Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vegan Houston

I almost forgot!: I'm going to be taking over a really informative blog about vegan and vegan-friendly places to eat in Houston, because the blog's original creator has moved out of town. It's called Vegan Houston and it is a really great resource for finding vegan grub in this hulking sprawl of a town.

I need your help with this one, minions. Some of the restaurants on the site may be defunct, and there may be some that aren't included. Give it a look see and leave your input! This is a team effort. That means you. And you.

Coming soon!!

I know, I know: The posts have been slow-going lately. You have no idea how busy the overlording office has been this week. Don't even get me started... But don't worry, minions -- I haven't forgotten about you. Here's a preview of some upcoming posts:
  • Why I Don't Stink (and other vegan hygiene tips)
  • Why You Do (Ha! Just kidding. I can't smell you through the Internet.)
  • Cous-Cous: the Poor and Lazy Vegan's Tiny Dream Pasta
While you're waiting, check out this article from the Huffington Post about PETA's new ad campaign. I'm curious to hear what you think about it. Lay it on me, Slick.

Ciao 4 now, underlings.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Vegan Overlord Speaks!

...with Chef Craig of Mango's and local activist and all 'round nogoodnik, Avon. Hear our conversation, which aired on KPFT last night, here:

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Restau-Rant: Mango's Cafe

Mango's Cafe
403 Westheimer (at Taft)
Houston, Tx 77006

Before I begin, a full disclosure: I've known Sheila Smith of Cup and Cake Bakery for a couple of years now, and I've hung out with Chef Craig of Mango's in both a professional-ish and friendly capacity, too. They're both very cool people, and I appreciate their respective haircuts and color. But I shall try to remain objective about their foodstuffs.

Phew! I feel much better now -- don't you?

So, what is Mango's? I've gotta say that I had no idea for a long time. I thought it was a bar and music venue, and that it was probably too drum-circle-y for my taste. As it turns out, it is a full bar AND a music venue AND a coffee shop AND a full service vegan and vegetarian restaurant. I'm still not sure about the drum circle part, but I kinda don't care at this point either.

I first experienced Mango's because my trusty steed, Blue Thunder, caught a case of dead battery in the Mango's parking lot. Dr. Cox and I were forced to drink Mango's Texas Mimosa while we waited to be rescued. Turns out, it's an alcoholic beverage, and a delicious one at that: Whiskey and pineapple juice with some other citrus-y stuff, on the rocks. If you're a fan of booze and pineapple, you'll dig this drink. While we were sipping our bevvies, I checked out the digs. It was really cozy -- a casita of a place. Saltillo tiles, lots of sunlight, stucco walls, lovely front and back patios, and Galaga to play (actually one machine with like 9 video games on it, including the world's loudest version of Galaga). Sadly, we were rescued before round 2 of either Galaga or Texas Mimosas could happen.

My second Mango's experience involved to-go food for eating at the lair: The online menu looked entirely tempting (and colorful!), and about 99% of it was vegan or could be made vegan. So, after about an hour of close menu inspection, the good doctor and I made our choices: The Hulk sandwich ($7.00), the BBQ Tofu Sandwich ($6.00), and 2 Chocolate and Vanilla Creme with a Curly Theme (translation: Hostess Cupcake-esque) cupcakes made fresh by Cup and Cake Bakery. I called them up to place my order. As it turned out, their new, improved menu had been prematurely launched online -- they didn't yet have all of the ingredients for The Hulk. In spite of this, the woman who took the order was incredibly nice, and assured me that they would do their best to compensate with other ingredients.

And that they did: Both sandwiches were fantastic. Po-boy style baguette bread, fresh veggies, lightly fried tofu, and awesome flavor. The BBQ sandy was spice-ay -- just like I like it. The fries, although a little bit limp from their to-go travels, were seasoned simply with salt and were also quite good. The Hulk (which it's a little unfair to review since due to the circumstances, it was more Bruce Banner than Hulk) was still delicious despite its lack of a few Hulk-y ingredients. I could tell that time was taken in the Mango's kitchen to deliver good food in the face of difficulty.

I somehow made room for the cupcakes after all of that. They were moist and chocolatey with a creamy center and, I am pretty sure, the tears of a unicorn. Un-freaking-believably good.

So, go go, Cup and Cake! And get on with your bad self, Mango's. I can't wait to hit them up for their weekend brunch. I'm psyched: A vegan brunch that I don't have to drive to Austin for!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Finger: Rage Against the Chicken

I'm adding a new segment to this blog called "The Finger", wherein I give a written "finger" to things I don't like. This was inspired by my brother who once told me that when I don't like something on TV, I should just give the TV the finger. And you know what? He was so right. It really does help.


You've seen the billboards: There's a 3-D cow, who's written a message to passersby to "Eat mor chikin". And it's really funny, because like, it's a cow, so he can't write very well, and he's trying to convince you to eat chicken instead of beef, right? Oh, anthropomorphized animal advertising for a corporation that capitalizes on the exploitation of animals, you crack me up! Your desperate-yet-futile will to live writ large is a knee-slapper.

As a Vegan Overlord, here's what I glean from this ad campaign:
1. Chick-fil-A is fully aware of the cruel deaths animals experience in factory farms.
2. They think it's hilarious.
3. They think it's so hilarious that everyone else will think it's hilarious, too. So hilarious, in fact, that they've spent a gazillion dollars on this ad campaign. They have even instituted an Annual Cow Appreciation Day on which customers get a free meal if they come in to one of their stores dressed as a cow.

Huh. Check out this information from an Humane Society report on the "Welfare of Animals in the Meat, Egg, and Dairy Industries":

"Each year in the United States, 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for meat, eggs, and milk. Statistically, farm animals comprise 98 percent of all animals in the country with whom we interact directly... Of the 10 billion land animals killed annually in the United States, 95 percent are birds, and the overwhelming majority are "broiler" chickens raised for meat, 1 million killed each hour... The poultry industry has used selective breeding and growth-promoting antibiotics to produce birds whose bodies "are on the verge of structural collapse." To put their growth rate into perspective, the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture reports, "If you grew as fast as a chicken, you'd weigh 349 pounds at age 2."... Hens are given less space than the area of a letter-sized sheet of paper in which to eat, sleep, lay eggs, and defecate... As slaughter lines run at rapid speeds (up to 8,400 chickens per hour), mistakes are common and some birds are still conscious as they enter tanks of scalding water intended to loosen their feathers."

Yeah, boy! That's a hoot and a half! And this report doesn't even talk about things like debeaking, or how the growth hormones pumped into these chickens effect the humans who eat them.

And so, I give Chick-fil-A The Finger, not only for contributing to cruelty to animals on a massive scale, but for making light of it in the name of profits.

Later, minions. Back soon with a much happier entry about cupcakes. For now, I've gotta go sick up.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Coming soon!!

Later this week, expect a rant about those stupid Chick-fil-a billboards, and a review of the BBQ Tofu Sandwich and the Chocolate and Vanilla Cream with a Curly Theme cupcakes (from Cup and Cake Bakery) at Mango's!!

Until then, may the Force be with you.