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Vegan in Philadephia
Apr30

Vegan in Philadephia

I’d heard that Philadelphia is one of the great U.S. vegan-friendly cities, and it did not disappoint on my recent visit. Whether you are grabbing a quick bite in between sight-seeing or shopping, or looking for a place suited for a more romantic dinner, here’s my list of faves for the City of Brotherly Love. Special thanks to friends on the Cruelty-Free Faves Facebook page who offered up suggestions. Dinner Vedge Upscale, lively vegan tapas place. This place is such a treat, I decided to write a separate piece about the experience, just so I could include a bunch of tantalizing pictures from our meal. So check back at the end of this week for a full report on The Vedge. New Harmony All-vegan in Philadephia’s Chinatown. The atmosphere is casual, but the extensive menu (including mock meats) gets rave reviews. Once my husband Seth heard that there was a vegan dim-sum nearby, New Harmony became his destination of choice. Vegan pork buns, shrimp dumplings, sesame chicken. No surprise, I loved the steamed spinach dumplings. Vegan Philly Steaks Blackbird Pizzeria The first place we head to when we arrived — thanks to multiple suggestions. You can buy pizza by the slice here, and some of the combinations look absolutely delicious; but we were steered to the Seitan Cheesesteak and — what can I say? — it’s a must. I hear the Cubano sandwich is pretty amazing, too. We also sampled the chick pea “tuna” salad and cajun coleslaw, both delicious. Cupcakes from Vegan Treats available if you have room for dessert. Cool piece of trivia: the owner of Blackbird previously worked at Blossom in NYC. Hip City Veg Not far from Rittenhouse Square, Hip City Veg features an all plant-based menu. The burgers and sandwiches are soy and grain-based, but there are delicious salads on the menu, too. Of course, I had to try the Philly Steak — I loved all the grilled onions and tomato on Hip City’s version of the classic. Sweet potato fries with black bean chipotle and a vanilla shake (soy milk, soy ice cream) rounded out this highly indulgent meal. Thankfully, I’d been walking around all day… and did a lot more walking afterwards. Lunch Mi Lah (Dinner /Lunch) This vegan restaurant has a very tempting dinner menu: African Peanut Stew in Tomato Curry Sauce. Brazilan Seitan Feijoado with Pan Seared Red Curry. Grilled Oyster Mushrooms on Brandy-Tequila Tomato Sauce with Vegan Chorizo. Or how about Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Butternut Squash, and Potato Cashew Gratin in a Lemon Beurre Blanc? Next time I’m in town, I will be there for dinner. However, on this...

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Kezia’s Homemade Vegan Deviled Eggs
Apr23

Kezia’s Homemade Vegan Deviled Eggs

While I was in Los Angeles last month for The Genesis Awards, my husband Seth and I got together with friends Kezia and Gary for a wonderful dinner at their home. Kezia wowed us with these homemade vegan deviled eggs. As you can see in the picture, the resemblance to real deviled eggs is uncanny. BUT the real wow was when I bit into one. The texture and taste is unbelievably spot-on. The “white” really is like an egg white in its consistency — I never thought I’d have that experience in my mouth again! Even more impressive: the taste of the “yolk” — the secret ingredient is the black salt. Kezia sprinkled some in the palm of my hand just so I could fully appreciate it. This salt tastes just like eggs. So, find it online or at a local Indian market and prepare to be amazed. We ordered the black salt as soon as we landed back in Tucson and my husband Seth made a batch of these “eggs” (success!) on Easter Sunday. ingredients: 450 grams — about 2 cups — soy milk (unsweetened, unflavored) 2 tsp. agar agar powder 11/4 teaspoon black salt 215 grams tofu 2 tbl. Vegenaise 2-3 tbl. olive oil 1 tsp. mustard 1 tsp. white vinegar 3/4-1 tsp. black salt 1/2 tsp. tumeric 1/4 tsp. parsley (optional) 2-3 pinches curry (optional – but Kezia uses it, and it’s delicious) directions: Whites: Combine soy milk, agar agar, and 1/4 tsp. black salt. Boil and pour into egg tray (using it as a mold); if you don’t have an egg tray, you can use a cupcake pan and fill each one about 1/3 of the way. Once cooled (about 30 minutes in the fridge), you’ll scoop out a bit of the center of each. Creamy Yolk Filling: Mix remaining ingredients (including the remaining 3/4-1 tsp. black salt) in the food processor; using a pastry bag, pipe into the “whites.” To finish, we sprinkled ours with paprika. *Kezia credits La Gusta’s as the basis for this incredible...

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US VegWeek – Take the Pledge!
Apr17

US VegWeek – Take the Pledge!

My friends at Compassion Over Killing are always up to great things, including encouraging people to make better choices on behalf of animals. There are 52 weeks in a year. Why not make one of them vegetarian? That’s the idea behind US VegWeek, a nationwide campaign COK first launched in 2009, empowering thousands of people from coast to coast to pledge to choose vegetarian foods for at least seven days as a way to discover the many benefits and flavors of meat-free eating. This year’s US VegWeek, starting next Monday (Earth Day!), comes on the heels of a United Nations report urging the developed world to cut their meat intake in half in order to avoid continuing down a path leading to serious environmental damage. It couldn’t be easier to give meat-free a try and feel good about making choices that make a difference. US VegWeek provides a fun and supportive opportunity for pledgers to explore delicious meat-free meals while receiving support, recipes, and tips via its web site. And you will hardly be alone in the adventure. In addition to the thousands taking the pledge this year, several cities and counties also have expressed their support for US VegWeek through official proclamations including Washington, D.C., Tucson, Arizona, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Charlottesville, Virginia. “Every time we sit down to eat, we can stand up for our health, the planet, and animals simply by choosing vegetarian foods,” says COK’s Executive Director Erica Meier. “And US VegWeek offers a fun and supportive way to get started.” So what are you waiting for? Take the pledge and enjoy being a part of this awesome nationwide...

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Animal Law Committees, and current issues in New York
Apr12

Animal Law Committees, and current issues in New York

One of the ways law students and practicing attorneys can stay current on the issues and contribute to the local animal law community is by joining an animal law committee or animal law section of the state or local bar association. It’s also a wonderful way of connecting with other like-minded individuals. While in Tucson, I served as student representative on the Executive Council of the State Bar of Arizona Animal Law Section. During that time, the section organized everything from social happy hours to animal law-focused CLEs and presentations at the annual State Bar convention. When it came time to organize my family’s return to Manhattan, I joined the New York City Bar Association as a recent law school graduate, specifically to connect with its Committee on Animal Law. I’ve already marked April 25th on my calendar: there will be a presentation and discussion at the House of the Association on 44th Street entitled “Sunset for Elephants and Rhinos in the Wild? Illegal Trafficking, Inadequate Enforcement, and Lack of Political Will.” This program is free of charge, open to all members and the general public. In addition, anyone interested in Animal Law can join the Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, which includes animal law topics. To get a further glimpse into the kinds of issues such a committee tackles — and a look at what is currently happening in New York — here’s an excerpt from the March issue of the NYC Bar newsletter: Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill The Committee on Animal Law expressed support for A.775/S.1776 (the Consolidated Animal Crimes Bill), which would relocate many of the criminal provisions currently found in the Agriculture and Markets Law to a new Title Q in the Penal Law. The bill also re-defines statutory terms, creates new statutory terms, re-titles animal crimes offenses, reclassifies existing animal crimes, delineates sentencing provisions, and introduces various new animal crimes offenses and creates a hierarchy of offenses for charging, plea-bargaining, and sentencing purposes. The Committee believes such a change would clarify, modernize, and restructure the animal crimes law of New York State and promote greater enforcement and consistent interpretation of animal crimes. Humane Education In a joint report the Committees on Animal Law, Children and the Law, and Education and the Law expressed support for A.2484, which would require the Commissioner of Education to notify every school district of the existing requirement that elementary schools provide instruction in the humane treatment of animals, their importance in the environment, and the importance of spaying and neutering programs. The amendment also authorizes the Commissioner to appropriate grants to teachers for training, workshops, videos, and other...

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Eating in Raleigh, North Carolina
Apr10

Eating in Raleigh, North Carolina

I recently made my first trip to the Research Triangle and enjoyed some great vegan food while I was visiting. Downtown Raleigh and the surrounding cluster of quaint neighborhoods feature lots of shops and restaurants, including some fantastic veg-friendly places. The Irregardless Cafe (the Literature major in me chuckles at this non-word people still use so often) has a wonderful energy about it, bustling with diners and some great live music, with a cozy setting of warm woods and local artwork. There’s a “Vegetarian and Vegan” section on the menu, but other vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-friendly offerings, including appetizers and salads, are clearly marked on the menu for the veg crowd. Someone at our table ordered the vegan Vietnamese Spring Rolls, which looked and tasted delicious. Meanwhile, I ordered the appetizer special of vegan “oysters” (a blend of seitan and soy, with just the right amount of salty to make a convincing substitute) to pass around the table. For our entrees, I had the Happy Bowl, a heaping mix of steamed vegetables — I got extra vegetables in lieu of tofu — with short grain rice and green lentils with ginger miso sauce. SO good. My husband Seth had what may be one of the best vegan Pad Thai dishes I’ve every had — not too sweet, and it came with vegetables and seitan. Other places to try if you’re in town: The Remedy Diner This bar/cafe in the heart of downtown (that kind of feels more like a British pub) turned out to be the best surprise of the trip. We started with the flash-fried broccoli bites, which are  seasoned with garlic and served with a homemade vegan ranch dressing. It doesn’t look like anything fancy, but… wow. Then we ordered two sandwiches. The “Tempeh Tantrum,” voted by PETA as one of the Top Five Sandwiches in the U.S. was a delicious combo of tempeh, pesto, and avocado slices; the tempeh reuben may be the best vegan reuben I’ve had. Finally, we topped it off by sharing a slice of rich, super-moist chocolate cake. Thaiphoon Bistro Sleek, cool zen vibe. I had a mild yellow curry made with coconut milk that came loaded with vegetables and tofu. Seth usually gets vegan Pad Thai when he has the option, but here he ordered the XXX, which I tasted and thought was really good (though more than a forkful would have been a little too spicy for me). Blue Mango Right across the street from Thaiphoon. I didn’t have time to eat there myself, but there are plenty of veg-friendly options at this contemporary Indian cuisine spot. Fiction Kitchen Sweet...

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Beagle Freedom Project
Apr05

Beagle Freedom Project

When I adopted my beagle Pushkin, during one of our initial meetings with the veterinarian at the Bideawee center, a nurse casually asked me: “Is that one of the beagles they rescued from the lab in Pennsylvania?” I never did confirm this possible backstory, but it stuck with me; eventually, having a beagle as a family member and the thought of other beagles in laboratories was what prompted me to oust all animal-tested products from my home. The sad reality is that beagles are the most popular breed for lab use, specifically because of their gentle and forgiving nature. Beagle Freedom Project was founded by Los Angeles attorney and animal advocate Shannon Keith. Its mission is rescuing and finding homes for beagles that have been used in laboratory research. And, just so you don’t confuse BFP with more radical groups — visions of laboratory break-ins dancing in your head — BFP works directly with laboratories, who often attempt to find homes for adoptable, healthy beagles once they’re no longer needed for research. Here’s a video of BFP’s most recent rescued beagles, from a lab in the Midwest: [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Dc2Wy9bo4&w=600]   Meeting Frederick & Douglass, Two Very Special Beagles During our most recent trip to Los Angeles, my husband and I had tons of fun catching up with friends Kezia Jauron and Gary Smith — otherwise known as the power couple behind the public relations agency Evolotus. Kezia and Gary have been amazing in helping us spread the word about Letters To Pushkin; business aside, they’re just two great people doing incredible things on behalf of animals. Among their many efforts, they are huge supporters of Beagle Freedom Project. Having dinner at their home, we had a chance to enjoy great food and drinks… and the company of Frederick and Douglass, two beagles rescued by BFP from a lab in Spain that have become part of the family. LOVE!   Support Beagle Freedom Project If you’re interested in fostering or adopting a lab beagle, please contact Beagle Freedom Project. Another easy way to support BFP is by purchasing the 2013 Beagle Freedom Project calendar, which features one adorable picture after the next of the rescued pups. Or shop at BFP’s online store for other merchandise, such as t-shirts, posters, and totes — great ways to give this organization a few dollars and spread awareness. Update 11/19/13: The 2014 Calendar is now available! Today I say Happy Birthday, Douglass, and also want to let you know that the new Beagle Freedom Project Calendar for 2014 is now available. Beagle Puppies! Click HERE for more info and to...

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