Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Fortuitea — Washington, PA

Maybe tea cups, doilies and fine porcelain china don’t fit your idea of a manly dining experience, but one mouthful of the mega-tasty meals at Fortuitea in Washington, Pennsylvania, and you’ll fully embrace your inner fancy boy.

Fortuitea is a cozy little joint with a bed & breakfast vibe that specializes in loose leaf teas, exotic coffees and 100% plant-based comfort foods. Owners Tiffany Ford and Jeffrey Hirsh have truly created a vegan oasis in the Steel City with a menu that includes soups, salads, sandwiches, entrees, pizzas and desserts. Fortuitea, as the name implies, is also a wonderland for tea aficionados.

Hirsh and co-chef Susan Ford are making a splash in the Pittsburgh foodie scene with meals like the Open-faced Millet Meatloaf & Gravy sandwich. Served on home-baked challah bread and topped with tomato, smashed potatoes and coconut bacon bits, this sandwich is culinary-quality home cookin' that will blow the socks off of even your staunchest meat-eating friends.

The soups at Fortuitea are also works of art. Take the Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Kale Chili; spicy, chunky and delicious. It comes with a slice of cornbread that’s so incredibly addicting, you’ll want to take home an entire tin of it. If you still have room for dessert, order up a mug of joe and a slice of Oreo cashew cream cheesecake, or grab a dozen snickerdoodle cookies to go.

Fortuitea is one of the best-kept secrets in Pittsburgh. Honestly, it’s the kind of joint that, if located in a larger city, like Los Angeles or New York, people would wait outside of for hours just to get a table (especially if it were to consider serving Sunday brunch). I really want this place to be a part of Pittsburgh for a long time, so whether you're a local, in on business or just need some hearty sustenance in between poker games at the Meadows Casino up the street, go support this restaurant. Pinky up!

1445 Washington Road
Washington, PA 15301

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Gracias Madre — West Hollywood, CA

From the people who brought you Cafe Gratitude, it's Gracias Madre! — an all-vegan Mexican restaurant on the border of Beverly Hills. Featuring an all-star brunch cast, including the delicious Biscuits & Gravy...

...the voluptuous Chimichanga, with smoked tomato sauce, tempeh chorizo, black beans and potatoes...

...Madre Maria, a mezcal-spiked Bloody Mary, as the wacky next door neighbor...

 ...and the sinfully sexy Apple Cobbler dripping with vanilla bean coconut ice cream.

Don't miss what The Vegan Man Cave is calling, "A plant-based eater's wet dream."
Stuff your face in a super cool space. Visit Gracias Madre today!

Gracias Madre
8905 Melrose Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90069

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. What a dump.

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, hippie 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! 
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.


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.