Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Weekend in Nevada City, California

I have a car here in San Francisco and I'm not working currently and my dear friend Marah from back in Phoenixville (she's actually pictured in an old entry of my blog here) now lives under three hours drive away, in Nevada City, California, so I went to visit her a few weekends back.

She kindly went out of her way to shop for some vegan items for me.  I told her I didn't require anything special -- vegetables, that's it.  Some fruit.  I also brought hummus and carrots and some pita pizza I'd made and frozen.  She got some stuff for me that I never buy but are such a treat, like cherry soy yogurt and this weird veggie meat that comes in a tube and you cut it open and shape the meat into patties and fry it.  I'd say it mostly resembles veggie sausage.  Greasy, but really quite tasty and it hit the old grubbing-during-a-night-of-drinking spot.  Also, Marah seems to gravitate toward veg foods naturally, although perhaps my being there was influencing her.  She made a seriously killer kale salad.  It was soooo good.  I keep meaning to email her to ask what she put into her dressing.
I know it looks like a lot of quinoa, but this picture was taken before it was mixed in, so there was actually just a nice sprinkling of it.  She threw this together to take with us to the worst kind of gathering: a barbeque.

Really, I think I may not voluntarily attend a barbeque again if it's not one that is specifically veg-friendly or all veg.  As soon as Marah told me we were going to one, I was pretty let-down about it.  The average barbeque, to me, is a worshipful, gluttonous orgy of corpse-eating.  This one did not even have one thing besides animal meat itself.  It had no condiments, no bread, just dead chickens and I'm not sure what else because I wasn't too hot on looking.  I'm not going to lie, the whole "fuck our health and being decent and the environment and our usual disdain for corporate influences, we're eating MEAT!" attitude is pretty offensive to me, and it gives me pain in my heart, and makes me feel like finding the nearest kitty cat and hanging out with her instead.

Of course, my veganism came up quite a bit.  You know something I've observed recently?  I think that "Plants have feelings too" has surpassed "There's nothing wrong with 'ethically raised' meat" as the most popular response to vegans.  I seriously cannot believe how often I hear this bit of confused thinking.  They all apparently read an article about how when you pull a carrot from the ground, an electromagnetic response can be detected in nearby carrots, which, to them, indicates fear on the part of the carrot.  I cannot seem to locate this article or study, but I'd like to see it.  In any case, if it were a well-known and duplicated study, I would be able to find it.  Plus, even if there is an electromagnetic response, what is that supposed to mean?  You know what else causes electromagnetic responses?  Practically everything!  For instance, when you rub the two blades of scissors together to cut something and it magnetizes the blades.  To claim that this indicates that scissors have feelings would mean that you were either very daft or just a troll, trolling it up.
definitely watch this video to see these women's simple response to "plants have feelings too"

Anyway, I gave my standard response to this stupidly-common objection, which tends to be affective: plants don't have a nervous system or brains and do not feel pain.  It is part of their reproductive strategy to be delicious so animals will spread their seeds.  You have to kill an animal but you can eat plants while they're still alive, and why would you want to eat dead corpses instead of living, nutrient-rich leafy greens?  Then I make a little joke about how I only want to eat things that are still alive when I eat them.  Har har har, vegan vampire, blah blah.

Actually, though, there were really nice, friendly, accepting people in Nevada City and I do not mean to paint them in a broad stroke.  I just don't want to go to any more non-veg barbeques, that's all.

So, OK, now let's get to the best part -- eating out at restaurants!   We went to two.  One is a little macrobiotic/raw place called The Fix (or maybe it's called The Fix for Foodies, it's confusing) which, in my opinion, has a lot of problems, but has potential.  It was not vegan, as they had dairy cheese and milk for coffee (as well as non-dairy milks).  They also had terrible coffee that I actually sent back, something I never, ever do.  The little cup of raw sugar had ants in it, which I wouldn't mind too much, I'd just make sure I don't drop any ants into the coffee and live and let live about it, but their French press brew was just weak.  We ordered a few things that were good, but nothing very special.  Like, here's The Tuscan Flatbread Pizza.

Not seeing a flatbread pizza in there?  Look harder.  It's on the right with the arugula on top.  Tiny!  With a pretty salad.  That's cool, it would make a nice light lunch, for, like $8-$9.  But it cost $13.  And it wasn't one of the greatest raw pizzas I ever had.  I'm so sorry to be mean to this place, I'm sure there are people who love it and to each his or her own.  We also ordered their "macrobiotic special" which was really kind of a "macrobiotic typical," in that it's salad with quinoa and avocado.  Now, look, that's cool!  I love to eat that.  But I guess I was expecting a little something stand-out and, well, special.  I think it cost $10.  I dunno, I guess I just think it needs work. 
I'm so sorry to be harsh to this chilled out place, though.  They're just trying to eat healthy whole foods.  I do wish they'd go vegan.  I wonder if my whole perception would have been different if it had been a vegan place.

You know what place was awesome, though?  Ike's Quarter Cafe, a Creole-styled diner with a bunch of good veg options.  They had vegan biscuits and gravy and it was appropriately inexpensive, but I could not allow myself to get something I can make at home so easily, even though I won't because it's not healthy.  When I eat out, I love to get things I am unlikely to do for myself.  Like friggin' Vegan French Toast.
I have not had French toast, vegan or otherwise, since I was a kid.  If I remember correctly, my older sister had a phase where she'd make them in the typical style, dredged in chicken's eggs and fried up with cinnamon  (I think that's how it's done?).  At first I really liked it, but then I started to hate it.  I think my parents just bought crappy thin white bread and that's not ideal for French toast.  I remember finding them to be soggy and too sickeningly filling.

But when I saw on Ike's menu that you could get just one slice of Vegan French Toast for $5, it sounded like just the thing.  And it was.  It was so amazingly delicious.  I think it had some almond flour going on on the outside.  They had Earth Balance but I didn't use it because in my family, it was just unheard of to add butter to pancakes or French toast.  There was maple syrup, why the need for butter?  That familial tendency sticks (no pun intended) with me to this day (OK, the pun was intended).

I also ordered the Vegan Creole BLT because I love a good BLT but I rarely make any of the many, many options for vegan bacon except the Bacos-style TVP bacon bits to sprinkle onto stuff.  Plus, it had this vegan creole remoulade on it and a side of vegan potato salad, as well as all kinds of bread choices.  I think I chose, like, bulgur wheat bread or something?  Anyway, it was all to die for. Or maybe to live for.  I guess it depends on your current emotional well-being.  In any case, buenissimo!

Ike's is small and packed.  There's a large area to wait outside.  It's completely worth the wait.
Marah chooses food off the large menu
Another highlight of the weekend?  Marah's tiny little rescue dog!  She's a nervous little baby who barks at anything and does not much care for visitors, but I managed to convince her that we were buds after I slipped her some of those pita pizzas I'd brought and maintained my non-aggressive physical stance, allowing her to come to me at her leisure.  Within an hour, she was in my lap and we were best of friends for the rest of my time there.
Cuteness, right?


  1. I enjoyed reading this post so much. You described perfectly how I feel at barbecues and why I don't attend them anymore. The worst one I ever attended was a pig roast. OMG is all I can muster about that horror.

    I once left a slightly unkind review about a tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant on a small island near here and was horrified when the owner left a long comment on my post. Who wudda thunk it? Ants in the sugar, though, might be just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The salad wasn't crunchy, was it?

    Ike's sounds pretty cool. And the pup! What a sweetheart.

    1. That doggy is full grown! Sheesh... I hope there weren't ants in the salad... Are ants crunchy? I'd think they'd be smooshy.

    2. When my cousin was a child she was eating pancakes and syrup outside and looked down to see ants crawling over her plate. The reason she looked down was because she ate something "crunchy." :)

  2. I've been hearing that stupid comment lately too! "Oh, don't you feel bad when the carrot screams?" Ummm... WTF!?

    1. Hmmmm, if carrots screamed, I'd probably feel pretty bad about it, but they don't. You know what does scream, though? Animals. We need to take some people back to elementary education.

  3. I am also from Pittsburgh! :) but living in Oregon.

    ♡ rika, vegan miam
    ★ i travel + i eat vegan blog ★

    1. Awesome! Pittsburgh represent! Although actually I'm originally from Philadelphia. :-)


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