Monday, April 4, 2011

My big fat vegan weekend!

This last weekend was so full of awesomeness that I can hardly contain it all. So I will do a play-by-play of the weekend.  On Friday night, we headed to Doomies in Hollywood because they offer breadbowls on Fridays.  I had intended to go in and get the vegan clam chowder because I had to know what that tastes like.  Luckily, our waitress gave us samples and I realized how epic the chili is.  The clam chowder tastes more like potato soup so I chose the chili breadbowl.   Becca went with the country fried steak with mashed potatoes.  Once again as I reported before the potatoes left something to be desired.  They taste like they come from a box.  Also, her country fried steak was a bit dry, though the outer breading is so delish that it really didn't matter.  As for my breadbowl, I was hoping for some vegan sourdough which didn't happen.  However, the bread bowl tasted like delicious toast and was HUGE.  You really can't tell from the picture but seriously it was gigantic.  We also ordered some buffalo chicken wings.  We ate them so quickly that we didn't even get a picture.  They were amazing.  So yes I would recommend Doomies to veggies in the area but just know that this is comfort food, no doubt about it so go there on a very empty stomach when you have a bunch of calories to use.

Saturday morning I woke up early for Animal Acres Chore Orientation Day!!! It was so amazing and fun.  The clouds were glaring at me in Los Feliz when I woke up but as I made the 45 minute trek to the farm, sun burst out from the clouds and the day looked be-yooo-tiful.  The birds made me feel right at home as they played a round of tag.  The turkeys, which are only 8 months old, have gotten ginormous.  Part of me feels so badly that their genetics have caused these birds to grow so rapidly, but then I remember that they are going to live the rest of their lives happily doing what they love.  I also finally got to meet Peeta and Maria, the goats Becca and I sponsor.  They were both sooo sweet, though neither of them really wanted to pose much for a picture.

 I "totalled" out the goat enclosure, ie cleaned up all the straw and goat poop from the pens and around their feeding area.  It was actually a lot more fun than I expected. The goats made the process much like a dance because you'd have to rake up the straw around them while they continued to eat as much as possible.  The work has made me very sore but in that great way that lets you know you've been burning cals.  And this was even better because I got the opportunity to make a difference.  I was able to put into practice my beliefs.  By helping Animal Acres, I was truly helping make the animals' lives better.

After I helped clean up after the goats, I joined a crew of people stuffing envelopes for donations.  That was mindless work but again helpful and necessary to keep Animal Acres the amazing place that it is!  Plus I was able to sit down for a bit and chat with some very nice folks.  It's always so great to meet like-minded individuals that just want to help farmed animals.  I felt very connected out there and seriously feel like it's a slice of heaven on earth. I badly wish that I had considered throwing my wedding there because it would have been GLORIOUS.  Perhaps I will have my next birthday party out on the farm :).

After volunteering with Animal Acres, I did my second favorite thing and attended a Spork Foods class!
Jenny and Heather were amazing as always.  They have a cookbook coming out this fall so they are cutting back the number of classes they do, but I was lucky enough to attend the South American Cuisine class.  We made feijoada (black bean soup), Columbian style rice, Venezualan chopped salad with cashews and avocado and pineapple coconut empanadas.  Sadly I only snapped a pic of the empanadas, but this was due to the fact that it was so awesome that I immediately stuffed my face rather than take pictures.  Seriously this was one of my favorite classes by far because everything turned out so well and actually seemed like something I can make without huge effort.  Some of the Sporkie recipes can feel complicated to a newbie cook like me so it's inspiring when I find things I know I can make.  Check out how perfect the desert empanadas came out!

For dinner, we had to go downtown for a birthday party.  The restaurant chosen was very heavy on the meat so we decided to meet for drinks and eat alone.  We went to Mac and Cheeza, a fun eatery in downtown LA that caters to vegans and omni's alike.  The menu is only mac and cheese but you get to choose the side, base (soy or cheese), additions and finally topping.  I went with the Baby Daddy (smallest size though still pretty big) with soy cheese, collard greens and jalapenos with a spicy walnut topping.  Becca chose the soy cheese with broccoli and crushed Doritos on top.  I didn't take a pic of hers since it wasn't wholly vegan.  I must say I wasn't really impressed with the quality of the mac and cheese.  The cheese was bland and the additions made it super salty.  I think maybe I will try this again but I will definitely get mac and cheese plain with perhaps a side of collard greens?

Now we're to Sunday in which I promised Becca that I would do Sunday Funday with her because I spent most of Saturday away. Becca was using the Living Social I gave her for Valentine's Day to get a facial.  We started the morning at Savyon Cafe on Pico. They had a vegan all-you-can-eat brunch for $8.99.  The mini vegetable wonton-y wrap-ups and stuffed pizza were incredible. Other highlights were the roasted potatoes and curry.  So YUM.

Then we headed to Santa Monica for the facial.  I stopped in at O'Brien's to have a mimosa and read a book while Becca was busy.  For dinner we decided to go back to Native Foods.  I ordered the meatball sub, which was awesome.  Chef Tanya is just amazing.

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