Saturday, October 20, 2012

Zpizza, TGIFridays, Native Foods

My favorite place to get vegan pizza is Zpizza! We first found one in Santa Ana, but they are all around SoCal, including Irvine. They have a pie called the Berkeley Vegan which comes with vegan cheese, vegan burger crumbles, and lots of veggies. I feel like I have probably blogged about this before... but it is so delicious! 

These pictures at Zpizza are from the second Disneyland Dapper day that we went to, this time with Jane and Richard! Then after Disneyland we went to Zpizza, with a coupon, of course!

Another wonderful use of a coupon... For signing up for TGIFriday's mobile app you get a coupon for a free appetizer. So Patrick and I each signed up, so we each got a free appetizer. At these larger restaurant chains I often find it a tad difficult to find something vegan on the menu. But to me, that is part of the fun of it! Figuring out what these places offer for vegans. It is a constant study, and I find it super interesting. For my appetizer I got the fried green beans. I know, doesn't sound that amazing, but the waitress suggested I get marinara to dip them in, which I did, and they are just like cheese sticks! I was satisfied, they were delicious! Patrick got three slider burgers for his appetizer, then we each got a salad and a drink so we didn't look like total cheapskates. It was a great meal for a great price. And the best part was a date out with my love! We went to the TGIFridays at the Block at Orange. Back up in our old stomping grounds (pre-Irvine). 

Back in Irvine... Well, actually Tustin, but more Irvine-Tustin than Santa Ana-Tustin (man I am really starting to sound like a Californian)...
Anyway, I went to a restaurant that so many people have been telling me to go to since I went vegan.

Native Foods Cafe

Everything on their menu is vegan. It is a bit cheaper than some other all-vegan restaurants I have been to (cheaper than Free Soul Caffe, also in Tustin actually). The first time I went to Native Foods I got a "chicken" wrap with fries:

and... A CHOCOLATE CUPCAKE! Now it has been quite a while since I went to Free Soul Caffe (link to my blog post when I went there on my birthday), but if I remember my experiences correctly I would say I more enjoyed the entree food at Free Soul Caffe, but the cupcake at Native Foods was better than the chocolate cupcake from Free Soul Caffe. The cupcake from Native Foods tasted just like a regular delicious chocolate cupcake, while the one from Free Soul was a lot airier and less satisfying. The second time I went to Native Foods I got a fried "chicken" sandwich, which did not really hit the spot. Patrick got a "bbq bacon burger" or something like that (completely vegan) and it totally did not hit the spot for him. Just goes to prove my point of not eating "chicken" or "meat" or anything that is not supposed to be vegan but they make a vegan imitation of. Just eat your veggies. and vegan baked goods :)

I totally forgot how to just shove my face into biting a cupcake!

Tonight I whipped up some vegan chocolate chip cookies (I might bring some to work at UCI in the xMPL tomorrow to share and spread the vegan love.....) I also got stuff to make Patrick a (non-vegan) pumpkin pie. I picked up some apple cider from Trader Joe's. We are getting in the Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas spirit. But it's mainly just because that is the direction the displays at the grocery store push us in. And I swear every grocery store is spraying cinnamon air freshener in the front doorways. It smalls so wonderful!!! Trader Joe's is selling $3 nice-looking pumpkins... We will probably get one.

Happy Eating!


PS- Next week starts week 4 of grad school at UCI. I love it so far!!! :) I am currently choreographing for and stage managing a dance/digital media show called Virtual Venues in collaboration with NYU and Berkeley :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

But where oh where do you get your PROTEIN miss vegan???

Probably my least favorite question. The best argument I have heard about this question, which so many vegans get asked so often, is the following:

Vegans always get asked "How do you get a sufficient amount of protein in your diet?" I can understand why one would ask this. But on the other hand, are the people who are asking this completely sure that they are getting a sufficient amount of every single nutrient and vitamin that they need in their diet? And you don't hear vegans going around asking non-vegans, "How do you get a sufficient amount of vitamin B9 or vitamin D??" Or any other nutrient...

There are lots of ways besides meat to get protein. But the main point of this blog post today is not to go off on some rant about protein, rather it is because I am excited because Special K cereal was on a great sale today, and I discovered a new type of Special K called Protein Plus!

So I got two boxes of the Protein Plus, one box of another new flavor, Blueberry, and one box of Cinnamon and Pecan Special K. I picked up two half gallon cartons of the cheapest soy milk in all the land, Wild Harvest brand soy milk. I layered the Protein Plus and the Blueberry flakes in one bowl, and it was delicious!! Like blueberry muffins in a bowl! Yum! 

Happy Eating!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Lots to Blog About!

I have so much stuff saved up that I want to blog about, that I am just going to sit here right now and do one huge blog post about all of it!!

I'll call this my "Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall" blog post...


Boyfriend Supports My Veganism <3

This picture is from way back when we still lived in Santa Ana. So wonderful to come home from a long day of work to an amazing boyfriend holding a delicious vegan dinner that he made for me. I believe this was rice and veggies (broccoli, carrots) and soy sauce. He is very interested and supportive of me being vegan. He looks stuff up all the time and helps me make sure I get all my nutrients. I am so lucky.

In return, I make him steak every now and then...
This was one of our first good home-cooked meals in our new apartment in Irvine. Salad, corn on the cob, asparagus, wine, and for him, steak. We work well together :)


Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal

That is what Starbucks officially calls its oatmeal. And it is true. This really is the most delicious oatmeal ever. I eat oatmeal basically every day for breakfast. (I treat myself to buying soymilk and cereal maybe about once a month). Starbucks' oatmeal comes with a fruit and nut medley that you put in it, as well as brown sugar and I think cinnamon. It is a wonderful blend of flavors. I don't get this often, because it simply makes more sense to eat breakfast at home, but it is a convenient and easy breakfast on mornings when I don't want to make it myself.


Vegan at UCI

I am so excited to start grad school at the University of California, Irvine in 20 days! This sign is hanging up in the Starbucks on campus. UCI got voted in the top 10 Most Vegan-Friendly campuses by PETA in 2011! I have decided that I am not getting a meal plan after all, but this is still great to know! Go Anteaters! (even though we don't eat ants, or any other living being...)


Super Easy Vegan Dinner

I have to include at least one recipe for all of you reading this loooong blog post. This is one of the most simple vegan dinners to make. Basically just take whatever veggies you have, or go buy your favorites, and cook em in a large pan on the stove top. I think I used some vegan butter that I had left over from when I made chocolate chip cookies, put that in the pan. I think my veggies in this one were spinach, tomatoes, onion, red pepper, broccoli... Just make sure not to cook certain veggies for too long. Spinach cooks really quickly, as do tomatoes. I'd say start with the broccoli in the pan first, then maybe onions, peppers, then add the spinach and tomatoes toward the end of the cooking time. We had rice already made leftover in the fridge, so I added the rice straight to the pan with the veggies, and finally I threw in whatever spices I had lying around. Just think about what would taste good together, and make it to suit your own individual taste buds! I can't remember if I added soy sauce to this dish or not, but you need something kind of wet, especially to revive the leftover rice. The vegan butter helped to do this too. Enjoy this dish with a glass of wine in a chalice engraved with your name on it, and you are all set for a super vegan dinner!


Pink's Hot Dogs... VEGAN?!!! No way.

Pink's Hot Dogs is a legendary hot dog joint in Hollywood. Seriously, they are super famous. The line is often super long, and they have hot dogs named after famous people. When Patrick's Grammie came to visit southern California we had a day in Hollywood. After a lovely time at the Griffith Observatory (our favorite place in Hollywood) we decided to go to Pink's, and to my extreme surprise and happiness, I learned that Pink's has a vegan hot dog on the menu!

It is called The Patt Morrison Baja Veggie Dog. It even says VEGAN in all caps on the menu! Thanks Pink's for making it super easy! It is a veggie hotdog topped with fresh guacamole, chopped tomatoes, and chopped onions.

They really load the guac on there. It was delicious! I also got a side order of fries, my vegan guilty pleasure. The hotdog costs $3.85. Great price, great food, and a Hollywood tradition that I don't have to miss out on because I'm vegan! Although I don't think I'll be going to Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles anytime soon. :)


Starbucks Refreshers

Sorry for another Starbucks plug, but this one is good. I had seen signs advertising Starbucks new Refresher drinks, and my initial thought was "I am not paying that much for juice, or whatever it is"
HOWEVER I then tried a free sample they had out at the register. The barista explained to me that it actually does have caffeine in it. I was told it has more caffeine than tea and just a little less than coffee. They extract the caffeine from unroasted coffee beans, put that in delicious juice, then it is about half juice/half water. It is ridiculously refreshing and rejuvenating, especially after a long morning of teaching dance and playing games with kids a summer camp. They have two flavors, Very Berry Hibiscus (blackberries) and Cool Lime. Cool Lime is hands down the better flavor. I drink the whole thing, which comes with a lime wedge, then I have them refill my cup with water and I squeeze the lime into the water. So it is like two delicious drinks in one. You should definitely try it. It is cheaper than a frappuccino and not as heavy, perfect for summer. Go now. Try it. Wait, finish reading this blog post first. Then go.


Wholesome Choice

I went back to Wholesome Choice grocery store, the store I talked about in my previous blog post. I tried taking some pictures of their amazing produce department, but it is just too big to capture in a single photo!

This section is just for nuts and beans. You scoop your own nuts/beans into bags and buy it by the weight.

And here is my attempt at trying to get as much of the produce section into my camera frame as possible. There's a lot more. I got falafel and hummus from their international food market section. It was awesome.


Blaze Pizza - the new kid on the block

A new, hip pizza joint opened up right down the street from us in Irvine. It is called Blaze Pizza. This is their very first location, with another one coming to northern California soon. Shortly after they opened up they had Free Pizza Day! They gave away one entire free pizza to everyone! They only make one size pizza, a moderately sized personal pizza. Unfortunately when Patrick and I went down there to get our free pizza, the line was about an hour long, so we didn't wait. I did, however, go back the next day to buy some pizza. It is assembly line style, one flat price. It costs just  over $5. I don't remember the exact price. For that flat rate you get one cheese and any two meat toppings. Negative- there is a $2 upcharge for vegan cheese. Positive- you can get as many veggies as you want for the same rate. I took ALL the VEGGIES because of the $2 vegan cheese charge. Out of 10 I score Blaze Pizza a 7. Zpizza's Berkely Vegan Pizza is way better (9.5 out of 10). Blaze gets the good score of 7, though, because they offer the vegan cheese option and awesome veggies. Blaze is focused on quick service, so for a quick pizza place Blaze is awesome. As they say on their website "Every gourmet pizza is fast-fire'd over a blazing open flame to perfectly crisp perfection in just 120 seconds." I'd personally rather wait the extra 10 minutes and pay a little more but get a better pizza (zpizza). Blaze is certainly hip and trendy though, and they are a smart company who knows their crowd, because they opened their first location at UCI. The decor and pizza boxes are cool.

Vegan Blaze Pizza. Vegan Cheese and ALL THE VEGGIES!!!

That said, Patrick and I are going to the $2 movie theatre in Santa Ana tonight to see MIB3, then going to get some ZPIZZA because he has a coupon, and possibly some Tutti Frutti froyo, because there is not a Tutti Frutti anywhere near us in Irvine, and Tutti Frutti is the only froyo place for VEGANS!


Thank you for reading. I have one more, very important thing to post today. I know when I first went vegan I said I was not going to turn into one of those snobby vegans who makes you feel bad if you're not vegan and who thinks they are better than you because they are vegan. I was doing it completely for myself and for my own health. Well I really have learned a lot, and have a lot more to learn, about this whole vegan thing. I respect every person's decision to live their life they way they so choose and I judge no one. That said, please take 10 minutes to watch this video with an open mind. Comments welcome :)

The answer to so many things....


Happy Eating, Happy Saving the World <3


Sunday, August 12, 2012


I popped into a grocery store in Irvine that is beside our bank. I'd never been in it before. It's called Wholesome Choice - grocery store and international food court.

Let me preface this by saying, Albertsons, the grocery store that we have been going to regularly now since it is close to us and reasonably priced, does not have too great of a produce section :(

But as soon as I walked into Wholesome Choice I was so excited! They have the best produce section I have ever seen in any grocery store. Reasons why it is so great- It is huge. It is completely fully stocked. It is well labeled. It is clean. The prices are decent (cheaper than Albertsons, more expensive than our Santa Ana grocery store Smart & Final, but better stuff than at Smart & Final and not that much more expensive). The quality of the produce is wonderful too! And they have a huge variety. Even their nuts and beans are huge in quantity, awesome in quality, and super well organized. And it didn't have that snobby overpriced feeling that I get at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods or other "healthy" "organic" stores. It seemed approachable. Don't get me wrong, I would love to shop at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods on a regular basis, but they are just ripping off your bank account on certain items you could get for much cheaper anywhere else. Don't hate me for saying that...

Anyway, I wasn't really even in need of buying anything, but I got some granny smith apples and TWO GIANT ORANGES!! Seriously, they are the biggest oranges I have ever seen.

Just a taaaaad bit smaller than a grapefruit! I don't know why, but I just found the size of these oranges to be crazy.

I walked around Wholesome Choice for a bit, just to check it out. Their regular grocery section was alright, but we'll probably still go to Albertson's because it's closer and a bit better priced. Wholesome Choice is like a midway point between regular grocery stores like Albertson's, Smart & Final, or for you east coasters, Stop & Shop, Harris Teeter, Food Lion and the more expensive stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods. And it also has a food court inside of it with food stations from all around the world. The food looked awesome, although I didn't get any.

Well that's all for today. I'll be throwing in some past vegan blog-worthy experiences as I go forward with current stuff. There's a lot of stuff from my mom's trip to Cali that I still haven't blogged about yet.

Happy Eating!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Great Find - Vegan Cafe in Santa Monica

There need to be more vegan bakeries... or all bakeries need to have vegan baked goods as a choice. Because vegan baked goods are so delicious!

When my mom was visiting southern California we ate dinner in Santa Monica one night. We had a wonderful dinner at Fritto Misto. It is an Italian restaurant, reasonably priced for a nice night out. The food is great, and they have plenty of vegan options...

I got an awesome vegetable pasta dish...

And the waitress was super great. She brought us a free dessert in honor of my mom celebrating graduating college!

Oh, also, kind of random, but I guess there were a lot of kids at our surrounding tables, so at one point the waitress brought out a bucket of dinosaur toys and gave one to each kid. Patrick got a stegosaurus.

So Patrick and mom enjoyed splitting the dessert, because it wasn't vegan. As they ate it I looked up vegan desserts in Santa Monica on my phone. I found a vegan bakery and then I made them walk several blocks so I could have dessert too. We were pretty tired from all of our site-seeing, but it was totally worth the walk, well, for me anyway. I got this strawberry shortcake, completely vegan, completely delicious. They had chocolate cake as an option, but the person working there recommended this one. It was so yummy!!

If you're ever in Santa Monica I highly recommend the Golden Mean Vegan Cafe!

Happy Eating!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Irvine, Guac, Koba, Sandwiches


Living in Irvine is going swell! I read somewhere that UCI won like second most vegan-friendly college campus one year... or something like that.


I made guacamole for the first time the other day.

Here are the ingredients:
2 ripe Avocados
1 lime
1 tomato
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Mash up the avocado in a bowl before adding other ingredients, so you don't mash the tomatoes too much. Dice tomato and garlic, and squeeze lime juice into avocado. Mix all together and salt and pepper to taste. Put it in the refrigerator for a few hours so the flavors have plenty of time to mingle. Get some chips and enjoy!


I know I don't usually eat tofu, but this yummy and inexpensive tofu place is dangerously close to my new apartment. It is called Koba Tofu Grill. They have a nice looking inside restaurant, but the part I like is their outside window. Everything on the take-out menu is priced at $5. I have gotten the tofu bowl twice this week. Tofu, rice, veggies, and soy sauce. They have non-vegan items on the take out menu too. It is delicious, convenient, and awesomely vegan :)


Jane and I had a nice lunch date last week at a mediterranean restaurant in Anaheim called Al-Tannour. I got a falafel sandwich. It was HUGE! It was so filling and so affordable. The best part is the fresh homemade bread. Totally vegan! This place just got renovated and definitely deserves a lot more customers for its quality, portions, and prices!! 

2947 W. Ball Rd.
Anaheim, CA 92804



Patrick wanted me to take a picture of his beautiful sandwich that he made himself the other day. Patrick has a love for sandwiches almost more than Joey from Friends does. Here is his perfect turkey sandwich. FYI it's not vegan.

One more thing...

I accidently deleted the picture of the sandwich, but Patrick and I went to a place in Irvine called Phoney Baloney's. It is a completely vegan restaurant that is located right inside the entrance to a gym. Patrick found out on Reddit that this one day they were having 20% off your order, so we went! 

I got their Buffalo Chicken sandwich. "Spicy grilled buffalo Phoney's chicken with lettuce, red onion, celery, and house made vegan ranch dressing on a sourdough sandwich roll" $5.95

I also got a smoothie called Gorilla Food. "Spinach, banana, peanut butter, chocolate protein powder and chocolate almond milk" You don't taste the spinach. It tastes like the smoothies I make at home, but more chocolate-y and more protein-y! $3.95

It was a vegan meal for a queen! Check out their website for more awesome vegan stuff:

Well that is all the stuff I had backed up to blog about. So I hope you are all still enjoying reading my vegan blog, and now I am hungry.

Happy Eating!


Vegan Labels

Patrick brought me home a bag of Disney potato chips the other day and I noticed on the back of the bag this little symbol: 

V for Vegan! I had never really seen that symbol on packaged food. I still read the ingredients because sometimes you can't trust labels, like when things are labeled "organic." But it does make me happy that people are recognizing veganism and helping vegans out a little! 

This brings up something in my mind however. Did you know that "vegan" is a word that we basically made up to mean "true vegetarian"? The word "vegetarian" actually means what we mean when we now say "vegan" - no dairy, no animal by-products. But since the majority of the world takes "vegetarian" to simply mean no meat, we came up with the word "vegan" to clarify. My friend Danny told me all of this. 

Another example of Vegan labeling is found on these Asian pre-pared dinners that I get sometimes:

If you're vegan you should definitely get these. They are inexpensive, come in a variety of flavors, and are great for those nights when you need a quicker dinner. Just make sure to get the varieties labeled vegan because they do have non-vegan ones too.

I'm going to be catching up on some blogging this evening, so expect a few random blog posts!

Happy Eating!