Autumn Chill, Cooking Lessons & Sweet Chips

• The Autumn is upon us (almost) and I felt the chill in the air today. Time to get out your cardigans, sweaters and fall jackets. After you’ve perused the thrift and vintage stores for warm things of all sorts, consider supporting some rad sustainable and vegan designers by investing in a coat from Vaute Couture, or an deadstock cotton check jacket, waxed canvas jacket, or organic cotton jacket from Turk + Taylor:

autumn/winter11 location

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• Chef Ayinde Howell is featured today on Gilt City New York. Gilt is members-only, so click here for your membership. And you can get up to 50% Off In-Home Chef Dinner or Vegan Cooking Class, just click the delicious image below:

• Raw, BBQ-flavored sweet potato chips from Rhythm Superfoods is a crispy, satisfying snack that’s actually good for you. But pretend you don’t know that. I ate a whole bag and didn’t feel gross because they are oil-free, fat-fee and rich in vitamins A and C. Did you know that sweet potatoes are one of the highest-ranked superfoods for nutritional content?


Vegan Vine Paired Dinner at Candle 79

Fig Napoleon: cashew cream, vanilla ice cream, fig compote, and a cabernet reduction

Last night I was invited to attend a dinner hosted by  The Vegan Vine – a sustainable-certified California winery making three types of wine specifically for vegans. I had no idea that labeling regulations were so strict with alcohol that the winery was not allowed to put “free of animal products” or “suitable for vegans” on the back of their label. Instead, they had to include the V-word in the name, and create an informative “necker” label that fits around the bottle-neck (their bottles are made from 25% less glass than conventional wine bottle which mean lighter transport and less resources) describing why their wine is vegan:

The Vegan Vine Wines are made entirely without any animal products. The Vegan Vine

Animal products can be utilized as fining or filtration aids in the wine making process. They assist by removing solids. Although typically filtered out of the wine prior to bottling, the use of these animal ingredients can make many wines unsuitable for vegans. The most common animal ingredients used in making wine are:

  • Isinglass: a very pure form of gelatin from sturgeon fish bladders
  • Gelatin: extract from boiled cow’s or pig’s hooves and sinews
  • Albumin: egg whites
  • Caseins: a protein from milk

Above, Top: Whole Wheat Ravioli: sautéed summer vegetables in a sauvignon blanc wine sauce with cashew cheese
Walnut Crusted Seitan: wild mushrooms, haricots verts, celeriac puree, red wine reduction

The wines featured were :

  • Sauvignon Blanc, Central Coast, California, 2010: aromas of bright citrus fruit, wet grass, and lemon rind with full flavors of grapefruit and fresh herbs,
  • Red Wine, Central Coast, California, 2009:dark red cherries and ripe berries complimented by hints of warm vanilla, cedar, and balanced tannins
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, California, 2008: rich ripe plums and floral undertones combine with blueberries, dried cherries, and a hint of anise spice

Three cheers to the three Vegan Vine wines! And thanks for the awesome company from Team Super-Vegan, Fabrice Penot of Le Labo, nutritionist Jennifer Medley, Cheryl and The Vegan Vine trio, Chef Terry Romero,  Choreographer James Koroni, and PINNACLE cover-girl Emily Wilson and model Todd Litzinger.

(PS – James does not have a twin brother with the same outfit, he just likes to play musical-chairs)

The New Champs & Macadamia Cheesey

• I wrote about Punk Rawk aged nut-cheese a few weeks ago, and at the time I had only tried the cashew cheese. I recently got my hands on some of the macadamia cheese in the herbed and smoked-salt flavors. The Macadamia cheese has the same satisfying, complexity and lusciousness that artisan cheese-lovers will enjoy, but unlike the ultra-creamy cashew cheese, the mac has a soft, pulpy texture. The rind has more intense sharpness, and the center is fluffy and white. I tried the cheese in three ways. First I added it to a farmer’s market salad of kale, heirloom tomatoes, sweet onion, and mandolin-sliced white radishes with a basic vinaigrette. Second I ate the cheese stacked on thick tomato slices with truffle oil and a sprinkle of yeast flakes, and finally I ate it by itself with a table red from Vegan Vine. Yum. I am continually astounded by the level of innovation in vegan cuisine. One day soon “vegan” won’t be a dirty word to mainstream foodies (AKA, ultra-conservative gluttons). I promise.

Champs went into secret reconstruction the other day and has re-opened as a diner! If you are feeling indulgent, go for the thick, sweet and savory Vegan Monte Cristo – a sandwhich of veggie-ham and stretchy tapioca-cheese between two pieces of thick, fluffy french toast, with maple syrup to dip each bite. If you want something slightly less caloric with a bit more green in it, go for the Awesome Bowl, which is quinoa, greens, and tofu scramble.

Moved by Dancing & Have Mercy

• VegNews Magazine’s “Buzz” feature interview with choreographer James Koroni, takes us through the journey that led up to his use of art as activism and his community of “moving” dancers, Enforced Arch. Raised as a Mormon, dealing with his father’s passing from cancer, and discovering the physical and emotional rewards of telling stories through dance, advocating on behalf of animals, and eating a plant-based diet – Koroni is inspiring performers everywhere. James and his dancers were recently invited to perform “Please Don’t Touch” at Paris Vegan Day, and have started an Indiegogo project to fund the trip. Please donate today!

• Another great opportunity to see James and his dancers perform is tonight at “Have Mercy!”

Thursday, September 15
150 Varick Street (TriBeCa )
7:30 to 10 p.m.
Tickets for Have Mercy! are $25 in advance ( and $40 at the door

“Have Mercy! (Fashion Event)” will feature new couture designs, vegan treats, music, dancing, and chocolate. Proceeds from the affair will benefit Mercy for Animals, a New York-based animal rescue organization. You’ll also haver the opportunity to snag the latest issue of PINNACLE: Reinvent the Icon.
Each of the fashion lines to be showcased bills itself as anti-fur and earth-friendly. Among them:

  • Fraley Le, an award-winner from Chicago whose specialties include vibrantly colored evening gowns and cocktail dresses.
  • Yane Mode, an edgy brand famous for its sleek drapings and soft jersey knits.
  • Pretty Birdie by Stephanie Teague, who creates apparel and accessories from organic and sustainable fabrics infused with antique surplus and recycled materials.
  • Sew Moe Designs, based in Asheville, South Carolina, offering handmade updated-vintage originals.

Weaving amongst the models, partygoers will find hors d’oeuvres from Verite Catering, dark chocolates from Rescue Chocolate, additional desserts from Bolaji Cuisine, functional waters from Balance, and other drinks from Mercy Beverage.  The Greenhouse is New York’s first nightclub with LEED certification. Its walls are made of sustainable bamboo rather than wood, and the space is constructed mostly from recycled materials. It has the feel of a glitzy nature preserve with a huge waterfall and a ceiling made of live plants.

Funds will be donated to Mercy for Animals, a national non-profit organization dedicated to preventing cruelty to farmed animals and promoting compassionate food choices and policies. For further information contact 917-767-7283.

The Cut, Vegan Butchers & Weigh In

• Fashion Week is still going strong, and I made “The Cut” in New York Magazines best street style for day 6 of the shows while handing out copies of PINNACLE. I am sporting my very own Brave GentleMan tie, Ben Sherman faux-leather and canvas bag, M:Zero shoes, organic cotton Velour shirt, vintage vest, military surplus shorts, and vintage frames.

• Can you be vegan and a butcher? Marc Mongiardo thinks so. But isn’t that a little like being a pacifist MMA fighter? Or a Hhman Rights Activist who also works in human trafficking? I’m confused.

Marc Mongiardo is a vegan butcher at the BriarPatch Co-op Community Market's meat department.

Vegan Bodybuilder Robert Cheeke suggestively weighs in on how to keep on, build up, and maintain healthy weight for dudes who don’t eat animals. Banana anyone?