Thursday, May 12, 2016

Plant-based in the 4-1-2

The Steel City. My hometown. Although I no longer live in da 'Burgh, I make sure to visit on the reg. Pittsburgh has seriously stepped up its vegan game over the last five years. New joints are popping up all over the city offering plant-based options from burgers and pizza, to cultural favorites like pierogies and bratwurst. In fact, there are so many new vegan spots that I haven't yet even tried them all! Of the spots I have hit up, these are my favs.

Fortuitea                              B52                           Mad Mex                        Burgatory
The Beehive                 Amazing Cafe                   Franktuary                         Zenith           
Square Cafe                Double Wide Grill                 Mandy's                           

Tofu Scramble at B52
"Chicken" Parm hoagie at Mandy's
Vegan burger on Focaccia at Burgatory
Millet Meatloaf at Fortuitea
Divine Bowl at Amazing Cafe

For a comprehensive list of vegan joints in Pittsburgh, go HERE.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Sam's Natural — Exclusive Offer for Vegan Man Cave Readers

True confession number one: I rarely wear deodorant. Maybe it's my genes, maybe it's my diet, but I swear my pits don't stink. I stopped using it after learning how many harmful chemicals are in most drug store antiperspirants (and after reading that suave personified, Matthew McConaughey, never touches the stuff). However, there are certain occasions when I can't risk reeking, so having an all-natural, vegan deodorant at the ready is a must in the Man Cave.

Sam's Natural offers an exceptional lineup of manly-scented deodorants that are 100% vegan, made in America (USA! USA!) and loaded with all-natural ingredients, like arrow root, aloe vera and essential oils. I recently swiped a stick of Sam's Natural Tobacco Deo under arms and was surprised by its awesome aroma. Don't let the name fool you, you won't smell like a dingy highway casino when you rock the Tobacco, instead, you'll emit the sweetness of cherry-flavored pipe tobacco, just like your grandpappy does.

If the Tobacco Deo isn't your jam, there are several scents to choose from, including Leather, Cedar, Sandalwood and even a scent for the ladies. Take it from me, Sam's Natural deodorants help you fight BO while smelling like a gentleman, not a frat boy (see Axe body spray). To borrow a phrase, I don't always wear deodorant, but when I do, it's Sam's Natural.

True confession number two: I have the oiliest skin on planet Earth. Seriously, I challenge anyone to produce more grease through your pores than I do. I think it's called combination skin, because it's a combination of gross and disgusting. As a result, I have to wash my face several times a day to keep from looking like I just crawled out of a deep fryer. I've tried all kinds of soaps, but I'm telling you guys, Sam's Natural Charcoal Face Soap is legit the most effective soap I've ever used to combat the oil.

This hockey puck-looking round of bamboo charcoal contains zero sulfurs, zero parabens and zero artificial anything. Cold-processed and loaded with all-natural oils and extracts, Sam's Natural Charcoal Soap totally tightened my pores after the first face wash. I've been using it for a week now and haven't had a single breakout, which is unheard of for me.

I'm pretty stoked that I've finally found a line of vegan personal care products that not only work with my skin, but are also artisan-made with men in mind. That's why I want to pass along this exclusive offer to all my readers. From now until January 31, 2016, you can save 10% on any Sam's Natural purchase of $20 or more by entering coupon code "VMC10" at checkout. Sam's Naturals has a great selection of products, such as soaps, deodorants, lip balms, beard and mustache wax, candles and you can even pick up a Sam's Natural gift card, which would make a most excellent stocking stuffer this holiday.

Head over to and man up your hygiene. I'm sure you'll become a loyal customer, just like this dude right here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Jackalo Box

Receiving a Jackalo Box is like cracking open a care package from someone who totally gets you. Carefully curated to deliver a unique sampling of artisan vegan foodstuffs right to your doorstep, a Jackalo Box comes loaded with 5-6 animal-free items tied around a common theme. October’s theme of “Feasting in Brooklyn,” includes products from what is arguably NYC's raddest neighborhood. Here's a quick rundown:
Lime Leaf Sambal — 
Auria’s Malaysian Kitchen
This sambal brings the heat. Full of flavor and perfect for chip-dippin’, slathering on a sammy or, as I did, tossing into a tofu scramble. Tip: Have a cold beverage near by. 

Spiced Apple Syrup — Morris Kitchen
Add a few drops to a mug of hot water, fresh lemon juice and cinnamon for a sweet start to your morning or mix some syrup with a few snorts of Kentucky bourbon for a smooth nightcap.

Spicy Syrup — Trees Knees
Spicy and sweet and perfect when drizzled over a warm vegan biscuit. Also good to go on top of pizza, salads and whatever the hell you want jazz up with some sweet heat.

We Rub You Korean BBQ Marinade — Ann and Janet Chung
Still waiting for the right time to bust out this marinade, but it's Korean BBQ sauce, so how can it not be good?

Pistachio & Cherry Jubilee Granola — Early Bird
Straight up awesome granola, in fact, it’s possibly the best I’ve ever tasted. The olive oil and salt really bring out the sweetness of the dried cherries and maple syrup.  Ate the whole bag in less than 24 hours. No shame in my game. 

Orange Candy — Cracked Candy
Not a big candy dude, so honestly, I haven’t even opened these yet. May gift them to a candyless friend.

I’m really impressed with my first Jackalo Box and look forward to seeing what items will be offered in November. And take it from your boy, with the holidays coming, a Jackalo Box subscription would make a fun gift, even for the non-vegans in your life. Hit them up at to place your order. Jackalo Box offers monthly, six-month or full year subscriptions and you can cancel at any time. 

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 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.