Saturday, December 20, 2014

Aloha! Thanksgiving in Maui, HI

Maui is a magical place, my friends, where natural beauty, peacefulness and crazy delicious vegan food abound. This was my first trip to the islands and I feared I'd have nothing to eat. Boy, was I wrong! Here are the scenic and gastric highlights of The Vegan Man Cave's Thanksgiving vacation in Hawaii.

We stayed at the Kapalua Villas on the northwest coast of Maui. Woke up to this view every morning. No biggie.

 




Finding plant-based grub was a breeze. I had at least five solid options within 10 miles of the resort, and one tasty option right on site -- The Ritz- Carlton. The awesome Chef April whipped me up a hefty vegan brunch that included a tofu scramble, hash browns, gluten-free flapjacks and a well-spiked Bloody Mary. Chef went above and beyond to accommodate my vegan requests, and she even makes her own pickles for the buffet!






On day two, we hit the long and windy road to Haleakala, the volcano responsible for putting Maui on the map. 10,000 feet in the air, high above the clouds. 


10,000 feet is high, and you know what happens when you're high: munchies! At the bottom of Haleakala is a town called Paia. It's where Willie Nelson lives and it's a vegan, surfer, hippy paradise. We chowed at Flatbread Co. For real, one of the best pizzas I've ever eaten - tomato, caramelized onion, mushroom, local spinach and garlic oil. 


Less than 15 minutes from our villa is the town of Lahaina. The main drag is loaded with restaurants, shops, Mick Fleetwood's joint and a killer gelato shop called Ono Gelato.  Ono has a huge non-dairy selection. I opted for the double chocolate. #DoubleYummy 


Maybe it's just a Hawaii thing, or maybe I'm just late to the party, but acai bowls are a huge deal there and I'd never had one before. Put an end to that right quick at Choice Health Bar in Lahaina. The staff there is super rad and their offerings are all natural. This was a most excellent start to the morning.  


Also on the west side of Maui is Maui Brewing Company. They've got a nice selection of craft beer and a few vegan items on the menu. The vegan burger was very good, I think. I came down with a stuffy nose that night and my taste buds were most definitely compromised. The homemade spicy ketchup is badass! 


Our villa came equipped with a full kitchen, so shopping was in order. These two vegan-friendly grocery stores are stocked with everything you'll need for a vegan feast at home. Farmers Market in Lahaina was my favorite. They have a mini hot bar with tasty vegan options and a refrigerator full of vegan treats. Down to Earth is two minutes from the Maui airport, and should be your first stop on the way to your hotel/resort. 



The only bummer of the trip was that we had to leave, but there's no doubt Maui is a part of us now and we'll be back very, very, very soon. Mahalo for reading! 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan Giveaway

It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan is the quintessential handbook for anyone ready to make the leap to a plant-based lifestyle. Author, founder of YummyPlants.com and fellow Pittsburgher, Rebecca Gilbert, has done a bang-up job on this simple-to-read, quick-to-digest vegan beginner's guide. The book is bursting with important facts, delicious recipes, a weekly menu plan and helpful advice, like suggestions on which clutch items to keep in your pantry and what to nosh on when traveling.

Now you can WIN A COPY of IT'S EASY TO START EATING VEGAN! Enter The Vegan Man Cave's Plant-Strong Pittsburgh contest for your chance to snag the book. There are two ways to enter:

1. Leave a comment below with the words: Pittsburgh is Plant Strong! 
     or
2. Tweet/RT the words "Pittsburgh is Plant Strong!" and be sure to tag @theveganmancave @yummyplants  

Each entry will be assigned a number and a winner will be drawn at random. Contest ends Sunday, September 21 at midnight. Winner to be announced here and on Twitter Monday, September 22. 

Good luck, Yinz guys. And if you aren't the big winner, you can purchase a copy of It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan right here.

-----------UPDATE----------

And the winner of the Vegan Man Cave's Pittsburgh is Plant Strong contest is.... Amanda J!
Congratulations, Amanda. You've won a copy of Rebecca Gilbert's new book, It's Easy to Start Eating Vegan. Please shoot me your contact info and we'll get you out your prize asap.

Thanks to everyone who participated on Twitter and here on the blog. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Craft Culture Co.

Whiskers rejoice! Craft Culture Co. offers a line of men's grooming products to keep your face blanket shiny, soft and smelling like the forest. Cruelty-free, chemical-free and organic whenever possible, the ingredients in Craft Culture's beard and shaving oils can help moisturize and protect your skin from the elements, especially during the cold weather months ahead.

I have to admit, I have bad beard genes. None of the men in my family have ever been able to grow a thick, full beard. The best I can do is sprout patches here and there, mostly around the neck line. However, that doesn't stop me from caring for the precious few face follicles I do have. I've been massaging a few drops of Craft Culture Co. oil into my beard every day for the last few weeks, and it really has made an improvement. I've noticed my skin is less dry and my beard is less coarse, and I love the cedar-y, log cabin-y scent my beard emits from the combination of essential oils.


I'd recommend to you gents with fantastic beards that you grab a bottle or two of these Craft Culture Co. products before winter rolls around. For those who prefer the baby face look, Craft Culture Co. also makes a great shaving oil, using the same ingredients, that can help reduce and soothe the sting of nicks, cuts and razor bumps.

Craft Culture Co. hangs its hat on hand-making quality, all-natural and environmentally-conscious products. In addition to oils, CCC also carries styling waxes for hair and mustaches (non-vegan, contains beeswax), as well as fashionable accoutrements, like bow ties and pockets squares. In a crowded market of olde tyme gentleman's grooming products, Craft Culture Co. stands out with superior quality and excellent customer service. Keep them in mind when putting together your holiday shopping list this year. Craft Culture Co. products would make a swell gift for Dad, hubby, bro or boss. Visit Craft Culture Co. online HERE.


     

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tiabi Coffee & Waffle Bar - Las Vegas, NV

Who doesn't love waffles? If someone tells you they don't, they're fucking lying. Thankfully there's now a spot in Sin City where we plant-based eaters can get our fix hot off the iron. It's called Tiabi Coffee & Waffle Bar and it's the business (to borrow a friend's catchphrase).

While the menu is not full-on vegan, there are enough dairyless options to get the waffle party started. For breakfast, you can ingest a vegan waffle with choice of fruit toppings or opt for the Churronimo (vegan waffle tossed in cinnamon and sugar) or the Viva Las Elvis (vegan waffle topped with bananas, peanut butter, almonds and agave). I dropped in for lunch and ordered the Guru Burger (vegan patty, tomato, arugula and guru sauce on a warm waffle) and an Avocado Dream smoothie (avocado, almond milk, agave, vanilla).

The smoothie was just kind of meh, but the burger tasted great. Not sure what's in that guru sauce, but it's downright addicting. I may never eat a sandwich that isn't served on a waffle ever again! You can add a side of housemade chips if you're feeling extra naughty or order one of Tiabi's additional vegan offerings, such as a vegan salad, specialty coffee drink or a fruit smoothie. I will be back soon to wrap my lips 'round that Churronimo.

Tiabi is located in the Target strip mall on the corner of Flamingo Road and Maryland, not too far from the strip. Definitely don't try walking it in the summer. You'll die in the 111 degree heat and no waffle is worth your life.

Remember, my best advice to vegans planning a Vegas vacation is to rent a car while you're there. Having wheels in Sin City opens up a world of plant-based food options. Trust me, it's worth the extra scratch, and besides, a few decent hands of Blackjack will more than cover the rental cost.  

Friday, June 20, 2014

Men's Grooming Box - Vegan Cuts

Listen up, fellas. Grooming just got easier with help from your friends at Vegan Cuts. Introducing the limited-edition Men’s Grooming Box — a full-on arsenal of manscaping products that’ll have you stylin’ and profilin’ at work, at home or at play. Hand-selected by Joshua Katcher, the dashing dude behind The Discerning Brute, this cruelty-free collection launches a four-pronged attack on your face, scalp, pits and pocket. Take a look at what’s inside.

- Bulldog Skincare Face Wash
- Formulary 55 Mr. Mustachio Shave Oil
- The Fanciful Fox Facial Serum
- Schmidt's Cedarwood & Juniper Deodorant 
- Relucir Shampoo
- Stitch and Locke Wallet 
As someone who washes his face on the reg, I’m very particular about my facial soaps. I want one that doesn’t dry out my skin and delivers a thick lather. Bulldog nails it. Made with green tea and essential oils, this stuff blasts your face with antioxidants to leave it feeling so fresh and so clean.

The Relucir shampoo is… well, it’s shampoo. Much like wine, I can’t tell the difference between a good bottle and a lousy one. I do know that Relucir is cruelty-free and made with botanical extracts and other flowery-sounding stuff. Oh, and it doesn't have a fragrancy smell, which I like. That’s all I really need to know. If you’re a shampoo aficionado, give this one a lather.  

The Fanciful Fox Facial Serum packs a punch of vitamins and minerals to help moisturize and soften your mug. I was hesitant to try it at first, because I don’t like feeling oily, but after a few minutes, the serum absorbed and my face felt smooth and pliable. It comes in a 2oz bottle and a dab or two is all it takes. 
 
Schmidt’s deodorant doesn’t look like deodorant. It comes in a walnut-sized jar like lip balm and is more of a cream than the chalky white clump you’re used to using. With its non-deodorant vibe, it works like a champ despite only having to swipe a streak across your underarm. Best of all, its aluminum-free, smells like the woods and is oddly fun to apply. I will be purchasing more of this for sure.

Here’s the thing with the Mr. Mustachio Shave Oil, straight up, I rarely shave. I prefer the scruffy look, plus I resemble a Simpsons character when my face is shorn, so I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. However, the next time an occasion, such as a business meeting or a wedding, requires pulling out the razor and going to town, Mr. Mustachio has me well prepared.

You might be wise to this Stitch & Locke wallet if you’re a Kickstarter junkie. It’s constructed of denim and cork and is slim enough to slide in your front pant pocket without bulging. (Insert pants bulge joke here). I’ve been using a similar wallet from Fossil for the last few years, but this one has it beat. The notched-out corner makes removing your plastic super easy and the denim pouch is big enough to hold a few hundy (or a three pack of magnums).  

The Men’s Grooming Box from Vegan Cuts makes an excellent gift for you or one of your bros. Remember, gents, this is a limited-edition box, so get ordering. Look and smell your best. The ladies will love it and you’ll be rolling with that GQ swagger.  

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Green Granary — New Milford, CT

Organic Breakfast Burrito - vegan style
There’s a cozy little joint in the quaint Connecticut town of New Milford where you can start your morning with a green juice, a vegan scramble and a friendly conversation with a local at the next table. If it had lady parts, I'd totally have a crush on it. It’s called the Green Granary and it’s a must stop on your next New England adventure. Owner Sandra Stetson and her staff serve up wicked delicious creations using organic, locally-sourced ingredients, and her passion for the meals she makes is as strong as her commitment to the farm-to-table movement.

I hit up the Granary this past weekend with my folks for breakfast and was simply blown away. First up, the organic breakfast burrito — spinach, caramelized onions and peppers made vegan by subbing marinated tofu, soy sausage and Daiya cheddar. It comes with an organic side salad that pops with fresh fruit and house-made vinaigrette. To drink, I ordered a beet-carrot-celery-apple juice. The Granary offers other vegan breakfast options as well and a nice lunch spread that includes a veggie burger, hummus wrap and vegan soups. Sandra surprised us at the end of breakfast with a sampling of what turned out to be hands down the BEST pumpkin bars I have ever put in my face hole — a killer granola crust with a creamy pumpkiny top. No lie, these are legit amazing.
Best pumpkin bars EVER.

The Green Granary does serve mostly meat and dairy items, so your entire party is covered. However, Sandra let me know she’s about to revamp the menu to create a separate vegan page with additional plant-based options. She also shared news of plans to create a pressed juice bar inside the shop. Until the new menu is up and running though, if you call a day or two in advance, she will do her best to accommodate most of your vegan requests.

In a town with as many Dunkin Donuts as there are people, the Green Granary is a true New Milford treasure. It’s got charm, a very friendly staff, and like many other organic-leaning establishment across the country, stands on the forefront of a major shift in how we eat and how we look at food.  You know pesticides are toxic. You know eating produce that’s been traveling in a refrigerated truck all week from a farm 1,000 miles away contributes to destroying the environment. You know that a whole food breakfast is better for you than one loaded with artificial additives and preservatives. So get your bee-hinds down to  the Green Granary and support a business that is making a difference, where the focus is on quality, farm-fresh meals prepared by caring hands, not a microwave.

The Green Granary
84 Railroad Street
New Milford, CT 06776
(860) 799-7405
greengranary.com 

Great vibe. Vegan girl cave?

The right side of the tracks.

Did I mention the awesome baked goods?

Sandra Stetson and me, Andre the giant. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Sage Vegan Bistro - Culver City, CA

Sage Vegan Bistro brings the noise with a menu of delicious plant-based items, a rotating selection of craft suds and a welcoming vibe that makes eating vegan both tasty and accessible. I rolled in to the Culver City location for brunch and ordered the BLTA with a side of breakfast potatoes. Guess what? The BLTA is served on a croissant — a croissant, Jerry! And because I'm such a gluttonous pig, I also ordered the gluten-free waffle with REAL maple syrup. To wash it down, I tipped back a pint of Bison chocolate stout, one of over 16 vegan beers on tap. (Sage offers cocktails as well, and every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday. Order a shot of Tequila and get a free taco. What a deal!)

Sage Vegan Bistro is a glimpse into the future, where vegan restaurants are no longer patchouli-smelling dives hidden away in sketchy, hipster neighborhoods, but shimmering storefronts perfectly at home next to a Bed, Bath and Beyond in suburbia. This joint is clean, the staff is friendly and they offer a freezer full of dairy-free delights from Kind Kreme. Sage is an excellent place to take your non-vegan and vegan-curious peeps; they'll surely find something to enjoy. I can't wait to go back and sample the rest of their menu, especially their amazing-looking soft pretzel. Sage has two locations: Culver City and Echo Park. Hit up their website for deets. www.sageveganbistro.com.