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      News — Artists

      the return of the junco (and Lart)

      It's been less than a year since we started backyard birdwatching (not really something you can do from three floors up in the comparatively treeless Mission) so we don't really know what the seasonal bird patterns are yet (nor do we actually keep track). At some point in the spring though, we noticed that the flock of juncos that would visit every day was no longer hanging around. They'd been pretty constant since we moved here so we kind of took them for granted. We quickly forgot about them as we were entertained by house finches, purple finches, goldfinches, hummingbirds, and other random visitors. So it was like seeing a long lost friend when we randomly looked out the window yesterday and saw a lone male junco pecking around on the wet ground. Today there were a few more so it seems like they're back for good. I don't know what they're a harbinger of, but I welcome them.

      Also back this week, albeit only temporarily and from much further away, is Lart! She's touring with her band Coconut as they play some shows with Deerhoof. We haven't seen her since spring either, so it should be a happy reunion. Now here's the VeganMoFo food tie-in: this summer she sent us a box of goodies from Berlin, which included some tasty spreads. Why aren't vegan spreads a bigger thing here? I mean there's Tartex and hummus and whatnot, but we could use some more interesting options. The flavors of all these were not necessarily so distinct, but they tasted good and that's what matters. We also kind of dig the graphic design of the labels.

      Last week we were in a sandwich mood and had run out of Vegenaise, so I took some inspiration from those spreads and decided to whip up our own. I used our hand blender and the little faux food processor cup it came with and blended up a bunch of random stuff (carrot, walnuts, ginger, miso, chard, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper). It turned out surprisingly good and we spread it on some homemade rolls with some Tofutti cheese, Tofurky Philly style slices (so much for my not really buying seitan), grilled onions and zucchini. Now that was a good lunch. So thanks Lart! Go see Coconut!

      VeganMoFo (aka Martine's visit)

      So I was going to write about our nice weekend visit from Martine when I came across VeganMoFo (Vegan Month of Food). The idea is to post every weekday for a month about vegan food and it happens to start today! It's funny because it seems to be inspired by my friend Chris' NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which I participated in its 2nd year (yep, I did write a novel. No, I have never read it again). We've been wanting to blog more regularly so this seems about the pace of writing challenge we need/can handle. And we love us some vegan food! So we're latecomers, but not too late to start today.

      It works out because I was going to talk about the food we had with Martine anyhow. She drove down from Seattle on Friday night and we shared some vegetable soup and a random melon we picked up from the store. It tasted like honeydew, but we just can't remember what kind of melon it was (something we had never heard of), but it was tasty. We stayed up late talking about books and projects. She brought us some really cool things: a crazy Japanese street scene cut-out book she found at a bookstore in Paris when she was there painting a mural for a clothing store (with help from Lart!), a Louvre magnet, and a vintage fold-out postcard mailer of Portland.

      The next morning Jeremy prepared a tofu scramble from the Candle Cafe cookbook (with some improvised elements thrown in), made coffee with Cellar Door beans, and we toasted some Ken's Artisan bread and spread with whipped Earth Balance. In the meantime, I started making some seitan pepperoni, which is super easy to put together, but takes some baking time.

      The weather was simply awesome (warm, but not hot, sunny with clear skies) so we headed out to Laurelhurst Park. We were greeted with a sad semblance of a Disney Radio event, which may explain why the park wasn't packed. We did get to see some dance moves done to that Jonas Brothers song. Scary... Here's a postcard of the park from the set Martine gave us. In reality (and many years later), there were no swans, the water was green, and the pond was fenced because of an algal bloom, and it certainly smelled like you wouldn't want to get near it.

      It was too noisy to sit and talk, so we had a stroll and then headed over to Food Fight! and Sweetpea. We picked up some tasty apple, boston cream, and glazed donuts (and a mini pumpkin pie tart) and signed up for the Josh Harper fundraiser dinner at Cellar Door this Friday. We are excited that a vegan italian restaurant is going to be opening in the space after cafe hours. We'll let you know how this first test meal goes.

      Martine had to get to her friend's house so we went home and scarfed our donuts and sampled some pepperoni and then bid her adieu. We love hanging out with Martine and we came up with a new project which we'll keep hush on for now, but we're excited!