Archive for the 'Punk Rock Gourmet' Category

Caprese Salad


October 6th, 2013

caprese
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any crazier, they do! It seems like our trajectory here is defying all laws of logic. Like Exhibit A. I just found out that our prices are going up. Which was shocking to me since we didn’t raise them. But apparently, market pressures are driving them up. I didn’t even think that happened, but here we are. Am I in a movie? This feels like a movie right now.

In other news, I just posted a new video to our video page. For a CAPRESE SALAD. I am totally hooked on these right now. And tomatoes are in peak season. This recipe takes 5 minutes to make too. So if you haven’t done so already, you should CHECK IT OUT. You won’t be sorry.

I have much more to tell you, but not enough hours in a day. More updates coming soon!

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Veganmania Aftermath


September 27th, 2013

packedup
We did it! Last weekend, KATY and I packed up a whole lotta cheese in the back of my car and took off down the road to Chicago for our first expo! It was exciting! It was high drama! It was a whole lotta folks! Good times!

earlybirds
We got there early and were all jacked up on juice. My boyfriend and I made 5 quarts of juice the night before for the trip. Here I am guzzling juice while setting up our booth.

buttonsOur NEW PARTNER, HEIDI, made these awesome buttons for our table. Pretty punk rock, right? I thought so anyway.
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level apparelOur booth was situated right next to LEVEL APPAREL, a Chicago based company that makes vegan apparel. I got a really cute onesie for Sonny. And Katy got a cool shirt. Here’s a pic of her HANGING OUT WITH UPTON IN IT. The crowd got pretty crazy pretty much right away. You could barely walk through the room at times. It was so busy! I kinda looked over at my neighbor from Level Apparel with a look of desperation around noon. He said, ‘Don’t worry. It’ll die down by 2. At least it did last year.’ Well, I’m here to tell you, it didn’t die down ever. It was a total mob scene. The whole time. In a good way. But I was wiped afterwards.

north coast organics
Across the way from us was NORTH COAST ORGANICS. They make the best body care products! I got the most amazing deodorant and chapstick. Just in time for the cold weather. It’s funny. They were right across the aisle from us. But I didn’t really see them until the crowd dispersed at the end.

beanfields
There were so many people, in fact, that we ran out of crackers toward the end. We must have given out around 3000 samples. I’m not even kidding. Lucky for us, the good folks at BEANFIELD’S gave us some chips to sample on when we ran out. You should try these. They are yum, for sure.

samples
We did samples of cheese on crackers. And we also made some fancy caprese salads (which I am hooked on right now). My boyfriend just filmed a video of this recipe yesterday which I hope to have up by next week. It’s a good one!

caprese cup
The mini caprese cups were a huge hit. Guaranteed mob scene while we were sampling those. It was pretty hard to keep up even.

sample table
It was so lovely to meet so many people and hear so much positive feedback. It really was a great day. We even got a shout out on NATIVE FOODS CAFE’S BLOG! How cool is that? They’re pretty big time!

booth
My one fatal error was that we didn’t bring any way to accept credit card payments! Doh! Not sure why I didn’t think of that. But if definitely came up A LOT! I was a little bummed with myself over that at the end. Lesson learned, I suppose. All in all, it was a super fun day. Met lots of people. Learned lots of lessons. Met lots of cool vegan vendors. And I am still in recovery mode. Looking forward to the next one!

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Blue Moon


August 20th, 2013

caprese
Hello again. I am starting to get better at these updates. I just had the most amazing lunch. A little caprese salad I whipped up in about five minutes using some of our PLAIN CASHEW CHEESE. Pretty yum.

Well, I have some big news. I kind of alluded to this in my LAST POST. Things have been growing quickly over at headquarters. But not quickly enough, apparently. We need a little more help. And since tonight is going to be a blue moon, it seems a pro po to announce our new plans today.

heidiIntroducing Punk Rawk Labs newest partner, Heidi Ochsner! If you have been following this blog for a while, you might remember her from some past adventures. Like this recipe video we did on how to make a NETTLE LATTE. Or remember the time we foraged TEN POUNDS OF CHERRIES out of a perfectly ripe Seattle neighborhood tree? We made some good jam out of that bounty. When I got sick, Heidi was the one who HELPED ME FIGURE OUT HOW TO CHANGE MY DIET. She’s a nutritionist/registered dietician in the Seattle area.

It’s interesting.  The two ladies that helped bring me back into the fold after my illnesses are now my partners! Heidi helped me figure out how to change my diet to get functional again after my TOXIC EXPOSURE. And Julie helped me keep up with cheese orders while I was in physical therapy after my CAR CRASH. How cosmic is that? This company is destined for great things. I tell ya!

heidi jeff and me
Heidi also happens to be my former roomate. Here we are with our other former roomate, Jeff. Heidi and I shared a room. And Jeff had the other room. Kind of like THREE’S COMPANY. Except NSFW. :) We were also all part of an elite band of superheroes called Team Millennium Moon. Every blue moon, we would get together and unleash our superpowers on the world. And guess what today is? You guessed it!

wedding
This is a pic from Heid’s wedding (where I was a bridesmaid). Heidi, as I mentioned, is based in Seattle (my former hometown). Our cheese lab is based in Minneapolis, of course. But we have quite a few stores out Heidi’s way. One of them being the amazing CENTRAL COOP in Seattle.

central coop

A few weeks ago, we sent them our first order. And it did quite well (as evidenced by this photo sent  by my friend, Andrea, who is vacationing in Seattle right now). Anyway, we just sent them some more cheese yesterday. They should be getting it shortly. And if you’re in Seattle next Monday (26th August 2013), Heidi will be demoing the cheeses there from 3-6 in the afternoon. You should drop by and say hello. And tell her I sent you!

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On The Menu


August 8th, 2013

palumbo caprese
Things have been evolving rapidly over here in the world of PRL. And in the most beautiful way. I’ve been trying to find time to post more updates. More big changes are happening! I can hardly believe all the goodness that is coming down the pipe. Like Exhibit A. Check out this beautiful raw, vegan caprese salad featuring our cheese!! This is being served at PALUMBO’S PIZZERIA. Right here in St. Paul, MN. A huge thank you to BRINA from San Francisco who posted this pic while visiting. Check her out on INSTAGRAM! And while you’re at it, check us out on INSTAGRAM too!


Palumbo’s is also serving vegan pizza’s featuring our cheese! Isn’t that amazing? They even have gluten free crusts. This beautiful pizza was ordered by KATY (who works here and you should also follow in INSTAGRAM).

cheese plate
If St. Paul isn’t exactly in your neighborhood, they are also featuring our cheese on the vegan cheese plate at PORTOBELLO in Portland. I haven’t made it out that way yet either. But last week, I happened to meet someone from Olympia here in town. And when I mentioned that they had our cheese on the menu, she was like OMG. That place is incredible. There’s a line out the door. You have to make reservations months in advance. I haven’t even gotten in yet! Which sounds pretty promising to me. You should definitely check it out…

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Chicago VeganMania


August 4th, 2013

veganmania
OMG. I have so much to tell you. But I haven’t had any time. This has been the CRAZIEST YEAR EVER! I wouldn’t even know WHERE TO START. Well, I would. But it would take me all day. Though if you happen to be in Chicago on September 21st, I’ll be there all day. It’s VEGANMANIA! It’s all day vegan extravaganza. And it’s Free! We’ll be sampling and selling cheese. But there will be a food court and all kinds of vegan businesses and food demos and speakers. Should be pretty interesting.

katy
I’ll be bringing KATY with me. If you follow us on INSTAGRAM, chances are you’ve run across her before. She’s one of our cheesemakers. But she has a food blog of her own…MN VEG. You should check it out.

Will post more updates soon. Hope to see you around…

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No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn


March 28th, 2013

nooch
Woah nelly! Things have been crazy around here. So crazy that I haven’t had much time for posting lately. I have really been keeping my head down and my nose to the grindstone. In a way, I think being sick is really good preparation for starting a business. Looking forward, it looks kind of hopeless most days. Making the impossible happen. Looking back, it looks like a miracle. The hard part is keeping focused when you’re the only one who can see it. I think that learning to be zen in situations that are well, unpleasant, is what being sick is all about. Same with starting a business. You just have to keep busting through barriers despite how it looks on the outside. Keep pushing. No matter what. Until one day you look up. And you realize that you’re whole environment has changed. So anyway, our environment has sure changed alright. We are really starting to carve some marks out on the map of the US of A. We’ve been consistently selling out at NOOCH (an awesome vegan boutique in Denver).

park and vineI am continually amazed that the cheese has developed a following in places where I didn’t even know there was an audience for vegan products. PARK AND VINE is another new store in Cincinnati that has started carrying us. Who knew that Cincinnati was such a hotspot for vegans! I admit that in the beginning, I thought nut cheeses would be too weird to fly in the midwest. Man, was I ever wrong. (My boyfriend who incidentally is from the Midwest is quick to remind me of this).

brainer
The cheeses are even selling in Brainerd, MN at the CROW WING FOOD CO-OP! Brainerd is a fairly small town in central MN. Not exactly where I’d expect to find a hotspot for vegan fare. But that just goes to show how much I know. Thanks for schooling me, Brainerd!

wheatsville
WHEATSVILLE in Austin, TX is another store that has been selling a ton of cheese. I actually went to college in Austin. So it feels pretty satisfying to reconnect with the city.

vegan haven
I used to live in Seattle too. Home of VEGAN HAVEN. Another hotspot for our cheese.

mckinleyville
We even made it out to Humboldt County, CA! We’re at McKinleyville Central Market there.

malt and mold
And of course, New York City! That’s where it all started for us. And it’s kind of an epicentre for us. We have several new stores there. MALT AND MOLD is an amazing beer and cheese store on the Lower East Side.

high vibe
HIGH VIBE is an amazing raw and vegan boutique in the East Village. I think it’s in the East Village anyway. I’ve been corrected on my NYC geography a few times.

perelandra
Last but not least is our newest store. PERELANDRA in Brooklyn. This is a really new development. Like, today new. We’re really excited about this. In fact, if you go there now, they should have some free samples of the cheese to try. I think they might also have the best deal in town on the cheeses. Definitely check it out.

Needless to say, we have been really really busy. I have pushed my body to it’s limits. And beyond. I’m hoping this new development is a sign. No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn! But now we’ve arrived. Brooklyn! We are in your hood! What happens once you get to Brooklyn? Two days of sleep? That sounds good. Maybe this is the start of a kindler, gentler era of growth. Because I am having a monster flare-up right now. But I digress. There will be a whole other post about this tomorrow. Wanna know how to start a business with no money and chronic health problems? Well, I’m still figuring that one out myself. But I’ll tell you’ve what I’ve learned tomorrow…

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Apples and Cashew Brie


February 8th, 2013

cashew brie
It’s been a while since I posted. I keep meaning to, but something always comes up. I can honestly say that this is probably the busiest I have been. EVER. But I am loving it. Even the health challenges that come up. There is something so fulfilling about being down and out and then finding your place in the world again. It feels good! Anyway, I hope to be posting soon about my ongoing health journey. But if anyone would like to take an inside peek at our cheese lab, we just posted a video tour of it. Along with a quick and easy recipe for APPLES AND CASHEW BRIE.

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California Dreaming


August 19th, 2012

chinatown
Just got back from the most amazing trip to California. It’s funny. For years, things were so UNDER THE WEATHER, that I was mostly just TREADING WATER…just kinda hanging on and waiting for things to get better. But lately, things have been CHANGING DRAMATICALLY. It’s pretty wild. It’s so surreal that I keep thinking I’m going to wake up. But I have pictures. So it must have really happened.

rainbowI actually hadn’t intended for this to be a business trip. I just went out because my boyfriend was doing sound at OUTSIDELANDS FESTIVAL which was pretty amazing in itself. But since I was in town, I figured I’d stop by RAINBOW GROCERY, the store that’s been carrying our cheese. Can I just say how much I love Rainbow? Here I am at the entrance. Rainbow is an amazing worker owned cooperative there, and this is the original collective that started it in the 70’s.

gordon edgarThis is Gordon Edgar. He’s the cheese buyer there. But he’s also a celebrity. I didn’t realize this at first.

cheesemongerI wasn’t aware of this until my neighbor, Erik, pointed it out. He was asking me if I was catching a lot of resistance and flak from dairy folks about my cheese. And I was like, ‘Actually, not so far. There’s this guy in San Francisco who’s a dairy cheese guy who’s been super supportive. And since he’s not really a vegan, people seem to be listening to him.’ And he was like, ‘Oh yeah? Who is it?’ And I said, ‘This guy, Gordon Edgar. He wrote this book called Cheesemonger.’ And Erik was like, ‘GORDON EDGAR?! That guy is famous. He’s like the Anthony Bourdain of cheese.’ One thing you should know about Erik, he’s not vegan and definitely not of the audience that my food would attract. But he’s a great drummer. Coming from Erik, this seemed pretty significant.

cheese section
And it was. Rainbow sells an amazing amount of cheese. I mean, I’ll literally ship them an order, and they’ll run out in a few days. Gordon even showed me that we have our own clipboard. Because they’ve been keeping a waiting list between orders. It’s crazy! Here I am in front of our cheese display.

veg news hqAfter we stopped at Rainbow, we decided to drop by the VEG NEWS MAGAZINE HEADQUARTERS which is actually really closeby.  I wasn’t actually thinking of stopping by.  But the night before, we were having dinner with our friend, Joslyn.  And I was talking about how great Veg News was.  And she said,’You should stop by and say hello.’  And I thought, ‘You know.  That’s actually a great idea.  I hadn’t even thought of that.’  But it’s not something I would normally do.  Being a little nervous about things like that.  Well, when we got home from dinner there was an email from Veg News.  Saying there was a new issue coming out next week that I might want to take a look at.  So that seemed like a sign.

editor's pickThe next day, we stopped by. And what an amazing moment that was. They had the new issue, and it was hot of the presses. Not even on newsstands yet. It should be coming out this week actually. There’s a taste test in there. Comparing our brand with Dr. Cow’s and Daiya cheese. These are two much bigger and more established companies. Our brand got the editor’s pick! I couldn’t believe it! What an amazing day. I’ve been on cloud nine ever since. I even came home to a letter that I was being audited. And that didn’t even bother me. It apparently looks fishy that I didn’t make any money last year. I wonder if anybody at the tax office has ever had a health crisis? Because I think it’s pretty par for the course for it to eat up one’s income. Especially when you lose your job as a result. The numbers just don’t add up. I mean, everybody seems to know that except the IRS and the insurance companies. Right? You’d think they wouldn’t add more trauma to a bad situation. But anyway, I digress. Because even the IRS can’t stop me now! They might be able to bring down the mob. But they can’t bring down a girl on fire!

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On a side note, there’s still a couple weeks left to vote for the VEGGIE AWARDS. We’ve been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. We are up against some pretty big guns that are literally available in every store. So, it’s a little like David vs. Goliath. But you never know. Stranger things have happened lately. So, please vote for us!

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Veggie Awards 2012


August 3rd, 2012

veggie awards
Hello out there! We’ve been pretty busy over here working on our new SHOP. But I got the most amazing news the other day. Apparently, we’ve been nominated for a Veggie Award! Can you believe it? I was kind of shocked. And I have to admit, the news came at the most amazing time (as we were hitting some big snags with the buildout…UGH! I will elaborate more on this later).

nut cheese
The skinny is that Punk Rawk Labs Nut Milk Cheeses have been nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Cheese’ category. VOTE FOR US HERE!

food fightThere are some other nominees that you’ve seen on this blog. FOOD FIGHT! GROCERY which carries our cheese in Portland, OR. They got nominated in the ‘Best Vegan Storefront’ or some closely related category (I already voted so I can’t go back and look at the categories, but you get the idea). NOOCH | VEGAN MARKET (from Denver, CO) was also nominated in this category. They don’t carry our cheese yet. But they will be carrying it very soon…like maybe once we get our new shop open. So keep your eyes peeled.

veganessentialsVEGAN ESSENTIALS also got nominated for ‘Best Online Retailer’. They took over our online orders once we started getting too many to handle. And they are actually the only online retailer to carry our cheese at the moment. So check them out!

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Food Fight! Grocery


May 20th, 2012

food fight!

Portland Peoples!! Good news! Our cheeses just got picked up by FOOD FIGHT! GROCERY in beautiful Portland, OR. We sent them four cases of our best flavors (unfortunately, only three of them got there. Thank you, post office!) plus free samples! Go on down and check it out!

nut cheeses
Mmm…Nut Milk Cheese! Check out the latest REVIEW OF OUR CHEESES HERE!

every dayAnd the good news is that if you can’t make it today, you can go down tomorrow. Because apparently, Food Fight! is open every F^&*ing day. So there you have it! In other news, progress on opening our NEW SHOP has slowed. Mostly due to the fact that I am having to continually relearn the lesson that I have LUPUS (OR SOMETHING LIKE IT). Ugh! I was really riding a wave, wasn’t I? Not sure what this means yet other than that train was moving too fast for me. And I might have to get off and wait for a slower one. Don’t know yet. I’ll keep you posted…

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