I have been in a little bit of a funk. It's a cyclical thing. I call it "down time". So in this time, I have fallen behind on my posts and blog reading, but I do try to get myself out of the funk by getting out and about (albeit with much effort & reluctance, however, once I do get out, I do reap the benefits).
Music is good for the soul. Wouldn't consider myself a big jazz fan, but that's probably because I don't know that much about it, so when Fcat told me that his friend, who happens to be Wynton Marsalis' girlfriend had invited us to see Wynton & his band at Jazz at Lincoln Center, I half-heartedly agreed to go. It was a really good thing that I did because the performance was amazing & inspirational and Wynton is such a natural storyteller- he gave us a little intro or backdrop for each piece they performed. It was really great to know what to listen for and helped to understand the music much more, not that the pure beauty of the harmony wasn't enough though...was just nice to appreciate it fully. We also got to meet Wynton & his band afterwards which was fun. After all that, a late dinner at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant which I forgot to take pictures of, but I'm sure I have posted those dishes more than once...
Being musically inspired, I actually woke the next morning and played my piano (the expensive digital piano that I bought a few years ago which I hardly ever play).
Fcat and I also check out another vegetarian dim sum place, Buddha Bodai which was decent, but not as good as our favorite, Vegetarian Dim Sum House. I am willing to give it another try because I always give a place another shot in case they had an "off" day, though I was less inspired to take pictures of the food...The vegetable dumplings were good though, less so the turnip cake pictured below, nor the rice flour rolls...
This was taken right after the marathon- along 1st Avenue, littered with paper cups...
That morning, I made berry pancakes with chocolate chips & agave instead of sugar, along with a side of apples cooked in earth balance & cinnamon- a bit eclectic, but it all happened to work out fine.
Last week, I missed the PPK dinner but I did get to meet up with fellow vegan blogger Melisser, The Urban Housewife at Franchia a vegan teahouse with tasty Korean eats. The space is very zen & dark wood but the pretty floral ceiling contrasted the space quite nicely.
There is an array of teas, it is first & foremost a teahouse! - I had a jasmine tea served in a delightful cup & strainer.
Melisser & I had a hard time ordering because everything sounded so good. We started with a pancake assortment- kimchee, scallion and corn & cilantro (my fave- I love anything corn and anything cilantro!). They were delicious, light and tasty.
We also ordered the kimchee fried rice, which was nice and light also.
There was also tofu with kabocha squash which turned out to be more tofu than squash. The tofu also turned out to be fried, lightly fried but fried nonetheless. It was an okay dish, my least favorite. And see that big bowl of brown rice that came with the meal, we never got to it and I ended up taking it home because the waiter basically let us know that it would be thrown out...
Here we are- me & Melisser in front of the pretty teacups. Cute vegans abound!
I made fried rice from that leftover bowl of rice from Franchia. Waste not!
There was another day that I spent at Whole Foods where I discovered yummy things like Field Roast Grain Meat which is a company that makes artisan grain meat. I got yukon gold/apple/sage sausages & mexican/chipotle sausages. They are really delicious- similar to Tofurkey sausages, but a bit more delicate & complex, also a bit more expensive. I also discovered vegan rugelach (Jewish pastry cookie with fruits & nuts) from Lilly's Bakeshop and vegan apple spiced donut from Nutrilicious. I have not had rugelach since going vegan and boy, did I miss it!
Here's a dinner I made with the smoked apple sage sausages which I sauteed with apples, carrots & onions, a side of steamed broccoli, quinoa and cilantro mashed bliss potatoes.
I met up with Melisser another day for vegan dosas from the vegan dosa cart on West 4th & Sullivan. See how the side of the dosa man's cart proudly proclaims that it is "Purely Vegetarian" read vegan. Go vegan street food cart!
Look how they all line up- vegan & omnis alike...
And here's my special pondicherry dosa- crepe made from lentils & rice, stuffed with potatoes & veggies. It was fresh and light. It didn't blow me away, but it was filling & clean and a great deal for six dollars.
We then headed over to Atlas in the East Village, for vegan dessert & vegan softserve where we met up with a few of Melisser's friends. I was blown away by the dessert counter- look at all those desserts and they are all vegan. Jackpot!
Melisser ordered a sampling of goodies: death by chocolate, peanut butter bomb, brownie cheesecake, pumpkin cake & a cupcake. It was all tasty to me. Atlas is a tiny omni cafe with vegan sandwiches, entrees & desserts. I will be back for a meal for sure.
Meeting blog friends and having yummy desserts definitely helped my mood. By this weekend, I was ready for my friend, EH's annual pre-holiday party at his beautiful apt on the Upper Westside. It's always a fun party. There's the champagne server making faces...
EH also has a screen which has a slideshow of past pre-holiday party pics- always fun and sometimes embarrassing since EH does not edit...
Here I am partying with the cutest girl ever, Tasha- that pink bow really made her outfit.
Lastly, an update on Jack the orange stray kitty:
A couple of weeks ago, Fcat & I planned Operation Trap Jack with steel trap cage et al. The kitty rescue group woman who was going to help us trap Jack called me to tell me that it would be impossible to trap a cat that was not hungry, especially since many people were feeding him. It was quite upsetting to hear and also because not only did I not see Jack but there was two bowls of wet food uneaten. I was convinced that something happened to Jack because there was no way that little stray would leave wet food uneaten. A few days later, I took the subway out to see if he was around- I didn't see him but I did run into the homeowner whose house Jack is always in front of. I asked about Jack and he told me that Jack is still around and has been eating. Relief rushed through me and the homeowner told me that Jack has been around for a few years, but then he added that he didn't think that Jack would make it through this winter. My heart sank. I spoke to him of trying to trap Jack and he said that he would help when he returned from his trip in three weeks.
I realize now that the best I can do for Jack is to build him a shelter like these, basically taking a plastic storage container- cutting a hole several inches up (to prevent water from getting in), lining it in styrofoam and mylar (mylar is best because it reflects the kitty's body heat versus blankets which absorb & disperse bodyheat). They also recommend straw, but that's only if you have access to changing out the straw & making sure it stays dry, if not, then mylar is best. It's been quite cold in the evenings so I've been extremely anxious to make this shelter for Jack, but the homeowner went away without getting back to me so I need to wait til he returns before I can get permission to put the shelter on his porch. If you have the time or the inclination, consider making one or two for the strays & ferals in your neighborhood. It will help them get through the frigid winters and could save a few lives. I am also still brainstorming my fundraising event for strays for The McKee Project. Stay tuned!