Vegan in Germany

Jul 3, 2017



Our 2017 vacation was to the great country of Germany! Vegans may know Berlin as one of the world's most vegan-friendly cities..and it's true. There are over 50 vegan restaurants in Berlin alone and that doesn't include the vegetarian and vegan options in almost every restaurant you pass. I will write about my favorites on the trip including some on the Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) in Bavaria and Munich. Germany is not just sausages - just as America is not just hot dogs and hamburgers...it's a young, changing city with great food, coffee, and people from all over the world. 

Berlin Trip

Berlin Restaurants

Romantic Road Trip & Restaurants



Top Ten Vegan Restaurants in Berlin

Jul 3, 2017

The rumors are true - Berlin vegan food is some of the best in the world and super abundant. With over 50 fully vegan restaurants to choose from, what do you choose? Here's my top ten vegan restaurants you have to try when you're traveling. There were so many more I didn't get to visit, I just have to go back and visit the other 40 missing from the list!

Kopps

Kopps is a fancy vegan restaurant that has the most spectacular all-you-can-eat brunch for €15! I had a huge selection of options from a croquette with gravy, fresh bread and cheese, eggy hot dishes and cold pasta salads. Plus desserts, coffees and even beers. You can go up there as much as you want (and no one changes their plate like in the U.S.) and it always seems to be hot food and full. We ate here with a fantastic vegan meetup group, so we had a big table, lots of food, and great conversation with people from five different countries. 

I haven't tried the dinner which is completely different, but it's a set menu and much more expensive. I will definitely come back here to try both dinner and brunch. 

Viasko
Viasko is a vegan restaurant that plays punk and dark wave and won't let you in with faux fur, for reals. The staff is super nice and helped my terrible German become a little bit better at least in ordering food the right way! There was a short menu, so the best thing on there was the schnitzel (seitan) with white asparagus. It was my one and only schnitzel experience, and it was really well done. I hear their brunch is even better on the weekend and the tiramisu dessert was absolutely amazing. 

No Milk Today
No Milk Today is a cute all vegan cafe in Kreuzberg. They serve fantastic lattes with croissants, quiches, bagel sandwiches and salad. It's a casual place to hang out in the cute library in the back or outside on the patio or beach chairs on a beautiful day. Try their Vietnamese coffee with a croissant for a special treat. 

Sfizy Vegan
Sfizy Vegan is an all vegan Italian pizzeria from real Italianos. This is the best pizza in out of Italy because there are so many fantastic flavors that I was never able to try in Italy. This is the best pizza place I've ever been to because the dough is exceptional and they serve soft calzones stuffed with sausages, cashew cheese and spinach that are to die for. Pictured before the calzone is a pesto pizza with eggplant and peppers. They speak German, Italian and English here and the environment is that of a small family-run Italian restaurant with random tables and chairs and old Italian portraits on the walls. They serve great wine and sparkling Mate. I didn't try their homemade tiramisu, so I will need to travel back here to get it because it looked amazing as well! Don't skip this place, and make a reservation!

Voner
Voner wins the prize for the most surprising meal of the trip. For only €4.50, you can eat an insanely massive vegan doner with freshly made sesame bread, seitan from a spit (that thing in doner place with the fat meat hanging from a pole), vegan yogurt sauce on top of fresh vegetables. The place is small and the food is cheap, but damn was this place surprising, filling and a fantastic find in the arty district of Friedrichshain. I was disappointed that we didn't find more wall art in this neighborhood (more graffiti) but the doner and club mate made it all better. 

GaYaYa
GaYaYa is "pan-Asian" vegan food located in Mitte. I'm guessing this is a mix of Cambodian and Malaysian food, but I've really never had anything like it. The food was absolutely amazing, and I've never had these flavors together. We both got the 3 course meal which consisted of their two top dishes, a curry and noodle dish with an amazing coconut milk and mango dessert. I can't really describe the dishes, but as you see in the picture - there is a lot going on! This place is across the street from Sammlung Boros, an old Nazi bunker turned POW Russian prison, turned banana storage, turned 90s underground rave, turn modern art museum that we toured. We ran into this place accidentally, but it turned out to be one of my favorite spots!

Momos

Momos is the first place we stopped after the long flight from LA to Berlin. 15 hours of travel to get vegan dumplings filled with potatoes, carrots, and some with tofu. After we ordered the 18 momo plate with all the vegan options and sauces, we saw that we could have ordered a plate with over 30 for a little more money. I would definitely come back here, get the 30 plate and stuff my face with it. This is also a moment where I want to acknowledge Momos being our first ever ChariTea Sparkling Mate experience which basically changed our lives. This is not a product in the states, unless you want to pay $10 a bottle to importers on Amazon, so drink up! This was my first Mate out of the next 20 or so that would follow for the 2.5 week trip. Note - This place is a vegetarian dumpling place, but everything is marked vegan or not.

Brammibal's Donuts
Brammibal's Donuts was similar to the vegan donut shops in LA like Donut Friend or Donut Farm. It's a coffee bar and donut shop where you can drink tasty lattes with oat milk along with your boston cream pie donut on the right (which they call Dulce de Leche) and the pistachio rose water donut on the left. The difference here is donuts are half the price of the US (at €2.50 each instead of the LA $5 vegan taxed donuts) and you can walk right outside to watch the swans swim by on the Landwehr Canal which the Germans are sunbathing all day on the nice days. 

Louloute Gourmet Brunch

This was one of my favorite memories from the Berlin trip. Louloute Gourmet is not a restaurant, but instead a private three-course vegan meal made at the chef's house! I found this Saturday morning brunch on Meetup.com, but you can RSVP on the site too https://www.louloutegourmet.com/ . We showed up to an intimate table to seat four and we could choose between coffee, chai, three different mimosas with fresh orange juice and custom homemade flavors like infused Earl Gray syrup, or a Bloody Mary for drinks. Next, we had an appetizer course shown here with my favorite dish, vegan lox. We had a main course which was a middle eastern spicy tomato dish and freshly made chocolate croissants for dessert. The best thing about the visit was meeting fellow local vegetarian/vegan people and meeting the chef. This is highly recommend and a unique event to meet new people and eat great food!

Lucky Leek
I almost didn't want to put Lucky Leek's review on here because of the just annoying experience we had here, but I will put it because it's on my traveler's lists for a vegan Berlin trip. This is basically the only all vegan fine dining experience you can have in Berlin, it's €50 per person for a 5 course meal..this would actually be the normal price of many dining experiences in LA, NYC, or San Francisco and the food is definitely nice..but not worth the pain. We were stuck in our seat for over three hours while they slowly brought out each tiny dish. They didn't offer any water (usual Germany style), but after hours of entrapment, I just wanted to run out of there and go to Momos where I could get 30 dumplings for like $15 or something. Maybe go to this place once their service improves and they learn how to not trap their guests. Also - Cash only for a €100 meal is pretty ridiculous, so come prepared with a sack full of coins and you'll be good. This is a hit or miss place, so come without being in a rush, bring your own water, and you'll probably be happy. 

Kindred - Food Review - San Diego, CA

Sep 2, 2016

Kindred - San, Diego, CA

Kindred is one of the most magical places I have ever visited. San Diego usually pales in comparison to the LA vegan scene, but literally no other restaurant tops the ambiance of this place. Plus the food and drinks and high-class, interesting, and really tasty!

There is so much to say about every detail of the decor of this restaurant before talking about the food. There is an overall Neverending Story theme, but it's also just kind of eclectic. There is a massive Wolf head with snakes wrapped around it in the back of the restaurant. There is even a table you can get right under his head! The checks come in old Choose Your Own Adventure books, the two-seat tables they have are custom designed so the table spins out so you can get in and it looks like a middle eastern theme (to me), the walls are all covered in pink wallpaper with intricate designs and the restaurant has these big garage-door style openings so everything is open to the fresh air. I loved this place!

Now...let's talk about food. To top off this beautiful restaurant, this is all vegan. They serve weekend brunch, lunch and dinner. I went to dinner and got the seitan skewers with chimichurri sauce which were to die for and as big as a full meal. For dinner I got the highly celebrated  seared cauliflower stake with beet sauce - the other half got the Tempeh on Rye with homemade chips. For brunch we got the sweet crepe and the tofu scramble. Everything was super good, and if I had to choose I would pick dinner over brunch. I would also go back for the popcorn appetizer, the sandwiches, and the soy curl dishes.


Skewers:

Tempeh on Rye:

Seared Cauliflower Steak:




Deshima - Healthy, Tasty Vegan Food in Amsterdam

Jul 27, 2016

Deshima
Deshima is a vegan, macrobiotic restaurant in Amsterdam that blew me away! They are a lunch place only, but close around 5pm, so we snuck in for the last items they had available. Even so, they had really healthy, amazing food. We had the seitan roles which looked like little empanadas and were extremely good. It was paired with two soups of the day, a miso/mushroom/Japanese soup and a pea soup. There were also these little crunchy bites made of (tempeh?) and a SUPER good blueberry and cream tart. 

Now, if that whole meal sounds weird and thrown together, it was, but it all tasted amazing. The meal was super healthy, made me feel full but without a greasy/tired feeling. The prices were extremely good and the place was cute and pretty close to the center of town. I would definitely come back here again and again if I could!



France Has Changed! Being Vegan in Paris is NOT Sucky Now...With Food Reviews!

Jul 27, 2016

In my post from 2013, I was a bit annoyed with the French with their vegan options. If you wanted vegan in Paris, it was mostly expensive and it wasn't tremendously good. The waiters were sassyfrass and the experience was okay, but nothing to get excited about. Also, the people we met were not as aware of what vegetarians and vegans were and were very opposed and surprised by the lifestyle...

However, Paris in 2016 was very different. Paris now has many options that are affordable, taste amazing, and aren't a sit-down dinner with wine and 40€ a plate. Parisians have also shifted their minds in some ways and we met many people who knew about vegans and even ate at these restaurants occasionally. I was pleasantly surprised with the progress France has made. Even in a very small town we visited with only 5,000 people hours from Paris, I found a Vegan Desserts book at a natural grocery store! The world is changing and Paris finally changed too. Here are some highlights from my latest trip!

Hank Burger
The "La Marais" and "Bastille" areas of Paris is still the epicenter of vegan options. The favorite food of everyone on the trip was Hank Burger. The name sounds a bit boring, and I almost didn't go except I saw the cute bird logo and the tons of great reviews. This is a fast-casual type restaurant where you order at the counter and eat in their cute 2nd story loft. The burgers were the best I've ever had. The bread was fresh, the homemade vegenaise was amazing, and the burger flavors were unique and tasty. I had La Touriste, a burger that is a rotating option. At the time, it was a rocket (arugula) and fig option that was to die for. I had this three times during my week there. There was also the Le Petit Nerveux which had coriander and tortilla chips that was really good. This little place was open all day without closing 20x during the day, the staff was really nice and spoke English, and the price was very affordable with a burger, drink and side for only 12€!


Soya
I was dying to go to Soya after missing it on the trip in 2013. We finally got to it at lunch time even though it's pretty out of the way from central Paris. It was my understanding that it was a vegan place, but it's actually vegetarian and poorly marked. The board had a few specials for the day and one was lasagna, thinking this was an all vegan place, I ordered it and it was covered in cheese (an ingredient that wasn't listed). They were out of most of the dishes, so my only semi-good looking option was a place with raw vegetables, three kinds of hummus and bread. It was okay, it was fresh, it was more expensive, and I wish I went to Hank Burger! I heard brunch was the thing not to miss, so maybe try that instead. Be careful that items may not be marked correctly with vegetarian or vegan and ask before ordering. 

Le Potager du Marais
We had a big party at Le Potager du Marais even though the place is tiny. It was a big hit and everyone loved their dishes. I made the reservation about an hour before, and they accommodated a table for 10 at 7pm. We also shared the place with Moby's party of 5. They let us have the table until closing which allowed us to sit, eat and drink for three hours. They have pretty great wine and serve a few seitan dishes that I liked. People liked the quinoa burger plate with a side of potatoes. The chocolate volcano cake was very good. The seitan bourguignon and the spinach lasagna were a bit funky. The seitan was chewy and the spinach lasagna had almost 90% spinach. I would suggest this place as a good place for a large party, good service, and some good dishes. Stay clear of some of the more funky dishes, and you should be okay.

Loving Hut
My favorite Loving Hut in the world is still the Paris one. They still have their amazing dishes: the crepe and quiche. We had these probably four times during the trip and even brought two quiches on the plane ride back. Everyone loves these dishes, the prices are very reasonable, and the service is great too. Pick up some vegan chocolate croissants in a bag on the way out to get your croissant fix too!



Le Petit Nerveux

Ramen Hood - Best Vegan Ramen in LA

May 10, 2016

This is my favorite ramen place and it's located right in DTLA at the historic Grand Central Market. It's all vegan so you don't have to slurp down pork butt broth! I love the spicy ramen with extra mushrooms. They flavor and grill the mushrooms in the most tasty way even the mushroom-hating husband loves them. Try adding the vegan egg for some laughs, but it's kinda squishy and weird in my opinion. Stop by G&B Coffee on your way out for some of the best coffee in LA too.


A photo posted by Rachel Robot (@mzzroboto) on

Burgerlords - Best Vegan Burger in LA

May 10, 2016

Burgerlords is my new favorite burger joint! The Vegan Cheese burger is the best veg burger I've ever had, hands down. It's a homemade patty with eggplant, garbanzo beans, barley, leeks, celery and secret spices. They top it with Follow Your Heart cheese and thousand island! (note: FYH cheese and sauce is legit, it melts, and order extra thousand island for the fries.) Everything tastes similar to In-N-Out but without the dead animal inside to ruin it. Try it out!



A photo posted by Rachel Robot (@mzzroboto) on

Vegan in Rome, Italy: Top 5 Vegan Restaurants in Rome

May 30, 2015

Being vegan in Italy is quite amazing, actually. With some of the freshest food I have tasted, the best wine and coffee, and a true love for cuisine, this is the best place to be. Milan and Rome are the best cities to go for a huge variety of vegetarian and vegan food. Supposedly there are 15% vegetarians in Italy, which is a massive number. True or not, they do an amazing job to incorporate vegan products everywhere, and you won't have any problem in the big cities. 

Now for Rome, this is one of my favorite cities of all time. It looks like Paris a lot of the time with a river running through the city and beautiful architecture scattered through tight alleyways and historic sites and ruins everywhere you turn. Except, the people are much nicer to strangers and travelers. Which is pretty fantastic. Even the ones who speak pretty terrible Italian (us). The main city has tons of English speaking people, but if you steps about 2 feet away from the main Roman streets, some people don't know a word of English, but will work with your hand signals and laughs :). For most of these restaurants Sunday, Monday and Tuesday many restaurants are closed. Call ahead to make sure they are open because everyone is on 'Italian time' which is not as strict as opening/closing days and hours in America. Make a reservation to be safe too! Finally, Italy doesn't really use Yelp, so check Foursquare and Trip Advisor's websites to find different restaurants and the hours are all WRONG on these sites and they all conflict to make it even more fun, so be careful with that!

I had some of the best food ever here, with tons of surprising finds. Here are my top 5 restaurant picks from Rome:


  • Romeow Cat Bistrot
Romeow is a vegan restaurant with 6 friendly kitties running around your feet as you eat. It's basically my dream come true. The food is a bit fancy and small, but good. I really enjoyed the quesadilla and the tiramisu (only served on the weekend) was phenomenal. The decor of the place is really cute with nice art and fun runways for the cats near the ceiling. They are well taken care of and run around gleefully as you enjoy a glass of wine and some fancy food. You must have a reservation, so don't make the mistake of just showing up. They speak English, so you can give them a call or email even the same day to get a seat. 




  • So What?
So What? was the big shock of the trip. Odd reviews on Trip Advisor said this place has a "dive bar feel" which I completely disagree with. They place punk music and have old movie posters on the wall, but the place is bright and has a nice staff that speaks perfect English. The food was way fancier than I thought it would be. I expected it to be a vegan fast-food joint, but instead they had fantastic seitan pasta dishes like a Shepards pie and a fettuccine seitan dish that were super tasty. The guy paired it with a red wine and they had a large selection of nice beers and wine. We finished off the night with the "Roller Ball" Cake which was a vanilla double layer cake with a creamy center. It was the most moist cake I've ever had and was super tasty. We truly enjoyed this place and highly recommend it. The prices were really good too, with just about 8 euro per plate! 


  • Ops!
We ran into a TON of pay-by-weight restaurants in Italy, and Ops was one of the best. It is a pretty high-priced place (about $15 for 1/2 a pound of food) but the quality was fantastic. This is an all vegan lunch spot with a variety of foods including frittata, gnocchi, gluten free pasta, quinoa dishes, cous cous, salads, and more. It's healthy, but really flavorful and interesting. 
  • Il Margutta Ristorarte
Il Margutta is a vegetarian and vegan buffet place that serves "brunch" aka lunch starting at noon and dinner. They are open 7 days a week (pretty rare!) and serve a different menu each day of the week. Everything is clearly labeled and it's about half and half vegan/vegetarian. On the weekend it's $25 per person all-you-can-eat, but on the weekdays they offer a $15 per person deal where you can put as much as you can on ONE plate, plus a soup, salad and dessert. I think the weekday is a better deal unless you're going to really go for another plate. I couldn't finish my one plate, so the weekdays were a better deal. The food is a mix of cuisines, but they have a lot of classic European dishes reminded Lucas of traditional French cooking, and it was very healthy and flavorful as always. 

This is an ALL vegan pastry shop a few metro stops out of the center of Rome. It's worth the trip and the sweets are fantastic! It's located in a small town and the chef doesn't speak a word of English. But just point to things that look good and you'll be fine! We had a fantastic cream filled donut, a bag of 5 croissants, sugar coated fried crepe thingy, a sweet twisted bread, and two cappuccino di soias for 10 euro! I know this guy makes even more amazing things all the time that weren't there at the time including cannoli, chocolate croissants, and more. Everything is extremely sugary and sweet, but definitely worth the trip out there! He's super nice and took our photo at his store. Check him out!!



Finally, there are tons of soy gelato places, cafes, and a ton more restaurants we couldn't try. Check out Trip Advisor, FourSqaure, or just Google to find different stores and options, I guarantee you are near something amazing at all times. The farmers markets, like the daily market at campo di fiori sell the most amazing produce including my favorite, the tomatoes (pomodoro) that are the best in the world!




Trip to Portland (w/ Food Itinerary!)

Sep 8, 2014

Portland has never been on my radar until Portlandia came out. After that, I was anxious to check out the weird, quirky city that was shown as being ridiculous and hipster, yet liberal and eco-conscious. The only other things I've heard about Portland is the abundance of vegan food, so with all of my favorite things in one place, I booked a weekend trip on labor day weekend. Here is a run-down of my impressions and some itinerary items (especially food, beer, and coffee spots) to hit up!

Overall first impression:
My first impression was happy when I flew over the forests of Oregon to reach our destination. Oregon looks like Sweden from above with their lush forests and water. I'm a big fan of nature and I love that I don't have to fly through a cloud of smog as I do when I come back home to LA. My second impression is "Where is everyone?!". I mostly felt like downtown was a ghost town. I expected hordes of people on a Friday night, but it mostly seemed like a scene out of 28 Days Later when the whole world has died from a zombie attack and no one is around. This place is QUIET and compared to other cities, isolated. But that is good and bad, as I come to enjoy the quietness of the city. With only 500k people in Portland, it is really small. However, this created a very relaxing, pleasant weekend where traffic, smog, long lines, and crazy people were not to be seen (mostly). 

Food:
Some of my favorite restaurants are here, and also has to do with the cheap prices and no sales tax. Food is cheap, brunch is king, and vegan is EVERYWHERE! Being vegan in Portland is so passe I feel. No one cares if you want to ask for soy milk because they offer soy, almond, hemp, rice and whatever else they come up with. Vegan brunch was standard and weekend brunch lines are where are the people are hiding. Friday night drinking is so over! Brunch lines all day long are in! Here is a run-down of must eats for the vegan traveler:

Paradox Cafe - Cheap, tasty brunch. Two people with huge breakfast plates with tip = $14. What?!
Vegan strip mall - Food Fight! and Sweetpea Bakery: There are three vegan places all in a row. I really enjoyed the almond croissant at Sweetpea, and the selection at the small grocery store Food Fight! was actually pretty great. Portland is known for supporting their community and it shows with the made in Portland selection. There are a lot of items I have never seen before, and I've been to the largest vegan grocery store in the world.
Back to Eden Bakery - This is a MUST (see my full review). They have my favorite biscuit sausage gravy bowl and soft serve banana split of all time. Don't ask, just go.
Sweet Hereafter - This is a vegan bar! Super good food, surprisingly. I expected low-quality for a bar, but they have fresh, healthy food that is really flavorful. I loved the bowls. The beer was great too, and a ton of local brew options. The wait here was insane, it took about 1 hour to get our food order.
VooDoo Doughnuts - Seriously, the best doughnuts in the world. Try the Portland Cream Doughnut and the Voodoo Doll doughnut. Half of them are vegan, half not - just ask.. Worth the trip to Portland just for this. If you want me to bring you a doughnut to LA next time I go, comment on this post!

Beer and Coffee:
The beer here is really great. Sweet Hereafter and Rogue were my two favorite spots. Rogue was by far the best and I loved their fruit salad cider. Portland has the most microbreweries of any city in the world, so check one out!
Local coffee shops are abundant here, and you can't go wrong anywhere. I went to Stumptown, the hipster spot. I still like Blue Bottle and Intelligencia better, but you can get your hipster coffee fix at least.

Hiking:
Forest Park is a 15 minute bus ride from downtown, and it is a lush forest perfect for a nice, relaxing hike surrounded by water and huge trees. You can go for a mile or 10, whatever you're up for. Definitely worth the short trek.

Final opinions:
The good - 
I love Portland for the food, amazing transit system, forests, bike trails, and push for community and local businesses. There are no fast food chains here, you will see the entire city promotes locally made and really sticks to it. Every store supports a local artist or business owner, and it is really refreshing. I also love that you can go to a forest in 15 minutes, but be back in the city for lunch. The houses are cheap and the times slowly crawls as you relax for your second plate of brunch on the weekend. I felt fully relaxed and we really enjoyed our time here. I would love to live here someday, except for....

The weird/bad - 
Portland is 80% white. It is one of the least diverse places I've been in America. It's oddly liberal, yet not integrated. I saw one Indian family and a few Asian people while I was there. That's about it. People are hipster, but they are 90's hipster like it is 1995 and no one told me. Tie dye is cool here still and Soundgarden is still a band for some reason. There are also a lot of hippy-homeless that hang around and pan handle. They swarm VooDoo doughnuts all day. I definitely prefer them over the LA homeless that have actual mental problems though. 

So, go to Portland for a trip. Eat your heart out, get drunk, and bring back some doughnuts. Then, head back home to a city that respects diversity like LA or SF and enjoy the high prices of good weather and at least a few more races. 

Back To Eden Bakery Review

Sep 8, 2014

Back To Eden Bakery in Portland, OR is my favorite bakery of all time. They have great  lattes, baked goods, breakfast, and amazing soft serve ice cream. I went there twice for the weekend I was there and got one or more of each of these categories! Everything is vegan and gluten-free and homemade!

In order of amazingnes:
The sausage/biscuit breakfast bowl: This consists of all homemade ingredients including a biscuit, sausage, and gravy. It was extremely good and there is nothing else like it.

Soft serve ice cream banana split: I got the banana split with chocolate/vanilla ice cream, marshmallows, and caramel. This was the best dessert and ice cream I've ever had!

Baked goods: everything is good here from the savory to the sweet. We had the tempeh broccoli quiche, tempeh bacon scone, and some type of nutty donut. Everything was seriously amazing again.

I've been to vegan bakeries everywhere, but they just do it better here. Plus, when you're on Alberta street, check out the cute stores and other delights in the neighborhood. Next door is the grilled cheese truck that makes homemade cashew cheese grilled cheese and mac and cheese that is also worth the trip from LA!

Vegan in Stockholm, Sweden : Sodermalm Eating Delights

Mar 6, 2014

For the rest of the Swedish trip, we spent days walking through Sodermalm, the hipster downtown of Stockholm. With the beautiful cobblestone streets, random vegan buffets and bakeries, stunning Swedish art and shopping, and the views of Stockholm - it was our favorite place to walk.

We ate at Chutney - which is absolutely amazing Indian food with the Swedish style buffet. You get unlimited chutney, Swedish bread and vegetables, coffee and tea with up to two plates of amazing food. It was so good we ate their for lunch and dinner the same day! I still miss the food to this day. They have desserts as well, which are ok but not amazing- the meals were better.

We also happened to see a vegetarian buffet lunch spot while looking for a half-vegan bakery. Vegetariskt Matcafe Legume was 90% vegan and was similar to the Chutney buffet style of super healthy, good, Indian and Mediterranean food with free coffee and bread.

I also heard about a bakery that had many vegan options. Naturbageriet Sattva was a complete surprise for me. I walked a long way to find it, and when I finally found it, I was kind of disappointed. It looked like a really boring natural bakery - which the name means basically - natural bakery purity (sattva = purity in sanskrit). The place was very minimal and the baked goods were in one small fridge. They looked really blah (like most Swedish desserts: flat, to the point). Since I walked the whole way there, I still loaded up on almost every vegan dessert anyway. I grabbed a cinnamon roll, cakes and cookies, everything. The lady was very nice. She was surprised we were not Swedish because she said every foreigner comes in with a massive backpack (probably all the vegan travelers on a trek from Happy Cow). She explained how an American Buddhist helped make some of the recipes. We walked out of there, packed the desserts away and didn't even try them until that night. To my surprise - they were AMAZING! They were to die for and I gobbled them up with our friend's parents. Lesson: Don't judge a dessert by it's boring exterior!


Loving Hut - Paris, France

Sep 21, 2013

I had an amazing time at Loving Hut, and I would have never expected it. I have been to over 12 Loving Huts all over the world, and the Paris location is the best Loving Hut I have been to!

I had been to some disappointing and expensive restaurants in Paris, with rude or just uninterested waiters. I had also been sad to hear that I had to walk by hundreds of creperies without eating anything!

Luckily, Loving Hut came to our rescue with the amazing crepe dish they offer. It was so good, and I miss it so much! The waitress was very nice and spoke a little English. They also sold vegan croissants in a bag, vegan dark chocolate spread, books, and more. I bought up everything and ate that the rest of the trip to curb my cravings for sweets.

I highly recommend trying this Loving Hut out, you won't regret eating the crepe!

Gentle Gourmet

Sep 21, 2013

I heard about this restaurant from a girl in America who said this was the most amazing restaurant in Paris. They had chocolate vegan croissants and the woman who owned it was from America and super nice.

Hmm. However, I had a completely different experience here.

I rushed over to the restaurant knowing they have very odd French hours. Breakfast ends at 11 and lunch starts at noon. I wanted breakfast with loads of croissants, so I arrived late, but on time at 10:50. I ask them if they have the croissants and they said they got rid of anything not organic including all pastries! Very sad indeed. We were not able to order lunch (which is a better menu) so we looked through breakfast. The waiter took 20 minutes to come back (at 11:10) and took our order for breakfast. He came back short after to tell us that the chef denied our request to eat (in an empty restaurant!) and we could no longer order anything at all until 12! He then simply walked away without caring that he had something to do with this... We waited another hour and ordered lunch, because there was no point in finding some other restaurant now, and finally ordered our food.

I got the portobello sandwich and my boyfriend got the seitan dish. The portobello was just average and the seitan was fairly good. But nothing to write more about. It was $60 euros for two meals and coffee. Kind of crazy prices and no empathy from any waiters on our starving-ness. I wouldn't go back here, but the food was ok. There are not too many vegan only spots in Paris that are real restaurants, so that's why it still gets a 3 star. Also, it is common service in France, so it wasn't too out of the ordinary.

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Demitasse

Jul 7, 2013

Demitasse is a perfect spot to hang out, have great coffee, and walk around Little Tokyo. My boyfriend and I take a walk here on Sundays to use the free wifi and get the amazing the Iced Minty Cubano! Its an iced latte that they muddle fresh mint in, shake and serve. There is little bits of mint left and its super refreshing. We tried the Kyoto Iced Coffee and it tasted extremely sour, which is not my favorite type of coffee. The presentation is fancy, but its not my cup of tea (coffee).

Take a walk here on the weekend, check out the fun Japanese stores (there is a fun Japanese art store a couple stores away and its next door to the place where there are cat houses in a clothing store and a kitty hangs out all day), and relax on the patio. Watch out for the prime homeless corner, you will get asked for money at least 2 or 3 times, but its still a relaxing time.

The pros: Great coffee, nice/knowledgeable staff, great ambiance, wifi Best Drink: Iced Minty Cubano with Soy!

Cons: Homeless hot spot, sit outside at your own risk

Loving Huts Around the World

Apr 7, 2013

I have been traveling the world writing about my favorite restaurants everywhere I go. Over the course of traveling, Loving Hut has saved me countless times because it is in every country and every where I need a good vegan meal! So far, I have been to these 21 locations and it's always growing...
  1. Columbus, OH
  2. Waikiki, HI
  3. Orange, CA
  4. Tustin, CA
  5. Alhambra, CA
  6. Claremont, CA
  7. New York, NY
  8. Portland, OR
  9. Orlando, FL
  10. Huntington Beach, CA
  11. San Jose, CA
  12. San Diego, CA
  13. San Francisco, CA
  14. Pittsburgh, PA
  15. Arlington, TX
  16. Brea, CA
  17. Paris, FR
  18. Shanghai, China
  19. Beijing, China
  20. Amsterdam, Netherlands
  21. Glendale, AZ

In each location, I get to know the owner and like to understand what makes their Loving Hut different than the others. My favorite was the Loving Hut in Shanghai where Xu told us of how each employee was a volunteer. They made very cheap food, very well. I had the most amazing homemade dumplings and sat with the owner after with a juice. The best in America is Claremont, CA and Arlington, TX. Claremont has amazing dumplings and Arlington has an all seitan menu instead of soy protein. Paris, FR has the best crepes and quiche.




Millennium Review

Nov 25, 2012

Millennium is the best upscale vegan food you can possibly have on the west coast. There are not many times you can have a fancy dinner, dress up, sip fancy cocktails, and pick EVERYTHING on the menu! They get booked up pretty fast, so I reserved a spot online and came in on a Saturday night. The restaurant is in the same building as a Best Western Hotel, but don't let that make you think its any less fancy.

I felt very under dressed for the occasion. It was mostly suits and dresses, and each meal was about $30, but it is worth the money and worth putting on your nice clothes for the meal. (There's even fancy foreign men's ponytails to check out during your meal!) You also have the option of doing the pre fixe meal which is a 3 or 4 course meal from appetizers, meal, and desserts for $50 (cheaper on the weekdays - $40). I would chose this option next time I come. This includes some of their most popular dishes that they have been serving for over 17 years - so you know its good.

I tried the Bastilla which is out of this world. It's a puffed pastry with seitan, lentils, squash and apricot and four different sauces. It was really filling and the most interesting item on the menu.

I would absolutely come here again. This place is perfect for a birthday, anniversary, or date night. It's a perfect place for vegans or non-vegans alike, so guys, if your girlfriend is vegan/vegetarian and you have been eating low-end food or salads for months - treat her with this and you be a superstar.

And BTW, who said vegans don't drink - they even have white Russians and vegan Irish creams!

Cruzer Pizza & Pasta Review

Nov 25, 2012

Cruzer Pizza is the best pizza in the world. So, I traveled out to the spot and wasn't sure about the place because the name didn't seem too vegany - so I wasn't sure if it was going to be half-vegan half-meaty-time or something which is always not as fun. But we got there, and it was advertising 100% vegan pizza, and has pizza, calzones, pasta, salad, sandwiches and desserts that are all vegan too.

I ordered the calzone because that is pretty rare in the vegan pizza world. My only other pizza I've tried was zpizza and Native Foods - neither of which have calzones, so its a must. I ordered it with v-sausage and eggplant which all together is only $9.50 for a pretty huge sized calzone.

Once I got it, I was amazed. The bread is homemade that day, so the pizza is SUPER soft and delicious. The daiya cheese inside with the sausage made everything that much better and makes it melt in your mouth. I devoured that, and I'm coming back for more the next moment I have. I even thought about going back for dinner the same night!

The service is super fast and they even deliver pizza if you're too lazy to go to Los Feliz. The place is tiny, but cute, with drawings all over the walls. The owner is really nice and helpful too. Some reviews hate on the pizza, but that's because they must like pizza that makes you feel sick inside. If you want good, kinda healthy pizza with fresh bread, and no dead animals on top, then come here!

Cruzer Pizza is the best pizza in the world. So, I traveled out to the spot and wasn't sure about the place because the name didn't seem too vegany - so I wasn't sure if it was going to be half-vegan half-meaty-time or something which is always not as fun. But we got there, and it was advertising 100% vegan pizza, and has pizza, calzones, pasta, salad, sandwiches and desserts that are all vegan too.
I ordered the calzone because that is pretty rare in the vegan pizza world. My only other pizza I've tried was zpizza and Native Foods - neither of which have calzones, so its a must. I ordered it with v-sausage and eggplant which all together is only $9.50 for a pretty huge sized calzone.
Once I got it, I was amazed. The bread is homemade that day, so the pizza is SUPER soft and delicious. The daiya cheese inside with the sausage made everything that much better and makes it melt in your mouth. I devoured that, and I'm coming back for more the next moment I have. I even thought about going back for dinner the same night!
The service is super fast and they even deliver pizza if you're too lazy to go to Los Feliz. The place is tiny, but cute, with drawings all over the walls. The owner is really nice and helpful too. Some reviews hate on the pizza, but that's because they must like pizza that makes you feel sick inside. If you want good, kinda healthy pizza with fresh bread, and no dead animals on top, then come here!


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Being Vegan in China - Shanghai Vegetarian Article - In Chinese

Jul 2, 2012

瑞秋•K 跟我们分享她2010年的上海之旅

当我们规划去中国旅行参观2010年世博会的时候,我以为我将会在找寻素食这件事上,度过一段很艰难的日子。我不确定是否有素食食品在中国,如果有,我不确定能否翻译我的饮食需求。关于中国素食的英文报道非常少,但也有几个被看好的选项让我很兴奋地想试一试。通过Happycow.com我发现了爱家、枣子树、新素代, 尔苑咖啡厅,而且在我们离开上海之前能试遍每家餐厅。

首先,我们去了爱家。能在上海看到爱家我非常兴奋,因为在加利福尼亚我们也去爱家吃饭,它让我们觉得像在家一样。这里的食物跟我们那的爱家提供的菜单完全不一样,不过我超喜欢这里的自制饺子。这样品质的食物价格却平价的令人难以置信,我们发现每个工作人员都是志愿者,这让食物更为便宜。我们与餐厅老板许先生聊了聊。他向我们解释中国人是怎样定义他们称之为“纯素食者”的“Vegan”。他解释说:许多佛教徒吃素,仍食用牛奶,因为这不像动物或鸡蛋是一个生命。这意味着,一些“纯素食者”餐厅可能仍然有牛奶的选项,所以我们必须明确说明我们不希望我们的菜里含牛奶。

在尔苑咖啡厅,我们遇见了Kazu——这家的店主,还吃到上海最新鲜的食物。她的食谱都是新鲜的、独特的、更类似于我们的口味。芥末南瓜沙拉非常好,新鲜的蔬菜使得口感清爽,因为我们吃的其他几餐全是煮熟的或油炸的。



枣子树(素生活)是我们在中国最爱的餐厅,也是我试过最好的素食餐厅之一。这个餐厅供应的美食,很干净,气氛超好,独特的食物造型,还有新鲜食品和果汁。我们品尝了很棒的饺子、膨化“鸡”球、“蟹”汤粉丝、“小排”、和茄子。我们太爱这家餐厅了,以至于我们在三天内去吃了三顿!

总的来说,作为一个来上海旅行的纯素者,我的体验很棒。依靠一点点的中文短句,我们能找到让人惊奇的食物,遇见很好的人,不用吃肉也能一探中国美食。大部分中国餐馆的素食菜肴中更常见是各种各样的菌菇、豆腐和蔬菜。素食餐馆不会太难找,而且我们甚至在世博园里发现了一家(天哪)。在中国有素食佛教徒和更多的蔬菜。这使得,我们在中国,有时比我们在美国反而更容易吃素。



Being Vegan in China - Shanghai Vegetarian Article

Feb 25, 2012

When we formulated our plans to travel to China for the World Fair in 2010 I thought I would have a tough time finding vegan food. I was not sure if there was vegan food in China, and if there was, I wasn't sure if I could translate my dietary needs. There are very few English reviews of vegan food in China, but there were a couple promising options I was excited to try. Through Happycow.com I found Loving Hut, JuJuBe Tree, New Age Veggie, and Annamaya and we were able to try every restaurant before we left Shanghai.

First, we traveled to Loving Hut. I was very excited to see Loving Hut in China since we eat at Loving Hut in California and it made us feel at home. The food was completely different than the menu they serve at our local Loving Hut, but I absolutely loved the home-made dumplings. The prices were incredible for the quality of food and we discovered every worker was a volunteer which made the food cheaper. We spoke with the owner, Xu, who explained how the Chinese define vegan which they call "pure vegetarian". He explained that many Buddhists who eat vegan, still consume milk because it is not a life like an animal or an egg. That meant that some "pure vegetarian" restaurants may still have milk options, so we had to clearly state that we did not want milk with our dishes.

At Annamaya, we met Kazu, the owner, and were able to eat the freshest food in Shanghai. Her recipes were fresh, unique, and more akin to our tastes. The mustard pumpkin salad was extremely good and it was refreshing to have fresh vegetables since all the other meals we had were cooked or fried.

JuJuBe Tree (Vegetarian Lifestyle) was our absolute favorite restaurants in China, and still one of the best vegan restaurants I've ever tried. This restaurant serves gourmet meals, is very clean, has a great atmosphere, fancy food presentation, and fresh food and juices. We had amazing dumplings, puffed "chicken" balls, "crab" soup with glass noodles, "short ribs", and eggplant. We loved it so much we ate hear three times in three days!

Overall, my experience as a traveling vegan in Shanghai was a great one. With a few Chinese phrases we were able to find some amazing meals, meet great people, and explore Chinese cuisine without eating animals. Vegetarian dishes are more common in basic Chinese restaurants with the variety of mushrooms, tofu, and vegetable dishes. Vegan restaurants were not too hard to come by and we even found one in the World Expo (Godly). Having vegan Buddhists and more vegetable main dishes made it sometimes easier to eat vegan than in America.



Candle 79 Review

Jun 23, 2011

This restaurant is to die for! Definitely the most upscale, amazing vegan food ever created. I'm used the vegan fast food in Southern California and the prices, so I was shocked when I saw the prices for the food - But it's well worth it. (Best thing about it is they never mention it is vegan in NYC but it's an "organic eatery" so mostly everyone was fancy, dressed up, and didn't look vegan - most people who have been here still didn't know about the vegan part - shh don't tell).

I had to make reservations because they were completely booked for 3 days! I made a reservation on a Tuesday at 8pm and still had to wait 30 minutes for the people to leave our table. It's okay because they have amazing cocktails. I ordered the sangria and it was pretty amazing and got me pretty tipsy fast. It's good because I stopped looking at prices and started splurging on more drinks, appetizers, dinner and desserts!

We ordered the fried dumplings and the stuffed avocado dish. Both were pretty good. There were free "chef's special" little toast and pate things going around that were really good. We ate them so fast they thought we didn't get any and we got seconds ;).

For dinner, I got their most popular dish the seitan piccata. It was the best meal EVER. I could eat that every day, and I'm really trying to copy a recipe of it because it was just a perfect dish. Layers of medium cut seitan "tenders" with a creamy, lemon caper sauce over a bed of steamed spinach. This was the best dish and I highly recommend it!!! Everyone at the table tried a bite and was pretty jealous of my plate over theirs.

The guys got the chili grilled seitan (a Mexican feeling dish), and another seitan dish I don't see on their menu anymore (but it was good too). Dessert was VEGAN CANNOLI. I know..after I passed out with disbelief, I devoured the super crispy crust and perfect creamy inside and ice cream. I thought I would never eat that again.

Overall, this place is expensive, we spent $100 each - which is crazy for food - but I loved every minute of it. They have catering and this would be the perfect meal for a vegan wedding. It's well presented, has great flavors, and the ambiance of a fancy restaurant with awesome drinks, dinners and desserts!

Great Wall Video

May 14, 2011

Vegan Starbucks Options

Mar 26, 2011

I found a great website that lists the vegan options at Starbucks, check it out here: http://www.veggywood.com/2010/05/07/finally-starbucks-ingredients-list/

Basically, you have the option of every regular syrup with your soy lattes. The surprising options are: mocha syrup, macha powder, vanilla powder and strawberry syrup that can make soy strawberry/vanilla/green tea frapps!

The only advice I give is to watch them make the drinks to make sure they are actually using the soy! We've caught the baristas forget to use soy and try to give us a regular milk latte before. For hot drinks they will pull out the soy milk carton and use a smaller tin container with "SOY" on the side. The cold drinks will be put in a yellow blender container.

Sadly, the caramel frapps are off-limits but the caramel pumped syrup (not the golden gooey stuff) has the same flavor and is vegan.

Rachel’s Simple Vegan Tips

Jan 6, 2011

My mom's co-worker recently sent me  a couple questions and I wanted to answer them so everyone can follow them:

Information on becoming vegan:

The transition from meat eater to vegan is a large step, and not something to take lightly. As I said in my last blog, simply taking out the meat from your regular diet will just not work. To stay healthy during your transition make sure your body can adjust slowly. I cut out red meat a long time ago, and ate chicken and fish. Next, I went vegetarian. I started replacing my regular meals with fake versions. Fake chicken, burgers, everything. This was an easy transition for me as I read more about nutrition and found out how to eat better and more processed foods out. I stopped eating the processed vegetarian meals because they were boring, salty and highly processed. I also gained weight on the diet (yeah, vegetarians can gain weight!).

This is the point where I started to LOVE to cook. The Internet has an amazing array of vegan and vegetarian dishes. I started Googling anything I was curious about. There is no specific website to choose from. The best resources for recipes are my cookbooks, however. The Native Foods Restaurant Cookbook by Chef Tanya Petrovna is a local chef and restaurant owner in Orange County, CA. Her book and cooking demos in the OC and LA changed my life! I highly recommend getting this book and attending her monthly free vegan cooking demos, after that go to her restaurant that is to DIE for!! My other favorite cookbook is Viva Vegan by Terry Hope Romero. This is a Spanish vegan cookbook that includes amazing empanadas, flan and sauces of all kinds.

Local OC or LA stores:

Lush - Vegan, natural and homemade shampoos, soaps and beauty products.

Native Foods - American vegan food - super fresh!

Loving Hut - Largest vegan chain in the world - Asian influenced food.

The Veggie Grill - True American burger joint - but vegan.

Z Pizza - Has a vegan pizza with my favorite Daiya cheese

(When in doubt, Yelp.com)

Inland Empire:

Dragon House - All vegetarian meal - just ask - Chinese food

Vegan Begginer's Guide: Shopping Guide, Answers to Common Questions, and How to Get Through It

Jan 5, 2011

Vegan Beginner's Guide!

Intro

I have had many people ask me many questions about my lifestyle change, diet and what it means to be vegan...and how they can do it too. I wanted to put everything I've learned from this experience along with the recipes that support it. A friend said he would go vegan if he could go through "Rachel Bootcamp" because it is daunting and it seems like an unattainable or difficult task. Here is my attempt at a bootcamp for today's people in a fast paced, meat filled and unhealthy or ignorant environment. Being vegan doesn't only involve food but will most likely develop into a philosophy and lifestyle. You will learn about yourself anytime you speak to someone at a meal or refuse something at the holiday dinner. You will need to know yourself, your limits, your determination and you will find out how to give your elevator speech on why you are the way your are - and you will learn to give a damn about what you put on your fork. 

What Type of Vegan Are You?

The truth is, it's not hard after a while. Once you get used to anything, it's much easier, and it becomes more fun as time goes on. It's been over six years for us now, and I never feel like I'm deprived. But, I do it right (for me). There are many versions of vegans out there. I'm not the raw, hippie, activist vegan. I'm also not the junk food bingy vegan. I like to eat healthy with lower amounts of chemicals in my food, but I enjoy a junky donut once in a while (or like a lot of the while). You can pick from either side of the spectrum, and you can still be your own purpose. You don't have to represent the stereotype, because - as you'll notice - there are lots of different versions of vegans all over the world. It's fun to meet them all, share the common interest in the community, and explore what each sub-culture has got for you. 

Vegan or Vegan-Friendly Friends

I have lost many non-supportive friends through changing my diet because many social gatherings revolve around food and dining together. It's hard to go out with friends when they want to nonchalantly go to a restaurant where even the salad has meat in it. You will find your true friends in the process, because being friends with people who are too selfish to accomodate you in any way are just not great people. I still live in a world with 95% meat eaters, so most people, friends, and family I have eat meat. But I choose to be around people who support me. Finding friends that are vegan, vegetarian or just veggie friendly are a must for sticking to the diet. Don't expect everyone to come around with you, and I don't feel particularly compelled to preach my point. Even if they have one vegan meal with you once in a while, it changes the planet, and their diet in that small way. Going 100% vegan is not for everyone, and that's ok. Be supportive in any way they will support you. 

 "According to Environmental Defense, if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads." (Peta.org). Badgering them to eat vegan every day seems impossible most likely, but encouraging friends and family to switch ingredients, help their health and the environment once in a while will most likely turn into more than that. Replacing ingredients for me turned into a full fledged diet after more research. A slow and steady study lead me to love the new way of eating. Your family just accepting to eat a meal with you is a great start, so support that little decision instead of preaching to them that their lifestyle sucks. 


Cooking and Shopping


The best way to become more conscious about what you put in your body is to pick the ingredients for your meal. You will need to become an avid ingredient reader. You will learn a TON about what you took for granted was in your food and you will find out if you can or even want to eat those ingredients. When you first become vegan, it's hard to move through the neverending ingredients and vegan products out there. There are good and ugly versions of all the mimicked foods (meat and dairy alternatives), so here is a list of my favorite foods that are ALWAYS in my house. Pick these specific brands up today, and you won't be disappointed or deprived ever again. There are also a few tools that are completely necessary to survive. Here is a list of what you need to buy now!

Shopping List - 10 ingredients to have in your house right now!


1. Best meat substitute: Field Roast Seitan. Try the Italian sausages or handformed burgers!
2. Best cheese substitute: Cashew cheese. Try making your own, or try Mikyoko's Kitchen and Kite Hill Brie. There are two good soy cheeses that are very unlike the rest, try: Follow Your Heart mozzarella shreds, or Field Roast Chao cheese. 
3. Best egg substitute: Follow Your Heart VeganEgg. This is a revolutionary product that feels and tastes like egg. Make scrambles, quiches, and breakfast burritos again!
4. Best mayonnaise substitute: Vegenaise! It will change your life. Make some dipping sauces with these immediately and always have a ranch or thousand island in your house. 
5. Best addition to ALL recipes ever: Nutritional Yeast. This powder will add a cheese flavor to your foods and it's basically a necessity to have in almost all foods at all times. It makes everything better.
6. Best butter alternative: Earth Balance. This is a healthy alternative to butter and it is NOT margarine and does NOT have hydrogenated oils.
7. Best yogurt alternative: Kite hill yogurt is super fantastic! But most non-dairy yogurts are pretty good. I enjoy the coconut yogurts best with the brands Almond Dream and Silk.
8. Best milk alternative: Carrageenan is thought to be a carcinogen and is found in hundreds of products as a thickener. It's found in many alternative milks, but not all. Most of the non-name brand milks are fine. I use Trader Joe's and Whole Foods almond milk. For soy, I like Soy Dream vanilla because it's the only one that foams to make microbubble foam (it has carrageenan, but it's worth it ;))
9. Best tofu: Wildwood sprouted organic extra firm tofu. Soy products and me don't mix very well, but sprouted/organic tofu alleviates those issues. Pretty amazing for fried recipes. 
10. Best meat alternative if you're not a seitan fan: Gardein brand has pretty good alternatives and their chick'un is pretty fantastic. It can be found at Target, so that's a plus too.

Go to my recipe page to find homemade vegan pizza recipes, cupcakes, raw chocolate, pasta bolognese and tuno sandwiches. This diet will allow you to say no to fast-food and take time to be creative and make something that tastes great and is good for you. 


Health and Nutrition

Many people's first response to "I'm vegan" is "Where do you get your protein". This is actually not a problem for anyone to get protein. There is a problem with overconsumption of protein in America, and this diet will give you enough protein with seitan (wheat gluten), soy, almonds and beans. The only items you need to be careful to ensure you body has is B12 because only soil carries that (meat eaters get that from the animals eating grass and soil and the flesh carries the B12). Getting proper amounts of B12 is crucial, but you can get that from fortified foods like coconut milk or taking a supplement.

The other items I make sure I have are just to be a healthy person. Calcium consumption is highest in broccoli and almonds, Vitamin D is from the sun 15 minutes a day, fiber comes from beans or flax and omega 3s can be eaten from hemp, flax or fortified Vegenaise for that matter. Just be careful to eat a balanced diet as you would as a meat eater, be mindful of your diet and make sure you reach all four areas of the vegan pyramid: Whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit.

Environment

Eating a meat-free diet is good for the environment by using less land for food consumption than raising animals on the same land. According to the book Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens, "For each fast-food, quarter-pound hamburger, 55 square feet of rain forest are destroyed. One hundred species become extinct every 2 billion fast-food burgers sold. The effects of livestock land use in the US account for about 85% of the four billion acres of topsoil lost per year. A pure vegetarian diet, on the other hand, makes less than five percent of the demand on the soil in this country.". Feeding livestock could feed the US population five times over and 95% of oats and 80% of corn in America is harvested to feed livestock instead of starving people worldwide.

Products & Animal Welfare

I am an animal lover and feel I am a compassionate person. I don't like to see helpless beings of any species being subjugated to any type of torture. This is the next part of the lifestyle that doesn't include food but the products you buy and they entertainment you enjoy.

Many packaged foods include hidden names for something the manufacture obviously wants to hide. Peta has a good list of these ingredients and there are some great books to read on ingredients and where they are used. Gelatin and whey are ingredients I find extremely often. Gelatin is melted down animal hooves and bones, this is used in most candies, marshmallows and Jello. It makes things have a sticky consistency. Whey comes from milk. Watch out for these two items if you are shopping or just look for the bold lettering "This product contains milk" these are good indications for people who have allergies to be careful of the ingredients inside so you can easily spot items with milk and eggs that way.

Entertainment is considered entertaining to everyone except the trapped and tortured animal. Watch "How I Became an Elephant" or "The Cove" to find out more.

Some easy tips and final words

Going vegetarian or vegan is a long trek but well worth it. I tried many years ago and failed because I wasn't ready for the cooking and wasn't well read on the health aspects of the diet. Simply taking out the meat from your regular diet with surely make you sick, eating only salads will kill your energy and health. I went vegetarian and replaced the meat with fake meat and still felt just as unhealthy. There are many chemicals, salts and fats inside the fake chicken patties or fake hotdogs. If you want to become vegan and feel better, you need to eat your veggies and fruits along with some good protein and whole grains. Also, read some of my favorite books to learn more and see for yourself. I loved Eating Animals by Johnathan SaFran Foer and Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. There are also many documentaries about food production that are informative. I can't watch them too much now, but they are a great way to educate yourself on what's going on behind the scenes. 

Good luck!

Loving Hut – Shanghai Review

Oct 26, 2010

Loving Hut in Shanghai was amazingly cheap and good food. We frequent the Loving Hut in Orange, CA at least three times a week so we traveled out to see how this restaurant compared. The menu, of course, was completely different. Everything was made Chinese style including what we ordered: fake fish, faux meat dumplings, fresh fruit juice and sweet and sour chick'n. The dumplings were a hit, at only about $1 for the whole plate of around 15 dumplings, this was a steal. They are hand made and they have fake meat and vegetables. The juice was really good, but like at most Chinese restaurants they usually cost more than a whole plate of food. The fake fish was done really well, but was not our style. It tasted too much like fish and I was never a big fish person in the past, but I would still recommend this dish to fish lovers. The sweet and sour chicken was more sour with a vinegar taste. It came with free white rice and a soup with seaweed.

The best thing about this restaurant was the employee we met. He spoke perfect English and talked about their food, their philosophy, the location and other restaurants to try (he recommended JuJuBe Tree because it is about the only restaurant except their's that is actually vegan, thanks Xu!)

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Sweet and Sour Chick'n"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Faux Meat Dumplings"][/caption]

JuJuBe Tree (Vegetarian Lifestyle)

Oct 26, 2010

Our favorite vegan restaurant in Shanghai, and probably the best vegan food we have ever had, was at JuJuBe Tree (or the English name - Vegetarian Lifestyle). This place has gourmet Chinese vegan dishes that will bl0w your mind! There is no milk, eggs or meat here and everything is super clean. The person who hands you your food even has a mask! We ate here 3 times in about a weekend, so we were obsessed at the end. Our first meal included: spicy, rice puffed covered fake chicken balls, dumplings, fake crab, potato balls, and some fresh dragon fruit and pear juice to top it off. Our absolute favorites were the spicy chicken balls that had a very crispy exterior with puffed rice and a powered spice on it. They were small enough to pop in your mouth and had a great flavor. The dumplings were only a 3 star (Loving Hut, Shanghai has the 5 star dumplings), but the fake crab was the gourmet vegan food of the whole trip. They severed it in a tiny bowl with a cover and the crab sat in a yellow soup with tofu and glass noodles, they topped it with some steamed broccoli and we went to town. The flavor and texture was spot on, the presentation was top notch and the whole experience made us want to bring home the chef for a wedding/full time chef at our house. This place is a must go.

The second time we went, we went for Lucas' birthday dinner so we invited a couple friends who are all omnivores. They all enjoyed it very much too because of the flavor and mock meats. On top of our first favorite dishes we ordered some sort ribs, spicy potatoes, magic mushrooms, stacked eggplant, stuffed cucumbers and spinach soup. The crab and chicken still were our top contenders, but this time the eggplant stole the night. The plate was filled with thinly sliced eggplant covered in a sweet barbecue type sauce and chunks of tofu. This had a great flavor and was something I have never tried before. The third and final trip here (at the other location near NanJing Lu) we ordered some friend lotus root stuffed with faux meat and a side of bruchetta, fried seaweed rolls, sushi, faux chicken skewers, and a cold faux meat with a brown sauce. The lotus roots were unique and interesting with the stuffing and the sides of tomatoes in the bruchetta, but the meal got a little greasy for us by the end. Many Chinese dishes are not raw and this place is no different.

On top of all this they have a side shop that sells organic and healthy foods including brown rice (hard to find in China), organic beans, tasty pumpkin nut clusters, books and bags and gifts made by underprivileged people in China.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Vegan Crab"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Chicken Balls with Puffed Rice"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="256" caption="Eggplant Stacks"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Chicken Skewers"][/caption]




[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Vegan Sushi"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Veggie Dumplings"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Stuffed Lotus Root"][/caption]

New Age Veggie Review

Oct 15, 2010

New Age Veggie is a nicer restaurant north of the French Concession in downtown Shanghai near a trendy shopping area. It is super hard to find because it is on the 5th floor and I got lost about 5 times circling the place so beware! Once we were inside I was impressed with the decor. It is a nice and fancy restaurant with soft cushions and a huge windows to see the city. This place says vegan on Happy Cow, but that is incorrect. It is vegan sometimes but they use milk in some of their deserts and coffees..and possibly in some dishes just ask. Some Chinese don't think of milk as an animal product because it is not life, so just watch out if you are avoid that. The cheese cake and pizza's have real cheese, so watch for that as well.

The staff was really nice but did not speak much English. This was only troublesome when we wanted to make sure that the dishes didn't have certain ingredients. They do not serve soy milk like many places in China, so that is not an option if you are coffee drink BTW. We ordered a mushroom dish with King Mushrooms, it was delicately displayed and was just ok, kind of squishy..not like the other mushroom dish I had at the Shanghainese restaurant. We also ordered these friend long spring rolls with mushrooms inside and fake shrimp dumplings, both of these were really good and really cheap (there was a lunch special and the prices were even cheaper, check with the waitress). We ordered the pumpkin curry rice dish that was pretty good but but was regular fried rice inside so it was so-so. The last meal was veggie lettuce wraps which was my favorite part. It had fake meat cubes and diced fruit with a sweet sauce. It was really good and I will definitely get that again when we go back tonight! We drank the bitter fruit drink and a rose iced tea. Both were pretty tasty and everything was displayed really fancy.

We were stuffed but kept looking at the vegan deserts. Some of the cakes have no cheese or milk and that is what I will be going back for. I think they are popular because people were running in and buying all of them up as we ate. They look like professional cakes and delicate. Tiramisu, opera cake, strawberry cake etc. were there..I will update when I taste them for our birthday party tonight.

All together I rate this place a 4 star. It is vegetarian, fancy, close to all the shopping, clean and friendly. You can try a huge array of traditional Chinese dishes in the fake form some looked weird like fake goose liver or pork fist, but some looked great like veggie burgers, hot pot, fried rice and regular fake chicken, pork or beef with a sauce.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Mushroom Rolls"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Faux Shrimp Dumplings"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="King Mushroom Dish"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="256" caption="Bitter Fruit Juice"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Lettuce Wraps"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Vegan Chocolate Brownie"]
[/caption]

Pumpkin with Curry Rice

AnnaMaya Review

Oct 15, 2010

We met up with a friend from the Shanghai Veggie Club at Annamaya, a completely vegan restaurant in downtown Shanghai. It was only about 4 blocks from where we are staying and it was a nice walk and easy to find. The decor and architecture were interesting. It has an Indian or natural feel inside. It has high ceilings and is clean and comfortable.

We started with the mustard pumpkin salad. This was spectacular. I highly recommend this dish. It was pumpkin and I think potato chunks in a light mustard sauce and sprinked with pumpkin seeds. This was laying over a bed of fresh lettuce. It was refreshing and delicious.

We also tried the veggie burger. This was more of a hummus sandwich to me, and was pretty good, but I still preferred the pumpkin dish by far. We tried some vegan deserts as well. Our friend had the cheese cake with figs on top. It was perfect and tasted like the real thing. We had a rich chocolate cake made with tofu. It was very rich, but creamy and really good.

The owner was one of the best parts of the restaurants. Kazu is a Japanese woman who also speaks perfect Chinese and English. She explained all of the dishes, recommended what to eat, and talked about vegan life in Shanghai with us. I highly recommend coming to Annamaya, this is not a typical Chinese restaurant and everything is safe to eat, clean and the staff is friendly. The boast not having the mock meats as well, so if you are looking for that come here for sure.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Pumpkin Mustard DishVeggie Burger"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Vegan Chocolate Cake"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Vegan Cheesecake"][/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="448" caption="Us with Kazu"][/caption]

Yelp!

Sep 27, 2009

I am trying to be an elite Yelper on Yelp.com here are my reviews of restaurants around the world...check it out: