Honeymoon – Houston

Houston was… interesting. First off, two weeks before we left I received an email saying that our hotel was cancelled. Upon further investigation, I learned our hotel had out of the blue decided to shut down.

The city’s other hotels were packed due to an oil conference, so we were forced to get a super sketchy hotel (like sketchy enough for us to shove our coffee table against the door) on the outskirts of town.

Despite this set back, we decided to start our one day in the city early by taking the bus into the downtown business district.Lunch was at Green Seed Vegan,  a little neighborhood eatery and juice bar. The staff was a bit curt, but the atmosphere was nice and honestly we were just relieved to be someplace with ice cold air conditioning after wandering around in the Texas heat.Peter got a portobello cheese steak and dill fries. The sandwich was just okay, not a ton of flavor and bread was a bit stale seeming. The fries were spot on though, I never would have thought to put dill on themMy jackfruit barbeque sandwich was equally mediocre. The sauce tasted good, but the jackfruit had been cooked down to a mush and the bun was a bit stale too. While I was happy to find a 100% vegan restaurant in the middle of the city, I probably wouldn’t return because the food wasn’t anything to call home about.We decided to walk to the museum district instead of taking a bus, which I’m glad about because otherwise we would have missed some of Houston’s awesome street art.        Some of the paths we walked were truly beautiful and surprisingly green for being in the middle of a city.      The Houston Museum of Natural Science was awesome with a large dinosaur section (with a very excited Peter because he had previously never seen a dinosaur skeleton), Egyptian exhibit, and a huge pendulum that was fascinating to watch.Dinner was at the Hobbit Cafe, a bizarre restaurant we found through Yelp.  While some of the sandwiches had themed names like Smaug’s Delight and Bilbo the Magnificent, the menu mainly consisted of Tex-Mex food. I got the portobello mushroom fajitas without cheese or sour cream and our very helpful server offered to bring extra salsa and guacamole on the side to replace the non-vegan items. Peter got the cheese enchiladas.

The food was amazing. The fajitas were well-seasoned with finely sliced vegetables, and even the side items (brown rice and black beans) which I assumed would be plain, were full of flavor.And while the food was great, nothing could beat the decor. Everyplace from the entrance to the bathrooms was Middle Earth themed. It was fantastic spot if you’re interested in Tolkien’s work, but even if you’re not a big fan, you can still appreciate the delectable menu offerings. 

Honeymoon – New Orleans

The first stop on our trip was New Orleans, the only city we had previously visited together.

Most of the city’s cheap hotels were booked up for Jazz Fest, so we ended up staying across the river near Algiers Point. Our hotel was about a 30 minute walk from the ferry, so we had a nice time strolling (and sweating in the 85+ degree weather) through the neighborhoods near the water.  While riding the ferry, a plane was flying overhead trying to spell something. Or insult somebody, we weren’t quite sure. Hungry from our trek, we stopped in at the always delicious Dreamy Weenies. We were shocked that the place was empty, apparently due to the Jazz Fest. The poor guy behind the cash register was so bored and quizzed us about where we were from and what we were doing in the city.

I got a kielbasa dog topped with slaw and red beans and rice. Peter got a smoked “chicken” dog with sour cream and cheese. 

    The majority of our day was spent taking the Saints and Sinners tour offered by French Quarter Phantoms. This is the second tour we’ve taken from this company and both have been fantastic.

The tour guide took us all through the French Quarter while regaling us with tales about the beginnings of New Orleans, various stories of its seedy history, and even told us about a woman who may become the city’s first saint.

While wandering the French Quarter we also saw this awesome lighthouse for rent. Since we’ve previously discussed moving to NOLA, I’m totally down with the idea of us living in a lighthouse there.

Dinner was at Seed near the edge of town. We dined on beignets (not pictured) to start and for dinner Peter had the southern fried tofu poboy and I had the walnut taco salad with seed gumbo.

I love this restaurant, not just because of the great food and friendly servers, but because we can enjoy New Orleans classics while still sticking with an animal-friendly lifestyle. 


Lazy Liebster

It has been a little over two weeks since Vegan MoFo ended and I have been enjoying my time off. But I’m back and happy to hear I’ve gotten an “award” from Just About Vegan. She gave me the Liebster Award which is meant to recognize newer/smaller blogs and form relationships in the blogging community. Now it’s my turn to answer her questions, and choose other blogs to join in on the fun. I couldn’t figure out the amount of followers for the blogs I chose, so I just estimated by the amount of comments on their posts.

liebster-award (1)The rules are:

  • Answer the questions provided by the nominator, then come up with 10 new ones to ask your nominees.
  • Nominate 8 other blogs, let them know you have nominated them and put a link to their blog in your post.
  • No Tag backs (i.e. you cannot nominate the blog that nominated you)
  • Nominees must have under 200 followers on any platform.
  • You must tell all the blogs that you nominate that you have nominated them.

1. Describe your fantasy meal.
I would love to have a vegan version of pretty much any meal in any Studio Ghibli film. For some reason I just think animated food looks so good, especially anything Asian. So Sen’s steamed red bean buns, Sophie’s large breakfasts, and Ponyo’s ramen with ham would all be on my fantasy meal menu.

2. What’s your go-to easy weeknight dinner?
The one thing I usually have ingredients for is chili. Throwing together some canned beans with tomatoes, spices, and a handful of textured vegetable protein is a very easy and filling dinner. Plus it’s easy to mix things up by adding different vegetables or hot sauces each time.

3. How did you learn to cook?
I’ve pretty much always had an interest in cooking. I grew up with both an Easy Bake Oven and a Queasy Bake Oven. Once I went vegan, my mom had a hard time figuring out what to feed me. So I soon was making the majority of my own meals. The first few recipes I learned how to make were chili, twice baked potatoes, and carbonara. Reading blogs also helped me to know that it was possible to live vegan and still eat incredible dishes.

4. How do you go about developing a recipe for your blog?
I have to have some inspiration spark for a recipe to appear in my head. It’s usually from something I see (omnivore cooking show, food a book/comic character is eating, etc.) or the desperation of combining random ingredients from a nearly bare pantry. I start by listing the ingredients, maybe looking up a few similar recipes (especially if I need certain ratios like in baking), and then just set to cooking. I always have a food-stained notebook nearby to write down measurements, cooking times, and what did or didn’t work out.

5. Have you ever had a kitchen disaster? What did you learn from it, if anything?      I once started a small kitchen fire by turning on the wrong burner, which accidentally melted a Tupperware top and caused it to burst into flames. I learned to always double check which burner you turn on, and it’s always stupid to leave plastic things near the stove top. Plus you should always be a good friend and buy your roommate new Tupperware when you melt his. Many life lessons were learned that day.

6. What have you found to be the most surprising thing about being a vegetarian or vegan?                                                                                                                                      I eat way more variety now than I did in my pre-vegan days. Most people view veganism as a very restrictive diet, but I’ve got a much wider palate now than ever before. Before I would have never tried nutritional yeast, seitan, chia seeds, or a variety of other “health” foods that are currently sitting in my kitchen cabinets.

7. What about the most challenging?                                                                                  Not to sound whiny, but the judgment of other people. Most of my friends and family are wonderful about how I choose to live, but sometimes they, or even complete strangers, feel the need to but in with unwarranted advice. “You are going to eat dairy when you get pregnant, right? A vegan diet cannot support a baby.” or “God made animals to be eaten. It’s an insult to not eat them.” and my personal favorite from a customer at work “Well if you don’t eat meat you’ll end up looking like Quasimodo.” My life philosophy is for everyone to mind their own business and we’ll all be happy, vegan or not. 😀

8. How do you tend to navigate situations in which you’re the only vegetarian or vegan?                                                                                                                            Always bring lots of yummy food. That way you both know you’ll have something to munch on, and can pleasantly surprise others who thought vegans only ate kale and buckwheat.

9. What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?                                          If it has been a long week, I’ll sit down and watch a few episodes of Adventure Time while knitting. When I am not in the mood to veg out I’ll hula hoop, read a book (mostly fantasy, with a bit of non-fiction thrown in there), or practice some yoga.

10. What is one one thing your readers would be surprised to learn about you?
I’m not sure how much crap I’m going to get for revealing this, but Peter and I work part-time at a chicken restaurant. It’s actually a wonderful place to work with fun bosses and coworkers with great live music, though it is sometimes awkward when a customer asks “What’s your favorite thing on the menu?” and I have to say “Umm, the salad?” I know it would bother some vegans, but it’s a way for us to make ends meet and work at someplace we enjoy. Plus I’m eventually going to harass them into adding a veggie burger to their menu.

And now to foist this off on award some awesome blogs. I nominate:

A Cook in the Making

Banana Girl Vegan Curl

Chreese on Toast

Desi P Knits and Quilts

Elite Food

Ellen’s Vegan Kitchen

Rabbit Food

Vegan Heartbeats

Here are my questions:

  1. What famous chef would you choose to cook you dinner?
  2. What food did you hate as a child and enjoy/tolerate now?
  3. Favorite sandwich filling?
  4. If you could only eat three meals for the rest of your life (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), what would you choose?
  5. What was the first recipe you veganized?
  6. What is the weirdest or funniest reaction someone has had to your vegan choices?
  7. Do you have any strange food habits (my food can’t touch, has to all be a different color, etc.)?
  8. Which type of vegan substitute (veggie meat, plant milk, etc.) can you not live without?
  9. What food item do you prefer to make at home, even if it’s easily bought?
  10. What is your preferred dish for sharing with omnivores?