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.

Snapshot #257

After writing yesterday’s post about southern foods, including fried okra, I took myself to lunch at Sweet Pea Café in Tallahassee. Look what was featured as their special! So yummy!

I call this one, “The Universe Responds, Y’all.”

Everything at Sweet Pea is wonderfully fresh and always vegan.

Vegan Eats

For most of my 62 plus years I’ve been an omnivore. There are very few foods I won’t eat, and I’m usually open to trying exotic fare. So when my gastroenterologist put me on a dairy free diet for two weeks I figured I’d suffer through it and then go back to my regular diet (stomach permitting) once those two weeks were up.

The first week I didn’t do very well. Our grandkids were visiting from Illinois, and I was often in a hurry to grab something that seemed okay. It turns out there are dairy products in so many things that we’d never think to question, like crackers, breads, dry cereals. and processed meats. Even non-dairy toppings may have dairy. Go figure.

Once the grandkids departed I got serious about going dairy free. Since I don’t cook much, or well, I went in search of vegan restaurants in Tallahassee, figuring they’d be the best sources of dairy-free foods, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised.

Sweet Pea Cafe on Tharpe Street is an excellent vegan cafe. I’ve eaten there several times now. Just today I had yummy tacos and the most incredible sweet potato fries I’ve ever tasted. Their baked goods are top notch, too. Seriously good stuff. That’s their menu board pictured below.

The Soul Vegan Express on Adams is good, as well. It’s a bit of a drive from my home, but I’ve eaten there once and highly recommend it.

Other Tallahassee restaurants have vegan options on their menu, so I’ve had a variety of choice places to eat.

I’ve also been shopping for frozen vegan foods and have found there are some great offerings. Amy’s Kitchen brand features a couple of vegan entrees. Nature’s Path makes a terrific frozen vegan waffle. I actually prefer them to Eggos brand! There’s a flatbread pizza made by American Flatbread that is amazing. One has to read the labels, but the vegan designation always means the product will be dairy free.

Of course I can have fruits and greens, so that’s fairly easy. And I’ve discovered some tasty vegan candies. The best thing is, I feel good.

I have a follow up visit with my gastroenterologist later this month, and I’m planning to stay at least dairy free, maybe even vegan only, until I see him. I’m kind of interested in seeing how this all turns out.

Peace, people!