A Vegan Lifestyle Blog

Growing up my dad called me "Gina Beana Fagiolena," or "little bean" in Italian. He never could have guessed that I'd become a vegan, but the nickname suits me more now than ever. Read on to learn about all things vegan: fashion, books, food and more.

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fagiolena in London

Back in February I moved to London, and now I have a whole new city of vegan restaurants and bakeries to explore. So many neighborhoods, so many places to try...Saf in Shoreditch, Mildred's in Soho, and more than I can count in Camdentown.

Last weekend, though, I was shopping a bit by myself and hungry for some good veg. I headed off of Oxford Street, turned down Wardour and ended up at Vitao, a delicious Asian-influenced buffet. Delicious vegan options beyond any buffet you can imagine...cabbage, aubergine in a white, aromatic sauce, sauteed broccoli, lentil dahl and other Indian, Nepali and Asian-style dishes.

So tasty, that I had to close out with a delicious slice of double chocolate cake. Fantastic! I will be going back soon, and next time I will get a smoothie..

The Well-Edited Collection of a Modern's Vegan's Life

After a long hiatus, I'm back and ready to blog. But this time, I want to blog a little differently. I want to cover my life more expansively. Honestly, the reason I stopped is because I was feeling a bit trapped by the vegan headline. I felt compelled to only write about vegan things, and the best I could do was food since clothing and other products just aren't mainstream. I was bored always writing about food, always seeking the vegan angle.

I'm a realistic vegan, a vegan who has a real life. Or, more accurately, I'm a girl with a regular life who happens to be vegan. Being vegan influences--but doesn't control--my decisions. I'll come clean...I love vegan dessert, but when I'm craving my friend's chocolate cake, I'll have a bite. When I'm in a fantastic sushi restaurant, and the only veg roll on the menu is the same-old, plain cucumber avocado roll, then I'll have the fantastic-looking salmon rainbow roll. I can't say that just because I found myself in a steakhouse I'd eat a filet, but fish sushi is most certainly not off the table, nor is chocolate, nor cookies, nor cake. I prefer being vegan, but sometimes I just want to enjoy the moment!

I'm re-shaping this blog into something bigger, greater and broader than just a vegan blog. From today forward, this blog is just the well-edited collection of a modern vegan's life.

Translation: I will blog about my life, both the vegan and non-vegan things in it. I just want to write and share my experiences. If that means I post about a fabulous hat I found in Stockholm, then so be it. I will still blog vegan food, though, since uncovering vegan gems in cities around the world is one of my favorite things to do. More to come.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Chocolate PB Fix...Now!

It's Sunday night, and it's time for dessert. Of course, my cupboards are dessert-bare, but that won't stop me from planning what I will make next time I go home to bake with my mom.

Check out these amazing Chocolate Peanut Butter Pillows on PPK. Here's the recipe. Here's the pic:
Source: thePPK.com

The recipe has been published in Vegan Cookies by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero.

Sitting here in my pajamas with only a spoonful of peanut butter left on my fridge and little motivation to move, I'll settle for a chocolate Odwalla bar dipped in the good stuff. Not the same, but still quite delish!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Koo-Zee-Doo's Veg Option #2

I had been looking forward to going to Koo-Zee-Doo, this new Portuguese BYO in NoLibs, for weeks. I was very excited to try their vegan option (only in NoLibs would a Portuguese restaurant have a vegan entree).

I called ahead to make sure that the Milho Frito, a combo of fried corn porridge, fennel, fava and green beans, was totally vegan. The woman on the phone confirmed.

Now even more looking forward to this dinner with friends over a few glasses of vinho do porto, the sweet wine produced only in Portugal, I couldn't wait to start eating:

(Me, my friend Ralph and the porto!)

Look at that excitement on my face! Well, unfortunately I was a little disappointed. When I ordered the Milho Frito, the waiter said, "Oh yea, I knew you were coming, but we actually just sold the last one." Really?! Sold the last one? Probably to a table of non-vegans, no doubt, who thought it sounded tasty, which I guess I can't argue with because it sure did sound good.

Instead, the chef made me a special dish, which was delicious but unfortunately not quite as unique as I had expected. It just didn't taste as "Portuguese" as I had hoped. The fried porridge would have been so delicious, but instead I had a meal of sauteed ramps, asparagus potatoes and leeks--very tasty but not quite what I wanted.

The chef was accommodating enough to also serve up a vegan appetizer, also not on the menu, to make up for the misunderstanding. He sent out an absolutely delicious chickpea cake with broccolini and and an olive tapenade.

We also started with Salada de Cores, which included romaine, asparagus tips, large fava beans and white beans, thin baby carrots and beets, all drenched in a sweet but light dressing. This salad was an excellent start to the meal.

Even though I was disappointed, I will definitely go back. I always appreciate a chef who is willing to experiment in the kitchen and consider special requests. Veg option #2 was actually very, very good, just not what I had hoped to eat that night. Delicious, but not as memorable as I would expect the Milho Frito to be.

And who doesn't like a BYO? Plus vegan options, plus beautiful plates (see the white and blue pattern above), an intimate setting and excellent service.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Elle's Eco-Fashion Challenge

Get eco-inspired with Elle Magazine's 21-Day Eco-Chic Challenge. Elle lists 21 days of planet-friendly travel, fashion and beauty products.

My favorites include Day 11, which highlights sustainable fashion, Day 12, which includes a mention of Olsen Haus, a Fagiolina favorite, of and Day 14, a brief mention of Stella McCartney's commitment to organic fashion and veg lifestyle.
Source: Elle Magazine

Fabulous fashion without sacrifice seems to be the trend. And it keeps gaining momentum! It's nice to see that a number of the eco-aware designers in Elle's Fashion Challenge have an interest in animal-aware products, too.

Earth Day Sale @ Arcadia

My favorite eco-chic Philly boutique Arcadia is hosting an Earth Day sale this Thursday, 4/22. Come celebrate Earth Day with exclusive deals on vintage clothing and accessories and extra sales on sale items.

Plus can't resist posting a picture of a fabulous Matt & Nat Deetron Bag from Arcadia's website:
Source: Arcadia Boutique

The bucket-style bag and zipper detail makes it a stylish option for the season. Looks like lots of compartments to keep you organized, too!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lovin' this L'Oreal, All-Natural Hair Care

With little fanfare, L'Oreal Paris launched its EverPure hair care system. After getting my hair colored and highlighted this week (lighter to welcome the beginning of spring!), I went to the drug store to find a good shampoo and conditioner that would protect my color.

I grabbed the L'Oreal shampoo off the shelf and began reading the back and--go figure--the entire line is 100% vegan. Not only is it vegan but sulfate-free (no chemicals to dull the color or get into your skin) with a botanical, fresh scent and natural ingredients.

After a week of use I'm completely happy. My hair is full and moisturized with a rich, bright color. Good for vegans but also for those just looking for an all-natural, color-protecting shampoo.