I knew I shouldn’t have ended my last post practically inviting people to say I’m full of bullshit. A couple of you just couldn’t resists, huh? Lol!
But I was pleasantly surprised when Averie mentioned that it was “brave” of me to welcome people to disagree with me. Because I didn’t realize that I had gotten a lot more open-minded to different views and opinions over the last few years.
I remember I used to get into debates with my friends all the time, and none of them could get a word in. Whether it be something trivial like the best car in the world, or something more significant like religion, I refused to listen to other people’s thoughts because I was just so convinced that I knew everything, and that I was totally right.
Of course, maturity has played a big part in my ability to be more open-minded. The older I got, the more people I met, I realized that jeez, I’m really not that smart after all. I’m still young and inexperienced, and I’m imprisoning myself by restricting myself to my own perspectives, which usually turn out to be narrow, misinformed, and selfish.
I also realized that there really is no fun in being “right” all the time. Hearing and pondering over other people’s thoughts and opinions on different subject is what keeps my mind active, and what keeps the topic consistently fascinating.
Another thing I found out is that honestly, some things are just not worth getting so opinionated about. Take food, for example (since this is a food blog). Am I really going to get hot and worked up arguing which place has the best burgers in town? That would be wasting a good 30 minutes of my time and energy and emotions invested in something that really has no point to it.
But what about stuff that really is worth fighting for, like your morals, your beliefs, your relationships and life? Well, even so, the worst thing you can do is try to impose them on others; it’d only cause them to become defensive and reject your arguments, no matter how reasonable they may sound. Ironically, people actually do become interested when you keep silent about it, and maybe even resist sharing your views a little. So long as you yourself stay true to them and live them out, people will inevitably be intrigued and more welcoming to your ideas.
Back to the topic of food. Now, I’ve met some pretty extremist vegans around. You know, those people who obsess over eating xx% raw each day, who bring a bunch of sprouts and bananas with them to social dinners, who spend hours a day sprouting and juicing, who give you the disapproving eye as you chew on your delicious medium-rare steak. That was enough to turn me off.
But at the same time, I also became an extremist myself by condemning them as a self-binding diet for eating disordered individuals who was using veganism as an excuse to entrench themselves in their disorders.
Of course, I was wrong. There are myriads of reasons why someone might go vegan. For people like myself, it may be detrimental and frankly, hell. For others, it may actually be necessary for their health, and they may find it beneficial and enjoyable.
So this is my apology to all vegans out there. I still love my hot dogs and cheese, but I hope we can still be friends. And as a treaty of peace, I hereby swear I shall eat your food with an open mind and stomach. So here it is: vegan baked goods and a raw product review.
Anyone ever heard of Babycakes? It’s this popular vegan bakery in New York City. It became so popular that it even has its own cookbook, and has recently opened its sister bakery here in Los Angeles. Which is sort of funny, since you would think Los Angeles would be the first to effect health products on other states.
But anyway. When I first heard that it was opening, I decided to pay it a visit, despite my skepticism towards vegan food and my dislike to desserts. I also used this opportunity to review it for the Daily Trojan.
It’s located in sketchy downtown LA, tucked away in the corner of run-down, stinky streets, and I missed it two times in a row. But luckily, just before the sun went down, I finally spotted it:
It was a tiny, girly little shop, all frills and laces. The employees were dressed in cute baby-doll uniforms with pink stripes and a bow. Cute.
Keeping up with the “cute” and “girly” theme was a giant painting of poodles: Uh, hello. I suppose you think I’m gonna coo and ga-ga at you. Sorry, I’m just here for the food, and you’re distracting. Moving on…
Besides cupcakes, there were also donuts:
Cranberry loaf breads and cornbreads:
But these people seemed to be enjoying themselves, so I took comfort in their joyful expressions:
I was intrigued. And obviously, acutely alert for any weird, “vegan-y” taste.
Per Ellie’s recommendation, I ordered the spelt carrot cupcake and the cornbread, but I also ordered an agave-sweetened brownie.
Okay, no lie, I was totally knocked off by how…”unhealthy” they tasted. They may be made with spelt and garbanzo flour and sweetened with agave nectar without any butter or eggs, but they tasted a lot like nostalgic, homemade goodies.
The spelt carrot cupcake was chock-full of real, grated carrots, and the cake itself was just the right amount of sweetness.
The icing, however, was still a tad too sweet for me. But again, taste is subjective and I have a more sensitive palate to sweetness.
The cornbread was one of their limited savory options, and needless to say, my favorite.
I love the gritty coarse cornmeal in them—they’re not at all like the commercial kinds that taste more like pound-cake flavored with corn, but is definitely very much like real, home-baked cornbread.
The only thing is, they were just a bit on the dry side. But nothing a mug of coffee or tea can’t fix.
The agave-sweetened brownie was cute, with a dollop of chocolate ganache on top.
This was my least favorite. I just can’t get affectionate with brownies. I didn’t like how intensely chocolatey and rich it was. Which again, will probably be a “yay” factor to most people.
And here’s where the criticism comes. So Babycakes is good. Delicious, even. But honestly, I will not pay this much money (~$4 for a single tiny cupcake!) for something I can bake myself at home.
Look at how small it is!
And look at the tiny brownie too:
See, it’s not like I like to eat cupcakes every single day. We eat these things as an occasional treat, so I’d rather save money and bake my own with real butter, sugar, and eggs. But that’s just me. I suppose some other person would just rather spend a bit more money for that occasional treat. To each her own.
Now, moving on to a more extreme case of veganism: raw food veganism.
Kaia Foods recently sent me a whole package filled with various raw goods. This company’s mission is to keep food as minimally processed as possible, and that includes keeping cooking temperatures low so that the nutrients in foods will be intact.
Here’s what they say:
“We sprout, mix and dehydrate our organic foods at low temperatures so that they remain ‘raw.’ No baking, frying, bleaching, or weird processing steps!”
So far, it doesn’t sound like a science experiment. Cool.
They sent me a variety of organic fruit leathers:
I loved it. It was like nature’s gummy candy. This was made by pureeing whole organic fruits and dehydrating them at low temperatures. The ingredients list for this was: Pear, banana, and vanilla extract. That’s it! No sugars or HFCS or fruit concentrate! Dang, I was impressed.
My favorite was the vanilla pear. It was a pleasant mix of sweet and sour, with an intense fruity flavor, and lovely chewiness. Mmm.
Next are the raw buckwheat granolas: Cocoa Bliss, Dates & Spices, and Raisin Cinnamon.
Here’s the Cocoa Bliss:
Made with: Buckwheat, agave nectar, raisins, dried coconut, cacao powder, ground flax seed, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, natural vanilla extract, spices, and mineral salt.
Whoa. I feel healthier just munching on this already. And it wasn’t half-bad! It had a great chocolate flavor without being too overwhelming, and it was barely sweet.
And the Raisin Cinnamon:
Made with: Buckwheat, raisins, agave nectar, ground flax seed, dried coconut, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, natural vanilla extract, natural orange extract, spices, and mineral salt.
They were all good. But I won’t lie and say they are better than regular granola. They lack that crunchy, toasty texture and flavor that I love in granola. These definitely had a raw taste, and they definitely had too much of that “healthy” factor to them.
But if you like barely sweetened granola bars, these are for you. They are chewy and dense rather than crunchy and light, so they make for a great snack when your mouth is just bored and need something good to chew on. For me, I would just prefer less dried fruits and more nuts and buckwheat.
Now on to the BEST product ever: Sprouted sunflower seeds.
They came in four flavors: garlic & salt, sweet curry, teriyaki, and cocoa mole.
All until now, I have thought that these healthified versions were just a substitution for less-healthy products. But with these freaking amazing seeds, I think it should be the other way round. These are the bomb, I tell ya!
Teriyaki was interesting:
It was smoky and savory. I loved sprinkling it on top of my side salads like this:
But the best flavor was, hands down, the sweet curry:
Holy freakawlicious! This was RAWsome! You can tell how excited I am about it when I start using corny expressions!!
You can eat it by themselves like a snack, but I find myself desperately trying to make them last, so I only allow myself to sprinkle some on my salads.
Seriously, guys. I’m dreading the day I’m done with them. They are that good.
Well, that was certainly fun, interesting, and eye-opening. I’m liking this open-minded adventures into different diets. But for myself, I don’t think I can conform to them, just enjoy them once in awhile like an exotic cuisine.
Question of the day: Are you a vegan? Why did you become one?
And if you’re not a vegan, what is your honest view on veganism?