Vegan Pizza Day SCV

My fellow SCVegans! Today is Vegan Pizza Day and in celebration, our own Tomato Joe’s will be offering 20% off ALL vegan pizzas. Buy two, or three! My suggestions, if you’re into trying new things:

Vegan Garden Combo (on beer crust) with Vegan Italian Sausage

Vegan Barbecue (on skinny crust) with red onions, cilantro and Gardein “Chicken”

Skinny Crust w/ Olive Oil, spinach, mandarin oranges, jalapenos and vegan cheese. I haven’t named this yet, but it’s AMAZING! Any suggestions?

If you have your own favorite custom pizzas with Tomato Joe’s, share them! We can create our own vegan pizza menu with names to match. I can confirm their Whole Wheat and Gluten Free crust are both delicious as well. Also, when you stop by, remember to compliment them on their new sign. Happy Vegan Pizza Day!

RedBrick Pizza now Vegan & Gluten Free!

RedBrick Vegan Pizza: Original crust, red sauce, artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, garlic and diced tomatoes

*** UPDATE – Location closed 😦 ***

Santa Clarita just got another another vegan pizza option in RedBrick Pizza! I first heard about this development from quarrygirl.com so credit to her for the heads up. I stopped in there tonight to check things out and right at the counter is a sign proudly announcing that they serve vegan pizza and offer a Gluten Free crust.

Their regular crust is vegan, so is their red sauce AND they offer Daiya vegan cheese! Pretty cool, so if you’re looking for another option for your vegan Super Bowl Party, or any other occasion because really it’s always a good time for pizza, I recommend it!

The Franchise owner, Karim is a very cool guy and he tells me his daughter is vegan; bonus points for that. He even has a separate pizza cutter for both their vegan pizzas and Gluten Free crust which is nice to know.

RedBrick Pizza has two locations in Santa Clarita

23874 Copper Hill Dr.
Valencia, CA 91354
Phone 661-775-2777

and

25343 Wayne Mills Place (Magic Mountain Pkwy)
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
Phone 661-287-3131

Vegan Pizza by-the-slice all weekend at Zpizza

Our local Zpizza will be selling vegan pizza by the slice all weekend!!! Stop in and show your support this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (5/14 – 5/16) and grab a slice of their delicious vegan pizza featuring Daiya Vegan cheese. The vegan pizza will not be out on the rack if nobody has ordered it yet. If you’re the first of the day, they will make the pizza to order, you pay for your slice and the rest of the pizza goes out on the tray for others to purchase. Grab a slice on your way to WorldFest on Sunday!

***UPDATE***

I went to Zpizza in Valencia and got two slices of the plain Daiya pizza. The friendly young girl behind the counter knew about the promotion but the other two employees did not. The one in the know had to talk them into it, which was weird but kind of funny. As proof the girl grabbed a post-it note off of the window near the register showing them that they are running a vegan promotion this weekend. They baked a fresh vegan pizza and i got the the 2-slice deal which includes a fountain drink for $6.50. I would assume unlimited refills if you eat there so a good deal I think. Took only about 10 minutes to get the vegan slices; piping hot too.

So hurry into the Valencia Zpizza, grab slices and show that we appreciate the special attention. The pizza was delicious too. Really good, CRAZY good!

Zpizza – Valencia

27015 McBean Pkwy
Valencia CA, 91355
(661) 259-5000

Tomato Joe’s – Vegan Pepperoni!!!

Tomato Joe’s, now offering vegan pepperoni as an option for their pizzas!

Tomato Joes: Large, Beer Crust--Garden Combo with Vegan Mozz and Vegan Pepperoni

Tomato Joe's: Large Garden Combo on Beer Crust with Vegan Mozz' and Vegan Pepperoni

The Garden Combo and Sally’s Secret Garden are both great pizzas to be made vegan, but if these are all you order then you are really missing out on some of their other delicious options. Ever had a Vegan Barbecue pizza?

Tomato Joes: Medium Barbecue Pizza on thin crust with red onions, mushrooms, cilantro and vegan mozz

Tomato Joe's: Medium Bar-B-Que Pizza on thin crust with red onions, mushrooms, cilantro and vegan mozz'. As you can see, I couldn't even get my camera out of the case before people started digging in.

This is an amazing combination; the barbecue sauce goes really well with the thin crust and selected toppings. If any of you have a favorite custom vegan pizza from Tomato Joe’s, snap a picture and send it my way or post it in the SCVegan forums under the Tomato Joe’s topic.

Tomato Joe’s – Best Vegan Pizza Ever!

Tomato Joes - Best Vegan Pizza!

Tomato Joe's - Best Vegan Pizza!

As I write this I can hardly believe it, but I swear it is true. I have been there several times just to make sure it is not some crazy dream. I have had the best vegan pizza I have ever eaten, and it is in the Santa Clarita Valley! Once a Garlic Jim’s, the franchise owners on McBean and Decoro broke away from their Parent, and overnight became Tomato Joe’s Pizza Bakery. Free from the restraints of their franchiser, the owners are able to source their own high-quality ingredients and serve any kind of pizza they wish. Fortunately for vegans in Santa Clarita, Tomato Joe’s wants to have the best vegan pizza around.

Tomato Joes - Garden Combo Pizza. 16 Ordered with their vegan thin crust and Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella. $18.97

Tomato Joe's - Garden Combo Pizza. 16" Ordered with their vegan thin crust and Follow Your Heart Vegan Mozzarella. Classic red sauce, white mushrooms, red onions, fresh tomatoes, artichoke hearts, green peppers and black olives. $18.97

The thin crust at Tomato Joe’s is vegan, and soon they will have a “Micro-Brew” crust that will also be vegan. The Micro-Brew dough will be a thick edge crust made from Hefeweizen (wheat beer) of a local brewery, probably Wolf Creek just a few doors down. So, thin crust or thick, Tomato Joe’s got the vegans covered.

Vegan Cheese? Right now they are serving Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella. I was told they are also testing out others, namely Teese Soy Cheese from Chicago Soy Dairy. Not only that, but they are also testing out other vegan toppings like mock meats and such. The vegan options at Tomato Joe’s are ever increasing, so not only do they have the best vegan pizza anywhere, but it is still getting better!

Tomato Joes - Sallys Secret Garden Pizza. 16 Thin crust with Follow Your Hearts Vegan Gourmet Soy Cheese

Tomato Joe's - Sallys Secret Garden Pizza. 16" Thin crust with Follow Your Heart's Vegan Gourmet Soy Cheese. Extra virgin olive oil, fresh basil, white mushrooms, red onion, green pepper, fresh tomatoes, minced garlic. $18.97

Pizzas can be ordered in sizes of 8″, 12″, 14″ and 16″, except for the Micro-Brew crust that will only be available in the large 16″. You can design your own pizza if you like, with lots of interesting vegan toppings and sauces. Maybe you want a Bar-B-Que thin crust with mandarin oranges, sun dried tomatoes and soy cheese? How about the the beer crust with Chipotle sauce, black beans, roasted corn and cashews? Yeah, we can have all kinds of pizza fun at Tomato Joe’s. Did I mention they deliver?

I’ll be making regular visits to Tomato Joe’s to see how things are progressing. A place like this requires more than one review. Tomato Joe’s is the closest thing Santa Clarita has to a vegan restaurant, so we need to support this place. It is so nice to just pick up the phone and order a vegan pizza, and if you live within range, have one delivered. Everyone EAT at Tomato Joe’s!

Tomato Joe’s Pizza Bakery is located at:
27732 McBean Parkway
Valencia, CA 91354
(661) 263-8646

Corner of McBean and Decoro, inside the Ralph’s Shopping Center.

Whole Foods: Vegan Barbeque Pizza

Vegan BBQ Pizza at Whole Foods Valencia

Vegan BBQ Pizza at Whole Foods Valencia

Saw this new item at Whole Foods the other day; Vegan Barbeque Pizza. Free samples were available but the pizza was sold out for the day. This is pretty cool in that they’re offering more vegan pizza choices, and that they’re selling out of the vegan items during lunch time. Our Valencia Whole Foods is getting hipper all the time, and in turn so is Santa Clarita.

Zpizza – Valencia

Zpizza - Valencia

Much controversy surrounds Zpizza within the vegan community. Before I go on, I want to make it clear that this is going to be a positive review. I recommend Zpizza to all my Vegan Claritans, but first I want to explain why there has been so much confusion and to make the truth official about this quickly growing pizza franchise

*** Since publishing this review, someone from Fransmart commented on this post (see comment #3 on the bottom of this post) saying that the name of the menu item was called the “Killer Veggie” pizza, and not the “Killer Vegan” pizza. I have not been able to find this menu item with Google searches (Archive.org has past versions of the zpizza website stored on their servers, and I found that the “Killer Veggie” first appeared on the menu archives in March of 2000, and the “Killer Vegan” in December of 2001 [highlight text to view]. The names seemed to interchange with eachother, and even be used at the same time; VEGAN on the menu page and VEGGIE on the nutritional page. The Berkley pizza first appears in the archives in December of 2004. I saw the first media report mentioning the “Killer Vegan” as a NEW pizza dated 2003 which is where I got the date in my original publishing.) except for a couple mentions on web forums. I provided sources for the pizza being called the “Killer Vegan”, and whether this was the real name or not, the fact that it was published as such on the internet by independent sources certainly added to the confusion. Why it was mistakenly called a VEGAN pizza by more than one source is beyond me. Neither the “Killer Vegan” nor the “Killer Veggie” currently exist on the menu and appear to have been replaced by the “Berkley Soy Cheese Veggie”. Why the name was changed if not labeled VEGAN was not mentioned. If someone from Fransmart or Zpizza could also respond to quarrygirl.com’s experience at a Zpizza in West Hollywood I’m sure it would be appreciated.

I’m not sure if this review and news about Zpizza’s soy cheese comes off as negative or not, and I appologise if it puts any kind of negative light on the Valencia store because I have nothing but positive things to say about that place. However, we vegans only want to know exactly what’s in the food we’re eating. I keep seeing, reading and hearing so many different answers to the question of Zpizza’s soy cheese. There are vegan customers that Zpizza will never get back because correct answers were not available, or products were misrepresented. I prefer to focus on vegan issues relating to just the Santa Clarita Valley, but someone needed to post the exact information and it just so happens that it was this vegan blog in Santa Clarita that decided to keep calling people until those definate answers were found.

Again, VEGANS can feel safe and enjoy Zpizza, especially the one in Valencia which told me on my first inquiry that the soy cheese was not vegan. Certainly I would rather eat at Zpizza than Pizza Hut, Papa John’s or most other places in Santa Clarita. Just remember to order the organic tomato sauce and no soy cheese. ***

From what I have been able to gather, the confusion began in late 2003 when Zpizza introduced a new menu item called “The Killer Vegan Pizza”. I have been unable to find a picture of a Zpizza menu board displaying this title, but it has been quoted in several different media reports and restaurant reviews. The pizza featured veggie burger crumbles, soy cheese and a pesto sauce (possibly containing Parmesan cheese, not sure on that). The soy cheese contains casein, a milk protein and very non-vegan. I was unable to find a press release but it appears the “Killer Vegan Pizza” was re-named “The Berkley Soy Cheese Veggie”. Customers of various Zpizza locations have gotten mixed information on whether or not the soy cheese was vegan. I don’t believe Zpizza was purposely trying to deceive people, I think they just honestly did not know that labeling something VEGAN was akin to saying it’s Kosher. Probably thinking vegan was a hip buzzword used among vegetarians who ate soy foods, not realizing that there are certain rules that must be followed when labeling something as vegan.

I asked my local Zpizza and they told me the soy cheese contained casein, but I knew that a definitive answer was in order. I first called Zpizza headquarters in Newport Beach, CA but the phone number on their website is actually for their franchise partner, Fransmart. The operator told me that she thinks the soy cheese contains casein but did not know for sure. I asked if she knew which brand of soy cheese Zpizza uses, and she told me it was purchased from a company called Schreiber Foods. She gave me a phone number for Schreiber Foods and a name of their contact over there. Turns out the phone number was for Sara Lee Food Services in Illinois, and they have never heard of Schreiber Foods nor this contact person.

I used Google to find the number for Schreiber Foods, who are located in Wisconsin. They were really nice but apparently could not tell me about their soy cheese because they make several different products and weren’t sure which one Zpizza uses. I asked the Schreiber rep’ if she had a sales record for Zpizza to see which they were purchasing but no record was found. I was told Zpizza probably purchases through a distributor, so I would need to call a Zpizza and get the product code from their box of soy cheese to find out exactly which one they use. So, I called our local Zpizza in Valencia, CA who were very helpful and gave me the product number as well as the name of their supplier; Sysco Foods inc.

I called Schreiber Foods back and gave them the product code, but was told that this code was for real cheese, specifically a pizza cheese blend. I thought this was strange since the person from my local Zpizza clearly read to me that the package said “Imitation Mozzarella”. Realizing this was not going to give me the answers I needed, I asked for the number for Sysco Foods who are located in Texas. I called Sysco and asked which soy cheese they sell to Zpizza. The operator kept searching and called other Sysco employees to try and find the answer. Finally I was given the number of Sysco’s Los Angeles office and their Account Executive of Program Sales. This person knows exactly what Zpizza buys and uses in their restaurants. She was extremely helpful, confirmed that the soy cheese Zpizza uses does indeed come from Schreiber Foods and contains casein. She also e-mailed me the ingredients which I will post here:

Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Casein, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Aluminum, Phosphate, Lactic Acid, Sorbic Acid (Preservative), Artificial Color, Vitamin A, Palmitate, Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, Vitamin B12, Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Ferric Orthophosphate, Folic Acid, Pyridioxne, HCL (Vitamin B6), Niacinamide, Thiamin, Mononotrate.

Now that it’s official, I want to add that Zpizza has a lot to offer vegans looking for a good pizza. While there was definitely some confusion and misinformation among most every level of Zpizza in regards to the ingredients of their soy cheese, keep in mind that this is a franchise and each store is essentially a small business. Some bad experiences at one store does not mean you will get the same treatment at another. Based on what I have heard, the owner of our Valencia Zpizza is a nice guy and I have no issues supporting them with my business.

Now, on to the food!

One thing I like about Zpizza is that they have lots of toppings normally not found at other pizza restaurants in Santa Clarita. Artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts, Morning Star pizza crumbles, cremini mushrooms, avocado and kalamata olives to name a few. You can build you own pizza; SMALL (Z10): $6.95 plus $1.25 per ingredient, Medium (Z14): $12.95 plus $1.75 per ingredient, Large (Z18): $15.95 plus $2.00 per ingredient. Calzones are also offered for $6.95

I ordered a medium Berkley veggie with organic tomato sauce instead of the pesto and NO soy cheese. I also got a calzone with organic tomato sauce, sun-dried tomatoes, cremini mushrooms and eggplant.

If you look closely, you’ll see steam coming off my freshly baked no-cheese pizza.

Zpizza - Vegan Berkley

Zpizza - Vegan calzone

The crust is very good, I think I will try the whole wheat next time as I forgot about it while I was checking the place out. The organic tomato sauce is also good and the ingredients are fresh with enough variety to make an excellent cheese-less vegan pizza that won’t get tired so quickly. The prices are more on the expensive side, but it’s worth it for superior ingredients.

Zpizza is located in Valencia at the Promenade Town Center:
27015 McBean Pkwy
Valencia, CA 91355