Sunday, April 27, 2014

No Longer Sad But Glad: Hotlanta, SoapWanderlust, & Dough Bakery

Atlanta skyline from the view of a not so clean Greyhound window.
So long ago, my mom, youngest of eleven chipmunks, born in Atlanta, Georgia, left state capital around age four and never returned. Now years later, I come along on a twenty-one hour journey straight from Philadelphia, stopping in Baltimore, Maryland, Washington D.C., Richmond, Virginia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, passing through my born state South Carolina towards Mama's former roots to attend my final soap opera convention at the Sheraton Hotel.
Whilst waiting for Lynn at the free internet station around 11AM (left Philadelphia around 5PM Friday), I stumbled across a startling itinerary schedule of a DCE crew member, which included times of lunches, airport details, and etc. It's not something that should be lying around- especially at a soap event where craziness tends to occur. Instead of using this information to some kind of crazed fangirl advantage, I merely folded up findings and inserted paper into journal as a keepsake memento.
Ruby Tuesday's has an excellent spaghetti squash. Too delicious! Yes, I admit to being surprised.
After a short refresher, I met the Forbidden Love ladies (Lynn, my roommate, Dsintra, DD, Leslie, Katie, and Patty) at Ruby Tuesdays for lunch where we dished all things Days of Our Lives. It felt extremely good, in that moment, to be surrounded by those who understand soap opera addiction. I got to catch up- for those who don't know I don't own a TV and barely have time for Youtube. This event was a means of meeting not just the men, but find out juicy tidbits on/offscreen from the women.
First, at 3:00PM began the Meet and Greet Autograph Session. Lynn, DD, and I joined with Dawn and Diane stood in long, long line for Shawn Christian (Dr. Daniel Jonas) and Greg Vaughan (Father Eric Brady), playing Truth or Dare to pass the hour.
Finally Shawn upon us, I seemingly leaped out of my skin, scaring him in the process, whilst jumping up and down in raucous excitement. One would think I never met the former As the World Turns' Mike Kasnoff before.
"Whoa there!" He exclaimed, laying a calming hand to my shoulders, steering me gently towards earth.
We shook hands and everything became normal again.
Calming down a bit after nearly killing Shawn Christian who never stops smiling.
Greg next, I can truly say that demure nature rose again like a startling thundercloud, booming so loudly in startled ears and making vocal cords unable to function accordingly. My own eyes darted towards feet and earth toned floral patterned carpet, forgetting earlier innuendos about confessing sins and playing coy. Unfortunately, coy woman isn't a role that I have to pretend to be.
Stunned into silence, he completely guided me into hug central.
Romance novel cover?
"Just place your hands here..."
He gently took my hands, led each one towards the sides of his hips, and wrapped around him, all whilst laughing.
I thought it over until....
Without warning, Greg cups my face into his hands and tells me, "look up. I want to see your face."
I couldn't believe it was happening. A ruggedly handsome, blue-eyed, dimpled Texas man, former priest on a soap opera, touched my suddenly hot cheeks smeared haphazardly with foundation. I thought death was surely on the way- until hug 2.0 came next!
Epic hugging right here!
Yes, I received another hug. One that made embrace history. Depressing emotions about James Scott's absence drifted away like it never arose. That abyssal dark tunnel of regret and heartbreak turned into a tunnel lightened with an intensity brighter and richer than gold.
I was over the moon afterwards. Just completely over the moon!
Before getting to Eric Martsolf (Brady Black), my critique hit me. This whole following of soap opera actors and trying to form a piece about phenomenon wanted to be art. I came to Eric, asking if he would do a "Soap Opera Digest" inspired cover photo with me and he kindly obliged. I loved the end result and cannot help laughing! He has certainly mastered craft. This (well all of this) will be part of SoapWanderlust: The Short Documentary. One woman's quest to see all her serial favorites wherever they may be- a real treat with soaps dying off one by one. She goes out of her way to events like soap conventions, theater stage readings, little league games, and movie premieres, but at the same time has shyness disease like wouldn't believe! So excited. I plan to work on this during the 21 hour journey home. Hopefully, it'll be a winner on Wednesday's critique however rough it may be.
Anyways, back in Atlanta, one thing must be said about Eric- he's definitely a man filled with personality, especially humor. We had a great time just staring at his varied expressions (One Eyebrow Raise King, yes!) during Tony, the event emcee's monologues containing jokes about various Salem characters- Brady an easy pick. 

Striking a future "Soap Opera Digest Cover" with Eric Martsolf!
Met Blake Berris next- who complimented my head scarf. Our little photo appeared the usual typical- stand there and smile, but I beg to differ. Amongst giddy expressions and that big thumbs up, a certain mischievous cheekiness is depicted somewhere in between these happy people. And no, don't bust out the Pharrell tune please.
I think he's incredibly talented as well as adorable. What a sweet guy! Wish we could have talked more. *sighs*
Blake! Blake! Blake! So much nicer than that creepy Nick Fallon.
Bryan the sweetest man who just welcomed a daughter. Surprisingly a very gracious spirit.
Bryan Datillo (Lucas Horton Black or something like that), last but not the least, an all-around warm man. In just the five minutes of being near him, I think in another life, sans the glitter and the swoony women that come along in soap opera stud status life, we could have been friends.
This morning, Lynn said it best- "he just has the nicest smile. It's a trusting and infectious.Makes everyone want to do the same." His smile does contain these genuine qualities. I groaned when she told me he didn't like it. Why not? He must be joking. But then again, even actors have these pesky confidence issues. We're all human.
After afternoon shenanigans, I momentarily escaped soapy entertainment and headed rogue, strolling to bus stops and riding Marta metro trains. In my destination of Reynoldstown, found Target, a Kroger (yes please come to Philly!!!!!), and Dough Bakery (highly recommended via Twitter)- an all vegan eatery that features prepared sandwiches, deli "meats," and specialty raw "cheeses." It was all heaven to me. Just a dream come true.

Dough Bakery was definitely the place to be- for a vegan!
Not your typical dinner fare, but I enjoyed the soy sausage,"egg," and "cheese" biscuit sandwich with a Bolthouse Farms Acai+ Superblend Juice (which was buy one get one free at Kroger!). Very, very tasty! For breakfast, the incredible cheddar-jalapeno bacon scone hit all the right notes. Not too crumbly, not overly salted, perfect myriad of flavors and textures. Pitch of cheesy goodness kicked by spiciness and delicious "bacon." Started my Sunday morning off terrifically paired with a Bolthouse Farms Vanilla Soy Tea.
Yummy closeup.
Delectably moist chocolate cupcake with strawberry frosting. Sweeter and far more sinful than the eye candy.
I did briefly attend the cocktail party, arriving late and leaving early. It felt like a soap opera, watching the soap men swarmed by low cut dresses, big guns blazing and wicked scheming on sight. Other than that, I fled to the hotel room to plot out my homework, still holding onto Eric wishing me luck earlier.
Alas, I am back on the bus, delighting in the beautiful, lush greens my born state provides. Gorgeous, glorious South Carolina offers such a wonderful background writing and focusing on Wednesday's last group critique, thoughts of beguiling yesterday still fresh on hazy mind. I feel like the happiest afro vegan chick alive more enthusiastic than a Christmas morning child. Not only has this final soap venture been an rewarding experience, but meeting these women, strengthening foundations with them has made it all worthwhile.
Hugest thank yous go out to the actors who took time out of their busy schedules to grace us with their presences, making a majestic event an intimate, candid, and fun leisure. Thank you to Lynn and Dawn for holding my heavy tote bag and taking my photos. Also Lynn again for letting me browse through her copy of Days of Our Lives Better Living to capture cast recipe ideas and photos. If I could bottle appreciation, I would and split it amongst those who truly made Saturday more than just an ordinary day of the week.
42 hours spent traveling via bus isn't such a wasted sacrifice after all.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Vegan Maple Apple Sausage & Quinoa Tabbouleh Grits

People have tried to cheer me up about today's journey to Atlanta for the Days of Our Lives fan event.
I'm still not overly enthused by one of my favorite men not being in attendance. Feeling foolishly disillusioned. He just bailed out three days before. Absolutely nothing can be refunded. I learned a valuable lesson through all of this unnecessary trauma. One can't always count on someone being there, especially a celebrity. At the end of the day, it isn't worth investment. They're strangers that don't necessarily care about us individuals. They're not beholden or obliged. So this is my final outing. Quite done with "worshiping." For the time being, focus will always primarily be art, writing, and exploring veganism. As enjoyable as it originally sounded, I will not be attending June's Philadelphia Comic Con to see Whoopi Goldberg, David Boreanaz, Eliza Dushku, or James Marsters. Might go home after the Soho Film Festival in support of Michael Medeiros' Tiger Lily Road.
Dayton is such a humbling place to spend the summer. Be at the pond. Play with my darling Olivia.
Anyways- another happy time.
One day, strolling through Whole Foods, I walked down the fake meats aisle past the freezer section (still hunting for those new Tofurkey Hot Pockets!), and spied a new item:

Field Roast's Apple Maple Breakfast Sausage.
Apple Maple Sausage sounded absolutely divine! And it was .
Here in another grits dish, I added the tasty vegan treat, combining it with also Cava's delicious, hand mixed in small batches Quinoa Tabbouleh. An easy side dish to prepare for the breakfast table,have taste buds prepared for a unique scrambling of varied flavors- sweet, savory maple enhanced yumminess.
Thank you Field Roast for another score of genius! Cannot wait to try what those folks make next! And it's definitely a heroine's worship- albeit a much healthier alternative. :)

Vegan Maple Apple Sausage & Quinoa Tabbouleh Grits Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
half small red onion, chopped
2 Field Roast's Maple Apple Sausages, chopped 
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 18 oz. polenta
1/4 almond milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 cup Cava Quinoa Tabbouleh

Saute onions and chopped sausage in olive oil and maple syrup.
Mash in polenta alongside almond milk, creaming it all together.
Stir in turmeric, garlic salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Turn off heat and mix in quinoa tabbouleh.

Closeup. Browned parts are "burnt" scrappings from the skillet. Actually adored them.
Sunlight breathing down on breakfast. FYI: Vintage rubber duck cloth will be a dress someday. Or at least a lovely skirt.
Silver spoon digging in.
It has a cheesy look, but no cheese. Simply enjoyable fare.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Maple, Brown Sugar, And Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Perfectly roasted sweet potatoes.
I cannot believe classes are almost. That the Post Baccalaureate program has drawn to a quiet close, that the curtain whispers as it falls. Now the only concerns left standing are the final review (mine is next Wednesday!), what art pieces should be selected for our fourth floor show, what shall the reception committee prepare/purchase as hors d'oeuvres (thinking some foods should be vegan of course) and what to wear for graduation. Speaking of this near three month break, vastly approaching, I was rather touched that Mark, my seminar instructor/critic, suggested that instead of getting a summer job maybe I should embark on creating a vegan subscription service- delivering delicious vegan meals on the go! I've never considered such a thing, but my mind is gradually wrapping around brilliant idea....
Now onto another amazing concoction- roasted sweet potatoes. Mmmmhmmmmm.
Just the smell of roasted maple, brown sugar, and cinnamon infused sweet potatoes always fills a room with the most wickedly fragrant aroma, an aroma that should be quickly bottled and reserved for future wicker burning candle. I love the smell. Cherish it actually. It's truly, without a shadow of doubt, a smell that resonates beyond crisp autumn leaves and earthly colored season. Roasted sweet potatoes should be made all year long. The flavorful taste alone dazzles tongue in a serenade of warm satisfaction, all soft, tender, and succulent. 
Very simple and no fuss, this only promises to be a fibrous, nutritiously drenched dessert.

Maple, Brown Sugar, And Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes Ingredients and Preparation

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
pinch of lemon juice (and if you have a grater make lemon zest so I'll be jealous!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
After peeling and chopping sweet potatoes into desired small chunks and/or slices, gather into a small bowl and hand mix them with maple syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and lemon juice.
Lay them onto a greased or parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.

Warm and amazing.
Yummy, glistening with beauty sweet potatoes.
For a simple topping plain coconut milk yogurt and a kiss of lemon juice does the trick just fine.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Vegan Zucchini & Carrot Fritters With Golden Sour Cream Sauce

Zucchini and carrots work together to make unbelievably delicious fritters.
I've always wanted to make fritters. Always. So alas, I have ventured into this territory leaving behind fears of sizzling hot oil hitting my bare arms and sans a deep fryer. Everyone, a plain ole skillet works just fine. So whilst Googling vegan recipes and remembering the lone green plastic bag wrapped zucchini sitting in the fridge, I stumbled upon's impressive spread of vegetable fritters. There is a recipe for both zucchini and carrot fritters, but yours truly decided to combine the two.
So I also neglected to get a new grater and decided to slice veggies thinly by hand. Lots of work and very time consuming. Luckily, I wasn't completely starving when performing this task. A grater is a necessary thing more so than a deep fryer. It turned out pretty tasty in the end- all crispy like a fritter should be and the tangy sauce complemented the dish just like imagined. Perfectly.

Vegan Zucchini & Carrot Fritters With Golden Sour Cream Sauce Ingredients and Preparation

oil for frying (used olive oil here)

1 zucchini
2 carrots
1 red onion onion
1 handful parsley
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 heaping tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup soy milk
1 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon Italian seasonings
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon red crushed pepper

Sour Cream Sauce

1/2 cup sour cream
2 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper

Heat up skillet.

Mix together "grated" zucchini, carrots, red onion, and parsley.
Gradually stir in flour, bread crumbs, soy milk, garlic salt, Italian seasonings, black pepper, and crushed red pepper. At this point, I added a generous amount of olive oil to warmed skillet- a good 1/3 maybe. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of batter and drop into the oil. They should sizzle immediately. If not, your skillet isn't hot enough.
Since I used a small skillet, fried up two at a time, leaving a wide gap between them. They are ready to be flipped over when edges are browned. Timed about 2-3 minutes. Lay them on napkins to remove excess oil.
Dried and ready to be sauced.
Stir sour cream with nutritional yeast, turmeric, garlic salt, and white pepper.
A sprig of parsley garnish.
Time to dig in!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Blossom Du Jour, Stage Reading Fun, And Near Death Shenanigans

Another NYC day and again it's theater related goodness thanks to a talented woman by the name of Karen Bishko.
Something has got to be done about clumsiness. For a Libra, my scales are totally off balance.
On a strange Maniac Monday full of pros and cons, I was almost hit by a bicyclist. tripped on the steps at the Roy Arias Studio (stupid maxi dress!), a certain someone smiled at me (I think?), and everything got soaked in the rain. Not that the latter is a cause of death. But pneumonia is not a pretty thing to be catching when far away from home. To appease my mixed spirits (overjoyed by the play, disheartened by the rain), I managed to pretend to be in some glamorous music video on the way towards a cheap corner store selling $5 umbrellas. Salvation. Oh and to whom smiled at me, I'll get to why that nearly killed me in just a moment.

Apparently I need to watch Dallas. That's all. Sorry to bump my rated PG blog to R.
Prior to actually going to Roy Arias Studio for a stage reading of Karen Bishko's latest musical play, Still Single, I stopped by Utrecht Art Supplies. I am obsessed with art supplies. Almost as insane as my chocolate addiction. May need therapy for both. I blame the hard to miss sign. They seduced me with "buy ANYTHING we mean ANYTHING from the clearance section and get a t-shirt!" Certain kinds of artists are way too easy to persuade. Yes, I am one of those artists.

Thank heaven for 67 cent stickers that I will probably never use. Check out my new sweet t-shirt. Perfect for late night studio! This is probably the last shot in its cleanliness state.
89 cent miniature canvas squares????! Win! Win!!!!
Off to Blossom Du Jour. Now I have heard only great things about this 100% vegan restaurant. Everyone told me that they had THE best sandwiches. Some say Blossom is way better than my beloved Terri. So I listened to the word of mouth gospel and tried my luck with a smoked tempeh and avocado wrap and a vegan cronut! (yes! my very very very first cronut ever!).

I took a Smokacado and Vegan Cronut to go.
The insides were pretty. But the only thing I really liked about the wrap was the avocado. Avocado is a hard ingredient to mess up on due to its yummy irresistible factor. Cold tempeh, however, is likely not a desirable temperature for me to eat again. I didn't particularly like it. Maybe it's an acquired taste. I don't know. Plus I wanted to find the nearest basket of salt and pepper packets. Not only was cold tempeh unappealing so was it's lack of salt. How could a wrap with all the fixings- tomato, lettuce, chipotle aioli be a bland deal? Dissatisfied, but full (because hello! I wasn't going to let $8 go to waste), I wanted to immediately wash away the unpleasant situation. Thankfully, the cronut looked at me and smiled.
Oh where art thou cronut? It disappeared. Crunchy sugary sweetened exterior with a chewy interior. Crumbs everywhere. It was like Crumbaggedeon.
Roy Arias Studios was to be a four minute walk. Until I discovered power striding in the wrong direction. As usual. But I made it on time- at three. Okay three something. But hey! As I headed up the stairs (reminded me of a better version of high school bleachers), somehow forgot that one must pick up the hem of a maxi dress. Some near fatal, quite disastrous, very embarrassing falling occurred. My hands saved my life and I appeased worried folks.
Moments later, it all began.
The cast players came out- Melissa Van Der Schyff, Catherine Porter, Peter Davenport, Emily Stockdale, Lauren Downie and wait for it....... Tom Pelphrey!!!!(insert mad fangirl screaming and overzealous enthusiasm). I kept a calm composure. I truly did.
In a stage reading, the actors read from manuscripts on a brightly lit stage. And since this was a stage reading of a musical, they all sang LIVE with REAL accompanied instruments. No synthesizers and artificial beats here. So so good!
Still Single is primarily centered on Leah, a successful divorce lawyer, a most caring, supportive BFF, who is horrid in the "love" department. She's been hung up on Andy, a cheating ex, for years. However, she is a terrific, closeted singer- shy about sharing gift to the world. With MJ as her ringtone, Leah got more and more loveable as each act continued on. Melissa was simply an excellent lead, playing the single gal on the prowl loving the alcohol and the cake too much while comparing every man to Andy. She can be a witchy woman. Yet sweet, sincere, and completely relatable due to commendable touches of vulnerability. I definitely appreciated that the ending didn't have Leah "put a ring on it." Single life is not all that bad. In fact, it's pretty darn great.
Ummmm.... so I didn't get the memo about Tom's singing abilities. I didn't know he could sing. Like theatrically trained. Seriously. I mean, the man is talented, but when he started turning dialogue into belted song, my jaw dropped. That voice turned further impressive as his evil (kind adjective) character Benny the rock band drummer (one of many- there's also Jacob the temperamental surgeon, Andy the cheating pilot, an Israeli man in Anger Management, etc ) starts singing (bragging really ha ha) about his hazel eyes and stubble. His pipes just flowed like wine when he was really getting into it. For a moment, my brows froze at the top of my forehead.
"I can't help if girls like that...."
Umm... folks. I'm still alive after that. I thought almost getting hit by a bicyclist was horror, but hearing him breaking into serenade just made my heart stop beating. He was a part of like four sings man. Four songs. Is there a thing that he can't do? I struggled between tears, laughter, and fangirl swooning. 30 going on 12 years old....
Karen Bishko- singer, songwriter, magician (okay not a literal David Copperfield magician) owns my heart!! Her songs are hilariously fantastic! And she's also a former portrait painter to boot! Too much goodness to handle. Three days later, I still have tunes stuck in my brain and may start singing to my mom about her hazel eyes tomorrow. She doesn't have stubble by the way. Ha!
Other than that, delighted by this stage reading. Very delighted. Good use of props by all.
The cast sang their group number, took a bow, and enjoyed the applause.
Then it happened.
The sudden acknowledgement. The smile. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. Cheesy but true. In the back of my mind, however, I think, maybe he was staring at the patterns in my scarf, the wall interested him or someone else. But the most surreal feeling, the most unexpected engagement to have whilst applauding a wonderful performance, is to see these sung about hazel eyes looking at the crowd with genuine sincerity and lips curving into a grin sweeter than a vegan cronut.
As for Still Single, I do hope it finds a place on a Broadway stage. Truly an excellent treat.  Everyone performed harmoniously. If I didn't have homework, I truly would have stayed for the 7PM performance just to see if they could really pull it off twice in a day!
Afterwards, I left on weakened, faint legs, picked up the maxi dress hem, and headed out, too afraid to say "hi" amongst the swarm of folks braver than me. That's when the rain poured outside with a heavily unwanted greeting, soaking my entire chic wardrobe including pretty faux snakeskin flats.
Now I wish I can say this is the end of the Tom Moral Fan Support Life y'all (okay not really). But good news- Tiger Lily Road is an official selection for the Soho International Film Festival. You bet your bottom cup of soy two pump raspberry hold the whip hot chocolate that I will be there. I cannot wait to see the film again! And my little Ohioan friend- oh she cannot wait either! (She's played the trailer out). I have a creative surprise to put to work and I'll share when May day comes. Squealing with delight just thinking about it!!!

The introduction flyer. It got a little soaked, but it's mint condition.
I'm going to be a Tom follower until he personally tells me to shoo like a fly. Oh god. Maybe I'll stay hidden in shadowy corners, watching his brilliant work from "afar," so that he never says that. I would be crushed, flattened like well... a swatted fly?
In other news, soap opera related, apparently there is a Young and the Restless Comedy Tour with Joshua Morrow and Steve Burton. It stops in Dayton of all places this weekend. There has never been a soap opera related anything back home. I sobbed to my mom about the horrible timing. Such injustice! It's sold out anyway.
Anyways, it's back to the kitchens for me. The kitchen kitchen, the studio kitchen, and the writing kitchen. I'm all kitchen and nothing but the kitchen.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Vegan Cheesy Grits, Tempeh, And Avocado

Yummy spin on the classic cheesy grits phenomenon.
School is almost over. Trying not to stress or get teary eyed.
I mean, I still have two more years at PAFA, but the Post Baccalaureate Program has a certain kind of tight intimacy that the larger MFA Program will not have. Yes, I'm excited about it, but I'll miss the small group. It was nice and pleasant.
Now transitioning onto food. No need to be overly sentimental about school right?
Polenta always brings joy. Haven't you noticed? I'm a polenta feen. It's my college ramen noodles. Haha! It's $2 for an 18 oz log. I easily get four to five servings out of it. Not the same as 10 servings from 5 ramen noodle packs, but so much better in my opinion.
Ain't nothing like a comforting bowl of golden cheesy grits (polenta's other name) to start one's morning, especially when there's some seasoned tempeh and ripened just right avocado involved. There's varied creamy textures going on in this incredibly savory breakfast, but the tempeh (which I love getting a few sides slightly blackened) adds a delicate crunch and certain meaty chewiness. Very simple to make and just enough for two happy very hungry inhabitants.

Vegan Cheesy Grits, Tempeh, And Avocado Ingredients and Preparation

2 tablespoon olive oil
4 oz. tempeh (half an 8 oz block, chopped)
1 teaspoon liquid aminos
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 18oz polenta log, diced1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 oz. Follow Your Heart Mozzarella
1 avocado, ripened1/2 teaspoon kelp flakes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Heat skillet with olive oil.
In a small bowl, hand mix tempeh cubes with liquid aminos, turmeric, garlic, curry powder, black pepper, and crushed red pepper.
Toss this into skillet and brown on each side for 3-5 minutes each.
Add the diced polenta and start bashing it in with a spoon. Do minutes this for a good 3 minutes, adding the almond milk and stirring until a creamy albeit chunky consistency.
Stir in nutritional yeast and Follow Your Heart Mozzarella.Turn off heat once cheese melts.
Gently open ripened avocado and scoop out the lime green goodness. Try hard not to eat it all before sprinkling kelp flakes and crushed red pepper on each slice.

"Cheese" melting action.
Place seasoned avocado slices atop grits.
Another angle of beautiful, delicious, mind blowing food.
And then there were leftovers to be had for the next morning. With a fresh avocado of course!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Washington D.C.: A Trip Of Vegan Soul Food, Women's Art, And Devil Dogs

Woodlands Vegan Bistro was the place to be! Look at that fried "chicken!"
Ms. Glasper Goes To Washington D. C. Take that Mr. Smith!
The weather couldn't have been lovelier for going rogue on a splendid Saturday of food and fem art education.
First of all, I arrived with a growling belly. Our pit stop in Maryland left little to be desired.
I had received many vegan restaurant recommendations, but selected two. Many art galleries to visit, but stayed footed in one special place that means the world- The National Women in the Arts Gallery. Most of the D.C. galleries- like countless others celebrate and cater male artists, but here is my home. There Judy Chicago, one of my favorite feminist heroic artists, has put up an exhibit in accordance with her 75th birthday. Here lies some of the women she wants me to study: Paula Modersohn Becker, Elisabet Ney, Madame Deronda, Lily Bart. Of author Virginia Woolf, she declares, " poor Virginia. She was a flower of genius, a shaking lead. She tottered on the brink of sanity, holding long enough to speak with a true female voice which like a beacon beckons us."
Whilst studying Chicago's pieces, colored pencil drawings molded into meaningful circular patterned forms, it is her writing that drives my passion, that speaks intimately. It is so refreshing to see, especially after Friday. Neysa Grassi's (one of my critics!) show opening at Locks Gallery contained a varied scale body of ethereal, sensual, tranquil paintings that were both studies of intriguing technique and myriad form. In Chicago, I found her writings (all dated within the 70's) just as compelling and difficult to turn away from. Her scripted scrawl gave profound insight into connections between all the ladies (philosophers, writers, scientists, activists, etc) she studied and the tribulations a woman artist goes through just to have a solo show. She is right above things. The struggle still exists today.

Funny, how always, the bus traveler finds herself exiting off one form of public transportation to another. The terminal is crisp, clean, impersonal. No rat would feel welcomed here. Haha! This has got to be one of the most efficient forms I've ever commuted on. Very impressed.
I took the yellow line, got off at Columbia Heights, and walked 12 minutes to Woodlands Vegan Bistro- a friendly ran place on Georgia St. with a soulful menu recommended by VeRAWnica, vegan owner of my favorite Instagram accounts!
Customers are directed towards the back to a cafeteria style setup to order. Items like collard greens, cornbread, and "chicken" pot pie tempt my hunger. But it was that irresistible fried "chicken" that caught my eye. I wanted it sans sauce and accompanied my "meat" with steamed broccoli, out of this world macaroni & cheese, and the most incredible yams ever prepared.
OMG! The chicken was off the scales! Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, I couldn't believe how deliciously creative concoction. Everything was seasoned perfectly. I never touched the salt and pepper shaker. Yes! Yes! Yes!!! I would definitely come back here. Well aware that Megabus will get me back here in a three hour jiffy! :D
I walked off my soul food for a Sticky Fingers treat- another Instagram user recommendation.
I had such a hard time choosing one dessert. Too much to handle. On the plus side, a birdy told me that Whole Foods out in the Philly suburbs sell Sticky Fingers baked goods. Definitely worth checking out!
Mosaic magic!
I spent remainder of the field trip inside of one of my favorite places- National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Judy Chicago's "birthday" party. I had such a phenomenal time at her dinner party after all, shedding a few tears in its lavished presence at the Brooklyn Museum. Her birthday celebration was no small consolation. There were sketches, plans, ideas set in motion. She lets the viewer see all the ingredients of Dinner Party before it was ceremoniously mixed and baked. I'm utterly moved by the fact that she studied every female she placed at the Dinner Party. She really genuinely cared about that work, going as far as studying lace making from experts for the Emily Dickinson part of the place card.
Just a taste of Chicago's prismacolor sketches and writings for her lithographs. It entails her whole process of preparing the epic Dinner Party work. There were also another set of primsacolors on the opposite wall and the story of how her male printer gave her such trouble that she didn't get them made into desired prints. I, however, enjoyed the drawings though saddened by her plight. "these would have been beautiful lithos," she had wrote on one of them.
Africa by Lois Mailou Jones, another admirable artist. A trinity of rounded voluptuous forms, elongated necks, and mask like features engage a vibrantly painted composition. It evocatively speaks of the beauty behind divine heritage.
Faith Ringgold, an inspiration. Honored to walk down Ringgold Street and just think about her work, these mixed media enjoyments that celebrate African Diaspara and African Americans living in America. This piece in particular seems to revel in dance.
Amy Sherald is new to me. her intriguing paintings of humorously outrageous costumed ethnic portraits with deadpan expressions, lifeless skin color, and bold, abstractly decorated background fascinated me. This large scale painting is entitled They Call Me Redbone But I'd Rather Be Strawberry Shortcake.
Another Sherald- It Made Sense.... Only In Her Mind.
The Call by Remedios Varo, an artist that is new to me. Her elongated forms, heavy use of bright focused lighting, and spiritually etched illustrative painting rendered me breathless. The center woman flows through these grey ghostly forms like a floating, glowing brilliant figure of suspended bravery.
Only admiring one of my favorite painters of all time, Frida Kahlo. I wish I could lay a pillow right in front of Self-Portrait Dedicated to Leon Trotsy and lay forever without ever shutting an eye. Each brush stroke is applied with all the sensual beauty that one expects from a Kahlo work. Very beguiling and hard to tear gaze away from.
Young Girl With a Sheaf, Camille Claudel. Such a fascinating piece of bronze sculpture finished when the artist was only twenty-six years old.
The great French actress Sarah Bernhardt was also a very talented sculptor! This is After the Storm comprised of white marble. Amazing in every angle.
Hotel Harrington is where the Art Academy of Cincinnati students stayed at during the five day field trip so long ago.... 
Ended my day with a delicious Sticky Fingers devil dog- yummy cream between two thick slabs of chocolate sandwich goodness. So good! Wish I had gotten two....
To pass time in the last hour on the road, I played the Highway License Plate Game- you know where you count the states of the license plates? Well, I tallied in case anyone was interested. Even though it looked like New Jersey (14 in total) would win in the first twenty minutes, Delaware (24) came strong, but Pennsylvania (39) won in the end. However, I must admit there happened to be 32 unknown cars that drove by so who knows who would've been the real victorious champion. Others in the race included 2 for Virginia, 2 for Maryland and 1 each for New York, Quebec (yes a Canada car!), and a car sans license.
Any who, that was fun- the D.C. part of the journey. I never ever in my life want to play Highway License Plate Game again. Unless I was high on a lot of Sticky Fingers' Devil Dogs!!!