December 15

Bringing Vegan Doughnuts to Napa Valley!

You may remember about a year ago when Sam Kang opened up his new doughnut shop Vegan Donut Gelato in Modesto, California. I admit it, I have never been to Modesto so what do I know? However, in the 6 years I’ve lived in Northern California not once has Modesto come up in conversation as being the next vegan hotspot. Of course, none of this dampened my excitement because seeing the words vegan…donut…gelato in a sentence is bound to make any vegan’s day a whole light brighter! And if a vegan doughnut shop can make its debut in Modesto it seemed that it could happen anywhere, even in a place like Napa! Then just a few months later in August, they opened their second location in Oakland, a city that is quickly surpassing San Francisco & Berkeley as the new vegan Capitol of the Bay Area. And within a few months of opening the Oakland store, word was bouncing around the vegan community that their doughnuts were being offered at 1700 Sonoma Boulevard at the Java Jax coffee shop in Vallejo. Though Java Jax does not carry the full doughnut & gelato menu, it is a huge accomplishment that they brought these delicious morsels of compassion to North Bay. And with a quick phone call to David, you can place a custom order for any of the doughnuts offered by Vegan Donut Gelato and pick them up at the coffee shop! In less than one year, vegan doughnuts have taken over the S.F. Bay Area. Oh, but it gets even better. Recently I received a message through Facebook from Anthony, a vegan baker for Vegan Donut Gelato. The great news he shared with me is that they plan to find a space here in Napa Valley to offer these delectable goodies! And they don’t need much…a display case, coffee and a few tables. They aren’t even in need of a kitchen. Just a small space…about 500 square feet, a sink, good visibility and parking. I had the opportunity to chat with Sam recently and he is very excited to get the vegan message (via his delicious doughnuts) into Napa Valley! So here is what I ask of you my loyal readers. Let’s find Sam and his Team a space to showcase their product! If you know of any retail space available; if YOU have some space you can offer that would fit the bill OR you know of anyone else who does, please let me know. Offering delicious vegan doughnuts is going to be our way of finally knocking down that wall of flesh & dairy that Napa Valley has wrapped around itself. This is our opportunity! Let’s do this!

The Modesto bakery is located at 330 Needham Street and the Oakland bakery is located at 411 E. 18th Street. If you want to stay a bit closer to home, contact David at (707) 645-9556 to place your custom order for pick up at Java Jax in Vallejo. If you have any feedback on available space here in the Napa Valley that you think will work for Vegan Doughnut Gelato, do not hesitate to contact me ASAP! I can be reached at (919) 995-1445 or toniabrow@napavalleyvegan.com

After spending the last 6 years trying to make vegan the new normal here in Napa Valley, it feels fantastic to finally see a glowing vegan doughnut at the end of this long tunnel. Thanks for your help in making this a reality and as always…eat, drink and be vegan!

PS: Here are some great write ups about the delicious doughnuts by non-vegans that include a high school journalism studenta journalist from the Modesto Bee and the East Bay Express. Sam even got a mention in the VegNews!

 

 

 

November 2

Napa Valley Vegan – Day Two of the Wine Bloggers Conference!

I’m now just one week away from the Wine Blogger Conference. From the Welcome Opening at 9 a.m. through to the Live Wine Blogging conclusion at 6 p.m., Day 2 will be packed full of learning, eating and wine tasting. The Professional Wine Writing Tips course is definitely on the top of my list. This course will be taught by Wine journalist and educator Deborah Parker Wong; Wine Business Monthly editor-in-chief Cyril Penn; longtime wine blogger Fred Swan and keynote speaker Andrea Robinson. From mastering the four points of view in wine writing to doing the dirty work of finding sources & fact checking to the ethics of accepting free wine or travel to enriching my wine vocabulary. These are all things I’d like to improve and I’m definitely looking forward to the class. Next, is learning about What Companies Want from Wine Bloggers. This will make my writing more relevant and publishable!  As part of our mid day break, El Dorado Wines is generously providing all conference goers with lunch. It will be interesting to see what vegan options will be available for me. Yum! The afternoon will be filled with Wine Discovery sessions about the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC stretching along the southern shores of Lake Garda in the Italian wine growing region of Lugana or DOP Cariñena in Aragon the birth place of the Garnacha grape in Spain. Once my brain is full of info on Italian or Spanish wines, I get to participate in doing some Live Blogging about White & Rosè wines. This should be a blast! I hope I’m as spontaneous as I think I am! And then it is off to a delicious vegan dinner with family in Santa Rosa! I’m excited to see them and to eat, drink and be vegan…all weekend long!

October 27

Napa Valley Vegan Attends the Wine Bloggers Conference!

The 10th Annual Wine Bloggers Conference!

 

When I started my blog three years ago I did so with nothing more than a desire to write. I didn’t know what I wanted to write about, I didn’t know who would read it and I had NO idea if I even had the skills to write. I never studied to become a writer and hadn’t written a short story in years. My tech skills were adequate at best and I really didn’t know what I wanted my voice to be. When you look back at the first several blog posts, that is all really obvious! But once I started, I realized what Napa Valley lacked was a positive voice for vegans. There were very limited dining options; Chefs had made their careers and fortunes serving up plate after plate of animal flesh with no signs of slowing down. Having lived in Napa for 2 1/2 years by the time I unveiled my blog, I realized that I had spent most weekends somewhere else. My husband and I were traveling all over the Bay Area for our food and entertainment and not spending any time in beautiful Napa Valley. So it came down to this…I started my blog and raised my voice for the animals OR I moved. While I was open to starting over somewhere more vegan-friendly, Steve just loved Napa. So, in lieu of an argument that I wasn’t going to win and a move that he didn’t want, my blog was born!

The amount of knowledge I have acquired about winemaking, food and wine pairing, writing and self-hosting has been self-taught and incredible! And I finally realized that this writing thing is pretty cool. And I not only want to keep doing it but I want to keep getting better at it. I want to earn more money doing it. And I want to be seen as an expert on my topics.

The Conference is being held in Santa Rosa and I’m really looking forward to spending my time and money in a city that was so devastated by the 2017 North Bay fires. In fact, the registration fees for the Wine Education sessions and Wine Dinners are being donated to the local American Red Cross based in Santa Rosa. The Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country is hosting the Conference and will be offering vegan dining options and I’ll get to support all of my favorite vegan restaurants in and around Santa Rosa!

To start this new journey, I’ll be joining close to 300 other attendees at the Wine Bloggers Conference on November 9th – 11th. I will be surrounded by Citizen Bloggers like me; Industry Bloggers; Social Media Innovators and Wine Industry leaders. Day One of the Conference includes Wine Education Sessions with Mark Beringer of Beringer Wines. He’ll be sharing the story behind one of Napa Valley’s most celebrated wines – their iconic Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignons. Next, I’ll be learning about the relationshjp between dry-farming & quality wine production with an illustrious panel that includes producers from Armida Winery, DeLoach Vineyards, Oak Farm Vineyards and Quivira Vineyards. That evening the Opening Reception & Expo will include an incredible meet & greet with my fellow attendees; tastings of wines produced locally and from around the world and a big welcome from the event sponsors.

And this is just Day One! My weekend is going to be filled with learning, conversations…and wine! Keep an eye out for what Days Two and Three will include and as always…eat, drink and be vegan!