The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

New Restaurants Have Been Added to The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada

Posted on March 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor
Raw lasagna from Chicago Raw

Raw lasagna from Chicago Raw

The Vegetarian Resource Group maintains an online Guide to Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants in the USA and Canada. Below are some recent additions. The entire guide can be found here: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

To support the updating of this online restaurant guide, please donate at:
www.vrg.org/donate

Chicago Raw
51 W. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60654
And
131 N. Clinton St, Suite 7
Chicago, IL 60661
Enjoy a wide range of vegan raw food including Collard Burritos, Fresh Spinach Lasagna, Sweet Potato Pancakes, Falafel Patties, Garden Burgers, salads, spreads, desserts, and more. Note: the Clinton St. location is closed on Sunday.

Chizuko
506 W Belmont St.
Pensacola, FL 32501
Enjoy vegan fare and live music.

Go Vegan
2940 Delta Fair Blvd.
Antioch, CA 94509
Located in a shopping center, this restaurant serves up Asian vegan dishes such as Spring Rolls, Pad Thai, and Vegan “Chicken” with Lemongrass and Chili.

Heartbeet Eatery
100-05 Metropolitan Ave.
Forest Hills, NY 11375
This Kosher eatery strives to use organic ingredients whenever possible. They also have a kids menu. Heartbeet offers various pastas as well as creative chef specialties like the Heartbeet Wrap and the Ciabetta Chorizo.

Heart Beet Kitchen
29 Haddon Ave.
Westmont, NJ 08108
Heart Beet Kitchen has a relaxed, rustic environment and serves a variety of options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They offer Mediterranean Tofu Tacos, Eggplant Meatballs, and their signature Heart Beet Burger, in addition to French toast, bowls, salads, and a variety of blended smoothies. They also offer their Revolution Coffee & Espresso with house made coconut whipped cream and flavor syrups.

Krimsey’s Cajun Kitchen
12906 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
Krimsey’s has a relatively small menu consisting of their New Orleans Poboy, Okra Gumbo, Veggie Etouffee, Louisiana Cornbread, Cajun Fries, Zapp’s Chips, and Dill Potato Salad. They are especially known for their signature Cajun Jambayalaya, which contains rice, beans, veggies, and veggie sausage.

Mama T’s Ital Kitchen
1001 Bishop St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
Serves smoothies, breakfast, and lunch. From tofu scramble to Kalo Curry, Mama T’s has an option for everyone’s taste. They are located inside Umeke Market.

MeeT
4288 Main St.
Vancouver, BC V5V 3P9 Canada
And
12 Water St.
Vancouver, BC V6B 1A5 Canada
MeeT’s menu is loaded with classic comfort food dishes made completely vegan. Familiar items include vegan Mac and Cheese or the Southern BBQ Burger. MeeT offers more adventurous options like the Noodle-y Thai Bowl. Many dishes are gluten free or can be made gluten free with substitutions. Be sure to check out the rotating art displays while there.

Panz Veggie
3485 Fraser St.
Vancouver, BC V5V 4C3 Canada
Panz Veggie has many spicy dishes, which are marked on the menu with a red chili pepper. Meals can be paired with stir-fry, fried rice, or noodles. Folks enjoy the wonton soup and veggie hot pots. Canadian soldiers can eat free from 3pm-5pm, upon presenting valid identification. Menus are available in English or Chinese.

Skull & Cakebones
3991 E. Hwy 290, Unit A
Dripping Springs, TX 78620
Whenever possible, Skull & Cakebones uses locally sourced ingredients. They offer baked goods, brunch, and small lunches.

SUUP Heath Bar

Unit 1-382 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M5B 1S8 Canada
SUUP Heath Bar offers a variety of foods. Ranging from burritos, to salads, to smoothies, to soups, and to desserts, SUUP has a little bit of everything. SUPP’s burritos are creative fusions, such as the Thai Pad-Ped Gai burrito and the West Indian Jerk burrito.

The Very Good Butchers

6-1701 Douglas St.
Victoria, BC V8W 0C1 Canada
The Very Good Butchers is a Canadian vegan butchery. The company offers some plant-based meats on their website and has a small shop. They offer many savory comfort foods such as the Pepperoni Stromboli Sub, The Roast Beast, Smokin’ Burger, gluten-free BBQ Pulled Jack & Waffles, and gluten-free Man’ N’ Cheese.

Vegan Hills
3585 Waialae Ave.
Honolulu, HI 96816
Vegan Hills specializes in Asian and Western styles of vegan cooking. Serves soups, bowls, sandwiches, sandwiches, and specialty sweets. Some of the items on their menu include the Red Hot Chili Bowl, Veggie Love Tempeh (VLT), Panino, Foca Ciao!, Kerala Dahl soup, and the Perfect Rainbow Cobb salad.

Vita-Vegan Paradise
158 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10011
Located in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Enjoy dishes such as eggplant sandwiches, beet gnocchi, rosemary lemon fries, and Brussels sprouts with maple mustard sauce. Sample desserts include blueberry lemon cake.

Support The Vegetarian Resource Group Year-Round – Become a Monthly or Quarterly Donor!

Posted on March 31, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

The Vegetarian Resource Group is an activist non-profit organization that does outreach all-year-long. We table at different events throughout the USA and also send literature free of charge to other groups/individuals doing educational activities in schools, hospitals, camps, restaurants, libraries, etc. Our ability to continue doing this depends on people like you! Your donations allow us to promote the vegan message whenever we’re called upon for assistance. Please consider becoming a monthly or quarterly donor to VRG.

Thanks so much for your support. You can become a monthly or quarterly donor online here: Donate to VRG

Visit The Vegetarian Resource Group’s Booth at These Upcoming Events

Posted on March 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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The Vegetarian Resource Group will be having outreach booths in the next few weeks at the events listed below. Stop by and say hello!

NYC Veggie Pride Parade
New York, NY
Sunday, April 2nd
Line-up begins at 11 AM; parade launches at 12 Noon

The Maryland Dietetics in Health Care Communities
The Gathering Place
6120 Day Long Lane
Clarksville, MD 21029
Tuesday, April 4, 2017 from 7:15 AM – 3:10 PM

Harford County Earth Day
60 N. Parke Street
Aberdeen MD 21001
April 22nd from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Charlottesville Eco Fair
Located at the Downtown Mall and Sprint Pavilion
700 E Main St
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Sunday, April 23rd 2017 from 11 AM to 5 PM

Paul’s Place “Spring Into Good Health” Fair
1118 Ward St
Baltimore, MD 21230
April 29th from 1-4 PM

New England VegFest
DCU Center
50 Foster St
Worcester, MA 01608
Sunday April 30, 2017 from 11 AM-5 PM

To support VRG outreach, please donate here: Donate

Like No Udder Vegan Ice Cream Shop Will Have a Free Cone Day on April 4th in Rhode Island

Posted on March 30, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Screen Shot 2017-03-29 at 1.44.03 PM

Like No Udder just successfully completed a GoFundMe campaign to pass out 700 FREE vegan ice cream cones. We’ll be doing our free cone day on Tuesday, April 4th between 2-9 pm (or till we hit 700 cones, whichever comes first). This is the same day that Ben & Jerry’s does their free cone day. Sweet vegan activism! This wouldn’t have been possible without support from our local and online vegan community!

Like No Udder is located at 170 Ives St. in Providence, Rhode Island. More information on this ice cream shop can be found here: http://like-no-udder.com/

You can also find a complete list of veggie restaurants in the USA and Canada here:
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

Eating Vegan at Loyola University Maryland

Posted on March 29, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

by Julia Mathew

The amount of vegan options at Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore has increased since I was a freshman in 2013. Now in my last semester and graduating this May, I am hopeful that the demand for vegan options will only continue to increase. The main dining area/cafeteria on campus is Boulder Café in the Andrew White Student Center. There is also a much smaller dinning area under the student housing in Newman Towers called Iggy’s, as well as a small kiosk with sandwiches and snacks on the ground floor of Sellinger. I think it’s essential that one gets creative and mix different options together when dining on campus.

Boulder offers salads, sandwiches, and warm food such as pizza. Personally, I love getting mixed greens from the salad bar and loading it with a mix of edamame, kidney beans, chickpeas, and black beans. I also love topping my salad with corn, dried cranberries, peas, red onion, sunflower seeds, sriracha, and balsamic vinaigrette. Hummus is occasionally served at the salad bar as well! Boulder also has a self-serve drink station for Silk soymilk and offers Naked fruit smoothies near the breakfast area.

This year, the sandwich station introduced a selection of vegan items such as vegan ‘chicken’ patties, deli slices, cheese, and mayonnaise. There is also whole wheat bread, spinach wraps, grilled vegetables, and a variety of raw veggies and sandwich toppings available. Sandwiches can be warmed in the oven or eaten cold as preferred.

In terms of warm food, pizza can be made without cheese. There are usually cooked vegetables offered, as well as pasta and potatoes. I suggest getting some carbs such as pasta and potatoes, and putting some additional seasoning (salt, pepper, or Old Bay) on it. The potatoes are cooked in oil and not butter or lard. I usually eat pasta or potatoes with a hearty salad, cooked vegetables, or some soup in the evening. The vegetables are either boiled in water or sautéed in oil. There is usually one vegan soup offered daily, such as a mixed bean or veggie soup. Both are really nice, however the bean soup is my favorite!

Iggy’s is quite limited on vegan options but has a small salad bar and some fruit. There are also some nutritional bars offered, such as Nature’s Bakery’s Fig Bars and Cliff Bars.

The small kiosk in Sellinger generally doesn’t have any vegan-friendly prepared sandwiches or salads. However, Stacy’s pita chips and Sabra’s pretzel & hummus packs are often available as snacks, which are great for in-between classes.

For other college info, see
http://www.vrg.org/teen/#college

Vegan Ice Cream Showdown

Posted on March 28, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

ChocolateSorbettoCrop1

By Natalie Allen, VRG Intern
 
When I decided to conduct a vegan ice cream taste test, I didn’t realize how hard it would be to taste them in an official setting before all the ice cream was eaten. It took me a few weeks before I could round up a few friends, all at different times, to taste-test three vegan ice creams. I chose Talenti Chocolate Sorbetto, So Delicious Coconut Milk Cookie Dough ice cream, and So Delicious Cashew Milk Creamy Chocolate ice cream. I chose these frozen desserts because they represent three different kinds of vegan ice cream, one made with no non-dairy milk, one made with coconut milk, and one made with cashew milk. So Delicious is also known in my vegan community as one of the biggest plant based companies and so by buying the unique flavors that were made by So Delicious, I knew that they would be a legit representation of vegan ice cream.

Before I had my friends taste the ice cream flavors, I had to taste them myself. The first ice cream I tried was the Talenti Chocolate Sorbetto. The sorbetto had a very rich chocolate flavor and was surprisingly slightly creamy considering it was made with essentially just water and sugar. The So Delicious Coconut Milk Cookie Dough ice cream I assumed is meant to be creamy, is actually crumbly and almost icy. The cookie dough chunks are delicious, but the vanilla ice cream has a strong coconut flavor that did not pair well with the cookie dough chunks. Lastly, So Delicious Cashew Milk Creamy Chocolate ice cream was very creamy. The chocolate flavor is not very strong but I believe that this chocolate ice cream resembles the texture and flavor of dairy ice cream the most.

Overall, as a vegan, I can say that I felt Talenti won this taste-test. This is surprising considering So Delicious specializes in making non-dairy ice cream and Talenti has a wide variety of both dairy and nondairy desserts. Talenti did an amazing job at creating a satisfying chocolate dessert, while So Delicious recreated dairy ice cream with unique flavor combinations and an undeniably creamy texture. Go for Talenti if you have an extreme chocolate craving and try out So Delicious’s adventurous and mouth-watering flavors if you are in the mood for something different.

For my official taste-test, I had two of my non-vegan friends taste test each of the previously mentioned flavors. The first friend I interviewed was my 16-year old friend Kasey. Kasey and I essentially have the same flavor preferences. Kasey verified my belief that the So Delicious Cashew Milk Creamy Chocolate ice cream was the one that tastes the closest and if not exactly like dairy ice cream by saying, “I swear this tastes like real ice cream, but it does have a slight nut flavor.” Kasey was not fond of the So Delicious Coconut Milk Cookie Dough ice cream. For Kasey, the Talenti Chocolate Sorbetto ice cream won, “This is better than real ice cream.” In fact, after Kasey had left the taste-test, she went to buy herself a pint.

A 19-year old Madison was my next taste-test victim. Madison’s taste buds were a little different from Kasey and mine. Madison honestly liked every ice cream. However, her favorite was the So Delicious Coconut milk Cookie Dough ice cream. She asked: “Can I have some more?” This is perhaps because cookie dough ice cream is her favorite. Although Kasey and I did not like it, I am impressed that So Delicious was able to create a non-dairy cookie dough ice cream flavor that was able to please a cookie dough ice cream fanatic.

In the end, non-dairy ice cream has taken over. Big ice cream companies including Ben and Jerry’s and even Breyers have come out with vegan ice cream flavors marketed not only towards vegans but towards their giant dairy ice cream lover audience. It is astounding that these vegan ice cream flavors are able to please regular dairy ice cream fanatics. What this taste-test has shown me is that non-dairy ice cream options are comparable to the original dairy verseions and often times better (Talenti). For any dairy ice cream lover out there, I challenge you to try a non-dairy ice cream and see if it is possible for you to switch and lead a more compassionate and earth-friendly diet.

Have a Vegan Passover Seder!

Posted on March 27, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Passover begins the evening of April 10, 2017 this year and The Vegetarian Resource Group is the publisher of several books that feature vegan Passover recipes. Below we share three recipes with you. You can purchase these vegan cookbooks from the VRG Book Catalog here: http://www.vrg.org/catalog

passover


Nut “Cheese” Surprise
(from No Cholesterol Passover Recipes, by Debra Wasserman)
(Serves 8)

Cheese:
½ cup raw cashews
½ cup water
¼ cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon vegetable broth
2 Tablespoons oil
Garlic powder and paprika to taste
½ small ripe tomato, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a blender cup, blend cashews, water, lemon juice, and broth together. Slowly add oil. Then add garlic powder, paprika, and tomato and blend well for 1 minute. Once the “cheese” is made add the ingredients below.

6 potatoes, chopped and cooked
1 onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced thinly
2 green peppers, chopped finely

Mix well and pour into a large baking dish. Bake in oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve warm.

veganpassoverrecipes


Pear and Apple Slaw
(from Vegan Passover Recipes, by Nancy Berkoff)
(Serves 5-6)

Make a double batch of this recipe, as the flavor gets even better the second day!

1 pound (about 3 cups) fresh pears
½ cup (about 4 ounces) green or tart apple
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage
2 Tablespoons oil
1 Tablespoon vinegar
½ teaspoon black pepper

Wash and dice pears and apples (don’t peel), place in a large bowl, and toss with lemon juice. Add green and red cabbage and toss. In a cup, mix oil, vinegar, and pepper until combined. Toss with fruit/vegetable mixture until well coated. Chill for at least 30 minutes before serving.

ljvc


Polish Plum and Rhubarb Soup
(from The Lowfat Jewish Vegetarian Cookbook, by Debra Wasserman)
(Serves 6)

1 pound plums, pitted and chopped
1 pound rhubarb, chopped
10 cups water
¼ cup plus 1 Tablespoon apple juice concentrate
¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
1½ teaspoons cinnamon

Place all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover pot, and simmer 30 minutes. Serve hot.

Note: If the plums are not very sweet, you may want to add a bit more apple juice concentrate.

Texas VegFest is Happening on April 1, 2017 in Austin

Posted on March 27, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

Saturday-April-2nd-2016

Spread the word about the upcoming Texas VegFest — a FREE PUBLIC EVENT.

WHAT: Texas VegFest
WHEN: Saturday April 1st, 2017
TIME: 11am – 6pm
WHERE: Fiesta Gardens right off Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail in Austin

Qdoba® Vegan Menu Options

Posted on March 24, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Jeanne Yaoubou, MS

The VRG invited Qdoba in September 2016 to tell us about their vegan menu options. This is how Meg Prejzner, Brand Manager at Qdoba, replied:
“Absolutely, I am happy to share as Qdoba has quite a variety of options to cater to our vegan guests, including burritos (wrapped or bowl), Loaded Tortilla Soup, Knockout Tacos and taco salads.
Our menu is completely customizable, so those guests looking to avoid animal products can absolutely do so by customizing their dish to fit their tastes. For instance, our Bohemian Veg Knockout Taco does contain cotija and shredded cheese but any guest can absolutely ask that we do not include those items on their meal to fit their dietary preferences. Plus, our all-inclusive menu encourages our guests to load up on their favorite vegan options like guacamole, pico de gallo, beans, rice, fajita veggies, etc. at no additional costs. If a vegan guest is looking for more protein, double down on black beans. If they love guac, top it off — there’s no extra charge!

…[O]ur team members are also happy to swap out gloves or utensils when building any meal — we just ask our guests to let our team know of their individual needs and the team is happy to help further from there.”
(Note: One supplier of Qdoba’s cojita cheese lists “rennet” as an ingredient with no further specification. The other cheese suppliers for the Bohemian Veg Knockout Taco cheeses list only “enzymes” without source information.)

Qdoba lists its complete United States Ingredient Statement on pages 2-10 of this PDF file:
https://www.qdoba.com/static/downloads/allergen_chart_and_ingredient_statements__us.pdf
Based on our own assessment of their Ingredient Statement (i.e., no non-vegan or possibly non-vegan ingredients present) and before asking any further questions to Qdoba, the following Qdoba menu items appear vegan:

• black bean corn salsa
• black beans
• fiery habanero salsa
• flour tortilla (one type)
• guacamole
• pico de gallo
• pinto beans
• roasted chile corn salsa
• salsa verde

(Note: Sugar-containing menu items or those with other questionable ingredients are not included in this preliminary list nor are any fried products. See below for more information on menu items with these characteristics.)
We followed up with Qdoba in September 2016 and asked specifically about several microingredients in these and other entrée components listed in their Ingredient Statement. We also inquired about preparation and cooking methods.
We received a reply in January 2017 from Nicole Dionisopoulos, a PR Specialist who had worked with Qdoba’s culinary team in gathering the following information. Here is our Q&A exchange:

Q: Are any of the following prepared in meat broths or contain meat-based flavors?
– black beans
– brown rice
– cilantro lime rice
– pinto beans
A: No.
Q: Are the ingredients in the following menu components animal-derived?

– brown rice, cilantro lime rice: capric/caprylic triglycerides, mono and diglycerides, calcium stearate
– corn tortilla: natural flavors and enzymes
– flour tortilla (one type): mono- and diglycerides
– red chile sauce: natural flavor
– salsa roja: natural flavor
– tortilla soup: flavoring, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate
– whole wheat flour tortilla: mono and diglycerides, natural flavor, sodium stearoyl lactylate, enzymes
A: No.

Q: Are any of the following cooked in oil in which meat products have been prepared?

– corn tortilla chips
– corn tortilla strips
– corn taco shells
– flour tortilla bowl
– potatoes
A: No.

Q: Is there any cross-preparation of the following along with meat products or animal fats? Are they prepared on the same grill surface with meat products?

– fajita vegetables
– seasoned potatoes
A: No.

According to Qdoba’s ingredient statements, several menu components contain sugar. Because the chain told us (see above) that certain questionable microingredients also present in the items are not animal-derived, these menu components would be vegan except (possibly) for the sugar:

– brown rice
-cilantro lime dressing
-flour tortilla (one type contains dextrose)
– mango salsa
– red chile sauce
– tortilla soup (dextrose as well as sugar)
– whole wheat flour tortilla

The VRG asked Qdoba how they defined the words “vegetarian” and “vegan,” but as of this posting have not received an official reply to this question.

See their Ingredient Statement at: https://www.qdoba.com/static/downloads/allergen_chart_and_ingredient_statements__us.pdf 

The contents of this posting, our website, and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.

For information on other chains, see
http://www.vrg.org/fastfoodinfo.php

For information on vegetarian and vegan restaurants, see
http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php

To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, donate at
www.vrg.org/donate

Or join at http://www.vrg.org/member/2013sv.php

Tips for Vegans at Catered Events

Posted on March 23, 2017 by The VRG Blog Editor

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By Julia Mathew, VRG intern

Having worked at a catering company for nearly seven months, I have had many first-hand experiences with accommodating vegetarians and vegans at various events. I would estimate that, typically, there are less than five vegetarians and vegans for every 100 guests at a given event. Although you may initially assume that there will be few, if any, veggie-friendly options at an event, always remember that communication with your event host and their coordinators is key and can make the biggest difference. I would suggest contacting the host of your event well in advance to ensure that there are sufficient options. This is not something to be ashamed of or looked down upon. Politely informing your host will only raise awareness and the demand for the catering company to offer more veggie-friendly options. Mainstream restaurants are now increasingly offering more vegetarian and vegan friendly items to their menu as a result of this same increase in demand and awareness!

Out of the passed hors d’oeuvres that my company offers, the edamame dumplings are the only option that is vegan-friendly. They do not contain eggs. The vegetarian appetizers almost always have some sort of cheese in them. Usually there is a spread of self-serve appetizers that includes artichoke hearts, sautéed mushrooms, roasted bell peppers, and avocados. None of these items contain butter or chicken broth and are cooked in oil as needed. In my opinion, these appetizers are more satisfying because they can be more readily eaten in abundance and without feeling lethargic after.

In terms of entrées, there is usually one vegetarian option offered at any given event, such as quinoa stuffed bell peppers (vegan) or sweet potato gnocchi. This option can often be made vegan, but other times dairy is infused in the meal. Some of the events I’ve worked at have had a specific vegan option, which was requested in advance. This is why being vocal about your dietary concerns is key! The vegetarian and vegan options often look very colorful, of variety, and aesthetically pleasing, making even the biggest meat-eaters curious. I’ve even had some people request a vegetarian or vegan meal, subsequent to seeing the healthy, hearty, and artful dishes of other guests at their table.

There have been a few events where guests were not able to voice their needs to the host or to a business for a more corporate event. Under these circumstances, talk to an event manager or coordinator present at the event. They will maintain constant communication with the kitchen to ensure that you will have a sufficient meal. Baked baby potatoes, grilled or sautéed vegetables, fruit, and salads are almost always offered by catering companies at any event. Even if the kitchen has not prepared a specific dish to satisfy your dietary needs in advance, they are often trained to be creative and to make ends meet in spontaneous situations. Ultimately, it is important to remember that it is a catering company’s utmost duty and priority to ensure that its guests and hosts are ecstatic about the food and service they received. They will go to great lengths to ensure that your needs and concerns are properly met, so do not be afraid to speak up!

For more information about catering, see:
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/working_with_caterer.php
http://www.vrg.org/teen/soccer_banquet.php

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