Hey, where's the kamut at?
Hey, where's the kamut at?

I know, I know.  You’re probably asking yourselves “Hey, why is Joe dressed up as a vegetarian?”.  Well, I’ll tell you why.  It’s because tonight I went undercover to probably the last place you’d ever expect to find me.  A venue that hosts sustainability lectures?  A yoga studio?  An organic vegan food restaurant?  Try all of the above because this evening, in a bid to expand my culinary horizons (and pay up the coin flip bet I lost to Exec. Producers’ Assistant Ashleigh), I dined at one of the Vancouver’s premiere vegetarian restos.

"Eat your damn vegetables!"says Ashleigh.
"Eat your damn vegetables!"says Ashleigh.

When Ashleigh first floated the idea, I was admittedly dubious.  Especially when I learned that the place doubled as a yoga studio during the day (in addition to fronting the odd [and I mean that in both senses of the word] green event).  To allay my concerns, Ashleigh directed me to the restaurant website, no doubt assuming I’d be much relieved at the sight of such savory selections as the Quinoa nut burger platter or the raw cashew cheesecake (both of which she swears by).  Instead, a preliminary perusal of the online menu had the opposite effect when my eyes alighted on the “red velvet chocolate cake”, described as “chocolate beet cake layered with chocolate icing and summer preserves“.

I mean, come on!  I understand the need to substitute vegetables or alternate proteins for meats, but what the hell had chocolate ever done to warrant this sort of treatment?  I imagine the kitchen conversation went something like:

“Hey, how can we fuck up chocolate cake?”

“I know!  Let’s add beets to the recipe!”

Whoa!  And you thought I looked skeevy!  I suspect Carl must've rolled a hobo for this inspired ensemble.
Whoa! And you thought I looked skeevy! I suspect Carl must've rolled a hobo for this inspired ensemble. Oh, no, sorry. Check that. Those are his regular clothes. Please disregard this comment.

Despite my low expectations, I was nevertheless looking forward to the outing, having taken great pride in the suitably low-key vegetarianesque ensemble I’d put together for the occasion.  A touch of patchouli oil to mask the un-hippie scents of soap, shampoo, and deodorant and I was ready for action.  It was Donnie Brasco meets Dazed and Confused on Halloween night!

"Hey, uh, Tigger,"said Exec. Producer Rob Cooper today in an attempt to draw Lawren's attention.  An unfortunate choice for the workplace, but just perfect for vegetarian dining.  (P.S. Lawren/Tigger disappointed to read the October 12th Hatha yoga class will be canceled for Canadian Thanksgiving.)
"Hey, uh, Tigger,"said Exec. Producer Rob Cooper today in an attempt to draw Lawren's attention. An unfortunate fashion choice for the workplace, but just perfect for a vegetarian outing. (P.S. Lawren/Tigger is disappointed to read the October 12th Hatha yoga class will be canceled for Canadian Thanksgiving.)

Eventually, we were joined by the fourth member of our party, Ashleigh, and as we settled in, we were served a little pumpkin seed appetizer.  Of sorts.  We let Carl go ahead and do the test run…

Sniffing it out at first.
Sniffing it out at first.
Tasting.
Tasting.
And enjoying the flavors.
And enjoying the flavors.

I wasn’t a fan.  And neither was Carl, at first.  He actually found the little tidbits unpleasant.  And yet simultaneously addictive.  For the next ten minutes, he snacked away, alternately popping them into his mouth and bitterly complaining about the lingering aftertaste that he likened to a ghostly presence haunting him everafter.  Or at least until he exorcised the spirit with a glass of red.

Lots of interesting selections to choose from on the menu.  Sadly, no one went with the spaghetti and beet balls.  Instead, I started with the feature appetizer: sage and kamut gnocchi with butternut squash and apple that was actually quite good.  Lawren had the nori rolls (raw sunflower hemp seed pate with sprouts and avocado in toasted nori with homemade pickled ginger and orange dragon dip) which proved less so.  “Earthy” is a nice way of describing them.  Carl had the golden potato wedges (organic potato roasted in olive oil and served with a spicy chipotle mayo) which he liked a lot while Ashleigh enjoyed a warm wild mushroom and pear salad.

Carl samples the nori rolls.  Wait!  I think he likes them!
Carl samples the nori rolls. Wait! I think he likes them!
No.  No, he doesn't.
No. No, he doesn't.

Poor Ashleigh struggled to maintain a modicum of decorum amid our boorish antics.  At one point, after she had excused herself to use the ladies room, I suspected she’d slipped out the back and was on her way to her car.  But happily, she returned – well, she didn’t exactly “happily return”.  Let’s just say she came back and put up with us for the rest of the meal.

Ashleigh thinking "I am never going out with these guys again."
Ashleigh thinking "I am never going out with these guys again."

Next up were the mains.  Ashleigh and I both went with the quinoa nut burger platter that, I have to admit, was surprisingly good (although the accompanying salad was a sad little disaster).

The quinoa nut burger platter
The quinoa nut burger platter

Lawren, who unfortunately had the worst appetizer also drew the short, spicy, odd-tasting straw when it came to the mains as well.  His red pepper, jerk-stuffed with a “an autumn medley, dried plum and red quinoa pilaf, prove almost inedible.  He packed it away with the intention of giving it away to a homeless person, but made a mental note to offer it to someone outside of the immediate area lest the local transients be all-too familiar with the offerings (“Aw, come on!  The stuffed red pepper again!  You’ve gotta be shitting me!”).

Carl tries to cheer up Ashleigh with his imitation of a Japanese idol pose.
Carl tries to cheer up Ashleigh with his imitation of a Japanese idol pose.
Lawren and I follow suit.  Look!  We're making a heart!
Lawren and I follow suit. Look! We're making a heart!
It's working!  Ashleigh can barely contain herself!
It's working! Ashleigh can barely contain herself!

Next up was the course we’d all been looking forward to – dessert – partly because Ashleigh had done such a great job of talking up the raw cashew cheesecake and partly out of sheer curiosity about that chocolate beet cake.

Raw cashew cheesecake.
Raw cashew cheesecake.

Beet chocolate cake.  No.  Really.
Beet chocolate cake. No. Really.

So, what was the verdict?  Well, over to Carl for his review of the cheesecake:

IMG_5047xAnd –

IMG_5048x“Pungent,” was his one word review.  The beet chocolate cake was better, but only marginally so.  Hey, you know what would probably improve this dish?  NOT making it with beets!

While everyone else had wine, I enjoyed a chocolate hemp milk smoothie that I enjoyed immensely.  In fact, were it not for dessert, I’d say I had a very good meal.  Of course, had I ordered Lawren’s dinner, my review may have been very different but, as it was, I can’t really complain.

Now if I could only get the scent of patchouli oil out of my clothes…

My horizons have been broadened!
My horizons have been broadened!

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Thornyrose
Thornyrose

I stand in awe not only of your writing talents but of your unparalleled bravery. I would rather rappel off of a building without a rope than subject myself to something like a chocolate beet cake. Your pictures are priceless, though my coworkers are less impressed. No, they didn’t look at them, they just woke up when I started laughing too loudly. Thanks for the enlightening reportm as I’ve always wondered what a vegetarian eatery could offer in the way of selections. Personally, I think I’d just bypass the hapless veggies and settle for sampling the dirt they grew in. That way, I’d have a chance of having some animal flesh in the way of hapless cricket or worm.

DP
DP

I took a yoga class to purge some nightmares and it worked. In my defense, the nightmares were yoga-related.

sifiguy
sifiguy

AWESOME ZEON SHIRT!

also, what do you think about the Space ratings, as compared to SyFy (such a dumb name). I read they were 1/5 as much, for a country with 1/10th the population, which means twice as many ppl watching it.
it’s also probably got to do with space airing something before it’s out on DVD razz

Grace
Grace

That reminds me of the time I went to M here in L.A. and had a breakfast enchilada made of “scrambled tofu, tempeh bacon, avocado, chili beans, and soy mozzarella.” It looked like this:

It was an, um…interesting experience.

sylvia
sylvia

Loved your “outfit” and the stunning description of the added fragrance to mask the soap, deoderant, etc. Priceless.

Guess this meal kinda sorta qualified as several WFPs.

Gilder
Gilder

Considering my food intolerances, the vegan place might be better for me than Fuel. But I still plan to give Fuel a try, probably in 2010 AFTER the Winter Olympics.

S and I are ready to escape to Vegas; probably within the month.

Bathroom renov lacks only mirrors! Unfortunately, the framed mirrors I found were too large, mostly because of the frames.

As for SGU, I already posted that the ad breaks in Air I detracted from the story.

A couple of BSG references bothered me; the storeroom scene, a staccato phrase in the piano score, the physical resemblance of Dr. Rush to Gaius Baltar.

BUT…Baltar’s corrupt morals were established early on; I don’t (yet) see Rush that way. Have to temper that by saying I’m spoiler-free and don’t know what to expect of any of the characters.

G’night, all.

Wahlyn
Wahlyn

I don’t think I’ve ever seen you out of a suit. I had to do a double take on the first picture to make sure it was you.

Also, Tigger. *giggle* I will never look at a picture of Lawren the same.

Glad your experience at the restaurant wasn’t horrible. Not sure I’d be so lucky as my love of veggies is somewhat limited.

crayonbaby
crayonbaby

That was hilarious. Carl is so photogenic.

Beets? Why? Isn’t chocolate vegetarian? What in chocolate cake isn’t vegetarian? Now cheesecake, there’s dairy.

pastrygirl
pastrygirl

AAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!! Sorry, that was the pastry chef part of me screaming in horror at the chocolate beet cake. In case some of you didn’t know, the thing about pastries that makes them taste good is the fat and sugar. It is rarely the vegetables…. Fruit, on the other hand…(I know, Joe, sorry!)

Rewatching SGU premiere now, actually. Does poor Eli wear that hoodie all season?

Lisa

fsmn36

It’s quite odd to see you in “normal” clothes! Wherever did you find that shirt?lol

Cody
Cody

You are indeed a brave man for going to such a dining establishment. I lived in a very hippie-esque town in CA for 5 years, which shall remain unnamed. Never once did I dare set foot in a vegan food restaurant. The idea of no meat or animal products at all just seems a bit too much for me. I mean vegetarian is one thing, but vegan… that’s just too far. Seriously, chocolate beet cake. The very name sounds like an abomination of all that is good and sweet in this world.

Well it none the less sounds like a fun(?) experience.

Haina
Haina

I’ve been vegetarian for over 6 years (since high school) and it’s really not that bad! I’ve been to some amazing vegetarian resturants and also some not so great ones. But I’m glad to see that you are keeping an open mind.

crazymom1

I’ve never understood the attempt at making vegetarian and vegan dishes that “pretend” to be something we’re used to containing meat. I actually like beets, but not in cake, and certainly not with spaghetti! It’s like the diets that tell you to “substitute” mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes. In what way is that a substitute?? Certainly not in taste or texture! Color maybe, but that’s it. A different way to prepare cauliflower, yes, but certainly not a substitute for mashed potatoes!

cherluvya

Hey Joe,

Loved, loved, loved what you wore. It was great. You look so slim and trim. You’ll be tall, dark and handsome going to Japan.

The food, I would probably not eat and just enjoy the company. hehehehehe Yuk, was anything really good? Did the place smell? hehehehehe

The pictures were wonderful. Thank you for the great show and tell. It was lovely, even if the food wasn’t.

Best to you Joe,
Cheryl smile

KCBlueWolf
KCBlueWolf

Hi Joe! I’ve been a long time reader of your blog, over a year and a half actually, but this is the first time I’ve commented.

I think it is great that you gave the vegan restaurant a try. More power to Ashleigh in steering you toward a vegetarian meal from time to time! I’ve been a vegetarian for nearly six years in a city that is beef-central (Kansas City), with only one actual vegetarian restaurant, so I envy any place with more options.

By the way, I loved the premier of Universe. I’ve watched it four times so far, and it has not lost it’s appeal. I didn’t even notice the “jerky” camera movements until I read peoples’ complaints about them on here. The camera jumping from one angle to another was well done, the dark lighting on the Destiny was appropriate, the flashbacks were perfect. The actors were all awesome in their portrayals, but David Blue as Eli just blew me away. Robert Carlyle as well; he is indeed perfect in that role.

Whereas I have no problem with everyone having their own opinion, nor with those that have complained about one thing or another (or several things), I wish they would get there facts straight before having a fit. I could go into a much longer rant about that, but I have faith you will set things straight soon enough.

Keep up the good work!

otros ojos
otros ojos

“Hey, how can we fuck up chocolate cake?”

“I know! Let’s add beets to the recipe!”

ROFL. That would soooo blecchify chocolate cake (or any other kind) for me. The only worse thing I can think of would be using a standard cream-colored icing to conceal minced bean sprouts. – Don’t get me wrong: I love most veggies, and have cooked a fair number of vegetarian meals; but then with vegetarian you get that huge advantage over vegan — namely, cheese, milk, and eggs, and more cheese. Also, I use butter to lightly roast raw cashews, and add it carefully to anything that seems like it could use it. My recipes say “Verboten!!” to that, but my primary goal is to please my dinner guests/myself; and unless the dish is a tricky one, cookbooks are expendable, besides being useful as kindling when they fail to deliver. (My no-good, cheatin’ varmint, card up my sleeve failsafe is to use just enough pre-prepared chicken fat to dishes that seem lacking to me, since I’ll be having the leftovers for lunch at work. I’ve only had one guest call the foul.)

I’ll have to calm down from laughing before I can sleep. Great snaps – would love to see Carl doing his impressions of the Hindu pantheon sometime. And that last pic of you is priceless.

Shiningwit
Shiningwit

LMAO. Questions: did you purchase the patchouli specifically for the outing or was it stashed in the back of a drawer, a remnant of your peace n love man past? How long did it take to surgically remove your suit? was it painful? Will Ashleigh be accompanying you (or vice versa) on further gastronomic expeditions? will she be in disguise?

Laila
Laila

Hi Jo,

Just to let you know, I (finally) watched Universe 1&2 with my Dad last night, which is really surprising for me, because I figured it wouldn’t be his cup of tea (he hasn’t watched Stargate since season seven when he felt it had gotten too “politically correct” for him, and he’s very conservative).

In short, I liked it. But I can see why you made it a three parter – it was very confusing and the flashbacks just made it worse. I’m at work, so I won’t elaborate more now.

My Dad’s complaints were that it was very confusing, and he really, really, really didn’t like Chloe (I thought she had a point, personally I would have broken his nose). He thought she was silly and overly dramatic, but I think that actually reflects a cultural difference between Europeans and Americans, rather than a script comment (Dad’s good at picking up on them).
I think I have him half convinced to give the third part a try – overall he did enjoy it, which is a really good response. He especially liked Carlyle’s part.

Air 1&2’s reception was damaged a little I think here because it was not emphasised enough that it was a three parter. On its own it’s too confusing and disjointed, and the advertising by Sky is woeful, to be sure. I doubt new viewers to Stargate will have troulbe accessing it – myself and the other “veterans” had some trouble.

Aside from that, I enjoyed it. My Dad (to my surprise) enjoyed it too. And I’ll be tuning in next week. I’ll try to get Dad in on it too, but no promises.

Laila.

Becketts Patient
Becketts Patient

Oh dear… as a vegetarian I have to say: I wouldn’t have even tried hlaf of what I read shock

There are so many tasty vegetarian dishes…

If you ever come to GErmany… I’d offer to cook you a vegetarian meal. I have yet to cook for a carnivore who didn’t like it or even asked for the meat in the dish…

NZNeep
NZNeep

At my last university, some Hare Krishnas sold vegan Indian food in the quad 3 times a week. For $5 you got a huge (biodegradable) plate of food with a (biodegradable) fork. It usually consisted of some kind of vege curry, a simple salad and some semolina halava. I had never had halava before… my favourite was the golden syrup flavoured with slices of banana.

The big plates of curry were the best thing to warm you up in winter, and probably the most nutritious and filling thing I ate all week. If I was feeling poor, they were big enough to split with my friend.

The hippies were lovely too, when they were at the uni you could hardly tell they were Hare Krishna and wanted you to sign away your soul… but if you bumped into the same people in town they would be aggressively wielding a clip board. Turn and run.

NZNeep
NZNeep

Oh, I eat steak and don’t smell.

Just to clarify.

Amy Lynn
Amy Lynn

Though this definately would NOT fit into the theme today of only veggie food but when I saw the article I just wanted to pass it along. Its about deep fried cow brain sandwiches. I know you’ve had but still. And this festival they have it at would be right up your alley! Field trip?

http://www.courierpress.com/news/2009/oct/07/if-i-only-had-a-brain/

Take care from this fan.

Shirt'n'Tie
Shirt'n'Tie

Hi Mr M!

Love the shirt! That first photo looks like you were an extra on The Streets Of San Francisco ( A Quinn Martin Production) *voice over*

Tonight’s Episode : Joe goes undercover….in Veggie land.

Too funny!

Looking forward to your replies re: Air I and II.

Also looking forward to the book discussion re: Open Your Eyes.

Best to all

S’n’T

PS: Friendship cake was excellent!

adam

Joe i am officialy jealous that chocolate cake and cheesecake look gorgeous.

Can you mail some over to the united kingdom for me?

Gen
Gen

Good morning, everyone!

NASA has downgraded the odds of an asteroid smashing into Earth in the year 2036: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/33212609/ns/technology_and_science-space/

Might be an indication of screwed up priorities that my favorite part of the article was the secondary headline which reads: “Agency says chance of Apophis striking Earth in 2036 drops to 1-in-250,000” grin