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I refuse to call this "mac and cheese," because it's not. It's its own tasty thing. But... it's a lot more mac and cheesy than a lot of substitutes that dare go by that name. It's vegan; it can be gluten free if you use a gluten-free pasta.

Cooked pasta shells
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 of an onion, chopped
1/8 cup tahini
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup cooked squash, mashed
1 cup green peas
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika

Sautee onion. Separately, mix some of the water with the tahini until it pours easily. Add tahini to pot; it'll take on a roasted flavor if you give it some heat while stirring to avoid burning. Add squash, paprika, green peas and remainder of water gradually. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix with pasta and serve.
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Improvised this curry a couple nights back, still devouring leftovers. It's straight up tasty. It also happens to be vegan and IBS friendly at the same time, which is pretty unusual.

2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic
1 small onion
2 large carrots, chopped coarsely
2 large stalks celery, chopped coarsely
1 bell pepper, chopped coarsely
1 cup green beans, chopped coarsely
1 cup cooked squash
1/2 cup cashews
1 can (10 oz?) light coconut milk
1 can water
1 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice
1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns, crushed with the flat of a knife
1/8 cup freshly grated ginger
Basil for garnish

Sautee the onion in the oil. Add the garlic. Reduce heat. Add 1/4 of the coconut milk, paprika, peppercorns, 5-spice and ginger and return to simmer. Add the rest of the coconut milk and water, gradually adding the rest of the ingredients as you go, beginning with the carrots and moving to the more delicate vegetables. Simmer for 20 minutes. Serve over rice.
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Blackbird Pizza (6th and Lombard, former location of Gianna's in Philadelphia) is the best Italian-style vegan sandwich and pizza joint ever. Seriously, I can't recommend it enough.

This time we had the cubano (cuban-style sandwich), a slice of pizza and the chocolate chip cheesecake, along with cucumber soda (!) and lemongrass soda (!!). Everything was delicious. On a previous visit I tried the seitan "cheese steak," which was also nomtastic.

Our dessert did NOT suffer from the usual "pour on the sugar to compensate!" vegan dessert nastiness. It was very tasty and confidently so.

A satisfying lowbrow meal, prepared with suspiciously highbrow skill (the owner is rumored to be a former chef at Horizons), and I don't feel one bit nasty afterwards. This is a place my inner 10-year-old and my outer 40-year-old can agree on.

Grub, bub

Oct. 18th, 2010 12:09 pm
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We have two fast food Indian joints now in Center City Philadelphia: Minar Palace and Mumbai Bistro. Both come off as fancier restos from the outside, especially Minar. I didn't realize it was a fast-food establishment until I was inside.

Minar Palace is horrible, everything is made of pure grease. Definitely a no-fly zone.

Nevertheless we tried Mumbai Bistro last night. It is really good, almost Tiffin quality. They label what's vegan, gluten free, etc. They have a schedule of buffet items available on each day of the week. Buffet is $4.50 a pound. If you go nuts adding naan and pickle and a beverage you'll come in around $10 per person. Recommended.

Mumbai Bistro is located at 930 Locust Street. (Yes, I know their website is of the godawful "can't copy and paste" variety, whatever it's good food)


Nov. 24th, 2008 10:12 am
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Last night, 1130pm: OMG starving. Want coconut lime scones. Really badly.

11:35pm: zest an entire lime rind into the mix.


12:30pm: ITCHY ITCHY ITCHY ARGH! Tongue swollen, totally have that "you screwed up and drank orange juice, which you have always been allergic to" feeling. Scary, for anyone who knows how serious allergies can potentially be. Take a claritin and two ibuprofen, for lack of anything more apropos. Finally get to sleep an hour later.

Apparently I am allergic to lime zest, especially in substantial quantities. I have suspected this before but this was sort of a perfect test and hard to ignore. The only other interesting incredient was coconut milk, and I've eaten a whole lot of Thai food in my life without falling down.

Lime zest shows up in other things I eat; the reason why it has only been a mild irritant in the past is probably that there wasn't such an epic amount of it, plus it was often cooked longer (these were just baked for ten minutes).

I hate being a freak who's not allowed to eat stuff (as opposed to choosing to be a vegetarian of my own free will), but I think I have to put lime zest on the no-fly list. Phooey. The good news is that lime juice has never given me any troubles. It stands to reason that there are compounds in the skin of a fruit that aren't necessarily inside it.
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"—I like this girl. Lots. A+++. But lemme tellya, she ain't afraid to offend my delicate vegetarian sensibilities."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. On Wednesday she ate lamb right in front of me."


"Totally. Dinner stops a bleating heart."
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[ profile] solestria asks, "so what did you do last night?"

I picked up Eleanor from her after school activities a little early and brought her to the Rosin Box to purchase her first pair of jazz shoes. Eleanor already has ballet flats for her ballet class, but they are soft-soled, therefore not appropriate for her salsa class. According to the proprietor, the jazz shoes we purchased are Mike Andino's recommended practice shoe for salsa. and they are only $30. I could've purchased heels she'll outgrow in five minutes for $75, but I did not. I could have purchased an extremely handsome pair of English shoes for myself for $120, but I did not.

On the way east from there, we naturally passed Capogiro, and succumbed to the inevitable. O the pain. Half pumpkin, half dark chocolate for me. Eleanor had half chocolate, half vanilla. Total: $10.

We resumed our trek and soon passed Genji Sushi Express at 1720 Sansom Street. I'd already made dinner plans of my own with [ profile] nohx, but it was dinnertime for Eleanor, who promptly inhaled california and avocado rolls. I nibbled on edamame. $15.

We stumbled across an Obama volunteer office and picked up new buttons. Little 50-cent ones for both of us, and a $1 "Woman for Obama" pin for Eleanor.

There was no getting home without passing Borders! Restraint was shown: paperbacks only. Eleanor bought Flyte, the second book in the Septimus Heap series. I picked up Ilium, the first in a newer series by Dan Simmons, author of Hyperion. I recently reread part of the Hyperion series and was sad to finish Rise of Endymion. I... may have had something in my eye at the end. $12, all told. Eleanor also spent $6 of her own money on an Eleanor Roosevelt bookmark.

After dropping off Eleanor at her mother's I met [ profile] nohx for dinner at the Royal Tavern. It is good to have palz in one's own 'hood. I spent $10 (with tip) on the tempeh club sandwich, which is tasty. I avoided the temptation of more expensive fare... but mostly because the advertised pumpkin ale did not exist. Also, I am still a rueda newbie and I'm okay with that, but I don't like to screw up for reasons that are within my control. So drinking before class is not a great plan.

Around nine-thirty I hit rueda class at Estilo, which was even better than usual. The rueda actually flowed as it so rarely does when moves are being taught. $10 (which I forgot to pay... oops... I'll pay Saturday Mike!) I also met, or re-met, Julie of Salsa in the Suburbs, a great latin dance studio in Media, PA (suburban friends take note). This morning I sent her a login for the Salsadelphia back end; she's my guinea pig for Project Let Everybody List Their Own Stuff. I'm excited to see how it plays out.

Afterwards I felt pretty done in, but there's a new salsa night at Glam on 2nd street in Old City and I had to give it a shot, seeing as Joe Figueroa is involved. Also, I had the impression it was free.

So I went. And it was not free, it was $7. There were maybe twelve people in there, a good mix of men and women... all sitting down. That was a little odd, but I recognized some people so I made the decision to shell out a few bucks and head on in and scoop up a girl.

And boom: in this tiny little place, there were exactly enough men and women to go 'round; everyone could dance at least a little, some people could dance a whole lot better than me; everyone was incredibly nice. And we all rocked out until a little after midnight and decided to go home at pretty much the same time. Yes, separately.

A wonderful day. Also: a $96 day. This is why cash is never petty and it is why I don't indulge in "little, affordable" things every time I get the urge. It's also where all my damn money went in the nineties (well, the portion of it that isn't in my house). You gotta make choices. I don't regret indulging yesterday at all— I was overdue— but you can bet this is not how I roll on a daily basis.
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Two weeks ago: brooding about whether anyone will show up for puppet karaoke. Decide to quiet my own jitters by buying a ticket in advance. No point worrying about it after that.

Thursday: guest list begins to emerge from the murk. Hey, people are coming! When did this happen?

Friday: Live in my livejournal, pledges to fix a bug that threatened to mildly inconvenience me on my birthday, because that makes the baby jesus cry.

Saturday: a small army descends on Ly Michaels.

Alex Strang and the Puppet Karaoke crew put on a show with many sweet spots, overwhelmingly led by "Sarah Palin," who explains the urgent national security need to shoot any animals standing between herself and a clear view of Russia. Later she is confronted by "Read Fox," on behalf of the animal community. Many opportunities are seized to showcase Palin's self-lampooning comments in recent interviews. A++++.

There were some... brown spots as well. I gotta say I'm not crazy about Funion Foo, whose only joke seems to be an inability to pronounce the letter "R," or about the new "retarded librarian" character, who similarly descended quickly into "retards are funny" territory. I understand that something more Borat-like is being attempted here, but that got lost and both bits became one-dimensional and annoying.

But the Palin sketch more than redeems all, and if it is not up on YouTube in the next five minutes, I will dispatch a trained flock of marbled murrelets to peck Alex Strang into submission.

Emcee Robert Drake was congenial as always, though the hoped-for hordes of Sex Dwarfers did not materialize on this particular occasion. No matter, we brought a helluva posse ourselves.

Remarkably, [ profile] jeremym— excuse me, Tony T from New Yawk— whose brilliant riff on a vacation trip to Lancaster ("we bought a lot of jam and butter and put it on muffins. They should call it Vacation Muffinland") segued nicely into Weird Al's "Amish Paradise." And also [ profile] xtingu, whose fist-sized tough guy rocked out with more cock out (and more bass) than pretty much any male performer of the evening.

I followed my usual "POGMA '05" philosophy— no premeditation, all puppet assembly and character creation must take place on site— and wound up with "Megene Debs," the Presidential candidate of the Antisocialist Party ("that Sarah Palin is eating into our base"). Megene shredded the Talking Heads' "Wild Wild Life" while propping up one loose eyeball and sweetly promised to kill Robert last.

Thanks to everyone who came out to help me celebrate!

* * *

Afterwards I headed over to Brasils briefly to get my dance on a little. This was clearly gilding the lily but it's my birthday and I'll overdo it if I want to. The DJ played a few bachatas, which I made good use of... and then a thirty-minute block of reggaeton. zzZZzzZzzz. Time to go home and get some sleep, mon petit velociraptors.

* * *

An aside about the venue: Ly Michaels-provided buffet was billed as asian fusion but turned out to be straightforward corner takeout Chinese. And not bad, as that goes. But there was no hint of the intriguing stuff you see in their dinner menu. I think they could have done better for the price. The vegetarian options appeared to consist entirely of salad, and though I'd called ahead to be sure there was a decent option the front of house staff came close to just saying "eh" and dropping the ball. That's not really okay in 2008, especially in a place that clearly aspires to some swankiness. But eventually they did find someone who knew the fried rice was vegetarian.
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Week three of rueda at Estilo! I played hooky from salsa and bachata tonight to have dinner with mah pal [ profile] jeremym, who called me up and said "meet me for Thai or I'll kill this marbled murrelet with my bare hands" or something along these lines. I acquiesced to this demand and we went to Tamarind on South Street, which is surprisingly affordable and tasty. Since the change of management at Pad Thai I don't really recommend them anymore, so Tamarind wins.

But never mind that, you want to hear about rueda calls.

A few that I remember well enough to try to write them down, which is a good sign. When I know darn well I didn't hear the name of the call clearly, I've italicized it.

Evelyn (Eva-LEEN). This starts with an apache whip: break back but not too far, bring your left arm around behind her back by three and transfer her right hand to your left arm, getting out of her way so that she can unroll and pass by you on five-six-seven as you execute a hook turn of your own. You'll need to release her hand on seven. You have exchanged places. Now lead her in a simple right turn, making sure she steps into the circle on one. End with a cross-body lead.

Asilico (Obviously, I didn't hear this one right). Begin with a cross-body lead, opening up on three as usual; after that, you STAY in that open-to-the-center position, and she rolls out to face into the circle as well. On eight, tap in the circle with your left foot. On one-two, execute a J-hook across your body so that she can execute a double... right turn; I think. You're snapping and letting go on two, not three (I was constantly late with this).

Coca-cola. Not that different from its usual meaning... open up for a cross-body, but bring your left hand to her right shoulder, and free spin inside turn her toward you on five. Then a cross-body lead.

Quarto con a rolla. Enchufle. Then, on the next set of eight, walk in a circle around the your next partner. Then cross-body lead her.

There's more... I'm getting the hang of it a little at a time.
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Mah weekend:

Friday afternoon: Mary returns mah axe after several months in limbo (aka her house) after the wrap of our 2008 48 hour film. Yes!

Friday night: dinner with [ profile] glaucon and [ profile] arguchik and about 900 friends. Would have liked to spend more time with both of them, but they were only in town for a night, so whaddaya gonna do? Eleanor was an excellent sport and didn't melt, far as I could tell anyway, although she was very much relieved when I asked if she was ready to go home.

We ate at Pagoda in Old City (they used to be, they sold that site to Piercing Pagoda... not unlike Brasils, which sold to a gambling site). I ordered the "baked tofu with coconut milk sauce," which wasn't quite what I expected... it was the core of an entree, without the entree... ordering this dish along with a separate vegetable dish would probably make sense. Not that this prevented me from devouring it entire, mind you.

Saturday: swimwear shopping for Eleanor at the South Philly Target (Mifflin Street just west of Columbus Boulevard). The local Target isn't set up to glorify pedestrian and transit access the way the Gallery Mall on Market Street is— yes, yes, you hate the Gallery Mall but it really is convenient and I refuse to be a snob about something that's actually designed to suit my life. Still, the Target is walkable for us South Philly types. Unfortunately they were out of coverups in Eleanor's size. But we wound up with some back to school clothes and a new backpack for little miss "Pink Is So Last Year."

Then, Eleanor's first salsa and ballet classes. She liked them... a lot.

The extreme awesomeness of sharing dance with my kid? Not lost on me. The extreme convenience of Eleanor taking classes in the same building while I brush up in Mike Andino's basic salsa class and stretch myself in his intermediate class? Not lost on me either. This was a very good day indeed.

3pm: dropped Eleanor off at her ma's. Headed home. Wound up working on a new song for the first time in months instead. Hey, my guitar just came home. Attempted to shoot some video, ran into the fact that my tripods are still in a similar limbo, somewhere. Dammit.

Along the way I discovered that the recording feature of my cheesy little MP3 player is very handy for making sure I don't completely forget how a song goes.

9:30pm: hit Brasils. Danced my ass off. I was a little concerned that everyone with skillz would be at either the Atrium or Shampoo, but nope. Mike's lesson drew a good crowd at the start of the evening, and there were quite a few good partners to spend the rest of the evening with.

12:45am: left Brasils. Came home. Watched tasteless, painfully funny Fur TV episode. Got to sleep way too late.

Sunday, 9:30am: breakfast at Benna's. This was my first Benna's outing in quite a while. I've been cutting back on non-dance-related personal expenses for financial reasons.

10am: George's performance class. Getting to dance with my actual partner for the actual performance for the entirety of class: A++++. Things are coming together nicely, we both definitely needed the time.

Noon: mambo class. A wonderful thing happened: nobody showed up. Actually, not nobody: Liz, Cheryl and myself. All three of us can dance, but we're not OMG nearly an instructor mega-experts.

So George asked us what we wanted to know. And proceeded to enlighten us. And now the mambo, and its similarity to dancing on one, makes sense to me in a way it didn't before. He taught us a wonderful magic trick for getting back "on two" when you catch yourself falling back into dancing "on one."

I wound up paying for the unlimited classes deal at Estilo this month. It's cost-effective if I continue to dance as much as I have been lately. And having already paid for it should be an additional motivation to do so.

Afternoon: dropped off daughter. Went shopping for the elusive multivitamin she'll actually take, and tea for myself. Ordered the former— Yummi Bears Vegetarian— which is not regularly stocked at Essene. Michele found it by sheer luck. Crossed the street to House of Tea in search of White Peony, aka China White. Discovered that it is no longer available in its high-quality form, and it's $20 an ounce in a lower-quality grade. Whoa. On the advice of counsel, purchased Silver Needle White instead.

Something I love about tea: the ritziest, most expensive loose tea in the world is still cheap. Yeah, I bought two ounces at $10 an ounce. So what? Those are ounces by weight. That's roughly 100 servings. I can swing 20 cents a day.

Went home. Got hit with the sleepy stick. Lost consciousness for a couple hours. ZzzZzzZzz.

Late afternoon: ongoing sleepiness. Watched more Fur TV. But also wrote cool scripts to manipulate photos for Mighty Delhi project. Imminent arrival of [ profile] nohx chased me off the couch to do housework.

Evening: dinner with mah pal [ profile] nohx at the Royal Tavern, in exchange for burly-man moving services (*) to be provided later. [ profile] nohx is moving in just two blocks away and was in the neighborhood to pick up her keys anyway. On the way to dinner, we determined that I might not be available early enough that day to provide said services. Oops.

We split a large bottle of excellent cider. I tried the portabello panini, "spinach, artichoke hearts, tomatoes, roasted peppers and smoked tofu spread on foccacia." It was awesome.

Afterwards we attempted to hook up my laptop to my TV and watch Futuristic Brunch and Fur TV on that, but wound up with the laptop on the couch owing to difficulties convincing Flash-plus-Firefox-plus-Ubuntu to do the full screen dance correctly on a second monitor. In conversation it was determined that she has somehow not seen Dr. Horrible, so we watched that too. And then I chased her out and went to bed. Yay, sleep! That's where I'm a viking.

(*) [ profile] tashadandelion can vouch for my burly-man moving skillz. Hulk have boxes! Where lady want boxes?
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Friday: infiltrated Brasils with agent [ profile] tashadandelion. We cleverly disguised ourselves as salseros. People found our disguises quite convincing. We pretended to have a very good time; I must admit I rather convinced myself. Unfortunately Tasha's secret spy heels proved somewhat problematic for dancing. I think the secret compartment containing the iocane powder was chafing her toe. So her evening at Brasils ended early. Mine, not so much.

Saturday: Amtrak to CT with Agent Eleanor. Forward-deployed bicycle to 11th and Market before departure. Briefly escaped train at Penn Station to score sushi.

Agent John (aka "my brother") and I failed to see Batman due to a misreading of the movie times in the newspaper... undoubtedly the work of Disgusto.

Upon our return, reviewed best security practices with agent Mom until half past midnight.

Sunday: departed solo, having given Agent Eleanor secret orders for the next week.

Boarded Amtrak, allegedly to Philadelphia. Executed covert op: detrained at NYC. Agent [ profile] noisefootprint was unable to break cover but recommended Koreatown for procurement of tasty spy nutrients. Carried out intelligence operation in Koreatown, discovered Hangawi, a gourmet vegetarian restaurant. Naturally I find nothing more unpleasant, but my deep cover persona requires me to pretend to be delighted by lovingly prepared vegan food. The things I do for my country!

Exceeded mission budgetary restrictions, disciplinary action to be considered later.

Swapped oversized American Girl pants (5000 secret agent dad points). I detest this hive of bourgeois liberalism, but it's an essential part of Agent Eleanor's deep cover.

Wandered around uptown, noted locations of Helmsley Building and Waldorf-Astoria, laughed appreciatively at Staples' new "Social Networking Cards" which they will sell bajillions of. Surfed metro to southern tip of Glamhattan to catch Agent [ profile] swingchickie's show. Took Agent [ profile] swingchickie by surprise— she clearly needs further intelligence training. Then again, her apparent all-consuming focus on rock 'n' roll may have been an aspect of her deep cover persona. Well done, well done.

Willie Mae Ladies' Rock Camp is a fundraiser for the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls, which trains aspiring young secret agents rockstars. Agent [ profile] swingchickie posed, VERY convincingly, as the lead singer of The Hong Kong Kavaliers Cheap Thrills. Their hit single "Augie" is now burning up the charts. Interested female agents should definitely consider enrolling in the August session of ladies' rock camp which still has openings.

After acquiring incriminating evidence (aka photos) and executing a mop-up operation (aka finishing my 312 Wheat Ale), I proceeded in the direction of the 14th Street Pier, where my mission profile required me to once again impersonate a salsero. Along the way, encountered the world's most disgusting bathroom and the world's most delicious tofu, access to both procured for a mere $4.95. Evidence suggests that agents of Disgusto have regularly met clandestinely in this bathroom. Have left certain intelligence records in Philadelphia, will post name and address later for the benefit of the Company.

At 14th Street Pier, succeeded in passing myself off as a salsero thanks to the decision to haul along secret spy dance shoes with me all damn weekend. Lack of mambo experience proved to be a nonissue for all partners encountered. Those I chose to interrogate professed complete ignorance on the question of dancing "on one" versus mambo or "on two."

They may, of course, have been deep cover agents themselves, snickering at my imagined competence. Whatever, they were hot.

At 9:40pm, realized I was running late for the Secret Spy Chinatown bus. Commenced parkour run. Undeniable tactical brilliance yielded only frustration and an intriguing cologne of sweat, humidity and street grime as I discovered that other Agents had reached the 14th Street Downtown F/V platform before me. As evidenced by police tape running the length of the platform. WTF, counterintelligence? Why was this not included in my briefing?

Bounding back up through the station (at, it must be admitted, significantly reduced speed), discovered signs indicating closure of downtown F/V platform. Said signs oriented to prevent viewing by agents actually heading in that direction. Further evidence of Disgusto operations. There may be a mole in our operation.

As there was nothing else for it, I paid for commandeered a taxi. The fare to the bus station slightly exceeded my bus fare to Philadelphia. Granted, that's not saying much.

At the "Chinatown bus station" (we know better, of course), was shuttled from wrong bus to wrong bus. Finally located correct bus... along with far too many other people. There was no queue, and so the bus was filled on the basis of body weight and willingness to kill. Normally I would have no problem with this but I had my cover persona to consider. So I gritted my teeth, smiled like a sap and allowed various mothers and young children to board, then waited for the "extra" bus. Which turned out to be operated by an entirely different intelligence agency, requiring me to pay again. I didn't have to pay very much, of course, but still: it's time for a budget upgrade.

Let it be noted: don't even think about taking the last bus of the night home if Agent Eleanor is part of the mission manifest. Greyhound is a festering hive of Disgusto incompetence, but at least they queue up their customers.

Come to that, isn't it time I had a more relaxing cover persona? Someone who drinks beer and watches football, for cryin' out loud. Someone with more disposable income and a plausible cover story for riding Acela. This Boutell character is gonna be the death of me.

Thanks to extensive experience in all seven branches of the military (*), but more importantly to parenting experience, managed a super spy powernap on the bus. After, of course, configuring all relevant defensive countermeasures. And drinking carrot juice.

1am: recovered bicycle from forward deployment. Pedaled home. Repacked bag to travel on "business" (cough). Slept for for five and a half additional hours. Presented self in professional garb at 8am. Coworkers none the wiser as to my weekend activities.

(*) Don't pretend you don't know.
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I visited in search of information on exactly how bad an idea it would be for me to eat at SMAC and was startled to realize they still have a "Netscape N" as their site's bookmark icon. Either it hasn't been changed much in recent years, or somebody's a sucker for the classics, or both.

Surprisingly, the site— which has little to gain by suggesting things contain less of the dreaded lactose than is actually the case— claims that nearly all cheeses have only a "trace" of lactose left. Rilly? Even Mozzarella? I'm... not real confident about that. From past experience, y'know. Okay, borderline TMI.
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Animal rights have never been a big part of the vegetarian picture for me. More of a grace note: if there's suffering I don't need to contribute to, I choose not to contribute to it.

But I eat in places that serve meat, I date omnivores and don't give them constant shit about it (including some pretty enthusiastic quasi-carnivores), I really don't give a damn what you eat. There's more than one issue in the world.

What's more, I understand that veal is served all over the place and that pigs are more intelligent than dogs and etc. etc. etc.

But all the same: if the South Philly Taproom is going to serve lionburgers, they don't need my money. Ever.

It's a shame— they have a great beer list and they used to have decent vegetarian selections. But lion... no. Just no. Let's draw the line somewhere.

Incidentally, that shit's really bad for you. Does anybody not understand that toxins concentrate as you near the top of the food chain? Well, I guess people wouldn't eat liver either if they had a serious problem with eating concentrated toxins.

For the record, according to [ profile] freetobeflea SPTR gets their lion meat from a farm in Alabama that raises them specifically for human consumption. Oh, joy.
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I totally leveled up at mac-n-cheese preparation today.
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Let the record show that my vegetable garden is actually producing edibles this year. Matter of fact, everything I planted is doing well... As near as I can tell. There are some mystery plants in there I'm not sure about, apart from a reasonable certainty that they are not weeds. Maybe they'll bear fruit at some point and I'll learn what the heck they are. Once again I failed to put down labeled stakes.

The radishes and arugula were completely victorious. That was sort of the plan. They are tasty and easy to grow and I wanted to be sure I got something.

The edamame soybeans, which seemed likely to die the same buggy death as five summers ago (whoa, the time it do pass), have rallied and are producing pods. The pods are still skinny little beanless things though.

And the zucchini, as you can see, are very happy. But they are, so far, bearing very small zukes. I'm not sure whether I should be pruning some of the blossoms or what.

And the tomato plant Eleanor brought home during the last week of school is thriving and producing blossoms, though no fruit just yet.

Last and... well, least, but still cool: two summers ago I bought a blueberry bush and promptly killed it by not arranging for watering during the hottest week of August. Only one stubborn shoot refused to die. So I kept it around, moving it from pot to pot and plot to plot, for two more years. More vegetative growth, but still no blueberries... sheer guilt kept me from chucking it. And lo and behold: this year, one branch bears six blueberries. Six whole blueberries! Oh, the excitement.
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me: lime basil and I are in love. We don't care who knows it. Hopefully others will be accepting but if they can't handle it, fuck 'em.
Jenny: i accept your love. may you add to each other's lives.
me: you're just hoping to steal some of lime basil's leafy goodness from me
Jenny: . . . maybe. i've never tried lime basil, actually. but i'm open-minded like that.
me: holy shit, do.
Jenny: noted.
me: I... assume it's lime basil.
Jenny: not lemon basil? i've heard of lemon basil.
me: it's from the asian supermarket next door. They don't label their basils. They consider mint and basil the same category of thing, which I guess they are. But this means I've made a bunch of tragic mint curries. finally today I had a brainwave and gave myself permission to untie the damn bags and smell the contents and oh god what came out of this bag
Jenny: mint and curry are not happily in love, i take it?
me: no not so much. they respect one another, but they prefer to do so far far apart
Jenny: fair enough
me: so I made a butternut squash curry, only with long squash, and with arugula instead of cilantro. and if they can scrape me off the ceiling I might be able to articulate how good it was
Jenny: nice
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Eleanor circled Sid Meier's Civilization IV in the school's so-called "book club" flyer. At least half software, those things. But in this case I was all about it. I agreed to pay for it as a birthday present.

She started playing yesterday. She's thoroughly hooked at this point. My bloodthirsty little empress, coming soon to a banana republic near you!

In completely unrelated news, our vegetables have emerged from the ground in edible form. Yeah, I'm a little scared too. We have radishes, which Eleanor loves, and arugula, which I love. Both are super-easy to grow, and radishes mature particularly quickly. We also have a rather impressive hill of zucchini, and the blooms are just beginning to emerge. Fingers crossed for actual zukes.

The edamame soybeans were pretty much devoured by bugs right away, just like the last time I tried to grow them. But a few may survive to maturity this year.
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I found at least five slugs on a single cilantro plant when I picked it.

This thread looks informative, anything to add?

September 2014

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