Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Goodbye, Lula's Sweet Apothecary

If you've been a fan of this blog for any length of time, you probably know that out of all of the ice cream I've consumed since the inception of A (soy) Bean, Lula's Sweet Apothecary has been my demonstrated favorite by a landslide, which is why I dubbed it The Best Ice Cream Shop in the Universe. TBICSITU was not only a fitting description, but it also helped bridge the awkward reference gap between the original Lula's shop 2009 - 2013 and the eventual "Blythe Anne's" 2014 - 2016.


A little known fact that's been hiding in plain sight, unchanged since 2009, is that the proprietor of Lula's, Blythe, had no small part in this blog coming to fruition. More than that, though, is that I came to Lula's in the first place rather out of character- having been suffering through a depression for some time that included not eating very much as an unconscious side effect. There was just something about the promise of all of my childhood (and, let's face it: adulthood) dreams coming to fruition- vegan style, in a quaint but stately little shop in the East Village, that immediately drew me in. More than once I found myself (and, oftentimes my family) sitting outside the shop waiting for 3:00pm when the black curtain would be lifted and the shop opened for business.

 

Ironically, it was at Lula's counter: first running front to back and then, post renovation, side to side, that I began making friends again. Having lost many when I couldn't be a very good one myself, these friends were the catalyst to my current community, for which I am extraordinarily grateful.


All of this is to say that Blythe Anne's, formerly Lula's, has just shuttered for good and what that means is that we've lost a gem in this vegan world of ours.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tabañero: The Most Flavorful Hot Sauce in the World

As a lover of all things spicy, I didn't hesitate to accept a sample of Tabañero Hot Sauce for review. Imagine my delight when I realized there were actually three varieties to try, referred to as The Fiesta tri-pack. This is my idea of a score, my friends.

 

Billed as the most flavorful hot sauce in the world, Tabañero's "delicate balance of spice and flavor provides a "kick" but does not burn or overshadow your dish." Having already tried all three, I shall immediately concur without getting ahead of myself. As for "THE MOST FLAVORFUL HOT SAUCE IN THE WORLD" tagline? It makes me giggle because it makes me think of The Most Interesting Man in the World.

disclaimer: I made this and it's probably illegal

Some 'hot' facts they shared with me from the get-go: hot sauce is "one of the most popular food condiments and the fastest growing sectors within the condiment world (now over $1 billion industry)...56% of all households have hot sauce and there are over 150 registered Hot Sauce companies in the U.S. alone." Remember when salsa was killing the game? Psh. Move over, tomatoes; habanero peppers are taking over and it's about time.

Because it's winter here in the northeast (not that it seems so this week), I've been eating a lot of soup. This Amy's Kitchen butternut squash was really mildly spiced, so I punched it up with some Tabañero picante (original) and it was exactly what I was looking for.


Later in the week when I made the ginger peanut squash soup from Vegan Eats World, I doubled the recipe but forgot to double the chilis. Because the peanut butter made the soup extremely mild, it was Tabañero extra hot to the rescue.

 

The Tabañero agave sweet and spicy is for those friends who, you know, just can't take the heat. For me, I like it when I'm looking for a mix of added flavor and heat, such as on peas (yes, really). It was also perfect on this gem of a sammie (more info on this coming soon).


If you're interested in Tabanero and want to try a bottle, the company is offering- for a limited time, a free bottle; you just pay shipping and handling.

I have all kinds of hot sauce on hand for all sorts of reasons; Tabañero now definitely has a place amongst them in my pantry.