Lula’s Sweet Apothecary

March 12, 2009


Lula’s Sweet Apothecary is a small, cabinet of curiosities and Ice Cream parlor tucked away in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. I’ve been frequenting their shop, which has given the other vegan-friendly dessert joints (what’s their names again?) a serious run for their money. Lula’s is 100% vegan owned and operated, and will rocky-road your world!

The re-emergence of early 1900s decor is exemplified in this adorable, vintage-drug-store-inspired wonder-room where handmade, artisan, vegan delights line the walls in candy-shop jars, and rare vegan toppings (white chocolate, malt powder, peanut butter cups!) reside in card-catalogue drawers, neatly labeled. Even the friendly owners seem to have been plucked from a 1920’s photograph and the music should be coming out of a gramophone.


With nutmilk, coconut cream, and soymilk-based ice cream creations like the hugely popular cake batter and brownie batter or the traditional rocky road (complete with Sweet & Sara marshmallows), maple walnut, and even chocolate-vanilla-swirl soft-serve – Lula’s blows my mind. Last night, I enjoyed a brownie sundae with hot fudge, soy whipped cream, and a cherry on top. They have a rotating array of innovative flavors and confections. I have yet to try the New York Egg Cream (no egg, no cream), or a malted milk shake, but the hot cocoa, which was topped with fresh-shaved dark-chocolate, was brilliant, and the menu is extensive. One thing I know is that this place will have a line out the door come summer-time.

*The Discerning Brute readers get one free topping through June 1st, when you go in and say “The Discerning Brute sent me!”

Knightly Knit, Cookie Pies & Music You Must

December 15, 2008
The folks at Sound Fix, a music boutique in Williamsburg, Brooklyn – know more about good music than all of the professors at Juilliard, combined. It could be that they are located in the same spot that almost every good band has their practice spaces, or it could be that they just rule. Sound Fix has just released their top 50 albums of the year, and if you want to be in audio-bliss for the next year, you’ll get some of these albums. From Bon Iver, Crystal Castles, and MGMT – to Girl Talk and Herculues and the Love Affair – you may not have heard of them, but once you do, you’ll wonder where they were all your life.
Organic Cotton Knit Bonnet from Earth @ KAIGHT. Photo © Matt Lara

Two caps, one pup. Photo © Matt Lara

I enjoyed two caps the other day, a soy cappuccino from Gimme! Coffee – probably the best espresso ever,  and a naturally dyed cotton knit cap made by the elusive Filipino designer, Eairth from Kaight. Enzo my lil’ rescued pup (thanks to is sporting his “Have a Heart” anti-fur pin. Believe me, it’s much more effective on him. Especially when we’re walking and I offer him up to the fur-clad :  “would you like to anally electrocute him and add a few extra inches to your coat?

Little Enzo

RECIPE: Cookie Pies!

Easy Cookie Pies!

Easy Cookie Pies! © Discerning Brute 2008

These cookies are perfect for the holidays. Add anything you want to the center! Chocolate, marzipan, jam, pumpkin pie mix, peanut butter, or even leave the sugar out and go for a savory mini pastry with mashed potato, tampenade, or a chunk of marinated seitan in the center!

What you’ll need (makes 2 dozen):
• 2/3 cup non-hydrogenated,vegan margerine or shortening (Earthbalance or Spectrum is great!)
• 1/4 cup coconut oil
• 2 tblsp  sunflower seed butter
• 1/3 cup organic brown sugar
• 2/3 cup unrefined, organic sugar
• 1 tblsp vanilla extract (you can also use almond or coconut)
• 1/4 cup egg replacer (Energie is great!)
• 1tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
• 2-3 cups all purpose organic, unbleached flour

1. In a mixer, or with a fork, combine chilled margarine/shortening, coconut oil, sugar, vanilla, egg replacer, and sunflower seed butter.
2. Once it is creamy, add the baking powder and vinegar. It should start fizzing a bit.
3. Slowly mix in the flower until it is like play-dough, dry enough so it doesn’t stick to your fingers too much, but moist enough to roll out. Usually it’s 2.5 cups. For chewier cookies, add more flour. For crispier, add less.
4. Roll out to 1/4 inch thick on a floured pastry sheet or wax paper.
5. Using a circular cookie cutter, and a smaller circle (you can even use a bottle cap for the hole) make a solid base, and doughnut shaped top.
6. Place your base on an ungreased cookie sheet, add your filling, then place the top on!
7. bake on 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Best Of: Midtown Eco Showcase

September 19, 2008

Boho - A New American SpiritThis week in midtown Manhattan, designers gathered at the Agent Red International Showroom who hosted The Green Gallery Eco Press Showcase to showcase eco clothing and accessories ranging from bags and belts to knits and formal wear. I met several of the designers and the stylish brains behind Boho Magazine, which launched at the event. Here are the highlights:



SDN is a Brooklyn-based line featuring menswear made from organic cotton, soy, and bamboo. Striped waistcoats, western button-downs and denim jumpsuits were the highlights, as well as the handsome, cuffed chinos. I have to get a pair of those! SDN can be purchased at and The pants do come with the option of suspenders that have leather detailing, so you can avoid those – and some of the sportscoats incorporate silk in the lining.

English Retreads

English Retreads

English Retreads was started by Heather English almost a decade ago. Her bags and accessories already have over 60,000 miles each! Tough, green, and bad-ass, my favorites are the wallet, the Bentley, and the Large Beetle. ER also does dog collars and belts!



revinylized messenger

REVINYLIZED accessories are made from used billboards that would otherwise add hundreds of pounds each to landfills. The tote, the messenger bags, and the toiletry bag are my favorite picks. Many of them are lined with organic or recycled cotton.

Threads For Thought

Threads For Thought

Threads for Thought is one of the only companies doing organic cotton board shorts! Combine that with an organic tee with a well-designed message and you’re good to go!

LOVE: Valentines Day is Gay

February 5, 2008


If you are hetero, you can still read the following passage and get some great gift ideas. Same for the single people out there. And none of your bros will think you’re a fag for reading this – unless of course you are – in which case you didn’t watch the Super Bowl last night, like me. I hope that team won – you know, the one with the helmets and stuff…

Valentine’s Day is approaching… er… encroaching! It’s a surprise that the conservative powers-that-be haven’t outlawed Queers celebrating VDay – since most of us can’t actually prove we are in love through a costly and daunting, state-sanctified, ceremony of governmental approval. Thank god!

If you are still single and sick of your parents asking when you will deliver them their grandchildren, use this day to come out of the closet, even if you’re not gay. (At least it’ll get them off your back for a while – and then when you do fulfill the godly-destiny, they’ll be that much more excited to know the ‘gay thing’ was just a phase. Thank god! Again!)

Three Stupid Ideas for a Stupid Holiday
(read this if you’re single and bitter)

1. Send out a fake family photo. Photshop your head into the most disturbing Google-searched family photo you can find and send it to all your friends and family (FYI, that’s my head, not my body or baby or wife or creepy pool-birth-scenario). Like so:
Happy V day

2. Send a custom card or message, like so:

rotten apple

3. Call your Ex.


Three Ideas for the Well-Adjusted, Happy, Single Person

1. Get a friggin’ massage already! No one wants to hear your knot clicking. The men’s spa at Nickel is pretty dope.

2. Take a yoga class at Javamukti and be at peace.

3. Sex toys for men? Yes indeed. Take this day to love yourself. Buy a sex toy and go at it with the person who knows your body best – you! Check out Babeland for the best sex toys in a totally inviting and professional-ish environment. You can even get vegan latex products and eco-friendly vibrators.

anal beadsvibratorprostate

If you’re not in New York, check out The Sensual Vegan for online toy shopping, or for more leather-like gear see for the best selection that you can have delivered by Vday without the dead cow skin!


Three Ideas to Get Your Stupid Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Transfriend or Partner or Spouse or Whatever.

1. Chocolate never fails. Unless it’s filled with pus. So stick to the vegan chocolate.
vegan chocolates

2. Romantic dinner.


Prepare it yourself with this amazing cookbook (and don’t forget the candles). Check out the amazing soy-wax candles at ‘A Scent of Scandal’.

scandals …or go to the most amazing vegan, gourment restaurant on the Upper Eeat Side, Candle 79.


3. Adopt a fuzzy friend for your lover from the shelter, or a farm animal from Farm Sanctuary! adopt
then make spring-time reservations to go visit your new animal-friend on a romantic weekend-stay at Farm Santuray in Cali or New York State.

New York Farm California Shelter

Soy Lattes & Cahsew Cheese in Williamsburg Brooklyn

January 19, 2008

I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. One of my favorite things to do on a Brooklyn afternoon is to enjoy a soy-latte at Gimme! Coffee. Gimme! could be the best coffee in New York City. They have rave reviews, and I have yet to find something better. Their beans are fresh-ground and absolutely never bitter. Smooth, rich, and aromatic – the product is nearly perfect.

Soy Latte at Gimme! Coffee

After my soy-latte, if I am feeling especially indulgent – I head to Marlow & Son, the mostly-not-vegan-at-all gourmet mini-market/restaurant-cafe/wine-bar and pick up a wheel of Dr-Cow’s Aged Cashew Cheese to eat with a fresh baguette and a bottle of S.Pellegrino. Dr. Cow’ Cashew cheese tastes like any good, soft, French cheese. The only catch is that it’s hand-made in Williamsburg from cashews – not from cholesterol, pus & chemical laden cow’s milk. I am in love. Won’t you join me?