Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Wondering How I Became Vegan?

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When I was in high school, I thought about becoming vegetarian or vegan, and once proclaimed that I was going on an all salad diet. However, when our family sat down for dinner together every night, It was usually chicken & 2 veggies. So I put what I knew about animal farming into the back of my mind & carried on. Its the American way, right?

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Fast forward 25 years… I come back after a weekend away & my husband has stumbled across some horrible factory farming videos. He wants to show me right away. So, we watch these videos, nothing new… they are  the same ones I saw as a teen, the images that I pushed to the back of my brain. Nothing has really changed in factory farming, it has been horrifying for the animals we put on our plates for a very long time. This time after watching though, we had a conversation about our contribution to the system, and whether or not we wanted to participate in the cruelty that occurs everyday. The terrible conditions, the sickness, the complete disregard for the lives of these beautiful creatures. We decided we did not, and we became vegan together.

I am not a picky eater, and I’d like to think I am a pretty good cook. So, for me going into the kitchen to grab something to eat is extremely simple. For my husband on the other hand, we have had to get a little more creative. He craves variety. Also, while he says that he wants to eat fresh delicious whole foods, unprocessed fruits & veggies, he, like many, was raised on fast food. Sometimes when presented with a plate of stir-fry he’s just not in the mood. We have found some dishes that satisfy all, and I also have some quick and easy stand-bys for when I don’t have a lot of time: TVP Tacos, TVP Spaghetti, Chili…

It doesn’t hurt living near LA, where the vegan restaurants are plentiful! Although technically, I live in the Beach Cities, so the main place we have is the Veggie Grill (which is great, I just don’t want to go there everyday.)

All in all, I find it very easy being vegan. I don’t see ever changing for any reason. If I don’t need to eat animals to survive… to thrive, why would I?

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Coachella is here!

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Coachella is nearly here & I can hardly contain my excitement. Beginning last year (& for the rest of my life), I will be camping at Coachella, which means no hotel with a kitchen so I need to locate all of the vegan friendly trucks, stands and carts that I will be dining at throughout the weekend. I also bring some of my own food, but sometimes a PB&J sandwich or vacuum packed Indian food just doesn’t cut it (or I don’t feel like walking all the way to the campsite.)

I just downloaded the Coachella Official app & it’s got a great listing of all of the food vendors that will be at the fest this year.  You can sort them by Name (A-Z) or type of vendor & the app gives a description of where in the festival or campground the vendor is located. I’m bummed that Coolhaus is in the VIP area.

VEGAN:
118 Degrees: Vegan & Raw (Between Outdoor/Gobi & VIP White Peaks)
Strictly Vegan: Vegan Jamaican (Terrace West) <– I will be here
Tantes: Strips, Fries, Knish, Shwarma (Between Outdoor/Gobi & Terrace South)

VEGETARIAN:
Cali-Pop Culture: Kettle Corn & Shaved Ice (Terrace North)
Certified Farmers Market: Local produce, juices, baked goods, coffee & snacks, 7am to 2pm (Lot 8 Near Clubhouse)
Junior Corn: Corn on the Cob (Terrace South)
West Coast Island Noodles: Eats (Between Man/Outdoor)

FOOD TRUCKS:
(I tweeted each of these with the hashtag #Veganchella)
Wicked Kitchen @WickedKitchn – “No vegan, we do have a vegetarian option… ‘I Pity the Tofu’
Lime Truck @thelimetruck – (I had bok choy from here last year, yum!  They also said they can make other vegan dishes if you ask.)
Kogi @kogibbq – ” Just ask at the window!
Joe’s Pizza @JoesPizzaTruck
Mangler’s Meltdown @PedleyMangler
Green Truck @GreenTruck – (The Classic Mother Trucker Vegan Burger is really good, I had that last year.)
Cravon @CravOnFries – “We’re cooked in olive oil & lightly dusted w/sea salt. 50% less fat. 100% great potato taste.
Border Grill @BorderGrill – “We can make vegan burritos and tacos if you ask for them.

Last year I created the Vegans Unite! group on the Coachella Message Boards.  Join me there, and follow @becahveg on Twitter.  I will be live tweeting (pending phone battery life) during weekend 2 using the hashtag #Veganchella.

Santa Monica Food Truck Lot

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So, I recently started working in Santa Monica on Tuesdays, and for the past two Tuesdays on my way home I have been smelling the most amazing food as I passed the California Heritage Museum. It turns out that I was smelling the weekly Santa Monica Food Trucks Lot, which happens Tuesday nights from 5-10pm at the corner of Main St and Ocean Park (2612 Main St 90405). Of course I decided to email all of the trucks on the calendar this week, and this is what I have gotten back so far:

Asian Cravings: “Thanks for checking us out! Yes, we do have a vegetarian curry with jasmine rice. The curry is also vegan. Hope to see you next week!”
Bool BBQ: “Yes! We have a delicious Bibimbap Bowl we could do with our tofu. It’s awesome”
Surfer Taco: “Well we just have a veggie burrito or tacos (rice, beans, onios, cilantro, lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and salsa)”
Cali Banh mi: “Thanks for reaching out to us.  We most certainly do have Vegan options.  We make a fantastic vegan tofu that is great in the spring rolls with a peanut dipping sauce.  I wish that the bread were fully vegan but it does have a bit of butter in it.  We also offer a bun salad that is not listed on the menu, but we run as a special from time to time.  It consists of rice noodles with veggies and can be topped with a protein of your choice (in your case tofu).  When ordering with us please let the cashier know that you would like the peanut sauce as we have two sauce options, and one alternate sauce has fish sauce in it.”
India Jones
Lobsta Truck
Romolo’s Cuisine
Gourmet Genie: {Gourmet Genie let me know that they were double booked this week & will not be there until NEXT week} “Thank you for contacting us, yes we carry several vegan options. Please visit our website to check out our menu at gourmetgenietogo.com” (From what I can tell, that would include: 5-Star Eggplant Caviar, Falafel, Homemade Cabbage Salad, Warm Couscous w/ Magic Spices, Homemade Hummus, Garlic Fries, Stuffed Grape Leaves, Falafel Pita Wrap & Homemade Hummus Pita Wrap)
Meet n’ Potatoes: “Thanks for the inquiry. We have fries, and that may be about it. Sorry.”
Sweet Arleen’s: “No I’m sorry we do not offer vegan at this time.”

I will be having the veggie curry, bibimbap bowl, veggie burrito & tofu spring rolls.  OK, maybe not, but I am going to try to order as much as possible, and I’ll share the leftovers with the boy when I get home.  I just noticed on the @SMFoodtrucklot Twitter that they are offering a $5 coupon if you pay with Kuapay Mobile.

VERDICT: I ordered the Curry from Asian Cravings ($8) & the Bibimbap Bowl from Bool ($9).  Both were very good, and filling.  I like the container that the curry came in, because I ended up bringing it home to share with the boy (30 min+) & it was still warm when I got here. I have to say though that the bibimbap was my favorite.  It had rice, julienned carrots, spinach & bean sprouts.  The seasoning was subtle, but oh so good!  I will definitely be back!

I paid with Kupay.  They had a booth set up and at least 3 reps walking around helping people with the app.  They even gave me an extra dollar off, so I got $6 off my food.

Microwave popcorn for vegans!

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Some time back, me & the bf went over to a friends place for movie night. He, knowing that we are vegan, had purchased some snacks that he thought we could eat. He, not being vegan, didn’t know about all of the mystery ingredients that come from animals that many manufacturers feel the need to put in their products. Milk, whey, casein… and the ever mysterious “natural flavors.” This is when I discovered that microwave popcorn is not usually so vegan-friendly.

The following day, I decided to go to the grocery store and take a look for myself. I couldn’t find one brand/variety that was definitively vegan. So I went home and did some Internet research. I found lots & lots of recipes for DIY microwave popcorn, including the paper bag method which I have adopted as my go-to method since.

  • Take a quarter cup of popcorn kernels & place them in a paper lunch bag
  • Fold over the top a few times securely & place in the microwave on its side
  • Set the timer for 2 minutes (like any microwave popcorn, you need to listen for the pops to slow… indicating doneness)
  • Eat as is or mist with olive oil & sprinkle with salt (I like to grind my salt in a coffee bean grider to make it into a really fine dust.) Shake the bag to coat all popcorn & eat!

I haven’t found the right way to apply a buttery substance (Earth Balance, or my preference: Smart Balance w/ Flax), because it always makes the popcorn mushy & damp… yuck! I have however experimented with other spices instead of, or in addition to, salt. My favorites: Old Bay or Cayenne Pepper… yum!

Popcorn for vegans!

Recently, the bf went on a trip for work. When he travels, he is always looking for quick meals & snacks that he can make in the hotel room, since usually he only has access to a fridge & microwave. On this last trip he found Pop Secret Sea Salt. It’s only ingredients are: Whole Grain Popcorn, Palm Oil, Sea Salt & TBHQ (I love short lists of ingredients!) Now, the paper bag method is certainly healthier, as TBHQ (while vegan) is not the best thing to put in your body… but if you are not in the mood to pick up paper bags, popcorn kernals, salt & spices and assemble them yourself, this is the next best thing. Enjoy!

Finally!

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I was just thinking about my BCHVEG license plates yesterday… wondering if they would EVER arrive since the DMV cashed my (second) check on November 7th.  Well…. when I checked my mail today, there they were, all shiny & beautiful.  I took them down to Sofi (my Smart Car) & put them on immediately!  See…

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I guess I need to get serious about this blog now, since I am officially the Beach Veg*n.  So you tell me… what would you like to see here?  My Recipes?  Recipes I’ve tried? South Bay restaurant reviews?  Surviving in a non-Veg*n world?  Regular weekly features?  I’ll be coming up with a plan this week, so keep your eyes here & on my Twitter page @BeachVeg!

Veggie Roll at the Let’s Roll It Truck

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Veggie Roll from the Let's Roll It Truck

Veggie Roll from the Let's Roll It Truck

I was headed out to 1st Thursday ArtWalk in San Pedro last night to check out a show put on at The Loft by some friends in the Redondo Beach Art Group & I noticed on the 1st Thursday website that they had a map of the food trucks that would be there.  Loving food trucks as I do, I thought I would do a little research & see who had what.

Since I am a recent vegan (6 months this Sunday) and there were no all-vegan trucks coming to the event, I emailed/Tweeted/Facebooked all of the trucks that were scheduled to be there & out of 11, 6 responded.  Out of those 6, 4 had vegan options.

I decided to try the veggie roll recommended by the Let’s Roll It Truck on Twitter, in response to my inquiry.  They said, “Yes we have our veggie roll. It’s very good! Cucumbers, avocados, carrots, asian pickled radish, with our sweet teriyaki sauce.”  They were right… it is VERY GOOD!  There are very few things I miss after going vegan, but one is sushi.  I know that there are all-vegan sushi restaurants in LA, but I haven’t made it to them yet & the veggie sushi at Whole Foods has honey in it… really WF?!!  Anyway, I ordered the veggie roll without sauce & it was great… perfect… why would anyone even need fish (I’m serious!)  Plus, it is only $6, and most of the other rolls (& anything on many other trucks) were $9… bargain!

I emailed Let’s Roll It today to get a little more information & found out that the salad they serve on the side has masago (fish eggs).  I didn’t have any, because the roll was more than satisfying.  Also, the sauces that by default come on the roll are not vegan. The wasabi mayo, obviously, has mayo & the Teriyaki has fish extract.  Just order it without sauce & put some soy sauce on it, it’s delicious!  They were more than accommodating in all of their communications & seem open to suggestions.  They clearly are very customer centered, which is how it should be.  I will be visiting Let’s Roll It again in the future.

I ❤ Food Trucks!

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I love a good food truck, so I thought it would be fitting to do a little write up on the food trucks I encounter & which ones are safe for me (us) to order from.  There are, of course, the trucks/stands that I have been wanting to try: Seabirds & Frankenstand.  However, they don’t really come to the South Bay, and I have yet to venture north or south to see what they are all about.  That being said, I have decided to start with an event that I will be attending this week… 1st Thursday ArtWalk in San Pedro.  There will be 11 food trucks there this month, and I have reached out to each of them to find out what vegan treats they have in store.  Here is this months 1st Thursday Food Trucks line-up:

Nom Nom Truck: “Our bread, tortillas and tofu is vegan.  We also have Mushroom Pate coming back (next week though) stop byyy!” (Ask for no mayo if you get the Bánh mì)
Dim Sum Truck: “We have vegetarian dumplings that are steamed with carrots, peas, and cabbage! I believe that is our only vegan option.”
Shrimp Pimp: “I could do a veggie Po boy.”
Let’s Roll It: “We have our veggie roll. It’s very good!  Cucumbers, avocados, carrots, asian pickled radish, with our sweet teriyaki sauce”
Grilled Cheese Truck
Lobsta Truck
India Jones
Great Balls On Tires
Lake Street Creamery: “No I’m sorry – its all dairy right now. We do sorbets once in a while but don’t have any this week.”
OG Tempura: “as of now, we have no vegan option, but I will try and brain storm something…..”
Waffles de Liege: NO vegan options

The Redondo Beach Art Group (which I am a member of) will be presenting “California Coastal” at The Loft Studios on South Mesa Street, between 4th & 5th Street. Stop by and have a look, the galleries are open from 6 to 9 pm.