12: Mead’s Green Door – Gary Mead, Jr.

Episode 12 features Gary Mead, Jr. of Mead’s Green Door in Old Town Orange. Not to give away the secret (I swear if you take my corner table I’ll find you) but Mead’s is the best hidden gem in SoCal. It’s an eclectic little cafe with a hipster/artsy vibe serving simple yet amazing vegetarian and vegan staples. Think BBQ cauliflower taco salad, baked sweet potato fries (and chili fries), green smoothies, vegan tofu scrambles, burritos, and scones. Oh, gussy, those SCONES! Breakfast is served all day, there’s always a free table, and unlimited Wi-Fi. Mead’s is a freelancer/college student/foodie dream. Gary and I dig deep into all that is Mead’s, from its family-owned origins to the food that’s made with love. Cliche, I know, but when the pizza is shaped like a heart, the phrase is appropriate.  As always, listen, subscribe, rate, review, and share!

11: Vegan Street Fair – Jessica Schoech

Here we go! Episode 11 features the queen of vegan festivals, Jessica Schoech (pronounced “Shay” – weird, I know). Jessica is the founder of the wildly popular and successful Vegan Street Fair and Vegan Street Fair Nights, both in Los Angles, New York, and potentially coming to a city new you! Looking at you, Vegas, Seattle, and San Diego. Jessica curated these annual events so everyone, vegan or otherwise, can “Eat all the vegan things” in one place and time. However, her events are so entertaining and emit such a good vibe, you could attend, not eat a thing, and still have a blast. But of course, for your listening pleasure, we’re focusing on the food. Listen in for an awesome conversation about everything from nachos, the Impossible Burger, the best vegan eats around the country, and veganism as a lifestyle opposed to a diet. As always, listen, subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Show Notes:

  • What Jessica brought to the potluck: Health-Ade Kombucha Holiday Flavor (I tried it after recording – its good!)
  • What Tanya brought to the potluck: Yellow Cake with homemade chocolate frosting. Cake made with Bob’s Red Mill Yellow Cake Mix. A bit dense – its gluten free – but still delicious, especially when smothered in homemade chocolate buttercream and layered with homemade cookie dough. Oh yeah.
  • We mentioned that Happy Cow rated Vegan Street Fair as the largest vegan event in the world (based on attendees). Check out the Happy Cow website and the app to find a vegan-friendly eatery wherever you are in the world! It’s like vegan Yelp!
  • Jessica’s San Diego vegan picks: Anthem Vegan, and Osteria Panevino (ask your server for vegan options)
  • Jessica’s Seattle vegan picks: Snackrilege, Fatsquach, and Plum Bistro.
  • Jessica’s Los Angeles vegan picks: Cena Vegan (barbacoa all the way!), Donut Friend (get the creme brulee donut), Divine Dips, and Charlie’s Brownies (you can’t go wrong with the bronut – any flavor will blow your mind).
  • Jessica’s vegan “gateway” restaurants: Wheel of Life (Irvine), Cena Vegan (LA), Mohawk Bend (LA).
  • Best Brunch; The Wild Chive’s Monte Cristo. Decadence at its finest. #shameless.
  • Best LA sit-down restaurant: Crossroads Kitchen. Order the Seafood Tower (when in season), and Eggs Benedict. The Caesar Salad and the flatbreads are also bomb.
  • Best LA causal restaurant: Veggie Grill. Order the B-Wing Salad, Kale Caesar, or any of the wraps.
  • Contenders in the Best Vegan Chicken & Waffles debate: Souley Vegan (San Francisco), Vibe Kitchen & Juice (Newport Beach), Native Foods (multiple U.S. locations).
  • Don’t miss Super Vegan Sunday on February 4, 2018 (aka the Super Bowl for all you sports fans). Smorgasburg LA will offer a vegan option from every vendor from 10am – 4pm. Get there early before the vendors sell out…and get home in time to watch the game!

10: Maxine’s Heavenly

Just in time for the Christmas cookie season, Episode 10 features Robert Petrarca of Maxine’s Heavenly. For now, they’re a clean vegan cookie company that makes incredible soft-baked morsels of joy – trust me, I’ve tried them. We geek out on cookies, cookie variations, and the proper way to eat a cookie. Plus, Robert and I discuss our struggles with vegan junk food and health promotion, how to get big forearms by hand-scooping cookie dough, and our shared indecisiveness when faced with a restaurant menu. Listen, subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Show Notes:

  • Robert brought all five flavors of Maxine’s Heavenly cookies to the potluck! Pumpkin Pecan Spice, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk, Almond Chocolate Chunk, Cinnamon Oatmeal Raisin (my favorite), and Double Chocolate Chunk (Robert’s favorite).
  • You can find their packaged cookies at Erewhon, Follow Your Heart, Bristol Farms, Gelsons, and Lazy Acres, plus various health stores/natural markets in the San Francisco and Pacific Northwest areas.
  • Build Robert’s ultimate cookie creation, the Cookie S’mores Sundae, at home: torch a Dandies marshmallow and sandwich it between two Double Chocolate Chunk cookies. Top with a scoop of vegan vanilla ice cream (we love NadaMoo!), chocolate fudge sauce, and sprinkles!
  • On the savory side, Robert can’t get enough of the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger.
  • Let’s talk restaurants. Robert praised the brunch at Hugo’s – go for the almond energy pancakes. Feeling fancy? You’ll find Robert at Crossroads Kitchen, hopefully celebrating the expansion and success of Maxine’s Heavenly.
  • Need a bowl for that Cookie S’mores Sundae? Check out Coconut Bowls.  All podcast listeners get 10% their entire purchase with the code THEVEGANPOTLUCK. Browse their unique and sustainable bowls, utensils, and even candles to add flair to your kitchen and promote sustainability.

9: Lesli Lonergan

“One part science. One part flavor. One part love.” That’s the secret to baking, according to Episode 9’s guest, Lesli Lonergan, owner and founder of Two Birds Baking Co. Lesli makes the best cupcakes, and they just happen to be vegan (and often gluten-free)! We geek out on baking, the trials and challenges of running a vegan business, and her appearance on Cupcake Wars. Listen, subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Show Notes:

  • Stock up on your baking essentials at Thrive Market! The Vegan Potluck listeners get a special discount. They have everything you need to make the perfect sweet treats for the holidays, including a variety of flours, sugars, and extracts.
  • Find Lesli’s cupcakes (and sometimes cookies) at Hapa Cupcakes in Fullerton, CA, or say hello in person at the Surf City Nights Farmer’s Market. She’s there (usually) every Tuesday night from 4:30pm – 9pm. Check her Instagram for a teaser on her flavors.
  • If you’re in the L.A. area looking for a decent brunch spot, Mohawk Bend is Lesli’s pick. Its great for everyone, vegans and omnivores alike.
  • Looking for an incredible sit-down meal? Check out Gracias Madre in West Hollywood or Real Food Daily (RDF). You can’t go wrong, but we highly suggest the butternut enchiladas at Gracias Madre and the basic bowls at RDF.
  • To dine and dash or pick up a healthy yet satisfying meal, Native Foods is Lesli’s top pick. I definitely have them in my contacts, and the staff at the Costa Mesa location know me. Twister Wrap. Soul Bowl. BBQ Chick’n Salad. Peanut Butter Parfait. Oatmeal Cream Pie….again, you can’t go wrong.

8: Allison Melody

I’ll admit, the last few episodes have featured rather indulgent topics. Episode 8 brings us back into balance with Allison Melody, co-host of the popular podcast, Food Heals Nation. In addition to her own healing journey through food, Allison has interviewed the best and the brightest in the plant-based health and wellness space. We get a bit personal and discuss how Allison discovered plant-based nutrition through tragic events, losing both of her parents to cancer. She’s a committed health advocate who is dedicated to spreading the plant-based lifestyle, and she has helped countless individuals attain healthier, happier lives through her work. She is a master of stir-frys, lover of pasta, and green juice aficionado. Learn how she balances health with the more indulgent side of life, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, review and share!

Show Notes:

7: Ridiculous Baking Company

Before I tried one of Adam Leach’s croissants, I had come to terms with the fact that I would never enjoy a truly delicious and authentic croissant again. I thought it was just one of those foods that cannot be veganized. Adam, founder and head baker of Ridiculous Baking Company (RBC), proved me wrong. In Episode 7, Adam and I dive into the wonderfully flaky world of sweet and savory pastry. RBC is known for both its vegan renditions of classic pastries, as well as its mouthwatering and rule-breaking mashups of our favorites. Grab a cup of coffee and listen in! As always, don’t forget to subscribe, rate, review and share!

Show Notes:

  • Adam may be a professional baker, but he turns to Stephen McCarty for his stellar raw cheesecakes when the craving calls. Check out Stephen’s Instagram; his sweets are works of art.
  • For a filling, comforting meal, check out Flore Vegan Cuisine in Silverlake. Adam used to cook there, and its a personal favorite of The Vegan Potluck. Get The Salad and the lemonberry cake. Every. Single. Time.
  • One of Adam’s favorite collaborations was with NadaMoo (vegan) ice cream. Together they created the ice cream cone doughnut. Swoon!
  • On the savory side, Adam loves to collaborate with the Herbivorous Butcher for their vegan meats and Miyoko’s for her stellar vegan cheeses. We’re talking rueben croissants and fully-stuffed pizza croissants! Follow the links to purchase your own; both companies ship nationwide.
  •  When Adam finds time to leave his booth at festivals, he heads for Clean South for their vegan popcorn chicken and BBQ soy curls.
  • Want to try some of the best vegan cheese in LA? Check out Adam’s pick, Blode Kuh in various LA stores and farmer’s markets.
  • On the rare occasion when Adam eats out, he heads to Shojin for a sit down meal. However, for a more casual outing, he noted Organix and Cena Vegan for their nostalgia-inducing burritos and classic Mexican fare.
  • Adam’s final words of wisdom: NEVER dunk a fresh chocolate chip cookie.
  • Adam has the food covered, but you can get so much more at Thrive Market! Stock up on sustainable home products like cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, soaps, and even vitamins and probiotics! The Vegan Potluck listeners get a special discount.


6: Charlie’s Brownies

Let’s talk brownies. In Episode Six we’re taking a deep dive into chocolatey indulgence with the Brownie Man himself, Charlie Fyffe. Charlie’s brownie (and blondie) creations are a staple at Southern California vegfests; vegans and non-vegans alike flock to his booth for his warm brownie sundaes with toppings galore – think rich fudgy brownie topped with vegan vanilla ice cream, chocolate fudge sauce, nuts, coconut bacon, and a strawberry. He also wows the crowd with his bronuts (brownie donuts) and brownie ice cream sandwiches. What’s even sweeter? All of his brownies and blondies are gluten-free (celiac’s rejoice!). Join the fun as Charlie and I talk about vegfests, social responsibility, and brownie mountains. Click below to listen, and don’t forget to subscribe, rate, review and share!

Show Notes:

  • What Charlie brought to the potluck: his $30 brownie mountain (listen to find out what that entails).
  • What Tanya brought to the potluck: Oh, Ladycakes Cherry Crumb Pie. Best. Pie. Ever.
  • A word on ice cream, because brownies and ice cream are the dessert equivalent to peanut butter and jelly. Charlie’s favorite ice cream (vegan or otherwise) is New York’s Nutty Bunny. Toronto’s Pleasantville Creamery is a close second. When not partnering with the local vegan ice cream shop, Charlie reaches for Coconut Bliss for his stand-out brownie, blondie, and bronut sundaes.
  • Besides brownies, he has a sweet tooth for Yvonne’s vegan cheesecakes and Yoga-urt’s kombucha floats.
  • At SoCal vegan events, Charlie has recently been leaning toward Todo Verde for their vegan ceviche and unique mole. He also gives a shout out to New York-based Chickpea & Olive for their plant-based comfort food (he loves their burgers).
  • Charlie raved about Ted Lai’s homemade vegan breakfast sandwich as the best savory thing he ate recently. Check out Ted’s episode on The Vegan Potluck!
  • Charlie’s restaurant picks: 1). Au Lac. He recommends the off-menu vegan octopus. 2). Suncafe. 3). Mohawk Bend. It’s known for its pizzas, but Charlie gravitates to the vegan chili fries and burgers.
  • Don’t forget about Thrive Market! Stock up on your brownie sundae essentials for less so you can create your own brownie mountain! The Vegan Potluck listeners get a special discount.
  • Build that brownie mountain in a coconut bowl from Coconut Bowls.  All podcast listeners get 10% their entire purchase with the code THEVEGANPOTLUCK. Browse their unique and sustainable bowls, utensils, and even candles to add flair to your kitchen and promote sustainability.