Cast of characters:
Daiku and me, yours truly
Vegyogini of Hugger Food
Teresa of Maybe Pigs Can Fly
Trina of Your Vegan Mom, along with her husband and adorable baby boy
Textual Bulldog of Bigmouth Strikes Again, along with her friend
Date: Sunday, 29 December 2007
Location: Vinh Loi Tofu, a Vietnamese vegan place in Reseda that I had heard rave reviews about.
Except for one thing- here are, from L to R, Teresa, me, and Vegyogini discovering that D'OH! Vinh Loi was closed for the holidays!
On to plan B: we all decided to drive over to a Valley institution, Follow Your Heart, a grocery and cafe and birthplace of the vegan kitchen staples Vegenaise, FYH cheese, and many other wonderful things. I fondly remembered going here to buy my very first block of vegan cheese a few years ago, but had never tried the cafe, so I didn't mind at all.
While we waited to be seated, we marveled at these shelves and shelves of nothing but vegan frozen desserts. It's like the promised land- all kinds of ice creams, sorbets, frozen yogurts, and other creations- totally irresistable. In one small corner were huddled a few pints of Akbar Mashdi Iranian-style dairy ice cream, and I loved the reversal- this is one of the few places on the planet where the dairy was in the sad neglected minority while the vegan stuff comprised the overwhelming majority. Awesome.
Finally we were seated- I got to sit close next to Desmond, cute vegan baby extraordinaire, and photograph his antics! It was really difficult to decide what to order, but we finally made the tough choices that had to be made... I photographed everything but now I can't remember what it all was! Hopefully some of you who were there can remind me in the comments!
I went with the eggs benedict special, since I'd never had it in veganized form. I just had to photograph the kitschy black olives. It was a cool dish, and definitely filling, but a little underwhelming as far as flavor went- and it was a bit of a tofu overload! Tofu eggs, tofu hollandaise sauce, and a tofu scramble and soy chorizo on the side- whew! Fortunately, I love tofu just that much.
No words are needed to convey the deliciousness of the colorful food, happily.
Here's the whole group, kindly photographed by a FYH employee. I don't think most of us came close to finishing our plates! Afterward, we all walked around the market checking out all the vegan goods that most of us had never seen before.
Textual Bulldog and Teresa marveling at Play Food cheese! (Take that, Cheez Whiz)
(I had to buy one, since I'd heard such rave reviews. Here's my Cream Tang flavor bottle- but I didn't open it, since I wanted to be able to take it along with my luggage on the flight back home- and I don't think I'll open it until I get back to Syracuse- anticipation!)
Vegyogini and Daiku oohing and aahing over vegan chicken!
Outside Follow Your Heart was this wonderfully smart and friendly border collie, Buddy, who was helping his owner collect signatures for an animal-rights proposition to be placed on the California ballot. Since I'm still a registered CA voter, I got to sign the petition- sweet!
Here's a parting group shot. It was so nice meeting everybody! (And thank you guys for putting up with my photo-obsessed ways). It's so cool to think about the ways in which blogging has changed my life, putting me in touch with brilliant people that I get to meet at home or whenever I'm lucky enough to travel. In fact, tomorrow, Daiku and I are looking forward to a Washington D.C./Virginia PPK meet-up. I'll be sure to report on that... eventually. Just kidding- I'm getting back into the blogging routine, I promise! Have a great weekend, everyone.
Restaurant information: Follow Your Heart Natural Foods
Extensive menu (mostly vegan with some dairy options), fair prices, wonderfully stocked market.
21825 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA 91303
(818) 348-3240 Phone
(818) 348-1509 FAX
OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK, 8:00am - 9:00pm
P.S. This is for Trac, who wanted to see palm trees:
...and this is for Elizabeth, who wanted to see my new haircut: