Review Category : Stuff I Get Off On

Last week I took a 2 am train down south to attend the bachelorette party of one of my old college roomies. I know when you hear “bachelorette party,” images of male strippers and penis balloons and blurry bar nights probably come to mind. But my old roomie is a classy lady, folks, and so instead we rented a hotel room and went to Busch Gardens. But thanks to good old Hurricane Isaac, it rained all day, the rides were closed, and so the only thing we got to do was take some incredibly cheesy old timey photos. Then we went back to the hotel room, downed a few bottles of wine, and rolled around in glitter confetti.

But what did we eat? While in Norfolk and Williamsburg, I went to two delicious veg-friendly restaurants.

Quenna’s Raw and Vegan Sandwich Shop

I adored the inside of this shop—bright colors with a friendly staff more than happy to come chat up our table. Two of the people I was with had never had a vegan foodfest before, and they were incredibly hung over—not the best state of being for your first vegan experience.

The menu was full of interesting options, salads and sandwiches. For some reason, we noticed that certain words were in quotes. This ‘avocado’ sandwich…. topped with ‘tofu’….wrapped in ‘nori.’ It was bizarre. But other than that, the food was delish—fresh and filling with unbelievably generous portion sizes. I had a salad piled high with avo and crumbled tofu, my friends had grain burgers, and we split some stuffed mushrooms. I also had a great nori appetizer (or should I say ‘nori’ wrapped) that was stuffed with extremely spicy bulgar wheat—yummo. It was too spicy for everyone else (pansies) so I got to eat it all.

Salad!

Top, stuffed shrooms, bottom, burger in a pita with tofu “cheese,” beets and greens!

 

Take note, ‘Deez Nuts’ are different than ‘Sum Nutz.’ Gotta love their style!


Food for Thought


This restaurant freaked my freak. It isn’t vegan, but it has amazing vegan options, and you would never guess upon first entering. It’s large, and the ambiance is sort of like a home-style pancake house you would bring grandma to. I mean that in the best of ways. It was comfy! But it was decorated with great quotes about food politics, and the whole vibe was all about good food and good conversation. And the vegan options were unbelievable. Most omnirestaurants with “vegan options” have a frozen veggie burger or some pasta. But this menu had scrambled tofu, fresh beet salads, bbq tofu wraps with sweet potato fries, and—what I ordered—spaghetti squash with vegan pesto. Get. IN. Me. I was seriously smitten with this place.

Beet salad…and isn’t Reagan the one who made ketchup a “vegetable”? Irony!

Spaghetti squash and pesto. Sexy sexy sexy.

SO have you been to these places? Any other good veg spots in that area? Have a fun bachelorette story? Have you ever left a trail of glitter from your hotel room to the hot tub? Because I have!

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I was going to wait until Friday to do a Fetish Friday on this, but I just couldn’t contain my excitement. This is probably my favorite fetish, if not only for the amazing name. Spankophilia! If a Greek married an Italian and they made a pastry, this is what it would be called. But if you haven’t guessed, spankophilia is spanking for the erotic gratification of either or both parties involved. Spanking can be done with hands, paddles, canes or other fun party toys. It can be combined with bondage and is often a big part of dominant/submissive culture.

I like the whole “punishment” thing behind spanking. When you pay your taxes, floss your teeth and recycle, you rarely ever get to be a “bad, bad girl.” This kind of role playing allows you to feel naughty without getting too involved. You don’t have to make up a big sexy plot or put on a costume…although you can! Plus, if you’re a fan of mild pain-for-pleasure, it feels good. So spanking is a go in my book. Analyze me all you want, Freud.

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This weekend I headed down to Foodswings, Williamsburg’s own vegan comfort food joint. I had been trying to corral my boyfriend into going here with me since before he was my boyfriend, so it had been a long time coming. Although I was able to sample their “chicken” at the Seed Expo a few weeks back, I wanted the entire diner experience. What do I mean? I wanted a burger and a shake, dammit.

Foodswings is not health food, and it doesn’t try to pretend it’s health food. When you think “comfort food,” do you conjure up a raw crudite platter? No. You think creamy, fatty, tastes so good “junk” food. I met a very nice Brooklyn-based vegan couple a few weeks ago, when they came to stay at my mom’s farm. I asked them if they liked Foodswings, and the woman groaned inward and said she thought it was awful. Why? “It’s junk food!” she said. Mmmm. All the better to eat you with, my dear!

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Whaddup, vegan dim sum?!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of checking out a semi-new vegan restaurant in Brandford, Conn., called G-Zen. I went with my friend Hannah and met a new friend there, Paul, who I uhm…may or may not have met on the Internet.

Anyway, let me tell you that my dining experience at G-Zen was probably one of the best I have had at any veg restaurant over the past year, and that’s saying a lot because I’ve been visiting some of the well knowns–in just this month I went to NYC’s vegan babies Blossom and Caravan of Dreams. In my opinion—which is the only one that matters right now because this is MY blog—G-Zen blows them both out of the water.

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And then use them to pepper your floral arrangements!

Remember back when I wrote about coming for a cause with Sir Richards? Well I recently had the chance to interview Cory Capoccia, founder of Conscious Contraceptives, another socially conscious rubber retailer—spread those condoms, people! Conscious Contraceptives is also known as Con Con…cute, right? Reminds me of a toddler…I’ve been on a baby-sniffing stint lately. They smell so good!

Anyway, creeper status aside, the organization implements the same one-for-one charity model as TOMS Shoes. Read the following interview, and learn about their grassroots campaign, and their vegan selection! Also, get some info on how you can win a shit ton of condoms! A whole year’s worth! Stock your entire dresser with rubbers and scare away all of your dates with the expansiveness of your condom collection.

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Food porn a la Cinnamon Snail–ancho chili burger!

Okay so I promised once I crawled out of my cave of outdated technology and got a Smartphone I would become a better food blogger. Well my days of laziness are over, because I gave in (goodbye, reading real books on the train…) and got an iPhone just in time to document my visit to the Seed, a vegan expo in NYC this past weekend.

Get ready for some major food porn, people! I got to meet tons of awesome activists, window-show some really drool-worthy vendors (Olsen-Haus shoe-gasm, anyone?), watch cooking demos, listen to speakers and meet up with some of my favorite people, like sweet vegan pastry chef, author, photographer and an old colleague and friend of mine, Hannah Kaminsky. She gave a demo on how to make ice-cream without a machine, which rocked. She showed several different ways, one of which was to shake it up in a small bag placed inside a larger bag full of ice and salt. She passed it around for the crowd to shake up, and then when it was over she let me run off with the finished product and two spoons. What a sweetie!

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Vibes, 2009!

Studies have shown that people who spend their money on experiences, rather than on things, feel more fulfilled in the long run. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as I blow my paychecks on concert tickets, concert tickets, gas for my car to get to the concerts, concert tickets, oh and lots of kale.

I love nothing better than a great live music experience—except for maybe an experience that involves live music and a hoard of people who haven’t bathed in a long time, loving up on each other in the great outdoors for like, 4 days straight. Yep. A music festival. I love me a music festival, especially one that involves lots of camping and no bra-wearing.

So in just a few hours I am heading off to Tennessee, to make a 17 hour drive with three of my girlfriends, stopping in Nashville before we make it to Manchester. That means no blogging until next Tuesday, folks! Because I will be way too busy enjoying some eargasm inducing tunage and getting into tons of decriminalized shenanigans.

The lineup? Check the full schedule here, but I am looking forward to headliners like Radiohead, RHCP and Phish, as well as Bon Iver, the Avett Brothers, the Shins, Foster the People, Dispatch, Feist, the Roots, tUnE-yArDs, Bens Folds Five, the Kooks, oh yeah and Ludacris. Haha, one of these things just doesn’t belong here…

Also, I’ve been trying to check out tUnE-yArDs for a while now, because my dad is good friends with the family of Merrill Garbus, their super cool, super funky front-runner. I have a vivid memory of chasing some small animal around her yard, along with Merrill and her sister…I think it was their pet guinea pig or maybe a bunny. Whatever, I can’t wait to see her do her thing live. Check her craziness here.

What am I packing to EAT on my adventure? This is hard, because I’m traveling with a pack of omnivores and while we are packing a cooler, the cooler will only last so long on our week-long journey. So I’m making like a squirrel and stowing away tons of nuts, seeds, fruit, dried fruit, nut butters, rice cakes, whole grain breads and the like. My normal diet of cooked grains, tofu, tempeh, beans, raw fresh veggies and juices will unfortunately be put on hold. The last festival I went to was actually last year’s Gathering of the Vibes, near my hometown in CT, and the only vegan vendor at the park was a falafel truck. I think I ate my weight in falafel. I’m not complaining, this girl can house some major falafel, but by the end of the concert series I sort of felt like a deep-fried chickpea ball myself. Mmmm…chickpeas.

Crunchfest

Okay, so see you next week! If I don’t die. If I do die, someone please make sure that my furniture destroying, lap loving, wall parkouring cat Zucchini goes to my ex boyfriend. You’re welcome, B.

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Image from coolkitchen.net

A dude friend of mine brought up the fact that if a guy stumbles upon a sex toy in a girls room, he might think it’s kind of hot. If not, he probably wont be turned OFF by it. However, my friend thought if a girl found a toy in his room, she might think him a creep. Because really, there aren’t too many male centered toys, aside from the infamous Flesh Light.

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Like most ovary-bearing individuals, I love me some chocolate. I prefer the extra dark variety, probably because I know it’s better for me and have therefore tricked my brain into finding it more delicious than its dairy-ridden counterpart. Seriously, the darker, the better. I have even been known to gnaw on a hunk of Bakers chocolate. So I was excited this past Easter when my mama sent me a care package from Nib Mor, an organic vegan chocolate company founded by two women who met while attending the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, just like me and my madre. (Side note: I am not religious…since I was a little girl Easter has meant one thing and one thing only: mass amounts of candy.)

This was possibly one of the most exciting care packages I have received from my mother, rivaled by one particular package in college containing a can of black beans and a package of expired tropical fruit themed condoms. Love you, Ma!

Inside my box of goodness was four chocolate bars and three different types of drinking chocolate. The cool thing about Nib Mor chocolate is that they are made without any refined sugars. The bars are made with agave and the hot chocolate powder is made with coconut sugar. I kinda think that sugar is sugar regardless, but it is still nice to know that the treats I am eating aren’t made with the refined stuff.

My desk: Chocolate, the obligatory birthday card from the office, a photo roll of my college roomies goofing, and that foxy boy I get naked with hugging me at the Washington Monument.

So what did I do with my chocolate? I ate it duh. Actually, I am currently in training for a Tough Mudder, so that means I am usually ravenously hungry due to my extremely early, extremely long training sessions. So I was eating Nib Mor chocolate bars at my desk at 9 am. Oh yes. I was. And my fav thing about the bars? They are really light, so I can eat the entire bar for something like 250 calories. I don’t really care too much about calories, especially when I am in training, but the truth is I ALWAYS eat an entire chocolate bar when I open one, so it is nice to know I am not eating a meal’s worth of calories in the form of a snack.

Oh, and the drinking chocolate? I have taken to mixing ½ a tablespoon into my morning coffee for some mocha goodness.

But why chocolate?!

Chocolate is my favorite antioxidant, and I get down on it pretty regularly. Rumor has it the stuff (the good, dark stuff) has more antioxidants than wine or green tea! Cacao is an anti-inflammatory, full of healthy good fats which fuel up my brain, and contains Tryptophan which creates serotonin. Say what? This means that chocolate releases the same feel-good vibes that a steamy sex session or cuddle fest produces. And it eases depression! So…chocolate, followed by vigorous boning, followed by some intense snuggling will help battle depression and keep my wonky crazy-girl brain in check. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

Ever had Nib Mor? What is your favorite chocolate company? Do you manage depression with sex and chocolate and exercise and nutrition? Don’t go ditching your meds, people, because I am no doctor!

Now watch this horrifying video about the Tough Mudder, which I am doing in just three days! Eep!

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On our road trip to Sedona, A and I paid a visit to the town’s well-known vegetarian restaurant. What is interesting about ChocolaTree (pronounced Chuh-cola-tree) is that it is 99 percent vegan (some of their sweets have honey) and mostly raw, yet they don’t announce that—probably to avoid scaring away the tourists. I first heard about the place on XOJane.com, because the cousin of an XOJane writer, Liz Armstrong, founded the place. Liz writes about new agey stuff on XOJane, and the place is pretty new agey—crystals galore, a magical herb garden and patio out back, and the heavenly scent of chocolate all up in your nostrils sending gasmy thoughts all throughout your body. Or at least, that’s what happens when I smell chocolate…

The place makes everything right on site, and they have delicious house-made packaged foods for sale, like dehydrated kale chips…they taste a lot better than they sound, scout’s honor.

A and I split their sampler for two and the Viva Burrito. The sampler had the best raw hummus I have ever tasted, guac, “Nori Nachos” and these amazing chia crackers—all house made, all raw, all coregasmy. We asked for hot sauce because we’re total spice lushes, and their house made hot sauce is probably the best thing I have ever put in my mouth. (Shhh, don’t tell my boyfriend.)

The raw Viva Burrito—stuffed with cabbage, red peppers and tomatoes–had this delicious home-made creamy vegan cheese, but unfortunately there was only a smidge of it inside and as a result A and I were fork-fighting over it like some hungry crows.

But the best part of course was dessert. We eye-f*cked the plates of the women next to us before quizzing them on what the best selection was, so that we could better prepare ourselves. Remember that my mother is a pastry chef and makes the best vegan cakes, so I can be a bit snobby about my sweets. However, they did not let us down.

We ordered a slice of creamy pumpkin pie, with a texture of cheese cake and a crust made of coconut. Upon my first bite, I spurted “THECRUSTISCOCONUTTHECRUSTISCOCONUT” to A, to prepare her…we are both coconut fiends. It was phenomenally subtle, not over-the-top cinnamon-y the way some pumpkin treats can be. And the sweetness wasn’t overwhelming, allowing you to really taste the earthy pumpkin goodness. Bangerang, ChocolaTree.

We also shared some of the best vegan chocolate ganache I have ever had. It was decadent and creamy, intensely bitter, not too sweet, melt in your mouth and left me tonguing my fork like it was going to buy me dinner.

Oh girllll, that's not frosting...

I really loved this place, from the warm inviting atmosphere, to the friendly staff–a pleasant man with a hipster mustachio served us–to the blow-your-brains-out food. For me, raw food can be either bland or intense, but ChocolaTree, you make raw look good. Thanks for getting in me!

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