Vedge-ing Out: Meeting Wonderful Vegans At Philadelphia’s Number One Elegant Vegan Restaurant

The story of fancy upscale Vedge in photographs and minute description.
First of all, I do appreciate my vegan friends Amanda and Sawyer for allowing me to be a part of their trip to Philadelphia having driven all the way from my beloved Ohio. It meant the world to not only meet them outside of cybersphere (Twitterverse), but into the realm of reality, breaking fourth wall dimension. There is always something special, endearing even to feel kindness sparking between conversations of 140 character limited spaces. To meet people in person and feel beyond scope of that cordial experience is overall amazing, especially when those very people are vibrant and kind.
Amanda and Sawyer not only treated me to a delightful city gem, but to the pleasurable gift of their time and company. Time and company are gifts that we must not waste.

So, one day, in the middle of fresh falling snow last Saturday, after day one workshop with a renowned artist, I caught the subway. Vedge. I had heard so much about it. Read the reviews. Heard the presses. And for the first time ever, I would be eating there among great company. Just had the best vibes on the train and knew things would be swell despite the roaring snowfall. I almost passed it by. Until I heard my name being called from a charming bricked building atop stairs.
Among inviting intimate interior atmosphere of Vedge Restaurant, dimmed lights and muted tones, were awaiting dear friends having an incredible meal and indulgent conversation.
From “The Vedge Bar,” we started off with unbelievably incredible rutabaga fondue served alongside rutabaga salad, charred onions and pistachio and soft pretzel; pickled avocado stuffed with pickled cauliflower, romesco, “fried rice,”  and black salt; and salt roasted golden beets with side of smoked tofu, rye, capers, and creamy cucumber sauce.
The fireplace was charming, enhancing euphoric mood. Very wonderful quiet against our enchanted conversation, warming and healing us from Jack Frost’s mild snowfall. I felt like we were tucked inside a Vermont cabin, blanketed from cold, feasting on divine food and splendid conversation. That was rich sophistication all in itself.  Although we ended Vedge on a wonderful note, our conversations and enjoyment came to heed at the nearby Barnes & Noble. Nothing like being surrounded by books to burn off the calories of a rather fine meal. Thank you so much to Amanda, Sawyer, and Vedge Restaurant for making a snowy near blizzard Saturday a beguiling memorable evening.

History, Diaspora, & Political Smorgasbord In NYC

Black History/Herstory is not over just because twenty eight day month passes at midnight. Stories go on each day. Stories of life and death. Of people making history before February 1st and after February 28th. Us vegans, artists, writers, performers, creators of every waking hour not only vow continuance of to making our dreams come true, but that of others thirsting for eye opening change and awareness- awareness of creativity, health, and strength. We must engage our minds and hearts with nourishing truth and beauty within ourselves. Then we shall see a light that shines so bright.
On this final day of short month granted to celebrating African descended ancestry, I share Thursday’s overwhelming haze of glorious endeavors. A challenge to visit three museums seated in different parts of NYC, I met goals to fruition, determined to see what was set out to be seen. It was a most esteemed journey granting influential discoveries and a new crop of artists all over the globe branching out and sharing origin complexities. They’ve widened the meaning of art- tying creative vision with anthropology, science, and narrative together. Sewed origin threads remain stagnant in my mind, flowing with a fluid poignancy gratifying thoughts and dreams.
I got to New York City at 1:20 PM on Thursday. Missed the earlier bus and would have been there three hours prior. Still, nothing stopped determination to visit three museums. Three. Three before the clock struck 11:10 PM. If I missed the 11:10 Megabus, I would be stuck in chilly NYC until 6AM. Then again, they do have a 24 hour Starbucks/Sephora so….

I tried the new coconut milk by the way. The perfect afternoon lightning bolt to get my feet ready for a lot of moving. Whilst sipping, I mapped out my intended destinations starting with New York Historical Society Museum, then New Museum, and finally ending at Studio Harlem.

It is a challenge being an artist, knowing that MET is across the street, seducing good intentions. I ignored the little voice and came right inside New York’s Historical Society, a place filled with New York history. I learned that slavery was abolished here long before Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil War. Yet the grisly details of violent deaths of a people seen equivalent to animals, sometimes less so, hurt me like a cut that never goes away.

Miniature watercolor portraits of former Haitian born slave Pierre Touissant and his wife Juliette Noel. Artist Anthony Meucci, famous for rendering George Washington and so forth painted these little treasures. That means they were well worth cementing into history. Their distinguished, quality clothing showcases their esteem and privilege after being freed in NYC. At 42, Touissant is profiting big as a hairdresser, but eventually began sharing the wealth, becoming a major philanthropist alongside his Mrs.

Second floor awaited. Having seen Ava DuVernay’s Academy Award winning film a few times, I can honestly say that Stephen Somerstein’s long vaulted Selma photographs fulfilled excited expectation. It was like being behind the scenes of documented black and white footage the end of DuVeray’s film hinted. Here in varied sizes, untitled images of people united for justice and equality. A great leader and his legion of devoted followers of all races, economic backgrounds, religion, and creed walking along promised land, singing and praising, hoping that “we shall overcome.” Sights were wonderful to behold and treasure.

Directions are confusing instructions on Google. I had to stop inside a gas station where the man said two streets upwards to Bowery Street. Yet two streets upward I found Blick Art Supplies. An employee indicated that it was two blocks east. Yes! At near four PM, among thrift shops and furniture stores bringing life to old, dated construction, I found ship floating over New Museum. Founded by the late remarkable Marcia Tucker in 1977, a wonderful woman highlighted in the !Woman Art Revolution documentary, I was enthusiastic to spend time in the latest exhibit promising to be epic and profound.

Fifty one artists from twenty seven different countries embody five floors of gallery space. Diversity and culture have been a celebrating part of New Museum’s incredible history, a definitive mastery unlike most NYC museums celebrating male dominance. Here many are joined together in an amazing, unprecedented world that is both overwhelming and majestic. One feels like a small seed implanted in the richest soil and engaging art quenches curiosity and thirst for unknown. This exhibit engages viewers to perform more than typical tasks of deciphering art visually. We are encouraged to read, to listen, to feel. These notions are not entirely new, but it establishes a connection between the digital age of now, of being thrown so much information and having difficulty translating which deserves to be absorbed into broadening human mind.
Some unphotographed highlights includes Oliver Laric’s compelling video Untitled metaphoric morphism animation. Images of characters familiar and otherwise shift and form from human to creature repeating and transforming roles of heroism and emotional layers. Daniel Steegman Mangrene’s virtual reality, Phantom (kingdom of all the animals and all the beasts is my name) places viewers in false dimension of a beguiling forest setting. We must trust intuition as well as hold created imagery into highest regard. Under the glasses, our eyes look up, down, and all around. So captivating to be suspended in a space whilst also having to simultaneously pay attention to true predicament. I must have bumped into walls several times.  It was well worth seeing how art, science, and technology continued this teasing bridge. Definitely a fantastic must see!

Hair Braided Schemes: The Mini Pictorial Journal

The Natural Hair Journey section will be updated some day. Until then, there is always the main page to have a chat.

December 6, 2014

Before heading to Toronto, had to search long and hard for a place. Had a “princess” idea in mind. I discovered Vixen Hair Studio on Instagram. Enjoyed beautiful featured natural styles and customer satisfaction. The location was convenient for me. A plus. All the ladies were kind and fashionable. Jill Scott and Erykah Badu played their soul food tunes.
FYI: My hair must really love this length. It has been this way for years and years. So…..

 

January 14, 2015

Hair styled in Dayton “country,” photographed in Philly PAFA studio.
Went a place I hated. A place where natural hair is despised and ridiculed. It was close by. Had no idea what happened to my beloved Lynette– an awesome understanding woman who embraced and catered to my hair creativity. The “pain” of this dismal substitute place was only an hour or so. Plus I still appreciated her efforts. Braiding is a talent wished to attain.
On the way out, a charming girl by the door commended the style. As did whom I miss most right now…

 

January 28, 2015

Bun was let go. Dumped. Didn’t get to call or send me a sentimental note.
Maybe next time.
Take down was lovely though. I had oiled it every few days. Braids just unsifted through fingers like silky coarse amazement. Unveiled spirally spirals sparkled with glistening sheen and soft thickness. Long ago, I would have hated this condition. I love it so much. So much that I shall write a book of romantic letters to my hair. Lord Byron would be jealous.

 

January 29, 2015

Visited Vixen’s Hair Studio again this morning. I love and appreciate gentle hair combing. Scalp massages don’t hurt either. Although adoring this new ‘do, anticipating another eventual shape up. Girl needs a fresh trim. Then hopefully we’ll resume a productive, healthy growth with our favorite oils– Jamaican Black Castor, coconut, olive, and Argan. Want ear muff length bad. That amount of fluffy goodness will warm tender, exposed ears. Cannot wait to kiss hats and scarves goodbye.

AfroVeganChick Hits Harlem And It Punches Back With Glitter Dusted History

I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always. I knew that even with my scribble scrabble. As I grew up, maturing and nurturing passionate craft, it was the Harlem Renaissance lighting hot fire in junior high creativity. I had to learn on cultural artist ancestors on my own. Rogue style. In school, Michelangelo, Rafael, Da Vinci, and Picasso filled our minds and canvases. Frida Kahlo for me too. I love Frida. At the library I fell in love with Augusta Savage, William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Palmer Hayden, Wallace Thurman, Countee Cullen, and others. Currently reading Zora Neale Hursten– a sharp, brilliant mind robbed of Pulitzer. Painting, drawing, sculpture, literature, music, and everything enriched me. Everything. Back then. Now. I cannot stop being taught.

So I came to Harlem on Saturday, enchanted thoughts in mind. I had no idea that 2 or 3 train wouldn’t be running and got lost along the way (thanks Google Maps and construction!). Eventually I figured it out. I walked down W. 125th Street with splendid urban romanticism and desires to fill sketchbook. Visceral inspiration surrounded lukewarm winter. Not too cold for exploration. Although there are chains like Starbucks and McDonald’s, fairy tale length hair extension stores next to African braiding and barber shops, promises are kept rooted on Malcolm Luther King Jr and African Streets. It was bewildering to be nestled in the comforts of diaspora. Imagine periods of divine desperation to find paper, clay, or instrument to unleash talented prowess from within.
Apollo. Still known for it’s Amateur Night. Started so many careers like Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, The Jackson 5, Mariah Carey, and  Lauryn Hill. Risque comedians like Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx. Headliners like the Staple Sisters, Mahalia Jackson (amazing voice!!!),  Stan Getz (was Astrud Gilberto with him ever?!), and Ray Charles. It’s definitely a place enriched in history. So happy that it’s one that still stands.
It’s exciting to have Titus Kaphar as a visiting critic this semester. Yes, I’ll miss Abigail Deville. She was engaging, humorous, and understanding. Lots of ideas. Lots. I had my second visit with Titus last Friday. First time we met, I was a Post Baccalaureate student struggling with painting. Realism or abstract. Realism or abstract. Instructors wanted me to either paint academically (with trained proficiency after all it’s an academia college) or go completely abstract- collaging if need be. I have since shifted towards watercolor and weird sculpture. He was surprised. I am too in a way. I love painting. Love it. Always have.

Vegan Mofo Day 11: Campus Philly, Discovering Stephen Hayes & Blackbird Pizzeria

So I didn’t make my 30 post September Vegan Mofo goal. That was quite unfortunate. I barely had time to be around the apartment, let alone cook. For the most part, I’ve been eating frugal oatmeal bowls and bananas more than twice a day. One strenuous “elective” class takes up most hours. Seminar provides so much intellectual reading my brain is bound to explode from jargon filled information. All the while I am to be conducting studio work. That leaves little time for cooking creativity.  Much less breathing. I haven’t breathed relief until well…. today.

Thanks to the big Campus Philly event, I feel at ease. At least for a few hours. Many Center City museums were free to students showing up with college ID or blue campus Philly wrist bands. In front of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, where all the fun started, entertainment was in great abundance for the growing wild crowd. Open mic poetry, positive rap music, DJ spinning tunes from around the globe, and dance off competitions took the stage. Varied games like spin the wheel and sock game tosses provided happy students prizes. Freebies included lots of fresh drinks, snacks, and coupons.

I uncovered Stephen Hayes. Who is Stephen Hayes? Who is this artist that baffles spirit with amazingly riveting work that makes each room silent? Deep respect and undeniable mourning describes the tears burning to fall. Hayes creates haunting poetic narrative that speaks guttural truths to me, that speaks to everyone about the bloody realities on which our country stands. Cash Crop explores not just the past, but future as well. Above isGluttony, a piece that has an intricately carved slave ship in each wooden rectangle. Remarkable symbolic creation of infinite lives stolen from Africa. It narrates ancestral days. Desires to keep having and having, consuming and consuming, using and using. Hayes asks, when will it be enough? When will we stop forcing people to do that of which we could for ourselves? Will slavery ever be truly abolished worldwide?

Most harrowing, poignant portrait of all paints grisly reality, a brusquely undeniable honesty. Fifteen cement sculptures of men, women, and children- arrested hands and shackled legs all leading to one place. Dripping brown stains faces, bodies, and hands, dried bodily fluids staining gray expressionless, nameless captives. Tears want to fall hard at this sight. And even now, it stays present in mind, unforgotten, saying “remember your history. Your history.”
Knowledgeable fruit gifted brain, a sweet abundant nourishment that stimulated ideas for tonight’s studio practice. The effective way Hayes took subject matter and beautifully weaved conception delivered insight. Its in the same manner as of Wangechi Mutu’s profound show seen last year at the Brooklyn Museum. This idea, this notion, that we as artists shouldn’t define ourselves as one primary function. They’re not just installation artists or sculptors or mixed media collage geniuses. I’m not just a painter that loves to draw. We’re each creative inventors using narrative, with or without text language, to engage viewers into reading with their minds, with their souls.
Thus, I carried this inside my filled heart, walking towards next destination- a place to feed ravenous belly.

Blackbird Pizzeria is one of my absolute favorite Philadelphia vegan eateries. With menu item side salads, sandwiches, Make-Your-Own calzones, pizzas like Balboa (pumpkin pesto pizza topped with Daiya mozzarella, seitan bacon, and tomatoes) or (breakfast pizza with tofu scramble and Daiya), I decided to try something new: the wings! Yes, I have heard through the grapevine all about Blackbird’s infamous sauce dripping wings! I wasn’t the biggest wing pre-vegetarian hence why it took so long to trying them out.

Vegan Mofo Day 12: Curried Chick’in & Apple Walnut Salad

Time to break out Green Day’s American Idiot and put “Wake Me Up When September Ends” on blast. It isn’t just the end of the ninth month of 2014, so concludes Vegan Mofo. In a few weeks, I’ll be recreating favorites and counting down top “new to me” blog picks! It’s been sooooo exciting as always to be introduced to vegan bloggers. This community is only getting bigger. Animal free, cruelty free women and men are more kitchen savvy than ever before! Woo hoo!
In this incredibly yummy noontime meal perfectly packed for school, combines wide variety of delicious ingredients. Almost similar to a Waldorf Salad, I found it impossible to stop eating. Regular Earth Balance or Veganaise will probably be great substitutes, but I highly recommend Whole Food’s No Oil Zesty Tahini Dressing. It’s surprisingly light and tangy- not too thick and not too watery. Creamy goodness adds most amazing flavor to Beyond Meat’s Southwest Style Chicken Free Strips and apple, marrying sweetness and savory together. Plump, chewy raisins provide extra texture to otherwise versatile crunchiness.
This salad makes for a one serving portion.

Curried Chick’in & Apple Walnut Salad Ingredients and Preparation

1 apple, chopped (used Braeburn)
6 Beyond Meat Southwest Style Chicken Free Strips, diced and pulled
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoon Whole Foods No Oil Zesty Tahini Dressing (or plain vegan mayo is fine)
handful raisins
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
pinch of garlic salt

Happy October! Theo Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups VS. Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Happy October! Now the best month (birthday month!) in the entire universe begins. Cannot believe nine months has passed by and we’re almost finished with 2014.
Today I had two lovely critiques- one by Eileen and another unassigned visit with one of Post Baccalaureate faculty- Neysa. I cannot pick a favorite when it comes to those four faculty members (Neysa, Mark, Jan, and Michael). Just know that they became an elemental reason why I returned for the MFA program. Current critics: Eileen, Keith, and Dan are pretty awesome too. With Eileen and Neysa, I enjoyed both studio visits immensely and received valuable insight onto where to push this new work. Hoping to someday share some upcoming progress with you all, especially my big fairy tale inspired installation, Nappylocs and the Three Combs.
In other news, I experienced the incredible performance artist Eiko Otako. We had the most invigorating workshop. Not only did students draw her body in motion, we also got to move and create our own five minute choreography in the University Arts dance studio. Wow! What an experience. Can’t dance to save my life so of course I was surprised that someone asked me if I danced. I held back a lot of laughter. I was just mimicking Eiko– she moved with such timely grace and eloquence. I wanted to simply embody sensually methodical instruction.
Anyways, let’s get onto a unique competition involving the vegan’s answer to Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I adored those dented rounded edged peanut butter centering thin chocolate layer throughout childhood. During Halloween, I had an extreme penchant for buying clearance Reese Cup miniatures and stuffing my face with more than nine (nine was the serving size).
Let me introduce the challengers: Theo Chocolate’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
They are judged by price, packaging, originality, and taste.

When it comes to price, Justin’s wins. Victory is a minor yet easy one. In this day in age every little bit counts. Save thirty cents. $1.99 is pretty reasonable. In general, dark chocolate is a sweet that must be savored slow and lifted up to nose like fine wine. There’s something about aromatic properties in chocolate that heightens joyous occasion. So yes, that Justin’s Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup is a steal.
Theo Chocolate is the winner in packaging. Although mostly white composition like Justin’s, Theo’s catchy lower case script font, pops of orange and yellow, captivating well bitten melted chocolate over peanut butter photograph, and the red-orange smiley face gets attention right away. It says that these dark chocolate cups hold the key to all suitable vegan chocoholic needs. Theo also scores major originality points for its unique heart shape, thick width, and presenting sans paper. This romantic treat doesn’t say have me for Valentine’s or Sweetest Day. This is the chocolate that loves right and holds nothing back.
When it comes to taste, Justin’s wins by superior landslide. As mentioned earlier, smell has a lot to do with whether a product tastes wonderful or not. It appeared that thinly layered dark chocolate over thicker peanut butter middle would be so simple, so unable to provoke overly giddy satisfaction. When I bite into a Justin’s, however, flavor is strong, powerful, and sweetly chocolaty. Forbidden romance happens on tongue and begins lightning bolt aphrodisiac that only ignites during really good chocolate. That rarely happened during the Reese Cup days. I just indulged and indulged on heavy milk and sugar dilution. Justin’s makes one linger into that first nibble, close eyes and drift off into a Wonderland Alice would be too shy to enter. This happens too with Theo, but Justin’s is a far sweeter dark chocolate. Theo is just a tad bit more bitter. Just a tad.
Still, they both make chocolate and peanut butter dance together in an organic animal free way. That’s the real champion here.

An Inpromptu Birthday Washington D.C. Trip

Oh yay!
This past Tuesday (October 7th with a 99% full moon unseen due to sweet smelling pitter patter rain) celebrated another born day. Prior to that (October 6th) my oldest brother welcomed a little treasure- an angel baby named Princeton. Omg another little Libra in the family!!! Cannot wait to meet him this holiday break.

I imagine a vibrant glittery future of bringing crayons, books, poems, Purple Rain, and cats into his world. Plus he must learn to treat all women with respect, honor, and compassion especially his mommy. In fact, I’m going to make him a crown in the studio today. King Prince or Prince Prince? Hmmm.
So what special shenanigans did I get myself into on Tuesday– a day of no classes?
Well, I traveled down to Washington D.C. via Megabus for a whopping $15 (to was $13+ fro was $3+ $1 reservation fee).
Here recaps a splendid memorable initiation into 31 captured in pictures and subtitles.

So it was quite hard at first getting this between the jaws, but I managed! The flavors are unimaginably out of this world! Sweet, tangy BBQ sauce marrying some wild secret ranch dressing with a “nutty” melted cheese and fresh veggies make for one of the best burger bites ever. The patty was well seasoned and tender. Bacon well smoked and crisp. Each bite, however messy, was well worth the bus trip. Plus the customer service was excellent! Very nice and courteous staff.

For birthday dessert, because one must have cake, this Spicy Chocolate Cake was to die for. It is made of fair trade cocoa with a hint of cayenne pepper and a luscious chocolate glaze. Rich, moist, and full of mouth watering chocolate fervor each forkful tasted like I was consuming the best romance novel ever written. It’s incredibly delicious! Definitely one of the finest vegan sweets ever eaten. After dessert, I found a lovely place to write for a while. “Route” is so close to being finished I can smell it.

The Library by Jacob Lawrence. Before I even saw the title just looking at this vibrant, lively composition screamed intellectual gathering place. Distinctive Pan African colors (red, green, and black) popped on and against light cobalt blue and ebony figures. Different hued books (mostly golden ochre tone) surround everyone and fill the canvas.

A piece that I know and love. This is Harlem Renaissance painter William H. Johnson’s very famous “Cafe.” Two hatted figures enjoying a drink date. Vibrant bold patterns on the man and modestly fashioned woman in her light pantyhose and kinetic fat red gloved hands. The woman reminds me of profound writer Zora Neale Hurston so much.

always forget that Duane Hanson’s “Woman Eating” isn’t human! She feels like a shadow watching. Instead polychrome sculpture is so real that one is sure that she is physically bound to get up at any moment. Too bad she’s frozen in time stuck holding a silver spoon next to untouched dessert staring at some sleazy 1980’s checkout magazine for the rest of her statuesque “life.”

Ended the celebration with soy based gelato at Pitango. Here is raspberry made with real organic berries bursting with ripened sweet life on the tongue. Chocolate noir, classic rich decadence, is a perfect accompaniment. Genius to serve with a tiny spoon. Makes one satisfied to savor each bite slowly as though they were standing on an Italian street corner.  Yummiest happily ever after.

What Happened In Toronto Just Cannot Stay In Toronto

“Time is the most valuable thing a man (woman, etc.) can spend.”-Theophrastus

Sunday was a comic’s dream. So many cracked jokes. So much addictive fun. Time, however, was most wonderful gift bestowed. That people sacrifice a brisk weekend for charity giving, spending hours with fans, and simply hanging out around a fascinating town touched sensitive bohemian spirit. I don’t think one hundred repetitive “thank yous” expresses length of gratitude flooding through my veins.

I found myself dazzled and overjoyed about coming to Kate Linder’s Young and the RestlessTea Event– funds raised to support March of Dimes, a 63-year-old organization committed to offering people with disabilities advantages, showing them deserved human decency, gracious patience, and amiable respect. Kate (Esther) would be co-hosting and actors– Sean Carrigan (Stitch), Bryton James (Devon), and Toronto native Mishael Morgan (Hilary) of fictional Genoa City came along to freely support her as well as engage with dedicated fans. If you must know, I am a new found fan of the Hevon pairing– portmanteau of Hilary and Devon characters flawlessly played by Mishael and Bryton. I came because of them, in hopes of them. Kate and Sean were just cake frosting. And cake frosting is addicting.

First of all, I took the roaring, exploring 11:30 PM Megabus up to Canada, on top deck seats. I had forgotten red lipstick and my copy of Morris Micklewhite, a little bummed. Yet wheels rolled round and round and we escaped Philadelphia’s rain showers. Sky happenings started unveiling beautiful imagery. One must take ample advantage of the clear rooftop windows– never know what might dazzle eyes. Rather enjoyable lying on back, watching steadfast moonlight follow in hot pursuit, shining on mystical white clouds swirling about. Either Big Dipper or Little Dipper revealed itself. Brightest story element sat on constellation edge, sparkling prettier than most expensive diamond. I wanted to make a wish on it, but the trip was already at a corny phase. Didn’t want to push it further.

By morning, everyone had to go to U.S. Customs. Lo and behold they ask for passports and reasons for leaving the country.

“I’m attending a soap opera convention.” Yes, I tried sounding normal– keeping excitement to hushed minimum. Because a compulsive fangirl going to afternoon tea trying best not to act like crazy Mad Hatter was going to be laughable. Agent had the straight, non expression face like a London guard, but his blue eyes sparkled mischievously. It wasn’t a secret that he probably found daunting “excuse” quite funny and would laugh about it later once out of earshot.
“Have a good time,”  he said.

Once hitting pass Canadian border, my phone went into Roger Wireless Status, meaning “you’re on your own! I help you no further!” It was like Frodo leaving Sam at the end of Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Frodo left Sam the Shire and bounced off on trotting horse, never looking back. My phone left me a shell devoid of its functions. Darn it AT&T it’s Canada. Not across the glittery Atlantic. So rude.

I was happy to discover a Starbucks near the exit stop. Hot Gingerbread Soy Milk Latte calmed frustrated nerves and warmed chilled spirits. I passed time drawing pictures and listening to various dialects and languages. From time to time, I commiserated over fabulous downtown architecture, reveling in the Momotofu dragon out front.

Alas, it was nearing two– time of the tea hour. I left rather late, feeling sugared rushing anticipation slowly dying on the cold walk towards 1 Harbour Square. Confidence coffee didn’t perform well. I should not have gotten decaf. When I finally reached destination, after entering wrong building and taking short skywalk, I stood in the lobby twiddling anxious thumbs, too freaking nervous to burst through closed doors. Kind, gentle custodian lady, with sweetest thick accent, lured me into reality and convinced me that there was nothing to be scared of. Yes, sometimes with abyssal self doubt it is far too easy to stay deeply latched inside complicated butterfly knots. Its both oceanic uncertainty and nonsensical turmoil brewing erratic beans together.

Virtual Vegan Potluck: One Minute Pumpkin Rocky Road Mug Cake

Hello all! By now you have reached the very sweet end! To get back to Veggie Don’t Bite’s Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Pretzel Frosting click here and to reach the very beginning of the Potluck to appetizers and all click here!

Finally, I have obtained vegan marshmallows that do not contain corn syrup. It’s a rare thing nowadays. Chicago Vegan Foods has succeeded by changing their recipe using tapioca syrup instead. Squishy and fluffy like white spherical cubes of the past, sweet flavor and spring form texture perfectly mimics old favorite. Treasured childhood desserts like Rice Krispy Treats, S’mores, and Rocky Road can now be made thanks to new salvation.

First on the list is tackling Rocky Road. A yummy concoction of ooey gooey marshmallows combined with chocolate and nuts. I found this quick, easy delicious recipe on Chocolate Covered Katie’s wonderful vegan treats blog. The twist, however, involves a bit of pumpkin puree which provides moisture and autumn flare. It is barely noticeable until some fantastic pumpkin pie spice is added. Once it escapes the microwave expect marshmallow and chocolate to ooze out from mug confines, tantalizing mouth watering sight as delightful as how warm treat melts on the tongue.

One Minute Pumpkin Rocky Road Mug Cake Ingredients and Preparation

coconut oil spray
5 Chicago Vegan Foods Dandies marshmallows
2 tablespoon cocoa powder
3 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup pumpkin purée
2 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
3 tablespoon almond milk
handful of nuts (I used pecans and walnuts)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
pinch of cinnamon
So Delicious Coco Whip or homemade coconut cream

Spray mug with generous amount of coconut oil spray.
Piece marshmallows and set them inside.
Combine cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt together.
Add pumpkin puree, agave nectar, almond milk, nuts, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon to mixture.
Microwave for one minute.
Top with generous bit of Coco Whip.