Archive for the ‘Raves’ Category

Fashion for the Wee Ones

Cute baby clothes will be the death of me. As many of my friends have babies or become pregnant I have developed a habit for checking out the baby section at all stores I enter. (Something that I have always liked to do but thought was weird when I was a single gal with single gal friends with no kiddies. Now I have an excuse!) As I graze the clothes racks I fall deeper and deeper into a strange new love with children and baby attire. Is it possible that baby clothes are more engaging than adult clothes? Yes. Everything is more darling pint sized. It’s also fun because they can get away with wearing things that us adults can no longer wear, like polka dotted leggings or tutus and other non necessary delightful things. While I am very addicted to little girls clothes, the boys have lovable duds too-little rocker tees and hats with mohawks. So f-ing adorable. I think I may need one of my own real soon so I can indulge in this shopping madness! Here are some charming things I have found lately that are too good to keep to myself. *If wondering where an item is from, scroll over the picture and it will inform you!*

Holy cuteness Batman!  Some of the things that I have found lately are on familiar store sites, like TargetOld Navy (which really gives you bang for your buck), Gymboree (which surprisingly I am really loving) and of course, the infamous The Baby Gap (you can’t go wrong, especially if you have money). A new one that I had never known about is American Eagle’s baby line which is also really “ohh” and “aww” worthy.

However there are some kick butt sites out there too that have large and in charge sites fully devoted to making your kid the cutest baby on the freaking playground. Urban Baby carries this too cute onesie for little Donnie Darkos and other goodies like numerous plaid shirts (your baby will too look as good as Robert Pattinson) and other sweet graphic tees.

OMG. For cute a$$ Beatle shirts, super hero onesies, Dr. Seuss themed outfits and retro style baby clothes,  you can go to The Retro Baby which is full of the most cheek pinching worthy outfits a kiddie can have. Oy. I love it. Love love love.

For political babies who would like to speak their minds or have no choice in the matter of displaying what is on their parent’s mind, go to Baby Wit which showcases many baby clothes embroidered with political messages (among other things).

Lastly one has to go to Punk Baby Clothes which is a misleading name since they have way more than “punk” baby clothes. They carry the most extensive collection of baby rock band, hip hop group, pop artists, hippie, etc. clothes I’ve ever seen. You can search in their “reggae baby” section or even the “gothic baby” section. Too funny…and adorable.

Here’s to babies…making this world cuter each and every day!

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Nicole Richie; Organic Mama

I absolutely adore Nicole Richie. I full fledge have a girl crush on her. Massively. I love her boho style, her relaxed demeanor, her lifestyle, her wit, her family and her kids. She is my celebrity soul sister. So of course I only love her more now since discovering that she had an elephant at her winter themed wedding. (Elephant = my favorite animal. Winter wedding theme = what I was planning before we ended up doing a destination wedding.) This girl! I need to meet her. I want to personally tell Nicole Richie she is the beez neez.

As many of you know I am a vegetarian and I love kids. Naturally I plan on having vegetarian kids (at least until they can decide if they want to eat dead animals or not with their own free will). So I thought it was pretty cool that Nicole Richie is doing the same in her household. (It helps that her husband Joel Madden is a vegetarian.) As if I didn’t already love this girl, I love how she is raising her kids. Nicole has revealed she uses chlorine-free, non-toxic and hypoallergenic diapers for her children, and refuses to use baby wipes and instead uses cloth and water. She grows her own vegetables in her garden and purees her own baby food. Everything in her household is organic, down to the clothes, food and diapers. She also doesn’t feed her kids dairy. On The Talk, she also shared, “We don’t use battery-operated toys, we don’t use plastic… Sugar is obviously a big no-no.” She went on to share, “I was at a birthday party and there was a cupcake with all this pink icing and there was a blueberry on top of the cupcake. Harlow looked at it and her eyes got so wide and she was like ‘Ohh,’ and I was like, ‘Oh boy, here we go,’ and she was like ‘Blueberries!’ So I went to the kitchen and got her a whole thing of blueberries. And she was happy.”

I give it to her. It’s hard today to be able to live this kind of lifestyle but she’s doing it. It also helps that she has oodles of money, more than I’ll ever have but hey, still I give her props and can only hope I’ll be a kick ass mom like her one day.

Look at these guys-the cutest family ever. For more pics go to Nicole’s blog.

Fast Food Nation

Last night I had the extreme pleasure of viewing the movie Fast Food Nation for the very first time. Let me tell you, if you haven’t seen this movie, you must! I was only a tad reluctant because the movie got very mixed reviews. Many of the reviews I read on my beloved Netflix were terrible. People we’re complaining that the movie should have been made into a documentary instead but I disagree. I thought the movie was well made. In defense, the way I see it is that not many people enjoy documentaries. I in fact, love them, but I know that many people find them to be boring, slow, long, etc. Therefore taking the matter of slaughterhouses, the fast food industry, the meat industry, immigration and activism and putting it into a fictional plot seems like a good idea to me. I find that people who cannot bear to sit and watch documentaries can watch a movie that has a plot, storyline and characters that they can identify with.

For anyone who hasn’t seen the movie, it is a movie following a few different people’s lives who are all somehow affected by the meat/fast food industry. We follow around a business man who works for Mickey’s, a fast food chain, a high school girl who works at Mickey’s while becoming friends with college activists, and an illegal immigrant couple who come to America and end up working at Mickey’s beef supplier. It stars many people, including Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Wilmar Valderama, Avril Lavinge and Bruce Willis.

For whomever out there that wants to see this movie in documentary form, there is a version, called Food, Inc. This documentary is great, and was one of the first movies I saw that really concreted my decision of giving up meat. It shows you a behind the scenes look at slaughterhouses, worker conditions for immigrants and nonimmigrants, and also describes all the preservatives and hormones that you are consuming when you eat industrialized meat.

The book that both films are based off of is New York Time’s bestseller, Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. The book takes you behind the scenes to what we are really eating when we eat beef from our favorite fast food restaurants. It goes into detail about the “flavorings” that make our beef taste “cajun” or “smoked,” shows us what ingredients are in our foods, where our food comes from, and who touches our food before it gets to us. There are insights, interviews, and so much more…I love it. Because of this book, which I read many years ago, I no longer consume McDonald’s strawberry milkshake-it has over 30 ingredients and 50% of them are chemicals. Yum!

For anyone who either doesn’t have the time or patience for reading Fast Food Nation, Schlosser (along with Charles Wilson) wrote a second book, called Chew on This, which is a tamer, shorter version of Fast Food Nation. It was made to aim at teenagers and younger people, but with the same concept-to educate people on the fast food industry. I have yet to read this but plan on doing so soon.

So in conclusion, I have to recommend both films, the fictional Fast Food Nation and the documentary Food, inc. Both will broaden your horizon and knowledge on the meat and fast food industry. I feel better just knowing where meat comes from, and it helps me remember why I don’t consume it. For anyone who is reluctant because they do want to consume meat, don’t fret, just go organic. Food, Inc. will show you how a chicken is killed in a slaughterhouse versus how they are killed on a local farm. Good stuff folks.

Peace!

Other good, similar films to check out:

Where do we eat?! Where DON’T we eat!?

One of the top reasons/complaints/questions I get pertain to where and what I get to eat. “Well doesn’t it suck, like not being able to go to restaurants?”  Why can’t I go to restaurants? Silly people! There are so, so many places in

Azia, we almost had our wedding reception here!

the Twin Cities where I can get vegetarian meals it’s remarkable! Below, I have an extensive list of places that are either all veg, all vegan, or are vegan/vegetarian friendly! The crazy thing? This isn’t even all of them…there are hundreds more from where this list came from! Do a little digging on the internet and you are bound to find more! Happy Hunting!
Vegetarian Options
128 Cafe, St. Paul
Adelita’s (Mexican), Mpls
Amici Pizza & Bistro, Mpls
Azuki’s Sushi, Stadium Village Mpls
Bagu Sushi, Mpls
The Barbary Fig (Moroccan), St. Paul
Barbette (French), Mpls
Barley John’s, New Brighton
The Bean Factory, St. Paul
Bob’s Java Hut (soup, sandwiches, salads), Mpls
Bombay Bistro (Indian), Mpls
Bravo! Cafe and Bakery, St. Paul
Bryn Mawr Pizza and Deli, Mpls
Burger King (I’m serious, they have a Veggie burger!), all over
Chatterbox Pub, Mpls and St. Paul
*Chili’s, all over
*Chino Latino, Mpls
Christo’s (Greek), Mpls and St. Paul
*Davanni’s, all over
Delicious Cafe and Brazilian Grill, Minnetonka
*Dino’s Gyros (Greek), Roseville
Dulono’s Pizza, Mpls
Fuji-Ya (Japanese), St. Paul
*Green Mill, all over
Hard Times Cafe, Mpls
II Gatto (Italian), Mpls
*Jimmy John’s, all over
*Mt. Fuji, Mpls and Maple Grove
*Olive Garden, all over
*Panco Villa (Mexican), Mpls
*Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Rosedale Mall
Solera (Tapas Bar), Mpls
Vegan & Vegetarian Options
5 Spice Asian Take-out, Blaine
501 Club, Mpls
Acadia Cafe, Mpls
Amazing Thailand, Mpls
Anodyne, Mpls (Cafe)
*Asia’s Finest Restaurant, Vadnais Heights
Asian Express, St. Paul Skyway
*Azia, Mpls
Back Door Deli, Vadnais Heights
The Bad Waitress, Mpls
*Baja Sol, all over
*Bambu (Vietnamese and Chinese), Maplewood
Ban Thai Restaurant, White Bear Lake
Bangkok Thai Deli, St. Paul
Bar Abilene (Mexican), Mpls
BD’s Mongolian BBQ, Burnsville
Beirut Restaurant (Lebanese), St. Paul
Best of India, St. Louis Park
*Big Bowl, all over
Birchwood Cafe, Mpls
Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, St. Paul
Black Sea Restaurant (Turkish), St. Paul
Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza, Mpls
Blue Moon Coffee Cafe, Mpls
Blue Nile (Ethiopian), Mpls
*Bona Vietnamese Restaurant, Mpls
Bordertown Cafe, UofM Campus
Breadsmith, all over
Broder’s Cucina Italiana, Mpls
*Bruegger’s Bagels, all over
Bryant Lake Bowl, (bowling alley with vegan options-weird but cool), Mpls
*Buca di Beppo (Italian), Maple Grove and Mpls
*Burrito Loco, Dinkytown
Cafe Latte, St. Paul
*California Pizza Kitchen, all over
Caspian Bistro (Iranian), Mpls
Cheng Heng (Cambodian), St. Paul
Chiang Mai Thai, Mpls
Chin’s Asia Fresh, Minnetonka
*Chipotle, all over
Cosmos, Mpls
Crave (Italian), Edina
Cupcake, Mpls
*Dunn Brothers, all over
*Ecopolitan, Mpls
Eden Pizza, St. Paul
*Einstien Bros. Bagels, all over
*Erbert and gerbert’s, all over
Everest on Grand (Nepalese and Tibetan), St. Paul
Falafel King (Middle Eastern), all over
French Meadow Bakery and Cafe, Mpls
Galactic Pizza, Mpls
*Good Earth, Roseville and Edina
*Gopher Express, UofM Campus
Grand Szechuan, Bloomington
*Grumpy’s, Roseville and Mpls
*The Independent, Mpls
It’s Greek to Me, Mpls
Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe, St. Paul
*Jamba Juice, all over
*Jasmine 26, Mpls
*Jasmine Deli, Mpls
Johnny Rockets (60’s drive thru), Bloomington
*Khan’s Mongolian BBQ, Roseville and Richfield
King and I Thai, Mpls
Little Tijuana (Punk Rock Mexican? Whatever that means. Lol, that’s what their site actually says), Mpls
*The Local (Irish bar), Mpls
*Lucky Dragon, Mpls
moto-i (Japanese), Mpls
*Muddy Paws Cheesecake, St. Louis Park
*Napa Valley Grille, MOA
*Noodles and Company, all over
OM (Upscale Indian), Mpls
*P.F Chang’s, all over
*Panera, all over
*Pei Wei (Fast food Pan-Asian), all over
Pineda Tacos, all over
*Pizza Luce, Mpls (3 locations) and St. Paul
*Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge (Bar food), Mpls
*Rainbow Chinese Restaurant and Bar, Mpls
*Sawatdee (Thai), Mpls, Maple Grove, St. Paul
*Shuang Cheng (Chinese), Dinkytown (My favorite restaurant of all time!)
Triple Rock Social Club (Punk Bar-serves breakfast-I need to go here!), Mpls
Tucci Benucch (Italian), MOA
Turtle Bread Company, Mpls (2 locations)
*Village Wok, UofM Campus-open hella late, like till 2am!
Vincent A Restaurant (French), Mpls
W.A Frost and Company, St. Paul

*Places I’ve ate vegetarian meals at, so feel free to ask me questions!

Pictures (Click to enlarge.)

Barbette.

Blue Nile.

Everest on Grand.

Fuji-Ya.

The Good Earth.

Izzy’s Ice Cream Cafe- Vegan ice cream? So cool!

Cafe Latte.

Christo’s.

OM.

Solera.

Jasmine 26; A Step up from the Deli

Last night my best friend G and I took one of our girlfriends out for her birthday, named A. Being that A and I are both vegetarians we decided to try out a new vegetarian place, called Jasmine 26 in Minneapolis. Many people, especially foodies, have heard of Eat Street. Normal folks call it Nicollet, but for the foodies, it is Eat Street…the magical street that boosts every authentic and cultured meal known to Minneapolis. The diversity there is remarkable, from Vietnamese, Mexican, Greek, American, All Raw to Indian (and everything else in-between). Many people have experienced Jasmine Deli…which is owned by the same folks as Jasmine 26. Jasmine Deli, which I have reviewed before ( see post ‘Tofu Wars’) is a great little hole in the wall dive that has a great variety of authentic Vietnamese dishes as well as many vegetarian/vegan options. It literally can only seat 12 people-max, but people still come in droves to wait for a seat anyways. So Jasmine Deli decided to make a larger and more upscale version of their highly successful Deli, and there’s where Jasmine 26 comes in. Jasmine 26 is a beautiful restaurant nestled next to The Bad Waitress on the corner of 26th and Nicollet. The place is larger than it’s proceeder, is spacious and has a remarkably large and full bar guarded by a wall sized Buddha. Very cool!

G, A and I debated sitting outside on the cute wicker chairs and tables they have lining up outside their building but decided since it was over 90 degrees out, inside would be just fine. First dilemma to conquer? What to drink. They have a large and extensive menu of what I call “fancy” drinks, wines and beer. I settled on Sapporo, my fave Japanese beer (that’s brewed in Canada…strange? That will be a different blog…), A settled on a martini, and G got the interesting if not fascinating Frozen Bubble Tea. For anyone who has had Bubble tea, you know exactly why this concoction is strange. Frozen bubble tea? Frozen liqured bubble tea? Well G got it, and we all tried it. Excellente! G got the Mango version, but there’s also other flavors, including coconut. Yum! Yum!

Since we were fiendishly excited over too many options on the menu we all got an appetizer as well as a main dish. On the appetizer course we got the Coconut Cream Cheese Wontons, Sea Salt and Pepper Cube Tofu and Lettuce Wraps. Delicious, delicious, delicious. We were all amazed by the appetizers. So much that we ate almost all of them before I realized I hadn’t snapped any pictures! Opps. So that’s why my pictures show scantily clad plates of food…

The cream cheese wontons were definitely different…it had the familiar taste that we all know and love but then it had a little sweet coconut to it, and served with homemade pineapple sauce, it was perfection. The tofu. Omg. I know I always praise P.F Chang’s tofu as my favorite, but I think I found a new one. This appetizer of lightly fried tofu is a-mazing. G, isn’t even a fan of tofu and she was addicted to that stuff!  On the outside it has a little spicy kick, and flavored so delectably by salt and pepper; on the inside it is hot, soft and with less flavor (in this case it works out so, so well). The contrast between the very flavorful and crispy outside is great with the soft and less flavorful inside. It’s so good. I have been thinking about it all day. The lettuce wraps came out so beautifully wrapped. Seriously like little presents-they were wrapped with rice udon noodles, eggs, cucumbers, mints, bean sprouts and had little baby shrimp on the outside neatly tucked into the cilantro tying the package together. (Everything we got was vegetarian except the lettuce rolls, but you can easily take the shrimp off!)

Onto the main meal. G got the Pho (beef), I got the Vegetarian Pho and A got the Grilled Shrimp Coconut Milk Noodle Salad without the shrimp (she got mock duck instead). G thought her beef broth was good, sweeter than usual but still very delicious. It came out similar to most other places serving pho. Mine however was different, but this was expected. For anyone who doesn’t have Pho knowledge, it is the common Vietnamese soup that can be eaten literally for any meal. It is usually made of (beef) broth, flavored with onions, herbs, bean sprouts, lemon, lime, and is made with rice noodles and served with meat, tofu or mock duck. It is as common to the Asians and foodies, as it is the all American Chicken Noodle Soup. I have it when I’m sick, when I’m cold, when I’m tired, when I’m hungover and most definitely when I crave Vietnamese food. This was my first time ever having Pho that had broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in it. Your first impression would be, “That’s wrong” and I wouldn’t correct you. It was wrong. I understand that I ordered the Veggie Pho…but I thought all would be replaced was my broth and meat. No, they added in other stuff too. I’m not saying it was bad, I’m just saying it was different and not in a way that I favor. The broth however was good, since I have had vegetarian Pho that has been downright bad before, so at least I can give them props on that. A also wasn’t too impressed with her meal, saying it lacked flavor. It’s described as “Grilled shrimp (in her case, mock duck) tossed in coconut milk with thick “udon-style” rice noodles, garnished with shredded lettuce, cucumber, herbs, cilantro, and a sprinkle of roasted peanuts. Served with house vinaigrette sauce.” Without the shrimp, shedidn’t have much of a coconut taste, so her noodle dish ended up being rather bland. She had to add a lot of hoisin sauce (which they called Ha Noi sauce here, so don’t be tricked) and chili pepper sauce to her dish to make it taste better.

In conclusion, we would probably rate it a B+.

The presentation was beautiful, the place was clean and gorgeous, the service was good, the appetizers had us drooling, our drinks were overall normal, and the main dishes were aiight. So, to round it off we gave them a great B+ and think that if they can improve on their main dishes, and maybe take the prices down a notch it would be a stellar A. Still, we have to be grateful for them to make such a nice, vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurant. Almost every single thing on the menu can be made vegetarinized.  Would we go there again? Totally, and next time you can join us! 😉

‘That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals!’

I was at the cabin a few weekends ago and the family made some ribs, steaks and hot dogs. Instead, I had my salad and beans. My darling 7 year old niece, E, asked me “What is steak?” As she chewed it up.
“It’s cow,” I replied.
“WHAT!?” She looked like I told her that she just ate a puppy. Which I don’t see the difference of anyways.
“Yeah, a cow. Like moo.” I then preceded to tell her the ribs on her plate were pig, much to her parents’ dismay. (Hey. She asked first.) She didn’t know that either. Then my 10 year old nephew M piped in “It’s okay E. They were made for us to eat. It’s normal.”
Hmm. “What makes you think that?” I challenged him. (Poor kids, having me for an aunt.)
“I don’t know. I just know we eat animals.” M replied.
“M, do you go to the zoo?” I asked him. He nodded. “Do you eat those animals? Do you eat zebras and giraffes?”
“No…” Something inside him clicked. “That’s weird! How come we eat farm animals but not zoo animals?” He was intrigued now.
“Good question. I guess we think it’s normal to eat farm animals. But it’s not really. Would you eat a dog?” I asked.
M and E both started freaking out. “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well you know some places like China eat dogs.” I told them.
Again, “No! Gross! Sick!”
“Well…they think it’s normal. Just like how you think it’s normal to eat cows, chickens and pigs.”
“But it’s not normal!” M protested.
“Well, then I guess eating cows, chickens and pigs aren’t normal than either.” I simply replied. Both of them nodded. I don’t think I converted anyone into vegetarianism that night but at least the topic was discussed. That’s the thing, kids don’t know what they are eating. They have no idea! They consume meat from such a young age that they don’t realize the connection between the farm animals they  meet at the County Farm and the meat on their plate. And really, that’s not too fair. To the animals or to them. And the thing is, kid’s are intelligent and compassionate enough to be able to know and decide if they want to eat it or not. Of course there’s always a lot of turmoil with parents who eat meats who breed children who don’t want to…but there shouldn’t be. To each their own.

This topic struck me as important so I went searching to see if there were any sources for kids to look at if they are interested in knowing where their food comes from. There really isn’t too much. The one book that I did find though, is a great one. I love it. It’s called That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals; A Book Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things written and illustrated by Ruby Roth. Roth is a young artist and art teacher living in Los Angeles. A vegan since 2003, Roth was teaching art in an after-school program when the children’s interest in healthy foods and veganism first inspired her to write That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals. It’s a fantastic picture book totally appropriate (and designed) for kids, while still providing information adults don’t even know. Roth addresses the topic of animals in a light manner, with cute pictures and easy vocabulary. She briefly describes how animals have families just like us, feelings just like us, and deserve a life just like us. It’s cute, touching, provides good information and shows kids why meat isn’t necessary. Roth also does it in a kid friendly way, so don’t worry, its not like the book is describing slaughterhouses, or cows legs being hacked off (which is what truly is happening).  Jane Goodall, a PHD, DBE says it best, “This is a powerful and important book. Farm animals have emotions similar to our pets and this is conveyed in Roth’s enchanting illustrations. It will make children – and their parents – think. But it will not lead to nightmares, rather respect and compassion for the creatures whose wellbeing is in our hands.” I enjoyed the book a lot, and already know that this will be a book I read to my own child. After checking the book out I decided to look into Roth and her website, http://www.wedonteatanimals.com, and adored it. It, like the book, is packed with Roth’s cute illustrations, detailed information and advice on everything kids and their families need to know about animals and vegetarianism. It’s lovely. Please check it out, I highly recommend it!

Watch this video! It is so good…at least make sure you watch the end…the girl is so cute!

More Pics!

Don’t be Clueless about ‘The Kind Diet’

One of the best books that I’ve read in the past year is “The Kind Diet” by Alicia Silverstone. A lot of people literally judged this book by it’s cover…Alicia Silverstone, the actress, is going to write a dieting book? Oh brother. At least that’s what my brother in law thought. But no, it’s nothing like that.

I have known for many years that Silverstone was a vegetarian and an activist for all things eco-friendly so I knew that this book would be knowledgeable. And also, it’s not a diet book peeps. By diet she means “lifestyle” and “what you eat daily” not just a fad diet that you try for a couple months then drop.

I had originally picked up the book just to see what she would talk about. I guessed it would be about her diet and why it works for her, and ultimately why it can work for us. Well it is that, but more importantly it is jam packed with information about animals, the factory farms, the industry, and more. Half the book is full of facts, statistics and studies, then the other half is recipes. So really it’s a cookbook too.

And it’s funky (in a good way) because the recipes are divided into three parts. She has the Flirt section, which are recipes for people who just want to flirt and experiment with a diet without dairy or meat. Then there’s the “normal” section that is filled with your many vegan dishes. Then the last section, the Superhero is hardcore recipes for the peeps who not only can handle no meat, no dairy, but also no soy, and lots and lots of veggies and fruits. This is close to the macrobiotic diet, since a lot of things are raw and the recipes focus around local grown veggies, and not ones that are flown in from around the world.

A lot of the things that I know about veganism, animal cruelty, etc. I found from this book. I give Silverstone huge props, and respect her much more now seeing how she is actively trying to make a difference. The book also touches on our natural resources, waste, the rainforest, etc. Anytime that I need a refresher and remember why I don’t consume meat, I just reread this book. It’s such a motivator and inspiration. Below is an interview Silverstone did describing her book, why she is a vegan, and what “diet” really means to her. It’s an excellent read so if you are lounging around the pool, or sitting besides the lake this summer pick up this book. I highly recommend it.