What Jen Read #6 Spring 2016

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This recent batch of books have been library books. Which means one of the books was left out of the photos. Womp womp. Oh well. I really enjoyed these reads, though they are in many ways very different from each other. Two comics that are about coming of age, a comedy book about fake facts, and a novel about German imperialism and orthorexia.

What I am Currently Reading

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America – I have heard a lot of good things about this book but I finally picked it up from the library because it was the book of the month at Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack Book Club.

The Vegetarian – This is another book on the Vegan Warrior Princesses Attack Book Club but I would of picked it up regardless once I found out about it. Very dark, and I am only a third of the way in. I have no idea how this is going to escalade.

What I’ve Read

The Areas of My Expertise

I’ve been in love with John Hodgman’s podcast Judge John Hodgman. He apparently picked a passage from his own book for the obscure cultural reference, and I figured “hey, why not read it?” I expected to read something that is sprinkled with humor but contain tons of pretentious cultural references, and the book did not disappoint. Basically The Areas of My Expertise is written in the same style as a Farmer Almanac, many many random facts sprinkled throughout the book. But what John Hodgman does instead of writes a bunch of fake facts, and made up stories written in a dry tone. 

But I don’t think this a book for everybody. If you like reading the New Yorker, including their humor section, then you will probably like this book. Otherwise I think Hodgman comes off as too dry for people tell when he is being humorous or serious. It also helps if you know of Hodgman’s humor before picking up the book. I won’t lie that I imagined Hodgman delivering some of the lines in the book. Again this helped me read very “silly” jokes as if it was very serious, adding to the humor.

Overall what I love about Hodgman is that he is usually pretty good about being funny but not offending certain groups. He is well educated and is sensitive to many issues, in fact he has actually given some great advice in his New York Times column. I think the only thing that is offensive is the book is his chapter on hobos. One might think this is insensitive to the homeless, but I think he was more so poking fun at the romanticization of “hobos” during the Great Depression. In fact the hobo wikipedia page doesn’t seem too far off from what Hodgman wrote. 

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Imperium: A Fiction of the South Seas

I originally picked this book when I read an article about a man who ate nothing but coconuts. I find historical food trends interesting, perhaps because it helps keep current food trends in check, or at least reminds us that nutrition hasn’t changed much over the years. If you also find that interesting this is the book for you.

The story follows Nuremberg, a German man who has found the secret to health. He believes coconuts are god’s perfect food since they grow so high up on trees (to be closer to heaven) and because they resemble the human head. But since they are so hard to find, he decides to move to the south pacific to own a coconut plantation, where he was spend his days in the nude and eating only coconuts. Along the way he passes the path of other fruitarians, and other historical health food figures.

Although the story does follow themes of orthorexia and dogmatic views of food, the story is also about colonialism. Nuremberg is only about to live his paradise life because Germany is occupying New Guinea. He is also a white man who although isn’t rich, has more money than the locals and therefore is able to buy a plantation. The themes of colonialism is further emphasized by Nuremberg’s interaction with the local people, with his sense of superiority.

I really liked this book, but I wish I spent more time sitting down to read it in one sitting. The writing deserves the attention of the reader. The text is dense and isn’t structured like most best selling novels. There is no dialogue to break the page, the story doesn’t follow traditional story telling, etc. I personally liked the book, but I plan to reread it at some point. There were too many nights where I would read 10 pages and put the book down, making the story too disjointed.

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Sunny, Vol. 1

Sunny is a story about kids in that are living in Japan’s foster system. Some of the kids are able to see their mothers, and others are uncertain if they will ever see their parents again. The comic shows various little snippits of their lives and how they cope with their lives, interact with each other, and have little faith from the adults in their lives.

The first chapter is all over the place, dabbling in various small moments in the kids lives. This is to introduce us to all the different characters, and get us use to the chaotic life in the foster home. But as the chapters move on, they focus mostly on one character, for example one was about the toddler Shosuke getting lost. Another is about Kenji trying to drop out of high school and getting permission from his drunk father, straddling between adulthood and childhood.

The illustatrions fit the story very well, and the author writes very coherently. The overall book is great but I would of liked to see stronger female leads. There are girls and females in the foster house, but they aren’t featured in their own story, and when they are featured it is to be the love interest. Outside of this fact, (which is pretty common in Japanese writing) the story is really great and one I would recommend reading.

SuperMutant Magic Academy

SuperMutant Magic Academy is a prep school for mutants, warlocks, and witches, training their paranormal and super natural powers. But the stories are less Twilight and more like vignettes of the mundane high schools we grew up in. The book started as some short comics published online over the course of 4 years. Each story is about one page, but there are few that span several, especially at the end.

I really loved this collection of comics and I wished that I was able to read it when I was in high school. It really captures the angst and social frustrations that occurs in high school. It even captures more contemporary frustrations like coming out to your friends, unrequited loves, and more. Though some of the jokes reminded me a little more college than high school, like the artist doing avant garde performance art. Some of the jokes are completely devoid of the super natural, while others focus only on that, such as the immortal boy.

What I really like about the book is the drawing style of Tamaki. Each panel is drawn simply with with black and white. There is a nice balance between sophisticated and cartoonish, making the humor shine, but the panels worth admiring.

I strongly recommend buying this book. I would even like to get a copy for myself to flip through from time to time. You can read it straight- front to back, but since this was written as a serial, most comics are readable all alone. There isn’t a strong storyline until the end where everyone is graduating. If you know someone in high school- buy this for them. If you ever been the “uncool” one in high school, I am sure you will appreciated the jokes in here as well.

Sunday Reading 05-16-15 #64

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Hello everyone! I am a little late for posting my Sunday Reading post, but oh well. I am good at ignoring self made schedules. I’ve slowly gaining some control in my life again. The last two months have felt a little bit like I had been running in slow motion. I would try my hardest to get certain things done but next thing I would know, hours would go by and I didn’t seem to get much done. But I am finally working on some posts that I started drafts of a while ago, and reading tons of books that has been on my to read list for awhile.

Tomorrow is my birthday and this weekend my Mother and Father in Law invited my husband and I over for dinner. I might of specifically requested for certain vegan meals, and my Father in Law made me the pad thai dish from The PPK. It was pretty yummy, and made the perfect amount for 4 people. My Mother in Law surprised me with vegan chocolate cupcakes. Apparently she found out of the recipe from Mayim Bialik‘s appearance on The Rachel Ray Show. The cupcakes were pretty yummy, and what I like about them is that it is easy for non-vegans to make. You can check out the recipe over here. There was some confusion from her end of which tofu to use (which took awhile for me to figure out too) but the frosting still worked out.

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What’s Behind Slovenia’s Love Affair with a Salamander?

I forget where I’ve first heard about the olm, but it is a cave dwelling salamander that has no eyes, and is only found in a cave system in Slovenia. They are really interesting and beautiful looking. So when I saw this article on my news feed I got pretty excited. The New Yorker talks about the cultural investment the Slovenian people have with this salamander, along with their folklore.

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33 Rescued Circus Lions Airlifted from Peru to South Africa

Here is some happy vegan news! A lot of people argue what would happen to all the animals if we adopted a vegan diet. Although it seems unlikely that the world would go vegan overnight (causing an over population of farm animals) some more complicated cases are wild animals bred in captivity. It is nice to see wild animals get closest to living in the wild that they can. It takes time, money, and effort from humans, but I think the results are worth it.

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Are Humans Smarter Than Animals? Honestly Who Knows?

I love this article. I get very frustrated when we talk about animals and intelligence, because it gets complicated. I remember joking about my cat was smarter than my nieces when they were little tiny babies. Yeah humans are suppose to be smart, but my cat has object permanence, does your baby? Joking aside, there are many things that animals do everyday that is amazing. There is even a squid that can change it’s color AND control it’s shadows. We might not be able to comprehend what that would feel like, how much active thought process does a squid go through to control it’s color changing? It is hard for us to think of walking as something we need to learn since we learned it at such a young age, but it is part of our intelligence.

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After ‘The Biggest Loser,’ Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight

This article is one that sums up most of the body love movement. I have heard some crazy fat-phobic people say things like “just eat less food,” and hey I understand where some people come from. Weight and health are two things that are deeply embedded in our minds. But one thing is for sure, weight is more complicated than we think. We are finding that weight can be controlled by more than just calories, including epigenetic, gut flora, and much more. We get so set into the mindset that our weight is “our fault” that when I tell some people about these studies they defend their original thoughts on other things. I remember citing a study that said that people from the 80s were thinner with the same amount of exercise and calories than people today. What did I hear? About whole fucking grains. Really? I then asked that person if they ate more whole grains in the 80s than they do today, answer no. So this is a much more high profile study that shows that rapid weight loss might be more complicated than “sucking it up” and having lots of willpower.

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Making an Informed Transition to Veganism

I am a little bad about helping people with nutritional information. Veganism is easy, really, but it does require us to rethink the rules of nutrition. We have so much programed in our minds as kids- x amount of protein (meat), x amount of grains, x amount of dairy, x amount of fruit, etc. But things get really complicated with a plant based diet. This might partly because a lot of these foods merge into the different categories. And I think since long time vegans get so use to this new way of thinking we tend to ignore newbies, who might not know all the basics. I am always stressing that I still taking vitamins, largely vitamin B12, but still pointing out that meat eaters can be low on the vitamin since animals don’t make the vitamin. It’s created by bacteria. 

Gena has written a great outline of things to look for in a vegan diet. You might need to think about your protein sources for the first year, but it’ll become second nature. Concerned about calcium? Pay attention and you will eventually learn enough information that you won’t need to think twice about your daily choices.

My First Garden: The beginning

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I’ve done gardening in the past. When I was younger I had a garden underneath our old swing set. But let’s face it, I was more interested in picking flowers to go in the garden than actually maintaining it. As I got older I went through many apartments that kind-of made gardening something unmanageable. I’ve always lived on the 2nd floor, making the only plant option indoor ones. I also lived in Philadelphia for a few years, and if plants went outside I risked someone kicking and breaking the pots. When I moved back to the burbs, I was still on the second floor and the rules of gardening was really murky, so I chose to avoid it.

So when we bought our row home, it was the first time we had a small plot of land to grow things in. The problem was that the previous owners wanted more patio space and filled the soil with rocks and stepping stones. At first I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal, just pick out the big stepping stones and then pick out the smaller rocks. In fact my bosses took the stepping stones to use in their own gardens, so I just had to pick out the smaller rocks in-between the stones. I think my tip off that it would be hard was the fact that there wasn’t any weeds. So. Many. Stones. There was a layer of pretty store bought stones, and then just a foot of stone filled soil. It took about 2 months of random rock picking with my husband to get the stone situation to an controllable state. Even still, there are a good amount of rocks in our soil.

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Aside from that we have had a few challenges- mostly squirrels. I brought out my amaryllis plant that I got this Christmas. I also tried starting seeds for a few flowers and herbs, starting them inside but putting them outside on warmer days. Well, it turns out that the squirrels were still pretty hungry from the winter and kept digging through my plants. I pretty much gave up hope for the flowers and herbs, but a few of the Black Hollyhocks have lived, though I still need to transplant them. None of the Purple Perilla have lasted, they seeds got washed away.

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As for the herbs… I don’t know what is growing. Well, I do know some of the cilantro is growing. I know this because I saw some of the seeds stuck the sprouts and because the leaves are starting to get all cilantro-y. I am excited because it is one of the herbs at my CSA that gets cut down fast. I also planted mint and basil, but squirrels pushed the dirt around so much that I think some seeds got buried too deep. Everything got moved all over the place.

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There are two more edibles that I planted, lettuce and hops. I planted two types of lettuces, one I can’t remember the name of (oops) and the other is arugula (or rocket). Again I planted these because my CSA isn’t the best suppliers of lettuce. We might a head or two in the spring and another 2 heads in the summer, then that’s it. So I figured it would be nice to have more. 

I have no idea what I am doing with hops. I am taking a chance and trying to grow it on our fence, and I think a neighbor is using the community fences, so I think it is allowed (technically we own the inside of the house, and not the outside, so it makes things a little weird). I picked the Cascade Hops plant because it sounded like it might do well with my soil and it sounded like it would be nice and fragrant. We have no plans on using the hops for brewing, though maybe we can get some extra cash on the side. Where’s the dollar sign emoji face when you need it? Anyways, after a lot of waiting I THINK I see the the hops starting the grow. Either that, or it is a weed. So fingers crossed.

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Other things? Well, we got a beautiful gnome for the garden, with a golden cone hat. And he is planted to a bush that I got on sale at Lowe’s. Sadly I can’t remember what the bush is. Womp womp. It was really pathetic when I bought it, all dried out. Now it looks like there are fresh shoots coming out, so that’s reassuring. Maybe at some point I will be able to tell what it is by searching the flowers.

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There also two stepping stones jointing out porch area to the sidewalk, and I bought these cute succulents that looks like some sort of stonecrop/sedum. Again, I am an idiot who forgot to save or label the plant. It will hopefully crawl and fill in the spaces over time, might not happen for a few years though. I might have to ask my boss if I can steal some of his succulent plants to help fill in the gaps.

Speaking of my boss, I’ve been getting some other freebies from him. See he LOVES gardening, and all the companies he orders from tend to give out free bulbs and the like. (for example I got free dill seeds when I ordered from Thyme Garden Herb Co.) So I planted some Balloon Flowers and Gladiolus. So it looks like we will have a fairly full garden for the first year. 

So that is what is going on with my garden right now. Hopefully I will try and post updates ever month or so as my garden fills out. 

My Vegan Restaurant: Cardinal Provisions

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Cardinal Provisions

514 Bangs Ave Asbury Park, NJ 07712
website | facebook | instagram

I remember when I first started the blog, Alexa usually came to me because I had more vegan options in my area. Flash forward to today, now it seems like Alexa is sitting in the suburban vegan mecca. There are so many places I want to visit near her, but they are usually closed on the day I come to visit- Mondays. So Alexa suggested Cardinal Provisions, a brunch and lunch based restaurant. She had went before and thought I would dig it.

asksalexaAlexa’s note: Visiting Cardinal with Jen wasn’t the first time I had been there. I had actually gone on Valentine’s day with Mr. Ian, and on that day I had one of THE BEST waffles I have ever had. It’s definitely on my list of Top 5…because apparently I have that sort of list now. I believe it was a special for that weekend, but hopefully it will pop up again. The waffle was covered in caramelized bananas and thin mint crumbs. 

That’s right…THIN MINT CRUMBS. 

I loved the dish because 1) it was vegan and 2) it’s not something that I have see anywhere else yet almost resembled something that I might make for myself (and think “Alexa, you are cray cray.”) I was slightly hesitant about the mixture of banana and mint flavor, but it was fantastic. I had also had the nitro infused coffee with my food that morning and it made everything even more delicious.

She was right, I loved the place. If you have ever been into New York City for brunch and enjoyed it, you will love this place. The store is very small but has a lot of personality. I am not sure how common this style of restaurant is, but you are seated, and waited on, but you pay at the end at the cashier. There are some baked goods and juices that you can grab and take with you, making it a spot to actually get a breakfast “on the go”. There are adorable vintage tiled floors, cute metal backed seats, and vintage salt and pepper shakers at all the tables. Yup, they pretty much nailed the setting.

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Just wanted to point out that Alexa wore the exact same shirt when we went to MOGO– GET YOUR BLOGGING SHIT TOGETHER!

So is the place vegan? Uh… no. But the menu is very vegan friendly. There are only about two dishes listed as vegan on their breakfast/lunch menu, and three from their brunch menu but they have little Vs next to items that can be made vegan. This is a dream come true for vegans who love breakfast foods. It even looks like about half of the kids menu is vegan as well (mostly nut butter or jam sandwich combos and some veggies) If you are looking to grab a quick breakfast, you can get their vegan croissants and some fresh juice up at the counter. Oh you heard me correctly. Vegan croissants at a non-vegan restaurant. Although this might not happen every day, when we went they actually have a daily special that was vegan. Let’s face it, how often does that happen?

A word of caution. If you want to do the traditional brunch thing and do some day drinking, you might have to bring your own booze. Cardinal Provisions does not have a liquor license, so call ahead of time to see if it is okay if you bring your own champagne for mimosas. They also have nitro infused coffee and I fucked up and missed by chance to try freshly tapped nitro coffee. Also on the menu that would quench your cocktail thirst? Kombucha, bitters and soda, green, grapefruit, and orange juices.

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So what did we get? Well, the day we went they have a special- a vegan burger on a either a roll or vegan croissant. It originally came with fries, but we were both in the mood for a side salad. The burger was topped with a pickled carrot slice, cauliflower, and artichoke. Let me tell you, it has been a long time since I’ve had a croissant, and this was much better than the ones I had in the past. The croissant was super flakey and buttery. The burger was also the best vegan burger I’ve gotten in a non-vegan restaurant. The burger was very solid, and didn’t smoosh out like most vegan burgers. The outside was charred beautifully giving a nice contrast to the flaky croissant.

asksalexaAlexa’s note: Since I love the place so much, I visited again without Jenny. The other dish that I’ve gotten here also involved waffles (I’m not sure if anyone else is picking up on a theme here or if it’s just me?), but it was the vegan version of Chicken and Waffles. In place of chicken they subbed in a mushroom that they were calling “Hen of the Woods”, which I believe is just a fried maitake mushroom. I loved the texture and taste of it, and as a vegetarian I can get pretty tired of mushroom consistency and flavor. It came with a jalapeƱo cashew remoulade layered on top and then syrup to go on top of all of that. Again, it was another dish where I could have been a mad scientist playing in my kitchen but it magically tasted fantastic once on the plate. This dish is (luckily) on the menu all of the time. I highly recommend it. 

I also love the atmosphere like Jen pointed out. Not only is the decor really adorable, but the employees are super nice and are always willing to help you find a way to make whatever you want into a vegan friendly version of itself if it isn’t already. I haven’t had a bad meal there yet and I don’t expect I ever will.

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If you check out their website you might notice that they have both the restaurant and catering services. If you are looking to do a wedding shower, work event, wedding, baby shower, etc, they will work with all your requirements. I’ve been following their instagram account and have seen some photos of some all vegan catering jobs. Thinking about when Jon and I were planning out wedding, this would of been a great options. At the time he wasn’t vegan and I was trying to be. Cardinal Provisions would of given us a nice 50/50 menu of vegan and non-vegan options.

asksalexaAlexa’s note: Last note! If you are in the market for a birthday (or any celebratory) cake, they do that as well! A friend of mine ordered a cake from Cardinal for her birthday and it was actually the best cake I’ve ever had. And it was vegan!! The cake was moist, the frosting was delicious and didn’t taste overly sugary…it was sublime. 

So we would both recommend this place if you want a fancy lunch out. It isn’t a 4 star restaurant, but not quite the place to go for a cheap meal either. If I was staying for vacation in Asbury Park I would recommend checking this place out at least once for lunch or brunch. That being said, for the price range for a lot of the nicer restaurants in this area it isn’t that much more. 

Sunday Reading 05-01-15 #63

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Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been a bit of a bum lately. I have been pretty busy… sort of. It is mostly a case of I haven’t had much a chance to be on the computer, and when I did, I wouldn’t be in the mood. I am much more interested in snuggling with a blanket on the couch, which has really given me lots of reading time. If I had a laptop, I probably would be blogging just as much as I did before. But until the day someone just hands me their laptop, I will be using the one I have in my office.

I’ve fallen behind with my links for reading, so some of these article might seem pretty old, so sorry guys! XD I am rarely on top of these things lol. Well hopefully I will be writing more again this week and will get back into the swing of things.

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Members of the U.S Women’s National Team File Federal Equal Pay Complaint

It is about time this happens. I really enjoyed the recent women’s world cup, but I was also a little sad hearing about how little these women were being paid. When complaining, someone replied with “well these girls won’t have to worry anymore with all their endorsement deals” like that solves the root of the problem. My biggest regret is not being able to support the Women’s Soccer League more since there aren’t any teams nearby.

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What I Learned From Tickling Apes

I have been finding a lot of article lately about animals and how science treat their emotions. I get why scientists are so hesitant to say if animals feel pain, have emotions, and have similar problem solving skills to humans, but it seems equally naive that they wouldn’t have any. 

Consumer Reports in the Age of the Amazon Review

I first was introduced to Consumer Reports by my Father in Law. He suscribed to the magazine, and I liked their rating system. They didn’t just go with the “best” they also took in practical things like money into consideration. In fact, a lot of the time the Walmart brand foods often would be ranked the best for the price (for things like ketchup.) I now rarely pick it up since the subscription is a hefty chunk. Instead I learned to use online product reviews, whether it be Amazon, Modcloth, or Target. This article brings up some great points like online reviewers are only reviewing one item. For example the person probably bought one TV, not 12 different ones to compare to each other. And they point out something I wasn’t aware of, which make sense, people being given free products to review on Amazon. The person still can say they live the product, but overall are less likely to take price into consideration.

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Do Insects Have a Consciousness Ego?

Bugs get the short end of vegan stick. I sometimes have a hard time getting the warm and fuzzies for a fly. But it seems science is slowly starting to defend bugs as conscious creatures that deserve a little more respect. Although the article isn’t claiming much, it is an interesting step in the field to assume bugs are running on a little more than 100% automated instinct.

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How the Media Got a Study About Vegetarianism Really, Really Wrong

Another case of bad journalism snowballing out of control. Apparently articles about how adopting a vegetarian diet put you at risk for heart disease and colon cancer. It’s udder crap. How much crap is it? Well apparently the authors of the study had to release a statement saying that wasn’t what they found in their study. To put it simply, the scientists found that societies who had adopted a vegetarian or near vegetarian diet developed a way to produce their own omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. If they then adopt a meat eating diet, their bodies will be flooded with too many fats, and will have health issues. Most writer confused hundreds of years of a vegetarian diet with a few years within ones lifetime. Nor does producing your own omega-3 and omega-6 make you sick, if you stick to a vegetarian diet.

My Vegan Restaurant: Hummus Market

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Hummus Market

361 Graham Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
website | facebook | instagram

I know what you are thinking- what a boring name for a restaurant. Hummus Market. You are probably picturing some falafel bar that is good for a quick sandwich for on the go- but you would be wrong. This restaurant is located in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and is one of my sister’s favorite places to grab food. The place is vegetarian and very vegan friendly, with only a few non-vegan products (yogurt, cheese, and eggs). The place offer authentic middle eastern foods, and doesn’t even have falafels on the menu. The food is oily (in the good way) and is very filling. It is most definitely not the type of hummus restaurants that you probably have in your area.

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The menu makes it very easy to share with other people. There are several kinds of hummus that you can pick from, the shakshuka and sabich are topped with eggs, but you can ask for them to be left out to make them vegan. They come with two pitas and a spicy sauce. You can then pair it with the mix and match menu. There are several different vegetable sides that you can share and pair with your pitas and hummus. My sister got the moroccan carrots, beets, and the labneh (a strained yogurt which isn’t vegan). Each side is $7 individually, but you save a little if you get 3 or 4 ($19/24 saving a total of $3 or $4)

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The carrots are served cold and are covered in a harissa, making them incredibly spicy, I personally really enjoyed the carrots, and would of tasted great in a pita with hummus. The beets are also served cold, and were flavored with some onion, parsley, coriander, and lemon. The spices and lemon helped brighten the earthiness of the beets. We also got served a side of Israeli Salad, which was very yummy. It was a crunchy salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, parsley, and onion.

If you are interested in the mix and match sort of a approach all foods are vegan except the lebnah, roasted peppers, and red tomatoes. The peppers and tomatoes have feta, but they might not be able to make them vegan as it could be pre-mixed. Ask to make sure. I also didn’t ask but you may want to make sure the tahini sauce for the Eggplant tahini is vegan as well.

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Jon got the mushroom stuffed pita. It has cooked mushrooms, harissa, hummus, pickled onion and parsley. The pita was super spicy but you could still taste all the different flavors. The bonus is that you get a little side of the Israeli Salad, so the cucumbers had a nice cooling effect. The only other vegan pita is the cauliflower pita, though some of the other pitas could be modified to be made vegan. 

The salads on the menu aren’t vegan, but could be easily made so. There is cheese in two of the salads, and the brussels sprout salad has a honey dijon mustard, which might be easily subbed for one their other vinaigrettes. The menu becomes less and less vegan friendly, but if you talk to the staff it might be made vegan. For example the farm veg cakes might be vegan if you ask for no tzatziki, but you might want to make sure there is no egg binding the veggies together. Same issue with the sweet potato latkes, which are served with a yogurt-chive sauce.

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I personally wanted to try their stuffed onions since it isn’t something that is common. I first tried stuff onions when my Mother-in-Law made them for Thanksgiving. So I was a little interested in some authentic ones. Pretty much the layer of onion is peeled and wrapped around a rice stir-fry filled with pine nuts, kale, spinach, and date honey. If you are yelling at your screen that honey isn’t vegan, I know. Date honey is another name for date syrup. Overall I found the stuffed onions too sweet for my preference, but the onions were very delicate and easy to cut through. It is truly a dish you will want to try when you are here since I’ve never seen them on a menu anywhere else.

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If you are concerned about drinks, there are few alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks to choose from. There are some drinks specific to the middle east such as the Turkish coffee and mint lemonaid. There is a small selection of beers (all listed seem vegan) and wine (Bonterra Chardonnay & Run Riot Pinot Noir) to choose from, which was interesting since the setting is so laid back. The place is a sit down restaurant, and someone will take you order and bring your food out. But the setting is a perfect mix of upscale and casual. There is even seating in the back in a little garden, but it wasn’t warm enough at the time.

I would recommend this place if you are up to trying out new cuisines. Authentic Middle Eastern restaurants aren’t always available throughout the USA. And I thought there was plenty of different options and variety for any vegan. What I really like is that all the food is vegetarian, and it might not seem so intimidating if you come here with an omnivore. There is lots of whole veggies and easily recognized foods that won’t be intimidating to anyone new to vegan foods.

Sunday Reading 04-03-15 #62

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Hey guys. This week I am all thrown off. Last weekend I went to Ocean City with my husband since we got invited to a friends beach house. We went on Monday and came back Tuesday, for a little mini vacation. Then we went into Brooklyn to visit my sister on Friday night and came home late Saturday night. I have a bunch of cool posts to do about Brooklyn, a little tour guide of things to do in Williamsburg/Bushwick if you will. I went to Ocean City during the off season… so I really don’t have many good vegan tips of places to go there. I don’t know guys, the Jersey Shore isn’t my thing. Maybe I will make a travel guide about the beaches near Fair Haven where I grew up (and where Alexa is now).

It is really windy here. Some of the smaller trees have been uprooted, and the power went out while shopping! It was very weird going shopping at Target and Wegman’s with only the emergency lights on. There were also weird little things that weren’t working. Espresso machines were down, the conveyer belts at the registers weren’t working. And I feel like everyone was in a panic because of the power being out, at least I felt a little bit like there was something severely bad going on. Oddly my power is doing just fine so I can make this post of the top reads for your Sunday.

Nina Simone’s Face

I might be a little late in the game with posting this article, but it is still something good to read. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes a great article about why we should care about the casting choice for Nina Simone. Many people who read about social justice is probably aware of the issue already, but Coates write beautifully and I think explains the situation that is understandable to anyone new the topic.

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Fitness Trackers Reveal the Damaging Pitfalls of the Modern Approach to Self Improvemnt

As someone who loves to track their health stats, I found this article interesting. I use MapMyRun, Ovia, and have downloaded a pedometer app in the past. Then I like to combine them all together in my Apple Health app because I love graphs. But the article points out that you can’t keep topping yourself, and that might drive some people nuts. I don’t want to say FitBit and other fitness trackers are pointless, but we need to be careful about how to we sell them.

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Excessively Candid FoodNetwork.com Recipe Reviews

Am I outing myself as a New Yorker fan? You betcha I am. I found these hilarious, and plausibly real.

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Controversial Post: Who Can Clap for That Wrap?

Emileigh from Flashback Summer has really been crushing it lately. Some of you may not know, but I love vintage clothing. I’ve largely stopped blogging about fashion mostly since I haven’t been spending much on new clothes. But I’ve showcased some vintage articles of clothing on the blog (both dresses, vintage hat, and dress). As many may know, vintage clothing has a lot of styles that might be called out today for cultural appropriation- the squaw dress, the tiki bar craze, blackamoor jewelry, and now Emileigh breaks down whether or not is culturally appropriate to wear a wrap. I like how she quotes various people with different ethnicities and background and does some historical research, and urges that if you aren’t doing the research yourself, don’t wear it.

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Arsenic & Old Lace

I rarely make cocktails from Gastronomista, mostly because I am cheap and have a poorly stocked liquor collection. But the photos of the Arsenic & Old Lace is amazing. Naturally I don’t have any of those liquors- and finding creme de violette might be hard but I will keep it in the back of my mind when looking around.

My Vegan Restaurant: Heart Beet Kitchen

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Heart Beet Kitchen

29 Haddon Ave Westmont, NJ 08108
website | facebook | instagram | twitter

I think I am cursed. I lived in Philadelphia and went vegan. Although I had plenty to eat, it seemed that once I left so many all vegan restaurants opened up. Then I move out of the Haddonfield area and what happens? An all vegan restaurant opens up within walking distance of my house. I am very glad that veganism is speading, but I do wish these places would be available when I actually live in the area. And does that window reflection look familiar? Well, I reviewed that lime green store, Espressit, back in the day, as it has many yummy vegan options.

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But let’s talk about Heart Beet Kitchen because I really do love this place. It opened towards the end of 2015. They serve gluten-free and vegan meals that are locally sourced. The place is set up so you order at the counter, you get a numbered jar (with a napkin and utensils) and sit down, and your food is brought out to you. So it is a pretty casual setting that reminds me of P.S. & Co.

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The menu is mostly raw, and is very light. I got the peanut-free pad thai, and enjoyed it. The noodles were spiralized zucchini, edamame, marinated mushrooms, carrots, purple cabbage, peppers, sesame seeds, and tossed in a sauce. The meal was surprisingly filling and perfect for lunchtime. The price was a little bit on the higher end, but if price is a concern you can easily grab any of their salads which a little bit cheaper. Note- I am not saying that the price is particularly high for what you get, it is just a little bit more than what I am use to spending on such a casual styled setting.

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There is also a wide selection of drinks to choose from. This is the first place I’ve been to that has on tap kombucha. They use locally brewed kombucha from Inspired Brews in Philadelphia. If you check out their website you might see honey listed in the ingredients. I contacted the store owner and she said that they get specially made honey free kombucha. But I do give heads up that she said that sometimes they get requests from customers for other flavors that have honey. So if you are buying a bottle, check the ingredients to make sure there isn’t any honey. On tap kombucha should always be vegan.

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Not into kombucha? They have a list of different smoothies to order from and some fresh pressed juices that you can grab from the fridge. If you want something creamy they get almond milks made by origin almond milks, a South Jersey based company. I tried their dark cacao milk and it was very tasty and rich. If you want something hot they have coffee and espresso options using beans from Revolution Coffee Roasters in Collingswood and a variety of teas. Need a drink on the go? There’s maple water and boxed water (I think).

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What I really like about this shop is the atmosphere. The owner really spent some time and money to make the place look amazing. I could picture myself coming again and getting just a drink and sitting down with a book. They are very animal friendly, and I saw people bring their dogs in briefly to pick up some food. The whole place was a big departure as I’ve gotten use to the more “junk food” vegan culture with places like Blackbird, Papa Ganache, Glory Donuts, VLife, and Dottie’s Donuts. Everything is light and super vegetable heavy which is something that can be hard to find when eating out. 

Sunday Reading 03-20-15 #61

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Hey guys! It has been weird. I think most everyone has been experiencing some warmer weather… and now snow. Well, it isn’t that big of deal, it snowed a little in the evening, but nothing really stuck except for a few flakes on some cars that were sitting in a shadow. Nothing huge, but I was getting use to not having to bundle up on runs. I don’t mind the cold as much as I hate the time it takes to get all the layers on. But yesterday I drove out to my Grandmother’s for “easter dinner” with the family. I am not a religious person, but still use certain holidays to make my way out to visit family members. I mean I love my Grandma but I hate Long Island, I even wrote a post about it 2 years ago. I made spinach florentine casserole, roasted chickpeas, cauliflower, and olives, and peanut butter blondies for the meal, and everything seemed to be good.

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Anyone using the Dysh app? It is a fun new app where you take a photo of what you are eating, rate it, and post it. I think it can be a fun way to see what vegan food people are ordering at restaurants, though it isn’t an exclusively vegan app. I started to post old dishes I’ve eaten overtime, and Alexa signed up as well. If you want to follow us check us out at ONERAWBITE and MEOWLEXA. I’m vegan, Alexa is pescitarian, so we can help you cut to the chance of what to eat at restaurants (mostly in NJ ^__~).

So what is really rad right now? Well, lots of cool YouTube video, but also PERFUME IS COMING TO NEW YORK CITY! I am excited! I’ve talked about my love of Nakata Yasutaka before (back when we did fashion posts.) Alexa and I went to see Kyayu Pamyu Pamyu in concert and she is a little crazy. But now we can see Perfume… who is a little more mature. You might of seen Perfume before, they are in the iPhone commercial and the beginning of the OK GO’s I Won’t Let You Down (which I recommend watching because it is a great video.) Along with the tour they will be releasing their first full length album in over 3 years!

Anyways I thought I would share my favorite music video by them- Natural ni Koi Shite (Fall in Love Naturally) which was released in 2010. I think it is their most unique video, since most videos is kind-of mostly special effects with singing girls. This one I find to be a bit of a jab at high end shopping culture in Japan. When we think of Japanese fashion you will probably think of Fruits, but there fashion there is pretty basic. And there is a big culture for expensive western brands, particularly the Ginza district which has all the top Western brands that we know of. Pretty much the girls shop and drop, and then reveal they are in an artifical setting, perhaps with an artificial happiness? Maybe I am reading too much into it, but technology and optical illusions is their thing… hell, their new album cover is an optical illusion! I’ve been a fan since Sweet Donuts, so I am excited about that. But truthfully I am excited for FUCKING AWESOME SHOW!

Totally stumbled upon this video. Samantha Bee talking about how if it isn’t Trump, we are still fucked with Cruz. Ugh. Yes, it is a scary time to be an American. And frankly I do get why so many people HATE Hilary Clinton. I prefer Bernie (with like 90% of the 30 year old and youngers in the USA) but I am more concerned about Trump or Cruz, and I do hear a few people say that Hilary is “worse” than them. What? How?! Anyways, I just need to get a few laughs from this dismal situation.

What a video of cocktails AND glassware?! Sign me up. I remember LOVING the idea of having my own adult home bar, probably just to own tons of pretty glasses. Do I need to mention how much I love cocktails? Part of my problem of trying new drinks is figuring out which glass. I love makgeolli but I find drinking it out of a bowl weird. So I finally found my perfect glass- a champagne flute. As a Western drinker I think it makes sense to have it for the light carbonation, and the long flute helps slosh the rice sentiment back up in between drinks.

The Brain Scoop explores what species means. She explains the version you have probably heard in school, but goes into the various ways people in the scientific field define or try to “prove” an animal is their own species. This can be important for understanding animal behaviors better or trying to conserve certain areas and animals. This is something that I’ve read articles about before, but it is nice to have all the information together in one video.

I love hearing good news about younger generations. One thing I want to try and not do as I get older is talk about how the “youths” today are going to shit. I am always hearing my bosses complain that kids don’t get outside enough or don’t know cursive, but they don’t actually know any kids directly that have this to be the case (you know, just hearing it from a customer who’s daughter told them that their grandchild isn’t taking gym *rolls eyes*) This is a quick video reading into some studies that show kids get the same amount of exercise as in the past, do less drugs, drink less, and are in general more awesome people. Yes, there is hope for the planet.

My Vegan Restaurant: Papa Ganache

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Papa Ganache

106 Main St, Matawan, NJ 07747
website | facebook | instagram | twitter

It is weird that I get so excited about vegan bakeries but always get reminded that I don’t actually liked them much? I think it has to do with the fact I grew up with home baked goods. I never really got the prepackaged cupcakes or cookies, so maybe I lust after bakeries since it was something my friends always did. Or maybe it is because I grew up in a very heavy Italian area and just never liked those cookies? Or that I am super specific about what I want from a baked good? Who knows, but what I do know is that we need someone else to bake a cake for special occasions from time to time. When I had my wedding, I remember trying to find a place to bake our cake, I wanted to go with a vegan only bakery. There wasn’t anything nearby so we went with a regular bakery that was happy to make a vegan cake, and it was awesome. But if this place was open at the time, I would of been super happy to have the cake made by them.

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Papa Ganache is located in Matawan New Jersey near one of Alexa’s favorite bars, so you could always plan a dinner of cupcakes and grab some beers afterwards. The store participated in Cupcake Wars, and have won! It is the People’s Choice Awards episode, if you are wondering. The bakery does catered events, special orders, and sells wholesale baked goods as well. They also make some gluten free goods, though they are not an exclusively gluten-free kitchen. Not into baked goods? There is a small selection of savory foods you can pick up at the store. There are some soups that you grab and go, and their website lists other meal options. We personally didn’t see many options but we came later in the day, so you might have to get there closer to lunch time or special order them.

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They have a huge selection of different baked goods to choose from, including an apple pie pizza. But seeing how they won cupcake wars we figured we should stick to their classics. They have a massive amount of cupcakes to choose from but we narrowed it down to two- the creme brulee and s’mores. The frosting was super whipped and kept it’s structure. We were pretty excited and ate the cupcakes fast, but if you are eating there, I would recommend letting your cupcakes sit for a little bit so the frosting softens up. 

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I personally liked the creme brulee cupcake the best. I like the frosting to cake ratio. They also put a small layer of sugar on top and melted it, so you get a delicious burnt sugar topping. Alexa was a little bit bias with the s’mores cupcake since it is her favorite flavor for everything. We both thought there was a little too much frosting on top, but still super yummy. We also got a sandwich cookie for Alexa’s mother, which she seemed to enjoy a lot. mural

And if all these baked goods didn’t put you in a sugar coma, they offer lots of vegan candies. Getting a stomachache yet? I actually liked this idea because they carried Premium Chocolatiers, an all vegan candy shop based in New Jersey. They are very allergy friendly, having nut and gluten free factory. You might of seen some of their candy from Vegan Cuts but if you want to buy it person, this is a place to go. I personally find their chocolate too sweet, but are great for little kids. 

Overall, I don’t see myself going to this bakery often since I am not a sweets sort of girl. But they do know what they are doing and have classic all American baked goods. I always love the idea that bakeries give a person the option of just buying one cupcake instead of making a batch of 12. I also know where to go for my next cake for a special event.