June 2010 Archives

Fuck you, Kogi.

kogi_logo_blk.pngI have very little experience with the Kogi food trucks. I know they're popular, I know the food is apparently pretty good, and I know they've got some vegan options. They're the darling of the new truck-based gourmet movement, and Food Network can't stop talking about them. Doing some research, it seems they bill themselves as natural food, made with love by the children of immigrants.

That's cool. I like good "natural" food. I also like to know what's in my food, both in terms of ingredients and calories.

For this, the Kogi folks think I'm a Nazi (no, really, they use the word "Nazi").

This post caught my eye today. For the "tl;dr" among you, it basically says that our food is so good, so awesome, and is made with so much love that we're not going to tell you how many calories it has. In fact, just the fact that you ask us nicely about the calories fills us with rage. How dare you - you wouldn't ask your grandma about it, because she's awesome too. Just the fact that you ask means you're comparing us to lowly fast food, and that's insulting, and you're a horrible person. So stop caring about calories, all you need to know is we're awesome.

(Interpretation mine. I find the original post even more insulting than what I wrote, however.)

Yeah, Kogi - fuck you.

People eat for different reasons, and lots of people, on lots of different kinds of diets (both weight-loss and health related) NEED to know the calories, sodium, or other chemistry-related aspects of their food. Otherwise, they have to skip it. Yes, they want "natural" food. Yes, they want their food to come from good sources. But they need to know this information so they know which of your items they can enjoy, or which they have to portion out and share with friends.

This goes beyond calories. Folks on restricted sodium diets have to know what they're eating. Others need to know how much fat is in their food. Contrary to your idealistic and insulting blog post, these people aren't bound by a "Nazi straight jacket" of nutritional information listings, they just want to know what's in their food - otherwise, they can't eat it at all.

You're growing, Kogi. You've got four trucks and your Culver City kitchen. You're getting national exposure, and people line up for hours to get a taco. That means, eventually, that you'll have to grow up too, and stop insulting people who want to eat your food.

Social Media Day/food truck event

Wednesday, June 30 is Social Media Day - and while that sounds amazingly niche and pretentious, I'm totally going and totally looking forward to it. Luckily for me, my employer is hosting a Social Media Day/food truck event from 3pm-6pm - there'll be guest speakers, little workshops, and a bunch of local food trucks, including Seabirds (vegan/organic) and Piaggio On Wheels (which comes highly recommended).

If you're in or around Santa Ana, stop on by and say hello!

Wanted: "Authentic" Mexican food in Orange County

veggiemex.jpgAlmost exactly two years ago (while writing at Liberal Atheist Vegetarian), I set out to find the best vegetarian Mexican food in OC. Judging the difference between a good enchilada platter and a bad one is the easy part - the real challenge is actually finding "authentic"-style restaurants that are vegetarian friendly. From the original post:

I'm looking for the best Mexican restaurants in (and around -- I'm willing to make a short drive) Orange County. They can be large chain restaurants, small mom-and-pop places, fast food, even non-traditional styles. Where do you like to eat?

There are a few rules. All of the base ingredients must be vegetarian. This includes the beans, rice, tortillas (corn and flour), and chips. They must use vegetarian cooking oil, and there should be something vegetarian on the menu beyond a bean and cheese burrito. If you're not sure, suggest a place and I'll do the research.

These don't have to be all-vegetarian restaurants - in fact, I'd kinda prefer if they weren't. I'm looking for a good Socal-style Mexican restaurant experience that I can share with my meat-eating friends, but where I'm not limited by ingredients. 

So I need your help. Throw out ideas of locations you like to eat - either places you already know about, or somewhere that looks promising. I'll compile results (with a breakdown of both their vegetarianness and tastiness) and list them here. If you're interested, I'd even like to go out to your favorite places with you, so there's a meetup aspect to this as well.

What's good?

Gardein, Gardein everywhere!

crispy_tenders_295x35052.jpgIt's interesting what a difference a year can make. When I stopped regularly posting to TofuFighting last August, the only place I'd seen Gardein brand meat substitutes was at Fresh and Easy and Whole Foods - they sell little two-to-three serving packets of pre-seasoned fake meats, in "beef" and "chicken" varieties. Easily one of the best-tasting products out there (though some of the flavors didn't appeal to me), and the consistancy is the most reminisant of meat that I've had (especially the chicken).

Fast foward to today. Gardein is everywhere:

Chipotle is serving Gardein as "Garden Blend" at select stores in New York, Washington DC, and California, and last week expanded to include many of their Los Angeles-area locations (sorry OC and the IE, none for us, yet). I tried it last week, and found it a bit dry - it didn't have the flavor I expected (and had heard about). I'm more than willing to give it another try.

The Yard House, a generally west-coast brewpub restaurant, is serving Gardein as a replacement for meat in almost all of their menu items. Some vegans are freaking out because the menu items themselves aren't vegan, but still, to have a vegan replacement that's not just a veggie burger is amazing to me. Right now it's available at their Irvine location, but it should go company-wide later this year.

Select Costco locations are now selling large bags of Gardein Crispy Tenders (fake chicken tenders) for $9.99 for 40 pieces. As is often the case with Costco, not all locations carry it, and it will likely disappear at some point as well. Keep buying it, and it may not. Such are the whims of Costco.

I'm sure it's found its way to other locations as well, but three major chains, in the space of a few months, is a fairly impressive feat for a vegan product. The best part is that it's actually good. I'm hoping more places jump on this bandwagon.


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When I put TofuFighting.com on hiatus, I hadn't given a lot of thought to what would bring me back - Sometimes when I get tired of a pursuit, I never find it again. But I'm starting to miss regular food writing, and having a place to put down ideas, highlight new restaurants, and promote vegetarian food I love.

So I guess I'm relaunching.

I don't have a hard timetable about how often I'll post, or even what I'll post about, but there's a lot happening out there. And some topics (like vegetarian Mexican food - see my post below) keep coming back to haunt me, so I'm sure we'll see some themes. If you want to see all my updates, follow me on twitter (veggiefoodblog) or subscribe to my RSS feed. I'm looking forward to being back - thanks for reading!

Cover Story

vnanewsletter.jpgHello Readers! A quick update to let you all know that yours truly has the cover story on this month's Vegetarian Network of Austin newsletter, "Austin Vegetarian Living". It's about how to eat vegetarian/vegan at Mexican restaurants (and how difficult it can be).

I'm hoping to start posting here more, with links to other great blogs and original stuff. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

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