Just a week ago, I was in new York City, staring across the table at 3 beautiful, vegan, Impossible Burgers. I had waited years to try this meal, and it was finally in front of me. For me, a milestone, but for the two carnivores, I feel it was just something new to try.
However we all left stunned. I, with a renewed sense of excitement for the future of veganism, and my friends with an interest in vegan products they never thought they would have.
So I was a bit disheartened this week to see some media outlets raising ethical concerns with the Impossible Burger.
First, I was upset. Any time we hear about lab testing on animals, it brings to mind all the vivisection actions of the past and how we need to move beyond this type of testing.
But then, I was conflicted. A brand and product that can bring so many to veganism, and actually SAVE animal lives was at the same time responsible for sickening and possibly killing animals.
And finally, I processed it.
I remember my own personal mantra when it comes to being vegan – “Make the best decision you can at any given time.” It is why I own a coat made of recycled wool blankets. Veganism isn’t always as black and white as we may see it.
Vegans need to understand that for this movement to succeed, it boils down to math and logic, not emotions and yes/no arguments. There is a shade of gray that threads through the middle somewhere.
If this company synthesized a new protein through genetic modification of yeast (which it did) and sickened thousands of people, the brand and the products would be gone. And, with it would be the chance to bring more people to veganism through an amazing burger product.
Also, I don’t care how “vegan” you are, you are not 100% vegan. We kill insects on the roadway, our products we eat may contain milk, the acreage of forests cut for our homes and coconut oils. It goes on and on. So who are we to cast the first stone?
In the end, I wish this testing could have been done without animal research. But in the end, if it means more and more carnivores give up their meat for a vegan option, that will, undoubtedly end up saving animals.
And sometimes, we need to sicken some to save even more.
My Jeep had been sitting in the garage for maybe a week. So I decided to start it up one day, and was greeted with a new chime, and the dreaded Check Engine Light.
I ran my diagnostics through the Bully Dog, and the result was surprising – it returned codes for P0113 – Intake Air Temperature Sensor Circuit High, and P0480 – Fan 1 Control Circuit.
I forced the fan on via the Bully Dog, and nada. As a friend of mine recently replaced his fan assembly, I figured I was also looking at a $120 bill and 10 minutes of work. Well I was wrong. He has the 3.8l. The new fan (OEM replacement) is a whopping $500 and very hard to find in stock.
With my wedding approaching (and the Jeep playing a key role in it) I was desperate to find out what was happening.
Fuse and relay check. I purchased some new fuses, and replaced it. I ensured all relays and other stuff was firmly seated.
2. I inspected all wiring for abrasions and issues.
3. Last, I went on eBay and found a listing for a new fan for $300.
Before getting the new fan, a good friend came over with a much better understanding of vehicle electronics, and helped me further diagnose.
We soon found the problem! There are 3 wires that comprise the fan harness. Black is ground, red is hot, and green carries a signal between 9v-12v and that basically allows the fan to operate on a scale based on engine temps. It isn’t a straight on/off fan.
That little green wire had some sort of a short in the connectors. We disassembled the connectors, reseated everything, and put everything back together. I cleared the codes, and it has been great ever since.
So, before you panic and replace a $500 fan, check your wiring!
PS. To the eBay seller in Miami that graciously let me cancel my order, thank you!!!
On a recent trip to New Jersey, I had already assumed the vegan scene was gonna be rough. As I plied the townhome lined streets of Jersey City, visions of pasta and “steamed veggies” began to swirl in my head. Then, something caught my eye. The word “vegan” painted on the side of a red brick building.
The building was unassuming, and like many homegrown vegan places, relied on chalkboards and an array of health foods to greet customers. This was vintage veganism and it was grand.
I entered Subia’s to a very welcoming host that quickly took my order. She coached me on what was good, and I slipped a vegan cannoli into the bag. Baada Boom!
Once inside, there was a decent amount of retail, probably a staple for local vegans. They had Chao cheese, the Beyond Burger, vegan cheeses, yogurts, milks, fresh produce, and a ton of other stuff.
Taking my lunch back to the office, I wondered about the Rueben sandwich and that cannoli in the bag.
It was packed in one of those old school foil bowls with the plastic dome and the little rim you bend down to secure everything. While the order was to go, this little bit of to-go nostalgia was awesome. We don’t use stuff like that in Portland.
The rueben? It was the best I have ever had. And not even kidding. The meats were perfectly prepared and the tempeh strips lended some great texture. The sauerkraut was perfect too, and not too crazy – it didn’t overpower the sandwich. The bread was absolutely heavenly, and thankfully the same on all their sandwiches. It was pillowy soft and had some oats sprinkled on top for good measure. Lastly, the sauce was fantastic. It did provide the predominant flavor for the sandwich, and could possibly stand to be calmed down just a tad. But in the end it was just perfect. Oh and the vegan havarti? Insane.
That little cannoli, while almost $6 was equally satisfying and a great desert for my lunch.
So what does a vegan guy stuck in Jersey City do? He goes right back to Subia’s again the next day. And the day after that too.
Day two saw the BBQ “Riblet” sandwich. I was surprised with this entry, as it was flavored soy curls. I enjoyed it. But it was not my favorite from Subia’s. The flavor was solid, the bread was still amazing, and the curls were good. I think maybe my taste buds were still recalibrating from the Rueben.
Day three you ask? Well after talking about this amazing rueben at work, I was leading a small army of colleagues to Subias. They wanted to try the amazing rueben. We ordered and sat outside at the patio (great people watching BTW) and a plethora of ruebens soon graced us with their presence. Same damn amazing sandwich. And my non-vegan co-workers agreed. They are all returning.
Day three also saw my last day in Jersey City. And on walking back to the Airbnb one last time, an idea hit me.
I needed one last sandwich to take with me on my flight back to PDX.
In the three short days I was there, I think they knew me by name, and helped me choose the Philly steak and cheese. It was to go, and would most likely be cold when I got to enjoy it, so this seemed like a safe bet.
While delayed on the tarmac of Newark Airport, I decided it was probably time to crack open that familiar aluminum base and unfold the rim and enjoy the sandwich. Just like the rueben, it was amazing. The seitan was possibly the best I have ever had (diced chunks) and the now almost solid cheese helped keep everything together. The flavor was just perfect (and my favorite bread was still amazing).
The vegan donuts and cinnamon buns were really good, and accompanied my Dunkin Donuts coffee (almond milk) really well. But the sandwiches. Wow.
It was awesome to chat with the owners – two awesome women that have run the place for over 14 years. They told me how their parents thought it was a stupid move – they’d be starving – they said. But here we are, 14 years later enjoying this amazing vegan gem in the middle of a vegan desert (Ok not really but for someone from Portland, it can feel that way).
Next time you are in NYC or Jersey, stop at Subia’s! Get that rueben or Philly.
You will not regret it.
Note: Most of my meals there were takeaway. So the photos should be taken with a grain of salt…they do not represent the nice building or space at Subias.
Ok, well maybe an explosion is a strong statement.
Anyway, I just had a crazy thing happen to me while changing my oil. And, after a quick scan of the web, this is a relatively new issue now that many of the 3.6l Pentastar engines are aging. This issue seems to only affect model years 2012-2013.
As with all my oil changes, I left the oil filter cap off while the oil drained. I was actually in the process of attaching the new o-ring to the cap, and pulling the new filter from the box when BANG! The sound of a gunshot echoed in the shop. On the floor was a long plastic piece, and a large spring rolling around. Oil was sprayed on the fenders, under hood, and the floor.
Upon closer inspection, the long black tube is part of the oil filter bypass valve assembly. It was missing the smaller spring (from inside the tube) and the valve part itself, which is typically seated at the end of this long tube. I scoured the shop, and have not been able to find those parts. They either bounced off the inside of my hood, and into another dimension, or will provide a nice waft of burning plastic someday.
The internet also showed me the $200 part I needed to buy. However, on further Googling, I saw that Dorman now makes a little replacement kit $21.95 on Amazon). Of course, Chrysler’s revenue agents would not allow an OEM kit, unless you buy the entire $200 assembly. Video here. Forum links here.
I ordered the replacement parts on Amazon, and will update this post once I install them on Tuesday.
**NOTE: The force this stuff came flying out of the oil filter canister could cause serious injury, especially to the face! I think it dented the inside of my hood. PLEASE keep your face away from the oil filter assembly, or replace it with the new filter and cap right away.
There are some places in Portland that try hard and have good options. But when we recently stopped into Rudy’s Gourmet Pizza in SE Portland we were blown away.
The place is a really rad sports bar with plenty of street parking. The space was clean and well laid out. There were tons of big screens for watching sports games and other events.
We sat down and ordered a bunch of different things.
For starters we got the vegan wings in Pineapple BBQ. They are the type with the fake bone/sugar cane slice in the middle. The sauce was AMAZING and the wings were cooked just right. I typically hate these wings at other places as they seem too chewy. But here, they are cooked right.
We also ordered the vegan cheesy bread. What I thought was awesome is that they will blend Follow Your Heart and Daiya cheeses so you get the best of both worlds. I opted for this blend and it was great.
With the cheesy bread we also got marinara sauce and a sample of the new red pepper dipping sauce which was really good. It worked with everything we ordered.
The pizza we opted for was the BBQ chicken. I modded it with no onions or peppers (I know, vegan sacrilege), but I added broccoli.
This was probably the best vegan pizza I have had in a long time, if ever. The crust is that perfect sweet spot of crispy-yet-doughy, and the sauces, vegan chicken, and broc were perfect. It was almost too good, as this fatty vegan ate almost the whole medium (I didn’t have breakfast in preparation for the trip BTW).
I washed this down with a pint of my new favorite IPA – Vicious Mosquito from Sunriver brewing. It’s a great IPA and I was stoked to see them with it on tap.
As many of my readers know, I am a strange blend of liberalist, centrist, and conservative. While I voraciously support equality – marriage equality for one, I also advocate strongly for second amendment rights and smaller government.
I also believe unequivocally – that without our second amendment, we cannot protect the others. That single right – to keep and bear arms – allows us, the citizenry, a poker chip against a future government that steps too far. It was baked into our rights from a group of founders, that had just recently witnessed an armed citizenry resist an oppressive government – and succeed. It is core to our nation.
That all boils down to the fact I am a staunch believer in concealed (and even open) carry.
And yet, as I read another story of extremists plowing into, and stabbing innocent citizens, I cannot help but feel that the justification for a legally armed public is louder now than perhaps ever.
Concealed carry used to be based on individual protection. Individual safety. Someone is breaking into my home – or attempting to carjack me and my family.
But now, it seems that the radicals amidst us also call for an immediate need to protect not just us individually, but also the society we have built and hold dear.
Now before my more liberal friends start yelling, and complaining that “more guns don’t mean more safety,” I want you to think about one thing. When you call the police, all you are doing is asking someone with a gun to show up and save you. That is all.
You are requesting a gunman to come handle a situation and bring their gun.
The issue is no longer about protecting just yourself. It is now about protecting the members of society around you. Protecting our ultimate investment – society.
Last week in Portland, there was a racially-inspired stabbing attack that killed 2 men and injured a third. They were standing up for a couple of women on the train, as a man was verbally bullying them.
I often ask myself why there was not a single concealed carrier aboard that MAX train. I also think about how the outcome could have been radically different. Chances are we would have one injured victim, and one dead criminal. If concealed carry lacked the social stigmas perpetuated in the media and especially in liberal cities like Portland, we might have had a much different outcome on that train.
An armed public also has a strong side effect. When open and concealed carry is more accepted (and not demonized), criminals are never sure who is armed and who is not. That single fact has a lot of weight in how and where attacks happen. Most shooting events occur in gun free zones. Don’t think that is not by accident. Criminals want to limit the chances of any armed resistance.
According to the Crime Prevention Research Center, from the 1950’s through July 10th of 2016, 98.4 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones, with just 1.6 percent occurring where citizens are allowed to have firearms with them.
Let that sink in.
It is probably also part of why we are seeing these terror attacks happening in cities where public gun ownership is very restricted or even outright illegal. In the London terror attack yesterday, a police officer had to go after one of the terrorists with a baton – even they are unable to defend society. Pure insanity.
I wish we lived in a harmonious World where weapons were not needed on a daily basis. However that is simply not reality. As we see more and more liberal groups, minority groups, and others arming up one thing is clear – people do not feel safe. They do not trust their baton-wielding governments to protect them.
I encourage all my friends to consider getting a concealed carry permit and actually becoming part of the solution. Standing up for a crumbling reality and actively preventing more of the same when it comes to these terror events.
For many, veganism is like one of those religious cults. Where, as you “progress,” you gain higher and higher levels of clarity, or stature, or sumsuchshit.
Anyway, I have seen this very same attitude apply to vegans.
“I am not totally vegan, I wear Goodwill wool.”
“I am not totally vegan, I just can’t give up cheese.”
“I am 100% vegan.”
All of these are false.
I am, but.
Veganism today seems like an all or nothing endeavor. You either are or you are not. So, under these pretenses, if you are vegan, but still eat cheese/wear wool/drive a Jeep you are not vegan.
For me, veganism is not a black and white proposition. To me, it is a set of values we can all strive for…yet they are really, honestly, impossible to attain.
It is NOT a club where everyone compares their virtuousness to one another, and claim to one up each other based, often, on the level of sacrifices one makes.
I read an article on Facebook about how “true” vegans are against the Beyond Burger. Their argument claims that true vegans should not eat them simply because they “simulate and appear too much like real meat.” Let that sink in for a minute. We should be collectively shamed to consume a vegan product on the premise it is too similar to the non-vegan version. It is purely mad.
True Veganism is Unreachable
I think it is safe to say that veganism is primarily an answer to a pretty cruel and messed up animal rights issue in our society. Of course there are other reasons, but I will focus on animal rights for now.
It could be said that a “true” vegan (as in a 100% vegan) would cause zero impact to animals.
Right off the bat, that means no transportation other than walking. Which, as I think about it, probably kills quite a few insects and members of animalia. Just the other day I heard the accidental, yet unmistakeable crunch of a snail under my shoe. I felt terrible.
So, as long as you don’t move you are fine.
But what about where you spend your stationary time? In a home? Probably not. That home was put there and replaced natural growth. Grass, shrubs, trees, and other habitats were destroyed for that home. Let’s not even talk about clothing and food which relies on a pretty extensive network of ex-habitat and pollution.
So let’s assume you end up barefoot in the jungle, living off the land. Well, if you clear any type of space for yourself you are back to impacting animals. Even if you simply climbed a tree to live, you would be inadvertently killing or at best, displacing bugs and mosses, and animals.
So as long as you moved from the modern world, ended up “au naturale” in a jungle somewhere, not moving, and somehow living in natural underbrush without possibly impacting any other being, then yes, you would be 100% vegan.
And why am I making such an absurd metaphor here?
Because these are the details that make us all realize that “true” 100% veganism – aka ZERO impact to the animal kingdom – is unattainable.
And, perhaps even more important is this. Once we know that 100% is unreachable, we realize it is, in fact a gradient. And, that gradient allows people to determine their own level of veganism.
If you try really hard to be vegan, but on a road trip had to pull off at Burger King for a Morningstar veggie burger (with egg whites), guess what? You can still be a vegan.
If your own personal goal is to have an minimal an impact to animals and you cannot find a hiking boot that works, and find a leather variant, guess what? You can still be vegan.
These are true because for me, veganism is not a status symbol. It is a journey of little decisions that are stitched together to form a lifestyle. And, sometimes those decisions tip the other way. And that is OK.
Lynched by the Community?
Nothing really proved my point as much as the lambasting I received in the Portland Vegans Facebook group when I announced my new Vegan Gun Club. Apparently, according to the rules of veganism established by Lord Vegan, guns and veganism are exclusive. You cannot be vegan and still own/shoot paper and steel.
Well, my first outing of that very gun club proved otherwise. We had a massive turnout, good food, and great fellow vegan company.
And I know my opinions here are not going to be agreed on by all the vegans. And that is OK too. They can continue to beat themselves up over fake meats, stockholders of vegan corporations, and wether they can shop at Safeway and eat at Taco Bell.
Today we ventured down Broadway in Portland, looking for a spot for some lunch goodness. The only problem? I wanted something new. I remembered hearing about Blackwater Bar in Portland, an all-vegan bar.
Blackwater is a punk-rock themed bar, that teeters on the edge of dive status for me. Once you walk in, the space is on the dark side (not sure if deliberate for the punk theme) and has a good mix of booths and chairs with tables. The place is pretty good size, with a full sized stage for live music shows, a bar in the back, a couple of pinball machines, and ample seating.
Today a screen was showing Discovery Channel documentaries so we all watched lions take down Giraffes and other nature shows. We rooted for the giraffes.
Once we sat down we were really excited about the menu.
It was all what I call traditional bar food. Which is probably higher on the unhealthy scale, and also higher on the good taste scale.
We saw items like Mozzarella bites, burgers, chili cheese fries, pretzels, nachos and wings. There were salads but they were at the bottom, and clearly not the prime focus of the place.
The service was really friendly and punctual. I ordered an IPA on tap (from Breakside), and Kristin wanted a greyhound.
I decided on the traditional burger which included a house made patty (I heard great things about their burgers), Chao cheese, burger sauce, lettuce, and tomato. I also ordered some mozzarella bites to try. These also featured a house made mozzarella.
Kristin ended up with the Western Burger which included BBQ sauce, the same patty, burger sauce, fried onions, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato and pickles.
The mozz bites came out first and looked really good. They came with a small cup of marinara sauce. I was really excited to try these as I have a lot of respect for a place that makes their own vegan mozzarella. However I think fans of the cheesy sticks may feel a little bummed about these. The cheese was a little “gritty” and lacked substance in my opinion. They fell apart in the marinara. I do think though they are on the right track and will perfect these little fried balls soon.
The burgers soon followed.
Mine was a perfect specimen of a vegan pub burger. The house made patty was amazing and it had a little crunch on the outside which was great. They seemed to have also cracked the code on how to get Chao to melt onto a patty. The burger sauce lent a great flavor to the burger also.
The Western was beautiful as well. The patty was basted in BBQ sauce and had a ton of flavor. The fries were crispy and some of the best I have had from a vegan joint.
In the end, our food was really good. We weren’t able to finish our meals and most of them came home.
Minors are also allowed in the bar but not past the clearly marked zones near the actual bar.
While Blackwater Bar is not a place you’ll be taking Grandma (unless she is a punk rocker), we will definitely be going back and spending more time there!
As far as installs go, this was certainly one of the easiest. I even considered not doing an install writeup at all. But in the end, the final product is really awesome, and I hope more people will consider this system for their JKs!
It’s always exciting when you hear about a new vegan place in Portland. Especially with what seems like so many deciding to close their doors.
So yesterday, on a whim I ended up pointing the truck toward SE Belmont, and dropping in on Fatsquatch PDX.
The cart is nestled in a small pod on Belmont (Belmont Street Eats), and if you didn’t know it was there, you could possibly walk right past it. But once in the narrow little alleyway it opens up, with Fatsquatch lurking in the back like its namesake. Don’t expect covered eating at this pod, however. I had to eat in the truck.