Chef Jason Wyrick of Casa Terra and The Vegan Taste, in collaboration with Jozh Watson of Phoenix Vegan have launched the inaugural Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week. From September 12-18, the weeklong event will celebrate all things vegan in the Valley, including full service restaurants, fast casual eateries, bakeries, coffee shops, food trucks, meal delivery services, and more.  

During the special week, restaurants and food purveyors will offer an exclusive multi-course prix fixe menu or showcase a specially priced item that best represents their establishment. Breakfast offerings will include an entrée and drink and be capped at $20. Lunch meals will feature an appetizer, entrée and drink and also be capped at $20, and a three-course dinner menu will be available for $33.

An extremely accomplished chef, speaker, author, publisher and business owner, Chef Wyrick has been serving the growing plant-based community for nearly 20 years. Since 2006, Wyrick has been operating The Vegan Taste, the world’s longest running fully plant-based meal delivery service. In 2019, he opened the Valley’s first vegan fine dining restaurant, Casa Terra, which has remained closed since the start of COVID.

According to Wyrick, “Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a celebration of plant-based cuisine in Phoenix. We want to raise awareness about everything vegan that’s now available in our city, get everyone excited, and out-and-about trying all of the great dining options.” 

Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week is a great way for hungry Phoenicians to explore the Valley’s growing plant-based food scene, while supporting small businesses in the community. Whether someone has already adopted a plant-based lifestyle, is vegan-curious, or simply wants to go meatless a couple of days a week, Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week gives diners the opportunity to try out multiple establishments at a reasonable price.

Chef Wyrick is the executive chef of The Vegan Taste, the author of Vegan Tacos, a culinary instructor, caterer, a former diabetic, and founder of the world's first vegan food magazine, The Vegan Culinary Experience. He has co-authored the New York Times best-selling book 21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart with Neal Barnard, MD, and has taught alongside every major vegan medical and dietary professional. He was the first vegan culinary instructor in the world-famous Le Cordon Bleu program through the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, and has catered for major corporations such as Google. His website is www.thevegantaste.com.

Chef Jason Wyrick

According to Wyrick, “Restaurants are experimenting more with vegan cuisine and showcasing some really great offerings. Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week allows them to cater to a growing clientele and test the waters for expanding their vegan selections.”

Local tastemaker, Watson, is behind the vegan dining resource, Phoenix Vegan. He’s been a longtime vegan advocate, and he’s a social transformation and social inquiry professor. He’s encouraging non-vegan restaurants to participate in Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week. “We want to position Greater Metro Phoenix as a premier, inclusive dining destination,” said Watson.

The list of participating businesses is continually growing, and registration is still open. A sampling of participating eateries includes: Beaut Burger, Brunch & Sip, Chilte, Dilla Libre, Early Bird Vegan, Earth Plant-Based, Giving Tree Café, Ground Control, Hot Sauce & Pepper, Maya’s Cajun Kitchen, Pachamama, Positively Frosted, Salvadoreno Restaurant, Shameless Burger, Simon’s Hot Dogs, The Nile Coffee Shop, Urban Beans Café, Tesoro Vegano, The Vegan Taste, Verdura, and Wok this Way.

 For a list of participating businesses or to register for Phoenix Vegan Restaurant Week, visit www.phoenixvegan.com.

Photo courtesy of Michael Feinstein.

Michael Feinstein


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Michael Feinstein will commemorate Judy Garland’s life on March 20 at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.


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I think it’s fair to say we all want that #fitlife, especially with Spring around the corner — as well as Gaypril on the way. Whether it’s pool season yet or not, everyone would choose to look fit over not looking fit, if they could have it with a snap of their fingers. OK, the vast majority of us would.

If you’ve met me, or have been reading my articles, you know that I live, sleep, eat and breathe fitness; it’s my heart and soul. That being said, I’m here to tell you that the concept of “fitness” is oftentimes tragically misunderstood.

Before you get too aggressive with your goal for pool season, let’s dive a bit deeper into what fitness means on the inside versus what it looks like on the outside, and common misconceptions around this concept.

1. Beware of the cultural pitfalls and misleading information around fitness.

Most of the bodies you see in the media are probably not real, they just look very convincing. As a trainer who also moonlights as a photographer and Photoshop wizard, I’m telling you that it is incredibly easy to alter pictures in materially misleading ways. Once you know the tricks of the trade, the imposters are easily spotted. But that’s not what this is about.

The point is: to the untrained eye, it can be devastatingly defeating to see such impossible standards. It seems as though the cultural pressure to look a certain way, to look perfect, has spread all the way from runway models to fitness novices with the help of smartphone apps.

The truth is that we fitness models look that cut, and that lean for only a couple days at a time. That’s it! In many cases, months or even close to a year of training, dieting and programming all go into looking like that for ONE day. Let that sink in for a second. Day to day, I am less cut, less tan and much flatter muscularly than what you see in some of my pictures. That’s just the nature of the beast. So, when you have a bad day on the scale, in the mirror or in any other scenario, remember that we’re all human and that the most legitimate photos you’re comparing yourself against were from someone’s very best day. That should help to keep things in perspective.

2. Most people want the results, without actually doing the work.

Fitness is not six pack abs, it’s not superficial, it is not temporary and it’s not an isolated phase in your life. Further, fitness is not something you do for someone else, do to spite someone else or even to impress someone else.

Fitness is confidence, toughness, dedication, coordination, power, balance, speed, strength (both literally and figuratively) and persistence in the face of all obstacles. This includes control over your attitude, your mood, your sleep, your schedule, your diet and other aspects of your life. This means getting that workout in when you least feel like it.

It’s not easy, and it’s definitely a grind that has good and bad days. You must show up and keep working on the days you’re tired, stressed, rushed, defeated, doubtful, afraid and so on. The days you actually have to overcome something instead of just checking your workout off your to-do list are the days you have the greatest opportunity to really make progress, push your body and see the most improvement.

3. Fitness is really an internal mindset. The external physique is the fringe benefit.

I’ve said this time and time again, and it might sound strange coming from such an aesthetic-focused trainer, but you are not your body. Your body is a tool, it’s a means to an end, to express your internal mindset, belief system, discipline and dedication to your workout program. Your physique will come and go. Your strength will come and go. Your abilities will wax and wane depending on what you’re training for at the time.

The outside will, and should, be always changing, but the inside is what we’re really after here. Good trainers want to train you to believe in yourself when sh*t gets hard. We want to train you to be resilient in the face of injury, obstacles and other setbacks. We want you to set ambitious goals and shoot for the moon because you can get there with smart programming and relentless will (do yourself a favor and ditch the crash diets and the photo editing software).

So, as you make your spring preparations for swimsuit season, try focusing on developing a sterling, unshakeable internal character and the muscles will come along the way, this I promise you.

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