Vegan options at Wildflower Bread Company

I love Wildflower Bread Company! Not only is their food amazingly delicious, but they donate a portion of their profits to charity and are always participating in additional charity events and helping out the local community. Their customer service is also superb, as they’re quick to respond to any inquiries and always willing to resolve issues for their customers. I reached out to them last year to get an “official” list of their vegan menu items, and they provided the list below. I should’ve published this a long time ago, but here it is, better late than never!

 

Vegan Offerings

Breads
· Herb

· Caraway Rye

· Sourdough

· Herb Foccacia

· Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin & Nut

· Ciabatta

· Vienna

· Levain

Breakfast
· Organic Steel Cut Oatmeal

o Remove Almond Cream & Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Crouton

· Fruit salad

o Remove Honey Yogurt & Banana Bread

Salads
· Wildflower Salad

o Remove Cilantro Lime Dressing (honey)

· Hummus plate

· Mediterranean Salad

o Remove Feta Cheese

· Emerald Spinach

o Remove Gorgonzola & Bacon

· Chopped Salad

o Remove Wild Alaskan Salmon, Feta & Couscous

Sandwiches
· Garden Vegetable

o Remove 9 Grain (honey)

· Roasted Sweet Potato

o Remove Mozzarella

· Portobello Picnic

o Remove Herb Chèvre

· Roasted Vegetable Sandwich

o Remove Ranch

Soups
· Vegetarian Black Bean

· Vegetarian Curried Rice and Lentil

· Vegetarian Lentil

· Vegetarian Garden Vegetable

· Vegetarian Gazpacho

· Vegetarian Chili

Pasta
· Linguini/Penne with Marinara

o Remove Parmesan Cheese

· Roasted Tomato & Almond Pesto (available 07/12/11)

o Remove Parmesan Cheese

 

Note: Information provided by Louis J. Basile, Jr. (Wildflower CEO) on 6/30/2011.

My quest for an almond milk latte

I’m a vegan with an intolerance to soy milk. The stuff makes my throat real itchy & sore every time I consume it. I can & do eat all types of other soy products all the time. Only the “milk” jacks me up.

This causes some issues for me because the majority of the coffee shops out there solely stock soy milk as their non dairy alternative.

There are plenty of alternative vegan creamers on the market, but my favorite to pair with espresso is almond milk.

Unfortunately, a quick check with all of the local coffee shops around my house revealed that no one carried almond milk. Weak sauce!

One of the coffee shops closest to my house is a Tully’s located inside a Fry’s grocery store. Determined to make good things happen near my home, I left a message for the manager requesting almond milk & asking for a call back.

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A day or so later, the manager called me back to let me know that they were now stocking individual size servings of Silk brand almond milk in the mini fridge at Tully’s due to my request. Win!

She said they can only carry what is authorized by Tully’s corporate, but to make a customer out of me, she made a judgment call to start stocking it in the mini fridge as Fry’s already carried it on their shelves (the coffee shop is operated by Frys).

She also let me know that she tried out an almond milk latte to see what it was like and thought it was delicious!

After a few visits, I asked one of the employees if they were selling a lot of the almond milks & his response was “surprisingly yes”.

It’s also hella cheap! They charge me $1.90 for a double shot of espresso & $1.19 (often just $1 on sale) for the almond milk single, making my lattes a mere ~$3 each (with Frys card). On top of all that, every 5th drink is free (tracked via Frys card).

Score, score, score! So now I regularly get delicious almond milk lattes on the cheap, at a coffee spot right next to my house. #happywes

I’m quite proud of this little accomplishment that showcases a successful example of consumer demand. If you want something, make sure to ask for it! You just might get it.

As an aside, I first requested that a lil independently owned bagel shop/cafe start carrying almond milk as I prefer to support indy outfits. One of the owners responded by telling me “I haven’t seen the demand for it”. WTF, what do you call my request for you to start carrying it? Quite a fail on their part as it lost them a regular customer.

Have you tried an almond milk latte?

Gourmet vegan dining with @paytoncurry’s local vegetable dishes

Chef Payton Curry has temporarily taken over the Welcome Diner near downtown Phoenix, offering up custom culinary creations to Phoenicians looking for an uncommon dining experience.

Chef Curry goes by the moniker “the guerrilla gourmet” and emphasizes the use of local, fresh veggies & ingredients, which he sources from local area farmers and farmer’s markets. Payton dishes up a wide variety of cuisine, while also offering vegetarian & vegan options. We were amped to hear about his willingness to whip up vegan meals (at any time), so we planned a trip.

On April 5th, Tera and I made our way down to the Roosevelt and 10th street area to pay(ton) a visit to the chef. We were treated to a delectable 6 course vegan meal tasting at the cozy & quaint Welcome Diner. The diner, property & furniture is mismatched and eclectic, but that gives the place character and adds to the experience. If you’re planning a visit, leave the snootiness at home & be prepared for a unique encounter.

Below are some photos of the dishes that we were served.

We thoroughly enjoyed all of the dishes and appreciate a chef who is enthusiastic about making vegetarian food. Of the 100+ customers who showed up on opening day (April 1st), Payton tells us that over 40% were vegetarian. An all-vegan meal is planned for Easter Sunday.

Payton Curry genuinely enjoys his trade and it shows in his cooking and personality. Do yourself a favor and treat yourself to his food at the Welcome Diner, while you can.

For hours and more information, check the blog at PaytonCurry.com and follow @PaytonCurry on Twitter.

One day #WithoutShoes in 2011

On 4/5/2011, hundreds (thousands?) of people ditched all footwear to experience being barefoot for a day, all to raise awareness for children in developing countries who don’t have the option of using footwear when they encounter treacherous terrain or conditions (see bottom of this post for links to some criticisms of this “marketing” event).

Embedded below is a quick video I made of my experience during one day #WithoutShoes.

A few ruminations from my day #WithoutShoes

It’s nice to be able to really feel the ground and the terrain that you’re standing on, opposed to wearing shoes that remove the majority of foot-to-ground sensations.

Driving is fun without shoes. I like pushing on the brake & accelerator pedals with just one toe.

The ground is HOT (in Phoenix, AZ). My feet were burning as I stood on asphalt. I had to hop around or find shade to stand in to avoid getting burnt feet.

My wife was reluctant to accept my experiment of going #withoutshoes all day, especially since I had to meet her at work to pickup something from her boss. To avoid weirdo-shock, she pre-explained to him about my little #withoutshoes day experiment.

I was afraid of stepping on glass. I did actually spot a few small glass shards while walking around during the day and handily avoided them.

I was worried that the restaurant I went to for lunch wouldn’t let me inside without shoes (we sat on the patio so it was a non-issue). Same thing for dinner, although I went inside anyway and there was no issue.

Your feet get VERY dirty when you walk around barefoot. I know, big shocker, huh? I had to wash my feet before going to bed.

I need to buy some Vibrams! I love being able to feel the ground but I don’t want to worry about cutting my feet open on glass or burning my feet on hot pavement.

For more info on a day #WithoutShoes check out OneDayWithoutShoes.com.

I also enjoyed reading the Primalfoot Alliance critique of one day without shoes and other criticisms of Tom’s Shoes.

We’re pregnant with twins!

I am so, so, incredibly happy to write that Tera & I are pregnant… with fraternal TWINS!

We’re at just about 13 weeks in and we’ve been given a “due date” of October 4th, although our doctor says that Tera will probably deliver in late August or early September (due to the twins).

We’ve had 3 ultrasounds so far and it has truly been incredible to watch the babies grow from unrecognizable specks to little babies that we can actually see moving around and responding to stimuli. They’re both growing right on schedule and their heart rates are normal (btw it is so friggin ridiculous awesome to hear their hearts beat), everything is looking great!

We’re both very excited and very much looking forward to becoming parents. The text of this post does nothing to express our excitement and anticipation. We are soooooooooooo stoked!

Thanks for the new 46″ Sony HDTV with Google TV!

Quick thank you video to Google/YouTube for sending me a new 46″ Sony HDTV powered by Google TV

Whoops, that’s not my TV

One day, as I was anxiously awaiting the delivery of my Sony HDTV powered by Google TV, I saw a tractor trailer delivery truck pull up and knew that it was magic time! Or was it?

After helping the delivery guy haul a TV into my house, I noticed something was up. Closer inspection of the TV box revealed that they had mistakenly delivered me a Sony 60″ HDTV, and a model that didn’t even have Google TV integration!

I proceeded to tell the delivery guy that I thought there was a mixup and this was not my TV. The box even had the name and address of some other dude on it, in a whole nuther state! But alas, my warnings were futile, as the delivery man didn’t care whatsoever! I believe he even said “Enjoy your bigger TV!” and off he went.

I knew better, so I kept the wrongly-delivered-sixty-incher safely wrapped in its original packaging, awaiting a frantic call from the delivery people or Sony, once someone figured out that there was something amiss. And after all, this was a FREE TV, so I figured I’d play nice with the shipping company & Sony, even though there had certainly been a massive screwup.

Corrective action

As expected, a few days later I got a frantic call from “dispatch” at the delivery company, with a lady “informing” me that they had delivered the wrong TV to my house. I cooperated and let them know that the TV was still in the original packaging and ready for pickup.

The next day, the delivery guy was back and I helped him carry the unopened 60″ behemoth back into his truck (as an aside, how can an HDTV delivery company get away with only using one delivery person? What if he was delivering to an elderly person or another individual who couldn’t help with carrying a TV?).

A week later, the correct TV showed up and I’ve been enjoying Google TV ever since!

How I won a Google TV

The story of the contest and winning the prize is a pretty interesting one, so if you haven’t read it yet, check out my post on it here.

Vegan, what do you eat? (in North Phoenix)

I get this question a lot after someone finds out that I’m vegan… “What do you eat?

The simple answer is that I eat plants.

The complicated answer is more difficult to explain or put into print, but this post is my attempt at that.

My wife Tera and I eat a wide variety of whole plant based foods & try to limit our intake of processed foods. Even processed foods & junk foods that are “vegan” aren’t good (nutrition wise) and consumption should be limited. Of course, as you might expect, we also avoid all meat & animal products or derivatives.

Vegan breakfast

We’re loving smoothies in the morning, so we often start out breakfast with a home made smoothie consisting of banana, berries (blueberries/strawberries/blackberries, sometimes raspberries), ground flaxseed, fortified almond or rice milk & usually either a cup of Kale or spinach. The fruit & berries overpower the greens, so there isn’t much “veggie” taste in the end product. They’re quite delicious! We switch up the ingredients depending on what we have, but we like to include banana + berries + a leafy green in each smoothie. These smoothies are energy boosters and can even have more of a kick than caffeine.

Other breakfast items we frequently have are hashbrowns, oatmeal with berries/fruit & cinnamon, almond – coconut or soy yogurt (I prefer almondmilk yogurt) with granola & berries/fruit (parfait style), faux sausage patties, pancakes, dairy-free waffles with pure maple syrup, whole multi-grain toast with almond butter, jam/jelly or Earth Balance buttery spread (made from non-hydrogenated oils), tofu scrambles (with or without soyrizo, chopped peppers, onions & other veggies) and bagels with Toffuti cream cheese (get the non-hydrogenated one with no trans fat, Sunflower carries it).

Vegan lunch & dinner

For lunch/dinner, we often have veggie & bean burritos with guacamole & salsas, various types of pastas (primavera with tomato sauce, olive oil with basil & pine nuts, gnocchi and many other types), no cheese pizzas with lots of veggies (we especially like to add banana peppers & pineapple), many different types of veggie burgers, tofu salad sandwiches (tastes very similar to egg salad sandwiches), veggie tacos, meatless meatballs (we dig the Trader Joes brand) on a sandwich or on a pasta, lentil-veggie or another vegan soup in a bread bowl, vegan chili with hot sauce on top of a baked potato or on french fries, various vegan Indian dishes (Tasty Bite makes some good ones) on top of a bed of rice.

Vegan eating out

We still eat out a lot, even though we’re vegan. We frequent Pita Jungle (lots of vegan options), Loving Hut (all vegan), Touch of Thai, Spinato’s (try the spaghetti calzone without cheese + spinach), Scramble (who has 4 different vegan breakfast menu items), Carrabba’s Pic Pac pasta dish, Chipolte, Gallo Blanco (we love their guacamole sans cheese & their veggie tacos), veggie sushi (at most sushi & Japanese restaurants) + lots of other places. Many places offer vegan veggie burgers nowadays (examples include Red Robin & Johnny Rockets).

Most decent restaurants will make you a vegan dish if you explicitly request it, even if there’s not an option listed on the menu. In fact, the chef will often enjoy creating something unique instead of preparing a regular item that they’re repeatedly making, day in and day out.

Photos of vegan foods that we eat

If you’d like to see a sample of the vegan foods that we eat, browse through my TwitPic gallery.

Vegan recipes

We don’t have a single “go to resource” for vegan recipes. If we’re craving a certain type of dish in particular we just do a Google search for that dish + vegan recipe. There’s a vegan version of just about any dish or recipe out there, even all those meals that are heavy on meat and dairy. Some aren’t that great, but many are delicious. Don’t be afraid to experiment, try some different things out and you’re bound to find some delicious meals that you’ll love.

This brings me to another point on variety of meals and variety of cuisine. Switching to vegan (and vegetarian) eating encourages you to try new plant based foods that you might have otherwise ignored. It’s certainly been the driving factor for me to try (and more often consume) many varied ethnic foods and different types of foods that I didn’t eat in the past. We now enjoy eating many different types of Asian cuisine (Chinese, Japanese, Thai & more), Indian food, Middle Eastern, Greek, Italian, Mexican and much more.

Recommended resources

Recommended reading: The China Study. This book covers the most comprehensive nutrition study ever done, including many other nutritional studies and the relation of food to disease (hint: they recommend a vegan diet for optimal health & disease prevention).

Recommended Netflix Instant Viewing: Forks over Knives – This highly acclaimed modern day documentary illustrates how you can use the power of your fork, by eating the right (vegan) foods, to avoid the knife (medical problems, surgery and disease). Also available on DVD.

Change your Food, Change your Life. It’s a low budget presentation/documentary that gives a common sense overview on the enormous health benefits of eating vegan, including the effects on disease prevention. It starts out a bit slow, but it’s definitely worth a view and it was one of the things that inspired us to start eating vegan.

Recommended DVD viewing: Eating – a documentary on disease and nutrition. Contact me if you want to borrow my copy.

Recommended websites:
VegGuide.org
VEGPhoenix Meetup.com group
VegPhoenix.com Restaurant list
AZVegan Restaurant list
My Yelp Reviews (reviews prior to Sept 1, 2010 are not vegan minded)
Vegan Eating Out – Great resource for finding out what is & isn’t vegan at most restaurants

If you have questions on something in particular, let me know!

I am a winner in the “I Want My Google TV” contest!

I am extremely PSYCHED to announce that I have been selected as 1 of 100 winners of the “I Want My Google TV” contest. Thanks to being selected as a winner, I now have a brand new Sony NSX46GT1 46″ LCD HDTV with Google TV on the way to my house.

Contest placing and scoring

My video submission landed me in 42nd place out of 100 winners (and thousands of entries). Not too shabby at all.

The videos submitted to the contest were scored by a panel of judges on the following criteria :

How original/creative/entertaining is the Video Submission?
How well do you explain why you love Google TV?
Why are you excited about watching YouTube videos on Google TV?
How is the technical execution (e.g., Camera/Sound/Lighting/Editing)?
Does your Video Submission inspire others to want to have a Google TV in their home?

My I Want My Google TV contest submission

Embedded below is my submission.

The story behind my last minute submission

I actually found out about this contest on the very last day (or the day before) that they were accepting submissions. Due to this, I didn’t have much time to come up with a good concept, do any fancy cinematography or do any editing. Nonetheless, even with these time constraints, I recognized that there was a good probability of winning if I submitted a video and adhered to the scoring guidelines as much as possible, specifically because they were giving out 100 prizes. I whipped up my webcam recorded video very quickly on the last night (December 22nd) that they were accepting submissions and fired it off to the contest.

To be frank, I actually wasn’t very happy with my submission. I thought it was crude, poorly made and not very unique. Even so, you can’t win if you don’t apply, so I had to give it a shot and it paid off!

Ye ole notary and document requirements

On January 5th, I was notified by the Google TV contest team that I had been selected as “a Potential Winner or an Alternate”. In order to be eligible, I had to download three documents; (1) an Affidavit of Eligibility (2) an Entrant Release Form, and (3) a W9 Tax Form to file taxes and return them to the contest administrators by January 13th. The affidavit required notarization.

I was actually out of town during this time frame, so I had to find a notary in unknown lands. I eventually found one via a UPS Store that was close to where I was staying, who popped me with a $10 notary charge. I wasn’t happy about that, but hey, it was worth it!

I was also notified that I was a winner last week, but they asked us not to disclose that we won until the official announcement (today). I was so stoked that I wanted to announce it to everyone right away, but I awaited their announcement as requested.

I’m really looking forward to my new Sony HDTV with Google TV. THANK YOU to Google, YouTube, Sony and everyone else involved in this contest!

My Life in DailyBooth Photos

Pummelvision is a handy new service that aggregates your photos from a specific source (such as Facebook photos your tagged in, Flickr, Tumblr, Dropbox, etc) and then generates a video that quickly flashes through all of those photos.

I welcomed this service with open arms, as I had already planned to make a video of all my DailyBooth photos as a video experiment. Alas, when I first checked out Pummelvision, they did not support DailyBooth. Not one to give up easily, I emailed Pummelvision support and requested that they add DailyBooth support. A few weeks later, they emailed me thanking me for the suggestion and letting me know that DailyBooth is now supported. Check out my DailyBooth Photo montage video below!

Thanks Pummelvision!