One of the coolest things about late night Tampa (don’t listen to the media who say it is all strip clubs and Hooters, there is a little more to it than that) was a little vegan hot dog cart called the Vegan Beagle. This cart would make its rounds at bars, clubs and concerts offering a number of vegan options including the ItaliDog (sundried tomatoes), LeBeerBrat (beer soaked), Mojo Risin’ (Cuban bread and Mojo on a beer brat) and the ChiliDog (Pan seared dog with Cafe Hey’s Vegan Chili). I spent many a night seeking out the cart, following leads from friends and that poignant vegan hot dog smell, only to come up empty. Then one evening as I stood in line for a sold out show (which I would not be able to get into) I saw the hot dog cart. It was in the venue. I pleaded with the doorman to let me in for a hot dog but he wouldn’t budge. Finally, dejected, I headed around the side of the venue to return to the car. Oh glorious day, there was a chink in their vegan hot dog denying armor. A chain link fence allowed me to send my money through and receive my dog back. I went with the Mojo Risin’. Not a bad dog. Since that day the Vegan Beagle has seemingly disappeared. Facebook shows no updates since March 31st and no regular posts since last Christmas. Has the Vegan Beagle run away? Do I need to make signs?
Anyway, I hadn’t thought much about the beagle or hot dogs lately. It took a gentle reminder from Grant, who stopped by to share his hot dogs and ramen recipe, to get me back to pondering vegan “meat” logs in a bread blanket. I wanted one. But not the kind you buy in the freezer section of a grocery store, I wanted something a little different. It wasn’t long before my mind flashed back to early June. I had just walked out the door of my schoolhouse leaving a trail of broken pencils behind. I pulled out my computer to read some blogs and found an interesting take on veggie dogs at The Chubby Vegetarian. Justin had crafted a cabbage dog. It was made from lentils, fungus and veggies and then cooked in a cabbage leaf and served on a hot dog bun. I bookmarked it to make but then summer happened. That’s what I wanted. It probably wouldn’t hold up in a ramen broth like Grant’s recipe suggested but a bun was just as fun.
I made the cabbage dogs pretty much like the original. I did veganize them by using two flax eggs instead of regular eggs. I really liked the filling. It wasn’t the same texture as a hot dog or even the same taste (so if your looking for that, look elsewhere) but it stood on its own as a meal. The only problem I had, and maybe this is just my cooking ability, was that the cabbage wouldn’t tear off easily and I had two separate piles of dog innards land on my lap (I can hear my mom now “Eat over the table”). Eventually I remedied this by getting rid of the cabbage exterior and eating the lentil mixture on a bun. I’ve got my go to vegan dogs, at least until the beagle is found.
As I was finding my way in the world of punk rock one of the gateway songs I loved to play loud was Osker’s “Alright.” It spoke to some of the things that adolescent me was going through at the time. I see a large resemblance to Osker in the work of Orlando’s Among Giants. These guys display the same energy, the same ability to relate to the shit that goes down in people’s every day lives, the same controlled sloppiness. Among Giants are better storytellers than Osker. They also approach their music with an acoustic flair. Because of that I also see a lot of Fifteen in them. Among Giants’ first full length, Truth Hurts, has just been offered to the world via their bandcamp page. Check out the rollicking ode to “Albert Rhymestein” (the genius who failed math in high school but went on to write hundreds of number one hits for artists that can’t write their own lyrics):
Lux Lisbon is an “epic widescreen indie-rock rubbish” band from London. They craft songs that are theatrical in nature, sort of like a lower pitched version of Queen, a more even-keeled Foxy Shazam or Florence and the Machine if a sex change was arranged. All this is to say that the music is good. It entertains. It draws you in and won’t let you leave until it says you can leave. “Your Heart is a Weapon the Size of Your Fist” is the band’s new single. Hear it here:
You can get a free download of the band’s latest single (“Bullingdon Club”) by liking them on Facebook. Also check out the fantastic new video for the song. It is an ode to early 90′s console games and took over 200 hours to complete. While I can say I’m glad I wasn’t the one putting in the 200 hours, I also think it is one of the best videos I’ve seen in a while. Well worth the time spent:
A live version of the song: