Posts Tagged ice cream

Good Times in Gainesville

Back in June, I traveled to Gainesville to attend a wedding and hang with some old friends.  The groom was my old band mate, and rather than a rehearsal dinner, he wanted to get the band back together.  Between family, friends, wedding guests and old fans who were still in town, we were expecting a sold out show!  We hadn’t played together in years and needed a few practices before we were ready to play, so I arrived a few days early and ended up spending four nights in town.  I hit some of my favorite food spots, and tried some new ones too.

I got into town on Wednesday night and met a few friends at Reggae Shack Cafe.

I like a lot of their vegetarian dishes, and this time I went with the Vegan Steak – handmade seitan simmered in a sweet Carribean sauce with vegetables.  The dish came with cabbage, rice and beans, and fried plantains.  I love this sauce; it’s sweet, savory and spicy.

Festivals, which are like sweet fried hush puppies.  Not very good for you, but they’re so tasty that I order them every time.

I didn’t even know Red Stripe Light existed!

On my way to visit my parents the next morning, I stopped at my absolute favorite coffee shop in Gainesville, Coffee Culture.

Vanilla soy latte.  None of the baked goods were vegan, but the guy at the counter said that they were planning to open their own bakery soon, and would have vegan options in the future.

Needing some solid fuel, I stopped by Bagels & Noodles on University Avenue.  This place used to be called Bagels Unlimited, but it seems they’ve made the odd move of also serving noodles for lunch and dinner.  Regardless, this whole wheat bagel with hummus and lettuce was exactly what I wanted.  The bagel was toasted and chewy, the hummus was garlicky and warm, and the lettuce added the perfect crunch.

Still fairly full from the bagel, I met my parents for lunch in Ocala.  Our go-to restaurant in Ocala is Amrit Palace, but my mom had heard of another Indian restaurant getting good reviews, so we gave that a try instead.

Bay Leaf Indian Restaurant has a buffet for lunch and a full menu for dinner.  After confirming that some of the buffet items were vegan, we sat down and helped ourselves.  I got veggie pakoras, mint chutney, rice, dal, potatoes and peas and tamarind chutney.  The dishes were well spiced and slightly spicy, and very delicious.

Coming back to Gainesville, I was in a rush to grab some food before our scheduled practice, so I grabbed take out from my very favorite falafel place, Gyro Plus.

Bad lighting, delicious pita – falafel, lettuce, tomato, pickles and tahini sauce, with a big side of fries.

I knew it was going to  be a long night of practice, so I also picked up a spinach pie which I ate in the car during a break.

I needed to fuel up the next morning before heading to another practice, so I grabbed a friend and headed to 43rd Street Deli.  They used to have a location on 13th street which was great because they always had vegan items on the menu.  That location closed a few years ago, and I was hoping there would be something I could eat at the original location.

They had vegan pancakes on the menu but were sadly out of them, so I ordered the tempeh scramble with rye toast.  The scramble was more oily and salty than I would have made at home, but it was a nice, hot plate of protein and veggies, and it helped get me ready for more practice.

We practiced during the afternoon, and I don’t know if everyone knows this, but June afternoons in Central Florida are HOT.  It was possibly the hottest I’ve ever been.  I went back to my friend Janeen’s house where I was staying and was getting ready for the show that night, when Janeen came home with this:

Raspberry sorbet!  She must’ve been reading my mind, and got the sorbet for me when she stopped for frozen yogurt.  It was the perfect cold treat to keep me going.

To get a little more family time in, I met my parents, brother and sister-in-law for dinner at The Top.  I have a few favorites at The Top but selected a special that sounded really good – Tempeh Chimichurri with steamed broccoli and roasted fingerling potatoes.  The chimichurri was much more thick than those I’ve had in the past, but was herbey and citrusey and very delicious.

The show went really well, considering we hadn’t played together in years.  I was made to wear a cowboy hat because we covered a Mley Cyrus song.  Don’t ask.  Don’t ask about the other costumes either…

The next morning I met a few friends for brunch at The Jones.  I went to The Jones once or twice when I lived in Gainesville and was never that impressed, but over the past few years I’ve heard nothing but positive reviews so I figured it was worth another try.

The breakfast menu says that almost any dish can be made vegan, and I chose the Blackhawk Burrito – soy merguez, onions, bell peppers and jalapenos in a flour tortilla with organic black beans, topped with salsa fresca and avocado.  Served with homefries, organic black beans and brown rice.  This was a hugely filling and delicious breakfast.

I wasn’t sure what kind of food would be available at the wedding and was getting peckish by mid-afternoon, so I met Janeen for one last ladydate at Karma Kreme.  Karma Kreme opened soon after I moved away, which is probably a good thing.  Having freshly made vegan ice cream available that close to home could’ve been bad for my health!

An entire half of the ice cream case is dedicated to vegan ice creams, and they boast a variety of soy, rice and coconut-based ice creams.

Before I got to the sugary stuff, I needed some real food.  Not all of their sandwiches are available daily, and I felt very lucky that they had the Tofurkey Reuben that day.  Tofurkey slices on rye with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and vegan cheese, pressed and served hot.  This sandwich was gooey and fatty and wonderful.

You can’t really see how amazing this sundae is, what with the chocolate ice cream, coffee ice cream, cookie pieces, caramel and housemade coconut whipped cream.  It was so good!  If I still lived in town, I think I would be giving Karma Kreme plenty of business.

The wedding was great.  It was actually at the same venue Janeen’s wedding was at last year, and it was really interesting to see what two different couples did with the same space.  It was wonderful to see so many old friends, and the wedding was complete with 40’s brought in from Georgia and a nacho cheese fountain.  As my British friends said, “brilliant”!

Me on the right, with two very pretty lady friends.

reception aftermath

Sadly, I had to head home the next day.  I picked up another hummus bagel on the way to the airport and called it a trip.  I always said that it was very easy to be vegan in Gainesville, and it’s even more so now with restaurants like Karma Kreme and Boca Fiesta around, and mainstays like The Top, Reggae Shack, Gyro Plus and Satchel’s still in business.

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Nature’s Express

In all my excitement about the 31 before 31 wrap up, I forgot to tell you about my super excellent post-hike meal.  I took a picnic and snack with me on the mountain, but quickly realized when I was driving home that I was famished, almost to the point of being sick.  I decided that a giant meal at Nature’s Express in Berkeley was exactly what I needed!  I had only been to Nature’s Express once just after they opened, so it was high time I tried it again.

Apple, kale and cucumber juice.  I was hoping for a green juice with a hint of apple, but this was quite the other way around.  Still tasty and hydrating!

I chose the Mushroom Cheese Burger with the Chik-Un patty, and air-baked sweet potato fries.  They make their own ketchup and mayo, which is pretty cool.

I know this picture isn’t very appetizing, but you can trust me that the burger was great.  Oddly, I didn’t really like the first few bites, but once I got into it I was very happy.  They grilled the chik-un patty well, so that some parts were charred and a little crispy.

I was definitely full enough that I didn’t need dessert, but…vegan soft serve!  And, the flavor of the day was vanilla-almond, which is right up my alley.  The flavor and texture of this soft serve was fantastic, and the ice cream headache was well worth it.

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Mendocino Birthday

My birthday was this weekend, and I asked Dave to take me to Mendocino as my present.  We only went for one day and one night, so we didn’t have a whole lot of time to sight see, but we had a great time and ate some excellent food.  Despite living in the bay area for over two years now, I haven’t spent much time in the north bay, which is really something I should remedy!

Mendocino is a good three and a half hour drive from home, on quite possibly the windiest road I have ever driven.  By the time we arrived, we were starving.  Thanks to a timely post on Vegansaurus, I knew just where to go.  We pulled into the tiny town of Mendocino and parked right in front of The Mendocino Cafe.

I took it as a good sign that they had my favorite flower, alstroemeria, on the table.

As suggested in the Vegansaurus post, I ordered the Thai Burrito with tofu.  I thought the whole bush of cilantro on top was an interesting touch!  This didn’t taste authentically Thai per say, but maybe “California Thai”, by which I mean the blend of flavors suggested Thai food.  The inside was stuffed with onion, zucchini, red pepper, celery, brown rice, sauteed tofu and peanut sauce, and it was served with the most delicious chili sauce.  I also had a glass of malbec, because when it’s your birthday and you’re in Mendocino, you can have wine with lunch.  This was a tasty and filling lunch, and the service was very friendly, and I would definitely return to the Mendocino Cafe.

After lunch we wandered around a bit, and came across this health food store, Corners of the Mouth, which appears to inhabit what used to be a church.  The store was small, but had a good bulk section and lots of healthy staples, including plenty of vegan stuff.

I bought both powdered and flaked dulse from Mendocino Sea Vegetable Company.  I love dulse!

We settled in to Patterson’s Pub for a while to watch the end of the A’s game.

I believe this was Dave’s favorite part of the trip…

After checking in to our room and resting for a bit, we headed for the main attraction – dinner at Raven’s Restaurant.  Raven’s was the reason I chose Mendocino; it’s a fully vegan, gourmet restaurant in the Stanford Inn, about two minutes south of Mendocino.  If we could’ve afforded it, we would’ve just stayed at the inn, but…the rooms are a little pricey.

The Stanford Inn grounds have a wonderful garden, with lots of vegetables and edible flowers and other pretty plants.

giant fennel!

giant chard!

There was also a llama and two horses, which sadly I did not get close enough to pet.  I think the llama might have spit at me, anyway.

We arrived a bit early and enjoyed a local beer by the fireplace.  The restaurant is fully vegan, and not afraid to show it!  They had a host of vegan books on sale in the lobby, including some health-related books.

local wines

The Stanford Inn is very dog-friendly.  I watched this little guy while we waited for our table.

Amuse bouche (so fancy!) –  sweet rice balls with some sort of tamari sauce.  These were delicious, and tasted of charred onion in a good way.  Dave was abhorred when I ate the leaf underneath.  I’m pretty sure it was just a shiso leaf!

The wine list tells you what is vegan!  This is a very cool feature that I’ve never seen anywhere else.

I chose the Meyer Family Cellars Syrah, and liked it a lot.  I’m a sucker for a good shiraz.

Appetizer #1 – Spicy King “Crab” Roll, made of mushrooms, with spicy sauce and cucumber salad.  The bigger pieces without sauce were okay, but the pieces with spicy sauce were outstanding.  Before I went vegan, I would order veggie sushi just to have something to dip in spicy sauce, and it had been a long time since I had it!  Dave was again abhorred when I ate the little flower on the plate.  I told him they wouldn’t put anything on the plate that wasn’t edible, but I guess he’s not into the idea of eating flowers.  It tasted nice!  Tasted like you would expect a flower to taste.

Appetizer #2 – Crab(less) cake with some sort of tangy sauce, fried capers and arugula.  (The menu changes seasonally, so I don’t remember exactly what the sauce was, but it was delicious!)  There were whole oyster mushrooms in the cakes, which gave it an interesting texture.  The only small thing I would change for this dish would be to lightly dress the arugula, since it was a little dry.  Very minor complaint!

My entree – potato gratin with maple-glazed vegetables and oyster mushrooms.  Dave was flabbergasted that carrots come in a color other than orange!  Damned if I don’t know what the sauce on top of the potatoes was, but I could’ve dove into a pool of it and eaten my way out.  There was a green puree under the potatoes that you can’t really see, which was a nice counterpoint to the potatoes and sauce.

Dave’s entree – house-made ravioli with some sort of squash filling, cashew alfredo sauce, kale, leek and mushrooms.  This sauce was really amazing too!  Raven’s really knows what they’re doing with those creamy sauces.

For dessert, we chose the bananas foster, which came with house-made chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice creams.  The chocolate and strawberry ice creams were outstanding.

I would highly recommend Raven’s Restaurant.  Even Dave, who doesn’t always love vegan food, said he really enjoyed the meal, and was stuffed by the end of it.  The food was fantastic, the setting was beautiful and relaxing, and the service was impeccable.  I can only hope that some day I get to choose from the breakfast menu!  And pet the llama.

After a good night’s sleep, we headed south, stopping at The Little River Inn for brunch.

More alstroemeria!

I ordered the Vegan Rancheros, which is corn tortillas with black beans, spinach, green onion, peppers, chiles, pico de gallo and avocado.  There’s another corn tortilla under that pile of green.  This was very, very tasty, but unfortunately not as filling as I had hoped.  Regardless, I never complain about finding a vegan menu item at a non-vegan restaurant, and they had soy milk for the coffee, which is always a bonus.

I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the scenery.  By the way, I haven’t forgotten about my 31 by 31.  I’ll post a roundup soon, then get to working on 32 by 32!

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Two Amazing Potlucks: Dumplings and Rainbows

My friend Amey has the BEST potlucks.  Whenever Amey hosts, I’m happy to make the drive down to Santa Cruz because I wouldn’t want to miss it!

Back in July, the Santa Cruz PPKers had the brilliant idea for a Dumpling Potluck.  Anything was fair game, as long as it was in dumpling form.  The turnout was smaller than usual, but the food was great.

My contribution was “chicken” and dumplings, a reinvention of a dish I used to enjoy every year at Thanksgiving with my very southern family.

I based the soup on this recipe, and used a baked chicken seitan recipe for the chicken part.  I wasn’t thrilled with how the seitan came out, but the dumplings and broth were dead on.  Fantastic.

Mini Empanadas

Chinese Barbecue Seitan Buns with a Spicy Soy-Ginger Dipping Sauce

Some sort of tasty, doughy dumpling with a German name and delicious tomato herb gravy.

Mini Farmer’s Market Tamales with Pico de Gallo

Savory plate.  I liked that everything was mini-sized.

With some chicken and dumplings and blood orange soda.

Mini Cherry Pies with Marzipan

Mochi Daifuku with Red Bean Paste

Lavender Berry Cream Pie.  The crust on this pie was so good!

Dessert plate, with vanilla ice cream.

For a more timely and detailed account, check out Amey’s post here.  While all of the food was supremely delicious, we quickly realized that it was all very beige and didn’t exactly leave us feeling light in our loafers.  Someone came up with the idea of a rainbow theme for our next potluck, with the goal of more colorful and less carby food in mind.

So, a few weeks ago we got together at Amey’s house again to taste the rainbow.  We tried to go for a double rainbow of both savory and sweet, in tribute to the double rainbow video.  I came to the color-claiming party late, and accepted a challenge by choosing a blue savory dish.  I wasn’t really sure what blue foods I could use other than blue cornmeal, and then I learned that you can dye foods blue with red cabbage water.  Red cabbage basically acts as a pH indicator, and turns colors depending on its pH.  Fun with science!

I decided to make blue pupusas, with hopefully blue curtido.  First, I cooked some small white beans in the red cabbage water.

Then I refried the beans with onion, garlic, cumin and coriander.

Then I used cabbage water for the liquid in making the pupusa dough.  I tried to make the curtido blue as well by cooking red cabbage in baking soda water, and it turned the cabbage a beautiful teal color.  Unfortunately, when I added the vinegar-based dressing the acidity turned the cabbage back to purple.  It was actually kind of fortunate, as the violet portion of our rainbow would have been lacking otherwise.

Amey decorated the table with construction paper and color-matched beverages.  From left to right:

Red – Borscht and berries
Orange – Annato-coconut soup

Yellow – Mini Corn Muffins with Maple Frosting, Mac n’ Cheese, Mini Lemon Bundt Cakes

Green – Green Tomato Bruschetta (on a snail plate!) and Basil-Coconut-Lime Ice Cream

Blue – my Pupusas, which actually turned out kind of blue, and Blueberry Cocoa Cupcakes

Violet – Red Cabbage Curtido and Lavender Simple Syrup hiding in the back.

Gorgeous Rainbow Salad to finish things off.

All together now, with rainbow steamer.

I made less pupusas than there were people, so I cut them in half to reveal the pretty blue insides.

Savory plate, with both soups.  Everything was so fresh and tasty!  We definitely had more veggies than usual due to the color requirements.  The mac n cheese was based on the VegNews recipe, and it was one of the best I’ve ever had.

Dessert plate, upon which everything was awesome!  The standout was the basil-coconut-lime ice cream, which was outrageously good.  The lemon bundt was also intensely lemony and wonderful.

Sadly, I don’t have any people pictures from either party, because once I sat down with all the delicious food I just wanted to eat and enjoy the company.  Amey has more details and some people pictures on her blog post here.  Can’t wait for another Santa Cruz potluck!

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Product Reviews

The main purpose of this blog is to feature food that I make at home, as evidenced by the name Vegan Homemade.  And for the most part I do eat homemade food.  I am human though, and I don’t always have the time or energy to make absolutely everything from scratch.  Especially now that I live close to both a Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, I’ve been buying quite a few packaged vegan products, and I’d like to share my thoughts on some that I have had in the past months.

I tried these GoodBelly probiotic drinks because they were on sale and I was intrigued.  I eat soy yogurt with probiotics pretty regularly and don’t have digestive issues, so I normally wouldn’t have bought them.  I also take a multivitamin every day and eat a balanced diet, so I’m not worried about getting my vitamins.

But, if you’re in the market for an easy source of probiotics or vitamins, GoodBelly might be worth a try.  I try not to drink my calories, and these little guys didn’t do much to fill me up so I felt like I was adding calories to my day, which to me is not a good thing.  They taste quite nice though.  Fruity, not too sweet, and tangy, the drink is made from mostly fruit juices and purees and some oat flour.  So in addition to being vegan they’re soy-free and wheat-free, great for people with intolerances or allergies.  I probably won’t buy them again, but I would tell anyone who might be interested to give it a try.  It comes in four flavors, and I’d be willing to bet that they’re all good.

Speaking of probiotics, I gave this fairly new brand of dairy free yogurt a try.  It was just…okay.  Good, not great.  Silk soy yogurt is the standard by which I judge other yogurts, and I really love the Silk yogurt so it’s a tough competition.

I also tried one of the So Delicious coconut milk yogurts, and for me it was much too coconutty.  For those who like coconut flavor it might be alright, but not for me.  I also thought it was too thick.

I dont’ dislike all Turtle Mountain products though – far, far from it.  Let’s talk about their ice cream.

A few days ago at work we were talking about sweets.  (I work with three other women, so we have certain things in common.)  We were discussing what our favorite types of dessert are, like cookies or cake or what have you, and I couldn’t really name a sweet that I can’t resist.  Sure, I have a cookie here or there with my lunch, and I’ll eat a vegan cupcake if it’s in the same room as me, but I don’t eat dessert very often.  Most of the time if I want something sweet after a meal I’ll have fruit, dried fruit or non-caffeinated, sweetened tea.  But I digress…

It occurred to me a few days after this discussion that my weakness is ice cream, which I don’t keep in the house very often for this exact reason, which is why I couldn’t put my finger on it.  If I open a pint of ice cream I’m probably going to eat half of it straight out of the container, so I just don’t buy it very often.  But geez Louise there are about a billion kinds of vegan ice cream available at Whole Foods and sometimes a girl can’t resist.

I love peanut butter and I love chocolate, so I don’t really have to tell you how much I like this Peanut Butter Zig Zag ice cream.  I like to have a lot of stuff in my ice creams, like chunks and swirls and whatnot, and the pb in this ice cream is fantastic.

I went back to the Purely Decadent but wanted to try something different, so I went with Chocolate Brownie Almond, because I like all those things.  I like them all together for sure.  In fact, I’m eating this right now as I type.  My singular complaint, and it’s a small one, would be that the almond pieces are soft and there aren’t enough brownie pieces, but I’m not really complaining.  This ice cream is so rich that I can open the container, eat just a little bit, and put it back in the freezer.

For the times I do want cookies, I really like these Peanut Butter Cremes by Back to Nature.  (As well as TJ’s Jojo’s and Newman-O’s.)  They are salty and sweet and not too high in calories.

Another sweet and salty treat is these Peanut Butter Granola Bars by Nature’s Path.  I take two snacks with me to work every day, and some mornings I don’t have time to put anything together.  These are perfect for grabbing, and also perfect for those times you want to tuck something into your purse in case you find yourself ravenous with no other options available.  They’re tasty and chewy and chunky and all around good.  I also tried the Peanut Choco’ version and while they were just as good, the chocolate flavor wasn’t that prominent, so I’ll probably stick with plain ol’ pb.

UNLESS I find their Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, which I know exist but I have yet to find.  When I was younger I ate about a ton of those Quaker chocolate chip granola bars, and I think I would go nuts for the Nature’s Path version.

Speaking of Nature’s Path, I would like to give them a special mention, as I have enjoyed every product of theirs that I have ever tried.  It’s just good stuff all around.  I pretty much always have a box of their cereal in the pantry, my favorite being Optimum Slim.  Their Raisin Bran is great too.

Crackers to me are like ice cream in the way that if I open a box I could easily eat half of it if I’m not careful.  I usually have a box of crackers on hand, but try to reserve them for rounding out lunches and an occasional snack.  These crackers are like my crack.  They have much the same effect on me that Tings do, meaning that I just want to eat them all, all the time.  I can’t NOT buy them though, because they’re so flipping good.  Eco-Planet also apparently makes cookies and pretzel crackers, but I’m pretty sure I’ll always only buy these cheddar crackers.  If you can’t find them, I would say they’re worth ordering online and paying shipping for.  But beware, you will want them again.  And again.

Another brand of crackers I really like is Mary’s Gone Crackers.  They’re gluten free and super crunchy, and I love eating them with faux-egg salad or “cheese” slices, or just by themselves.  I’ve had the original flavor as well as this black pepper flavor and they’re both great.

I’ve been looking for a way to add some protein to my breakfasts, so I picked up these sausage patties last time I went to Whole Foods.  I’ve tried many kinds of frozen veggie sausage links and patties, some good and most not-so-good.  These fall somewhere in the middle.

I like that each patty is only 80 calories, and the flavor is pretty good.  The texture is odd though, I would describe it as spongy.  And the patty is hard to cut with just a fork.  These are okay, but I’ll probably try a different brand next time I’m in the market for sausage.  If anyone shops at Publix, I seem to remember that they had a Greenwise brand veggie sausage patty that was good.

Every time I run out of tea I seem to buy a new kind.  I like almost every tea I’ve tried from Tazo.  (I think Tazo used to have an apricot white tea that was absolutely AMAZING, and they don’t seem to carry it anymore.)  I happened to be shopping in TJ’s when I was out of green tea, so I decided to try this Blueberry Green Tea.  It’s very good, and I think it was only $1.99 for the box which is probably what drew me to it in the first place.  It smells like a blueberry donut!

Whew, that’s it for now.  I think that I’ll document new products as I try them in order to share my ever-important opinions with you all.  Although you can still expect the majority of my posts to be homemade food, I think product reviews can be fun!

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VeganMoFo: A Very Vegan Weekend

I’m still not doing so well with the whole VeganMoFo thing.  I’m sure I’m not the only one though, it’s the thought that counts.  Right?  At any rate, tomorrow we will have internets at the house and I will no longer have to go to the public library to get it!

Last weekend was a very, very vegan weekend.  It started Friday night with the VegNews Vegan a Go-Go party for Sarah Kramer’s new cookbook of the same name.  It was a small party, so I’m glad I got a ticket when I did.  The site was a salon by day, and it was really cool how they opened it up and turned it into a party room.  There were beers on ice in the hair washing sinks, and most everything else was cleared out save a few styling chairs.  I came hungry which was good, because the food was great.  It was the “passed around on trays” kind of party hors dourves, including “rocket dogs” (pigs in blankets), “knuckle sandwiches” (some sort of smooth eggish salad on toast), mushrooms pate and onion dip.  Drinks were “pink ladies” (vodka and lemonade), PBR, and root beer floats made with organic root beer and Maggie Mud ice cream.  Dessert was coconut islands and chocolate chip cookies.  The soundtrack was Sinatra.  There were door prizes (which I won none of), and Sarah Kramer did some Q&A.  She is just as adorable in person as you would think.  I came armed with my camera and intentions of taking food pictures, but the room was so packed I felt it was better not to try.  I did get a picture with Sarah though!

Saturday was the first day of The SF Vegetarian Society’s World Veg Festival Weekend.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There was food for sale, samples galore, food demos, talks, music, AR groups and other booths.  There were a few demos and talks I wanted to go too, but I got frustrated during the first demo I attended.  The chef (Jesse Miner) did a great job talking about heirloom beans, but some people in the crowd were asking incredibly basic question, some even completely off topic.  Jesse was extremely kind and patient.  I guess I was in a cranky mood, because I didn’t want to sit through any more talks.  We spend the rest of the time walking around and marveling at all the samples and information.  Oh, and eating.

I started with a taquito and beans, covered in SPICY avocado salsa.

My first treat of the day, a scrumptious brownie from Sugar Beat Sweets, which is run by Melisser of The Urban Housewife.

Miss Melisser, with her lovely assistant-for-the-day Mel, of Veglicious.

One of my favorite discoveries of the day:  Gone Nuts!  They make the most amazing flavored nuts, and had samples out of every kind.  I bought my favorites:  Maple walnuts (ridiculously better than they sound) and cacao almonds and raisins.  Supposedly they’re available in grocery stores around these parts, so I look forward to buying them again.

I ate a big cup of Maggie Mudd ice cream.  It was just as good as I thought it would be.  I forget exactly what the flavor were called, but on top is some sort of rum/caramel flavor which was extremely rummy.  Underneath was “Reversed Tarmack”.  All I remember is there was peanut butter and chocolate, and that’s all that matters.

Done with Veg Fest, we weren’t quite ready to leave.  Luckily the botanical gardens were right next door.  The gardens were large and beautifully layed out with lots of walking paths.  And the squirrels weren’t afraid to say hi.

I have to conclude that these squirrels get fed human food quite a bit, because they were begging the way a dog or a cat would!  A few of them sat up straight on their haunches like prairie dogs do, and one even raised a paw just like a dog begging for table scraps.

I went a little beserk with the plant picture taking, as I tend to do.  A few of my faves:

On the way out of Veg Fest I stopped back by Sugar Beat Sweets for some cupcakes.  I was going to a birthday party that night, so I got one for me, one for the birthday boy, and one for bf.  It was a gesture, really.  He doesn’t like cupcakes, so I knew I’d probably get to eat it…

In the front is PB&J, back is Mint Chocolate, and left is Orange Dreamsicle.  The birthday boy chose PB&J so in the end I ate half of the other two.  They were both great, but I have to say I was impressed with how good the Orange Dreamsicle cupcake was.  I didn’t think that would be a flavor I’d like that much, but it was downright great.

That does it for today!  Tomorrow I will be in possession of internets and then it’s full steam ahead.

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