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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Food Forward!



"Food Forward goes beyond celebrity chefs, cooking competitions, and recipes to reveal the compelling stories and inspired solutions envisioned by food heroes across America who are striving to create a more just, sustainable and delicious alternative to what we eat and how we produce it."

This is the kind of TV I want to watch! (It's the kind we all NEED to watch.) I hope this show can get on the airways soon.

PS. I hate that youtube decided to show the grass-fed beef for the still shot of this clip. Veg*ns, don't let that deter you!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Home for Sloths

I've been thinking a lot about Costa Rica. It seems like a beautiful place to visit. Then I saw this video and it sealed the deal: I must go to Costa Rica, if for nothing else, to see the sloth orphans.

Meet the sloths from Amphibian Avenger on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

HVT Flashback: Duluth, Duluth

My flashback continues with the second full day of our Memorial Day weekend last year in DULUTH. (Such a sexy name for a town, don't you think?)



Our first stop was going to be a rose garden, but even though it was the very end of May, none of the roses were in bloom or even budding yet. (The temperatures were quite cool up there.) We wandered around the park anyway.





Then we made the scenic drive to Gooseberry Falls.





It was very crowded due to the holiday weekend.








kicking back in a quiet spot before we hike across the park to get a better view of Lake Superior

We had dinner at a place called Pizza Luce, which has locations in Minneapolis, too. They offer two different vegan cheeses: mozzarella and "rinotta." They were out of the mozz, so I had the rinotta, which was okay, but a gooey, stretchy mozz would have been better. The Duluth location was PACKED, which is a good sign of good food. I thought I had a picture from this place, but I can't find one now. Between Galactic Pizza and Luce, I would pick Galactic, but Luce is a great place (and if I remember correctly, the only place) to get some vegan pizza while you're in Duluth.

Our last meal in Minnesota was back in Minneapolis at a raw cafe named Ecopolitan. I love this place! It has such a homey, adorable atmosphere.



We started with drinks: The boyf ordered the Orange Julia (DELICIOUS) and I ordered a bell pepper tonic (Refreshing!).


I ordered the raw lasagna with a spinach-pineapple soup. Both were delicious and SO filling. I liked the soup slightly better.


The Boyf ordered the raw burritos.

I highly recommend Ecopolitan while you're in Minneapolis.

After lunch, we made the trek home. Minneapolis was a pleasant surprise of a city. I had no idea what to expect, but it's a very hip place. It's cyclist-, vegan-, and environmentally-friendly. There are beautiful parks and trails everywhere. The people were pretty friendly, too, though none of them had the typical Minnesota accents I was expecting, like the mom from "Bobby's World."

Recapping this trip has made me feel a little better, almost like I actually got out of the house. I think my cold is starting to let up. I haven't had a sore throat all day, which is progress, but my head is still stuffy and foggy. After spending all this time recapping this trip, maybe I'll move on to planning my next one...

HVT Flashback: Minneapolis

When I woke up in Des Moines this past Sunday, I had a sore throat and some stuffiness. I thought it was just because we slept in a 2 cat house, but the sore throat never went away. A day or two later, it morphed into a full-blown cold. I've been pretty miserable all week long. I'm not sure where or how I picked up this sickness, but it's partly my fault. See, when I'm really stressed out, I don't eat well. Stress + poor diet = shot immune system. That's what I get for not chilling the heck out.

I've been in a stuffy fog all week, wishing I felt well enough to go outside into the world and romp around. Being stuck in the house makes me think of trips I've been on, many of which I took before I created this blog. I was a hungry vegan traveler long before I started this blog, so let me backtrack a little for you and share some good eats and good sights in MINNEAPOLIS. We spent Memorial Day weekend of 2009 up there.


On the way up, we stopped at Fresh Cafe in West Des Moines for lunch. Above is the sweet potato spinach salad. It was too heavy on the rosemary for my taste, but still pretty good.



After we checked in at the hotel and dropped our belongings, we set out on foot for awhile to see the nearby sights. I fell in love with this fountain:

I think it would look lovely in my yard full of bottle trees, don't you?


We strolled through the sculpture garden.


Then wandered around downtown.



The next day we went to the science museum, which I'm pretty sure was more interesting for the Boyf than for me. I was more excited about finding the Peanuts sculptures, which are scattered around St. Paul.



We had a vague idea of the general vicinity of the sculptures, so it was really exciting to spot one. Many of them blended in so well!


Hunting down Peanuts statues worked up an appetite, and we ate lunch at Galactic Pizza. We started with the "cheesy garlic toast," made with Follow Your Heart mozzarella.


Then I ordered a vegan pizza with bell peppers, black olives, and mushrooms.

The coolest thing about Galactic Pizza (next to their vegan options, of course) is that their delivery people dress as superheroes: spandex and capes and all. I tried to get a picture of one as he was walking out the "Superheroes Only" door, but he was gone in a flash.

Full of pizza, we moved on to the Mall of America, which was, in a word, BORING. We just went to see the spectacle of the place, but it really wasn't anything special. They had multiples of most of the stores, many of which were shops you can find anywhere. The Lego Land area was the only slightly interesting section.


After our brief stop here, we moved on to visit Minnehaha Falls, which was unfortunately crowded due to the holiday weekend, but was still a nice park area.


We did some more driving and walking around the downtowny area. The weather was perfect.

Old Mill Ruins





We ate dinner at Namaste, a very vegan-friendly Indian place. It didn't taste like traditional Indian food, and while it wasn't the best Indian restaurant I've been to, it was certainly the cutest.



By the time we got our meals, it was dark outside (we ate on the patio). I wish I could remember what we ordered (I should have started this blog a long time ago!).

Here are some of the views from our hotel room:




And some friendly neighborhood newscasters!


Stay tuned for my flashback on Duluth!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

toxmetics



1. We're all beautiful just the way we are. We don't need to cover up our wonderful selves with excessive amounts of questionable materials, especially right on our skin.

2. If you're going to use cosmetics, read the labels. Know what you're putting into and onto your body. "Toxic in, toxic out."

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Iowa - Part Two

Bright and early the next morning, after about 4 hours of sleep for each of us, we dragged our arses out of bed and got ready for a day of cramming in a few more sights before heading home.

Our first stop was the sculpture garden downtown. There was an intense storm earlier that morning (like, 3 or 4AM), and the sky was still cloudy and the temperatures were cool. This alone made it worth it to wake up so early.






This was my favorite sculpture. I liked that it was open for people to walk inside of it.




Salt n' Pepa shakers.



From here, we just roamed around Des Moines, which was very quiet. The Des Moines Public Library was closed, and the capitol building was closed to the public, but we could roam around the gardens outside. I don't have many pictures from that because it was so bright outside. Eventually, we ready for lunch, and we hit up another Thai restaurant. (The one restaurant that is marketed as having vegetarian, vegan, and raw options was closed the entire time we were in the area. This meant lots of Asian food instead!)

We went to King & I Thai & Sushi. We started with fried spring rolls.


I ordered the Rama Gardens, which is similar to Panang in that it involves peanut sauce. I loved the assortment of veggies in this dish, especially that oh-so-tender spinach.

Those veggies won me over and makes me say that this dish was better than the Panang at Thai Flavors. The only negative to this meal is that rice costs extra: $1.50 for jasmine white; $2.50 for basmati brown.


Still, those veggies... there was tofu, spinach, cabbage, string beans, baby corn, peppers? I can't even remember. It was all delicious, though.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we waddled back to the car and digested our way to Ames, about 40 minutes away. We went to Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State University campus. It was blazing hot by then, so we didn't make it through the entire garden area, but we did see three lovely things.

1. Butterfly House (watch where you step!)






2. The Conservatory, which displayed several bottle trees.








I really want to make a bottle tree now. Who wants to help me drink some wine?!





3. THE WORLD'S LARGEST CONCRETE GARDEN GNOME


Having had enough sun and sweat for the day, we left shortly after visiting the giant gnome. On the way home, we stopped to see a covered bridge in Madison County; one was enough for us. I was surprised at how much of a crowd it drew for a Sunday afternoon.



And that's our trip to Iowa in a blog-sized nutshell. It would have helped to have some local friends in the area to show us the good places we missed, but going completely off of the internet and one big brochure at the welcome center, I think we planned a decent 24-hour Iowa blitz.