Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Love will tear us apart, but baked plums will not.

I have been in Macclesfield for about 24 hours, and both dinner last night, and breakfast this morning were totally vegan party platters.
The plane ride from Brussels was fantastic until the crashing bounce that capped off the flybe experience. Unfortunately, despite it being 4 30pm, it was dark when we arrived and the country side that I am sure exists between the airport and Buxton Road was not taken in. When we arrived I was immediately put at ease by the two gallons of soy milk that were living in the fridge. Kevin's mom made an amazing meal of chick pea and fava bean risotto that was all totally vegan and super yummy. I haven't been graced with the exact recipe but I think I might be able to give the ingredients a try:

Arborio Rice
Fava Beans
Chick Peas
Yellow Pepper
Fresh Oregano from the back garden

The meal was accompanied by a really fresh salad (I have to admit I was secretly admiring the salad from the get go - Brussels, though I love you, lacks really fresh looking salad greens).

Dessert was a really well baked dish of plums. The simple flavours of this desert was a perfect accompaniment to the subtlety of the main course.

Breakfast started with a cup of tea (with SOY MILK!) and a bowl of make your own granola (YES!) - the DYI component of the meal only made me even more excited and I went for:

3 dates - chopped
2 apricots - chopped
1 got it....chopped
200 grams of oats
a splish splash of soy milk.

Wicked Yum!
Promises of pictures......

Monday, October 29, 2007

I went to bed feeling dirty Sunday night. Not even the two handfuls of raisins I crammed into my mouth on the way to bed could help my body readjust....I was a was all over. I actually ate the junkiest food of all time last night - And, unlike my very vague memories of Alia and I eating Big Macs that actually tasted good, this 'thing' tasted wretched...maybe, I have gone too far onto the dark side of the lettuce leaf to enjoy the nuances of trash food, either way - blah. It started out as an innocent pre-show-bite-to-eat on the Turkish-restaurant-bloated street that is situated a stone's throw from the most amazing music venue I have ever been to - otherwise known as the Botanique. But, what I thought would bring a tear of Arabesque-memories to my eye, turned into a meal that I would just as soon forget - savouring only the look of horror on K's face when he realized that he had brought me to what was my was FINE...just funny...really, really funny. I enjoyed the whole experience through a lens of "what the hell is this?"
K ordered me a Falafel Pita, but what I got was a really dodgie flat bread wrapped around a mess of: 1. corn 2. cabbage 3. more cabbage 4. something that might have been a falafel ball 5. (get ready) FRENCH FRIES. I plucked most of them out - but then realized I was being an ass, and just dove in. It wasn't the most satisfying 'almost' middle easternish food I have ever had, nor did I get off the stairmaster after my usual 45 minutes today.....but it was food, and it was funny and it was a great pre-show experience that started an evening that only progressed into something else.

We bought our tickets at the door, and joined about 200 other people on a series of descending steps to take in (NOT watch, listen to, or enjoy, but TAKE IN) Blanche. This wacky (in the most dictionary definition of wacky) fivesome is derviative of nothing and everything all at the same time. There is no stamp that you could throw over this band in a world where we float so easily to labels of comfort like: indie, new country and hip hop. These nuts were having none of it. They were a thrift store collection of different pulp culture iconography, starting with the dark, brooding (really cute) rimmed glasses, uber nerd bango player - who had a mic stand complete with an Edgar Allan Poe raven. Think Toby McGuire from Spider Man with a jet black wig and an undertaker's suit - got that image? You got him. On the opposite side of the stage sat a slide playing gym teacher - seriously, he looked like Mr. McColman from Grade 7 gym wearing Uncle John's tartan suit from Christmas 76. Yikes. But, he did wicked vocals on a 'get the crowd rocking' number called: I Can't Sit Down. The two love birds in the middle were images of the marriage I have always really wanted - a ten foot firey red head and a totally spastic Lyle Lovett impersonator. Hot. The drummer was actually a spitting image of a slimmed down Rosie O'Donnel - complete with the mullet.

The gig included more that your average crowd/band banter - the whole language issue popped up "Merci Buckets...." etc. But it was the bands faux deep south accent that threw me off.....when they kept mentioning their home town of Detroit it was just too hard for me to suspend my imagination. Their lyrics were actually quite well done, and included an array of topics: fall leaves, the shitey labour conditions of Detroit city, and the crumbling walls of a relationship filled with mistrust.

I was really enamoured with the quality of music, and overjoyed with the raw drums and the hivey/jivey bango. John Miller, the husband and poppa, of this little family has a great set of lungs and shakes and shivers like the best evangelical minister you could ever ask for. I wasn't overly impressed with his wife. Her vocals seemed to peeter out and hide behind the bigger voice of her partner and the pounding of Rosie.....I stand behind this musical criticism no matter where Kevin thinks my critical eye is coming if Kevin.

Great band - would totally see them again. I left with a fear though - their music has a really super duper marketable quality to it. I can see the song I'm Sure of It heading the same way as Nick Drake's Pink Moon...a la VW commercials. And that would just blow. They are too weird to be incorporated into that whole muck....but I suppose that is part of what makes it inevietable.

On another note, I just had my last meal in Brussels for the next five days - salad, chick peas and grilled veg. Yum. I am off to Manchester and a family who has never known a vegan. Jesus. I hate stressing people out. Yikes. I hear they have wireless on the island, so I will be sure to keep everyone posted.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What is the vegan cowgirl eating right now?

Well, my computer keys are a bit slick with the olive oil that just happens to be offering a nice sheen to my finger tips - olives in citron. And of course what would a beautiful fall Sunday morning (when I am actually finding myself busy with work) be without some yummy Caviar d' Aubergines - just some pureed Eggplant with some lemon juice. I have been scooping and scrapping with Bosto's Rice Toasts....Yum.

But today's little gastro-break is nothing compared to the meal we had last night. We started at ROXI, which was almost a bad idea because the second I had the first glass of red I was ready to head back home. But, luckily there was some convincing done and a walk through the streets of ex-pat wonderland brought us to Chee de Waterloo where we found the open doors of L'Element Terre. It advertises itself as: Cuisine Vegetarienne, but they need to amend this to say: Fishetarian. There is loads of scampi and co. on the menu. Despite the fish frying in the back room, there was a bountiful (especially for Brussels) choice for vegans.

One can start with an Entrees (for Canadians this is the appetizer...not the main), a fresh juice or a nice glass of herbal tea - your choice. We shared some little sausage patties (made with lentils and cilantro) that were laying on a little bed of diced tomatoes.

We ordered two separate main dishes - K had the house special for the evening which was a rather large Seitan Steak covered in a heavy mushroom sauce. The presentation of this plate was quite antithetical to the rest of the atmosphere - which was all very 'we went to Africa and a couple of rain forests and brought back this aesthetic and a couple of photos'. The steak was laid out on a HUGE clear glass plate and was accompanied by a large pyramid of basmati. The rice was sitting beside some diced cabbage and a roasted Belgian Endive. The presentation seemed a little bit like a weird three way marriage between French-Japanese-Belgian plating. Funny. K was more enamoured with the sauce and shrooms than he was with his first introduction to the wide world of Seitan.

I ordered a wonderful Maroccan dish called: Tarjine de Rabat. It was loaded with courgettes, aubergines, onions, tomatoes and some amazing herbs.....It was served in a clay pot on a heaping pile of great couscous, which had been cooked with raisins (Angelique LOVES raisins). Two really different from La Luna, but equally as good (ok, maybe even a little better) falafel balls sat atop this totally satisfying dish.

The night for K was capped off with a slice of homemade tart (pear, peach and apricot), which he claimed was quite tasty.

On the walk home we were tempted by some Chilean wine, which went perfectly with the Felice Brothers and Blanche (who we are heading to see tonight)

Waking up this morning was an amazing experience. Despite my cold, despite the clouds - everything was right with the world. Maybe it was the wacky frogs in the bathroom last night. Maybe it was the wine? Whatever it's working. Horray for mornings.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What better for my 100th post than: Dorset Cereals.

I am pretty sure that this cereal is by far and away the most unbelievable cereal to grace the shelves of the local shop. Stop what you are doing and go and pick some up.

In fact. I vote for you to eat this cereal for breakfast, skip lunch (because the oil drenched shite in the refrectory can not be choked down for one more meal), and then, have it for dinner - instead of pulling up your socks and just admitting that you really want to go out for dinner.

Yah. Do that and then be sure to let me know what the response is. I vote for the super subtle cherry, raisin, blueberry variety. You won't even notice your teeth rot out of your gums. One more thing - when you wake up on Saturday - have it for breakfast before going out into the grey world of delight.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Holiday starts RIGHT NOW.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What do you make a sick vegan?

The list is endless...miso soup, mushy carrots, toast and jam....ok, so maybe not endless. But there are choices. The trouble started on Sunday night...just not feeling so great. The rumbling was only made worse by the nut butter I ate for dinner on Monday night - not a smart idea, not a smart idea. By Monday night at around midnight I was done for. Up and down my steep ladder every hour. Yuck. My knees are still sore - despite the carpet in the bathroom (CARPET IN THE BATHROOM!!! Argh, as bad as the carpet in the kitchen).

I looked a fright on Tuesday morning, and no amount of cute-squirrel-hoodie power was going to get me through the day....and I flew via taxi as soon as prep began (I love you 2 45). My frigid apartment quickly became a desert paradise when my landlord came to fix the two mysterious heaters that can now "not be turned off until the ice has melted"....I am guessing that is in the spring some time?

The sofa and my book were my best friends, to be topped only by the loving embrace of Ready, Steady, Cook. Adrian, in his really campy-gay-but-I-straight voice walked me through some rather disappointing recipes....but, hey, it was STILL ready, steady, cook.

The best part of my convalescence came with the searing sound of my downstairs buzzer. Enter Kevin avec a bottle of Canada Dry (thank you for the cultural sensitivity) and the ambition to cook me something to eat.
I realized that this was the first meal that was to be made for me since my arrival in Brussels, with my last one taking place at the end of July...thanks mom.

He had fear in his eyes, but commitment on his sleeve. He was going to tackle this like his grade 12s tackle his physic lessons - bright eyed, eager and full of enthusiasm.

The results were AMAZING.....just AMAZING. I was elated, and he was proud - but, he should have vegan meal ever...even with my sick and sore body, I was all over that curry!!!

I have to try and share the recipe - the cook is welcome to add any comments relevant to what I may have missed out on.....the lime pickle is a total FOR SURE addition to this dish - it totally made it. Yummy. Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Kevin's Curry in a Hurry

What you need:

2 zucchinis (or courgettes...since a Brit made it..might as well use his language)
1.5 cans of chickpeas
1 bag of freshly washed spinach
1 bulb of garlic
1 leek - sliced, cleaned and diced
carrots (I think)
1 can of tomato sauce
curry spice
curry paste (he used red)

What He Did:

1. Added oil to the wok and browned the chick peas and zucchinis.

2. He removed these two bits of yumminess to cook the curry sauce (how smart)

3. I am pretty sure that at this point he just threw together all of the other ingredients and let them simmer until his deep knowledge of kitchen physics told him that they were ready for the spinach and other, more toasty, ingredients.

I don't know what else to say. It was great. I ate it. I didn't throw up and it made me happy. I think that red wine or a nice beer might be a descent accompaniment to this dish...unless of course you happen to have a frosted bottle of Canada Dry handy.

Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The kids are I suppose that I should use some of that great OISE energy and actually model some reflection of my own.

Today was International Community Morning at ISB. A great place to celebrate so many different cultures. Every day in my classroom I hear Dutch, French, Flemish, Japanese and, if I am really lucky, some proper English from my British students. (please read the sarcasm dripping from that last sentence).

The morning included a bunch of different sessions, including: Irish Dancing, host country information, Story Telling, Origami, Home Country Games and...of course...MAKI making. I volunteered to make cucumber, carrot and mango maki with three sessions of about 21 kids.

This was a total stretch for this vegan cowgirl. No longer was my audience a willing (and often hungry) boy, or a family of five who has little choice but suffer through ANOTHER tofu dish...these were the harshest and most brutally honest of participants - 10 and 11 year olds.

It was a great morning!!! Both the kids and myself seemed quite capable of pulling off this project. It started with a demo (by me), we chatted a bit about Japanese cuisine and the ingredients used, but we concentrated mostly on the process (see below). After I made my roll and offered it up to the totally cool pack of volunteers that willingly dolloped loads of wasabi onto their rolls (despite the tears rolling down their cheeks, they managed to make it back to their groups)....the kids were on their own and went to town....4 kids per sushi mat.....and they all did it! It was super deadly easy and I would encourage EVERYONE to give it a go - even if you don't have 65 10 year olds to help out with the table wiping and rice-from-carpet-plucking.

It was an amazing morning and it was so nice to cook and eat with so many kids. They were remarkable. The whole morning was 10 million times easier than teaching fractions.

What to buy:

1 kilo of Japanese rice (sushi rice) - you can get it at fortinos or any asian grocery store.

some sugar (for the boiling water)

1 jar of Japanese rice vinegar

50 sheets of nori

pickled ginger

wasabi paste or powder

soya sauce





red pepper


What to do:

In a large pot - boil the rice. Be sure to add sugar and vinegar to the water - this is what will give the rice its distinctive sushi tang.

When the rice is cooked put it in the fridge for about 2 hours to chill. No real worries if you don't get the chance to do this.

Lay the sushi mats on the table and place the nori (shiny side down) and place a hand ful of rice (flattened) into the first 2/3rds of the nori. You want to stuff your roll with anything that will tempt your tummies - the items are just a suggestion. Just try to make sure that you are not over stuffing things - you will probably need to do a couple of tries before you get a handle on what is going to work for you and what is going to bust all over the place......stuff with caution!!!

When you have stuffed the middle of your sushi, roll that bad boy up - saving the last little bit as a place to seal your new yummy roll of goodness. Wet the seaweed down before you finish closing your roll......

Cut the rolls into 2 cm thick chunks and lay them out as desired. Serve with wasabi, ginger, edamame, sake, soya sauce and some miso soup.

There is a pretty acceptable Japanese grocery shop on Vulgat, but the KY, which I mentioned in a previous post, is by far a superior asian shop. I am so totally making Japanese food on Saturday.....I have an entire four days of rest and relaxation ahead of me this coming weekend (Fri - Tuesday before I head to the UK for my fall holiday) and I plan on doing some good cooking and maybe (fingers crossed) I will find the egg replacer in Brussels that I need for chocolate chip cookies......

Anyway.....make some sushi and listen to the new Iron and Wine CD. Do it. Now.

And while you are at it....check out FANTASTIC SITE. Not as good as ten-year-old-fingers rolling sushi, but hey, take what you can get.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Miss Daniel: "The day of the bake sale is also CRAZY HAT DAY"

Sabrina: "Miss Daniel, you don't have to wear a hat. Just wear your hair like the way you did today"

Lindsey: "No, Sabrina. It is crazy HAT day, not crazy hair day"


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My days and nights have been filled with vegan delights, so many of which I haven't been able to share because the music scene is so good that my fingers have been typing away about the hijinx of Gentleman Reg and other ungodly Torontoians.

But, enough, I will leave music blogging to the likes of other co-super-nerds who were surprisingly chipper and talkative this morning as we rode the leaf-frying rails of the Brussels Public Transit. Oh TTC, I miss you, I miss you, I miss you. The urine here is nothing like the urine in Toronto.

I want to share a couple of Brussels treasures - a load of which featured in our just passed by weekend of sunshine and blue sky.
After dropping Sam's mom off home I finally had the chance to venture into the Health Food shop close to Merode station. This little shop is well stocked with the average Brussels assortment of tofu, seitan, and bio-yogurt. La Saga supplies its cutest dark haired customers with Carte de fidelite which guarantees the avid vegan shopper with an 11th shopping experience that is discounted by 10% of accumulated purchases. The shop is open Monday - Friday from 10 - 8 and Saturday from 10 - 6. An adjoining and yet to be discovered 100% veggie/bio restaurant sports some rather annoying hours of Monday to Friday 12 - 3pm (COME ON!!!).

It only made sense that once we were officially test driving our new wheels that we should head straight for a wine bar. Of course. What else? We were safe and avoided guzzling a bottle (only purchasing one and draining a couple of glasses). In the middle of Place Brugmann there is a great little spot called, simply:"Winery". This super posh-ish wine bar offers wine/cuisine classes, a spectacular array of wines, some excellent foods and a really nice atmosphere. I think Angelique would have been totally at home here - and could have even made a couple of suggestions about the ridiculous height of the bar stools. Despite the for-giants-only stools the decor was appealing, and quite calming after a busy day of "please show me how you convert 5 kms into centimetres".
I had a nice Rosë, which was amazing with the Olive Tapenade that Kevin, in his developing 'drinking with Lyndsay before and after a meal' knowledge, ordered to keep at bay any potential silliness. Winery was soaked with English nouns and verbs, but, hey...what are you going to do?

After making a pit stop at home, we headed for INDOCHINE, which, can be found on the way down to Place Flagey on Rue Lesbroussart. My suggestion would be to call and book ahead, because only my starving tummy, which caused us to be eating mondo-early for Brussels styles, allowed us to catch the last available table - all the others were marked with Reserved signs and many a family was turned away with little tears in their eyes. I had a fantastic tofu and mushroom dish that was slathered in something yummy and brown. It was well worth the 9 euro 50. The service was amazing and they even had cold soya milk to chase down the Rose I started the evening with.
Saturday, under the beautiful blue sky, we made the obvious choice and headed for a mall. Excellent. I bought a excellent piece of crockery - sexy red and oven friendly. I made this kitchen purchase to satisfy more than my inner shopping demons, I had a mission: roasted veggies for a group of hungry Canadian teachers ready and willing to give thanks.
We spent our Saturday afternoon on the back patio of Momma Christine (a totally fantastic Greek/Montreal woman who is just an amazing human being). People were super thoughtful and went to the trouble of making vegan-friendly stuffing and mashed potatoes. Michael brought some really great wine and Andrea offered up some excellent pineapple and melon. It was great to sit around and chat about The Hammer, Stelco and trips home. Great company and excellent food.
Find below the root veg roast that accompanied my woked-green-bean-delight -
Go and Buy:
(I bought all bio, but whatever)
8 carrots (washed and cut into thick bits)
1 squash (washed and diced)
2 sweet potatoes (washed and diced)
1 shallot
1 clove of garlic
loads of olive oil
Fresh Rosemary and Herbs d'Provence
A shit load of matches to start and then restart your gas oven this:
1. Coat the bottom of your sexy roasting pan with olive oil, and add all of your vegetables, including the garlic and shallots.
2. Cover the top with the fresh herbs, a wee bit more olive oil, and give it all a good mix.
3. Let it bake at 400 for about 30 minutes. Crank it up to 450 for another 20 minutes and enjoy!
Good Times

Friday, October 12, 2007

I wasn't expecting my Thursday night to start with a trip to the vet, but what a start it was!

Sam (nee Kindree) isn't feeling so great, and my heart was breaking for D who is struggling with one of the nuances of rodent love. How fast and swift they fly through our lives. But! Sam is still with us, and I am happy to say that I saw him on that wheel and ready to face the next week or so with a smile (and a pair of reading glasses - Danielle reports that Sam is an avid fan of the Globe and Mail and the Hamilton Spectator).

After getting the chance to hang out with Sam and Danielle, we stopped at the Dalhaize. I am not a big fan of the grocery shops in Brussels. Yes they have tofu, and yes they even have Seitan (something lacking in the Fortinos of the world), but their veg is shite and their layout is far from Dominion's master plans...they could learn a thing or two from the lords of Loblaws. But, then again, when you have markets and more markets to select from why bother to have great grocery stores? We decided to duck in for a quick pick up before heading out to Leuven, where we were scheduled to see Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew (is that even the name??....damn those artsie craftie people! Everything is DYI this and funny name that).

We had a little vegganie "Feast" to quote the non-vegan at the table last night. Apparently my guacomole though loaded with garlic was worthy of a full-bowl-scarf (so K can just stick his criticism about it not being tasty when not emulsufied).

Leaving Brussels you are instantly reminded that the capital of this tri-lingual country is situated NOT in Wallonia but in the fine bio-friendly world of Flanders. Maybe it was the gig, maybe it was my desire to see something that might not have even been there - but the Flemmish might as well be living in Little Italy because it was all thick rimmed glasses, stripped sweaters, bikes, mac computers (so they weren't using them, but I know they all had them), funky hair cuts and converse. I wanted to rent a hotel room and settle in for the next week or so.

The show was...interesting. The venue was great. I plan on catching as much as possible at Hep Depot (which is located in the most friendly of spots - perfect for car, train or bus). The hall itself is an old theatre that isn't tops for acustics, but the atmosphere for seeing this type of gig was spot on! The old velour seats and the open floor created a dirty-basement-jamming/sitting-in-on-a-college-protest kind of feeling to the whole event. The night was opened with a funny little man: Gentleman Reg - campy, really in love with himself (see his website for further proof of this) and lacking in any musical support. He tried in a sad sort of way to warm the crowd up. It didn't work so much and the applause was a little scant, and the laughter was louder than maybe it should have been.

Kevin Drew brought the band out by having the crowd perform a small sing along with the following lyrics: "I love bananas. Something, Something, I love bananas because they have no bone". Original. Totally original. A little awkward, but original. He was joined by most-of-the-rest of Broken Social Scene. They seemed pretty pumped, and played some really great music. I was entranced for most of the show by a young woman who was having some kind of seizure off to the side of my sight, but it was all good - she was loving the moment, and I was digging her confidence.

They played a load of newish stuff, but gave me what I wanted with Cause=Effect, which was done in a superb allband, allabouttheheavychords kind of way. Excellent stuff.

I admit to being a bit on the grannie-side of life and left at 11 - even though the guys were still going strong.

I swear I am seeing more Canadian music now that I am here then I did all of last year. I just scooped up some tickets for Great Lake Swimmers, who are playing in Brughes next month...and and and and....we have our trip to Vienna coming up the first weekend in November... whoop whoop.

Monday, October 08, 2007


We woke up on Sunday morning to what was another amazingly beautiful day. The sun was shinning and I didn't even have to ask for blue sky - there it was, hanging above me.

We had already made plans to hit the cemetery bright and early, and I was really looking forward to it. Although I had no designs on checking out the remains of Jim Morrison (I am really not digging the doors), I did have romantic notions of sitting beside Oscar Wilde's grave. But before we could head to the dead, we had to fill our unsatisfied bellies from the night before (see previous post - NO apple). We did this with a quick stop at the corner market (same prices as Brussels, but a wider selection of apples - Golden Delicious, Mutsu, Pink Lady (yes!), Royal Gala and some other local varieties made up the offerings, this is in juxtaposition to what you get (unless you go to my favourite little bio shop in BO/FO) here in Brussels - Pomme Rouge or Pomme Vert.

We found the most amazing cafe just across the street from our hotel, where we sat and enjoyed the most amazing double espressos ever. They called for a bit of sugar, but I wasn't hurting for my lack of soy milk. They were amazing and the service was excellent. However, it wasn't until a woman and her tiny terrier made their way to the table that I knew I was in love.

We set off for the cemetery, and after a change over on the metro we made it to our destination, stopping only to pick up a map of the rot that was awaiting us. It was perhaps the most astounding and thought provoking experience I have encountered thus far - nothing, in the whole wide and mysterious world of China managed to have the same impact on me as our walk through the cemetery. Searching for the graves of Abelard and Heloise *** took me to a new and almost sacred place of thought. Gertrude Stein in her radical feminist kind of way presented the world with an almost totally word-less grave. When I came across Oscar Wilde's display of grandeur, with its opulence and somatic touches despite it being a cold body of stone , was also quite arresting. This plot of land where so many thinkers, makers and believers find themselves was a heavy morning.

I needed silence and tucked myself in for some mental solitude. It might have been the fact that our previously daring duo was now reduced to the brain capacity of one that could have accounted for the way that we spent the next two hours. We walked forever. And ever. Not a second was a waste or a regret. We did manage to see the massive Eiffel Tower, the Arc d'Triomphe and walk down Champs Elysees. We were not so much lost as we were both trying to find something that was no where near our location - a cafe/restaurant that was vegan friendly. My kisses to K for being so wonderfully patient with me, though I was on my best trying not to be too picky - there just really was almost nothing. In the end we opted for more Japanese, which, wasn't as good, but seemed to satisfy our most immediate needs: food and a place to sit. I munched on a 4 piece roll of kappa maki, a bowl of rice, and some edamme beans. The food was moderately enjoyable, but the service and the atmosphere was subparre. Alright, alright, the food wasn't that great either - but it was good enough and the company was amazing.

We couldn't leave without one more trip to our new favourite cafe and another apple/pear pitstop before heading to the station, a journey which took us past more restaurants than our previously starving bodies could have imagined to have existed in all of paris let a lone this tiny strip! Always the way.

The train ride home was body-jammed and filled with the sound of a cranky baby (or was that me?). The second evening culminated in a chick pea, onion and mushroom meal that I lovingly created for two very exhausted bodies.

Being a vegan on a Paris holiday will require a bit more research. I never did make it to a vegan/veg specific restaurant, but that wasn't the point of the trip - we went to have fun, to explore and to have a new experience. We managed to satisfy all of those desires and so what if we ate Japanese twice - I don't think either one of us were complaining.

This morning I awoke with a burning desire for the simple make it yourself world of fig and banana shakes and my new (and apparently totally Canadian) tea tumbler filled with loose tea. Paris is great, cemeteries are great....but so is my duvet and the shop around the corner. I have to love it all - even (or especially) the rooster on the corner. I listened to Andrew Bird make sweet noises whist thinking about the morning. His song Left Bank seemed ever so fitting this morning. Thanks Andrew.

I just want to close this post with a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Tori - one of the most amazing teacher-people I know. She is fantastic - even if she does eat cheese (sooooo kidding Tori). Happy Happy Birthday.

***Abelard and Heloise are by far the most romantic couple coming from Medieval History. Do a little research if you are into literature, forbidden love, and letter writing. Fantastic story.


Sometime in the early hours of Saturday morning my stomach struck a deal with the devil and I awoke at 4: 30 am feeling ready to board a train to Paris. I admit that I wasn't 100%, but when you are saying good bye to Brussels, and opting for a weekend of dogs-at-tables, epic walking tours and 'smell my finger' games a twinge in the tummy isn't so bad.

Thus, with mild ache and only a guide book in hand our adventure began.

We started the morning with a bit of granola and soymilk, a cup of tea, and a stop at Sam's Cafe, which, with its garish yellow neon sign, lights up the cellar-like atmosphere of Gare Midi. In true stereotype-style, Belgians, and Brits alike, were chasing their 6:30 am croissant with a bit of Stella. My travel-mate decided that the granola wasn't enough and enjoyed a buttery treat with his espresso. I stuck with my green tea, a decision that was less about veganism and more about my belly.

The train was great! My book, not the curtained-window, blocked my view of the rapidly passing country side. I am currently breaking the well-broken spine of Number the Stars (Lowry) in preparation for an upcoming Read's not that bad thought Holocaust fiction seems to be an easy sell these days. Where would Mosaic be without it?

Tahlys train service from Brussels to Paris (Nord) arrived on time and with smiles from both of us, and almost everyone around - minus a couple of grumps. We ditched our bags at the baggage check and headed for the Metro. We popped out by the River Sienne, just to the South of Notre Dame. Apparently, I looked a bit overwhelmed, and well, I really, truly was. It wasn't just that the sky was the clearest of blue and the weather was more perfect than perfect, it was the depth of our human history that I swam a little further into, that's what pulled my chin down to my sneakers. If getting a sore tummy was my anti-up for this day - it was totally worth it.

We walked past the prison that once held the revolutionized body of Marie Antoinette, and wound our way down to the Pont De Neuf, stopping only briefly before making a bee-line for the Church.

It was here at Notre Dame where bits of me were rubbed raw by the hoards of people, and I couldn't decide if it was better to leave these parts of our history to sanctity and silence, or spread them open for dissection and discussion. I suppose in the end it is about balance. And manners.

A cafe was the next, and most obvious, choice. River, jail, the start of French civilization, church and now great coffee. And it was only 10 am. The Guardian's Saturday edition (of which, I still have no idea of its origins...Kevin.?????) helped us select our next 10 years of travel destinations, and primed us for a great book hunt in Shakespeare and Co. A great book store filled with Whitman and Graphic Novels alike. I just wanted the cat poster.

In search of....not sure.....we trundled up some funky streets, found some great stationary shops, a slew of must-go-there-next-time cafes, and about a million different accents. Hungry (STARVING), and after a bit of a search, we found SUSHI! I couldn't have been happier with the vegan selection. Although the Maki was on the smallish side, I was in desperation. After how many weeks of no Sushi on Bloor I was willing to suck the insides out of an avocado. Kevin had some raw fish, followed by the always favourite 'meat on a stick' - making me only too happy to pay my vegan membership fees for the year.

After the feast, I found some great Pablo Neurda poems in a stocked-full-of-trinkets-bookshop. It was to the Museum of Medical History that sparked our fancy next....and if you are ever thinking of elective kidney stone removal and are in need of some really handy and antiquated tools - this is the place to go! It was amazing actually. A trace of ourselves seen through the eyes (and ears, and noses and brain slices) of a medical archivist. Fantastic stuff.

We couldn't stop our feet from winding their way to Montmartre, on the Artists Walk that took us, eventually (after finding the world's coolest shop, and one of the shops in Amelie) to the Coure Sacred. A great view, a great cover band, and a great attempt on Kevin's part to throw me down a serious flight of steps. We stopped for a mango sorbet and a glass of divine white wine. It was all so "this is the best moment of my life" that I had to fight back tears on more than one occasion.

I have to say that one of the best and most vegany aspects of my time in Europe has been the variety and abundance of totally vegan sorbet (some of the Pear Variety is currently making a home in my post dinner belly).

Onward....the hotel...great place. Amazing bathtub....amazing view, and the BEST twin beds EVER.

We were totally making the most of our time in Paris and we hadn't even had dinner yet. Text messages don't always make for the best rather than joining the gang of ISBers and Co. we found a fantastic Lebanese place (Nanur) and treated our tummies to some great metze. The vegan-feast (minus K's Kebbeh) included pita bread, parsley-heavy tabbouleh (i swear it usually has cracked wheat???), cold ratatouille (by far the highlight) and babbhaganus. The service was wicked slow, but France was actually winning the rugby, who gives?

After dinner and a jaw dropping stroll past the opera house we met up for drinks with Lara, Danielle, Scott, Armando, Adrienne, Mandy, and Mandy's friend Kristi. The drinks were not that hot, and the company odd assortment, but the night was amazing and marilyn monroe moments were a-plenty.

On the walk back to the hotel (in an unrequited search for une pomme) we past some of the Nuit Blanche events (I swear to GOD I saw Bono) that were decorating an already fantastic city with neon paints and installations.

Night was had and the morning was but a rest away.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Dates and Dates......

I have a problem. I need some birth control for my Moleskin.
I have commitments giving birth to other commitments. I suppose I will resist the urge to say 'no' just a little bit longer. I have time to make up for. I have Hobbit-like behaviour to account for.

But with all my little dates I get to share the vegan love: "Why, yes I will bring some veggie dishes!"

This morning I awoke from a blurry night of sore tummy and ringing telephones (I really need to get a phone for the second floor - those steps are NOT meant for nighttime trips) to the prospect of whipping up something yummy for my planning co-mates. And...the winner is: Date and Banana smoothie. Who would have thought this would pass an acceptable 'bring in a treat for the gang' contribution? I suppose we will find out this morning if it is crossing the boundaries of acceptable Round Table Fare.

Do this:
5 bananas (coined)
2 cups of soy milk
12 dates
2 tsp of hemp protein powder
2 tsp of cocoa (happily traded please...chocolate is a dicey treat)
your Canadian food processor that you shipped because your mommy gave it to you.

Throw together all of the ingredients (add some vanilla if you didn't leave it in Kevin's cupboard) and package it up (really unattractively) in your 1000ml Nalgen bottle and bring it to the masses of maniac planning machines that await you at 9am.

paris is tomorrow. let's see what the french can do for me? or, shouldn't I be asking: what can I do for the french?

Check out the Bonnie Prince Billy video I added to the side bar. This guy not only makes music that is so amazing that my students actually ASK me to put it on, but he make some kicking videos.

Oh, and I am going to the BSS show in Leuven this coming Thursday. Should be good - AND I get to test drive the new wheels.