Happy November Vegan T-Shirt Day!

Happy Vegan T-Shirt Day y'all!  In case you don't know, we vegans use the first Saturday of every month to celebrate Vegan T-Shirt Day, showing off our bits of flare and asking the world to start conversations with us about veganism.

Looking for inspiration?  Check out this awesome "V is for Vegan" shirt over at Bianca Strom's Etsy shop, ReLove Plan.et.  Bianca is vegan herself, and is an active member of the Vegan Etsy Team.  The only thing better than wearing your vegan t-shirt is getting it from a dedicated vegan artisan!

Happy veganing y'all!!


Big exciting important announcement: Vegan Croissants Today!!

Yesterday evening, the New Orleans Veg Meetup group received this exciting announcement:
...tomorrow at Breads on Oak, Sean's making vegan croissants, pain au chocolat, croissants both in plain and chocolate with toasted hazelnut marzipan and toasted almond marzipan! He doesn't do them often so please, please come show your support for his vegan pastries!
I for one plan to be there this morning and have one of each... plus a couple to bring to friends and family!  I have eaten their vegan croissants only once before, but I can assure you that they are things of beauty.

See you at Breads on Oak!

Update: The croissants were absolutely freaking amazing.  The next time you have the opportunity to try them, don't miss it!


Veganism IS for lovers!!

Happy Vegan T-Shirt Day y'all!  I really love this event - so simple, such a great way to form a critical mass of vegan and pro-animal messages.  Today I'm wearing this awesome design from Herbivore Clothing Co (the gray boatneck style):

Today I'm going to go have some vegan brunch at Santa Fe Tapas, and then visit some bunnies who need homes at Jefferson Feed's Neighborhood Pet Store in Mid-city.  What will YOU do with your Vegan T-Shirt Day??


Events for New Orleans Vegans in October

Hello friends!  I just published a new article on Examiner.com about everything that's happening around town this month.  There is a lot of stuff!  Enjoy.


Life-changing revelation: Roman Candy is vegan!!

My life is forever changed. Everything is different now. Why? Because I have just determined that New Orleans' famous Roman Candy is freaking vegan!!

The Roman Candy Man has always been sort of magic for me. When I was a kid we would hang out with our family friends the Erbs - their house was on Cohn Street uptown. My family all lived in Metairie, so just being uptown was a bit exotic and exciting. After eating po boys and sipping on Barq's root beer or, occasionally, cream soda, we three children would listen in the heat of the afternoon for the clop-clop, clop-clop. (This was, of course, before I felt the pain of service animals.) When he came... pure childhood bliss.

I've seen him around town since moving back to Nola, and it always brings me a little of that magic. And of course the candy is sold at Brocato's. But I figured it wasn't for me.

But standing there at Brocato's one day waiting for my watermelon ice, I happened to glance a box of candy with a printed ingredient list. I honestly don't know if the recipe changed - I would have sworn there was dairy in it. But as of now, the ingredients list reads as follows:
Roman Candy consists of glucose (corn syrup), sugar, vegetable shortening (no peanut oil), natural and artificial flavor and certified color.
Vegan ingredients of course aren't the final word - because of course they don't address the wagon's mule. But just a few weeks ago, I saw the old wagon (which is nearly 100 years old) being pulled by a truck!

All told, I think it's fair to say that Roman Candy is back in my life. Healthy? No. Nostalgic? Extremely. New Orleans? One hundred percent.


A hurricane's a-comin'... maybe.

Hello friends. Well it looks as though we may be getting smacked. Then again, we may not. Either way, it's best to be prepared. Personally, I am not planning to leave my newly purchased home for anything less than a Cat 3, so I want to be prepared on the home front.

For my own sanity I have collected / compiled this list of prep tips - for your health and happiness I share them. Your needs will differ depending on your household, but these are some basics if you plan to shelter in place:

To Do BEFORE a storm makes landfall:
  • Make sure your pantry is stocked with non-perishable foods that can be eaten at room temperature (you may not be able to heat / cook). This can include cans of beans, cereals, rice cakes, crackers, granola / granola bars, nuts, and the like. Don't forget, an electric can opener won't be much good in case of a power outage!
  • Gather food-safe containers with lids such as pitchers to fill with water in case of flooding or heavy rains which could compromise your tap water.
  • If you live with companion animals, make sure you are stocked for their care as well.
  • Gather or purchase flashlights, new batteries, candles, matches, and a first aid kit including an antiseptic. Also include a battery-powered radio if possible.
  • Stock up or locate trash bags, paper towels, disposable plates and utensils, and other items to help keep things sanitary in the event that you can't leave the house for a few days.
  • Purchase or locate plywood or cardboard, masking tape, and other supplies that can be used to block vulnerable windows.
  • As crazy as it may seem, there is a reason that people in New Orleans have always kept an ax in the attic.
Once it is confirmed that a major storm is going to make landfall in your area, do / check on the following:
  • Move your car to the highest ground possible, and remove all personal items from it.
  • Apply protective barriers to the windows in case of objects being propelled by high winds.
  • Check your property for any loose items that could become projectiles; bring them inside or secure them.
  • Fill as many food-safe containers as possible with fresh water for drinking.
  • While you still have electricity, charge laptops and cell phones to 100%.
  • While you still have water, take a shower!
  • Get all of your laundry done - there's no telling how long you could be without water and/or electricity.
  • Likewise, make sure all your dishes are washed, and be prepared to use disposable dishware.
  • Once everyone has bathed, fill bathtub(s) with water for uses other than consumption (toilet flushing, etc.).
The FEMA website provides a number of disaster tips, including this emergency supply kit list.

Remember, the goal is to stay safe! Best to you all, now and throughout this half year we call hurricane season.


Happy Saturday New Orleans Vegans!

Jonathan and I have had a lovely morning tooling around the city. After a quick stop at the Bean Gallery, we headed to Hollygrove Farm and Market. We decided to go for the big haul: that is, "the box." This week's box contained okra, corn, grits, apples, a variety of peppers, shiitakes, raw peanuts, mixed herbs, micro greens, and muscadine grapes. Challenging!

This has left me with one big question: what to do with raw peanuts? Answer: boil them. In water, with salt. For a long time. Zataran's, here I come! Not sure what we'll do with the rest... maybe the okra will get cooked with the peppers. Corn could get cooked (briefly) with the peanuts, apples and grapes are easy, greens will go to the bunnies most likely, and perhaps some peppery smoky grits? This just leaves the shiitakes. Which I love, so I doubt it will be a problem!

While at Hollygrove, we inquired about composting. I've always said I'd do it once I have a yard. Well, I don't have a yard but I have a back patio! So I'm going to call close enough. Hollygrove sells large barrels for composting, and a woman there named Alyssa seems to be very knowledgeable in their use. With just a little more research (and an empty car to get the barrel home in ), I feel I'll be on my way to composting at home!

Next we headed down to Breads on Oak. Lured by the promise of vegan croissants, we were excited to find a huge variety of vegan pastries available. What a revelation! It is practically a vegan bakery, with very few non-vegan options. Baker Sean O'Mahony creates artisanal breads (including today's croissants), most of which are vegan, while Chamain O'Mahony creates an impressive array of vegan muffins, cakes, and breads. We did in fact eat two vegan croissants right then and there... and then got two more to take home. We've got plans for brunch at home tomorrow morning! The only drawback is that the beautiful space is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.

Now for a long afternoon of cooking locally grown produce!


Happy Vegan Taco Day!

Hello New Orleans - and happy Vegan Taco Day!

Yes, it's vegan taco day - the first international celebration thereof. Much like Vegan Pizza Day and Vegan Ice Cream Day, Vegan Taco Day aims to celebrate the joys of vegan food. That's a lot of joy!

So, where will YOU eat vegan tacos today? You could of course make them at home - it's so easy! Here's a tip: get both soft tortillas and crispy corn shells. Toast the shells in the oven for a few minutes. Then wrap them in the tortilla, using just a schmear of refried beans to hold the two together. Fill with black beans, veggies, guacamole, salsa, sauteed tofu... whatever floats your boat! Perfection.

Not into the home route? Do what I'm going to: stop by either location of Juan's Flying Burrito and get the three taco dinner. I like mine with sweet potatoes and roasted corn.

However you celebrate, have a great time! And don't forget to post pics of your tacos on the Vegan Taco Day facebook event. Happy eating y'all!


Tell the Prez to make it happen.

The FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into law well over a year ago, yet somehow no action has been taken on its provisions. Want to do something about it? Make Our Food Safe (.org) has given us an easy way to send a letter to the Prez - you can even personalize it.


Talking about SNAP

The Farm Bill that is currently winding its way through congress may put SNAP, otherwise known as the food stamp program, in grave danger. While the senate version of the bill proposes to cut $4 billion from the program, the version approved by the House in July wants to cut a whopping $16 billion. (The House version contains a multitude of other problems as well.)

This is an important issue to everyone in the country, given that having more members of the community who are food-insecure benefits no one. Locally, consider that over 300,000 Louisiana citizens currently receive this assistance - including 22% of adults and 49% of children in New Orleans as of 2010. Check out Marion Nestle's new post on the issue, and a new report just issued about how to improve the nutritional quality of food sold through SNAP.


Vegan Ice Cream Day: it's coming!

As a rousing follow-up to the ever-popular and rousingly successful Vegan Pizza Day, we now have Vegan Ice Cream Day! To be celebrated for what I believe to be the very first time this Sunday, July 8, we in New Orleans are racking our brains to come up with anywhere and everywhere that icy treats are available. So far, we know that these shops make or carry sorbets and Italian ices:
  • Brocato's
  • Creole Creamery
  • La Dolce Nola
  • La Divina Gelateria (with their signature sorbetti)

(Update: we had previously reported that Tutti Fruti in Metairie offered soy frozen yogurt. While as a company they are offering this product, it is not yet available at the Metairie location and no roll-out is yet planned.)

Of note: The Wandering Buddha, the only all-vegan restaurant in town, makes vegan ice creams and sorbets daily! Stop by on Sunday evening for dinner and a few scoops. UPDATE: The Wandering Buddha will actually be hosting an event on Sunday, wherein they will be offering six kinds of vegan ice creams! RSVP here.

Of course wherever you are you can always stop by the grocery to pick up one of the many amazing brands of vegan ice cream available these days, including Tofutti, So Delicious, Purely Decadent, and Larry & Luna's Coconut Bliss.

The truly brave may even make their own ice cream!

Know more? Let us know!


Vegan Drinks New Orleans: it's been almost a year!

It's hard to believe that last July we were gearing up for the very first Vegan Drinks New Orleans. It seems like decades ago - and like yesterday. And we are so excited to celebrate our first anniversary! We are aiming for the last week of July, and will do our darndest to have it on a weekend. If all goes according to plan there will be a benefit raffle, extra-special vegan specials, and more. The details are still being worked out, so stay posted!


Vegan Dinner at Rambla!

Hey y'all! If you have experienced the first few amazing months of vegan brunches at Santa Fe Tapas, then you know what Chef Mario and Sous Chef Chris are capable of. They are now on to an exciting new project: vegan dinners at Rambla in the CBD. It is unclear whether the dinners will be weekly or in any way regular, but they are sure to be remarkable. Check out the details here.


International Vegan Pizza Day is coming!

Hey y'all! I don't know about you, but I am frickin excited about Vegan Pizza Day. What to do? Hit up one of the area restaurants for a cheeseless pie? Make one at home smothered with Daiya? Let us know! Send us pictures! And happy eating. ;D


Vegan Drinks New Orleans #11!

Hi all! I hope you can join us for Vegan Drinks New Orleans #11 at the Lost Love Lounge in the Marigny! (They tell me it's where all the cool kids hang out.) Don't forget to RSVP on Facebook!


Update: ponzu sauce at Sake Cafe

Hello NOiG friends! I recently received a comment that I would like to address. The comment stated that Sake Cafe's ponzu sauce is made with beef broth. Of course I needed to check the veracity of this statement!

After speaking with a manager at Sake, I have determined the following:
  • the ponzu sauce is totally clean and worry-free
  • HOWEVER, the light sauce served with the veggie tempura (not ponzu, apparently) is made with fish sauce
There you have it folks. When ordering veggie tempura at Sake Cafe (previously confirmed to be sans-egg), ask for the ponzu sauce for dipping.


Nola Earth Day!

Hello everyone!  Make sure to stop by tomorrow's Earth Day celebration, a project of the Louisiana Bucket Brigade!  The Nola Veggie Fest will have a table there and will be selling food to raise funds for the upcoming Veggie Fest.  There will also be vegan choices available from Cafe Carmo and Beaucoup Juice!  Also, it's supposed to be a beautiful day!  See you there.  ;D


NO Fleas Market hosts Toasts and Wagging Tails benefit!

Amidst all the fun of festival season, here's one event you won't want to miss. NO Fleas Market, the resale store which donates a portion of its proceeds to local animal organizations, will be hosting a benefit for the LA SPCA this Thursday! The event, Toasts and Wagging Tails, is sure to be a blast for humans and their animal companions alike. So don't forget to RSVP!



My big announcement: I'm now the New Orleans Vegan Examiner!

Hi all! I'm excited to tell you that I am now the New Orleans Vegan Examiner! Now, you may be thinking to yourself, what the heck does that mean? Well. It means that I am now writing articles on the "beat" that is the vegan scene in New Orleans for Examiner.com! I'd simply adore having some of y'all as followers - and I hope you'll find my articles both fun and informative! Also, if you have any ideas for articles I should write, would like to be interviewed, etc., please feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line. ;D

(Pictured: vegan pho at Lost Love Lounge. Yes, it is definitely 100% vegan!)


Nola Veggie Fest Volunteer Meeting

Hey y'all! Here's something to be excited about. The Nola Veggie Fest - a huge, all-vegan annual festival here in New Orleans that positively ROCKS - is now a mere two months away. And guess what? They need YOU to volunteer! That's right, you.

The fest is being held this year at the new Healing Center down on St. Claude Ave. on May 12th and 13th, and all manner of shifts and jobs are available. Want to pitch in? Want to learn more? You're in luck! A volunteer team meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday March 16th at 6pm. We'll be gathering at the Healing Center to check out the space we're working with, talk about everything that needs to get done leading up to and during the fest, and then having a social chat over dinner at Fatoush - the delish Middle Eastern restaurant located right there at the Center.

Sounds awesome right? Great, we'll see you there. Just don't forget to RSVP!


St. Patrick's Day for Vegans in New Orleans

More parades, really! It's time for St. Patrick's Day in New Orleans.

You'd think that we would be sick of parades by now after all that Mardi Gras mess, but apparently that is physically impossible for New Orleanians. We dive right back in with St. Pat's parades in Metairie and New Orleans, followed up by the Irish-Italian parade.

And really, I love St. Patrick's Day in New Orleans. Everyone wears GREEN, and it also just happens to be my veganniversary. This year I celebrate my sixth! So, how does a vegan celebrate St. Patrick's day in New Orleans?

Well I'll start out with vegan brunch at Santa Fe Tapas on St. Charles ave - I don't know the menu for next week, but they have yet to disappoint. Then we can head over to the Irish Channel St. Patrick's Day Parade, which makes a box from Jackson to St. Charles to Louisiana to Magazine Street. I'm probably not brave enough to continue to the after-party at Parasol's, but if I'm lucky I'll catch a cabbage!

The truly dedicated will hit the Downtown Irish Club parade in the bywater starting at 6pm, but by then I'll be home in bed. ;)


Purple, Gold, and GREEN!!

Three cheers for Mardi Gras! Here in the crescent city we love carnival. Personally, I celebrate by baking a (vegan) king cake, hitting a few parades, and having a great time with friends and strangers alike. And what's great is that even during this festival of excess, we can keep our ecological heads on straight.
  • Santa Fe Tapas continues to host its Saturday Jazz Brunch right on through parade season, and is offering vegan lunch and dinner options as well for St. Charles paradegoers as well.
  • Wandering Buddha (Hi-Ho Lounge) and O! Vegasm (St. Roch Tavern) keep going strong with nightly all-vegan offerings.
  • The thrill is in the catch, but then what to do with all those plastic beads? The Arc of Greater New Orleans provides several bead recycling locations in New Orleans, Metairie, and the Westbank, and they can be dropped off in the bin at the uptown Whole Foods as well. And don't forget to take your refuse and recyclables (ahem, those new Abita beer cans?) home with you from the neutral ground!
  • You've already missed the Verdi Gras ball, but hopefully the group will grow. Check out VerdiGras.org and send your questions to info@verdigras.org for more information.
  • Also, be on the lookout for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade in Saturday night's Chewbacchus parade!
Have fun, be safe, happy Mardi Gras!!


Treat your Vegan Valentine!
Fancy or Casual, Nola's got it all.

Wondering what you and your vegan bebe will do this Valentine's day in New Orleans? Never fear. In addition to the usual gamut of awesome vegan options in New Orleans, there are a few special events to boot.

Santa Fe Tapas, the non-vegan St. Charles Avenue bistro which has nonetheless won over the Nola veg community, has done it once again. This Valentine's day, Santa Fe will be offering a three course prix fixe meal for you and your sweetheart, complete with complimentary champagne and all the romance you can handle. Check out the menu as published on their Facebook page:
*Glass of Champagne or Champagne Cocktail each on arrival

Saffron Roasted Piquillo Pepper Bisque, Chive Aioli, Herb Croutons
Savory Tarte Tatin, Wild Mushroom Fricasee
Tropical Fruit, Organic Green Nasturtium Salad, Aged Sherry Vinagrette

Vegan Vienna Schnitzel, Herb Spaetzle, Crisp Vegetable Medley, Herb Compound “Butter”
Wealthy Beggar’s Purse, Truffled Root Vegetable Puree Stuffed Filo, Toasted Garlic Braised Greens, Grilled Asparagus, Sauce Arrabiatta,
Braised Tofu, Sesame Soba Noodle, Tempura Market Vegetables, House Kimchi Rice Paper Roll, Ginger Carrot Reduction

The Passionate Couple, Passion Fruit “Crème” Brulee, Passion Fruit Sorbet
Chocolate dipped Strawberries, Champagne Vanilla “Anglaise”

Prix Fixe, $49 per couple excluding Tax and Gratuity
Be sure to call ahead and ensure that you'll have a table for all that romancin' - (504) 304-9915.

Looking for something a bit more low-key (and significantly easier on the checkbook)? Stop by one of your two favorite Nola vegan restaurants, O! Vegasm, for a BLT with onion rings and avocado and a side of mac n' cheeze. Dateless? With the love of your life? One bite and you won't care either way. ;)


Juan wants to know!

Inquiring minds want to know! That is, Juan's wants to know exactly what we've been trying to tell them for like a decade. Which is, what veg options are you looking for in your tacos / burrito / et cetera? Don't miss this opportunity to vote and speak your mind. Remember to keep it positive y'all - we want to get some tofu up in this joint! Check out the question here.


Vegan Drinks New Orleans and The Wandering Buddha: a match made in... nirvana?

Wednesday night, The Wandering Buddha played host to the seventh monthly Vegan Drinks New Orleans. The Buddha, housed in the Hi-Ho Lounge on St. Claude avenue, is one of the only restaurants in the city to offer Korean food, and information around the global vegan community suggests that it is really the only restaurant of its kind, serving exclusively traditional (yet vegan) Korean food.

The first pairing of its kind, VDNO's January event was scheduled at the Buddha by special invitation of its proprietors, Christion and Colleen. As dedicated vegans, they are looking for every way possible to engage with the New Orleans vegan community. Bringing Vegan Drinks New Orleans to their doorstep was a great way to get them some face time with Nola veg*ns, as well as to get some folks out to the restaurant who hadn't quite made it by yet.

A fantastic time was had by all - friends were made, nametags were worn proudly, bi bim bap and scallion pancakes were devoured, and vegan cocktails and mocktails expertly slung by the lovely Lauren brought delight to the crowds which amassed throughout the evening. As happens occasionally, two out-of-town visitors from Dallas even found a home-away-from-home at the shindig.

If you missed it this month, never fear: as of now, the plan is to have February's Vegan Drinks New Orleans at The Wandering Buddha as well.