Friday, November 28, 2014

What Do Vegans Do On Thanksgiving

Earlier this week as almost every conversation was revolving around holiday plans, someone earnestly asked me what vegans do on Thanksgiving. It struck me as funny, not only because the comment was  indicative of how veganism is most notably associated with a dietary choice, but also because it suggested that vegans aren't too heavily invested in a holiday that essentially revolves around food.

On the contrary! Vegans are the biggest eaters and most insatiable group of foodies I've ever come across. They also tend to know more about nutrition and eat a more varied range of foods with significantly more adventurous preparation. But, I digress. Here's what this vegan does on Thanksgiving.

For starters, this is what vegans wear on Thanksgiving.

Even the furry vegans represent.

Because we're likely to be in the company of non-vegans, vegans also spend much of their day recounting their path to veganism- inclusive of obligatory photos of themselves with turkeys that are very much alive. #guilty

On a more traditional note, some of us even watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (see; we're just like you). This year I was lucky enough to have a friend send me a live shot of the Hello Kitty balloon flying into view.

This was almost as exciting as watching the Sea World protest via Jane Velez-Mitchell.

As for the food? This shizz is serious and we document every crumb of it.

Our celebration started off with a nosh of Treeline soft cheeses: scallion and herb garlic.

 Then the cooking commenced. PPK green bean casserole, of course.

Feeling the pressure as I carefully cleaned millions of Brussels sprouts.

Trying new things based on recommendations (I wasn't a fan, but the meat-eater at the table sucked it in, so that's saying something).

Aaaand, reliving some old food memories. You're never too mature to melt marshmallows on your sweet potato!



We tried a new recipe for Apple Cider Brussels sprouts that was posted in Cosmo by the incomparable Laura Beck. It lives amongst other simple but extraordinary recipes in Chloe Coscarelli's new book, Chloe's Vegan Italian Kitchen, and was devoured to rave reviews (chestnuts were added independently).

The PPK string bean casserole was authentic and crowd-pleasing yet again.

 Overall, a most stupendous meal. ALL VEGAN.

A lot of preparation, a ton of eating, and plenty of clean-up.
89 in her glory on pre-rinse duty:

 During the break between dinner and dessert: nap time.

And then my favorite part of any meal: dessert. This time from Vegan Treats.
These chocolate cakes were pomegranate and malt.

The malt didn't get it's own photo because, well, how do you not just immediately eat a malt ball?

This was the favorite of the evening: a double chocolate adorned pecan pie.

It was made all the better with the new So Delicious coco whip, in which I shall face plant until the container is empty.

Between the two of us, VM and I went to about 8 stores before we found it and then I sounded the alarm to my friends. Because that's another thing vegans do: if you see something, say something!

Finally, if all of this isn't enough, vegans also try to spread the love by extolling the virtues of a compassionate lifestyle. Everyone has different styles; this is 89's.

Hope all this clears things up about what vegans do on Thanksgiving. Hope yours was a happy one.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dr. Cow Storefront

I know it's hard to recall, particularly today, but this summer there were quite a few blazing hot days to contend with.  It was on one of these that I met a friend at the then relatively new Dr. Cow store.

I am a huge fan of Dr. Cow's stupendous, nut-based, local, vegan cheeses, so I couldn't wait to visit a shop dedicated not only to those I've come to know and love, but additional flavors I might not have tried yet.


After 2 drinks at the Vegan Shop-up at Pine Box, I staggered towards our meeting place in the relentless sun. After only one self-imposed break, I met up with my friend and we walked the remaining few blocks together. We were more than a little amused/dismayed to find that it was a tiny take-out shop (possibly the definition of quaint) rather than the exalted cheese cafe we'd been expecting.

While the cheese options were glorious, to say the least, there was no place- inside or out, to enjoy said cheese en site, which was exactly what we were intending to do. To make our ill-planning matters worse, the temperature did not lend itself to taking cheese to-go, as I was much farther from home than she was.  So, we stood for a while, glaring covetously at the vegan, butcher-type display of various hunks of gourmet, vegan cheese in multiple sizes*, shapes, colors, variations, and combinations: drooling.

The counterperson was kind enough to offer us some extremely yummy samples, but they were accompanied by her declarations of not being vegan and really liking the cheese anyway.  Not. Good. I mean, the cheese was outstanding, but the "non-vegan taste buds have superior expectations, so if we like it you know it's good" rap does not jive for me: particularly in an all-vegan establishment. (Does this impress omnis who wander into vegan joints? Discuss.)

They also had a selection of mini cookies and chocolates (also susceptible to melting; what is it with the foods I love being so downright delicate?), so I managed to uncharacteristically switch gears from savory to sweet and chose one to inhale on premise.

It was possibly the world's tiniest cookie, but after all the anticipation I couldn't have left the Dr. Cow shop empty-handed (get it? that's my palm) without feeling like a complete failure.


Now that the weather has, ahem, taken a's a good time to revisit and bring lots home.  You should do the same!  I mean, bring it to me.

*I have no idea how the varying assortment of cheeses come into cute existence in the Dr. Cow display. Where do the missing hunks go? Are their missing hunks, or are they "born" haphazardly? Inquiring minds...

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tricks & (Vegan) Treats and the Tompkins Square Park Halloween Dog Parade

Halloween is officially over, as is October 2014 and the possibility of a daylight commute home from work.  Here's my recap of the festivities with some commentary (natch).

89 and I participated in the Tompkins Square Park Halloween dog parade this year; we've been thinking about it ever since we missed the last one and took the whole year to ponder her costume. There had been lots of ideas, but we were ecstatic with the final decision.

I'll be honest, the "parade" was disappointing.


Don't get me wrong, it was super fun to have a dressed-up 89 amidst a ton of dog/owner combos that made us look sane, but the whole event was a little anticlimactic.  Let me explain.  We arrived to TSP at around 11:45 for the event that was to take place between noon and 3:00pm.  There were no signs, was no instruction available.  We got in a long line of other costumed dogs, presumably for the "parade," and were immediately inundated with photographers- professional as well as the Instagram crowd, snapping shots in incredible succession.  It was fun and exciting to feel famous for a bit, but the iPhone brigade, in particular, would hold their phone in 89's face for a good 5 minutes waiting to capture the perfect expression.  Of course, her expression in this situation was mostly impatient with a bit of ticked-off thrown in; turns out she isn't impressed by the paps.  I'd worn Hello Kitty sneakers in anticipation of all the photographs of my feet, but wound up holding her most of the time in line (3 hours) so that she wouldn't eat someone's camera in protest.


After about a half hour, a photographer in a leprechaun's hat (whose adorable "my name is" business card was lost during the days' festivities) told us and the Cookie Monster-clad family in front of us that we were in the spectator line and directed us to the parade line on the other side of the park.  It was at this time we wound up in line behind Sid Vicious and his family.


This line inched along imperceptibly, and after about 2 hours we finally made it to a sign that said "form line here."  This was the TSPHDP's 24th annual affair; I find it hard to believe that they are truly under the impression that this is a sufficient amount of signage.  It was at this point, also, that myself and those around me got wind of the fact that there was a $5 entrant fee; I'm still not clear where that went- it certainly wasn't obvious that it was a donation, but it was a small price to pay for the entertainment return.  In any event, once the fee was "donated," we were given a sticker with a handwritten number on it (we were 214) and directed into the actual TSP dog run (which, if you're not familiar, smells like a gigantic box of soiled kitty litter), where police barricades finally organized us into a winding line that led up to a stage with a short, astroturf runway.


It was a pleasure to be in a roomier, more organized space where you weren't so crowded and could actually see the costumes of those around you.  The most innovative and best executed I saw was a Frida Kahlo (scroll down in link to check out the amazing unibrow) that didn't snag a single award. More on that later.

Mariachi dog

In our direct line of vision was a crystal-encrusted dog sitting in a giant, baby-blue carriage led by a stuffed- horse…that did.  We'd seen this particular float navigating through the TSP crowds earlier; in fact, the accompanying human dressed like a fairy godmother had been admonished more than once by her human companion for rolling into her legs with the cart.  Now she spent the last hour of our wait constantly fluffing the tulle, which I later learned was custom created in the strictest of confidence.


Point being, the next person who tells me 89 and I are crazy will be schooled on how sane we really are!

Sherlock Holmes!

I was personally more impressed by the likes of this dog dressed as the NY skyline, but apparently the judges thought differently and awarded a prize to this skyline instead.  Yes, there are so many costumed dogs that there are repeats.  In fact, here's 89's HK counterpart.

There were two "hosts" on the stage, but you couldn't hear what they were saying until you were within 20 feet of them, which was problematic in an of itself- both for participants and spectators.  One of them was Ross, who was going by Garrett for some reason, and I was excited to tell him how fabulous his purple, velvet blazer was.  Unfortunately, when it was finally our turn after a 2+ hour wait, we were directed to rudely walk right in front of Sid Viscious during his own long-awaited moment to shine, and then obviously hurried along by Ross/Garret who disinterestedly asked us:
  1. our names...with no follow-up (hello, "89"!?!?!) 
  2. who 89 was dressed as (?) Um, only the most famous cat in the world! 
Ugh.  Needless to say, 89 was even more disgusted than I was and flung her HK hat off the second I placed her paws on the astroturf.  She walked the 12-foot runway (i.e. not a parade) sans headgear and the moment we faced the judges I replaced it to audible, but short-lived "ooohs."  Before we knew it, it was over.  3 hours of waiting in a crowded line to be rushed through the judging and that was it; we were directed into the crowd where it was once again nearly impossible to hear the rest of the festivities, including the winner announcements.  No matter, the person standing next to me put it best when he opined that if they were only going to award prizes to dogs on floats (which is the type of regalia that would befit an actual parade), they should save everyone else the time.  I have to say I somewhat agree, although my suggestion would be that the whole event be revamped into a significantly more organized affair with an actual parade through the park and categories that would include and celebrate more of the cross-section of entrants.

a couple of bananas

Ultimately, this event in its current state is like the Christmas decorations in Dyker Heights: it's super fun to look at all of them, but that doesn't mean you're own light-up Santa is any less important.  In fact, it has a ton more heart than paying someone to decorate for you.  Believe us when we say that we went for the fun and certainly didn't want or need a prize- particularly from the non-vegan dog treat company sponsor, but we would have appreciated if the whole ceremony wasn't based entirely on the spectacle.


Instead, it could be generally more inclusive of all: including the understated.

89's new friend, Lily, as Petey!

End rant.

89 spent much of the rest of the day with her exhibitionist pal, OMJ.


We went to Mooshoes' anniversary party.

Then to Ricky's Pup-up shop.

Then dinner.  Then dessert, at which time she had to layer.

89 was exhausted.


But there were more Halloween eats to be had!

I picked up this pumpkin pie donut from The Cinnamon Snail.

And a zillion donuts from Vegan Treats!


Pumpkin cream-filled, peanut butter triple chocolate, raspberry jelly, and Boston creme.

Also, CAKE!
That's a giant, candy corn, chocolate chip cheesecake on-a-stick in the front.

Frankenstein blew me away with a butterscotch center!

Oreo graveyard: the only dirt I tolerate.

And a gingerbread skeleton.

Non-edible goodies for 89 included a bag full of orange balls and, of course, a Halloween-themed hedgehog.


And this was all before Halloween!

 It was too chilly to open the door to trick or treaters as Hello Kitty, so 89 swapped for a bumble bee.

And then it started raining and we had to have yet another wardrobe change into a vegansaur.


We didn't have as many treaters as usual, probably because of this menacing figure.

It was an exhausting and delicious Halloween; we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

So Delicious