Made With Love

Life can be so hard. People do bad things out of greed or ignorance. Others judge their fellow humans based on race, religion, skin color, gender identity, and a whole host of other categories. Wars are fought. Innocents die. No one ever really wins.

It’d be so easy to become angry, embittered, jaded.

But then, you have lunch at a vegan place where they know you by name. Where they care about you and are glad to see you. Where they do stuff like this:

My friends at Sweet Pea Cafe did this.

And for a little while, all is right with the world.

Peace, people.

A Second Date

Several days ago I wrote about having lunch with a lizard. (Link below).

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2021/09/13/lunch-companion/

It was a pleasant lunch, but the lizard and I didn’t exchange phone numbers or anything, so I was surprised and a little bit flattered to find him saving a table for us when I arrived at Sweet Pea Cafe for lunch this morning.

Stanley (I believe he looks like a Stanley) was at the same table as last time, but didn’t skitter away when I approached. Instead, he waited patiently while I placed my lunch and lemonade near him.

The unfurling of my napkin seemed to unnerve him, so Stanley slid into the space between the slats where he watched me take out my book and unwrap my fork.

He emerged a bit to study me as I ate. I offered to direct some ants in his direction, but he said he’d already eaten.

He stayed this close to me the entire time I was engaged in eating.

Several other diners commented on my companion. A small child squealed in delight and Stanley dove beneath the table. He was still nearby, though, when it was time for me to leave. I didn’t get his number, but I think we might have some ESP going on. ‘Til next time, Stan.

Peace, people.

A Picnic for Ants

A revelation

Issued an invitation

To all hungry ants

Disturb not my lunch,

I’ll provide a crust of bread

Instead, to tempt you

Nibble and carry

To the depths of your abode

Tell your queen my name

Covid has resulted in the addition of many al fresco dining opportunities at local restaurants. My favorite place, Sweet Pea Cafe, in Tallahassee, serves up terrific vegan food and guests are invited to dine on picnic tables scattered about the outdoor area of the premises.

I dislike eating in my car, so even on the hottest days I gravitate to one of the shadiest tables and read as I eat. There’s only one problem: Ants. The ants also love the shady tables and they were interrupting my reading as I continually had to shoo them away from my food.

Rather than fight for my right to enjoy an ant-free lunch I decided to encourage the little guys to focus their attention elsewhere by providing a small bit of bread placed on an adjacent slat of the table. Now their antics provide a dinner show as they gather round the bread, sharing their information up and down the line, and taking pieces of their discovery back to their nest.

Once I’ve finished my lunch I carefully relocate the bread, or what’s left of it, to a space a few feet from the picnic table, hoping the attached ants will inform their brethren of its new location. Call me crazy, but it’s worked every time. I can read as much as I want while also getting a wonderful performance.

All pictures were found on Pinterest because I keep forgetting to snap photos when I’m there.

Peace, people.

Sweet Pea Specials

Since switching to a vegan diet I’ve become a frequent diner at Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee. I have favorite dishes—the Caesar Wrap is one, and Rancheros is another, but I give a thumbs up to everything on their menu. It’s all vegan, all the time.

The specials board never fails to make me smile even if I’m not enticed to try what’s listed. I’m a messy person and sometimes the special isn’t suited to dining in one’s car.

Today’s specials were particularly inventive.

The BBQ Streisand was tempting, but I could well imagine the resulting bbq splotches on my tee shirt.

If you live anywhere near Tallahassee pay this little unassuming cafe on Tharpe Street a visit. Tell them Leslie sent you.

Peace, people!

Normal

I’m sitting in my car under the shade of a tree, eating lunch. It’s become my new normal. The cafés I frequent don’t offer seating nowadays. Instead, one orders at a window, waits in an approved area, picks up one’s food, and departs.

If I lived a little closer to Tallahassee, or weren’t so impatient, I’d take my lunch home. Yes, I could make lunch for myself, but I crave interaction with others, even if it only comes through a window during the ordering process.

The young woman at Sweet Pea Cafe asked me how I was doing today. Her question touched me. I even remembered to ask her how she’d been. Some of the niceties of human contact have almost fallen by the wayside, but we salvaged them, at least for today.

Once I’m finished with lunch I’ll make a quick stop at a store to buy pepper. We don’t really need pepper, but will in a week or so. I could put off the trip until I needed to buy more from the store, but maybe the person who rings up my purchase will comment. I’ll respond, and it’ll almost be normal.

Peace, people.

This Close

Today (Thursday) I was sitting outside Sweet Pea Cafe waiting for my to-go lunch to be delivered. As is my custom, I perched on the end of a picnic bench and read while I waited.

A sound startled me and I quickly looked up and to my right, where less than 50 yards away traffic was flowing up and down Tharpe Street. Somehow my brain got the impression that I was in jeopardy of falling off the bench, and I yelped.

The only other customer, sitting well over six feet away from me, looked up at my exclamation, ready to come to my defense. I smiled beneath my mask, shrugged and said, “I thought I was falling off the bench.”

He looked at me and where I was sitting, held up his thumb and forefinger and said, “You were this close.”

Not close at all.

We both laughed. He cautioned me to be extra careful before taking his meal. I told him there were no guarantees. Again he made that sign with his fingers.

This close….

And laughed.

I wonder if there’s a way to make money for all the entertainment I provide? Probably not.

Peace, people.

Potato, Potahto

Back in the spring of 2019 I began eating a mostly vegan diet for health reasons. Occasionally I’ll have shrimp in a salad, or an egg white for breakfast, and I still put honey in my tea, but 99% of the time I follow a plant-based diet that excludes dairy.

Since I’m not a great cook I eat a lot of baked potatoes, fresh fruits, and salads at home, but my favorite place to eat is Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee where everything is vegan, including the yummiest baked goods ever.

In the beginning when I ordered a meal at Sweet Pea I was full of questions like, “Who’s seitan?” and “Isn’t Tempeh a town in Arizona?” To their credit the Sweet Pea staff answered these questions and more, and finally I found myself fairly knowledgeable about vegan foods. Well, I know what I’m getting when I order, anyway. I’ve become fairly fluent in Veganese.

A couple of days ago I was in line to order at Sweet Pea behind a young couple who were obviously vegan novices. I patiently waited while they asked all of the questions I had asked and more.

“What’s tempeh made of?”

“How about seitan? What’s in it?

“What’s in a falafel?”

“What kind of cheese do you use?

Seriously, this young couple was thorough in their quest to find out what everything on the menu was made from or of.

There was one question that I never asked, though that the male did: “And what are the potatoes made from?”

I looked up from my phone to find the person taking the order suppressing a smile.

“Potatoes. We generally make them from potatoes.”

He went on to tell him what kind of oil they’d be cooked in and that they were locally grown.

I just had to grin. Finally someone asked a question I could’ve answered even in my virgin vegan days. Potatoes are made from potatoes!

Peace, people.

Best of 2019 Top Five Countdown, Number Two

I underwent a major lifestyle change this year. After decades of eating whatever the hell I wanted my 63-year-old digestive system exclaimed, “¡No más!”

I’m still eating (mostly) vegan, but this post chronicles the beginning. And guess what?! I’m at my lowest weight in ten years and I feel great! More on this in the future.

https://nananoyz5forme.com/2019/04/03/vegan-eats/

Peace, people!

Desperate Times

“Desperate times breed desperate measures”–William Shakespeare

On most days I have lunch alone, either here at Doright Manor or at one of a handful of Tallahassee cafes. Now, before you feel sorry for me you need to know that I enjoy my solitary lunches. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy having lunch with Studly Doright or with a friend, but when I dine alone I pull my Kindle out of my purse and read. And there are few things I’d rather do than read.

One day last week I had a whole list of errands to run, most of them in Tallahassee. I planned the most efficient route and left home around 10 a.m. with the goal of having lunch at the best little vegan eatery in the world, Sweet Pea Cafe.

With my errands halfway done, I drove to Sweet Pea and ordered that day’s special, Tempeh Temptation. I found a table and reached into my purse for my Kindle. Hmmm. No Kindle. I searched every zippered compartment with no luck.

“That’s okay,” I said to myself. “Just read from the Kindle app on your phone.”

“You’re so brilliant!” I answered.

“I know.” I said.

Unfortunately my brilliant self had managed to leave my phone at home as well.

As I waited for the meal to arrive I wondered how I was supposed to eat without a book in hand. How does one do such a thing?

“You can do this,” I gently reminded myself. “Just be more mindful of your meal. Pay attention to every bite. People watch. Listen to the music playing. Enjoy the experience.”

“Shut up! I NEED my book. Or just something, anything, to read.”

Gee, one of us needs anger management therapy.

In the midst of my angst I noticed a woman who’d been reading from a book as she dined at the table nearest mine. She’d finished her meal and as I watched from the corner of my eye saw that she was preparing to leave.

I hesitated for a second before asking, “Excuse me, this is going to sound weird and slightly desperate, by I don’t suppose you have an extra book that I might buy from you.”

Now, the beauty of this is she totally understood my question. The sad part is that she’d just returned from a trip to see her sister and had given the sister a box full of books that she usually carried in her car.

We laughed about our respective reading addictions. She apologized for not having a book to offer. I laughed and told her no big deal while underneath my smile I was thinking, “Couldn’t you at least have saved one book for us, I mean, me?”

She left the cafe as my meal arrived and I began to eat in a desultory fashion. The food was excellent as always, but damn it, how could I enjoy myself when there were intrepid space explorers trapped on an exoplanet in my book, and how the heck was I going to save them if I couldn’t read the remainder of chapter 55 while I chewed?

That’s when an angel came to my rescue. The woman who’d taken a box of books to her sister came triumphantly back into the cafe waving a book.

“Look what I found,” she smiled.

“It must’ve fallen out of the box. It’s yours if you want it….”

I wanted to hug her, but I restrained myself, offering effusive thanks as I tried to pay her.

“Absolutely not!” she said. “I don’t know how anyone can eat alone without a good book for company.”

A true hero, that woman.

I opened the book and began a new adventure. John Grisham paired quite nicely with Tempeh Temptation.

Peace, people.

Sunday, Lazy Sunday

Studly Doright played in a two-day golf tournament this past weekend, so I was pretty much on my own both Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t do much other than running errands and doing laundry.

On Sunday I took myself to lunch at my favorite little vegan spot, the Sweet Pea Cafe, where I enjoyed French toast with slices of bananas and strawberries, home fries, and grits. Normally I don’t care for grits, but these were primo.

Someone in the cafe was enjoying a mimosa, so after I finished my meal I decided to stay and sip on one while reading a book. Mmmm. So good. I took my time with the drink then drove home to Doright Manor where I promptly planted my butt on the sofa and proceeded to nap for the rest of the afternoon. I’m blaming the mimosa. I’m also thanking it.

Peace, people.

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