Everything’s Just Dandelion (Tea)

May 25, 2016

These dogs are not our dog, but they are like our dog.

Hi guys. It’s been a while but in my defense I thought I hadn’t blogged since before we moved, so it’s actually been… less while.

The really big news is that we got a dog, a 4-year-old (ish) bichpoo. That was actually the last thing we did in 2015 — we found Charlie at our local shelter on December 30th. He probably had the worst Christmas because he’d spent the week in the shelter recovering from a probable coyote attack… AND getting neutered.

But next year he’s going to have the best, most spoiled Christmas AND Hannukah. And since we don’t know his birthday (they assigned him June 30th), every day is his birthday. In my opinion.

For a while I was nervous to post about him. Even though he came in as a stray, I was worried we’d get Little Orphan Annie’d and someone would come forward being like, that orphan is mine!

Even still, I’m hesitant to post a picture for some stupid reason (lazy?), but you can see him on my social media.

The other big thing, but you already knew about it, is that we’re getting married… THIS SUNDAY. Time flies. And warps. And stuff.

Even though it’s in like… 3-ish days (?!), I still feel like it’s not going to be here soon enough. Basically I have to get through tomorrow, and then it’s my wedding weekend. But it’s still like… argh! So far away!

In the end I went to the gym and got in better shape, but then when my dress came and was nice and loose, they cinched it in and made it so tight. To reward me? (Allegedly it will stretch out and eventually allow for full breathing.) So I got no boning, and a tight dress, and that’s life. No good workout goes unpunished.

But pro-tip: If you want a non-Spank bicycle short that is completely seamless? Hanky Pankies.

Up until this week I was still eating pretty much whatever, because I’ve been going to the gym EVERY DAY. I’m still out of work, but at least I have this wonderful schedule of gym classes and teachers and friendly retirees who Zumba beside me. Like, I almost cried saying goodbye to my Zumba teacher after our final class together today. And I’ve only known her for maybe 60 days. She’s that good.

But anyway, this week I got a little more paranoid about bloat and complexion and stuff, and tonight Sam went out and I sat around stressing about what I could eat for dinner that would be low-sodium, non-bloat, etc. It kind of reminded me of how I would stress and be afraid to eat when I was vegan.

So I did now what I did then: Went to Trader Joe’s and bought a bunch of random stuff to cook up together. (I had read not to eat beans or cruciferous vegetables, but I really don’t know if the following stuff is low-bloat or not.)

-Lean kosher white meat ground turkey (many adjectives)

-Baby spinach

-Sliced mushrooms

-Roma tomatoes

-Brown rice medley


-Avocado (forgot to use)

The checkout guy asked me what I was going to make for dinner and I said, “That stuff.” He told me that where his dad is from (the South), they call it “succotash.” So I made bridal succotash. Basically I cooked up all that stuff with lemon oil and a bunch of garlic, and added pepper.

I kept thinking of myself as the shitty version of Smitten Kitchen, which I guess would be Shittin’ Kitchen? Hopefully not?! (OR maybe yes? What do I even hope to accomplish?!)

image1 (3)

This is actually what I cooked.

It was okay.

Also, I got a test spray tan, and I’m here to say, it was not a great idea for me, for my wedding. I felt a little too orange when I wore white. But I did bravely flash my boobs at yet another woman in the service of wedding stuff. (I found that the best dress salons were like, “No bra! Just flash your boobs at me!”)

But getting rid of the tan has led to a lot of good exfoliating.

Finally, I don’t know if I’ve ever talked about her here, but I have the best eyebrow lady and she is always telling me her secret remedies, like how horse wound spray will clear your zits in a day. (I actually wish now that I had some.)

I am actually finally trying one of her remedies, which is to drink dandelion root tea to try to get rid of water bloat. It tastes fine and comes from Whole Foods. I’m not foraging or anything. (Sam tried it too, but quickly returned to Earl Grey.)

I’m also not 100% sure if it’s working, but at the very least I’m detoxing my kidneys. I’m also trying to do that by drinking a lot of water, paradoxically. But I think I never get enough.

Other than worrying about how I look a little more than usual, the wedding build-up hasn’t been particularly stressful this month. Actually, if you have vendors lined up, the month of the wedding they swoop in like super-heroes. There were so many little decor things we weren’t sure about, and in one meeting with our florist she gave us so many helpful suggestions that it was like, you saved us!

So yes, I recommend vendors. And anything you DIY, keep it simple. Like, I quickly decided that I could handle doing the calligraphy for the place cards, but not writing out any big written signs. So I didn’t. It’s been great.

And I recommend getting/having a dog, because Charlie is equal parts therapist, teddy bear, and ball of light and happiness. (He’s also a little imp, but that’s part of his charm. It’s also why he’s not invited to the wedding.)

I’m going to miss him so much on the honeymoon.

Oh yes, the honeymoon! This will probably not come as a shock… we decided to follow the food. So we’re going to Salzburg, and then Italy. Last time I was in that area was 10+ years ago, and I was vegan, on a tight budget, and didn’t really drink. This time it’s gonna be a no-rules food-fest.

I’m pretty excited to take Sam to an authentic beer garden (biergarten?). I think he’s gonna like that. And you know, all the pasta. (Goodbye wedding body, I hardly knew ye.)

So yeah. If I’m on it maybe I’ll do a honeymoon blog in the future. I’m not going to say the near future, that might be too ambitious.

I’m probably forgetting to do a bunch of wedding stuff, but it feels productive to blog. There was a period recently where I’d just do Snapchat filters on my face when I was home alone. In my defense, they’re really fun.

Okay, fine, here’s a picture of Charlie.

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He’s got my looks! (Don’t worry, it only looks like we’re strangling him. He’s fine.)


Okay, I hope my loyal readers enjoyed the rambling. Everybody else, I’m sorry. But if you got this far, you either secretly liked it, or you’re a dedicated hate-reader. Or both.



The Magic of Boning

January 5, 2016

Get your mind out of the gutter!

In case anybody was distressed by that no-Spanx-under-the-wedding-dress thing in my last post, I got some clarification.

My wedding dress salon called yesterday to tell me my dress is in, and I was like, whew, good thing I worked out yesterday! (… And too bad I can’t walk today!)

Then they told me I don’t need to do my first fitting until April. And I felt a little stupid for stressing out, especially about finding the shoes. (The shoes!)

In April, I must bring the shoes and myself. Nothing else required. So I ventured to ask again… what about Spanx?

The woman replied, “We’re ALL anti-Spanx here… but we have a very talented seamstress. Any problem areas, she can add some boning.”

BONING, you guys! The 9th wonder of the world! (It’s probably not very comfortable, but… what is, when it comes to wedding attire?)

It was only later, after that conversation and several excited follow-up discussions with others about boning, that I realized — oh, I’ve been talking about BONING.

Weddings, guys. All about the boning.

PS — Apologies to everybody who hits this on Google and wanted another version of the word. Especially the fish kind! Yum and good luck!

Remembering 2015

December 27, 2015
Who takes engagement photos in their favorite local pizza spot? We do, obviously.

Who takes engagement photos in their favorite local pizza spot? We do, obviously. (And other places, too.)

You guys! I kind of forgot to blog for, like… over a year.

Okay, I didn’t forget. I’ve just been Instagramming, because Instagram is like tiny little photo-blogs throughout the day. If you’re me.

On the vegan-ness front, this is what happened, in case you’re curious (and even if you weren’t): I went to a nutritionist and we agreed I’d eat less salt and sugar and carbs (sure…?) and eat lean meat or fish once a day and she’d watch my FitnessPal food log. Then I proceeded to stop using the FitnessPal food log. So… yeah.

The weird thing is, as soon as I stopped being vegan, I lost some weight! So I am basically the poster child for not being vegan, I guess. My cardiologist wants me to take cholesterol medication, but I’m putting it off until… later.

Here’s what’s happened since last November, as far as I can quickly recall… with a bit of a food bias, because I know why you’re all really here:

December 2014 – Went to Philly for my cousin’s wedding and for a joint Sam’s family/my family holiday-time jamboree. Ate at all those related Israeli-style restaurants that were getting super-buzz, including Federal Donuts (okay, maybe that’s the outlier?), Dizengoff, and Zahav.

Scenes from Dizengoff, in Philly.

Scenes from Dizengoff, in Philly.

Note: The song playing on the Zahav website (at the moment, at least) is by the Idan Raichel Project and was my JAM circa Birthright.

January 2015 – Met a dog named Jukebox at a rescue place called The Lucky Puppy, fell in love with him, and basically cried for several weeks because our building didn’t allow dogs.

Sam and Jukebox.

Sam and Jukebox. Sam didn’t cry, he just makes those faces.

Started getting organic fruit & veggie delivery from Farm Fresh to You, which encouraged our dinner-cooking to be a little more adventurous.

February 2015 – Sam cooked the annual Valentine’s Day surprise-menu dinner. The theme was Zahav (see December). And dessert was… a proposal! And also homemade lemon cake with whipped cream and berries, which we barely ate because we were too busy Facetiming people.

I love twinkle lights... they were present at the proposal and will be present at the wedding reception!

I love twinkle lights… they were present at the proposal and will be present at the wedding reception!

The next day we went to brunch at Elysian, which I already knew was going to be our wedding venue because look at it.

March 2015 – We booked Elysian for May… 2016. I think we also booked a bunch of other vendors because getting engaged is like one long panic attack. Just kidding. Sorta. (Our photographers, Dez & Tam, took the photo at the top. They are awesome!)

April 2015 – Baseball season started, according to my Instagram.

May 2015 – Sam and I ate our way through Seattle for his birthday. It’s a good town for eating. We went to Pike Place Market at least once a day, and to Dahlia Lounge for Sam’s special birthday meal.

But as a pre-birthday afternoon snack we went to Taylor Shellfish, and ate so well that we almost didn’t make it to Dahlia… but we’re glad we pulled through!

2015-05-16 20.07.24-1

Our from-the-sea appetizer at Dahlia Lounge, including that wacky geoduck.

Then our friends Allison and Giuseppe visited from Italy and — like last time — made us an Italian feast! On a subsequent day, we took them to a (really bad) Dodgers game and to dim sum… we always try to give Giuseppe an experience he wouldn’t have in Italy!

THEN because we were both between jobs, Sam and I decided to fly to Oakland, see an A’s game, then drive to Big Sur and Monterey and VISIT SEA OTTERS IN THE WILD. We did the Elkhorn Slough Safari, and it was THE BEST. And it was also T-1 year until our wedding!

The A's elephant, Stomper, gave out great hugs and might be my favorite mascot.

The A’s elephant, Stomper, gave out great hugs and might be my favorite mascot.

June 2015 – I went with my family to Denver to another cousin’s wedding, on the other side of the family. Then I started work again! Oh, then I found a wedding dress, but it took me like… 150 tries. People think I’m crazy now. (Like, people who work at wedding dress salons… I can’t be the craziest they’ve met, right?!)

July 2015 – I got really into trying to work out so I’d look okay for my engagement photos. I also ended up styling myself for the photos, which was a whole ordeal because I’m not exactly a sophisticated dresser. (To be clear, I didn’t do my hair or makeup… the makeup, in particular, taught me that I never want to wear that much makeup ever again.)

I actually bought the above-mentioned wedding dress… well, ordered it. I’ll see it… soon? I dread trying it on again because allegedly I’m not supposed to wear Spanx. I’m just supposed to… be flat-ab-tastic. Ha. No problemo?

… Some problemo.

The thing is, I don’t really believe in wedding diets. But I also… want to look good in my dress. It’s a real dilemma or something. Sorta. Eh.

Also, Sam’s sister, Ellie, came to visit and we took her to all the fun places we’d schemed about, including Sugarfish, Universal Studios, and all over Downtown LA for a Sunday Funday.

2015-07-12 15.51.04

Making getting a seat at the rooftop bar at the Ace Hotel look easy.

August 2015 – Went to Maude for my birthday! Curtis Stone was in the house! SWOON. (The ingredient was figs.)

Sam doing his original "Mr. Tea" thing at Maude.

Sam doing his original “Mr. Tea” thing at Maude.

Took our engagement photos, and then immediately stopped working out. Forgot about the impending wedding, I guess. (Here’s Dez & Tam’s blog entry of our photos!)

September 2015 – Sam briefly had Disneyland access, and we went twice in one month! We went once with friends, and once with my family. They hadn’t been in forever and I was happy to show them all our FastPass tricks. We also got stuck on a ride, but not IN the ride, which might have actually been more interesting.

2015-10-04 16.46.55

As far as I know we’re still stuck here.

That month we also happened to watch a lot of Disney-related documentaries, and found out that the original studio stood where our favorite local Gelson’s grocery store is now located. (The current World of Color is about Disney and the studio’s history, so seeing it was the perfect cap to our month of Disney… along with Sam drinking Walt’s favorite cocktail.)

October 2015 – After “devouring” the show Chef’s Table on Netflix, Sam had tried to make reservations at n/naka for my birthday. But due to the popularity of the show, this was the earliest reservation we could get. So we made it a “last dating anniversary” dinner.

Plate of major seafood deliciousness. One of so many courses.

Plate of major seafood deliciousness. One of so many courses.

Probably the best meal of the year, possibly the greatest meal ever? Highly recommend… unless you can’t deal with sashimi/raw fish. In that case… maybe acquire the taste for it first.

At the end of the meal they ask if you’d like an extra hand roll, and it’s like… okay! And then they took our picture with a little Polaroid-ish camera, because it was a special occasion.

One of the coolest things is that you see on Chef’s Table that Niki Nakayama knows exactly who is at each table, by name. And she came out at the end to thank us for coming on our anniversary, ask how the food was, and apologize that it took a few extra months to get in. So sweet.

Commemorative photo!

Commemorative photo!

Sam’s mom came to visit and we had a rehearsal dinner tasting, including soft pretzels… the perfect food for the night before I have to wear a dress in front of everyone with allegedly-no-Spanx, right? Ha.

Whatever. Soft pretzels are amazing.

It’s funny, our engagement felt endlessly long for the first 7-8 months, but as we said goodbye to Sam’s mom and realized we wouldn’t see her again until our wedding… it was pretty crazy. Once you hit the 6-months-out mark, suddenly it’s like… there’s no time left! Help!

November 2015 – After months of searching, Sam and I finally found and secured a place to live in… together! And it’s dog-friendly! So we moved a whopping mile or two from Los Feliz to Silver Lake. I miss Los Feliz, and it was a little sad leaving behind Sam’s place especially, where we got engaged (and it had GREAT light!), but I like being nearer to the reservoir and the dog park. For when we get that dog.

And, you know, it’s nice to not have to walk back and forth between two apartments all the time. Requires less pants-wearing.

After my latest season of TV-show-working ended, we went to Hawaii (Oahu and Maui), a long-talked-about trip. (We really wanted to go there pre-honeymoon. But now we’re not sure where to honeymoon…) We ate many delightful places, including two of Sheldon from Top Chef’s restaurants, Star Noodle and Migrant.

I became obsessed with Ululani’s Shave Ice. Oh, and also Island Vintage Shave Ice because it had real fruit and exploding passion fruit boba! (I only ate there once, though.)

Just two of many Ululani's visits.

Just two of many Ululani’s visits.

We also tasted cakes, which is kind of more cake-eating than I really wanted in my life. I never thought I’d say that! The dessert element of the wedding is still a work in progress…

The Lucky Puppy (where we met Jukebox and others) was forced to leave its space, but it recently announced that it’s re-opening in a new location in January!

December 2015 – Living in Silver Lake, looking for a dog, hoping for work, taking long walks and contemplating life… went to Jon & Vinny’s, became a little obsessed with them and with bucatini (I didn’t even eat it there… I’m just like that).

After a REALLY hot year, like it was so hot I kept getting dehydrated and we partly moved to find a place with central AC so I wouldn’t die, it suddenly got REALLY cold here. Like, we have not used our central AC yet but I’m really glad we now have central heat and a little fireplace so I don’t freeze. Life’s weird that way.

Bought our first Christmas tree, a little fake guy from Michael’s with a Jewish star topper.

My Christmas present to myself was a bag of Trader Joe’s Cheddar Popcorn and permission to eat it all at once. It’s one of the few things I can’t just eat a little at a time. In the end, I ate it in two days, so… a Christmas miracle.

Got many cool gifts from Sam and his family, but my favorites were that I’m now an elephant foster parent (and you can be too!), and I’m sponsoring a manatee through the Sierra Club. (My plush manatee is my dog for now.)

Christmas memories... from two days ago.

Christmas memories… from two days ago.

My Christmas gift to Sam (of note) is a Chinese takeout cookbook, which is such a Jewish thing to gift on Christmas.

At some point we also camped on a mountain and made s’mores over a campfire and everything. I can’t remember when, exactly, but that was a delight. As was discovering that you can check Kindle books and audio books out from the library! I read, you guys! I listened to Malcolm Gladwell on a mountain!

It’s funny (or… it’s not funny?)… in some ways it’s been a tough year for me, partly because I felt like my life was kind of static in a lot of ways. So it’s nice to go back through and think of the mostly-nice memories from each month. (And to think about future home-cooked Chinese takeout.) I recommend it.

The night we got engaged, at Sam's place. A memorable night in 2015!

The night we got engaged, at Sam’s place. A memorable night in 2015.

This has definitely been a great year on the snack trek front, and I encourage you to check out my Instagram (@yapplebee) if you’re interested in Los Angeles eats. I’m always trying to expand my horizons and hunt down foods that either have good buzz or personally intrigue me. Or both.

We also want to expand our travel eating-and-cooking horizons. We had been planning to go to Thailand for our honeymoon, where we would learn some Thai cooking and chill with (but NOT COOK) elephants, but now I’m a little worried about going to the island area in monsoon season, so… we’ll see. Another future-mystery that will be solved by the march of time!

We’re also trying to cook more this year, since we have merged our two kitchens into one… and we really like our new kitchen! So you’ll see some of that.

And I’ll try to post here every once in a while, in case you’re more of an old-school blog-reader. (That seems like an oxymoron.)

Until next time… (whenever that may be…)

An Exercise in Futility

November 7, 2014

I’ll let this picture of an Instagram of a tweet do the talking.



My total cholesterol went up 7 points. My bad (LDL) went down 7 points. I’m still in a bad zone, or whatever.

I have no idea how that works, but I’m pissed.


But I’m going to keep trying, and probably stay vegan? We’ll see…

Things I Did Whilst Unemployed…

November 5, 2014
This is what's up.

This is what’s up.

Happy autumn! Arguably my favorite time of year. (Like, I have to argue with myself about it? I don’t like to play favorites!)

Since it’s now just past my 6 month vegan-versary, you’re probably wondering what I’ve been up to for the last couple of months. (Or you’re not… that’s valid.)

I’ll tell you what I wasn’t doing: going to work. My last job ended in August, and then I found a job in September, but it doesn’t start until… next week. This was my longest period of unemployment since… since pretty much ever. A “summer vacation,” slightly shifted into fall.

So what does one do (other than work on writing samples — which one is always doing, btw, in case anyone of import is reading this)? Here’s an abridged list of things that, in retrospect, helped me beat the “unemployment mopies” that I referred to in my previous post:

-I spent a weekend in San Francisco. That was pre-planned, but it was convenient that I wasn’t working. (I actually got the job the day before I left and thought I might have to work that coming Monday.. but then I didn’t.) (I also went to Boston right after the last job ended and GOT IN A TANK WITH A BELUGA and didn’t mention it in the last post, somehow. Just FYI.)

Favorite place in SF. Two words: Free samples.

Favorite place in SF. Two words: Free samples.

-I got into calligraphy. I realized it was something I loved looking at on Instagram, and I had time, so I took an online class that led to a book that led to an online forum. Along the way I acquired a bunch of ink and watercolors. I went full art-lady, which is okay because I don’t actually dine at my dining room table.

You know, a vegan who writes cheese names. One of those.

You know, a vegan who writes cheese names. One of those.

-I got back into BodyPump and yoga, as I tend to do when my mornings are free. (I’m about to have my longest commute ever, so… bye bye gym! Until I figure out my routine, at least.)

-I cooked a bunch of different versions of lentil soup, and then got creative and decided to try making my own pad woon sen (it was just okay) and my own avocado sushi (surprisingly successful). But let’s be real, it’s probably more expensive to buy all the ingredients than to order it out. (Although maybe slightly more healthy?)

All you need is a sharp knife. (And love?)

All you need is a sharp knife. (And love?)

-I discovered the most delicious giant white beans at the Gelson’s salad bar, and have been unable to figure out what they are called.

What are you?! (The bottle cap was a size reference.)

What are you?! (The bottle cap was a size reference.)

-I watched the World Series. That was fun, but sad in the end because I was rooting for the Royals.

It's not baseball without Cracker Jacks.

It’s not baseball without Cracker Jacks.

-We dressed as Bob & Linda from Bob’s Burgers for Halloween, and Sam even made sliders (and delicious vegan sliders, too!).



-I watched a bunch of horror movies. Sam, who loves horror movies, usually tries to get me to watch one in honor of Halloween, and this year he was going to let me copout and watch this John Travolta movie about a sound editor. But then we were invited to see a musical version of Scream, so I had to watch Scream. That led to Scream 2, Halloween, Halloween H20, and probably Scream 3. I didn’t know I had it in me, and I actually enjoyed them. (Well, Halloween is about as tense and bloody as I want to go.)

-We also watched a lot of 30 for 30 ESPN documentaries. They’re just good stories, even if you’re not into sports.

-In addition, I caught up/checked out a lot of TV, old and new, mostly as I practiced calligraphy.

The table is now too cluttered with art supplies to fit the laptop.

The table is now too cluttered with art supplies to fit the laptop.

-I voted! I decided to finally switch my registration from OC to LA, so for the first time ever I voted in person, at a nearby Masonic lodge. I was very proud.



-I started trying to clean out my closet, so I could donate a lot of clothes to Goodwill. It’s a work in progress. (Somehow it’s easier to donate things than just throw them out. I’m like — someone’s gonna love you, old underwear!)

-I ordered a new iPhone, so my pictures will be better soon. If it ever ships.

-I got a flu shot! While I was chasing down the UPS truck to retrieve the pumpkin ciders from MA, pictured at the top of this post. You know, sometimes there are flu shots on the way to things.

So I wasn’t SUPER productive (that would have probably involved more cleaning and a FINISHED writing sample), but I was SOMEWHAT productive.

And how is my cholesterol, you may be asking yourself, after six months of vegan-ity? I am asking myself, too! I went to the doctor a week ago, but due to… computer error or something, my results took a week to process (I guess?) and I’m allegedly going to find out what’s up tomorrow.

So I’ll let you know soon, how all that’s going. Probably.

I’m worried that even if my cholesterol is better, I’m getting too much sodium or not enough calcium or whatever. So the next step might be to seek out a dietician? But I’m worried that’s like seeking out the biggest party pooper ever, who won’t let you eat any bread after 6pm or other madness.

Until then, I’m always up to date on my Instagram, @yapplebee. And you can see that looked-better-than-it-tasted pad woon sen.

4 Month Veg-iversary

August 28, 2014

Today, August 28, 2014, is exactly 4 months since veganism was mandated upon me. 

For a while I was kind of depressed about it, but luckily that all turned around, because there are bigger things in my life that want my negative attention now. (Like, my unemployment mopeys.)

And I’ve managed to go on various trips (within the US, important to note) without having to cheat too horribly. 

How am I celebrating? I bought myself some nutritional yeast (aka “nooch,” apparently). 



Anyway, I’m in the mood to write lists today, so here are 4 things that I’m thankful about, four months in. 

1) Finding a favorite vegan restaurant. This has been really key because it proved to me that vegan food can be delicious, and usually it doesn’t even involve any fake meat. The restaurant is called Sage, and it has TWO locations — one in Echo Park, one in Culver City. In addition to the regular menu, the Culver City location has a beer garden, pizza, pretzels, and SOFT SERVE Kind Kreme. (The one in Echo Park has regular Kind Kreme.) They both have the “famous” pierogis and amazing vegan nachos. (I didn’t even like nacho cheese in my non-vegan life.)

I have been there probably 8-10 times in the last 4 months, including TWICE for my birthday. I’ve been to the Culver City location twice — which is a major endorsement, because I am Westside-phobic.

My second birthday dinner at Sage. Part of it.

My second birthday dinner at Sage. Part of it.

2) Figuring out what I like and what I don’t like. Likes: coconut milk-based ice creams, pretty much any cheese made with nuts, kale if it’s in soup, Amy’s low-sodium soups, if I don’t have time to make one myself. Dislikes: daiya cheese, possibly nooch (?!). (I’m giving it another go because it’s such a thing for vegans.) If you don’t know what you don’t like, you keep eating the wrong stuff, and then you don’t like being vegan. (And you need to like a lot of things so you can mix it up.)

Basically what I’m learning is that what I — and probably most people — really miss is that creamy, dairy-esque flavor. So it’s important to get some of that, however you like it best. 

And finding good stuff inspires me to try to recreate it. (See: the ice cream below, inspired by an amazingly creamy scoop of coconut milk ice cream at Salt & Straw in Portland… both the original and the homemade were creamier than Kind Kreme. Sorry, Kind Kreme.)

Kale in lentil soup. Good to go. (I made this!)

Kale in lentil soup. Good to go. (I made this!)

3) My new food processor! So far I’ve only used it to grind some almonds for coconut milk ice cream, but I’m looking forward to making all sorts of fake cheeses, pestos, etc. with it. (Also, food processors have the SCARIEST warning labels. It’s like, back away if you want to liiive!) There’s something really satisfying about cooking a vegan meal for myself… and then I have leftovers. Leftovers are key.

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You can’t really see the nuts, but they’re in there. Thanks, food processor.

4) People who are good-natured about going to Sage with me (and then get HOOKED). It never goes unnoticed when my friends (and loved ones) are cool about going to a vegan restaurant, or let me order our shared pizza with cashew cheese, or even cook a special dish for me if I’m visiting. Because food is no fun if you can’t make it social!

All right, that’s enough of that. Time to grind up some pesto… carefully. 


SNACK TREK: A Stress-Free LA Sunday in Hollywood/Los Feliz

June 2, 2014
Bounty of the Hollywood Farmers' Market.

Bounty of the Hollywood Farmers’ Market.

People who know me, know that I function at a high-ish level of stress and worrying. It’s mostly a function of being me, and partly a function of having a job where I’m always on call and have to be really detail-oriented.

For me, the weekends are not always a time to kick back, even when work doesn’t beckon. As an aspiring TV writer, it’s really important that I work on my own material on the side. Therefore, I have an (amazing) writing group, and in order to finish my material/read theirs, I usually wake up at 6 or 7am on both Saturday and Sunday, and work or go to group until the early afternoon.

And if I’m NOT doing that for some reason — maybe a weekend off — I’m just generally stressing that I didn’t write enough, all the time.

This time of year is what I call “fellowship season” — when several studios allow aspiring TV writers to submit their materials and personal essays, hoping that we’ll manage to secure the equivalent of a golden ticket: a spot in one of their workshops/fellowships, which could very well lead to being staffed on a TV show. The dream.

AKA it’s kind of a stressful time, and then around Labor Day it’s stressful again because it’s the “am I going to hear back?!” time.

ANYWAY — that’s all to say that this weekend the first big deadline passed, and my material was in (another deadline’s coming in a few weeks, but the heavy lifting is over). Thanks to the deadline, writing group didn’t meet. Saturday I ended up having to work, but Sunday the day was wide open, and I felt like I could just do whatever, guilt-free.

So obviously I wanted to eat and drink. I called my sister in for hangout reinforcements.

First stop was the Hollywood Farmers Market, which I don’t often make it out to, these days. Usually I’m kind of conservative in my purchases, but yesterday I splurged on the famous Harry’s Berries (okay, like $6, but whatever). The seascape berries are what all strawberries should taste like — that bright, sweet flavor.

I also splurged on Forbidden Fruit Orchards blueberries, which are really firm and sweet and tart. So many grocery store blueberries turn out to be a disappointment, or full of squishy ones. Forbidden Fruit Orchards doesn’t play you like that.

Really, it’s important that you go sample fruit at the farmers market from time to time, to remember what fruit is supposed to taste like.

The picture above also features boysenberries, which I’m not sure I’d ever officially tried before — they’re the sweeter version of blackberries, almost like candy-sweet, definitely like jam-sweet. It’s like scooping jam into your mouth, without the scary process of canning.

And of course I got Ranier cherries, which I discovered last year can often be more delicious than regular red cherries. (Sadly, I didn’t not catch the names of the orchards for the boysenberries/cherries.)

We also sampled amazing vegan mole and other delights from Bloom Foods, but I regrettably didn’t purchase anything.

Then we went back to Los Feliz, where we wandered around while we waited for a table at Little Dom’s. I got the eggs bruschetta with egg whites, a breakfast I often dream about.

Leaning tower of egg whites.

Leaning tower of egg whites.

It’s grilled bread, pesto (possible dairy cheat?), roasted tomatoes, and eggs, with some sort of delightful basil oil, I think. Maybe it’s just pesto run-off.

I joked to Dana that we’d gotten like 20 egg whites each. An egg white doesn’t make very much, and it seemed like SO MUCH EGGS.

Along with that, Dana got a fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice. (They have such good fresh-squeezed juice that it doesn’t feel like completely insanity that it’s $5.)

I got a grapefruit shandy (40% beer, 60% fruit soda), which is really hot right now in Los Feliz. It makes me happy because I first discovered shandy when I was 18, at the Stiegl beer tour in their factory in Salzburg, Austria (Brauwelt aka Beer World, which amuses me to no end, for some reason — oh, German) — and this shandy is FROM THERE!

Dana added her grapefruit lip gloss for... scale?

Dana added her grapefruit lip gloss for… scale?

Life, right?

(I really need to go back to Brauwelt, because I think I’d appreciate the whole experience a lot more now that I have more of a palette for beer. Also — two free beers and a pretzel! At the time, at least.)

One of the best things about being vegan is that I can still drink (in moderation… anything more is not heart friendly).

Then we went home and watched “So You Think You Can Dance” and  “I Wanna Marry Harry,” which turned out to be hilarious. Some of the girls are real firecrackers, and others are just crazy. I always prefer a show with a twist or some silliness to the earnest weirdness of straightforward dating shows.

And we snacked on fruit, obviously.

Later, for dinner, Sam joined us and we went to Messhall… which is like a block from Little Dom’s. Small radius of eating. Dana and I ordered the two vegan dishes on the menu (the chili and the curry) and split them… and both were good, I’m happy to report. (Dana is about to be my neighbor, part of the reason why I’m intro’ing her to all the trendy restaurants of LF.)

Dana and Sam also had oysters, which sadly are verboten for me — shellfish is a cholesterol pitfall. But honestly, as good as oysters can be, they are also the consistency of snot, if you got a lot of snot together. So I’ll probably live without eating them.

And I got a Riesling. I don’t even really care about the brand of Riesling. Have Riesling, good to go. (And good to later have a headache… whoops.)

I took no pictures at Messhall. Sorry not sorry.

Instead I’ll show you a picture of my new go-to meal, “broasted” veggies. (Roasted Brussels sprouts and various potatoes.)

This is how I felt yesterday, as told in veggies.

This is how I felt yesterday, as told in veggies.

And then Sam and I came home and watched Game of Thrones and the Silicon Valley. I actually don’t technically watch most of Game of Thrones… I look away and Sam tells me when the bloody stuff is over. But I accidentally caught a glimpse of an axe to the head early in the episode, which brought to mind how much just READING about that in “Crime and Punishment” in high school traumatized me.

Luckily Silicon Valley cut through the trauma, a real palette cleanser. Comedy — it makes everything better! (This year there is so much good comedy out there — Louie, Kroll Show, Inside Amy Schumer, Broad City, Key & Peele, Bob’s Burgers… go check them all out.) (Yes, although I stress about writing a lot, I also spend a lot of time watching TV… RESEARCH.) (This would be a much better excuse if I wrote comedy.)

And that was basically as good as it gets, when I have a day off to just kick around in my neighborhood.

Happy June!


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