it’s adopt-a-turkey time again!

woo hoo, get excited! if you’re new to veganism and/or new to farm sanctuary, you might also be new to adopt-a-turkey time. if you’ve never heard of it before, you can read all about it here. farm sanctuary does this every november, and they have a new crop of adorable turkeys up for sponsorship every year. i am sponsoring a turkey for what seems like my umpteenth year (i picked clove!), and i’m planning to have her picture at our thanksgiving meal. we’re hosting a vegan thanksgiving for our non-vegan family members (who are all good sports), and i think maybe having clove’s picture there will be a nice touch.

i decided to sponsor clove because she’s at the northern california shelter, which is the one i visited a few years ago, so i have an emotional attachment to that location. while we were visiting, we met a hilarious and amazing flock of girl turkeys (one of whom stole my banana). hopefully clove has made some good friends, maybe even with someone in that flock we met. <3 take a look at the sweeties up for adoption this year, and please sponsor one if you can!

barkTHINS snacking chocolate

you guys, have you seen these barkTHINS yet?! if not, do yourself a favor and keep an eye out, because they are firmly seated at holy crap levels of delicious.

snacking chocolate

we were at our favorite little market-attached-to-a-restaurant recently, and these guys were just hanging out on a shelf. they had two varieties: these with the pretzels, and another version that had dark chocolate & almonds instead. erik picked them up (because he is a naive optimist) and we were totally stoked to learn that BOTH varieties were vegan. what WHAT?! we decided to try the pretzel version first, because it was a little more unusual, and let’s just say they were gone in a matter of a couple of days.

about a week later, we were at a co-op and i saw a totally different variety (dark chocolate mint!) that is ALSO VEGAN. you guys. i just can’t even with this stuff. first of all, it’s called snacking chocolate, which i love. i mean let’s be honest, sometimes we eat chocolate just because. i am very well known for just sitting around, brazenly eating it over a bucket. snacking chocolate: let’s call it what it is.

and second of all, they make five flavors, four of which are vegan! alongside the dark chocolate pretzel, dark chocolate almond, and dark chocolate mint, i just learned that there is dark chocolate pumpkin seed. YES PLEASE. if you want to see all of the labels so you know what you’re looking for, here you go! i don’t know about you, but i need all of these flavors in my house, pronto.

brunch at the national

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a couple of weekends ago, a friend and i were heading out for brunch, and i felt my brain being pulled toward my usual favorites. before i even had a chance to suggest one, though, she piped in and said, “how about the national?” it’s a place a mutual friend had mentioned recently, and i hadn’t been there in AGES (seriously, i’m pretty sure it’s been at least a couple of years). i’d been hearing good things about the national recently, and i’d always liked the cute vibe in their cafe, so off we went to check it out.

it probably goes without saying that i kicked off my order with a chai, yes?

national chai

they have a pretty good selection on their menu for vegans (i’m always impressed by vegan french toast as an option), and i was in a brunchy mood so i stuck to that area of the menu. i settled on the breakfast burrito, and a side of potatoes:

national breakfast burrito

the vegan breakfast burrito comes with tofu, black bean spread, avocado, peppers, and onions. it’s touted as “really big!” on the menu, but as you can see it was actually quite flat. that surprised me when it arrived, and i wouldn’t say it filled me up, but it was still tasty. the salsa was really flavorful and gave the burrito a nice punch. the side of rosemary breakfast potatoes was a great decision, too. yum.

i’d love to go back (in less than two years, ha!) and give the french toast a try — if memory serves, it was pretty good way back when. i’d also like to try their black bean sandwich or the hummus wrap. they have breakfast/lunch hours only, so that is sometimes problematic with our night owl schedule, but if we plan ahead i’m sure we can make it work.

aaand that does it for this year’s vegan mofo! thanks for reading about my grub, and thanks for piping in here and there! i’m definitely feeling more in a blogging groove, so i’m going to try to keep the momentum going and get back to my regularly scheduled programming. hope you stick around!

more tacos? why not?!

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today we were about to embark on a day of laziness-slash-working-at-home (or so i thought), when erik suddenly suggested going out to lunch and running a whole bunch of errands. by this point it was 1pm and i still hadn’t eaten breakfast, so i pounced on the idea, mostly because i was starving. we decided on mexican because duh, and we went to one of our favorite places nearby, cafe corazon. it was pretty mild out today, so we ate on the patio. i know these opportunities are going to be dwindling soon, so i try to take advantage when possible.

cafe corazon has a really vegan-friendly menu… several items are clearly labeled as vegan, and you can also veganize a bunch of other items if you want to get creative. their black beans and their rice are vegan, and they have three options for vegan fillings in tacos/burritos/enchiladas: sautéed veggies, herbed tofu, or vegan chorizo. in a nutshell: we love eating there. after perusing the menu today, i decided on tacos (again, because duh), and erik went for the wet burrito. they were out of vegan chorizo today, so we both opted for herbed tofu.

wet burrito

the burritos are ginormous, and the “wet” option comes with vegan enchilada sauce poured over the top. good stuff. i’ve never actually ordered mine this way (i’ve had a regular ol’ dry burrito a few times), but i’m going to have to pull myself away from tacos one of these days and give it a shot. erik loved it. he also had a really delicious sport tea (you can see it in the shot below), that was sort of sweet and lemony. i loved it, and i’m not really an iced tea person.

vegan taco plate

this is my taco plate, and sometimes i struggle to finish it off, but today we (sort of accidentally) skipped the chips & salsa course, so i was able to eat my lunch without feeling overstuffed. they garnish their tacos with lettuce and tomatoes and these beautiful pink radishes, and i always get a kick out of that. so festive! their black beans are my favorite in town; there’s just something about them. they have a little sweetness that makes them magical. in the background you can see their salsa selection (the green is delicious but totes spicy), and i also ordered a side of avos today, because avos make everything better. right? right.

chicago diner, an old favorite

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last weekend, we went down to chicago (my second visit in three days) to check out chicago vegan mania. this was the event’s fifth year, and my third time visiting (erik’s second). i’m going to write a separate (guest) post about vegan mania for the vegan milwaukee blog, so today i’ll just focus on the tasty dinner we had afterward, at the always-right-decision chicago diner.

chicago diner neon

because we had snacked at vegan mania over the previous few hours, we tried to behave ourselves and not go totally overboard for this meal. translation: no appetizer round. sob! anyhow, we picked some great entrees, so we weren’t too terribly disappointed in the long run. here’s one shot that captures both plates:

chicago diner dinners

in the foreground are my tinga street tacos, which were stuffed with chicken-style seitan (simmered with onions, peppers, and tomatoes). i then piled the sides (black beans, rice, and guacamole) on top, for some seriously gigantic tacos. i couldn’t believe how heavy they were when i picked the first one up! i actually had to give one of these to erik because i couldn’t finish (and i wanted to save a tiny bit of room for dessert).

in the background, you can see erik’s golden fillet sandwich, which was their take on a fish sandwich. it’s herb, panko, and cornmeal breaded tofu for the patty, and it comes complete with vegan tartar sauce and slaw. he ordered a salad on the side (with southwest spice dressing), and got a pretty generous portion. i was never into fish (or tartar sauce) so i didn’t try this one, but he was really happy with it.

after that, it was time for the diner’s famous dessert menu. i had a rather problematic overeating issue the last time we visited (heh), so i decided i’d take mine to go. erik, however, was still doing okay so he ate his selection before we hit the road:

caramel crunch torte

this is the caramel crunch torte, and it was spectacular (i stole one bite). it’s served with whipped cream and a caramel drizzle, and the chocolate ganache is the perfect foil to everything else going on. yum!

i am pretty much wedded to their shakes; i can’t remember the last time i visited the diner and left without one, and to be honest i’m not sure that has ever, ever happened. my biggest decision is always which flavor? this time i went with lucky leprechaun mint, which is sort of a minty chocolatey concoction:

mint shake

and i drank that sucker leisurely-style, over the next 90 minutes as we made our way home. this was definitely the right decision, because i got to extend my diner deliciousness all the way back to wisconsin. until next time, chicago diner!

native foods tacos

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late last week, i went to chicago with my mom for the day. we took the train down so we could check out the impressionism, fashion, and modernity exhibition at the chicago art institute, and my mom wanted to take a freakishly early train. as a night owl, i wanted to die even thinking about getting up that early, but i decided to let her have that one, and then use that leverage to get her to eat a vegan lunch. crafty!

i asked if she’d be willing to go to native foods (which is only a few blocks away from the art institute, and right on the way back to the train station), and she was super agreeable, so hooray for that. i had expected maybe a little pushback, but i always like pleasant surprises. the only hiccup was that they don’t have regular soda available at native foods, so she had to make do with lavender lemonade (YUM!).

anyhow, she had the chicken run ranch burger with a side of seasoned fries. i didn’t take a picture of her food because i didn’t want to put my Vegan Weirdness on blast, but i DID take a picture of my food:

baja blackened tacos

these are the blackened baja tacos, which is basically their spin on “fish tacos” using tempeh. the tempeh is really great, the sauce is crazydelicious, and the cabbage, salsa, and guac are fresh and flavorful. i also wanted to give their lemon-dill potato salad a spin (i’d never tried it before), and i was really happy with that choice. perfect texture, lots of flavor. this was a really really great lunch. not pictured: amazing thirst-quenching lavender lemonade, always a favorite.

my mom really liked her lunch (although she thought there was too much–she couldn’t finish) and i was pretty happy about how well it all went. then i went home and slept for a year. (not really.) (but i wish.)

all the pizza in our bellies

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you guys, we ate a lot of pizza this week. we didn’t set out to do it on purpose, it just kind of happened. and it’s vegan mofo, so why not blog about it? everyone loves pizza!

it all started on monday night (although i didn’t learn about it until tuesday mid-morning). erik went to whole foods for a grocery run, and apparently ordered a giant pizza for us, for dinner. he did it kind of spur-of-the-moment because it was getting late and he felt like pizza, and i don’t even know what all was on it but i’m going to guess daiya mozz and upton’s sausage and a wonderful variety of veggies, because that’s how he rolls. anyhow, as he was packing the groceries into the trunk of his car, apparently the pizza box fell right on the ground, open, big ol’ SPLAT in the parking lot. heartbreaking! he was super duper pissed and basically just scraped it up, threw it in the garbage, and then came home and made burritos without ever telling me it happened. poor kid.

once tuesday rolled around, i decided maybe we should try to make up for monday’s tragic pizza loss, so i suggested a run to ian’s. they have “vegan day” every tuesday, so it was fortuitous timing. plus, we hadn’t been there in quite awhile, so we were due. they are a mainly by-the-slice kind of place (although you can order whole pies, too), so it’s great if you want to kind of pick-and-choose your flavors. we got ours to go, so we could eat our pizza while watching new girl and mindy project.

ian's

erik got three slices: two pepperoni + sausage, and one smokey the bandit, which is basically a bbq chik’n pizza. it has bbq sauce, vegan ranch, beyond meat chik’n, the whole deal. it’s really good, and i don’t even like bbq.

pepperoni sausage

smokey the bandit

i got two slices, and it’s basically the carb special, also known as the beige and yellow. i ordered the mac & cheeze (because i can NEVER resist that one) and the papa the bandit (a potato version of their smokey the bandit, essentially).

papa the bandit + mac & cheeze

i love their pizza so much, but i don’t get it super often because they only have vegan slices once per week, and things don’t always work out that easily. BUT! when we were chatting up the friendly guy at the register, he told us that tuesdays are doing so well, they’re thinking about having vegan slices all the time! whee!! i made lots of exciting noise about that, and i will be keeping my fingers tightly crossed. meanwhile, we can still order a whole vegan pie any day of the week, so that’s pretty great regardless.

we were pizza-free on wednesday and thursday, but when friday rolled around erik suggested pizza for late-lunch/early-dinner, and i couldn’t really say no. this time we headed to classic slice, another amazing option in town (and erik’s personal favorite). they have a dedicated vegan menu at all times, or you can also veganize a bunch of options on the regular menu if that floats your boat. and they have shakers of nooch! yay!

i went with a slice i hadn’t eaten in quite awhile, a veganized version of their la dolce slice (vegan cheese, tomatoes, garlic, basil):

la dolce

and erik had a slice of the vegan pesto (with pinenuts! so so good!) and a veganized version of their satyricon slice (sausage, mushrooms, green peppers, onions):

pesto + vegan satyricon

they also had five(!!) flavors of vegan cupcakes up for grabs yesterday, but we had plans to meet a friend for ice cream, so we had to abstain. next time!