Thursday, April 25, 2013

Vegan Food in LA, Seattle, and Israel

Vegans sharing a (great) meal at a "Bedouin camp" in the Negev
I’ve spent the past few months traveling much more than usual.  Therefore, I’ve been out eating awesome food and not emailing companies about their animal testing policies.  It only makes sense that I post a blog on vegan food and not my usual shtick.   I have six places that I will be covering split between two posts.  This post will cover vegan food in Los Angeles, Seattle, and Israel, and the next will cover Paris, London, and Dublin.

Los Angeles

My favorite place in the city is Vegan Glory, an Asian restaurant in a small strip mall.  As I was eating a lot of regulars came in, which is the mark of a great place.  The prices were great as well.  I got a combo with coconut vegetable soup and seitan stir fry.

Another day I visited Cruzer Pizza with my travel companions.  The pizza wasn’t bad it just wasn’t great to me.  We chose our own toppings so maybe a store designed pizza would have been better.  However, my travel companions absolutely loved the food and have gone on and on about it.


The number one vegan restaurant in the country, forget just Seattle, for vegan comfort food is the Wayward Vegan Café.  The Club Sandwich tasted absolutely amazing, was large enough for two meals, and had a tiny price tag.  To help keep prices down you bus your own table, but I’m fine with that.  My travel companions also highly approved of their crunchwrap supreme, quesadilla, and fried mushrooms.

Across the street from the Wayward Café is Vegan Haven, a small charity store that sells only vegan, cruelty free products.  I picked up these Go Max Go brand candy bars (which do contain palm oil) and my mom got a beautiful wallet there.  They truly sell everything from jewelry to dog food  to tampons to food.

There is also a Loving Hut location in Seattle which is pretty good.  The building is in a weird location in China town, but their menu offered some choices that I enjoy in general.  My group ordered spring rolls, hot and sour soup, and Sesame Cha Cha (wheat gluten).

I figured I’d eat a lot of falafel in Israel even though I don’t particularly like falafel.  However, the falafel in Israel is amazing.  They fill it up with all kinds of vegan awesomeness (hummus, tahini, spicy sauce, lettuce, eggplant, cucumber, tomato, etc.) and french fries!  The pita is the best pita I’ve ever had and has ruined all American pita for me.  Don’t get me started on laffa.  I miss laffa.

However, Israel is also a country of many salads.  I eat salad. I like salad, but that is not all I want to eat for a month except for three trips to a falafel stand.  Israelis say it must be so easy to be vegan in Israel, but they are also the people who think vegans only eat salad.  The only Israeli who understood my food longings was the vegetarian.  He took me to Village Green, a vegetarian restaurant in Jerusalem with clearly marked vegan food but no clearly marked prices.

Boff-lote: these babies were amazing, and yes, that was my best attempt at transliteration.  They’re wafers with a chocolate filling.  No lie- I went through three packs of these to even out my salad consumption.  Also, Aroma, the Israeli Starbucks, had a lot of vegan options including this apple strudel.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Cruelty Free?

I’ve been interested in purchasing from OCC or Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics for a while because of their amazing lip tars.  I am a lipstick/lip color person when it comes to makeup.  OCC not only has an awe inspiring range of opaque colors but equally amazing reviews.  My communication with OCC occurred in November of 2012, but to my knowledge there have no been no changes to their animal testing policies or ownership since then.

While I usually include email correspondence in my posts while discussing a company’s cruelty free status, OCC stated that it is prohibited to copy or disseminate their emails. Instead I will say that from my correspondence with them, they meet my standards of a cruelty free company.  OCC does not animal test nor contract out animal testing on their products.  OCC does not sell in China or any other countries with mandatory animal testing policies.  In addition, this is a 100% vegan product company.
As far as I can tell, OCC is still owned by its founder, David Klasfeld [Link].  The FAQ section of their website states that they are a 100% vegan company not only to raise the bar on what is considered cruelty free, but also, because animal ingredients are the most common allergens and skin irritators.  Given the back and forth of a lot of companies recently, this practical reasoning for being vegan is reassuring [Link].

I’m looking forward to purchasing some of OCC’s amazing lip tars in the future!