Posts Tagged ‘vegan’

Something new

February 15, 2009

I need some new obsessions. I’m a bit cliche with the predictable timing of this need in that it’s almost springtime…but it’s a cliche for a reason.

It may be apparent that I am a list-maker, so I’d like to share my new interests in list form (apologies for the picture-less post):

1. Cooking.

I have been following some blogs where lots of amazing vegan and vegetarian treats are made and recipes shared. Being the negative nancy that I sometimes am, I would actually not read through the beautifully photographed and no doubt well-written posts because I knew I would be very sad that they didn’t apply to me.

All that is going to change.
This lady is putting away the pirate’s booty and making her own delicious treats.

My foray into the science of cooking was last night with vegan mac and cheese.  It was really tasty, using this recipe here.  One observation that even this novice cook took note of: if you follow the recipe exactly it’s like a salt lick.  I read some of the reviews and it seems you can just eliminate the salt (or vegesal) altogether. Next time.

Next on the agenda are Parikha’s Russian Tea Cakes.

2. Music.
I’m running the Monument Ave 10k in Richmond next month and need good running music to keep me motivated until then.  I’ve run a few 10ks before and I don’t actually think this race will be too difficult for me, but I would love to do better than I did in the last 10k I ran…which means I need to stick to my running schedule.  Which means I need to have something to keep me going.  Which has always been music–of the hip hop variety.  Which I used to keep up-to-date on.  And now…I don’t.  The problem with hip hop (and I guess really with any new music) is you can’t just turn on the radio and find great stuff–unless you live in one of those musically blessed cities like Seattle with their unusually badass KEXP.  So I have to go looking for it…I will try to do this by finding good hip hop blogs to follow.

3. Reading.
I have realized that I don’t read.  Like ever. Seriously.  I read some news clips I get in my email and I read some things for work…but other than that nothing.  New authors?  I can guarantee I wouldn’t know any if you asked me. It’s pathetic…

So, in retaliation the less pathetic side of me is joining a small group of fellow urban planners and we will discuss anything about a particular corner of the world–this month is Kazakhstan.  I am to read something about Kazakhstan. Or watch a movie.  Or knit something in a design from there.  Or make cookies from there.  Basically I can wrap all of my hobbies into this activity. This may be more exciting when we pick a country that’s a little less limiting.

What really started this post were two thoughts/concerns about how I choose new activities:
1. I am worried that I have been so thoroughly conditioned by the commercialization of everything, that a new hobby generally makes the cut into a real obsession for me if it requires purchasing pretty new toys.  Running clothes and shoes, yoga mats and props, knitting needles and yarn, and so on.  The new one: baking pans and the countless cooking implements that are so lovely and interestingly functional.  Looks like cooking may be here to stay.  I’m not sure it’s worth trying to de-condition myself.

2. I am obsessive…but then I burn out.  Meaning I do actually have a pretty addictive personality–with everything except the normal addictive stuff like drugs and alcohol.  I actually find myself incapable of drinking alcohol in anything but moderation.  Maybe I’m obsessed with moderation.  Is that possible?  I don’t think that makes sense.

If I do in fact become obsessed with cooking, I hope the running balances it out.

Oh, by the way, if I never post anything every again about any of these new interests…maybe let’s not mention it, yeah?

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Virginia is for Vegans.

June 23, 2008

When I met my boyfriend we were living in New York City, a city that is literally heaven in my eyes to such a degree that I was blind to the idea that others could possibly feel differently. How could you not be satisfied in the city that houses the pinnacle of what humanity has to offer in just about every realm. And not only that, but despite the stereotypes, I thought people were friendly and approachable unlike the city I had moved there from, DC (the at-least-once-voted “coldest” city, cold people not cold weather). But. Not only did he feel differently about New York, he felt that way about Richmond, Virginia.

Come on now, there is no comparing the two. That’s just ridiculous.

And I was right, there is no comparing the two–they are vastly different cities. But one could conceivably compare my current home, Washington DC, and Richmond…and in my falsely humble opinion, Richmond wins out easily for the simple fact that it has two incredibly important elements that DC and probably most cities don’t:

1. A wealth of some of the tastiest vegan/vegetarian food you’ll ever eat

2. A natural body of water in the middle of the city that is clean and pleasant enough to want to swim in. All summer long.

To be perfectly clear, DC sucks for vegetarians. There are a few places and even a website and printed guide for vegetarians in the city, but most of what you’ll get is horribly mediocre. This is especially true if you’re carless and at the mercy of the metrorail geography. There’s one upscale veggie place, Vegetate, which I think is pretty good, but it’s nothing–and I mean nothing–when compared with Ipanema in Richmond.

We actually zipcar to Richmond instead of taking the train or bus just so we don’t have to leave before Ipanema opens to make the last train or bus. This place is that good. It’s a small, dark little room that is legitimately charming (almost dive-y) with a fantastically creative menu chalked onto a board (the only menu there is) and pleasantly laid back waiters. The ambiance is perfect, but is a distant, almost invisible second to the food, which manages to surprise me with its flavor, interesting ingredient combos, and HUGE portions (I’ll be eating my leftovers for lunch today, thus allowing me to relive the excitement all over again). Last night I had a minty pea risotto topped with a portabello stuffed with snowpeas, zucchini, and some other tastiness I don’t remember. It’s at 917 W. Grace Street, in the Fan section of Richmond.

Now the thing is, Ipanema isn’t all there is. In fact, when we go to Richmond, the day is organized around eating, since there are so many tasty veggie offerings. Even the grocery store is better there–Elwood Thompson’s, where we got some soy nuggets that may have us going back to Richmond more than usual to get our fix. We bought half a pound of them, got back to the car, each ate one, and looked at each other with eyes so wide you would have thought something truly remarkable happened. For us it did. They were amazing. I immediately went back to buy another half-pound. I have this vision of us eating in Richmond, like two starved dogs that are used to eating dirt and cardboard…I think it may border on pathetic. New York does this to us as well though–meals are always planned out because we have to squeeze so much goodness in. Some places inevitably get left out, but we try. I realize that I’m making DC sound like a wasteland for vegetarians, but by comparison it kind of is. There are choices, but they are far from stellar.

So onto the second leg-up Richmond has. The River. The gorgeous, rocky James River. This is something that I haven’t quite found anywhere else in the US (though I qualify that by saying my intra-US travels have been limited). The James runs right through Richmond and is actually clean enough to swim in with a high degree of confidence (or so I’ve been told…). In the center is Belle Isle, connected on either side by pedestrian bridges over the river. It’s a lovely park, with bike and hiking trails, and provides direct access to to the river, where you can hop rocks across the river to explore different swimming spots. There are also places to rent rafts and kayaks I believe.

The view from our rock.

I even got some knitting in while the sun warmed me a little before getting in the water. The great thing about having a swimmable river is that the water is generally warm, especially when you’re used to ocean water. I spent a few months on the Amazon a few years ago and that was the same with exclusive regard to swimming in a luke-warm, bath-like body of water. Of course, the Amazon is so large it actually looks like the ocean since you can’t see the other side of the river. Trippy, to say the least.

I’d still take NYC over Richmond any day, but I’ll take a Sunday in Richmond over one in DC for certain.