Souplantation: Improving at a Glacial Pace

Vegan food from Souplantation including Italian White Bean Salad

If you’ve been vegan for more than a couple decades as I have then perhaps Souplantation (or Sweet Tomatoes for those in Florida) has always been there: the restaurant that colleagues would offer to treat you to lunch at because they knew you could choose your own plant based foods and use vinegar and oil for dressing (back when they didn’t label any dressings vegan.)  Fortunately, since then they have improved by adding a vegan dressing (“Housemade French”), vegan soups, and salads.  But there is still room for improvement, especially in the dessert department.

Look for this sign if you vegan-town Souplantation.

I first vegan-towned Souplantation (with gift certificates I won on the radio) on April 6, 2012.  I checked ahead of time their online menu, which purported to have a vegan deli salad, Three Bean salad, and a vegan House-Made Soup, Indian Lentil, but the signs in the restaurant said “vegetarian,” not “vegan.”  That was confusing, considering that not all the signs saying “vegetarian” represented animal product free dishes.

But since vegan-towning Souplantation again in 2016 and 2017, I find it has since improved.  When you first walk in keep your eyes peeled for the sign with a “Dietary Preference Guide” (under the much more prominent “FOOD ALLEGY?” message.) In my opinion, “VG” for “vegetarian” and “VE” for “vegan” is confusing.  Might as well just make everything vegan and spell out the word “vegan” (which they do for some soups and salads.)

Housemade French dressing (VE for Vegan)

Sometimes their labeling is just bad.  Sometimes the sign is behind the wrong item or just plain missing in action.  Sometimes you can’t get clarification from an employee even if you wave your arms in the air saying “hello! hello!” because the workers are hustling so hard to replenish the food bins.  One time I had to backtrack and start over in the alternate line just to find the sign for the dressing.

“Vegan” sign labeling non-vegan farro salad.

Signage corrected for Italian White Bean Salad (vegan) after I said something

If you know any good vegan dessert companies you must insist that they negotiate a contract with Souplantation (So Delicious® Dairy Free is a good one that gave out freebie coupons to those who answered their short survey in a timely fashion awhile back.)  They are in desperate need of a vegan dessert!  So far they have crumbled Oreos and sprinkles.  They don’t even label their cones (are the cones vegan or what?)  Well, they need major improvement in this department.

Creamy, Nutty Zucchini & Basil Bisque (vegan)

Souplantation owner, Garden Fresh Restaurant Corp., purportedly sold its assets to a New York private investment firm earlier this year, pursuant to a bankruptcy restructuring plan and thus intended to “‘refresh'” its “‘brands’,” according to Garden Fresh CEO John Morberg (Lori Weisberg, Souplantation Restaurants are Sold, The San Diego Union Tribune (Jan. 11, 2017).)  If that’s the case, I expect to see vegan desserts soon.  I recently received a menu for Fresh Brothers (Pizza · Salad · Wings) and their desserts are vegan!  See, so there’s no excuse for a restaurant’s desserts to not be vegan.

Souplatation is slowly improving.  The last time I visited they actually had Smart Balance vegan margarine to go with the potatoes.

Vegan Roasted Ratatouille soup

One of my Souplantation prizes from last year was part of a prize pack to promote a charity event called The 100 Wave Challenge.  It also included Rubio’s certificates*, Zico coconut water beverages, and Dr. Bronner’s 18-in 1 Hemp Tea Tree Pure-Castile Soap in a Sycuan drawstring bag.  Cool prize pack!

The Souplantation web page doesn’t say if you get any freebies for joining Club Veg.  But it does say, “Save money, save trees.”

Vegan Classical Minestrone and Potatoes

*Since I reviewed Rubio’s they altered their menu a little bit. The “Grilled Veggie Burrito” I referred to, which was under the “Veggies and More” category, is now under “Burritos” and goes by “Burrito Especial Veggie.”  I always say “no cheese” and “no chipotle white sauce.”



Vegan Referrals for Vegan Deals

Inside a Native Foods Café restaurant in San Diego.

Don’t you always wish someone would refer you to businesses so you can get a discount?  I know I do!  So, I’m going to be generous and share some good vegan deals with you (but remember that deals can expire and/or change.)  I’ll throw in some extra money saving tips.  On top of that I’ll raise the issue of fakeness among purported vegans regarding discounts.  Like, why would a dude pretend to be a female bargain shopper when he is neither of those things?  Or why would a discount lover pretend to prefer paying full price when he really wants $1,000 worth of discounts?  Being real is the way to go.


This message was on the Native Foods Café webpage, but it seems to be gone now.

Native Foods Café 

A message I received from Native Foods Café.

When I registered for Native Foods’ loyalty program, I received a BOGO deal (for up to $10.59) for my next order to use within 30 days.  Awesome deal, but their webpage doesn’t seem to say that anymore. However, it still does say, “Receive a $10 birthday reward every year around your birthday.”  I would have signed up a long time ago had I known (too bad no one referred me!)  Locations are in Los Angeles, Orange County, San Diego, Palm Springs, Colorado, Oregon, and Chicago.  Use my referral link to sign up (and let me know if you still get the BOGO deal or if it’s totally expired.)


Veggie Grill 

Hey, look at the Veggie Grill in La Jolla!

I already referred you to the Veggie Grill rewards program in a previous post (thanks to those awesome people who used my link!)  Now the freebie is $5.  If you didn’t claim your freebie because you don’t live near a Veggie Grill, well I’ve got good news.  I heard on Marketplace Weekend (Feb. 11, 2017) that Veggie Grill is expanding.  So, if your neighborhood is getting a Veggie Grill, then you’re getting a freebie!  Make sure to use my referral code if you join.  It’s called Vegan Solidarity.


Luna Grill

An example of a free shareable from Luna Grill (I totally would have said “no celery” had I remembered that it came with celery.)

I’ve vegan-towned Luna Grill a lot and will eventually write a separate review about the restaurant.  However, for now I will let you know about the Luna Grill app.  If you download it and sign up for Lunatic Rewards you will get a $5 Shareable (will which be available to redeem for two weeks after you sign up.)  Unfortunately, their pita bread is not vegan.  (Neither is their multigrain lavash; WTF!) But the good news is you can get hummus with sliced veggies for free! (Or falafel, stuffed grape leaves, fries, or quinoa tabbouleh.)  Locations are in San Diego County, Inland Empire, Orange County, Greater Los Angeles, and Dallas—Fort Worth.  Just write down my referral code to use when you are ready to sign up: JillBa4860

V is for Vegan Red Velvet Cupcake. Yum.

Sprinkles Perks

I already referred you to the Sprinkles Perks Rewards program in a previous post.  I actually didn’t even know that the free registration red-velvet vegan cupcake was a limited time offer at that point (I’ve been getting more and more savvy with these rewards programs as time progresses.)  Their web page these days says that Sprinkles Perks has three (3) levels.  “Upon registration, you will be automatically enrolled in Vanilla Level.”  You will get free red-velvet vegan cupcake on your birthday.  Last year I claimed the free vegan cupcake during my birthday week.  The web page says, “Sprinkles Perks expire 30 days after they are earned. Birthday rewards are sent the Wednesday before your birthday.”   (I only needed my phone number to redeem the freebie.)  Thus, if you should join now or wait until they offer a free registration cupcake again is up to you, but if you want that birthday cupcake then join.


Mr. Brooks wanted to purchase a hundred (100) Groupon vouchers, which would translate into $1,000 worth of vegan discounts.

Seashells is a “cash back” site that can potentially help you get a good vegan deal. You can even get a free $5 (sign up bonus) for using my referral code: PEW1Ny+r

Deal ideas:

Mr. Brooks says he likes to pay full price.

Groupon: Does Groupon offer a good vegan deal in your locale?  Occasionally, for a limited time, a Loving Hut deal is available to me.  You could buy a Groupon gift certificate on Seashells and get cash back.  Then you can buy your vegan deal on Groupon with your gift certificate.  If you have a Groupon promo code even better. (Ernest Brooks, the hairdresser on fire/Lyft driver, bragged more than once about getting a Loving Hut Groupon and then later declared that he likes “to support Vegan only restaurants by paying full price.”)

Buca di Beppo: You could purchase a Buca di Beppo gift certificate on Seashells and get cash back.  Then you can find a Buca di Beppo coupon in your mail.  Then order their only vegan food options (that I’ve seen): spaghetti marinara and green beans.  But at least their house bread is vegan too!

I vegan-towned the On the Border in West Des Moines, IA.

On the Border: You can also get cash back for purchasing an On the Border gift certificate.  Since I reviewed On the Border awhile back, I have been getting the vegan-version veggie chimichangas. 

Says “Delicious Vegan” on the window of Pegasus Greek Café.

Have you checked for any local vegan restaurants (or at least ones with vegan options)?  So far with my certificates I have dined at Pegasus Greek Café in Rancho Bernardo (San Diego) and Ki’s (Cardiff, CA.)  They both have vegan options!  Take a look. I noticed recently they offer a $10 sign up freebie, so you might as well get it because it’s free.  However, the certificate will translate into a discount rather than a total freebie (make sure to read the terms of your certificate.)  I presume the $10 freebie is a limited time offer because I don’t remember getting it.  I first signed up with a promo code and TopCashBack deal.  So, I got a $25 freebie, plus $2 back.  (A lot of special deals on TopCashBack are for new accounts, so I suggest waiting for a good deal before signing up with them.) Anyway, use my referral link and see if they’re still giving away a $10 freebie!

Saw this notice on the webpage.

The cookies at Robeks used to look like these pictured, but then changed to Lenny & Larry’s. Also pictured is the ABC juice. (These items were a bargain deal with a promo code from the now defunct Amazon Local.)

Lenny & Larry’s and Robeks

Listen up “Broke Vegans.” You can score a vegan cookie from Robeks.

If you need a referral to Lenny & Larry’s (vegan cookies) to receive a $5 discount on you first order, you’ll have to send me your e-mail address so I can send the referral.  I’ve actually never ordered anything from the web site.  I get the cookies from Robeks when they send surprise discounts via Robeks RewardsTM (they also give out a $3 registration freebie.) (Robeks will also give you a free birthday smoothie, but to make it vegan there will be a surcharge because, as one employee put it, “Fruit is more expensive than sherbet.”) (Robeks RewardsTM doesn’t seem to give out referral bonuses.)

Pick Up Stix

Did you get your free entree from Pick Up Stix for downloading the app?  I got the Firecracker Tofu!  But why oh why aren’t their fortune cookies vegan?  Write down my referral code if you want ten (10) bonus Fortunes: JillB1678

From the Pick Up Stix web page.


Pizza Rev

I received a free vegan pizza for joining Rev Rewards, but their web page doesn’t say anything about that anymore.  However, it does mention a “birthday surprise.” I’ll eventually review this restaurant properly, but for now I’ll just leave my referral code for Rev Rewards (which will give you “extra points”): JILLBALL226

Getting a free vegan pizza with Rev Rewards is so Revolutionary. #BeRevolutionary

In fact, this post is getting so long, I should eventually just do a separate post on getting vegan food freebies with apps.  However, one tip I can give you right now is to scroll. That may sound obvious, but sometimes it isn’t!

Giftagram App

Stainless steel tiffin lunchbox from Giftagram visiting the Loving Hut.

Do you like my stainless steel tiffin lunchbox?  I bring it to restaurants in case I have leftovers. (I noticed that my meat-eating neighbor likes to bring home leftovers in Styrofoam. Classy!)  I got it from the Giftagram app during the Christmas season when they had a free shipping deal, plus $15 off.  You can get $15 off too by using my code: JB174494. (During “Random Acts of Kindness Week” and the following week it was good for $20 off.)  However, now free shipping is available on orders over $50.  Maybe they’ll do another free shipping deal (on orders less than $50) in the future. Who knows?  Don’t forget to use this awesome code for a discount: JB174494


Are you a low mile, competent, vegan motorist who is forced by a fascist government to subsidize high mile, incompetent, meat eating motorists?  Well, I was and it sucked!  So I switched to Metromile auto insurance and my bill each month has been one of these numbers: $21.25, $21.57, $22.58, or $23.92 (the charge is based on how many miles I drive.)

Yes, you will have to install a Pulse device in your OBD-II port.  I found a YouTube video applicable to the make and model of my car that showed me where the port was (otherwise I would have never found it.)  Maybe you’re thinking you don’t want to be tracked.  I get that.  I don’t want to be tracked either.  But the advantages are that my auto insurance bill is significantly reduced and if anyone dares steal my car, I will be able to see where it is on the computer. LOL.

Make sure to use my referral code if you join.  It’s called Vegan Solidarity.

Caveat: You may have to submit proof of insurance to your Department of Motor Vehicles yourself (instead of it automatically being done on your behalf.)  That’s what I had to do anyway.  I didn’t blame Metromile though, I blamed the California DMV because their Automated Voice Response system refused to hear the NAIC #.  But then Metromile subsequently contacted me and said that they electronically reported my new policy information to the DMV, but a system delay is what caused the DMV to tell me that they did not have the required insurance information.  So, I don’t know for sure who caused the “system delay,” but I blame the CA DMV!

Another caveat: If you have an auto loan, the lien holder may expect you to buy more auto insurance than would be required under the law for maintaining “financial responsibility.”  That’s what happened to me when I refinanced with California Coast Credit Union.  That was a bad move because I had no problems with Honda Financial Services.  Cal. Coast turned out to be such a pain in the ass, I ended up paying off the balance of my loan early. (Luckily, there was no prepayment penalty!)

Rental Car Insurance

Vanessa V. after running a red light.

When you rent a car, the salesperson tries to pressure you into buying extra insurance.  I don’t know about you, but my Chase Visa credit card already provides that benefit (“Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver.”)  However, I almost forgot about that little fact the last time I rented a car because it happened so suddenly (an incompetent motorist, insured by State Farm, T-boned my innocent automobile!)  The rental agent tried to get me to buy extra insurance (not covered by the insurer) and I knew I didn’t want to buy it, but he really tried to convince me and then a light bulb went on and I said, “I already have it from my credit card!”  So, read the terms of your credit card and don’t forget about your benefits!

Credit Card Annual Fees

You should vegan-town Buca di Beppo with a coupon and cash back like Kirk Douglas and Sophia Loren did in 1954.

Speaking of credit cards, there is language on the back of my credit card statements indicating that some people pay annual fees, so I thought I would share the following anecdote in case you or someone you know pays an annual fee (and does not carry a balance on the card.)

I got my first credit card when I was in junior college after seeing an application on a bulletin board.  It charged a $20 annual fee, which I paid for a couple years until I realized that was wasteful.  One day on a university campus I was talking to a dude from Bank of America who was offering bank services to college students.  He informed me that the annual fee is bogus.  So, I called the credit card company and asked to cancel.  The agent transferred me to a manager who asked me why I would want to do that. I said because I don’t like the annual fee!  He said, okay, that I could forget about the annual fee. I said, “Good.”

Gas Mileage & Your Priceless Health

I don’t want to insult your intelligence, but idling gets you zero (0) miles per gallon. As in, it gets you nowhere.  The reason I am telling you that is because idling in parking lots is super trendy in my community and super obnoxious.  It’s an irrational conformist behavior, like consuming animal products.  We’re supposed to breathe in polluted air just because people like to idle while they text and eat their fro-yos?  Ridiculous!

Once I was talking to a golfer (Al O.) in a parking lot while he left his engine idling, and he was telling me about how he went vegan after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.  Did he know he was breathing in hazardous air pollution through his own actions?  Ironically, he later told me that he read this entire blog, so let’s hope he still reads it!

Everybody join American Idleless!   I would suggest finding your applicable anti-idling law and then discussing it in the community. (As a starting point, you can use the Compilation of State, County, and Local Anti-Idling Regulations (April 2006) from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.)

The City of Del Mar has put up anti-idling signs (Bruce Bekkar, Idling Hurts Oceans, Del Mar Times (Jan. 17, 2014).)  But the City of San Diego doesn’t seem to be taking necessary action even though I have requested that the city council put up anti-idling signs at all the library branches.  Looks like the most applicable anti-idling law to my situation is California Health & Safety Code § 41700(a), but in my opinion, it is not a very clear cut law, especially as it is filed under “NONVEHICULAR AIR POLLUTION CONTROL.”   Here it is:

Health and Safety Code – HSC

DIVISION 26. AIR RESOURCES [39000 – 44474]

( Division 26 repealed and added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )


( Part 4 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )

CHAPTER 3. Emission Limitations [41700 – 41999]

( Chapter 3 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )

ARTICLE 1. General Limitations [41700 – 41712]

( Article 1 added by Stats. 1975, Ch. 957. )


(a) Except as otherwise provided in Section 41705, a person shall not discharge from any source whatsoever quantities of air contaminants or other material that cause injury, detriment, nuisance, or annoyance to any considerable number of persons or to the public, or that endanger the comfort, repose, health, or safety of any of those persons or the public, or that cause, or have a natural tendency to cause, injury or damage to business or property.

(b) This section shall become operative on January 1, 2014.

(Repealed (in Sec. 1) and added by Stats. 2010, Ch. 411, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 2011. Section operative January 1, 2014, by its own provisions.)

Even though the law is filed under part 4 of Division 26 (Air Resources) which reads “NONVEHICULAR AIR POLLUTION CONTROL,” § 42403.5(a) says that § 41700 can be violated by an idling “diesel-powered bus” and I call that a vehicle!  A vehicle falls under the category of “any source whatsoever” anyway.  If idling is super trendy and conformist, the air contaminants are not going to be a nuisance to “any considerable number of persons” or “the public,” but rather will only annoy the people who hate breathing in hazardously polluted air.

Thus, we need a stronger anti-idling law.  San Diego Municipal Code §59.0303 applies to motor coaches in the Ballpark District.  Perhaps the San Diego City Council can do better legislation. (Bryan Pease is running for District 2.)


WynZyn is a sweepstakes page where you earn entries by watching commercials and taking surveys.  You can opt to donate a percentage of your winnings to Saving Paws Rescue AZ, an all-volunteer, 501 (c) (3) charitable organization in Phoenix, Arizona.   I only won once, so I wouldn’t say this sweepstakes has good odds, but if you want to give it a whirl, use my referral code for extra entries: S4F8

Be sure to read the official rules on their web page to make sure you are eligible.

But isn’t winning money for yourself and for animals at the same time kinda cool?  Last year I won the Energy Difference contest ($100 for myself and a $100 for the San Diego Humane Society.)  I tried to convince other local purported “animal activists” online to team up (because it was one of those hard contests where you have to hear your name called on the radio) and Mimi Kloeffler self-rightously opposed supporting the San Diego Humane Society because they hold their fundraisers at Phil’s BBQ and Slater’s 50/50.

So, I took a look at her LinkedIn page and discovered that she worked for a company that manufactures pills out of fish oil. Ewwww!  I asked her about it on the North County Vegans Facebook thread, but never saw a response.  Little did I realize that the entire thread had mysteriously disappeared even though older posts are still available for viewing today.  In fact, a lot of my important vegan-town posts (alerts for getting vegan food prizes!) seemed to disappear into the ether even though the moderators, Sarah V. Brenton and Michael McNeely, deny censoring (with the exception of dating and roommate ads and who knows why they censor those anyway.)  So, once the vegan cover-up became quite clear I just messaged Kloeffler and asked her the question again.  “And yes. I do work at a company that makes vitamins. They use gelatin, lanolin, fish oil, bovine testicular tissue etc.”  YUCK.

The San Diego Humane Society once sent me a letter asking me to “please help,” suggesting that a “generous gift will help save animals from terrible cruelty and suffering.”  So, instead of donating from out of pocket, I won the donation.  What “animal activist” would deny the animals a win?  Perhaps in the future, the San Diego Humane Society could instead hold fundraisers at Plant Power Fast Food.


Willamina watching TV with Rover sitter Natalie’s brother. LOL. (Photo from Natalie of Rover.)

Rover is a dog-sitting service that can help you find a place for your dog to stay in your neighborhood. (It has now merged with DogVacay to become the Nation’s Largest Network of 5-Star Sitters.)  Willamina “Bundle Bear” once stayed with Rover sitter Natalie and actually managed to survive without me!  Here’s $20 toward the perfect pet sitter or dog walker on Rover—check ’em out!

Freedom Pop

A while ago, I purchased a Freedom Pop Sprint Mifi device at a sale price and now get for free 500 MB “plan data” and 250 MB “earn and share” data each month.  They say, “Connect with friends and earn free data.”  I included my referral link in case you need Freedom Friends.


If you are having a hard time finding an item at your favorite home improvement store, you might want to check because they seem to have a lot.  They also offer promo codes.  If you use my referral link, you can be in my network.

Higher Education

I could write an entire chapter on the topic of “education” (including compulsory “free and public education”) and how it can be a rip off, but I’ll keep it brief by pointing out that higher education turned out to be a rip off for me.  And what do you know, I’m not the only one.  I recommend everyone (whether victim or not) read up at the Student Loan Justice Organization for edification on fascism in America.  Your teachers likely failed to impart this important knowledge worth having (remember, a teacher isn’t the one who told me not to pay credit card annual fees.)

In keeping with the theme of this blog, I’ll now quote from a book I won on

“Student loan debt, which targets a large swatch of the middle class, exceeds $1.2 trillion and shows no sign of easing.  And, unlike mortgage debt, if you cannot afford the payments you cannot just toss the bank the keys.” – Peter D. Keirnan, American Mojo: Lost and Found, 137 (Turner 2015)

How ironic that a “higher education” can prevent you from even getting a house in the first place!


I recently switched to TickPick  for selling tickets because I had a problem with StubHub.  I’ll update this post if I run into problems with TickPick, but I included my referral link in case you want to use them and get a bonus.  Now I’ll tell you about my experience with StubHub so you don’t fall into the same trap.

The first time I listed tickets for sale with StubHub my sale was cancelled for no reason.  So I thought, “How unprofessional and unreliable.”  After time passed I decided to give them another chance.  I had some good fortune selling paper Kaaboo tickets, so I started to think that maybe they weren’t so bad.  But trying to sell electronic tickets proved to be a disaster.  Their web page failed to indicate to me that it bisected the ticket file I uploaded.  Thus, the buyer downloaded one (1) ticket and one (1) schedule sheet instead of the full four (4) page file.  With a full week left before the event, do you think StubHub could have communicated to me that I needed to send the file to the customer because of the defect in their own web page causing the file to bisect?  No, they’re not that professional.  Instead they: a) cancelled the sale depriving me of the benefit of the bargain, b) charged a $4.80 fee to my credit card without consent, and c) stole a ticket (after all, the customer already received a ticket.)  Fortunately, a customer service specialist at Chase credited the $4.80 fee back to me after I wrote a letter describing my billing dispute.


From the Frugal Vegan Instagram page.

If you found at least one money-saving idea from this post, then it was worth it and there may be future installments.

Don’t look to the Frugal Vegan on Instagram, though.  The Frugal Vegan (a dude using a female stock image for a profile photo) got fries for $6.25 at Madison Square Garden, Just Ranch Hampton Creek for $3.29 at Target, and goes through $7 in four (4) sips at Juice Generation.