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beerline cafe

hey y’all… i guess i haven’t really been feeling the vegan mofo prompts this year, so i’ve been pretty bad about blogging. so i’m going rogue! i’m blogging about food and i’m not paying any attention to what we’re supposed to be doing today. sorry if i’m being a jerk.

late last week, we got a heads up that a brand new vegetarian (and super vegan-friendly) restaurant was going to be “soft open,” and they were offering their food for half price(!) for the first couple of days. we’ve been waiting very excitedly for this place, so we jumped at the chance and headed over to the beerline cafe for lunch on friday. woo!

beerline sign

the space is really cute, right next to a yoga studio and in a bustling part of the east side. they’ve used lots of environmentally-friendly construction and they have a cool wall of herbs above the counter, which is pretty nifty.

beerline herb wall

because all the food was half-price that day, we decided to try several different things. we started off with drinks — erik had an iced tea, and i (of course) had a chai.

for starters, erik tried the house salad, which has spring mix, grape tomatoes, avos, pickled julienne carrots & cucumbers, and homemade croutons… all topped with a smoky tomato vinaigrette dressing. i had a bite or two, and it was really tasty!

house salad

i ordered the avocado hummus, which came with oven-baked tortilla chips, and really packed a garlicky punch. we were a little worried about the number of chips (i.e., there weren’t all that many), so we made a point of creating heavy scoops with each chip, which worked out in the end.

avocado hummus

then for the main event, we each tried one of their crepes — erik went the savory route, and i chose sweet. erik’s was called the diner breakfast, and included vegan kielbasa, sautéed veggies, vegan cheese, and avocado (in place of eggs). served with a dollop of fancy dijon mustard on the side, and i’m not sure what the drizzle was, to be honest. they forgot to include the avocado on his, which was a bit of a bummer, but i think it was just because at first they accidentally made us a non-vegan version (i.e., it showed up with eggs) and then when they re-made it, they were probably hurrying. no big deal. i had a bite (i avoided the mushrooms, har har) and it was very good.

vegan diner breakfast

i was having a rough time deciding on which sweet crepe to order — so many of them sounded fantastic! — but eventually i settled on the crepe ape, which is peanut butter & jelly & banana. what?! right up my alley. it came with toasted almonds sprinkled on top, and it was absolutely delicious.

vegan crepe ape

we didn’t order any sides this time, because of getting two starters and not knowing how big all of the servings would be, but on a return trip i’d probably order a side of roasted potatoes with a crepe, just for a little extra. still, we definitely got enough to eat! we were, however, intrigued by their smoothie options, and so we decided to continue taking advantage of the half-price excitement, and we ordered one of each smoothie to go.

smoothies

on the left is the grapefruit banana smoothie, which is made with rice milk, and on the right is the cayenne chocolate avocado smoothie, which was by far my favorite of the two. i’m really not the target audience for the grapefruit banana, because i don’t like grapefruit at all (heh) and i’m also not a fan of rice milk (i find it too watery). the flavor profile for this one just wasn’t for me, but erik liked it, so it wasn’t a total loss. the cayenne chocolate avocado was great — we both really liked that one — and erik said it reminded him of the mexican hot chocolate snickerdoodles from VCIYCJ. he’s not wrong; it has that same creamy chocolate flavor, followed by that little punch of cayenne. yum!

all in all, it was a nice first visit and i’m looking forward to going back. there are several more crepes i’d love to try (both sweet and savory — but mostly sweet), and also a panini or two. i’d also like to check out their other starters, salads, and sides. i’m so excited for a new restaurant with so many vegan options — i hope things go well for them!

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the sandwich (est. 2007)

okay y’all, i just spent an embarrassing amount of time (30-45 minutes) searching the bowels of the internet, digging around in the archives of a vegan discussion board that doesn’t exist anymore, scouring all the land for a post i made about The Sandwich. today’s mofo prompt is “best sandwich ever,” and i just knew i had to find that stupid post.

and finally, at long last, i found it! i originally wrote the post (and ate The Sandwich) on july 12, 2007. i ate another one later that same month, but i believe we haven’t recreated it since, which is a travesty. i think eight years is enough, don’t you? i’m going to put in a special request with erik. meanwhile, allow me to share with you the silly post i wrote, lo those many years ago:

last night h-dawg made me dinner and i didn’t really know what i was eating until i ate it. after one or two bites i was all  omg omg  and asked him what all was on it. it was so simple, but SOOO good. i loved it so much i practically had tears in my eyes. after i was done i told him i would eat a second one instantly if i had room in my tummy. right before bed (an hour or so later) he mentioned The Sandwich again and i swear to god, my stomach growled.

The Sandwich:
avocado (chunks?)
romaine lettuce
minced red onions
vegenaise
(+ tomato on hubbydawg’s)
all on toasted bread that was “grilled” in a frying pan with spritzes of olive oil

   

*fainty guy*

(it was a little emoticon-heavy. don’t judge. also, ‘h-dawg’ obviously was short for hubbydawg, which was everyone’s code name for erik. because i was bluedawg. you understand.)

aaanyway, this sandwich was the bomb. and i like tomatoes now (i’m all growed up!) so i’d even try that version willingly. let’s start a change.org petition to see if erik will make me another one?

 

vida vegan con, atx edition – friday

mishka’s flight was indeed delayed and she got stuck in san francisco for the night, so i had to go ahead to the vegan bazaar without her. it was an easy walk from my hotel, and colleen and i were pretty excited to partake in the exclusive eat-all-the-miyoko-cheese-you-can-eat hour that was only open to VVC attendees. i had never tried any of miyoko’s cheeses, but i am here to tell you: they live up to the hype. there were several tables of cheese wheels and cracker options, and we were allowed to just circulate and grab at will. i tasted at least 7 varieties (from what i can remember: double cream garlic herb, double cream sun-dried tomato garlic, country style herbs de provence, mt. vesuvius black ash, aged english sharp farmhouse, limited edition strawberry cream something something, and i’m certain i’m forgetting at least one more), and there were a few others i didn’t get to, but every single one i tried was delicious. DELICIOUS I SAY! after we pried ourselves away from the cheese tables, we realized that red rabbit bakery was also set up in the room, and we also learned that we were allowed to roam around in the vendor area before everything opened to the public. so, roam we did.

the vendor area was… bananas. chock full of fantastic vegan businesses and oh, the samples. so many samples. i’m not kidding when i tell you that i ate samples for three hours straight, and then realized that i had doomed myself to Not Being Hungry For Lunch, even though there were four kick-ass food trucks parked outside, just for us. whoops! from what i can remember off the top of my head, i sampled: a capital city bakery brownie *and* a chocolate chip cookie), nada moo vanilla chai ice cream, a taquito, a chili lime carnitas jackfruit taco from upton’s, heidi ho nachos, a tamale, and this was all AFTER the miyoko cheese extravaganza. eep.

(please note: flickr and wordpress appear to be going through some issues in their relationship, and i am having a really hard time linking images with my usual method. bear with me!)

capital city bakery + nada moo samples

upton's jackfruit taco

eventually colleen and ricky got hungry enough to eat lunch, so i watched them eat. there were four food trucks parked at the venue for us: the vegan nom, arlo’s, cool beans, and sadie b foods. everything looked delicious, but i just didn’t have it in me, so i waited it out and hoped to get hungry before they all left.

somewhere in here, i decided i’d better go buy a bunch of stuff: i grabbed a new elephant tank and ‘be kind’ wallet from herbivore (always such a pleasure to see michelle!), a snazzy VVC armadillo tee from the official merch table, and a vegan is tee from the adorable and wonderful sweethearts at meaningful paws.

we attended one of the talks at the bazaar: how we made austin awesome, featuring a bunch of certified-awesome peeps who were there to share their wisdom. jessica from rabbit food grocery, kristen from capital city bakery, molly from texas vegfest, and chris from the vegan nom told us all about their austin vegan exploits, led by the always delightful stephanie (lazy smurf).

making austin awesome

while this talk was unfolding, mishka finally made it to austin from her unexpected overnight stay in san francisco, and by the time we finished at the panel, she had made it to the bazaar. hooray! she grabbed a taco (as one does) and made her rounds in the vendor area so she could try to catch up on all the samples she’d missed out on, and eventually i finally decided i could be hungry enough to try eating a taco. i headed out to the vegan nom:

vegan nom trailer

vegan nom trailer art

…where i was confronted with a menu chock-full of amazing-sounding options, and i really didn’t know what to do with myself. i decided to keep it simple, and ordered a breakfast taco with tofu scramble, potatoes, and avocado.

vegan nom breakfast taco

it was really great, and i wish i had been hungry enough to order tacos from them all day. on our next trip back to austin (see you in february, y’all!), this will be a high priority destination.

after finishing stuffing my face, we wandered around a little more, chatting and mingling, until michelle and i decided we should probably go to the conference hotel and get checked in. we were both too full to worry about going out for dinner, so we just made our way south to the UT campus, checked into our sweet little room, and hunkered down for the night. we both pretended we were going to go to bed early and catch up on our sleep, but instead we stayed up for hours talking about kitties who won’t eat and how stressful that is and how very much we love them. it’s so good to be with friends who get it. ❤

end-of-day cumulative austin taco count: 3

vida vegan con, atx edition – thursday

all righty, well that attempt at blogging all weekend was certainly a bust. i feel like i hit the ground running as soon as i landed in austin, and i didn’t really have any true down time until i was on the plane back home. whew! if you follow me on instagram, you’ve at least seen a glimpse of the delicious food i was stuffing in my face on the regular.

to try to make up for lack of posting, i’m going to do a series of posts with a quick run-down of how each day went. let’s start with:

thursday!

i landed in austin about an hour late, nabbed my rental car, and made my way to the meet & greet. i arrived just as it was technically ending, but there were still several enthusiastic VVC attendees buzzing around, and i got to reconnect with old friends, plus meet a few people i’ve known online for years, which is always one of my very favorite things. right around this same time, my milwaukee friends arrived in town (by car), so we made plans to meet up for dinner. i braved rush hour on I-35 (so heroic!) to get to my hotel, checked in, and then turned around and left almost immediately to meet colleen & ricky at bouldin creek cafe. if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know it’s my absolute favorite place, and i wanted to make sure i’d end up there at least once this weekend. (and i’m really glad i did that, because it was the only trip i was able to squeeze in.) i had what i always have, the el tipico with tofu scramble.

el tipico

colleen ordered the vegan oven cake breakfast (that blueberry cornbread!), and ricky chose a couple of tacos from bouldin’s vegan selection. everything was super-delicious, as per usual.

we briefly entertained the idea of walking to bananarchy for dessert, but in the end we decided we were full and tired, and we headed back to our hotels. meanwhile, i learned that mishka’s flight had been delayed, and she might not make it into town on friday morning as planned. boo!

end-of-day cumulative austin taco count: 2

get ready for some vida vegan con excitement

hello blog! it’s been a long time!

i’m dusting off the ol’ wordpress in honor of vida vegan con, which kicks off in austin tonight with an unofficial (totally official) meet & greet. as soon as i learned that VVC was going to be in austin, i started hatching plans to attend. as you may already well know, austin is my second/adopted hometown (i did my phd at the university of texas, as did my husband, and he lived there an extra three years before i arrived), and i jump at the chance to go back whenever possible. so, i’m typing this from the airplane, high above texas or somewhere, getting ready to indulge in a weekend of food, friends, and fun. yippee!

my flight was slightly delayed (twice) in my connecting city, so i might be cutting it close on getting to the meet & greet, but regardless i’m so excited to get things going. i’m trying to plan out all of my favorite eating spots so nothing gets overlooked in the hectic long weekend to follow. wish me luck! i’ll be checking in throughout the weekend, so get ready to see vegan chai in your blog reader all of a sudden after a long absence. i missed you!

ten years

today i’m celebrating ten! fabulous! years! of veganism. i can’t believe it; it seems like not that long ago i was super-excited to be making it to the five-year mark… and yet, here we are. time is funny that way. i guess this also means i’m celebrating 21.5 years of being vegetarian… so now i also feel super old. huzzah!

on that note, the other day i had an oncology appointment (don’t fret! it’s preventative; i’m okay), and when i was checked in, the woman at the front desk nearly had a meltdown when she saw my age. she adorably exploded all over the place and basically made me feel like a pretty pretty princess. (or at least a young college graduate, which is what she actually said.) she just kept saying, you do NOT look 40! and i just kept laughing and blushing and saying thank you. and then i tweeted about it because i had to nerd out somewhere.

a little while later, the nurse who took me into the doctor’s office weighed me, asked my height, took my blood pressure, double-checked my allergies, and so on and so forth. we talked for at least ten straight minutes about health-related blah blah. and then all of a sudden she looked at her computer screen and said, wait, you’re 40?! and i just burst out laughing. i told her i needed to buy her and the woman out front a drink for making my day. then she kept asking me, what’s your secret? for real, what is it? and i had that dumb moment where i wanted to say, “veganism?” but i restrained myself.

i have no idea if veganism is actually helping me in any real way — other than, of course, feeling better about the choices i make on a near-constant basis. one of my facebook friends asked me today if i feel better physically; not just emotionally… and i wasn’t really sure what to say to that. i mean, i feel fine. but i always did, so…? i mean, i didn’t have any wildly transformative experiences after going vegan, like losing 35 pounds or having my skin magically clear up or suddenly reversing a lifelong health struggle, so i’m not really sure i have compelling personal evidence for the physical benefits of veganism. but that’s not why i did it anyway, so i guess that’s why i never really focus on that aspect.

for me it has always been about the animals, and not wanting to hurt them. i spent 11.5 (somewhat misguided) years as a vegetarian because of the animals, and then i leveled up to veganism when i learned about all of the cruelty involved in dairy and egg production. i have never, ever regretted my decision, and i am always proud and excited to say that i’m vegan. i wish i had realized sooner, so i could have just gone vegan from the get-go, but such is life.

every single year i think, “i should do something official for my vegan anniversary!” and every single year i wimp out on myself. this year i devoted even more thought to it, because ten years is kind of a big milestone, but i have still wimped out completely. boo. i entertained thoughts of hosting a party, or organizing a dinner out, but instead i am hanging out at home, in the rain, with maia and finley, working on a huge backlog of stuff. maybe if i get creative i can still turn this around, and plan a couple of little things for this week. meanwhile, i will settle for my usual custom of a long-distance dedication to ryan at vegblog, who is my vegan wonder twin. he also went vegan ten years ago today, which just proves that he is super awesome.

here’s to ten more! and then another ten after that! and then, and then, and then…

 

one year

paws

 

avery (aka “bluedawg”), march 22 1999 – july 27 2013

i never wrote about this at the time, because it was too painful, and now an entire year has gone by and i just can’t believe it. a year ago tonight, we held avery for the last time, and said goodbye.

just a week prior, he’d been to the vet for his usual checkup and everything looked fine — his kidney values (which we’d always kept tabs on) were great. and then suddenly, exactly seven days after that checkup, he didn’t want to eat and got lethargic and barfy, so we took him back in. we got the bad news: his kidney values looked bad, and our vet wanted him to go to the emergency vet right away to be monitored. it was a friday afternoon, and we drove him out to the same emergency vet who had treated him 15 months prior when he had a kidney emergency. they did an ultrasound (as they had the first time) and things looked very similar to his earlier visit, so they decided to try the same treatment, because he’d responded so well previously. we had to leave him overnight, and they’d call us in the morning with an update.

unfortunately, in the morning things didn’t look better at all; he wasn’t responding this time, and his kidneys were shutting down. we drove out to visit him, and he seemed pretty sad. it was heartbreaking. we asked to try new/different meds/fluids for another few hours, just in case, and they indulged us. we took a walk and went to a coffee shop and basically just tried desperately to distract ourselves while waiting for the phone call. when they called, it was bad news again: no change whatsoever, and basically out of options. we weren’t ready for this at all, and we felt so terrible for him, and we were just lost.

we went back to the emergency vet and talked about euthanasia, and i talked to our regular vet on the phone to get her input as well, and the whole thing was kind of a blur. we couldn’t believe we had to make this decision and we couldn’t believe we had to say goodbye and we just Didn’t Want This At All. they brought avery in to see us, and we snuggled with him and told him we loved him about a million times, and eventually we had to decide when we were “ready,” which was excruciating. when they administered the shot we held him close and whispered “i love you” into his ears over and over, and i don’t know if i’ve ever cried so much or so long. even writing this, i’m crying all over again and it feels like it was last week, instead of last year.

we adopted avery from a rural shelter outside of austin, texas. we were “just looking” and absolutely not planning to adopt a kitty that day, but avery stole our hearts almost immediately. he was one year old, and had been captured by animal control (with his brother) a week prior. he had been an outside cat his whole life (we always figured he lived near a restaurant parking lot, because he was ultra friendly and liked to beg for food, heh), but he was extremely outgoing and the most mellow cat we’d ever met. it was like holding a ferret; he was just lounging in our arms five minutes after meeting us. we left to check out other shelters in the area, but we kept talking about avery, and decided to go right back and adopt him that evening.

because he was so outgoing and silly, we thought he seemed more like a dog than a cat, and because he was grey (or “blue” in animal colors), we started calling him our “little blue dog.” and then, because he was from texas, we added a little southern drawl, and “bluedawg” was born. those of you who have known me for a long time and from other places will recognize that name, i imagine.

avery lived with us in austin for about five months, and then moved with us to milwaukee when we graduated. he lived in three different houses with us here, and he was the kind of cat who took everything in stride. we adopted finley when avery was four years old, and after making it clear that he was head honcho, he “adopted” finley and gave him baths and snuggled with him and play-fought with him, and just basically became best buddies for the ten years they lived together. we adopted maia when avery was nine years old, and again, he made it clear that he was in charge, and she absolutely fell in line. he wasn’t afraid of anything, and he was hilariously noisy. one of the biggest things we realized after he was gone was how quiet finley and maia are on a day-to-day basis. avery was forever yelling and making himself known, and you could carry on entire conversations with him.

i feel like i could write forever and never do him justice, and i already feel like i’m being self-indulgent. i just really needed an outlet today, because i’m missing him in a really heart-hurting way. thanks for listening. avery, you are loved, and you are missed. ❤