Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vegan Bloggers Unite- The Mega Post

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 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 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...


urban vegan said...

It was so WONDERFUL to meet you and SKO, too, VKO. I had the "bestest" time and also feel like we've been friends forever. You are sweet, down-to-earth, funny, smart and worldly...and you proverbally live your life as the change you want to see in the world. [And on an extremely banal note--you and SKO are so pretty... And so is Bazu and Village Vegan....must be all that living food.]

And as I mentioned, SKO is wise and sophisticated beyond her years. And I think her food quirks are funny [*winking at SKO and sending her lots of !!!!!!!s*].

That dim sum was the most amazing I've ever tasted...every morsel was a celebration of life and vegan cuisine--so many great flavors and textures. {I think we emptied out that hot sauce container.] I can't wait to go back.

Bazu and Village Vegan seem as cool as their blogs. Hope I run into them one day soon, too.

Oh--and I love Ethiopian food, too. I think it's time to make a trek to West Philly, where all our Ethiopian restos are.

I hope we meet up again. Come to Philly soon, girl!

Theresa said...

Wow, I'm so jealous of your vegan blogger meet-ups! It looks like you had an action packed week, and it's great that you ggot to spend some face-to-face time with some other vegans.

And Ethiopian food... I love it so much! When I was in Ethiopia I gained a few pounds because I ate so much. Maybe that was due to a small cultural difference--I was used to clearing my plate, but Ethiopians think an empty plate is the sign of a bad host. I would empty, they would re-fill, so I just ate and ate!! But you're right, it isn't a bad feeling full, just satisfied.

VeggieGirl said...

oh my goodness, what a treat that you got to meet Bazu, Village Vegan, AND Urban Vegan!! three of my other fellow vegan bloggers!! It definitely looks like you guys had great meals and great times together :0)

bazu said...

Oh, I love this post! And not just because I'm in it- ha ha. I just this minute finished my NYC post about our dinner together. Daiku and I just loved meeting you and your sister, and can't wait to meet up again! We're also preparing ourselves to try the tofu- it's sitting in the refrigerator, waiting for us.

Oh, and I'm so jealous of you, getting to meet 2 other awesome bloggers. Not to sound like a stalker or anything... but I can't wait to meet them- lol!

Yum, Ethiopian food. When I used to live on 9th Ave, my friends and I would go to Queen Sheba all the time. Your food looks so colorful and magnificent.

Have fun in FL! Don't get too cranky!


Vivacious Vegan said...

What a wonderful week and such a lucky chance to meet so many fellow bloggers. I am so glad I found your blog again (through Bazu). I had it on my blogroll a while back but then I switched to Bloglines and you somehow got lost in the process. Yay!! I'm adding you again right now.

SKO said...


Oh, sad. Last blog comment in your apartment! :(

Ah, the week of the vegan blogger friends...

Ethiopian looks really, really good, and we must go when I come back for Christmas. And I love Agra with the passion of a thousand burning suns. :)

Your one meal at home looks real good.

Red Bamboo was so fun with Bazu and Daiku- they are the coolest, and the sweet and sour chicken was the bestest.

Those chicken bags are seriously freaky, but the cat in the window is super cute!

It was also really nice to meet Village Vegan- she did have on the cutest dress, and was really sweet.

And it was so fun at Veg. Dim Sum with Urban Vegan...she was super-cool and interesting! <---an exclamation point for her sake

My picture of the two of you- and, I daresay, of you and all the vegan blogger friends turned out excellently.

And for the kitten at the shop, I have no words. She was the cutest thing. And look, me with my non-sickening bubble tea!

We (as in me) are very sad to be leaving as well. :( We shall not think about it, but instead focus on having a fun, if slightly difficult food time, at Disney!

[By the way, this comment is not real. It is a figment of the Matrix. YOU ARE NOT REALLY READING THIS!]

springsandwells said...

what a GREAT post!!! That is SO wonderful! I love it! I met Vicki from VeganVice and it was wonderful. I think we were both surprised by how much we really knew about each other and how readily we liked each other. :) It sounds like you had the same experience with all your knew bloggie friends. Now I want to come to New York and meet you too!

Vegan_Noodle said...

What a fun post! That's so cool that you got to meet three fellow vegan bloggers. All of them, including you, are amazing people . Your dinners looked delicious as well! Have blast at disneyworld, can't wait to hear about your adventures!

jenny said...

What fun!! I look forward to reading more of your blog!

Anonymous said...

That dogbone treat counter looks like the one at 109 and Broadway....Michele

b36Kitchen said...

what is it about delicious ethiopian restaurants only having 2 servers? That's how the one by me is also..but the delicous food and the lovelyness of the servers alway's makes up for the wait just like you said. I'm craving ethiopian now.


Melisser; the Urban Housewife said...

Mmm, I LOVE Ethiopian food!
Your meet-ups look fun! Maybe we'll have the pleasure of dining together or even working together someday!

Kumudha said...

The pictures of your vegan adventures is great!

Vincent Guihan said...

Wow! Sounds like you all had a great time and the food certainly looks amazing!

Peggy the Veggie said...

What a coincidence- I'm making some injera right now! Mmm, Ethiopian food is tasty indeed.

It sounds like you've had a great time meeting some fellow vegan bloggers! :D

david santos said...

Congratulations for your work, that is very good, and have a good month of vacation

KleoPatra said...

i love this post! i can't believe you have met so many fab veg bloggers, i am loving that. You all are so happy and healthy... it shows as you shine in these photos. Really cool.

The doggie handbags are so cute and more kitty photos, please!

i dig Ethiopian food in a big way. Terrific stuff, exotic and spicy but some of the greatest food i've ever eaten. Yum. And Ethiopian women are beautiful, absolutely.

Can't wait to hear about your trip to Disney!

Rage And Love said...


It's been too long!

That is sooooo awesome that you two got to meet up with each other!!!

I totally agree with you with that awfull chicken bag thing. Just disgusting.

That chocolate cake, by the way, is....mmmmmm!

Hope you're doing well!

Seitan W├Ârshipper said...

hello! You`r eatings loooks wery yummy! I want to ask something about Japanese cookings: I haven`t find lots of Japanese recipes in internet which are also suitable for vegan as I am. Do you have any good recipes or tips to get some good vegan-japanese recipes? Is there example some good web site where I can found some ideas to my home cooking?

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Oh I'm jealous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No bloggers EVER visit Seattle. Well, maybe I haven't been at this whole thing long enough - I'll be patient.

At any rate, it looks like you had SO MUCH fun!

You inspired me to look up "Vegetarian Dim Sum" in town, and behold, there's a great place here evidently!

Interesting, our Ethiopian Restaurant is also called Queen of Sheba. I did a double take and almost thought you'd been hanging around these parts!

Melody Polakow said...

Oh wow.. how AWESOME that you got to meet 3 such lovely ladies! Seriously... I just love this little corner of the blogosphere... You all are beautiful, talented and just wonderful!

Village Vegan said...

Ok, so I know it's taken me an embarassingly long time to comment, but I wanted to tell you that it was so much fun meeting you and SKO! (The very first blogers I've met! :-) ) Thanks for an afternoon of great conversation (and food, of course). We have to do it again, after I come back from Germany.

Sounds like you had a great time with UV and Bazu-- I'd love to meet them someday!

Anyway, I hope you had a great vacation in FL, and good luck to you starting your senior year, SKO!

mark anson said...

Thanks for the post

It's great to see people can feast together and enjoy cruelty-free meals with no harm done to anyone.

Mark @

scottishvegan said...

Woooh, meeting 3 fellow vegan bloggers in one week!! Pretty cool! It's so great that blogging brought you all together!!

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