other real downside is the price: at $18 a pop, it’s hard to stock up on a lot of colors without running up a crazy bill. That’s part of the reason I sacrificed a bit of my morals when I bought a palate that didn’t have all vegan shades. I got 10 shades for $38; I could only have gotten 2 individual shades for that price. Of course the amounts in the palates are smaller so if there is a color you really love and would use a lot it certainly makes sense to pay for a full-size portion. The good news is that UD is always adding new shades and works on converting non-vegan products to vegan so I imagine we will eventually see a vegan palate. Overall if you are looking for a quality, vegan eye shadow I highly recommend UD.  UD is available online and in specialty beauty stores like Ulta and Sephora.

 

8 Comments »

A Featherweight Moisturizer

Using the term ‘featherweight’ in a product review could conjure up negative perceptions about the product in question. Is it weak and ineffective? Is it unable to stand up to its claims? In the case of this review the answer is no and no. In fact the term featherweight is the perfect description for LUSH’s Enzymion, a moisturizer made for those with oily skin.

IMAG0289

With summer in full swing it was time to switch my heavy night moisturizer suited for the cold, dry air of winter to a lighter cream that could help control the oil situation that worsens in summer. I haven’t met a LUSH moisturizer I haven’t liked and Enzymion is no exception. Fortified with fresh fruits like lemon, papaya, and lime, this moisturizer helps soak up excess oil and creates a mattefying look. What makes this a ‘featherweight’ is how  incredibly light it is. As soon as it absorbs into the skin it’s almost like it was never there. Even after a hot, sweaty night (minds out of the gutter guys :)  ) my T-zone doesn’t look like the remains of an Exxon Valdez spill. And as light as this cream is it still manages to provide the right amount of moisture to keep skin soft. I have tried a lot of moisturizers that are designed for oily skin and this is the first that hasn’t had the result of being too over-drying–usually due to water or very astringent ingredients being the main ingredients in the product. In Enzymion  the astringent citruses are combined with avocado and evening primrose to create a the perfect balancing effect.

IMAG0288

I always use a day cream with SPF and that has made my face oilier as a result, but I have noticed a lot less oil since adding Enzymion to my night routine. It’s light enough to use as a base for makeup on hot days so you won’t feel like you have cake batter melting off your face. The scent is a mild mix of aloe and citrus and is very summer appropriate. The only real drawback is the price; a 1.5oz jar will set you back $39.95. I know it sounds like a lot but believe me, I wouldn’t have written such a glowing review if I didn’t think it was worth it. If you’re lucky enough to live near a LUSH store and are unsure about spending that kind of money on a cream they will happily give you a free sample to try.

I would like to hear from those of you who suffer from oily/combo skin. What are your favorite treatments and products? Does your skin go through phases and how do you adjust?

Also, I will be  updating the blog theme until I find something new I like, so try not to let the changes bother you. It might change more than a few times in the next few days until I find something that ‘speaks’ to me :)

13 Comments »

Eating Vegan In Omaha, Part Deux

Thanks for coming back to part two of this vegan Omaha review. The little owl is so very happy! :) Now to continue the journey…

The next day was our big outing to the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha. The HD Zoo is comparable to the San Diego zoo in terms of sheer size and awesomeness. Granted, I’ve only visited the Denver Zoo, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, San Diego Zoo, and HD Zoo, but trust me when I say that the HD Zoo is one of the best in the US, if not the world. For one thing they have the world’s largest indoor desert inside the world’s largest geodesic dome, the largest zoo-based aquarium, America’s largest indoor rainforest, the world’s largest indoor swamp, and the world’s second largest free-flight aviary. And if that doesn’t sound like enough there’s also the huge cat complex, gorilla valley, Expedition Madagascar, the Butterfly and Insect Pavilion, and all the other outlying exhibits. Whew! We were there for over 6 ½ hours and only left because we were too hungry to stay longer. Among other things we saw:

adorable lion cubs

DSCN0783

a baby pigmy hippo (partially pictured; mama is very protective)

DSCN0861

lots of baby prairie dogs at Prairie Dog Hill

DSCN0827

gorgeous butterflies free-flying around us in the Pavilion

DSCN0840

and rhinos who appeared to be recovering from a kegger the night before

DSCN0830

Plus the admission to the HD Zoo is only $15 compared to the $44 (!) you’ll pay for entry to the SD Zoo. Don’t get me wrong, I think that the admission to SD is pretty much worth it considering 1) they have Giant Pandas and 2) they’re in San Diego.  But you would be remiss to ignore the Henry Doorly Zoo in your travels. And like all zoos they are very active in conservation of species which is the most important thing when it comes to any zoo.

Thoroughly famished we headed to Downtown Omaha in search of Block 16. Formerly called New York Chicken and Gyros, I was super excited to try this place because their website boasted house-made seitan and separate fryers for veggie items. I ordered the vegan gyro which featured thinly sliced chewy, chicken-y seitan, loads of crisp veggies, and creamy hummus in place of the traditional yougurt-based tzatziki, all stuffed into a soft pita. The spicy crinkle fries rounded out the meal.

IMAG0277

Sadly their website has changed since I last looked at it prior to the trip and it no longer states that separate fryers are used for meat and veg items. That doesn’t mean they don’t still adhere to that practice. I’m someone who accepts that cross-contamination will happen when eating out but I hope they haven’t stopped doing it.  They are currently redesigning the site so hopefully that issue will be clarified. I did take a pic of their in-store menu and you can see  the many options of adding seitan to various sandwiches and even salads!

IMAG0279

Surprisingly, Omaha features not one but two bakeries that have competed on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. We had no intention of getting cupcakes but we had a lot of time to kill before heading to Werner Park to catch the Omaha Stromchasers (the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals )and Jones Bros. Cupcakes was a short drive away. Their online menu didn’t have any vegan cupcakes listed so I was so very happy to see a vegan Chocolate Hazelnut cupcake sitting among the other choices. That made my decision easy! It’s easy to see why this bakery won CW as they have a perfect cake-to-frosting ratio. The cake was dense and chocolaty and the frosting has just the right amount of sweetness to be indulgent but not tooth-achingly sugary. I don’t believe for one second that if you handed that cupcake to someone without telling them so that they would be able to tell it was vegan.

On the right, my vegan chocolate hazelnut cupcake, on the left, Robert's non-vegan strawberries and cream cupcake.

On the right, my vegan chocolate hazelnut cupcake, on the left, Robert’s non-vegan strawberries and cream cupcake.

The baseball game was a lot of fun. I’ve only been to major-league games so going to a game on a smaller-scale was kind of weird. I liked not having as many people swarming around and the fans in Omaha are very passionate. To make things more interesting there are a lot of fan promotions that the team does between innings like trying to throw softballs into the sunroof of a car as it drives around the field and homerun contests. I was happy to just sit in the warm air and drink beer and you can’t beat the price—we sat just six rows behind home plate for only $11 a ticket!

We also made a stop at the Lee G. Simmons Conservation Park and Safari on the way from Omaha to Lincoln. The park features bison, deer, wolves, elk, pelicans, bears, and an eagle aviary.

DSCN0883 DSCN0899

The aviary was especially cool as it houses bald eagles that have been rescued from the wild but unfortunately can’t be re-released. It’s a rare chance to see them close up and two of them posed handsomely for pictures for us.

DSCN0892 DSCN0894

Most of the park was drive-through but there was about a 2-mile walking trail that looped around a lake that we hiked. I laughed at the signpost about the hike; there was a warning that halfway though there was ’moderate’ elevation gain for approximately .3 miles and was rated’ somewhat difficult’. I had on a pair of platform sandals and was only winded for about 10 seconds after the ‘treacherous’ climb. I guess that’s how you know you’re from Colorado; what is considered difficult elevation to mid-westerners is laughed at by those of us who know what elevation really is! We also snapped a pic of this frog, appropriately located at Frog Lake, trying to hide. We can totally see you Carl! (If you don’t get that reference I’m sorry. Just Google Geico antelope commercial and you’ll see what I mean.)

DSCN0906

The rest of the trip was uneventful, as far as vegan food goes. We did plan on trying a place in Lincoln on our way to the concert called Maggie’s Vegetarian Wraps but they closed at 3pm—we were 2 hours too late. It was a bit disappointing because the menu looked fantastic. Maybe the next time around!

All in all the trip was a success in trying unique vegan eats. I came away with a new respect for mid-western restaurants because I never expected to have so many choices and the two places we visited are by no means the only options in Omaha. Of course, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything vegan in chain restaurants or at major attractions. I know there were few vegan options outside of the usual fries and peanuts at the zoo or the baseball game. We stayed at the Ameristar Hotel in Council Bluffs, IA for the first two nights and of all the restaurants there I had to settle for just vegetarian food. Being a flex-vegan it was easier for me to make do but strict vegans will want to do a lot of research and explore all their options ahead of time. Still you can never assume that eating vegan is impossible in any city and there’s a pretty good chance you will discover some great new food if you keep your mind open!

4 Comments »

Eating Vegan in Omaha, Nebraska

Yup, you read that right. It is possible to get some tasty vegan eats in the heart of beef country. A few weeks ago Robert and I took a mini vacation to NE to see Alice in Chains in concert in Lincoln. We decided to extend our visit by a few days so we could go to the Omaha Zoo (the reasons for which I will explain later) and while planning the trip I had to find some veg-friendly places for us to eat at. Thank goodness for HappyCow.net. If you haven’t utilized this website you absolutely must the next time you plan on eating in a different city. Simply plug the city you are visiting into their search engine and you will get links to all the restaurants that feature veg-friendly food. Without it I would never have thought finding vegan, or even vegetarian food would be possible in a city known for their steaks.

The drive from Denver to Omaha is about 7 ½ hours so despite snacking on the way up there we were desperate for a solid meal by the time we finally rolled into the city. We immediately headed to Blue Planet Natural Grill. Their menu features plenty of vegan options, from burgers to bowls to pizza. Having browsed the menu several times prior to arrival, I knew I wanted to have the Ratner’s Vegan Griller burger with vegan cheese. The ingredients of the burger aren’t listed but I think it was a chickpea-based patty with veggies like corn, peppers, and onion mixed in. It was just what I needed after the long drive. Crispy on the outside, loaded with flavor, and topped with a creamy slice of what I assume was cheddar Teese on top. The whole-wheat bun was also fantastic. It reminded me of a ciabatta roll but it was softer on the inside and added just the right amount of texture to the whole thing.   I had the regular fries but ever-adventurous Robert opted for the curry fries and I’ll admit that I should have had them as well. They were perfectly spiced and went well with the Grill’s homemade chipotle-lime ketchup.

IMAG0276

After we checked into the hotel and had a quick nap we drove to the Benson Street neighborhood, an historic area of Omaha full of unique shopping and loads of bars. We made our way directly to Krug Park, an upscale bar that features over 50 beers on tap. Having lived in Colorado all my life I am fortunate to have a lot of options when it comes to local beers. We are tied with Portland as being the microbrewery capital of the US after all. However it is nice to discover brews from other cities and Krug Park had plenty of NE beers for us to try. I won’t lie at this point; I don’t remember which ones I tried but I do know that I liked them all. I wasn’t drunk mind you, but as much as I like beer one starts to taste just like the other after a while. We really went to Benson St. to try and find Shooter, the resident bar cat. According to the Omaha Visitor’s guide Shooter makes his rounds throughout the bars, cozying up to bartenders and making friends with patrons. We asked the bartender at Krug about Shooter and she became all smiles. She told us that he belongs to the man who basically owns all the property on Benson St. and will just saunter in and out of places at his leisure. She even showed us several pictures she’s taken of him relaxing on her bar’s back patio. He looks very much like a well-fed, content alley cat and the proprietors of the bars are very protective of him. Our bartender said that the only person who has ever been banned from Krug was banned because he tried kicking Shooter. Now that’s my kind of place! They don’t care about rowdy drunks, but don’t you dare try to hurt Shooter.

On a side note, Krug Park is located right next to Lot 2 Restaurant and Wine Bar. I only mention this because we glanced at the Lot 2 menu and I was shocked to see not one but two dishes that featured seitan! I don’t know if they were vegan but I do find it immensely cool that a fancy wine bar had seitan on their menu.

I originally planned this to be one post but once I got to typing I realized I wanted to share as much as possible about what we did without boring anyone so come back on Friday for Part 2 of Eating Vegan In Omaha featuring lots of animals, scrumptous seitan, and decadent desserts. To keep you interested, here’s an adorable picture of one of the rescued owls we saw at the Conservation Park and Safari.

DSCN0897

Who’s the fool if they don’t come back for the rest? Huh, see what I did there? :)

3 Comments »

Candle Cafe Vegan

First of all I would like to give a huge thanks to everyone who stopped by here to check out my entry for the Virtual Vegan Potluck. I welcome and appreciate your comments. I’m still making my way through all the blogs!

Living in Colorado I am fortunate to be close to many great restaurants that feature vegan food. City O’ City, Watercourse, Hops and Pie, Root Down, Linger. I could go on but I doubt these names mean anything to those living outside of CO. I don’t think any of those restaurants are known on a national level. But I’m willing to bet that every vegan knows the name Candle Café. Internationally known as one of the best vegan restaurants in the world, Candle Café features farm-to-table cuisine that is created in the most eco-friendly ways possible. I am insanely jealous of those who live in New York City and can go visit any one of their 3 locations at their leisure. I hope I get to experience it one day.

Until that day comes I can live a little vicariously through their new line of frozen entrees. Available in Mac and Cheese, Ginger Miso Stir-Fry, Tofu Spinach Ravioli, and Seitan Piccata with Lemon Caper Sauce, these meals give a small taste of the goodness that CC dishes out. I tried the Seitan Piccata as it was the only one available at Whole Foods. It was also the one I was most interested in due to the seitan. As far as I know it is the only frozen meal that features everyone’s favorite wheat meat and I was curious to see how it held up.

IMAG0270

Before even heating it up I was a little disappointed by the amount of seitan. The seitan in the sauce contained only about four thumb-sized pieces and a bunch of much smaller peices. More than half of the dish was rice. Normally that wouldn’t bother me but the rice was seriously lacking flavor. There wasn’t enough sauce to go throughout the whole dish so it was on the dry side. However, the flavor of the sauce was great. It was distinctly lemony and though I didn’t actually see whole capers I could taste a slight brininess. The larger pieces of seitan were chewy and added just enough texture to keep the whole thing from feeling all around mushy. With 12 grams of protein it was more than enough to keep me full until dinner.

IMAG0275IMAG0272 IMAG0273

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I do hope to be able to try the other versions soon and review those; hopefully they will be a little more balanced. Unfortunately these meals aren’t cheap; at nearly 5 bucks a pop they are an occasional buy to keep around for emergency use. Candle Café does support The Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary, two organizations that work tirelessly to better the lives of animals in our world, so I can justify the cost somewhat. If you are interested in trying their frozen fare you can print a coupon off their website to help save a little on the purchase. And if anyone out there has tried any of the varieties I’d love to hear what you think!

 

 

6 Comments »