Convert Concept Shop, Fast Vegans & Awful Offal

Convert apparel for men and women - storefront

CONVERT is a new concept shop in Berkley, CA featuring sustainable designers. It’s the only store in Berkeley’s Fourth Street shopping district to carry men’s apparel. It also offers a selection of women’s clothing, stylish accessories and Bay Area-based labels.

1809B Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710   •   (510) 649-9759
Open: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

It’s rad that another NBA star has gone vegan (for at least 4 days) but I can’t help being ever-so-slightly insulted that Phoenix Suns player Amar’e Stoudemire considers this vegan diet a “fast”. Call me crazy, but isn’t a fast when you eat nothing at all? Clearly he hasn’t had my Pistacio Crusted Seitan, or he’d be talking about his vegan feast. Full story at Ecorazzi.

Just Offal. Did your food have a face…that you ate right off the skull? If the idea of eating face, entrails, scrotum, testicles, brain, snout, feet, heart, organs, blood pudding, heads, and tripe (rectum) makes you feel awful, it’s no coincidence that offal sounds as bad as it’s name. However, there is a huge and dedicated following of offal foodies, and I can only wonder if these p want something all-their-own just to give them cool points, street cred, or something of shock value? Or are they just more honest about what they’re eating; the parts that everyone else throws away because they’re “gross”. A lot of people require the ambiguity of meat to enjoy it, but offal is difficult to hide whose body it came from, especially if you’re eating a face or a brain.

I was especially disturbed by Pajata, a traditional dish from Rome. According to wiki, it refers to the intestines of an “un-weaned” calf, i.e., only fed on its mother’s milk. The calf is killed soon after nursing. The intestines are cleaned, but the milk is left inside (how do you both clean the intestines, yet leave the contents in place?). When cooked, the combination of heat and the enzyme rennet in the intestines coagulates the milk and creates a sort of thick, creamy, cheese-like sauce. Blach! I thought veal was already sick, but this? Cooking the mothers milk inside her baby? Twisted. I’ll stick to my walnut-mushroom pate and cashew cheese, thank you very much.

Fresh Friday Finds

1. History has been made as Proposition 2 passed in California. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of animal advocates around the country, 20 million farm animals’ lives will improve with the removal of veal crates, gestation crates, and battery cages. The news, Wayne Pacelle’s Blog: What it means for animals. Beef jerky is consumed by real men. At least that’s what Umberto’s new campaign ‘Eat Like An Alpha‘ wants you to think. The website is so full of insulting, stereotypical, and gender-defining crap that I almost didn’t notice how gross the shriveled-up-flesh product is.

3. Custom Vegan Shoes! All you have to do is send in an image of the shoe or boot you want to Vegan Wares, and they’ll make it vegan! Holy Cow-less! CLICK HERE!

4. Fur-Free Fashion Week!

There are so many fashion events to go to this week! Start out at HSUS’ Cool Vs. Cruel on November 12th in NYC, celebrating Calvin Klein. But first vote on the people’s choice award for the CvC design contest! Then go to Friends of Animals’ ‘Reception Beyond Fur‘ on November 24th in NYC! See you there! Lastly, don’t forget the classic Fur Free Friday on November 28th targeting ShopNBC and Nordstrom.

anti-fur poster

Dirt Candy Logo5. New vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy has already won me over with their tag-line “Anyone can cook a hamburger, but leave the vegetables to the professionals“.

Dirt Candy Header Image


I got this letter from a reader the other day:

Dear Discerning Brute,
I've been talking with this guy lately, and we've gone out a few
times. Problem is, he's not even vegetarian (I'm a vegan). I honestly
just can't let myself "look past it"--in my opinion, it's like dating
someone of a completely different religion and neither of you want to
convert; the individual in question may be an all-around great person,
but to figure them into a relationship might not be the best idea, for
both parties.

Am I just being paranoid? I live in a small town in the South,
visit NYC often (family in Brooklyn) and plan to move there upon
graduation. Needless to say, it is VERY difficult to find vegan men
around here! :)

Thanks for taking the time to read this!
"Vegan & the City"

Dear “Vegan & the City”
I completely know where you’re coming from! I’ve dated the vegan, vegetarian, and the omnivorous, and there is simply no rhyme or reason to evaluating the potentials of a relationship on that alone.
If you decided to come out as a vegansexual in your small town and date only the veg, you are probably cutting down your pool of available bachelors in the US by 90%, and in your hometown by 99.99%. I don’t recommend going this route, though it has its benefits: No need to explain yourself at meals, and less conflict of values. Is this enough in itself to make a relationship work? Not necessarily. I’d say that if everything else is working, the best thing you can do is be patient, compassionate, and steadfast. If he is a good guy, he will find joy in understanding you and he will become inquisitive without you having to push your values on him.
There are several things to be careful of as an equal-opportunity dater:
First, It’s important to distinguish that your veganism is not a religion. It is not faith-based. Rather, you are a voluntary spokesperson for a social justice struggle. You must make that clear so he respects it as a choice, not as a persuit of faith-driven puritanism. Second, if he decides eventually to go veg for you, or for any reason – be careful not to end up in a teacher-student dynamic. Often, when I’ve dated non-vegans who decide to go cold turkey on cold turkey, I end up being their vegan guru (whether I liked it or not) and that can totally kill the chemistry. If this happens, makes sure to have a book and a video to hand over, and step back and let them sort it out without being the babysitter or the critic.
It sounds like if you really like him, you have to stand your ground, and insist on being respected as an animal advocate. If he can deal with that, it’s a start. That means he should never, ever put you in an uncomfortable position concerning animals, even if he eats them on his own time. There is no need to accommodate his meat-eating any more than you would accommodate any other sort of disrespect. If he continuously disrespects, ridicules, or marginalizes your advocacy, it’s time to lose him and move on.

Take Our Poll


This November, California has an amazing opportunity to become a beacon of compassion and equality among a sea of fear, ignorance, and greed.

Prop 2: Vote YES!

Prop 2 could easily be the most import farm animal anti-cruelty legislation ever. California’s Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which will reduce the suffering of 20 million hens, pigs, and calves—will lead to changes across the nation. Battery cages, veal crates, and gestation crates do not allow animals to turn around, spread their wings or legs, or even lie down. This initiative is up against big wealthy  agribusiness. Please make a donation today. If you live in California, you must vote YES!

Prop 8: Vote NO!

No on Prop 8 is being supported hugely from celebrities like Brad Pitt and Steven Speilberg. The christian right is attempting to take away basic freedom from same-gender couples. Every Californian should have the choice to marry the person they love. It’s a personal and fundamental freedom guaranteed by the California Constitution. But this November, Californians will have an opportunity to vote on Prop. 8, it’s not right for California, and it’s not right for you. Vote No, and see what esle you can do to help.

Fresh Friday Finds

1. MALCOLM FONTIER accessories
Check out the new line of vegan accessories from Malcolm Fontier. These slick urban bags come with names like “The Director” and “The Agent” to accommodate what you do. These bags are PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) free (PVC is a nasty substance that can be an environmental and health hazard). The main material on our bags, which comes from Italy, is natural canvas coated with PU which gives it a unique feel and durability. Thanks to contributor Joelle for the heads up!the agent

the directorthe entertainerthe interpretor

2. CocoNUTS
Our dreams have been answered! Purely Decadent has made a line of coconut-cream-based ice creams and yogurts that are to die for. These chilled treats the silkiest, the richest, and the tastiest vegan ice-cream yet. No ice cream lover could resist. Good luck not eating the entire pint in one sitting! My personal favs are the Cookie Dough and the Mint Chip.

Read More…

4. Proposition 2 and You
Find out about Proposition 2 in California, and what it means! Thanks to Dawnwatch for the New York Times Article on the bill.

5. Dr Cow goes DigitalOur favorite vegan cheese is now available for purchase from the Vegan Store. Get some!