Saturday, November 28, 2015

On Friendship, Social Media, and Thanksgiving

For some reason, people like to talk about what they're thankful for at Thanksgiving; I just like to eat. But since it's kind of timely for me to be grateful for friendships*, please indulge me as I express my gratitude for friends inter-mixed amongst some major indulgences of Thanksgiving fare.

The older I get the more I come to terms with the fact that friendships ebb and flow. In closeness: if we want it to, technology can allow us to be closer than ever- even while far away, and in quantity: in the long run you generally lose more friends than you make over the course of a lifetime.

I'm so thankful for my friends- some I've known seemingly all along, many I've met through other friends, and a bunch I've had the pleasure of befriending as fellow members of the vegan community: either at events or online.

this nerd

Social Media adds an interesting twist. I use it to try to stay in touch with old friends, keep up with current friends, and to get to know those that are new; to have conversations with like-minded people and to be exposed to those who lead lives that are different from mine: to learn and grow from the experiences of friends and acquaintances that choose to share them.
Best PPK green bean casserole to date: made with (half portion) potato leek soup

maple roasted brussel sprouts from Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen (chestnuts subbed for hazelnuts)

VM's buttery mashed potato mound

As a single person, I am especially thankful for friends- for those who leave things in my mailbox: virtual and real; those who I don't see very often but who send a text now and again to share something funny; particularly those who ask simply, "how are you?," and mean it.

89 modeling Compassion Co. in an ongoing effort to coerce them into making canine couture

So, here's to the true friends, for whom I am grateful.

All Vegan Treats all the time.

* For balance, I'll enumerate a few things for which I am not grateful:
fresh cilantro
jerky drivers
people who try to dictate who I sit with at the lunch table
Alex Trebek

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bouldin Creek: Vegan Austin Texas

Although we were in Austin for a very short time, looking back it sure does seem like we did an awful lot of eating. I swear it was really only 3 meals a day, max.

Because there were too many places to hit up, we asked around during our travels for recommendations that would narrow down our list: Bouldin Creek Cafe was one that came up over and over. So we went!

Bouldin Creek is vegetarian with vegan options.
We went for dinner, so it was dark out. But here's some under-exposed photos to give you an idea of the outdoor vibe:

Bouldin Creek had a ton of quirky personality: first evidenced by this sign as you enter.

The dining room was rustic and dimly lit, so advance apologies for the extremely sub-par food photos that are to follow.

You get the idea:


 Peep our drinks: weird Topo Chico, cherry soda, Original Sin hard cider.

For dinner I had the South Austin Stir Fry: rice noodles tossed in a teriyaki ginger-miso sauce with broccoli, red onions, shitake mushrooms, carrots, and red and green cabbage with crushed peanuts and a sriracha drizzle. I did not add a side salad because it's all about the noodles.

One pal had the Aztec Pasta: spicy penne pasta tossed with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, and organic spinach in a chipotle-pesto/marinara sauce, topped with green onions and served with ciabatta bread. I have to say it again- this photo is not a fair representation.

I somehow neglected to take a photo of the third dish of the evening, and I'm sorry to report that we did not have dessert (if memory serves, that was the evening we went to Sweet Ritual). However, in lieu of that fun, I offer you alternative excitement: this cool sign in the restroom.

And these awesome handles on the restroom stall doors.

I love anything out of the ordinary and Bouldin Creek did not disappoint on that front.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Sweet Ritual- Vegan Austin TX

You didn't think I went all the way to Austin and skipped Sweet Ritual, did you?




The menu has a list of (rotating) flavors and toppings, as well as pre-determined sundaes and specials. "Everything is Vegan Always."

Sweet Ritual shares a building (what looks to be a re-imagined gas station) with Juiceland. I spent a lot of time chuckling over whether I'd get a juice or an ice cream, but I have to admit that there were plenty of people on the juice line while we were there.

not my Prius

You know I'm behind; let's not go there...



Sweet Ritual is colorful and quaint; I loved all of their original details. They've added edible glitter to the menu since my visit and I can't think of anything more appropriate.


After a significant amount of deliberation I chose chocolate and toasted coconut ice creams in a peanut butter cup sundae with chocolate sauce, peanut butter shell (!), salted peanuts, and dark chocolate chips. And then, as if all of that wasn't enough, THEY LET ME GET MY SUNDAE IN A WAFFLE CONE!


Peanut butter shell? Sundae in a waffle cone? It was almost too much to handle. Almost. I handled it.

They serve Sweet Ritual ice cream in local restaurants and sell it by the pint both at the shop and at Wheatsville Co-op. As always, I recommend going straight to the source.

But wait, there's more. A few months after I returned from my trip, Sweet Ritual started selling their salted caramel sauce in a bear! I got a bunch online from Rabbit Food Grocery and it was just as good as you are imagining. Okay, maybe better.

Good news: Rabbit Food Grocery is now a storefront as well as an online merchant!
Bad news: I haven't been able to find the caramel sauce selling online anywhere recently.
Possibly good news: Just yesterday Sweet Ritual announced that the bears are back, so hopefully they'll be available sometime soon!


For some reason, 89 was really not into the cute little bear army and that made it even funnier.

I don't mean to belabor it, but along with pouring it on ice cream, I also made amazing samoa fronch toast for VM with the caramel sauce for Mother's day:

Obviously Sweet Ritual is an absolute MUST VISIT if you're in Austin.

Please bring me something back.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Daiya Pizzas- I tried them so you don't have to

As promised, more pizza! I gave these Daiya pizzas a try even though I've held a grudge against them ever since this happened.

First up was the fire-roasted vegetable pizza, which was a little less appealing looking than I'd hoped. There was just something unsavory about the oddly chopped veggies that rubbed me the wrong way and it wound up tasting no more than fine. Fine pizza is an oxymoron.

Next up was the margherita pizza, which was way more up my alley: just look at all of that cheese. I added sliced rockets: olives double stuffed with jalapenos and garlic.

While this pizza was definitely the favorite of the two- thanks in no small part to the cheddar mixed in with the mozzarella, it just didn't do it for me overall.

This had to do, in large part, with the thin crust. While thin crust is never my crust of choice, this was like a thick, tasteless cracker. [UPDATE 11/11/15: windy city vegan has kindly pointed out that this is a gluten-free pizza, so that explains a lot; please see her comment below.] The ratio of sauce to cheese was fine, but overall it was another meh; a grilled cheese would have been equally satisfying. No, probably moreso.

Guess I'm just over Daiya in more ways than one.