The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

MARGARET CAVENDISH

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Laura McGuiness

Recently in my Renaissance Literature class, I had a guest lecturer speaking about Margaret Cavendish. We read several poems by her, one of which caught my interest by the footnote preceding it, stating: “This poem is one of the most remarkable expressions of empathy for the non-human to be found in the period.” The poem, “The Hunting of the Hare” (found here: http://eresearchportfoliobyemily.blogspot.com/p/margaret-cavendish-hunting-of-hare.html) is about the hunt of a poor little rabbit, Wat, who eventually dies at the hands of hunters. It culminates with a unique and (at the time) extremely controversial idea, one which basically castigates humans for believing all animals were made specifically for man’s benefit.

Anyway, in class I learned that this poem was actually in response to Descartes’s idea of animals being akin to automatons. Cavendish brings animals on the same moral plain as humans and produces empathy to trick the reader into identifying and feeling for Wat. Once they acknowledge this related state, saying otherwise makes them a hypocrite. It was a fascinating argument that was extremely revolutionary for its time. I also learned that Margaret Cavendish visited a Royal Society, which was (at the time) performing cruel and unusual experiments with small animals. She made a spectacle, stormed out, and proceeded to write a book, Blazing World, which is a thinly veiled parody of what she saw at the Royal Society. Her novel is essentially about animals performing experiments and her (as an empress) chastising them for doing so and calling their results rubbish.

You may or may not find the above interesting; however, I thought anybody who had a love for both animal rights and literature would find this fascinating! I also got excited about learning such animal rights-related ideas at a public university in a class completely separate from animal rights.

Here are Some More Restaurants Serving Vegan Meals on Thanksgiving

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Ravens Restaurant at the Stanford Inn in Mendocino, CA
http://ravensrestaurant.com/ravens-thanksgiving-dinner-2014/

Millennium in San Francisco, CA
Make reservations here: http://www.millenniumrestaurant.com/events/event/thanksgiving-dinner/

Pena Pachamama Center in San Francisco, CA
http://www.meetup.com/BayAreaRaw/events/212471672/

Arya Bhavan in Chicago, IL
Make reservations here: http://www.aryabhavan.com/event/vegan-thanksgiving-dinner-special/

True Bistro in Boston, MA
Information: http://www.truebistroboston.com/menus/Thanksgiving2014.pdf

Kalachandjis in Dallas, TX
Information: http://www.kalachandjis.com/

Green Vegetarian Cuisine in San Antonio, TX
RSVP here: http://www.eatatgreen.com/category/blog/

Bamboo Garden in Seattle, WA
Information: http://www.bamboo-garden.co/

The Green Owl Café in Madison, WI
Make reservations here: http://www.thegreenowlcafe.com/rawfood.htm

If you missed our first list, you can view it here: http://www.vrg.org/blog/2014/11/14/restaurants-serving-veggie-meals-on-thanksgiving/

LANDS IN LOVE COSTA RICA

Posted on November 18, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Amanda Matte

“Tierras Enamoradas”, or Lands in Love, is an all-vegetarian hotel and resort in Costa Rica’s otherworldly cloud forest. I was fortunate enough to spend some time there last month, and after only a brief introduction decided I never wanted to leave. The indescribably beautiful scenery provides the perfect backdrop to a place that emanates love – especially for animals. The on-site restaurant is entirely vegetarian, with many amazing vegan options from which to choose. I sampled a large portion of the menu over the course of my stay, as my mother – a fellow vegetarian – and I each tried something new at every meal and shared. In that way we were able to cover a great deal of territory. Some of our favorite options were the pad thai, the Israeli breakfast (a chopped salad with tahini, avocado, and tofu), and the vegan Bolognese over pasta. The desserts were also incredible, most notably the homemade milkshakes in a large variety of yummy flavors. There were plenty of vegan options on that list (made with soymilk).

One of the most exciting aspects of Lands in Love is the welcoming atmosphere. For instance, guests are encouraged to arrange a cooking lesson with Naama, the resort’s awesome chef. There is an on-site “pet hotel” which houses many rescued dogs and guests are welcome to take the dogs for walks. We made some very sweet canine friends there, and loved the multitudes of animals that wandered the 280 acre property, from horses to cats to ducks. Countless thrilling activities are available to guests, too. We tried zip lining, white water rafting, and canyoning, all of which were amazing, exhausting, and perfectly complemented by an artfully-prepared vegetarian meal upon our return. For the vegetarian traveler, it doesn’t get much better than Lands in Love.

See: http://landsinlove.com/

Restaurants Serving Veggie Meals on Thanksgiving

Posted on November 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

Here are a few restaurants on the west coast of the United States serving Vegan Meals on Thanksgiving – Make Reservations Today!

Green New American Vegetarian (Tempe, Arizona)
Chef Damon Brasch makes sure those with meat-free lifestyles aren’t left out of the festivities. His 100 percent vegan restaurant’s “Thanksliving” features dine-in and takeout options. Seitan turkey breast with vegan giblet gravy, sun-dried cranberry and toasted walnut stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn laced with smoked paprika, asparagus and Brussels sprouts sides and vegan pecan and pumpkin pies comprise the meal. Adults are $24.95 in advance or $28.95 day of, and children age 12 and younger are $8.95 in advance or $12.95 day of. See: greenvegetarian.com/thanksliving

Café Flora (Seattle, Washington)
We began accepting reservations on October 27th for parties of all sizes.
Reservations for Thanksgiving Day will be available between 1:00 to 7:30 PM.
We will be serving a four-course prix fixe menu – $65 for adult and $25 for children. Download a PDF of the Thanksgiving Menu. Seating is limited. Please call early to place your reservations: 206-325-9100 ext 3.

Suncafe (Studio City, California)
Sun Cafe will be open normal hours on Thanksgiving. 11am – 4pm we will offer our normal lunch menu. Thanksgiving dinner service will begin at 5pm with a prix fixe coursed meal with a raw food or cooked-vegan option, 3pm for pick-up. $40 per person. See: http://suncafe.com/thanksgiving-vegan-dinner.html

Blossoming Lotus (Portland, Oregon)
Blossoming Lotus will be offering a four-course menu, served family-style, on Thanksgiving, as well as to-go orders. The in-house meal is $60/person, alcohol and gratuity not included, and a $20/person non-refundable deposit is required upon reservation (by phone only). There will be two seatings: 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. To-go orders must be placed in advanced and picked up between 1 – 2 p.m. on Nov. 27. For more info, visit their website: blpdx.com

DELICIOUS VEGAN COOKIES FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Posted on November 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

If you don’t have time to make home-made vegan cookies, then you may want to try these delicious cookies from Lucy’s. The following varieties are available seasonally: Chocolate Merry Mint, Holiday Sugars, and Pumpkin Patch. The baked treats are both vegan and gluten-free. You can find them in Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Albertsons, BJ’s, and other stores.

For more information visit: http://www.drlucys.com/cookies/seasonal

Vegan Options at Genghis Grill®

Posted on November 14, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Jeanne Yacoubou. MS

Genghis Grill is a restaurant chain featuring build-your-own stir fry bowls. Since its first Texas opening in 1998, there now are over 100 locations in 23 states. To view the restaurant locator on the company’s website go to:http://www.genghisgrill.com/locations/. According to the Genghis Grill corporate office the chain has plans to expand to other countries beginning in 2015.

In Summer 2014 Genghis Grill made major changes to its menu and website. The Vegetarian Resource Group spoke with the Director of Culinary Research & Development at Genghis Grill in October 2014 about what the chain now offers vegetarians and vegans. She told us “servers will be more than happy” to make any substitutions requested in stir fry dishes or signature bowls. Patrons should request them upon arrival.

Ingredient lists are available on menus or in nutrition brochures placed in restaurants or online. However, because meat, poultry, fish and seafood are prepared and served on the premises, the Director stated that Genghis Grill does not promote any of its menu items as vegetarian or vegan even though some of them may be all-vegetable.

Patrons at all but the eleven sit-down Genghis Grill restaurants may build their own bowl by first choosing raw vegetables; uncooked meat, poultry, fish, seafood or tofu; and spices from the Fresh Market Bar. They take them to the grill master to be cooked on the circular grill. According to the Culinary R&D Director: “The starches [including eggless udon noodles, rice or “egg-based” pasta] are added at the end of the cooking process and can be placed on the side if the customer prefers. The spices are added by the customer on top of their protein selection and are cooked with the bowl. The sauce is added at the very end to coat all ingredients.”

Vegetarians and vegans may note that tofu is sectioned off from other menu items at the Fresh Market Bar. Guests should ask the grill master to sanitize the area on which the tofu will be prepared. The tofu is cooked under a lid.

Genghis Grill offers fifteen sauces for the build-your-own stir fry bowls. Page Five of the Nutritional Guide lists all sauce ingredients: http://www.genghisgrill.com/wp-content/uploads/Genghis-Grill-Nutritional-Guide.pdf.

The Honey Soy Sauce contains honey. The Szechuan Sauce contains oyster. The Khan Pao Sauce contains milk, oyster, chicken fat, and chicken broth. The Red Curry Peanut Sauce contains shrimp paste. The Garlic Water Sauce contains only garlic and water. All other sauces among the fifteen (excluding a few others served with signature bowls or chef-made dishes) are all-vegetable and contain either high fructose corn syrup derived from corn and/or beet sugar.

The VRG received the following in an email from Genghis Grill:

“Please see the statement below taken directly from our sugar specification – the sugar used in [our] products is 100% beet sugar, which is not filtered through bone char.

Cargill’s® Spreckels Granulated Sugar, a food grade product, is made by crystallizing a purified and filtered thick juice syrup removed from sugar beets, which is then dried and screened to produce the most popular sugar grades.”

The Culinary Director told us that the Worcestershire sauce in several of their sauces and the natural flavors in the Mongo BBQ sauce “contain no animal ingredients or animal flavors.”

The Spicy Thai Tofu signature bowl is served with Red Curry Peanut Sauce which contains shrimp paste. Other sauces may be substituted.

The Thai Street Noodles and the Drunken Noodles chef-made bowls are made with “eggless udon noodles that contain no animal byproduct.” The Cashew Almond Sauce served with the Thai Street Noodles “has a chicken stock as its base.” The Drunken Noodle Sauce “is vegan friendly.”

The Director told us that their fried rice is made without eggs. “Only pure Kikkoman® Soy Sauce is all we use” with no added animal flavors or ingredients.

On the website menu “Gourmet Fried Rice” is listed as a separate item containing scrambled egg. The Gourmet Fried Rice is different from the fried rice which may be selected to accompany a stir fry or used in a bowl. Genghis Grill told us that the Gourmet Fried Rice may be ordered without the egg.

The restaurant chain also offers a Garlic Citrus Edamame appetizer which is “not made with any animal ingredients or flavors.”

Genghis Grill’s catering menu is on the new website. One of the options is the Buddha Bowl made with tofu. When placing their order customers may substitute another sauce for the Honey Soy Sauce served with this bowl.

For more information, visit: http://www.genghisgrill.com/

The contents of this 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
To find vegetarian restaurants, see: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php
To vote for your favorite chains, visit: http://www.vrg.org/vote/index.php
To support The Vegetarian Resource Group research, visit:
https://www.givedirect.org/give/givefrm.asp?CID=1565
or
http://www.vrg.org/bookstore/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=4&zenid=18c7074996878200d4442abfd98f7da2

PIZZA REV VEGAN OFFERINGS

Posted on November 13, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

At PizzaRev, you pick out your dough, sauce, cheese, and toppings
and their “pizza crafters” work with you to make your own pizza right before
your eyes! They are located in California, Minnesota, Texas, and Utah, and will
be expanding to Missouri, Nebraska, and South Dakota. Their website
states: “We offer Daiya vegan cheese, and our gluten-free and original crust
options are both vegan. We have over a dozen veggie toppings, and our red sauce is vegan, too. ”

Visit: http://pizzarev.com/menu/

The contents of this 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
To find vegetarian restaurants, see: http://www.vrg.org/restaurant/index.php
To vote for your favorite chains, visit: http://www.vrg.org/vote/index.php

SOY CONSUMPTION

Posted on November 13, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

According to a United Soybean Board survey,

  • 74% of the U.S. population eats soyfoods or soy beverages.
  • 31% consume soyfoods or beverages once or more per week.
  • 71% say products containing ingredients derived through biotechnology should be labeled.
  • Two percent cite GMO as a barrier for eating soy.

The United Soybean Board conducted this survey using an independent
research firm in February, 2014. It included 1,000 random surveys. The
study’s margin of error is plus or minus 1.9-3.1 percent, with a confidence level of 95 percent. Seventy-farmer directors of the United Soybean Board oversee the
investments of the soy checkoff to maximize opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers.

To see more surveys, go to:
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/faq.htm#poll
http://www.vrg.org/nutshell/market.htm

SALATA RESTAURANTS IN TEXAS AND CALIFORNIA

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

According to Culture Map Dallas, Salata restaurants has added three new vegan items to the menu at all of its 40 locations in Texas and California: quinoa, falafel, and tofu. They are a permanent part of Salata’s 50-plus options for salad toppings or wrap fillings. The Salata website lists these dressings as vegan:

Lemon Vinaigrette Dressing

Fat-Free Sun Dried Tomato Dressing

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Chipotle Sauce

None of the soups were marked vegan.

For more information about Salata menu items, see: https://www.salata.com/

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

To vote for your favorite chain, go to: http://www.vrg.org/vote/index.php

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

The contents of this 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.

Vegan SoulFest in Baltimore, Maryland Was A Huge Success!

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

By Dina Gharib
VRG Intern

Volunteer, Matt Baker RN, and Volunteer Coordinator, Nina Casalena, engage with a visitor at Vegan SoulFest in Baltimore, MD.

On October 25, the Vegetarian Resource Group hosted a booth at the first annual Baltimore Vegan SoulFest. The Soulfest was a hit thanks to our fellow vegans at The Land of Kush restaurant and Better Health, Better Life as well as the hundreds of other participants as well as all the other participants. Rightfully named, Vegan SoulFest consisted of people from all different walks of life. The amount of compassion, respect, and joy in the air was quite a sight for any passerby. With reggae music blaring through the speakers, delicious vegan food being served and fresh coconuts being fractured open, it’s obvious that Vegan SoulFest was an absolute success.

As the venue began to overflow with a variety of people with peeking interests, VRG was there to supplement the information they needed. We had numerous people visit our booth with different goals in mind. Each one of these goals came with a considerable amount of questions that we were happy to answer. We had individuals who were simply curious about how to begin a vegetarian diet, how to convert from a vegetarian to a vegan diet, or merely new ways to incorporate vegan cheeses into meals for children. Regardless of their goals, VRG was loaded with literature and passion to spread throughout the festival.

Left to right: Louisa Smith, Nina Casalena, Matt Baker RN and Dina Gharib exhibiting at Vegan SoulFest in Baltimore, MD.

My experience working at the booth was one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Coming from a family who isn’t vegetarian or vegan can be really hard sometimes, but it’s days like this that remind me that I’m on the right path. I had an amazing opportunity to expand my knowledge through like-minded individuals who were truly passionate about making a difference. I also met many people who were hoping to take the leap to vegetarianism but were unsure of how to approach it with their families. Coming from a similar past, I was able to give them advice, along with delicious recipes featured in our Vegetarian Journal that would help ease their transition. Overall, Vegan SoulFest was the perfect opportunity for The Vegetarian Resource Group to spread all of our hard work and knowledge throughout a diverse community.

Thanks to our volunteers Matt Baker RN, Louisa Smith and Dina Gharib.
To volunteer at VRG outreach booths, please contact Nina at vrg@vrg.org.
To support VRG outreach, please donate at www.vrg.org/donate.

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