• August 6th, 2011quarrygirlproducts, vegan cheese

    this is definitely cause for celebration! cheezly, our favorite vegan cheese ever, is now available in the states. it comes to us all the way from the UK, and it’s bloody amazing.

    in december 2010 cheezly lost its stateside distribution, but somehow vegan essentials has managed to bring it back!

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags:
  • December 14th, 2010quarrygirlvegan cheese

    i have some pretty awful news for vegans in the united states: our beloved cheezly is no longer available here.

    bye bye for now

    we have been fans of the marvelous UK vegan cheese for years, and back in march after the natural products expo, we thought they were poised to take the united states market by storm. unfortunately we were wrong, and cheezly is no longer being distributed in the US at the moment.

    i am really hoping the redwood wholefood company (maker of cheezly) finds distribution soon, because we NEED their delicious vegan cheese stateside. just earlier this month, i was raving about it.

    i will miss you, cheezly.

    please come back, cheezly! in the meantime, if any of my UK readers wanna send me some cheezly as a happy xmas gift, please do! 🙂

    Tags: , ,
  • December 4th, 2010quarrygirlother, products, vegan cheese

    daiya vs cheezly. cheezly vs daiya. it’s an epic battle, and i don’t know who would win. have you tried both? do you have a favorite?

    daiya pizza on the left, cheezly pizza on the right

    i recently had the chance to eat both a daiya and a cheezly pizza back to back…and choosing between the two would not be an easy task. if only the new teese (which i love) would have been there, my mind would have been blown.

    so which one looks better to you:

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , ,
  • July 14th, 2010mr meanerdinner pies, other, products, recipes

    Back when I was a vegetarian living in London, I used to visit Chicago frequently. On my trips I would only eat two kinds of food: Mexican (as there is no Mexican food to speak of in the UK) and Chicago Pizza (same issue). Now that I’m a vegan living in LA there’s an abundance of incredible Mexican food to satiate my love of things from south of the border, but I really do miss the tastes and textures of a thick, cheese filled Chicago pizza that’s so humongously large that it has to be eaten with a knife and fork.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , ,
  • March 18th, 2010quarrygirlother, products, vegan cheese

    as i mentioned in my re-cap post of expo west, one of the most exciting companies present at the convention was vbites. already huge in the uk, the company produces some of the best vegan meats and cheeses in the world, and makes everything ranging from deli slices and burgers to fish fingers and frozen dinners. there’s even an entire vbites restaurant in brighton, and it’s pretty much my definition of heaven on earth…so imagine how stoked i was when i heard these amazing products were finally coming to america!!

    animal rights campaigner and owner of vbites, heather mills, was serving up pizzas and spreading excitement about her new products at the booth all weekend.

    the new vbites food i tried at expo west was so fantastic, i decided it needed its very own post. just have a look at what the company has in store for the united states…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , ,
  • February 6th, 2010mr meanerbrighton, more restaurants (not LA)

    I live in Southern California where we have perfect year-round temperatures, palm trees and sun-drenched beaches. A Beach Cafe here looks like THIS:

    Paradise Cove Beach Cafe. Malibu, California

    (picture courtesy of flickr)

    Whereas a beach cafe in my home country of England looks, shall we say, a tad less exotic, especially on a rainy, blustery October day. However, while the Paradise Cove might LOOK attractive from the outside, what’s inside it is positively ugly. Tanks of dying “fresh seafood” – lobsters, crustaceans and even fish waiting to be plucked and cooked in boiling water.

    VBites, on the other hand, is a wonderful and entirely vegan cafe on the “English Riviera” at Hove, just west of Brighton on the South Coast. Yeah, there’s no sandy beach outside the door or palm trees waving in the wind but what’s inside will warm you right to your soul on the coldest of winter days.

    Once you walk through the doors of VBites, it’s like being transported to a city-center cafe like you’d find in London or New York. Bright colors adorn the walls, and everything is light wood, concrete, stainless steel or funky plastic. Right away, you know you’re somewhere different as the first thing you see is a large bar dining area with a “cupcake conveyor belt” rotating, you guessed it, many varieties of vegan cupcakes past your nose as you eat. It was off hours when we went there, so sadly the belt was not operational which is a pity.

    To the left of the bar is a children’s play area with soft mats and toys – a real boon to vegan parents who can pop their toddler in a safe environment and keep an eye on them while they eat. What a great idea!

    Towards the rear of the restaurant is the dining room which has a long bar down one side and comfortable tables along the other. Funky music, cool lighting and bright decor really did make me feel very urban, not at all like I was sitting a few feet form the beach.

    The huge menu is delightfully varied, and has to be one of the best I’ve ever seen at an entirely vegan restaurant. You can start the day with a tofu scramble or vegan full English breakfast, then eat your way through plenty of lighter options such as burgers, hot dogs, nachos, sandwiches, and salads. If you choose to go for a romantic dinner in the evening, there’s also a full-on lunch menu, and a long list of entrees (Italian, Indian, you name it!). Additionally, there’s a “build your own vegan pizza” option with tons of toppings, all baked on dough specially brought in from Italy.

    Nachos with soya melted cheese, salsa and guacamole. £4.75

    We opted for some down to earth comfort food: nachos followed by bangers and mash. The service was very fast and attentive, the food arrived extremely well presented, and didn’t hang around long on the table. The nachos were awesome – home baked chips, salsa, guacamole and cheezly cheese topped off with jalapenos and a lime.

    Soya bangers and mash with onion gravy. £6.95

    The traditionally English “bangers and mash” sincerely blew us away. Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes (probably the best I’ve had since becoming vegan) topped with three hearty VBites sausages and smothered in a rich, creamy onion gravy. I know my description sounds like something off a menu, but those adjectives are all highly accurate, I can assure you!

    Our only regret when we visited VBites is that we were on the south coast for just a few hours, and had to get back to London for the evening otherwise we would have tried far more things on the menu. On the way out there are fridges full of VBites food items (VBites is the brand formerly knows as Redwood Foods) so you can get many of the ingredients to take home and prepare. The bangers, cheezly, fake meats, burgers etc. are all available at the same prices you can pick them up in a supermarket.

    Oh, and talking of prices, VBites is remarkably inexpensive considering what you get. The portions are large, the prices are low and you’d usually expect to pay a heck of a lot more considering the beach location and standard of decor and service.

    Finally, there’s one more contrasting fact between our English version of a beach cafe and what exists in America: NO BEACH VIEW. Yeah, due to the crazy winds on English Channel there’s a large storm wall and built-up promenade between VBites and the sea.

    That’s not a bad thing, though, as our beaches are a lot less picturesque than the ones in Southern California. Just ask Holly Walsh who made this great video just a mile or two from VBites:


    I hate the seaside – Watch more Funny Videos

    Our friend Lex, at Vegan-LA/Vegan-Europe described VBites as “… like finding the gingerbread castle in a fairy tale. You’ll rub your eyes in disbelief.”. So true!

    Vbites
    Hove Lagoon, Kingsway, BN3 4LX
    01273 933757

    Tags: , , , ,
  • October 21st, 2009mr meanerproducts

    fish-sticks

    What do Fish Fingers, Mushy Peas, Bisto gravy and Smash all have in common? They are all staple foods of English family cooking. Growing up in the UK I would have had one, or all, of these foodstuffs weekly. Clearly, now, as a vegan living in Los Angeles, not only is it difficult to buy these things, but Fish Fingers are clearly off limits, not least because they are made of fish’s fingers. Or so our schoolboy jokes implied all those years ago.

    When we paid a visit to the excellent VBites restaurant just outside Brighton on our last UK trip I happened to notice Breaded Style Fish Fingers as we were leaving. A new product from Redwood Foods/VBites (the company that makes Cheezly), these are entirely vegan and looked very tasty indeed. Sadly, we had a long walk ahead and were staying in a hotel for a few more days so we couldn’t buy them on the spot.

    HOWEVER, on our last day we visited the mecca (not Macca) of Whole Foods restaurants in Kensington to stock up on some hard-to-find vegan stuff. Lo and behold, as we were browsing around, we happened upon the exact same “Breaded Style Fish Fingers”, and I couldn’t resist picking up a couple of packets, which were very reasonably priced. So, with one ingredient down and three to go I set about combing the store for the other essential ingredients. Canned Mushy Peas were an easy find, as was a packet of Smash instant mashed potatoes:

    We had to search a bit to find the Bisto vegetarian gravy granules, but once we had them, our evil plan to smuggle the ingredients back to Los Angeles to cook a traditional English meal — but vegan — was complete!

    british-foods

    Back Stateside, preparing the food took about 5 minutes – pour hot water on the potatoes and gravy, heat the peas in a saucepan and pop the fish fingers under the broiler. The food was so easy to cook that I realized for the first time why my culinary-challenged mother made it for me so much while I was growing up.

    fish-peas-mash

    While the gravy, mashed potatoes and mushy peas were excellent and reminded me of home, the best thing about the meal was the “Fish Fingers”, often called “Fish Sticks” in America. They were crispy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside and with a distinct texture that wasn’t pretending to be real fish. I could have eaten the entire package, but had to restrain myself so I’d have room for a traditional English veganized after-dinner treat. But that’s an entirely different story.

    I hope that Redwood Foods/VBites bring their entire line of vegan food to the USA, and that this will give omnivores and vegetarians more reason to make the switch to being vegan.

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • September 26th, 2009quarrygirlpizza, types of food, vegan cheese

    deep-dish-1

    deep-dish-2

    deep-dish-3

    i bet you’ve never had a vegan deep dish chicago-style pizza. this one was awesome, made with cheezly and teese from chicago soy dairy. next time i will throw some daiya in as well.

    Tags: , , , , ,
  • August 9th, 2009quarrygirlmore restaurants (not LA), portland

    did you know: not only does portland oregon have a billion rad vegan eateries, vegan options at almost every restaurant, and loads of vegan-friendly pubs—the city also has its very own vegan strip mall. sounds too good to be true, right?

    from left to right: sweetpea baking company, herbivore clothing, food fight grocery, and scapegoat tattoo

    from left to right: sweetpea baking company, herbivore clothing, food fight grocery, and scapegoat tattoo

    southeast stark street in portland boasts the neat row of vegan businesses pictured above which from left to right include sweetpea baking company, herbivore clothing, food fight grocery and scapegoat tattoo. on our recent visit to portland, we hit up each one of these places (other than the tattoo parlor) and filled up on some hardcore veganocity for the journey home.

    sweet-pea-bakery

    sweetpea baking company was our first stop. the 100% vegan bakery was (i believe) the first of its kind on the west coast, and the staff was super friendly and helpful. having already eaten lunch, and gearing up for our return to LA, we grabbed a dinner to eat on the go at the airport. it’s a good thing we did too, because our flight ended up being delayed!

    sweetpea-calzone

    we started with a pepperoni calzone, which came with thick spicy slices of seitan in a doughy pastry shell. meant to be enjoyed warm, this calzone was still delicious unheated.

    sweet-pea-calzone-inside

    we also shared a seitan sandwich, which was the perfect grab-n-go treat. fresh bread, creamy dressing, and fat chunks of savory wheat meat. perfection! next time i visit portland, i will definitely grab some actual baked treats from sweetpea. but i can tell you, if you don’t have a chance to try their cookies or muffins, the sandwiches and calzones are awesome as well.

    sweetpea-sandwich

    next we hit up herbivore, an ultra rad vegan clothing company that sells a wide array of shirts, hoodies, and stickers. we bought some rags that would help us promote veganism everywhere, as well as a shirt to support bj and alex. the staff was polite, the clothes were great, and i felt extra good about spending money at this place.

    lastly we hit up food fight, which is basically a small completely vegan convenience store. they had loads of vegan meats, vegan cheeses, canned goods, as well as steamed tofurky sausages. we bought some bacon cheezly, which turned out to be exceptional, and were on our way.

    cheezly-bacon-pack

    so let’s just say the vegan strip mall in portland is all around awesome. you can eat a fresh cupcake, buy a new vegan hoodie, stock up on faux meat, and get some vegan ink…without traveling more than 300 feet. i can’t wait to return.

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • July 30th, 2009quarrygirlvegan cheese

    cheezly-bacon-pack

    unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about this national bacon craze that’s been going on. people are putting bacon in donuts, chocolate, and other places you’d never have imagined. companies are designing purses, wallets and even bandages with bacon designs. bacon seems to be EVERYWHERE, and there is just no escaping it. well guess what, just because bacon is fucking disgusting animal flesh doesn’t mean that vegans can’t get in on the fun. redwood foods lets vegans join the action with a bacon-flavored cheezly. that’s right, one of our favorite vegan cheeses has taken the bacon plunge.

    cheezly-bacon-label

    i spotted this cheezly with “added bacon style pieces” when i was at food fight in portland, and i just knew i had to give it a try. i smuggled the block back to LA in my carry-on and cracked into it a few days later. i can’t even tell you how excited i was to try vegan bacon cheese. it sounds so wrong, i knew it had to be right.

    cheezly-bacon-slice

    when i opened the cheese, it looked like a normal white cheddar block, but with tiny little bits of bacon sprinkled throughout. redwood foods makes a really top notch vegan rasher, so i had pretty high expectations for this. i tried a bite of the cheese raw, and boy it sure tasted bacony! it was a little crumbly, with a strong cheddar flavor combined with a great salty bacon taste. so far, so good.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: ,
  • July 23rd, 2009quarrygirlnews, other, vegan cheese
    redwood foods recently purchased by heather mills

    redwood foods recently purchased by heather mills

    i’ve got some vegan news, y’all. heather mills now owns cheezly, and she’s bringing it to america. if you don’t know what cheezly is, it’s an amazing vegan cheese from the UK that did very well in our best vegan cheese challenge. if you don’t know who heather mills is, she used to be married to that pink-colored dude at the top of the page.

    i got an email from redwood foods (the company behind cheezly and loads of other vegan goodies from across the pond) today that was just full of great news. check it out:

    We’re the importers and distributors for Redwood Foods Cheezly from the UK and I often read your blog, etc. I think it’s probably one of the best there is. Thanks for all the hard work. Anyway, I just wanted to bring you up to date on the latest Cheezly developments. Firstly, Redwood Foods was just purchased by Heather Mills who is a committed vegan and a very dedicated animal rights activist. The original management team is still in place at Redwood and Heather will be a great ambassador for us and veganism in general. Secondly, we expect soon to be offering a new and improved shredded version of Cheezly here in the States. Thirdly, we plan soon to lower our suggested retail price for Cheezly to $5.99 and maybe a little lower. Lastly, we hope that it won’t now be too long before we start marketing other Redwood manufactured items in the US.

    Please take a look at these links:
    www.redwoodfoods.co.uk/news/
    www.heathermills.org

    so to recap, the bloody awesome news is: new and improved cheezly shreds are coming to the united states, AND the price of cheezly is being lowered!!! this is like a dream come true. we are really gonna have way too many tasty vegan cheeses to choose from.

    so congratulations to redwood foods and heather mills on this new partnership. i think this means i’m gonna get to eat a lot more of this:

    CHEEZLY! WOO HOO!

    CHEEZLY! WOO HOO!

    bring us the vegan goods, we are ready. my days of paying thousands of dollars on shipping or filling my luggage from london up with nothing but cheezly may be over.

    Tags: ,
  • June 3rd, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    of all the places i’ve dined in london, pogo cafe is definitely one of my favorites. the small co-operative acts as a hub for activism, a book trader, and one of the city’s few 100% vegan restaurants. there are a couple dining tables in the place as well as comfy couches, computer stations, and coffee tables covered with anti-government literature. all this stuff is really rad, but the best thing about pogo cafe is of course the delicious food. i’m talking really good, cheap vegan fare served in huge portions.

    punk burger: served with cheeze, mayo, rasher, tomato and lettuce in a bun. with potato wedges and a salad. £4.95

    punk burger: served with cheeze, mayo, rasher, tomato and lettuce in a bun. with potato wedges and a salad. £4.95

    when fellow vegan blogger melisser of the urban housewife heard i was going to london, she insisted i visit pogo cafe. after finding it on the map, i was put off by how far away it was (i had to take the tube plus a 45 minute bus ride to get there), and showed up with my husband not expecting much. however when the giant portions of appetizing food arrived, we knew pogo cafe was a winner, and our lunch there ended up being one of the best on our entire trip.

    my husband ordered a punk burger, which was hearty and tasty beyond belief. the thick vegan patty came topped with cheezly, mayo, vegetables, and a meatless “rasher,” or bacon as they call it here in america. he upgraded his burger to the meal option, which means they served it with a huge pile of spicy potato wedges and side of leafy greens. clocking in at under £6, this thing was a deal and an awful lot of food.

    nacho plate: organic corn & sesame tortilla chips, with homemade salsa, guacamole, sour "cream" & melted cheeze. (GF) £3.90

    nacho plate: organic corn & sesame tortilla chips, with homemade salsa, guacamole, sour "cream" & melted cheeze. (GF) £3.90

    i ordered the nacho plate, which was an impressive mound of chips topped with fresh salsa, guacamole, vegan sour cream and melted cheezly. i was so excited when my plate arrived and it was covered in cheezly, one of my favorite vegan cheeses that is almost impossible to come by in the states. it had an amazing rich cheese flavor, and it actually melted. i seriously think this is the best plate of nachos i’ve ever had in my life, and it was only £3.90! how is it that a couple of DIY kids in a tiny kitchen can make me a lunch this amazing, but fully staffed restaurants in fancy facilities can’t turn out something half this good?

    pogo-cafe-interior

    one thing to note about pogo cafe, although it is awesome in almost every way, is that some of the staff can be snobby cunts. you see, my husband is english, and i’m american and we both placed our orders out loud. the minute i placed mine, the dude taking them turned to his fellow co-worker and started bad mouthing americans and barack obama. it’s like he was being intentionally rude and shit talking the (soon to be at that time) president, in hopes to offend me. whatever douche, i don’t care if obama is too conservative for you, i just want some fucking nachos. phew, rant over.

    all rude staff aside (and just one dude was rude, mind you, the rest of the staff were lovely), pogo cafe serves such good food you would be a fool not to eat there when in london. i didn’t get a chance to try their desserts, but i hear they are amazing as well. i can’t wait to return to pogo cafe again, i will definitely stop by there on my next trip across the pond.

    pogo-cafe-ext

    pogo cafe
    76 Clarence Road
    London E5 8HB
    020 8533 1214
    Wed-Sat. 12:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
    Sun. 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.

    Tags: , , , , , , , ,
  • April 26th, 2009quarrygirllondon, more restaurants (not LA)

    i know i have raved about los angeles’ latest whole foods in venice being the best whole foods EVER…but i was lying. there’s an even better one across the pond in london on kensington high street, and it’s just one more reason that i know i NEED to move to the uk. seriously, this 3 story whole foods makes all the ones in los angeles look like scrubs. they have an entire vegan section with more mock meats and cheeses than you could ever possibly try…i’m talking double or triple the size of the sections at our local markets.

    whole-foods-vegan-wall

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Tags: , , , ,
  • March 6th, 2009quarrygirlLA restaurants, pizzeria mozza

    basically any foodie will tell you that THE place to get a pizza in los angeles is pizzeria mozza. the sister restaurant to the upscale italian eatery osteria mozza has been open for years and it is still nearly impossible to get a reservation. mozza’s thin-crusted and crispy italian-style pizzas are so popular that every day before the restaurant even opens, several wannabe customers line up outside, hoping to grab a seat at the bar.

    being somewhat obsessed with pizza, of course i’ve always had an interest in trying out mozza. but the thought of fighting with the crowds and dealing with the whole scene for some “highly modified to be made vegan” pizza was a bit of a turn off. plus, i’m just so used to big, take-out, new york style pies. the personal-sized expensive pizzas served at mozza with toppings i can’t pronounce all seemed a little to fancy for my comfort zone. luckily, i was jolted out of my reticence by my vegan friend and fellow pizza fiend who called me one day and exclaimed, “holy shit, dude! we gotta go to mozza! i have been dying to try that place and i just got confirmation their sauce and crust are vegan! what are you doing tomorrow?” we headed over to mozza the next day, lined up outside 15 minutes before they opened, and just managed to get a seat at the bar. what followed was epic pizza.

    rapini, cherry tomatoes, olives & chiles $14 (no anchovies or cheese!)

    rapini, cherry tomatoes, olives & chiles $14 (no anchovies or cheese!)

    we ordered a couple pizzas and then swapped slices, and my friend definitely chose the better of the two. she got the rapini, cherry tomatoes, anchovies, olives & chiles…sans anchovies and sans cheese. when the bartender heard her modifications, he asked if we were vegans and then assured us our food would be handled with different utensils. excellent.

    the pizza tasted delicious without cheese and came with so many fine vegetables, the mozzarella wasn’t missed. the succulent rapini and and tiny tomatoes were perfectly prepared and sitting on top of the most amazing crisp yet tender crust. thin in the middle and bubbly on the edges, the crust was seriously out of this world. baked in an italian-inspired wood-burning oven, it’s miles away from any pizza i’ve ever tried.

    tomato, extra virgin olive oil & sicilian oregano $10

    tomato, extra virgin olive oil & sicilian oregano $10

    the pizza i chose was a bit more boring, but i loved it all the same. oddly enough the pizza you see pictured above came as is, with no modifications. it’s naturally cheeseless and topped with only tomato, extra virgin olive oil and sicilian oregano. the oregano was phenomenal, but i couldn’t help but laugh when the waiter plunked the plate down in front of us and my friend was all, “DUDE! it looks like there’s WEED on your pizza!” and indeed it did. haha, it tasted great though…nothing like marijuana, i swear! the lack of toppings gave me the opportunity to really taste the amazing crust on its own and reaffirmed my feeling that this is the best fucking crust i’ve ever eaten.

    mozza-bar-beer

    while the seating at the bar is kind of tight, it was rather enjoyable. i would definitely go to mozza again and line up for 15 minutes to snag a spot. they only have one beer on tap, but it’s a damn good one: moretti. if i didn’t have to get back to work, i could have definitely thrown back a few pints of this stuff.

    insalata mista. $8

    insalata mista. $8

    we also shared a small salad and while mixed greens tend to be kind of boring, in true mozza fashion this was exceptional. the leaves were perfectly coated with salt, pepper, and a light tangy dressing, making for total salad awesomeness. the bartender also brought us some complimentary long and crunchy bread sticks, the perfect accompaniment to damn good salad and beer.

    because the pizzas are pretty big, way more than enough for one person, i ended up with half a pie to bring home with me. when i went to heat up my barren, tomato sauce covered crust that evening i decided to throw on some vegan cheese to see how it tasted. because this pizza crust was so special, i decided to use some of my all-time favorite vegan cheese on top…CHEEZLY. cheezly (winner of the best vegan cheese pizza challenge) is so hard to come by, and it’s expensive as fuck. i order online at veganessentials.com and use it only on special occasions. but hey, what is more special than having a pizza from mozza to reheat?

    pizza from pizzeria mozza with melted cheezly!

    pizza from pizzeria mozza with melted cheezly!

    mozza crust with melted cheezly on top is so amazing, i can’t even describe it to you. since becoming vegan, i’ve never tried anything that tasted so much like real cheese pizza. you are probably looking at 6 bucks worth of pizza in that picture, just for a tiny slice…but man oh man it was worth it. vegans, if you miss pizza, seriously give this a try. go to mozza, get the plain pizza to go, and cover it in cheezly when you get home. just a few seconds in the microwave got the cheese melted all over the crust, and it tasted in-fucking-credible.

    thank you mozza and cheezly for returning the joy of pizza to my life.

    and i also highly recommend dining in at pizzeria mozza. get there a little bit before they open, or a little bit before they close and you should be able to grab a coveted bar seat. seriously, this place deserves all the hype.

    mozza-ext

    pizzeria mozza
    641 n. highland avenue
    los angeles, ca 90036

    323-297-0101

    open everyday
    12pm – 12am

    Tags: , , ,
  • January 12th, 2009quarrygirlpizza, recipes

    UPDATED 2011: since the time of this post, a new revolutionary vegan cheese called daiya has come along. it melts and stretches like real cheese, and is available at whole foods and ralphs. you can read our review of it here. also, teese has come out with a new and improved version of their product that is vastly superior to the one below. lastly, cheezly is no longer available in the united states. so as it stands today, 2 years later, cheezly is still the best tasting vegan cheese, but daiya and teese are close behind and are pretty easy to find.

    PIZZA!! it’s the one thing i really miss as a vegan. i fantasize about one day in my future, when nondairy cheese is just as convincing as vegan ice cream—when the soy stuff tastes and feels like the real thing. until then, i am constantly looking for the best solution, even if that means ordering several vegan cheeses online and pitting them against each other in the ultimate pizza challenge. …so here it goes!

    sheese, teese, cheezly, and follow your heart. which vegan cheese will prevail?

    sheese, teese, cheezly, and follow your heart. which vegan cheese will prevail?

    we took all the top retail vegan cheeses and they faced off in the ultimate pizza contest. the contenders consisted of all the top competitors: follow your heart, sheese, cheezly and teese. we ordered them all online at veganessentials.com and used them all on a standard, basic, homemade pizza crust.

    let’s start off by defining the rating system. we will determine the absolute best of these cheeses by evaluating them based upon 5 very simple qualifications: taste uncooked, taste cooked, meltyness, value, and availability. the scale is on a 1 – 5 scale, 5 being the best of the best of the best.

    1.) teese
    http://www.teesecheese.com/

    from the ordering website: “Teese is the exciting new vegan cheese made by the Chicago Soydairy, makers of the popular Temptation brand vegan ice cream. Teese is the first dairy-free and casein-free cheese that melts and tastes like a real dairy cheese. Teese is crafted through a proprietary process by certified “Teesemakers” to taste just like artisanal cheese. Teese promises to deliver the taste and melt non-dairy connoisseurs have sought for years”

    teese pizza

    teese pizza

    taste uncooked: the taste raw is definitely sour. cheese-like, but weird, wet and waxy. 3 out of 5

    taste cooked: pretty close to real cheese, i’ll take it! 4 out of 5

    meltyness: teese’s melt factor was insane! we threw this pizza in the oven, and when it came out, the cheese on top was a pinkish SOUP. i have tried a few times subsequently, and it seems that teese cheese always turns into pink mush. i found if you let it cool for about 10 minutes, the pink teese soup turns into a decent edible pizza cheese, thus ultimately warranting a 3 out of 5

    teese melty-ness

    teese melty-ness

    value: teese is $7.49 for 16 oz, that works out to $0.47/oz. 4 out of 5

    availability: not sold in my area, but always available online. 4 out of 5

    2.) sheese
    http://www.buteisland.com/

    from the ordering website: “imported from Scotland, Sheese is a delicious alternative to dairy-based cheese that’s firm in texture and is by far the best eat-straight-from-the-package vegan cheese we’ve ever tried. It can also be used in many recipes, too – it takes a bit longer to melt than other vegan cheeses due to the firmness, but it works extremely well in just about any recipe you use.”

    sheese pizza

    sheese pizza

    taste uncooked: oddly enough, this stuff grated beautifully, but it tasted like ice cream! there wasn’t a sour raw flavor to it, instead something oddly vanilla or cake-like. 3 out of 5

    taste cooked: when cooked, the vanilla taste of sheese was not so prominent. it was still a tad to sugary, but had definite hints of mozzarella. 4 out of 5

    melty-ness: sheese just straight up refuses to melt. you can see, the grated shreds just sit there, after 45 minutes in the oven, totally refusing to budge. 1 out of 5

    sheese melty-ness

    sheese melty-ness

    value: sheese typically costs 8.69 for an 8 oz package—this equates to $1.08/oz. 2 out of 5

    availability: while sheese isn’t available at your typical whole foods, it’s pretty easy to find. grab it online at veganessentials or one of the many vegan specialty internet grocers. 4 out of 5

    3.) follow your heart vegan gourmet
    http://www.imearthkind.com/

    from the ordering website: “Hailed as the best American-made vegan cheese, Vegan Gourmet melts beautifully and has a delicious, authentic cheese flavor. Perfect for topping pizzas, pastas, Mexican dishes, or shredded plain in salads!”

    follow your heart vegan gourmet pizza

    follow your heart vegan gourmet pizza

    taste uncooked: edible but not great. the shreds were wet and waxy and a slight taste of chemicals…WTF. 2 out of 5

    taste cooked: when on homemade pizza, follow your heart still has a strange taste. while not as prominent as when raw, there is a definitely chemical flavor. 3 out of 5.

    meltyness: follow your heart cheese melts sometimes; and in my experience, even after a round in the oven, it needs some microwave love to get it melted. plus, it started falling off the pizza in big clumps. 3 out of 5

    follow your heart melty-ness

    follow your heart melty-ness

    value: vegan gourmet does very well in this category—it seems that follow your heart is basically giving this shit away! a mere $4.69 for a 10 oz package puts it at a shocking $0.47/oz! 4 out of 5

    availability: finally, follow your heart’s reach is just as impressive as its price tag. i find this shit in basically every whole foods, and even some ralphs outlets. i’m in la, so i can’t speak for the rest of the country, but here the availability is 5 out of 5

    4.) cheezly
    http://www.redwoodfoods.es/

    from the ordering website: “Cheezly is simply incredible and must be tasted to be believed. We’ve never used a vegan cheese that melts this well AND tastes so much like real dairy cheese! Ideal for pizzas, quesadillas, pastas, grilled cheese sandwiches- anything you can imagine melting cheese onto or into!”

    cheezly pizza

    cheezly pizza

    taste uncooked: cheezly tasted pretty damn good raw. it was firm, chewy and slightly sour. pretty fucking impressive. 4 out of 5

    taste cooked: the taste of the cheezly on a pizza was absolutely delicious. it was salty, cheesy, milky, and probably the best tasting fake cheese i’ve ever had. 5 out of 5

    meltyness: cheezly’s melt factor was awesome. pretty much like real cheese. 4 out of 5

    cheezly melty-ness

    cheezly melty-ness

    value: when it’s not on sale, cheezly will run you $8.95 for 6.7 oz, that’s $1.34/oz! whoa!! pretty pricey. 1 out of 5

    availability: cheezly is only available for me in los angeles via internet order. still, it’s pretty easy to find online. 4 out of 5

    and now, for the results!

    cheeze-chart

    in the end, teese and cheezly tied for the win with 18 points! follow your heart was right behind with 17 points, and sheese coming in last with 14 points.

    even though teese scored the same number of points, cheezly will always be the winner in my book. cheezly won most of its points on pure taste, but fell behind because it’s 3 times the price of teese. so if you don’t mind paying extra, go with cheezly. in my opinion, it is the best tasting vegan cheese.

    there ya have it. now go eat some vegan pizza! you’re welcome.

    Tags: , , , , , ,