Buckle up your seatbelts kids- it's been another action packed week with plenty of big surprises.
Let's begin with my first time having an authentic Ethiopian meal. Trust me, I gobble up the Ethiopian stew recipe from Post Punk Kitchen, but the spices in this meal were complex and subtle at the same time and it was simply an amazing meal. Fcat & I had decided to go to Queen of Sheba on 10th Avenue, right off Restaurant Row for our Ethiopian experience. The place was packed & busy. I expected service to be slow because there were only two waitresses for the whole restaurant. Thankfully, they were extremely nice (they were also beautiful as most Ethiopian women are) and the food was so good- it made up for the wait. We started with an appetizer of tomatoes mixed with injera, lemon & spices. As for the utensils, well they were right on the plate. See the two rolled up pieces of injera bread? That's how Ethiopians eat. You tear off some of the spongy bread and scoop up the food. Brilliantly simple, yet so efficient. They also serve the food atop a layer of the bread so that it soaks up all the juice & sauce and at the end you eat all that too. Injera is a sourdough type flatbread made from teff. Teff is high in protein, calcium & iron and very low in gluten. It's such a healthy, perfect utensil- I'd rather eat with injera than a fork any day. We ordered the vegetarian sampler platter & we also got the Misir Wot (spicy lentil stew) that is right in the middle of the platter. The platter consisted of collard greens, chickpea balls (similar to falafel, but not really because they were much more solid), split pea stew, ground chickpeas, chickpea stew, cabbage & string beans in a most delicious sauce and a whole bunch of injera to eat with...to sum it up- a vegan feast! We left the place happily stuffed, but because everything was so healthy & clean- we still felt good. I am definitely hooked.
SKO & I had a late lunch one day after running errands. We went to Agra on Lexington Ave bet 62nd & 63rd Sts, our favorite Indian restaurant. They always start us off with complimentary papadum, yummy cilantro chutney & onion relish. The owner, Jack & his son, Jason are the nicest people you will ever meet. We have been going there for the last six years.
Here's my loaded up plate of Alu Chana (chickpeas & potatoes), Naan bread, cabbage, dal, tamarind chutney, mango chutney and rice. Yum. It's been so busy that I've only had a meal or two at home. I did make some portobello mushrooms, Tofurky Italian sausages, green apple slices, almonds & cranberries atop spinach which was extremely satisfying. At the petfood store, a display of freshbaked dog cookies, some pups have all the fun... Now, here's for the really fun part...I have always read with excitement and a bit of envy when blog friends meet up. The vegan blog world is such a wonderful place to be that it's especially nice when you see blog friends meeting up. It makes it all the more personal. It reminds us that our blogs are connected not just by links & comments, but that there a is real human connection. On that note, I start off with my first-ever blog friend meeting with the incomparable Bazu from Where's The Revolution.
Bazu had a last minute work trip in NY, so her & her husband, Daiku drove down and luckily, we all got to meet up for dinner at the beginning of the week. I was so excited. We decided on Red Bamboo. I had sent Bazu the menu for her to preview. It's a pretty extensive menu and had a good amount of faux fish which Bazu finds fascinating.
We started with the calamari which looked like a root vegetable, but tasted strangely sweet- like imitation crab made from fish. It was tasty enough.
SKO had to get her own roti, which is her absolute favorite. I got fish & chips with vegan tartar sauce. Amazingly authentic.
I was trying to capture the fishy flakiness, but I guess you can't really see it in this picture. Trust me, it's eerily fish-like. Bazu's lovely husband, Daiku had the philly cheesesteak. We agreed that the cheese had to be more melty. SKO's sweet & sour chickn was really really good. And here is Bazu & her unagi don- with nori as a stand-in for eel skin. And yes, when the food came out, we both reached for our cameras as SKO & Daiku patiently waited til we were done documenting the dishes... By the end of the evening, having happily sampled all the dishes, there had been talk of family, work, food, other blogs & kitties that aren't really as cuddly as they look...Bazu & Daiku are a wonderful couple. SKO & I had a really great time and I am definitely looking forward to their next visit to NYC, unless I make it upstate sooner...
The whole way home, SKO & I couldn't stop talking about how cool & sweet Bazu & Daiku were. I enjoy Bazu's blog so much and she was as warm & as funny as her blog. I guess you always have a preconceived notion of someone, especially a blogger and when you actually meet them and they prove to be what you thought and more- you end up talking about them the whole way home. Until of course, you spot something horrific in a store window- like these whole chicken bags...why? another idea to reinforce the erroneous thought that animals are objects for us to do as we please? I know I'm overreacting, but not really if you think about it...why don't they make a bag out of the shape of a human baby then? To make up for the horrible bags, our favorite kitty in the window again...here is an example of interspecies love, kitty & stuffed dog- splendor in the grass. After my exciting dinner with Bazu, I didn't realize that I would be blessed so soon with another blog friend meeting. But lo and behold, two days later- SKO & I meet up with The Village Vegan. VV is leaving for her year abroad in Germany, so I wanted to get together before she left. I invited VV to meet us at Candle Cafe for some coffee & dessert. I had the blueberry bundt cake with coconut soy ice cream.
SKO had the chocolate cake. VV had the cutest dress on & an acai fruit smoothie. Village Vegan was so sweet and I had always been impressed by her extraordinary cooking skills (spaetzle or apricot danishes anyone?), but even more so when I realized that she was still in college and still so young. We talked about working at fashion magazines and I truly hope I didn't come across as too negative & bitter, but Village Vegan is such a conscientious & intelligent person- I felt that her talents would not be appreciated in fashion publishing. Anyhow, I digress again. We left it at vegan networking. I always have different projects that I'm working in where I need assistant and why not hire a fellow vegan like Village Vegan? It was another fun meet-up and am looking forward to meeting again in a year when she returns to NY.
Having already met two vegan bloggers that I admire in one week, I could hardly believe my luck when one other blogger informed me of a possible day trip to NYC. Wow, I was going from having never met any vegan bloggers to three in a week and actually, I don't have any vegan friends, so it has been an absolute treat.
And here she is, last but not at all least, Urban Vegan who happened to be in town and lucky SKO & I got to meet up with her. I chose Vegetarian Dim Sum House because I knew it would be fun & damn tasty. UV allowed me order us a spread: spinach dumpling, turnip cakes, rice flour rolls with veg ham, shrimp dumplings, mock roast pork buns, watercress dumplings and treasure balls (potato croquette like) and of course lots & lots of tea & hot sauce...
I know I'm starting to sound like a broken record, but SKO & I had a really wonderful time meeting UV. She is every bit as articulate & charming as her posts. I felt as if I have known her forever. Not to sound like some crazy loon, but UV was my first blog friend and I knew right away that this was a kindred spirit because her previous kitty was also named Booboo. Here we are two urbane, happily stuffed vegans strolling off arm in arm into the proverbial sunset. This was SKO's idea for a picture and we agreed that it was cute.
But wait, there's more...well, no more blog friends meeting up, but as the three of us walked through Chinatown. We spotted the sweetest little face at a flower shop.
This little lovebug with the most gorgeous amber/yellow eyes came right over and SKO, UV & I started babying the little sweetie right there on the sidewalk. We were at it for some time. This little kittie reminds me of Booboo- same mid length fur and take a look at those giant rabbit feet- this is going to be one big kitty, like Booboo.
We could have been there all day- this kitty was just lapping up all the love. Rolling over, splayed out, but we had to pull ourselves away. We put kitty back into the store, but kitty came running back out and sat right on top of SKO's shoe. Kitty did not want SKO to leave and I am not quite ready for SKO to leave either. We leave for Florida on Monday and SKO will be back home & starting school the following week. Boo Hoo. Oh well, I take comfort knowing that she will be back for Christmas vacation and then permanently next year for college. Again, I want to just say how wonderful it was this week to meet some of my fellow vegan bloggers. I have always thought that my fellow vegan bloggers were attractive & intelligent, but having met you, I now know it as an absolute fact!
There you have it- my mega post until I return in a week from Disney & Florida. Now that should be interesting, a vegan in Disneyworld...