Monday, April 19, 2010

Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery

Who: VN Managing Editor Elizabeth Castoria, VegWebmistress Laura Hooper Beck, and three honorary VN staffers
What: Northern California's first all-vegan bakery!
Where: Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery, Sacramento, Calif.
When: April 18, 2010
Why: The reason why we do most things: awesome vegan food

The Scoop: Maybe you've never considered the California state capital to be a "destination" city. Perhaps you've heard that it's not as glamorous as Napa, not as hip as San Francisco, and not as savvy as San Jose. Maybe you are wrong, dead wrong. On a recent staycation Sunday, a few brave adventurers—namely Laura, Peter, Khane, Cal, and yours truly—made our way up highway 80 to Sactown.

The case o' greatness at Sugar Plum Vegan Bakery

First of all, it was a gorgeous day, which always helps when falling in love with a new city. Second, we went straight for the good stuff—aka Sugar Plum. Having already thoroughly oggled the online menu, we were pleasantly surprised to arrive just as a batch of SPV's oversized cinnamon buns came out of the oven. Yes. We ordered two immediately.

Hello, cinnamon bun. Do you see that frosting?!

When the general excitement of the cinnamon smell abated long enough for us to be able to read again, we picked a tofu breakfast burrito, tempeh Reuben, and chef's salad. Um, let's talk for a second about Reubens, and why we should all eat one every day. It's because they are delicious, insanely so. SPV's version featured lightly toasted rye, crisp pickles, punchy sauerkraut, and perfectly flavored tempeh, all enveloped in vegan cheese and thousand island dressing. Heaven? Yes. Everything we ordered came out of the kitchen in record time, and was incredibly delicious. While we sat in the sun-drenched front patio and gorged, a steady line of eager diners marched into Sugar Plum, which we took as a good sign for the very recently opened eatery.

Tempeh Reuben. We could have eaten a dozen of these.

We easily could have eaten twice as much as we did, but only if we'd also thought to bring our extra stomachs with us. Instead, we took a leisurely (read: stuffed) stroll around the tree-lined neighborhood, sprawled for a while in a grassy park, stumbled upon Gluten Free Specialty Market—a totally gluten-free store, which carried a bunch of vegan goodies like the new retail packages of Daiya—and then headed back to SPV to pick up some sweet treats for the ride home. Among them were a chocolate cupcake with chocolate icing, an oatmeal-cookie sandwich, a burger (OK, that one's not-so sweet), and a cheddar biscuit. Amazing. Every last one. We are thrilled to announce that as soon as we convince the rest of the team, VegNews is officially moving to Sacramento. We're pretty sure the only convincing they'll need will be a taste of SVP's fantastic food.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Green Goodness

Who: VN Editorial Assistant Abigail Wick, VN Office Manager Lyndsay Orwig, and the rest of the VN crew
What: SF's first springtime Green Festival
Where: San Francisco's Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, Calif.
When: April 9–11, 2010
Why: The gathering of like minds for a good, old-fashioned green time

The Scoop: Last weekend, San Francisco hosted one of the country’s premier environmental-justice conferences, the Green Festival, sponsored in part by VegNews Magazine. This event marked the first spring iteration of the event, which is usually held just once per year in cities across the country. Despite the torrential deluge outdoors, inside the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, attendees created a warm, hospitable atmosphere. Some of the special guests included musical artist Chuck D of hip-hop group Public Enemy, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, Democracy Now journalist Amy Goodman, along with another 120 green speakers, educators, and activists.

Lyndsay and I handle the VegNews booth.

Three hundred and fifty eco-businesses erected booths and promoted all manner of goods and services. Sundry offerings included the homemade vegan corn dogs and garlic fries that Lyndsay and I devoured. Domestic items encompassed everything from green-manufactured, organic-cotton, screen printed dresses to soft hemp linens. Services ranged from a sustainable construction company to on-site, hour-long massages. Media purveyors varied from the local (Oakland-based anarcho publisher PM Press), to the progressive (Utne Magazine), to the prestigious (The New York Times). There was also a special sighting—Hollywood actor Danny Glover, a Bay Area local, came strolling through the Green Festival late Sunday afternoon.

VegNews' youngest (and shortest) fan!

All in all, the Green Festival was a fantastic event that brought sunlight to an otherwise wet, cold day in our City by the Bay.