Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

Valentine’s Day is a week away – Eeek! Here are some ideas if you’re still looking for something to get your loved ones:

Mixing Bowl Bakery:

Looking for something sweet? The Mixing Bowl Bakery can hook you up with vegan truffles, cupcakes, cookies and more! Orders must be placed by February 10th and 10% of profits go to Mercy for Animals.

Vegan Cuts:

Vegan Cuts is currently offering a great deal on vegan truffles, but if your sweetie isn’t a fan of sweets or you’ve had your heart stolen by a four-legged cuddle monkey, like this girl,  they’re offering plenty of discount codes to some great companies.

Rescue Chocolate:

As always, if you’re looking for quality chocolate that’s vegan and helps save lives check out the Peanut Butter Pit Bull bar or my personal favorite, the Wild at Heart dark chocolate hearts filled with raspberry ganache!

Don’t forget to mention your favorite local rescue at check-out (some of our favorties are Chicago Bully Breed Rescue and Broad Shoulders Animal Rescue ), because they can get part of the profits from your sale.


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‘Tis the Season

If you’re like me, you’re gearing up for Cyber Monday. Once Thanksgiving hits I avoid all stores, with the exception of the grocery store and few local independent businesses, like the plague until about mid-January when one can only hope the Santa’s and mobs of crazed looking people are gone.

Here are some of my favorite online retailers sure to have some pretty good deals in the weeks to come.

Loving Eco is my favorite of the Groupon spin-offs.  Though not all of the products they sell are vegan, they do sell quite a few vegan products and they clearly mark them with a V. They also mark which items are organic, fair trade, cruelty free, handmade, energy efficient, biodegradable, etc. A percentage of each sale on Loving Eco goes to charities, which change on a weekly basis. Among vegan charities that have benefited from Loving Eco are Mercy for Animals and Farm Sanctuary. If you sign up for their site, you’ll get a weekly e-mail featuring the deals of the week. This week they have select Matt & Nat bags and wallets on their site at a 45% discount!

Vegan Cuts is another Groupon-like discount site for vegans and they’re compiled this great Holiday Gift Shopping Guide, which includes several coupon codes! Subscribe to their site and you, too, can enjoy their weekly deals.

Rescue Chocolate – If you’re looking for something sweet for your loved ones, nothing beats Rescue chocolates. They’re vegan and all profits go to animal rescues.

Need more ideas? Check out Vegan Mainstream’s Holiday Gift Guide.


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November 5th is a big day for the Chicago Vegan community. Not only is Vegan Mania that day, but Mercy for Animals will be screening the new documentary, Vegucated, at the Viaduct Theater that evening!

Chicago Vegan Mania


This is Vegan Mania’s 3rd year and once again it’s being held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W Blackhawk, Chicago, IL) from 10am – 5pm and it’s FREE! Parking can be hard to come by, so come early or ride your bike/take public transit.

Some of you may be wondering, “What is Vegan Mania?” It’s a celebration of everything that is vegan – food, community, commerce, fashion, and more! It’s where I discovered St Martaen’s delicious artisan cashew cheeses (long before they had the food truck) and Vaute Couture’s lovely coats (before they left us for New York 😦 ).

Even though the event is free, you’ll want to bring some cash with you because there will be a food court, which will feature delicious options from Chicago’s vegan restaurants and food companies, like Upton’s Naturals. In the past there have also been a wide variety of vegan goods for sale, like Ethically Engineered soaps, Herbivore Clothing, the aforementioned Vaute Couture coats, and more!

This year’s speakers include, Chicago’s Mercy for Animals Campaign Coordinator, Kenny Torella; vegan body builder, Robert Cheeke and Vegan Outreach’s Director of Outreach, Jon Camp. This year’s food demos will include culinary delights from Laviyah Ayanna of the Vegan Food Truck, Sandi Swiss of Canary Confectionary, Linda Szarkowski of Green Spirit Living, the Chicago Diner and Chicago Soy Dairy. All dishes demonstrated and sampled will be free of all animal ingredients.

Finally, there will also be a Family Activity Area with eco-crafts, and a culture cafe featuring a DJ, acoustic acts, artists, a coffee bar and a Vegan Rockstar photobooth!

Hope to see you there!


Saturday, November 5th, 2011
Viaduct Theater
3111 N Western Ave., Chicago, IL

Vegucated is a new documentary that follows 3 meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for 6 weeks. Along the way they discover the cruelty behind the industries they supported and are soon eager to fight back. The film is described as part sociological experiment, part science class and part adventure story.

The film will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson.

To be sure you get a chance to see this film’s Chicago premier, purchase tickets in advance at http://vegucatedchi2.eventbrite.com/

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Last Thursday, El Nuevo Mexicano (2914 N Clark Street, 773-528-2131) premiered their new vegan menu with a benefit for Mercy for Animals. Nick and I were so excited we made a reservation a week in advance in order to make sure we’d get to try it out.

El Nuevo Mexicano, is a small restaurant which has been serving Mexican food in Lakeview since 1983. I had never been there until last week, because my family typically went to the Little Village to get Mexican food when I was growing up, so I wasn’t sure what to expect (other than that their vegan menu would include Daiya cheese and Upton’s Naturals seitan). Since we knew we would be reviewing the place and part of the proceeds were going to charity we decided to go all out and get an appetizer, 2 entrees and a dessert.


Botana Combinada

We chose the Botana Combinada, which consists of two flautas filled with Upton’s chorizo, carrots and potatoes served with guacamole. It was delicious! I liked it so much I wasn’t entirely sure I’d made the right call not ordering the Flautas de Verduras con Papa y Chorizo Vegano as my entree (next time!). The flautas were flavorful and they weren’t bathed in grease, which can often be the case. The guacamole was fresh and we had an abundance of tortilla chips and salsa to finish off what we didn’t eat with the flautas.


Enchiladas de Vegetales en Salsa Bandera

I ordered the Enchiladas de Verduras en Salsa Bandera, which consisted of three corn tortillas stuffed with grilled peppers, mango, plantains, pico de gallo and Daiya cheese covered in chipotle and tomatillo salsas, served with rice and a salad made of fresh greens, jicama, strawberries and mango drizzled with a vinaigrette. I was not disappointed with my choice. I am not someone who shies away from mixing sweet and savory foods or sweet and spicy foods, if you are then this may not be the best entree for you to order. However, neither flavor overpowered the other, which is often what turns people off to such combinations and together the fruits, vegetables and salsa made a unique, healthy, delicious meal, which I look forward to eating again soon.

Fajitas Vegano Pt 1

Fajitas Vegano Pt 2

Nick, ordered the Fajitas Vegano, which consisted of sauteed onions, peppers and seasoned soy strips, served with quinoa, beans, guacamole, pico de gallo and warm corn tortillas. His entree was almost enough food for two people. He asked for the quinoa, which was seasoned like Spanish rice (yum!) instead of rice. After trying my entree and our appetizer he was a bit disappointed with the fajitas, because though they were good, he wasn’t blown away by them. He was scared away from some of the other entrees, because unlike me, he’s not really into fruit, so the idea of eating entrees which mixed fruit andspicy/savory things was a bit daunting, so he went with the safe choice. What he got was something we could have easily made at home, though, I had never thought of preparing quinoa like Spanish rice.


Chimichangas de Camote en Chipotle Durazno Salsa

We decided to split a dessert, because, Nick’s, entree was so large he wasn’t able to finish it all. At the time the only vegan dessert available was the Chimichangas de Camote en Chipotle Durazno Salsa, so we went with that. The chimichangas were flour tortillas filled with mashed sweet potatoes, served with a scoop of vegan ice cream and drizzled with warm peaches, chipotle powder and raisins. The chipotle powder gave the dessert a little kick and the neutral flavors of vanilla ice cream and sweet potatoes went nicely with the spiciness of the chipotle and the sweetness of the peaches.

Overall it was a very pleasant dining experience. The wait staff were friendly and attentive, never letting our water glasses go dry. The restaurant was cozy and not too loud, and the food was delicious. I’m looking forward to going back and trying more of the vegan menu. Though, we made a reservation, they are not required as the restaurant is pretty casual. Entrees range from $12-$15, which means it won’t be a weekly joint for us, but it also means it’ll be the kind of place we visit more than twice a year.

According to their Facebook page, El Nuevo Mexicano, will be adding/changing items offered on the vegan menu periodically, so check back often to see what new delicious treats are being offered! For those who are interested, they also offer drink specials 5 nights a week and can be booked for parties. Just remember to ask for the Vegan Menu.

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The Flaming Ice Cube is a vegan cafe located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, across the street from Public Square. They offer standard cafe fare, including soups, salads, sandwiches and entrees, as well as coffee, smoothies and juices.
The waitstaff was very helpful and willing to answer our many questions. The cafe was well lit and had ample seating room. They also had a shelf with vegan cookbooks for sale, as well as various vegan products (sauces, nut butters, etc.)

I ordered the Mmmushroom Burger, which came with one of the sides of the day. The sides for the day were cous cous, black bean and corn salsa, and a pineapple raisin salad. My first choice was the cous cous, but they were out, so I went with the black bean and corn salsa. The salsa was like pico de gallo, it included black beans, corn, tomatoes, green bell peppers, a little lime juice and some spices. The vegetables were very fresh and it was nice to have a healthy side instead of a pile of fries (which I love) or a bag of chips.
The Mmmushroom burger proved to be an excellent choice. The patty was thick and juicy. It was topped with sauteed mushrooms, Daiya Mozzarella cheese, mayo and sauteed onions. The mushrooms were cooked perfectly, they weren’t slimy and they added just the right amount of flavor to the burger.
If you ever find yourself near Cleveland, OH be sure to stop by and try one of the delicious handcrafted burgers or one of the many other items on their menu. Next time I’m in the area I think I’ll try out the Hula Burger, which is topped with grilled pineapples, peppers, onions, mayo, lettuce and cheddar – yum!

Mmmushroom Burger


When I walk into a new place sometimes I like to ask what the house favorite is. The girl behind the counter after some degree of thought responded that the Pizza Burger was very popular so I ordered that. After sitting down in the car with our respective sandwiches I took a bite of each. In all honesty I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get the Mmmushroom burger. The mushrooms, onions, and Daiya had a lot more pizazz than the burger I got. The Pizza Burger was supposed to have marinara, Daiya mozzarella, and pepperoni. Unfortunately there was very little in the way of marinara and the pepperoni overpowered everything. Unlike the Mmmushroom Burger, the Pizza Burger tasted like generic store bought faux meat & cheese items just thrown together. I was definitely jealous of Lisa’s selection. You win some – you lose some. Like Lisa, I was a fan of the corn salsa on the side.

Pizza Burger

The unique highlight of the visit was the Peanut Butter Crunch Bar which was a peanut butter rice crispy treat with a layer of chocolate on top. Simple but effective. Delicious!

Peanut Butter Crunch Bar

Flaming Ice Cube
140 Public Square
Cleveland, OH 44114

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My roommate’s girlfriend and I made these recently and they were awesome, especially since they don’t involve any baking (unless you decide to make your own cookies for the crumbs, which is what we did).

Here’s a link to the recipe: Tiger Balls

We made “Soy Milk’s Favorite Cookie” from Kelly Peloza’s The Vegan Cookie Connoisseur for the crumbs. We also used crunchy peanut butter. The recipe made about 3 dozen balls which didn’t last very long thanks to all of the chocoholics in our house!

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Earwax Cafe

So far 2011 has not been a good year for vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants in Chicago what with Life on Mars and Veggie Bite closing. The latest casualty of the recession appears to be Earwax Cafe (1561 N. Milwaukee Avenue, 773-772-4019). According to the Wicker Park Bucktown Indsider’s Guide, Earwax will be closing it’s doors for good after 20 plus years of business on Feb 28, 2011.
Earwax Cafe seems to polarize people almost as much as Soul Veg does, I’ve always been a fan of both establishments, though, and am sad that I’ll be eating my last meal at Earwax this week.
If you’re also a fan, make sure you stop in and show the staff and owners your support this week.

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