LA Vegan Beer Fest

This past Saturday was the first LA Vegan Beer Fest. We went with our dear friends Jannatha & Kyle. They’re beer fest pros.


Check out their beer mug beads! They also have some pretzel necklaces (which didn’t make it to this fest) for snacking while you drink.

alicia & baxter

Alicia and Baxter came along too. They were there to keep us in line. You might call them the law.

beer fest

We got these handy little mugs for sampling the beers. At about 4 oz each, they were the perfect size to get to try all the beers while still getting to enjoy each one for a little bit.

My top picks of the day were the Duvel Green, the Solace from Firestone Walker and a special edition coffee beer from Speakeasy Brewery. I was totally in love with the coffee beer actually.


While I enjoy beer, I was even more excited about the food. With a ton of trucks, serving exclusively vegan snacks, I was ready to get my grub on.

We started with the lemongrass tofu bahn mi from Mandoline Grill. You can’t go wrong with a ban mi really, but Mandoline grills up their tofu just right. Super tasty.

seabirds tacos & taquitos

We drank some more beer. We got hungry again. This event went on for a few hours, so you have to try everything possible.

Next up was the jackfruit tofu taquitos and the beer battered avocado taco from Seabirds Truck. Holy crap. I’m still in awe that there’s a completely vegan food truck, let alone one that is better than half the restaurants in Los Angeles. Beer Battered Avocado Taco. Do I have to say more? Every word is delicious!


We also got a few things from Doomie’s, which we learned is finally back in action and opening a new location in Hollywood. Stoked!


I tried their sushi, which was amazing. Who knew Doomie’s made sushi? Anyway, it was fantastic: faux tuna and faux shrimp with cream cheese, all topped with that awesome sauce.


Shawn hung out with his buddies at the Frankenstand. We had a lot of franken dogs. My favorite is the witch.

alicia, alix & jannatha

When you drink a lot of tiny cups of beer, sometimes your pictures get a little silly.

sadness of an empty glass

When you run out of beer and have to go home it is very sad. All good things must come to an end though.


Off we rode into the sunset with Kyle & Jannatha on their sweet tandem bike.

If you want to see more, Shawn has tons more photos over at Shawn’s flickr. Check ’em out.

Vegan Road Trip: Part 4

Austin, Texas

Possibly my favorite stop of our road trip was Austin, Texas. I had wanted to visit for the longest time, and insisted that we go there at some point on the journey. Amazingly we were able to celebrate New Years Eve dancing in the streets of this awesome city. The next day were were able to explore and visit some of the great vegan restaurants. We started 2010 with breakfast at Snackbar. The restaurant is located in the hip SoCo district and has a really great modern yet comfortable vibe. All the waiters and waitresses were wearing handmade aprons. I love it. They have a number of vegan dishes as well as gluten free options all marked on the menu.

As soon as I heard that this restaurant had vegan biscuits and gravy, it became the only place on my list that we absolutely had to go to. It turned out to have some even more impressive items on the menu, including vegan mini waffles and vegan tofu benedict on top of these tasty waffles. The biscuits were pretty decent, with a great tempeh gravy, but they looked ridiculous so it’s best you use your imagination. The waffles were great; fluffy and perfectly moist. The tofu florentine was quite good, lightly flavored and fresh. The place was pretty hectic as people crowded in to eat off their hangovers. I wish we had been able to come at another time because they were obviously under-staffed on the holiday, but I still enjoyed going there very much. Because of the craziness, we were offered a $10 gift card which could be yours! Just head on down to the end of this post.

We spent the day walking around town and exploring. The weather was gorgeous and I pretty much totally fell in love with the place. Everything was just awesome and had a bit more of creativity. Where in Los Angeles we have food trucks, Austin has airstreams. We stopped in The Ginger Man just to peek inside, and ended up staying for some drinks, pretzels and a mean game of balderdash, aka the best game ever. They had a huge selection of beers on tap and a super comfortable sitting area that makes you feel like you’re at home or in your father’s library. We ended up spending a better part of the afternoon hanging here.

When we finally sought out dinner, it was no contest. We headed to The Parlour to devour some vegan pizza. This bar has pizza available with follow your heart cheese and a handful of vegan meats as well as veggie toppings. They even have a vegan french bread pizza which was SO GOOD. Now, I might get myself in some hot water here, I know a lot of you are big fans of Daiya, but I am not. I am saddened every time I find that a restaurant that used to carry something I liked, has switched to daiya. Having this pizza was like a breath of fresh air. I honestly almost cried after eating it, I was that happy. Luckily, I just found a new place to fill this gaping hole in my vegan pizza heart that is quite a bit closer. Possibly my new favorite pizza spot is actually in town.

Ok ok I bet you were wondering when I was going to get to that gift card…right? Well there it is! Since I don’t live in Austin, and who knows when I’ll be back, I’m going to offer this lovely $10 gift card that I received to one of you lucky readers. All you have to do is comment! Oh, and you should actually be in Austin, or nearby. I’ll choose a winner on February 1st. So you have until then…Get to it!

And the winner is….Miranda! Congratulations!

Winner selected using

Vegan Road Trip: Part 3

The East Coast and more

We made it to the East Coast just in time for Christmas Eve with Shawn’s family. We relaxed for awhile, ate some home cooked meals, went to the movies, had a vegan taco night and played lots of Little Big Planet. While there was snow on the ground when we arrived, it rained all of Christmas day, so no snowmen were made as I had hoped. Though we had planned to head in to NYC from the New Jersey suburb where we were staying, we opted to stay home and stay dry.

Luckily this meant we got to try out a (new to us) vegan Chinese restaurant, Veggie Heaven. Oh and it was heaven. I have enjoyed some fabulous vegetarian Chinese restaurants but there was just something about this place that has me dreaming about it. Maybe it was the sushi. Okay, so that’s not Chinese specifically but I’ve never had such amazing vegan sushi. I love sushi. Hey, I’m from Los Angeles, I’ve been eating sushi since I was two. As soon as I saw the fireball roll on the menu, faux spicy tuna with avocado and a signature spicy sauce, I knew it was the one thing I had to have. My goodness, it was divine. But it wasn’t just the sushi, we also had a great wonton soup and some fantastic crispy duck. So good, I can’t wait to go back…

Soon enough we were on the road again, heading to Asheville to pick up our backseat companions. I should mention that this is probably around the point where I was far enough from home and a computer that I forgot about taking photos of much. We went to some really neat restaurants and it just never even occurred to me to take photos. These things happen when you just enjoy your trip and forget about blogging for a bit.

After getting stuck in traffic on the horror that is the I-95, we were ecstatic to find the Blue Nile in Harrisonburg, Virginia with a bar that was open late  (we drove through at about 11pm) and yummy vegan sandwiches. Also, I should mention I now have a deep affection for Hampton Inns. After staying in the creepiest Motel 6 ever, and after one of our more stressful driving days, it was so nice to fall asleep in a clean room (and watch Animal Planet). Not to mention, their complimentary breakfast actually has a few vegan options.

Asheville ended up being one of the surprisingly awesome stops on our trip. We spent most of our time exploring the amazing Biltmore House, but also had the opportunity to try a couple restaurants including Green Sage, where the reuben you see above is from, a cafe with a bunch of vegan options clearly listed on their menu. We had an amazing pizza with a super thin crust made from beer mash at Barley’s Taproom. And get this, Mellow Mushroom in Asheville has Cheezly vegan cheese! This isn’t true for all Mellow Mushroom locations either. As far as I know, it’s only Asheville. Did I mention that Asheville has the most craft breweries per capita in the US? Oh I didn’t? Well it does.

I’ll have one more episode of our road trip tour, featuring my favorite stop: Austin, Texas. In the mean time, I recommend you check out Shawn’s beautiful photo sets from our trip here and here. You can see much more of the places we stopped, some of our crazy antics and not just food.

Beer crust pizza

I think there is a rule that upon becoming vegan you must also instantly become obsessed with pizza. Perhaps it is the seemingly elusive nature of the delicious vegan pizza, but every vegan I know goes crazy for the stuff. I mean, pretty much everybody loves pizza, but it does seem that it’s like crack for us vegans. Nowadays there are tons of vegan pizza options, you can even go buy yourself a slab of daiya drenched pizza at Whole Foods, so there isn’t a problem finding a decent slice somewhere.

There is still something tremendously satisfying about making your own pizza though. You get to top it with just the right ingredients exactly how you like it. While pizza is a common occurrence here (Shawn and I are pros), I wanted to try something a little different than the usual. I found a great recipe for beer pizza crust and was smitten. I topped it with this great sauce from Vegan Yum Yum that has a rich cashew flavor so there was no need for additional cheese. The simplicity of this pizza lets the full flavored crust shine through without being boring. The beer gives it just a little more excitement than a typical pizza crust and is crunchy on the the outside and fluffy on the inside. The recipe makes enough for two crusts so you can experiment with your toppings. Of the two I made the one pictured above was by far the best with just tomatoes, sliced olives and garlic.

If you love pizza and you love beer you have no excuse for not making this crust. It’s easy and completely enhances your pizza experience.

Beer Pizza Crust

from King Arthur Flour

4 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp active yeast

1 tsp baking powder

1 ½ tsp salt

2 Tbps olive oil

12 oz room temperature beer

Mix and knead together all ingredients until they form into a smooth even dough. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Preheat your oven to 500° with the pizza stone inside. If you don’t have a pizza stone you can use a cookie tray but you will not need to preheat it.

Divide the dough in half to make two crusts. You can freeze the dough if you’d like to save for later, just make sure to defrost in advance.

Spread out the crust on a piece of parchment paper or your oiled cookie tray. Stretch it until it is 10 to 12 inches across or toss in the air if you’re coordinated enough. Brush the crust with olive oil, covering completely, and sprinkle with any pizza seasonings you might like. Place the parchment paper on your pizza stone or the cookie sheet in the oven and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Remove the pizza from the oven and top with sauce and any other toppings you might want. Put back into the oven and cook for 7-10 minutes. The crust should be golden and not too brown. Remove and let cool. Slice and devour!