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      News — Personal

      VeganMoFo: proofs and potatoes

      We're one step closer to getting Jo and Martine's books printed! We looked over the physical proofs last week and they are on their way back to the printer. We are really looking forward to seeing the finished products, but in the meantime, we'll share a little peek at Jo's book, Quietly Sure-Like the Keeper of a Great Secret (LO80). Here's the proof of the cover...

      We worked really hard to set the right tone with the cover and Jo came up with the great idea of using silhouettes of her characters. We don't want to give away too much of the book, but she was really able to capture a sense of and introduce the stories with this cover and deserves kudos for it. Like I said, we don't want to ruin the beauty of reading the book for the first time, but here are a few pages to whet your appetite (the pages will be printed in a favorite blue Pantone color).

      Speaking of appetite (ah, what a corny transition to VeganMoFo--only 5 more posts to go!), we finally made it out to St. John's and the much ballyhooed Proper Eats. While we were slightly worried that it would be pretty hippie fare, and the seating behind the small grocery did not really allay those fears, the food was surprisingly tasty. I guess it was still hippie in the sense that it was healthy, but there was a lot more nuance to the shephard's pie special that I ordered than I expected. It had a delicious miso gravy and was well paired with kale and shredded veggies. I don't know that I would make a special trek to go out there just to eat, but if we were in the neighborhood, there are definitely more dishes that I'd like to try.

      VeganMoFo: a nod to Grandpa B.

      So while one of my grandfathers celebrated his birthday last weekend, another one passed away in August. We didn't always get along (he was a staunch Republican and told me back when I was in high school that my vegetarianism was a fad) and he wasn't my biological grandfather, but he was still the one grandpa I'd known ever since I was a baby. I actually thought he was Chinese most of my childhood because he spoke Chinese and I didn't know any differently. He was born and raised in Toledo, OH and lived quite an interesting life before he and my grandma moved from Taiwan to the South Bay in the 70's, most of the details of which I will never know. Even though neither of them had a cooking background, they opened an ice cream parlor/cafe and needless to say, I spent a lot of time there (although not so much that I could get fat off stuffing my face with ice cream). Besides ice cream, they served a mix of chinese and western food (I won't go into details as I don't think any of it was veg). I didn't appreciate it at the time, although it was a favorite of my brother's, but they served a signature chili with my grandpa's last name. It's my guess that the western foods came from his tastes, but I don't know if the chili was actually a family recipe. I do remember (as best as early memories can be trusted) that it had kidney beans, potatoes, and tomatoes. When I finally tried my hand at making chili a few years ago, I used my impression of their chili as my inspiration. Here's a version from last week that also had ginger, broccoli, red onion, chard, red cabbage, zucchini, green bell peppers, and mushrooms. Sometimes I add TVP for a more meaty texture (which would also more resemble the original).

      My grandparents went on to open both chinese and italian restaurants when they moved to Southern California and my grandpa kept up his love of food (unhealthy choices as they might be) to the end. We disagreed about what we ate, but I like to think we shared a healthy appetite. I'm sad that there will be no future meals together, but we'll always have chili.

      new store hours!

      Ok, so with all this VeganMoFo food talk, you might be thinking, "do these people do anything besides think about, make, and eat food?" Well, we do try to get in some work between meals. One thing we've launched in October is new store hours! So through the end of the year, we're going to be open every day of the week from 11:30-7:30. We're accomplishing this with the help of our newest LO team member, Amara. You may have met her already helping Kirk out on the weekends. Now you can welcome her to Mondays and Tuesdays!

      We're excited to be giving this schedule a try. We've been running the store for six years and it seemed about time to give this a go. Hopefully you'll find it more convenient for your shopping needs. We're always working on new LO projects as well as finding cool new books and zines and art and paper goods and look forward to the increased opportunity to share them with you.

      And for once, I'm going to do my VeganMoFo writing earlier in the day. So the main reason I was down in the Bay Area this weekend was for my grandpa's 93rd birthday. After a luncheon in downtown Oakland (if you've ever been to a Chinese banquet, you'll know they're not exactly veg-friendly. I got a special tofu dish), we retired to my cousin's house in Alameda. My aunt bought me some handmade frozen dumplings from a northern chinese restaurant in Oakland that specializes in dumplings, buns, and noodles. I used to go there a lot in college and still have a fondness for their doughy dumplings, although my taste for vegetable filling has evolved beyond their somewhat uninspiring cabbage mix. It's still fun to get to eat some for old time's sake since I haven't found anything as good in SF or Portland.

      VeganMoFo: seitan sandwich

      oops, I missed posting before midnight, but I'm still up so it still counts as Wednesday! So instead of getting that 2nd trip to Cha-Ya since I couldn't wait for them to open at 5:30 without really rushing my meal (last trip's bowl of curry udon before heading for BART was enough of a lesson), I headed over a couple blocks in the other direction to Herbivore (did I mention how stoked I am to now have 3 veg restaurants within 2 blocks of the store! Funny how they're also all in Berkeley as well). My dad unexpectedly had time to hang out after flying in from Boston, so we got the rare opportunity to share a meal before going out to the airport.

      My dad was going to order an asian salad, but I advised him against it as, let's face it, anything asian that Herbivore is going to make is not going to satisfy someone who lives and travels in Asia, or even an Asian American for that matter. So he told me to pick for him. My safe bet is always a sandwich--even though I want to be adventurous, the food is too hit and miss and at least they can't mess that up too much--but I have a hard time deciding which one to get. I used to always get grilled vegetables, but thought I should go for the grilled seitan as I don't make that at home. My dad is a pretty big meat eater who I never think of as liking western food, although reflecting on it now, he did take us to McDonalds and Reuben's and Burger King when we were kids (though it was probably more for us than for him). He asked me what tempeh and seitan were and though I wasn't sure he'd like them, it seemed like a good chance to have him try them. It's not often you get to introduce two new foods to a worldly 64-year old. So we ordered the grilled sandwiches with garlic aioli to swap halves and I hoped my dad would at least eat some of his meal.

      We tried the tempeh sandwich first and he didn't seem too impressed. I didn't blame him as the tempeh hadn't been seasoned much and it was kind of bland. The rest of the sandwich added taste, but the tempeh just mushed in the mix. I liked it, but it probably wasn't the best way to introduce him to it. We both tucked into our salads and seasoned potatoes in the meantime (both were in very good form) and tackled our seitan sandwich last. I was pretty full by that point, but kept eating as I didn't have room to take leftovers with me to the airport.

      The seitan did not disappoint! It was well seasoned and tasty and my dad actually liked it. The seasoning helped, but he also liked the more substantial texture. We both ended up finishing our entire plate and my dad gave the whole meal a positive review. I was impressed with my dad for keeping an open mind about food and I look forward to the next time we can partake in a vegan meal together.

      VeganMoFo: Cha-Ya

      Just got in from a short trip to the Bay Area and need to hit the hay to make up for much lost sleep, but my food mention for the day is from our favorite restaurant, Cha-Ya. I only made it there for one quick dinner, but I did get in my favorite roll, the summer green roll. Seaweed, avocado, cucumber, edamame... mmmmmmmm.

      I also had the miso soup special. It's a good deal and it's usually something interesting. This one didn't really knock my socks off, but it was solid. It had new onions, peas, asparagus, and enoki mushrooms.

      I was looking forward to another trip to get the sushi special with corn and tofu, but alas, I ran out of time. Next time!