Thursday, August 15, 2013

Say hello, wave goodbye.

Image ripped from i’m your katie qué, who I’m sure is a very nice person.

Well then. Here we are, nine months after my last post. What gives, you ask? Nothing. Blogging started feeling less like fun and more like work. Taking crappy pictures of my food got boring. Basically, everything I said the last time I stopped updating still holds true. And there’s nothing sadder than a neglected blog left to be taken over by spambot comments, so it’s only right that I write a concluding post.

There’s been no great crisis of faith, no huge upheaval. I’m still as vegan as ever and as opinionated as ever. I love Red and Lucy more than I ever have. When I started blogging, back in the ancient mists of 2009 (four years ago!), I didn’t know many other vegans. When I realized what a huge vegan community was out there, I absolutely had to add my voice! And it was wonderful. I learned so much, and realized how much I still had to learn. I found my activist voice and my strength. I made friends I hope to keep for the rest of my life. I showed myself that I could make a difference. I still hope to do that, just not here.

In a way, maybe it’s only fitting that the blog ends now. It served its purpose, and I feel such affection for it. I plan to leave it up, because I’m proud of it and it allowed me to meet tons of amazing, dedicated people who make the world a better place. I just don’t plan to blog anymore. Not here, anyway. I have a yoga site (you wanna get your Downward-Facing Dog on, call me!), and I’ve thought about blogging there. But now that I know how much dedication a good blog takes, and how much work it is to build and sustain a community (online and off), I know it’s not a step to take lightly.

May all beings be happy and free. I love you all, and pass the vegan cupcakes.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The things I geek out over.

I don’t have a vegan bucket list. If I did, I suppose eating at Millennium would be on it, and I did that when we went to San Francisco. I’d like to get tattooed at Scapegoat in Portland. And recently, I did something else from my not-bucket list: I met Carol J. Adams.

Spoiler alert: I fangirled the fuck out.

On a whim one day, I checked her tour schedule and probably did a little chair dance when I learned she’d be bringing her Sexual Politics of Meat slideshow to my alma mater, Towson University. Discussing vegan feminism on a Thursday night? Don’t mind if I do! I grabbed my copy of The Pornography of Meat, arranged to meet a few pals there, and prepared to get my think on.

Several local activist groups had tables set up, including Red Emma’s. I love my friendly neighborhood anarchist collective, so I bought a copy of The Sexual Politics of Meat (I felt a little bad not having read it already, but Pornography seemed easier. It has more pictures). Carol’s presentation was excellent. I’d venture to say that more than half of the audience was there either as a class assignment or for extra credit, but what the hell. At least they learned something new. Maybe a few seeds were planted. I wonder what I would have felt if I’d seen Carol’s slideshow when I was in college. At that time, I thought I couldn’t be vegetarian because I was frequently anemic. I’m not even sure I knew any vegans, but I knew for sure that Towson’s campus was no place for them to find food that wasn’t french fries. I hope that’s changed.

I took plenty of notes and really felt my own interest in the intersection of oppressions rekindled. Sometimes it’s easy to get complacent because I no longer have to work very hard to be vegan (or feminist), so a refresher is always welcome. I remembered how much I love her concept of the absent referent, the realization that missing from every piece of meat is the death of the animal from which that meat was taken. The absent referent is what allows people to consume animals comfortably; it separates “animal” from “food.” As she said during her talk, it “allows for the moral abandonment of a being.” I wrote that down because it touched me so deeply. Oppression based on species reinforces that based on gender, and where there is oppression, violence inevitably follows. Vegans, she said, “refuse to consume that which exists because of violence.” I’ll carry that with me for the next time someone asks why I’m vegan.

I figured that everyone would swarm her as soon as the Q&A ended, asking questions and wanting autographs, but I needn’t have worried. The best part of college events is that everyone goes for the food, not the speaker, and the room cleared out quickly. She was so friendly and gracious, signing both of my books and chatting with me about veganism and her other lecture stops. I was not a babbling idiot, as I had feared. She has such a welcoming, calm presence. Also, we are both diehard fans of the one and only Vegan Feminist Agitator! Carol even agreed to take a photo with me (plenty of people hate this, which I completely understand), and her son volunteered for camera duty. Both of her sons were there, which I thought was so sweet. Vegan feminism: It’s all in the family!

Trying not to squee. (Also, new favorite shirt!)
One of these days, I look forward to digging into Sexual Politics and continuing my education. If you’re not familiar with her work, check out the slideshow. It was a fantastic experience, and I hope she returns to Baltimore so Red can meet her too.

A little light reading.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Escape from Baltimore, Part 2.

Where were we? Ah, yes, New England. Red and I rolled into Providence in the late afternoon. Such a cool town! Spoiler alert: We highly recommend it. It’s very walkable, so we strolled around and got our bearings. Evidently it was move-in weekend for several of the colleges near our hotel, so it was perhaps a little more bustling than normal. It was also a Waterfire weekend, so we appreciate Providence’s putting on a show for us.

Hotel view.

Waterfire before....

...and after!
We’d heard wonderful things about Nice Slice, so we went in search of vegan pizza. We were a bit deflated to learn that we couldn’t simply order off the menu, which looked amazing; instead, there were a few limp slices of vegan pie hanging out under a heat lamp. We were hungry and weren’t sure where else to go, so we ate them. They were fine, but definitely a letdown.

That's some sort of spinach-almond-cranberry on the left, and pepperoni-sausage on the right.

Can't remember what it was, but I loved it.

Our pizza break came at a weird too-late-for-lunch-and-too-early-for-dinner hour, so we vowed to do better later that evening. Union Station Brewery was right next to our hotel, so we popped in there for a beer and a snack. They didn’t have a lot for us, but the hummus plate was delicious and I had a nice Lemon Weizen.

Sunday was our last full day of vacation, so we spent the first half with our friends, Mike and Kristin, and their adorable toddler, Maggie. I swear, it was the Weekend o’ Cute Kids. We met for brunch at the Garden Grill, where Maggie proceeded to charm everyone while the rest of us inhaled food that more than made up for the sad-faced Nice Slice Pizza. Seriously, behold:

My tofu BLT (with avocado, of course)

Red's tofu scramble (he loves nothing more, I tell you)
Those home fries were something else, too. Everything was amazing.

After that, we all walked to a nearby park, with a quick stop at Wildflour Café for coffee and pastries. Wildflour is an adorable little all-vegan joint with fantastic treats, and has the distinct honor of blending Maggie’s favorite smoothie. The best part: It’s right next-door to Garden Grill! Vegan domination! If only a yoga studio had been in the same shopping center. Needless to say, Red and I loaded up for the remainder of our stay in Providence: We took home a chocolate-chip scone, a granola scone, and, if I know myself at all, probably something chocolatey. I know I just said it, but Providence is extremely pedestrian-friendly. Mike and Kristin walk most everywhere with Maggie. It was wonderful to be in a city that supports a more eco-friendly way of living.

After a bit more walking and window-shopping, Red and I headed for the East Greenwich Art Festival. We’d been stalking Like No Udder (VEGAN! SOFT! SERVE!) on Twitter and Facebook to nail down their location, and the art festival was it. A bit of artisan crafting to go along with our ice cream? Don’t mind if we do!

The truck!
Alas, we didn’t even get a grainy cell-phone pic of the ice cream, because we were too busy rejoicing in the sweet, creamy delight and trying to eat it faster than it could melt. For real, you guys, this shit is good. New Englanders, you are lucky, lucky folks. We kept it simple—I think I got chocolate and Red got chocolate-vanilla swirl—but sometimes simple is best. It was especially revelatory for Red, who loves soft serve like no one’s business. I’m happy with regular scooped ice cream, but my man knows what he likes. High five, Like No Udder. You made a vegan boy very, very happy.

Once we were high on delicious sugary ice cream, we took in a few festival sights:

Don't fall in!
Also, because I didn’t take a picture of it, I just now remembered that Red and I went to Julian’s for dinner. Their website boasts several good-looking vegan selections, so we were bummed to learn that on the weekends, they cut back to a limited menu. This left us with basically one thing to order, and I couldn’t even remember what the hell it was. Thanks to Red, who took a picture with his phone, we figured out that it had been some kind of tempeh wrap. It was fine. We were just grumpy at not having a choice.

Thrilling, I know.
The next day, we flew home. That’s a story in and of itself, but we survived. Lucy thoroughly enjoyed her first time staying home with a sitter, the wonderful Cathy, and we were all happily reunited before dinner. Although it was a short trip, we packed in a lot of good friends and good food. I know we’ll be back again, if only because Red will need a soft-serve fix!

I bought that pretty scarf at the art fair!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Escape from Baltimore, Part I.

Over Labor Day weekend, Red and I fled town. We did this because of a small traffic jam known as the Baltimore Grand Prix (I’m not linking because get bent, you assholes). This is an event which, starting on the Thursday before Labor Day, turns the city into an Escape From New York-style nightmare in the name of tourism, cars that go really, really fast, and people dumb enough to want to sit outside on metal bleachers while the asphalt reflects the scorching summer heat. Once would be bad enough, but it is supposed to happen annually. I could write a book about all the ways it sucks, but I won’t because last year we decided that we would simply do an end-run around the whole clusterfuck by leaving town every Labor Day.

Every day for a month, I drove to work through a cage. Photo ripped from 
This year, it was a no-brainer. We have friends in New Hampshire and Rhode Island, so we hopped a short little flight up to Manchester and prepared for a weekend of food and camaraderie. New England did not disappoint us.

Our first stop was at my heart-sister Jess’ place. I miss her every day and hope that one day we’ll live in the same city again. She and her husband Matt are new parents to the most adorable, magical little stinker. I’m completely in love with him. He didn’t get to have any of this, though:

Hello, lover.
I was overjoyed to learn that Trader Joe’s stores in more civilized states (read: not Maryland) sell alcohol. Not only that, but they’ll also give you a list of all their vegan selections. Finally, cheap vegan wine! Turns out that Three-Buck Chuck is highly drinkable. So is Green Fin, which is about a dollar more. I don’t think I’ve ever bought two bottles of wine for under eight dollars before. It all went marvelously with the massive quantities of Indian food we powerhoused while gossiping and playing Scrabble.

Confession: Until this trip, I had never actually had a dosa. Sure, I’d eaten my fair share of my low-budget dosadillas, but those are crap compared to the real thing. The spongy, injera-like dough! The savory filling! The little cups of chutney and dipping sauce! These dosas were fantastic. That’s a samosa on top there, as a bonus. Basically we ate a lot of fried dough and carbs, then wondered why we couldn’t move.

Surprisingly, we were hungry again the next day, so we all met up at Life Alive Café, a hella hippie place that is also the most gorgeous restaurant I’ve ever visited. For real, look at the bathroom:

It was a tiny tropical paradise.
Tell me you don’t want to just hang out in there for a while.

All the dishes have ridiculous but friendly names. It’s hard not to feel like a spaz when ordering The Romantic:

It's basically tofu, avocado, and broccoli, but it hit the spot.
Jess ordered The Hot & Healthy Bachelor, though, so I think she wins. Everything was delicious. If only my latte had been bottomless. Endless caffeine makes everything better.

The utterly scenic Lowell, Massachusetts (I am not even being sarcastic; Lowell has come a long way since my dad grew up there):

I don't know. I just liked it.
This cool-looking building houses one of the UMass Lowell bookstores, among other things.
After that, there were many many hugs and baby snuggles before we hit the road to Providence. Come back soon and check out the rest of our trip! I promise to post the second half before winter arrives.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The only sandwich book you will ever need.

Greetings, lovers! I know I’m (predictably) late on this, but in case you’re living in some sad, Internet-less place and haven’t heard, Tamasin Noyes and Celine Steen’s long-awaited opus of sandwiches, Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!, has hit the street! And what a book it is. Red and I were lucky enough to be testers, and we had a blast. I’ve never been a sandwich fiend, but since he’s gone vegan, he really missed chowing down on thick, savory sandwiches on crusty sub rolls. It didn’t take long for me to realize what I’d been missing, and his sandwich itch has been lustily scratched. (Also, there are sandwich cookies.) Tami and Celine are dream authors to test for—not only do they invent amazing, creative recipes, they are also unfailingly gracious and receptive of feedback. For a peek at the fun we had testing, check out my album o’ sandwiches. These sandwiches are so good, we made several of them again while waiting for the book’s publication.

Recently, that happy day arrived! Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! is ready to rock your kitchen and stuff your face full of sandwiches that are big on flavor and rich in bunly goodness. Here’s me, excitedly peeping out from behind my copy:


Here, learn about the origins (apocryphal or no, who cares?) of this noble, versatile food. And then make one!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the City by the Bay, Days 6 and 7.

Don’t you just love how it’s taken me months to write up this trip? Honestly, you’d think I had a life or something.

Anything, after my day traipsing around Hilary’s neighborhood with her and her kiddos, on top of the previous days of nonstop walking, I was in honest-to-Goddess pain. I fucking
hurt, I tell you. If I owned it, it was sore.

So I went to the sex shop. Why, what would you have done?

I was pleased to discover that Good Vibrations, famed women-friendly purveyor of toys for grown-ups (or at least those over 18), had a location right around the corner from our hotel. I believe in supporting progressive, independent, and women-owned businesses whenever possible, so I (slowly, gingerly) walked myself down the street and did some shopping.

No, I’m not telling you what I bought. Yes, I do recommend visiting if you’re in town (Good Vibes has other locations, too. Plus, there’s always the internet).

The rest of my day was free except for our dinner date at Millennium, so I thought it wise to seek out a yoga class to help my poor muscles unclench. Luckily, there was one about a mile away. Unluckily (and typically, given my sense of direction and confusion with regard to mass transit), I picked the wrong bus and ended up walking most of that mile. It was worth it, though: Satori is a lovely, welcoming studio and I very much enjoyed a Mellow Flow class. I was glad I’d packed my travel mat; it’s very thin and unsupportive on wooden floors, but is perfect on top of those generic studio mats you probably don’t want to get too intimate with. To top it off, they offered post-yoga hot towels and I even got the right bus back to the hotel. Then I sat my ass in the hot tub for a while, soaking away any residual stiffness.

When I came back from all that me-time, Red was back from his final day of conferencing. I was happy because I like it when he’s around.

Then, Millennium! We both spiffed up and prepared for an awesome evening. Spoiler alert: We are big fans of Millennium. We sat at the bar, and Josh started us off with drinks that were so delicious, I can’t remember what they were. Mine had smoked pineapple sugar; that much I can recall. They get creative with their cocktails there, which I appreciate. Also, it was a dream come true to not have to fret over the wine list, wondering if any of it was vegan. BECAUSE IT ALL WAS. *fistbump*

And the food. Red and I were sort of, “We’re in your hands; feed us whatever you think we’ll like.” And so we had pickled veggies, a medley of olives, and fried oyster mushrooms to start. We shared a little salad that I think might have been warm and had potatoes and arugula in it (this is what happens when you wait five months to write up what you ate; I do remember the dressing being yummy).

As our entrée, one of us ordered these fried sushi rolls with asparagus:

I could have eaten a dozen more and been happy with my Millennium experience, but no. And look! My first time eating lotus root! It was very crunchy. And so pretty, too. I almost felt weird about eating it because I feel an affinity for lotus flowers. (Here’s how to do padma mudra. This has been your Daily Yoga Snack™.)

We also shared this delicious spicy glazed tempeh with veggies in a coconut curry. So rich and sweet.

During all this, Josh suggested wine pairings and made sure we picked wines that complemented our food. I fell in love with one wine (Woodenhead Halfshell White, marry me), only to have my heart broken when I got home and my liquor store guy told me he couldn’t get it. Looks like we’ll be going back to Northern California so I can stock up.

Oh yes, dessert. Not to be anticlimactic about it, but we were so full that we knew we wouldn’t really enjoy it if we snarfed it down there at the restaurant (my friend B calls it “eating through the pain”), so Josh kindly boxed it up for us. Obviously my photo is crap, but this little panna cotta was the perfect ending to a fabulously indulgent day.

HUGE thank-yous and hugs to Josh and the staff at Millennium for giving us an amazing final night in San Francisco. I hope we’ll be back soon.

Day 7 barely counts, because we got up and went to the airport. But there was food involved, so I’ll tell you about it. Because we were not lucky enough to be flying Virgin America, we couldn’t get to the terminal where Plant Café has their all-vegan outpost. I was bummed about this, because it also meant that we couldn’t get to the yoga room, either. Terminal 2 is where it’s at, y’all.

Still, we managed very well. Go Bistro only had one vegan option, but one is all we needed. Veggie stir-fry: Breakfast of champions. Then we found our gate and settled in to watch some Doctor Who on Red’s laptop. (We had Sherlock, too, but wanted to save the last episode until we got home.)

Dinner was less successful. We changed planes in Atlanta, which is a terrifying megalopolis of an airport. The best thing we could find to eat was french fries. Sad, I know. But after that, we made it home and crashed and woke up and brought Lucy home and everyone took a nap together and everything was awesome.

Thus ends our West Coast saga. I’d go back in a heartbeat; Red, maybe not so much. But wherever we go next, I’m looking forward to it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

In the City by the Bay, Day 5.

So, after my day of walking all over the Haight with Josh, I was pretty sore. I decided I didn’t care, because I was going to spend the day with my girl Hilary and her awesome kiddos! You might remember her former blog, Plate + Simple. It will forever have a place in my heart because Hilary and I became instant friends, and she later interviewed me. I still remember how tickled I was that someone cared enough about my ramblings to want an entire interview. You blew my mind, Hil. Now she blogs at Mod Apron, where I get daily doses of the kid-filled domestic bliss I hope to have someday soon. As soon as I knew Red and I would be in San Francisco, I emailed Hilary to tell her that we’d not only be in the same country (as she hails from that utopia to the North known as Canada), but in the same city! I’m not one to make big distinctions between “Internet friends” and “real-life friends,” because why can’t they be one and the same? Still, I was psyched that we could finally meet in person.

That day was the grayest and rainiest of our week in San Francisco, but it didn’t matter. Hilary made me breakfast (oatmeal and fresh fruit; I couldn’t have asked for anything better on that chilly morning) and welcomed me like I’d been dropping by her house on the regular for years. We walked her daughter Maya to preschool (OMG so much walking that week) and made funny faces at her little boy Henry. (Seriously, hie thee to Mod Apron just to get a load of Henry’s contagious grins.) It was exactly the mellow day I needed. We talked about damn near everything—it was like hanging out with one of my oldest friends, one who shares valuable life advice while brewing fragrant herbal tea. And she bought me this fantastic pretzel bagel, too:


Red and I had dinner plans (not Millennium, though—that’s coming!), so after Hilary and I picked up Maya, we posed for this drop-dead-gorgeous photo and I managed to find the right bus back to the hotel. Thank you for a wonderful day, daahhhling!

I ♥ Hilary.

I feel like I must have taken a nap when I got back, but maybe I didn’t. Probably I rubbed peppermint lotion into my feet and read a few chapters of the book I’d brought, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. It’s so good, you guys. I’d call it the perfect vacation book, but that makes it sound like dumb chick-lit. It’s a combination of fast-moving, engaging plot and intelligent writing with a lot of historical detail. The sequel comes out next month, the day after my birthday (not that I’ve hinted about it to anyone, of course).

When Red got back, we headed to North Beach and the Beat Museum. I’m sure I’ve mentioned my Beat cred, if you can call it that: Naropa, Anne Waldman, degree from the Kerouac School (Amiri Baraka offered me clam chowder during my first summer), etc. Some say this makes me part of a lineage; I’m not sure how I feel about that, since I’ve barely written a damn thing (blog notwithstanding) in six years, but I do know that Naropa, Kerouac, Ginsberg, and the hungry poetry beast still occasionally pop up in my life. Since Red feels similarly, to the Beat Museum we went.

It is so fun there! I went to a witch museum in Salem once that had the same vibe: totally hand-made and unpolished, but so knowledgeable and sincere that you can’t help but love it. We more than got our money’s worth, as you can see:

Hey there, Jack.

Blew my mind the first time I read it. True story.

Obligatory mention of The Ladies.

We couldn’t respect ourselves if we didn’t drop some major coin at City Lights, which is right across the street. I want to live there, cuddled under piles and piles of books. (Public service announcement: If, like me, you’ve been spoiled by Amazon, books are actually expensive, and selling them is a labor of love. Support the indies! They’re worth it.)

Next stop: dinner. Red’s friend and his wife waved to us from their table at the Stinking Rose, but the menu didn’t have anything for us. Pity, because the gimmick of a garlic restaurant is a good one.

Killer garlic!

Back to the Supreme Master we went. Yes, friends, we succumbed a second time to the temptation of Loving Hut. I don’t remember what we had, but as you can see, it was pretty good.

I think it was raining again by the time we finished. We were both ready to crash, so we headed back to the hotel and did exactly that. We needed to rest up for our last day, and for Millennium!