Millennium Restaurant in SF Closing

millennium-restaurant-san-francisco-signMost people LOVE Millennium in SF. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion... I took Jane there for her birthday last year. We both were quite disappointed.

Today, Millennium announced that they will be closing their restaurant in April as their lease is expiring and the new owners are not interested in having Millennium as a tenant in the future.  Here's Millennium's letter to the public:

After more than 20 years in business, and with the end of our lease, we will serve our last meal as Millennium at 580 Geary St on April 30, 2015. We are so grateful to our co-workers, family, farmers & friends who have made the experience of running this restaurant unforgettable.

The Hotel California was recently sold to Pineapple Hospitality, a
Seattle company. They will be doing an extensive renovation and we have been notified that they do not wish to continue to have a restaurant as part of their hotel.

After 20+ years Larry and Ann Wheat, the principal owners of Millennium, have decided to retire from the restaurant business after Millennium closes on or about May 1, 2015. They have made a significant contribution to the success of Millennium and consider it their contribution to the vegetarian movement. They have said that they will miss the staff and customers they have met over the years.

Eric Tucker, Millennium’s executive chef since inception and co-owner of Millennium, will be opening a restaurant with Millennium’s General Manager Alison Bagby. They have worked together for the past 8.5 years and will continue to serve organic plant based cuisine. In Eric’s words, “we want to keep this thing going”. They are currently evaluating potential locations and looking for investors. While the prospect of closing is a sad one, they both see this as an opportunity to improve upon Millennium’s dining room and location.

The cost of running a restaurant in San Francisco, using the best ingredients possible and making the entire menu from scratch daily, combined with our shared affinity for the East Bay have us leaning in that direction but we are also actively looking in San Francisco.

To everyone who has become part of the Millennium family–we could not have done what we did for so long without you—THANK YOU.

Please visit us in the next 3 months and stay tuned for Eric’s
Kickstarter campaign. If you are interested in investing, please contact us at

Gratefully Yours,
The Millennium Family

Millennium Restaurant: 580 Geary Street, at Jones, San Francisco. (415) 345-3900.

How do I become vegan?


I've heard from many people motivated to become vegan by animal welfare issues. Health and the environment are other reasons to discuss, but this week, about halfway through my month chronicling my vegan ways, I’m going to turn to some practicalities.

Just how hard is it to become a vegan? If you’re new to it, where do you start? I’ve gotten some advice from readers, and I’ve reached out to a few people.

My friend and neighbor, Sarah Newman, tried being a vegan many years ago while training for a triathlon. It didn’t stick then, but now she is a healthy vegan and offered me some tips.

She says cooking vegan motivates her creativity. An example? Truffles made with ground Medjool dates, nut butter, cacao powder and nibs, salt and cinnamon. Mix ingredients, roll into balls, and refrigerate.

Yes, the good news is that chocolate can be vegan. Just read the label.

The first step is to shop for foods you can use in vegan recipes. Try new fruits and vegetables, unfamiliar grains. Or, if the idea of cooking makes you want to run to In-N-Out, try vegan burgers and other foods from the store’s freezer section. But remember, vegan does not equal healthful; French fries are vegan.

Another way to start to change, if you’re not ready for full-on veganism, is the Meatless Monday idea. It’s a campaign that’s been going for years, and has grown to include institutions such as the San Diego and Los Angeles unified school districts. The campaign recalls those from the World Wars when patriotic Americans were asked to cut back on meat by 15%, which is roughly one day a week.

Another path is to find a website or an online community for support and ideas, said Diana Rice, a dietitian and spokeswoman for the Monday Campaigns. has vegetarian and vegan recipes, including some that children can cook, she said.

Jennie Cook, a Los Angeles caterer, told me about a couple of blogs that have vegan recipes, including some of hers: and

For a family, try meals that are a bit do-it-yourself, such as tacos or burgers – perhaps some vegan, some not – or two stir fries, one with chicken, one with tofu.

“As you get comfortable, find new ingredients. Reach out, try new things,” said Kristy Turner, whose new book speaks to anyone who might be uncertain of the terrain. “But I Could Never Go Vegan” has 125 recipes, with ingredients such as jackfruit -- which can be found canned in supermarkets and has a bland taste on its own, and can be used instead of shredded meat -- or cheese made from nuts.

“The way I see it, cheese is a thing in its own right. It’s not necessarily connected to dairy. You can make cheese from nut milk, just the way that you make it from dairy milk. It’s just cultured, it’s the same sort of thing,” Turner, a former restaurant fromagier, said in an interview on Wednesday.

Other examples: bacon made from tempeh or black beans, tacos with mushrooms rather than meat.

Some tips from Turner, who has been vegan for 3 1/2 years: Try to make a vegan version of a familiar dish. And don’t beat yourself up if you slip and eat cheese.

“It’s not about perfection. It’s about compassion for yourself and the planet and for animals. Trying to be the best you can be. You don’t have to be perfect,” she said.

People who are going vegan for good, or even for a few weeks, should make sure they’re getting their nutritional needs met for such things as iron and vitamin B12, which Americans typically get from animal foods, Rice said. If you don’t feel well, you are less likely to maintain the diet, she said.

She also suggested not relying too much on processed foods, even vegan ones. “Vegan bars are fine in moderation, but don’t make it the basis of your diet,” she said.

I had dinner on Monday night with friends, worried that the host, my friend Judy Rudzki, would be insulted if I didn’t eat what she cooked, but I was reluctant to ask her to make anything with me particularly in mind. The culinary gods were in my corner, however. There was hummus, and a vegan lentil and squash soup that was fabulous. I did as well over the weekend, when we went to Sacramento for a family bar mitzvah and the buffet table included a green salad and a lovely casserole of quinoa, greens and chickpeas.

source: LA Times


Vromage Shop


This is a vegan mozzarella and tomato hero.

vromage goat chive vegan cheese

This is vegan goat chive cheese.

Do I have your attention?

There is a new vromage shop in Los Angeles. Vromage, get it? Fromage, French for cheese, but the V is for vegan. A vegan cheese shop. For those of you who aren't in LA, Vromage will be shipping orders too! We haven't been there yet, but when we do, we'll let you know.

Youssef Fakhouri, L.A.'s God of Vegan Cheeses from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

What is Vromage?
For years, people have sought out a dairy-free alternative to a staple in the human diet: cheese. The finest of which have been cultivated and crafted, fermented and perfected. And now, finally, there is a cheese for that's as good for you as it is for the animals. Vromage offers superior-quality artisan cheeses made from nuts and aged to perfection. They are arguably the best substitutes for dairy cheese available. And they're available now!

vromage goat cranberry vegan cheese

Who Created Vromage?
Youssef Fakhouri has been refining his product since he began at le Vegan in Los Angeles in 2009. After years of passionate persistence, his product has evolved into the diverse masterpiece that it is today. 

vromage feta vegan cheese

The store is open from Wednesday to Sunday 11:30am-7:30pm except holidays. Open Monday and Tuesday for wholesale by reservation. Group reservations welcome. Come in and say hello!


7988 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90046

vromage veganzola vegan cheese

This is veganzola.


I think I'll be making a pilgrimage to Vromage pretty soon.

Oatmeal every day….


Eating a small bowl of oatmeal may be the secret to a longer life, a large new study suggests.

Harvard University researchers reviewed two large studies that followed more than 100,000 people who were periodically quizzed about what they ate and how they lived for more than 14 years. It turns out the folks who ate at least 33 grams of whole grains daily -- equivalent to a bowl of oatmeal -- cut their risk of premature death by 9 percent compared to those who barely ate whole grains at all, according to findings published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The risk of dying from heart disease was slashed by 15 percent, though eating whole grains didn't seem to lower the risk of dying from cancer, the study showed.

"Whole grains may protect the heart by lowering blood sugar and insulin levels," said Qi Sun, an assistant professor with the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the study's authors. "This type of property could improve insulin resistance to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes."

Sun added that weight loss and other healthy nutrients may add to the health benefits of whole grains. He also said the studies may not have yielded enough information about cancer to draw any conclusions. Previous studies have demonstrated a lower risk of colorectal cancers with high consumption of foods made from grains where the germ and bran have been left intact, he noted.

Though the study teased out factors such as family history, lifestyle, smoking and other dietary habits, it did have some limitations. Sun said that for one, it was an observational study versus a controlled trial. Additionally, the biggest difference in death risk was between the two extremes -- those who ate a lot of whole grains versus those that ate very little -- but wasn't much different for those who ate somewhere in between.

However, Sun pointed out that each additional 28-gram increase in whole grains per day led to even greater protection.

"It could be a dose response where you have to eat a certain amount to get the benefits and going above that would be even better," he said.



veganuary   A global campaign known as Veganuary asks people to make a New Year’s pledge to give up all meat, eggs and dairy for the entire month of January. The movement is the brainchild of British husband and wife team Matthew Glover and Jane Land. Inspired by Movember, a viral campaign that asks men to grow facial hair to raise awareness for men’s health issues, the couple said they decided to start something similar last year to encourage people to go vegan.

“We wanted to do something organized that would support people in their efforts to go vegan and give them information they needed to do it,” Glover said.

Veganism is one of the strictest forms of vegetarianism. The practice does not allow for eating any food of animal origin including fish, eggs, milk, honey or animal gelatin. Leather, wool, fur, and silk are also off limits, as are any soaps, cosmetics, toiletries and household goods derived from animal products. Glover said there are lots of reasons someone might want to go vegan. He and Land decided to do it after watching a PETA video on the mistreatment of cows and chickens.

Veganism is also better for the planet, Glover asserted. Research shows vegans have a carbon footprint that is less than one-third of someone who eats the average American diet, he added.

And then there is the weight-loss aspect. Research shows that people who eat vegan tend to weigh less on average. But registered dietitian Cynthia Sass of New York said that only holds true if you don’t practice junk food veganism. “The aim is to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day plus lots of whole grains plus a good plant-based protein like beans or lentils with every meal,” Sass advised. Glover said 3,300 people from all over the world signed up for the pledge last year, with half saying they would continue with the plan after the month was up. To make it easier for the 7,000 people who’ve already made the pledge this year, Glover said the Veganuary website acts as a hub for practical information. “We found that people didn’t necessarily want to know more about why they should go vegan. They wanted more information on how to do it,” he said. Rachel McChrystal, the program director for New York’s Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, a Veganuary sponsor, said the campaign has done a great job helping guide people to veganism. But there's nothing like getting to know the animals that usually wind up as a food source to convince people to give up their carnivorous ways, she added. “Being hugged by a turkey is pretty much the best vegan conversion anyone can have,” she said.   source:

O Olive Oil

20141107_131716Jane and I have always enjoyed dipping good bread in olive oil and balsamic. A few years ago we were introduced to Dukkah: a mix of ground roast nuts and spices, originating in Egypt, and used as a dip. You add a bit of olive oil and balsamic to your plate and then a small spoonful of dukkah (you can find our recipe below) and dip away. We've adopted this as a regular nosh for ourselves.

So when we were contacted by O Olive Oil and asked if we'd like to sample their products, we said, "absolutely."

We received a very nice package containing two olive oils and four vinegars. The first olive oil we tasted was the O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil which has a really nice light and summery taste. We also sampled the O California Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. This is a basic olive oil that has a nice fruity note to it as well. Both are very good, and the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil works nicely in a salad dressing.

The vinegars we sampled included: O Fig Balsamic Vinegar, O California White Balsamic Vinegar, O California Port Balsamic Vinegar, and the O California Balsamic Vinegar. Yum. The plain balsamic tasted very good, the white balsamic was light and had less of a bite than the other vinegars, and both were very good. But the Port and Fig balsamic vinegars stood out as delicious. We're hoarding the remainder of those bottles for ourselves, and will be buying more when we finish our samples.

We sampled six of their many products. Jane has already earmarked a few of the other varieties she'd like as her holiday gift, and I'm all for that since I'll get to share in the bounty. O Olive Oil has a number of gift sets available if you're looking for a gift idea.



2/3 Cup ground almonds (or hazelnuts)

1/2 Cup toasted sesame seeds

2 Tbs ground coriander

2 Tbs cumin

1 Tbs ground pepper

3/4 Tbs salt

Mix all ingredients together. Stays fresh for a few months. Dukkah recipes vary widely, and there are many of them on the internet. You can modify the recipe with any spice mix you enjoy.


You can buy O Olive Oil directly from the manufacturer or on Amazon

Non Vegan Beer

Verre_de_GuinnessMANY years ago, I wrote that many beers are not vegan because of a very old process, called isinglass where fish innards are used to process beer. Just surfing the net, I stumbled upon an article from last year in Smithsonian discussing this. So just as a reminder:


Guinness sells about 10 million pints a day across 100 countries. On St. Patrick’s Day, that number hops to 13 million. When Arthur Guinness set up shop in Dublin back in 1759, he never would’ve guessed that his stout would become the unofficial beer of the Irish and the go-to beverage to shout to the bartender come March 17 (besides Jameson). Even Obama honored his Irish lineage with a highly-publicized Guinness at a pub in Ireland last year. But the classic brew isn’t for everyone. For the hardline vegetarians and vegans out celebrating this St. Paddy’s Day: there could be traces of fish bladder in your Guinness.

Isinglass, a gelatine-like substance made from the air-bladders or sounds of fish like the sturgeon is added to cask beers like Guinness to help any remaining yeast and solid particles settle out of the final product. As the finings pass through the beer, they attract themselves to particles in the fermented beer that create an unwanted “haziness” in the final product and form into a jelly-like mass that settles to the bottom of the cask. While beer left untouched will clear on its own, isinglass speeds up the process and doesn’t affect the final flavor of the beer once removed.

The word isinglass most likely comes from the corruption of the Dutch word huisenblas which translates directly to “sturgeon’s bladder,” but its history goes back a little further. Its archaic, Latin root, ichthyocolla, comes from the Greek words ikhthus (fish) and kolla (glue)—defining the mucous-like substance as “fish glue.”

According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica Volume IX, originally published in Edinburgh in 1797, the method of using isinglass as a clarification agent was long a secret in the hands of the Russians who were known for their exceptionally strong isinglass-made glue. The entry, which draws heavily from Humphrey Jackson’s 63rd volume of the Philosophical Transactionscites the principal research of Pomet on the process of making isinglass:

“As to the manner of making the isinglass, the sinewy parts of the fish are boiled in water till all of them be dissolved that will disolve; then the gluey liqur is strained and set to cool. Being cold, the fat is carefully taken off, and the liquor itself boiled to a just consistency, then cut to pieces and made into a twist, bent in form of a crescent, as commonly fold: then hung upon a firing and carefully dried.”

Pomet’s experiments with the sounds of fish and its chemical properties lead him to discover the fish membrane’s ability to clarify beer. Adding an ounce and a half of “good isinglass” to a gallon of stale beer to steep for a few days, he found that the bad beer “was converted into good fining, of a remarkably thick consistence.” When he tried this with the same quantity of glue, the experiment yielded only “mucilaginous liquor, resembling diluted gum water which instead of clarifying beer, increased both its tenacity and turbidness.”

Combining the insinglass with malt liquor, he found that a “vast number of curdly masses became presently formed”, became attracted to the “feculencies of beer,” and, with the “well known laws of gravitation,” the unwanted particles combined with the isinglass and fell to the bottom of the barrel.

The process is simple: Remove the membranous parts of fresh-caught fish, scrape off the mucosity with a knife, roll, twist and dry in open air.  The thicker the sounds are, the better the isinglass. The air-bladders of fresh water fish are preferred because they are more flexible and delicate. Swim bladders from sturgeon—especially that from the Beluga sturgeon which yielded the greatest quantity of sounds—were used to make isinglass until the 1795 invention of a cheap cod substitute by William Murdoch.  Summer is the best time to collect, as frost interferes with the fish’s gelatinous principles. After the drying process, “good” isinglass, once held up to a light, exhibits prismatic colors.

Guinness first used isinglass in its Dublin brewery in the mid to late 19th century. A young fermentation scholar by the name of Forbes Watson, the son of an Edinburgh solicitor, was a pioneer in the experimentation and examination of the mineral constituents of Guinness beer. Within six weeks of being hired at the brewery, Watson discovered a way to recover beer at the bottom of the vat saving Guinness 6,000 pounds a year. Very early in his career, he toyed with pasteurization and introduced new methods of breaking down isinglass finings that would increase the lifetime of the stout. In 1909, Watson was killed in an accident with a machine he had helped create at age 37. After he died, little scientific ground was broken for the company until the 1930s.

With the presence of modern gelatin, isinglass is rarely used today with the exception of British “real ale” cask beers. Generally, British beers still use isinglass, gelatin, glycerin or casein. According to a recent statement made by Guinness:

“All Guinness brands are free from animal matter and from contact with animal matter. However, isinglass, which is a by-product of the fishing industry, is used as a fining agent for settling out suspended matter in the vat. The isinglass is retained in the floor of the vat but it is possible that minute quantities might be carried over into the beer.”

For many strict vegetarians and vegans even “minute quantities” of an animal product is enough to abstain from eating a particular food. Much like the honey debate (Does it hurt the bee? Or does it not count as an animal product? What about silkworms and cochineal bugs?) flexitarians and militant vegans may disagree on how to classify the potential traces of isinglass in beer.

For those who are on the anti-isinglass side of the spectrum, carrageenan, a type of red algae, also called Irish Moss, (an appropriate title for St. Paddy’s Day) also works as a fining agent in beer, but doesn’t yield the same results as isinglass. The k-carrageenan interacts with the proteins that create cloudy beer and form the molecular equivalent of marbles in syrup at the bottom of the batch. Vegan brands like Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon use carrageenan while others like Odell Brewing Co. use centrifugation for clarification.

Strict vegetarians and vegans often choose German or Belgium brews which abide by “purity laws” (first enacted in 1516) which require that breweries use only ingredients of water, grain (barley or wheat), hops and yeast. The ruling was officially lifted in 1987 by the European Court, but the tradition of the law remains.

So, before you step out on the town in your green get-up and order an Irish stout this St. Patrick’s Day, remember: Pescetarians, rejoice—Guinness is still “good for you“. Vegans, stick to whiskey.



Thanksgiving has always been a special day in our house. Once we became vegan, our menu was mostly the same, simply veganized and minus the turkey. Over the years we've tried a wide variety of turkey substitutes, but our absolute favorite is the Gardein Holiday Roast.

gardein holiday roast

It is supposed to serve 8, but even though we cut it into 8 slices, we wind up eating two of them at one serving, so for us, it serves 4. The package even comes with two pouches of some pretty good gravy, eliminating the need to make your own.

Last year we found it at our local grocery store, where we can also find a wide variety of other Gardein products. This year, they didn't carry it, even though they've expanded their Gardein variety, but the store manager did offer to special order it for us. We were able to buy it at Sprouts, and it appears to be carried at many Target's here in southern California. Unfortunately it has also gone up in price (along with almost everything we are buying this year) from $11.99 to $13.99. We thinks it's a tad pricey, but we love it regardless. It is our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder

A few years ago I developed an intolerance to the caffeine in iced tea. I would become jittery and edgy after lunch. Finally, it occurred to me that I could no longer tolerate the iced tea I always drank. So I switched to green tea iced tea, when it was available and water or lemonade elsewhere.

There are many claims that Matcha has health benefits. Since we're not medical professionals, we don't feel qualified to rate the claims, but we feel it is certainly a better alternative than soda, and probably better than juices.

So when we were asked if we'd like to review Kiss Me Organics Matcha, Jane and I agreed. This is a culinary grade green tea powder.20141123_155958

A few months ago, we had been given a small package of matcha from a friend who'd returned from Japan. We made iced tea from that, but since we primarily drink water at home we hadn't yet purchased any additional matcha ourselves, even though we love green tea iced tea.

When the Kiss Me Matcha arrived, we made ourselves some iced tea straight away. Upon opening the package we noticed an intense green tea smell. The package we'd been given from Japan was did not give off as strong a scent. The Kiss Me Matcha also had a more velvety texture, whereas the Japanese product was drier and had a more powdery texture. Not comparing the two products side by side is probably not the most fair test, but we both felt the Kiss Me product had a better taste and texture.

Yesterday Jane tried a recipe for Green Tee Cookies. Yum! They're not overly sweet and have a really nice flavor and they'll be a staple in our house. I also threw a tablespoon of the Matcha into my morning smoothie. Honestly, I couldn't tell it was there. Since the matcha is supposed to be very good for you I'm happy to add it to my smoothies.


In the meantime it's been warm here, so Jane tried a quick recipe for Green Tea Ice Cream with just two ingredients... frozen bananas and matcha green tea powder. While it tasted good, the consistency was not ice cream like, so she's not likely to make that recipe again. Tomorrow Jane is going to try Green Tea Ice Cream, with a coconut milk base. We're looking forward to it.

So where do we stand on Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder? In general, matcha is more pricey than regular green tea, and at $25 for 4 ounces, Kiss Me certainly isn't inexpensive, but isn't the most expensive matcha out there by far. We really liked this product and will be using it again. But Jane and I both agree that we will use it in recipes that feature the taste rather than as a regular addition to smoothies or the like where the taste gets lost. And of course, we'll be making plenty of matcha green tea iced tea.

If you're looking to purchase this product, you can find it on

Vegetarian Thanksgiving: A Squash Main Course

When Maria Marlowe, a New York resident, switched to a vegan diet eight years ago for health reasons, she tried to persuade her family to do the same.

“When someone converts to vegan eating they preach a lot, and I preached,” she said. “I was like the food police. I made people feel uncomfortable. It wasn’t effective.”

But this year, Ms. Marlowe’s family will celebrate its first all-vegan Thanksgiving. How did she persuade her meat-loving family to go vegan?

“I decided to show — not tell — how good vegan food actually tastes,” she said. “I lightened up a bit.”

This spring, Ms. Marlowe visited her sister in Miami and prepared most meals, offering her sister vegan breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes based on foods purchased at the local farmers market. She also took her sister to vegan restaurants. When Ms. Marlowe left, her sister decided to keep eating a plant-based diet and has since lost 70 pounds. Impressed by the results, their father switched to vegan eating and lost 20 pounds.

At the Marlowe family Thanksgiving this year, no turkey will be served, and vegan dishes will be the main course, including this stuffed acorn squash recipe Ms. Marlowe calls “Three Sisters Squash.” (The sisters in the recipe are the Native American staples beans, corn and squash.)

“It has a little bit of everything,” she says. “It’s filling and satisfying, and the garlic melts into the crust of the squash, and it’s so amazing. It will be the star of our first official, completely vegan, Thanksgiving table.”

Three Sisters Squash: The sisters in this recipe are the native American staples beans, corn and squash, which together offer a delicious main course for vegan diners.

More reader-submitted recipes from Well’s Vegetarian Thanksgiving 2014:

Panzanella of Plenty: A reworking of a traditional Italian summer bread salad, adding fall produce so that it resembles a traditional American Thanksgiving stuffing.

Brussels Sprouts Sliders: A creative and fun way to enjoy a great fall and winter vegetable: crunchy “buns” of roasted brussels sprouts with a tasty middle of caramelized onions and tempeh that makes for “dreamy bites of pure umami goodness."

Black Rice, Beet and Kale Salad With Cider Flax Dressing: This delicious salad resulted from an effort to create a hearty vegetarian dish while at the same time offering a delicious gluten-free option.

Really Big Beets: A show-stopping main course for the vegans at your dinner table — and one that even meat-eaters will want to eat.