pretty in pink vegan

pretty in pink vegan

Monday, August 04, 2014

Portrait of a Vegan

Last week my friend Megan sent out a round of questionnaires for a project she is working on called Portrait of a Vegan. Her goal is compile a group of vegans to show that there are many different faces of veganism, not just the rail thin, hippies people expect a vegan to be. Since Pink Noodle is keeping my super busy my blogging has fallen by the wayside but because Bianca fussed at me yesterday I am going to attempt to do better and blog at least twice a week. Be prepared for a lot of food dump posts. Don't worry I'll post some pics at the end of my interview. Here is my Portrait of a Vegan.

Age: 32

Occupation/What do you currently do? Office Manager At Redeemers Group/ Owner of Pink Noodle Vegan Cuisine

How long have you been vegan? 1 year 6 months

Why did you decide to go vegan? I saw a documentary on how animals were killed and the hormones they are pumped with and decided I no longer wanted that in my body.

How difficult or easy did you find transitioning into the lifestyle, specifically here in Memphis and/or in the South? (If you did not go vegan in Memphis, then simply how was your transition into a plant-based diet?) It was a moderate transition because I have friends that are vegan and helped me with advice and most importantly cookbooks and I have never been fond of Southern Food.

What were/are your social experiences like as a vegan? People don't expect it being a black southern woman, some think I did it because of my circle. 

How do your peers/colleagues react to your lifestyle? At my former job I was teased by co workers and left out of the monthly lunches that were catered. My friends were very accepting especially after I cooked for them and explained that there isn't very much of a difference. 

How has your family responded to the lifestyle?  How have traditional social gatherings, such as holidays, been?  And how much did your traditional lifestyle change when you went vegan? Ha, well my biggest supporter was/is my aunt but I remember when I first started my sister cooked a Sunday dinner and they made spaghetti with meat in it. Everything had meat even the green beans. They told me since I wasn't going to eat it or pick the meat out there is some grass in the yard I could go eat. 

What were/are your biggest challenges transitioning into the lifestyle in Memphis? Chocolate my biggest challenge is standing in a check out line and not being able to grab a Kit Kat or Twix . So to fix it I started making my own chocolates.

What are your best tips of advice for new vegans in the city/South? Find a vegan sponsor someone who is on the journey. They can give you tips, books and they won't give you grief if you have a slip up. 

Have you had any crazy dreams related to veganism? Recently I had a dream that a local coffee shop I go to for breakfast told me that the veggie sausage I've been ordering have eggs in them. I starting shouting at the owner, beating him with my purse and told him that I was told that there were vegan and that I write a blog and have friends that write and I would make sure that vegans never stepped into the restaurant again. 

What or who have been some of your greatest influences or resources as a vegan? (Do you have any favorite books, cookbooks, blogs, websites, that you return to frequently…) My friends of course 

What's your favorite veg-friendly city to visit? I don't have one. When I travel I go for the shopping or sites lol

As a vegan in Memphis, where is your favorite place to shop for food or go out to eat? Phuong Long on Cleveland. I love Asian food and they have over 20 tofu dishes and the pho is made with veggie stock.

How has veganism affected your love life/dating? Ha! Another part of the reason I went vegan was because I finally ventured into the dating world and it was a few months after my weightloss and a guy told me I had a "banging body" and that's what he was most attracted to. So I decided to shut down the dating wall I would go vegan. Dating me is a job within itself for not being able to feed me would just build another wall they would just leave me alone. That didn't work out to well now because my now boyfriend is vegan so the running is over. 

How has veganism changed in general, as well as in the city of Memphis (or in the South) since you first transitioned into the lifestyle? Since I am a new vegan I am not sure of the change but I do see a vast shift since I have started and am happy to say that I am part of that shift. 

What are some of your favorite meals that you have veganized? Or, If you could veganize anything, what would it be? Lasagna  and sweets 

Have you had any slip-ups?  Do you foresee yourself remaining vegan in the future? Slip ups yes mainly because I was lazy and didn't read a label or because I was misinformed. I honestly don't know what the future holds for me but as of this moment in my life I am happy with my veganism. 

I am one of the lucky vegan woman why you ask because I have a mate that is also a vegan, it makes things so much easier when I cook dinner and go out to eat because he eats the same things so I don't have to worry about him ordering me the wrong thing or questioning my eating habits. He does nag about my sugar intake because Lawd knows I consider cake/pie dinner but I nag him about his fried foods habit so it balances out. Another sliver linning is that my other half can and will actually cook for me when I am too tired or just feel like cooking. Aren't we cute together?!

  My favorite dish to get when I go to Phuong Long on Cleveland is the Vermicelli Bowl. Sadly my weekly noodle bowl has taken a hit due to the super tight budget I am on so I decided to make my own. Its not that hard. Of course there are the vermicelli noodles, fried tofu ( I make mine spicy) mung bean sprouts, cucumbers fresh herbs and pickled carrots. ( I've been watching a lot of Top Chef so I know how to make a quick pickle) Normally it comes with a side of fish sauce but this vegan doesn't have to leave that out because the Viet Hoa has a vegetarian fish sauce that I keep in stock.

One Saturday morning on our trek to the Farmer's Market the boyfriend sent me off to go buy flowers but before I left I mentioned to him that the Stickem Food Truck has the most amazing tofu and guess what I have waiting for me when I get back. Tofu and French Fries!! Yes, I had tofu and french fries for breakfast. I'm gangster like that. 

Last Wednesday we were both in Meltdown mode so we decided to make a pallet in the floor and watch stand up comedies for the evening.  Of course cooking for a no go so I decided to make Ramen for dinner. I added Thai Chili Peppers for that extra spicy because when you are upset spicy foods and stand up comedies will clear the whoa is me's. Needless to say I laughed so hard there were tears rolling down my face. Check out the his and her chopsticks. Yes I took the bigger bowl. 

I promise to do better with my blogging but even as I am blogging I am getting texts asking for approval on the logo for Pink Noodle. So what I think I will do is 2 posts a week one food related one Pink Noodle 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Pink Noodle Toys

Everyone that knows me knows that I love kitchen gadgets now combine that with my love of QVC and their 5 easy pays and you know what that equals? Cassi buying kitchen gadgets for Pink Noodle. Now I promise I didn't plan to start buying appliances this early but there was nothing on TV and I stopped on QVC and David was in the kitchen and low and behold they were showcasing a Ninja Product. I love my Ninja Ultimate Blender so when I saw this Ninja Storm came in Pink ( or cinnamon as they call it) I had to buy it!! Plus with 3 easy pays of $14 bucks I would be an idiot not to.

My plan for my baby Ninja is to use it as a food processor and smoothie maker. Starting out there isn't a need for me to have a huge Ninja and a food processor so this little baby will work out great! Look at what it can do!

  • Includes 400W motor head, blade, 40-oz color-tinted pitcher, storage lid, Quick Start Guide, and instruction manual
  • Quad Blade technology provides uniform cutting and ice-crushing action
  • Ergonomic operation with one-touch pulsing
  • Storage lid helps keep leftovers fresh in refrigerator or freezer
  • Built-in anti-spill gasket seals lid tight for no-mess use and pouring
  • Blade, pitcher, and lid are top-rack dishwasher-safe; wipe motor head to clean
  • BPA-free plastic and steel construction
  • Measurements: Pitcher with lid 6-1/2"H x 6-1/2"Diam at top; 6"Diam at base; Assembled unit with motor head on top 12"H
I can even make ice cream in this baby if I want. Small, Pink and Powerful just like me. Its not on easy pay any more but for $32 bucks why not grab one

My second purchase came after watching Big Brother last week. There was nothing on TV and while flipping through the channels there was David again playing with more toys. This time he had the KitchenAid 9 cup Food Processor with French Fry and Dough Attachment. I was literally drooling over the TV. This machine does EVERYTHING I need it to do in Pink Noodle. I will be slicing a lot of fresh fruit and veggies but the selling point for me was that I could cut up french fries. I REFUSE to serve store brought fries at Pink Noodle and my original plan was to buy the old fashioned french fry cutter but not anymore. This lovely KitchenAid does it all!! 

The proof is in the precision. The versatile blades and discs handle all of your slicing, shredding, kneading, and chopping needs. Use the multipurpose blade for everyday mincing, mixing, and emulsifying. The reversible shredding disc helps you achieve both fine and medium cuts. Use the mini blade and bowl for smaller chopping tasks. A dough blade is included to help you make bread. And...fresh-cut fries, anyone? A special French fry blade makes mounds of fries in a jiffy--always a crowd favorite. It's also ideal for slicing other firm fruits and veggies like zucchini, carrots, and apples.

Now this one did cost a bit more but with the nifty 5 easy pays it was mine!! Don't be alarmed I also ordered this one in pink.

That David in the Kitchen gets me every time but I know that I will get good use out of these products. Now I can't promise that every kitchen gadget in Pink Noodle won't be pink but if it comes in pink, it will be ordered. Don't worry I did make a promise to Amy that the whole restaurant won't be in pink. I don't even think I could handle that.There is a limit on my pinkness but there will be drops of pink here and there. Now if you haven't checked out my Go Fund Me page please do and if you aren't able to donate please share the link.  

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pink Noodle

Remember me? I am sorry that I have been gone so long but it has been for a really good reason. Guess who's opening a restaurant?! This girl! Keithon has always wanted to open a restaurant. (but I decided to write a cookbook instead)  I have decided to call it Pink Noodle vegan cuisine (thanks Brenna for the name) and most of the recipes from the cookbook will be on the menu. The plan is to change the menu with the seasons so the food will be fresh and locally sourced. This all started because I went to a local place for breakfast and had a vegan meltdown. For those of you that don't know a vegan meltdown is it happens when you go out to eat and there are very few things on the menu for you to eat or they just offer you the most impractical thing to eat and you lose it. Well that morning I was offered soup and I lost my shit! I looked at her and asked her can I eat soup and drive. Now of course she said no, so for breakfast that morning I had a bagel and a latte that ended up costing me $9 bucks!!! That is crazy and of course I was starving as soon as I finished it. That is when I said screw this , this restaurant is happening.Vegans shouldn't have to be punished financially for their food choices. So I set up a Go Fund Me page and support has been amazing!

Of course the first step is finding a building, being the midtown girl that I am I wanted to stay in the area mainly because with Pink Noodle I want to give back to the community that made Cassi Cassi. I credit the universe and my deceased grandmother for this location because ( while driving) I closed my eyes and asked my grandmother to send me a location. And not 20 seconds later I passed a building, sadly the sign said for sale by owner and a cloud formed over me because I thought there was no way I could buy a build. The Law of Attraction is a motherfucker because when you put something out into the universe you get it. My first bid on the building was rejected so I had to counter it and Ta-Da, I got the building!!  ( loan free and interest free might I add) Saturday I did the closing paperwork and got my key to the new home of Pink Noodle!!

Now this building has been sitting for a few years so there is work to be done and right now I do not have it in the budget to hire people to clean it. That is where my amazing friends and coworker came into play. Today they came out with husbands and childhood friends in tow and we set to work. Lawd Jesus did we work today the heat index was in the 100s but no one complained and that is why I love them. Even in the heat Amy managed to get a posed picture of me. Please excuse the face it was hot and right now the building doesn't have air. 

Now this building as been completely gutted so we had to clean up the mess that was left behind. The building caught fire and I am glad it did because even in the state that the building is all of the  bathroom fixtures, duct work and electric is brand new. So that helps out a lot when it comes time for the inspections and what not. The cleaning did not take as long as everyone thought, we knocked out all of the big stuff about noon and we started around 10:30.

Since I am not able to pay to play the gang for the hard work, I decided to feed them and test out a few menu items for lunch. Today we had Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna with Avocado and Kale Salad and Pantry Cookies for dessert. All of these recipes are in the cookbook that I wrote (unpublished as of yet) for the Kale Salad I used kale, avocado, sundried tomatoes, regular tomatoes and massaged the kale with olive oil. Now the reason the cookies are call Pantry Cookies is because one Sunday I was bored and my sweet tooth was kicking my ass so I literally threw some ingredients that were left over in the pantry in a bowl and made cookie. I used coco powder, shredded coconut, chopped almonds and the normal cookie base. I like testing my food on non vegans because they are use to animal products when eating and I love the reaction when they discover that you don't need animals to cook. One even went back for seconds! 

Now after lunch we set to work on the outside because it was train wreck with trash and overgrown weeds but lucky for me I had someone that brought a backhoe to get the nastiness up. Sadly I just couldn't, anyone that knows me knows I hate nastiness but IF I had to pick it up by hand I would have and then proceeded to take a millions showers. ( check out the backhoe in the sunlight it looks pink)

There is still a lot of work to be done to make Pink Noodle a success and that is where my readers come into play. My goal is to open Pink Noodle in October and without a loan from the bank, so I need donations of Time, Money and Talents. Share the Go Fund Me page, send people that have talents my way, donate building material or if you can please donate please do even if  it is just 5 bucks every little bit helps.

Thank you to everyone that has donated thus far. 
Tina Sullivan
Megan Travis-Carr
Melissa Minor
Coretta Anthony
Molly Clark
Sheridan Posey
Bianca Phillips
Yasmin Bowers
Karen Conway
Margot McNeely
Jason and Diane Garrett
LisaMarie Wilson
Spencer Syfrig
JaNese Altow
Melissa Redmond
Keida Jones
Yvette Wong
Brandon Ayers
Eric Heard
Cassi Conyers 
Pam Saavedra

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Kitchen Gadget Nerd

 Those that are close to me know that the smallest thing will excite me but nothing excited me more than kitchen appliances. Some woman get highly offended when they are given appliances for gifts but not Cassi. Give me a kitchen toy and I am yours for life!! Right now my dream toy is a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer but before I obtained that I have been drooling over the Ninja Ultima Blender. Being the kitchen queen that I am you would think that I would want a Vitamax but we all know my love for all things Asian so the Ninja had my heart. Plus the price point is a bit cheaper and it does the same thing. The only thing that it is lack is the ability to make soup in the blender. It clearly says NO HOT LIQUIDS and that made me a sad bunny. None the less I LOVE my new Ninja and I have even named her Betsey. She is thick and powerful just like me.

Now of course I couldn't wait to try this baby out but what to make. A smoothie was just too simple and I wanted to put this baby to work so I opted for a soup. Yes, I know I can't cook in it but I could damn sure blend some shit in it. I wanted a soup with the hardest herbs I could find, so I decided on Coconut Lemongrass Soup. It gets no tougher than garlic, lemongrass and ginger. Two cans of coconut milk , a can of water and the herb and I let it rip!! Jesus H. Christ this girl is POWERFUL! It almost whipped the coconut milk into cream and for the life of me I couldn't find the herbs I know I put in there.

 Once I had everything blended I put it back on the stove to simmer with the zucchini and set to work on my noodles. While I was in Japan I picked a pack of PINK Soba Noodles. I mean they were pink, it had to happen. I did taste one raw just to make sure it wasn't sweet and to compare it against the regular ones I already had. ( They taste the same)

Once everything was simmered dinner was served. I had to tweak the recipe a bit because it didn't have the flavors I was looking for but all and all this soup was pretty good. Needless to say I am in love with my new blender and am pretty sure I am now going to find shit to blend just for shits and giggles. I am pretty sad that I have to say goodbye to my old blender because it is completely blinged out but it has done its job.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Hot Springs Food and Fun

So a lot of changes have taken place since I have returned from Japan and I am happy to report that they are all amazing and wonderful changes. Sadly my routine has been turned upside down and blogging fell by the wayside. ( I started a new job, got a boyfriend and my son left for the month of June) but never fear I think that I am back on track and I have a ton of things to blog about. Since I still haven't finished my posts on my week in Japan, once a week I'll throw in a Japan post just for the hell of it.

Over the weekend my wonderful, amazing boyfriend took me on a holiday to Hot Springs. Its about a 3 hour drive from Memphis but it is just far enough away to say we left town. I was not giving any details about the trip other than we are going to Hot Springs, pack shorts and we would be staying in a hotel. Normally I would be freaked out by the lack of control but I decided to just go with it and I am so glad that I did. The boyfriend did an amazing job of filling the weekend with things to do and he even drove! Our first stop once in Hot Springs was a place called The Winery for a wine tasting. This man knows me so well because after working 8 hours and sitting in a car for 3 hours mama needed wine. Since the wine is made locally in Arkansas I am being a positive Polly that is vegan. After the tasting the boyfriend and I decided on 3 wines, 2 for him and 1 for me. The wines at the The Winery were a bit too sweet for me but the Arkansas Red was just dry enough. Every time I visit a winery I get a logo glass to go on my wine table. I also couldn't resist this wine glass.

Saturday morning we got up bright and early to seize the day and by seize the day I mean I needed coffee. Lucky for me there was a coffee shop right across the street from the hotel called JavaPrimo Coffee House. Double win for me because the syrups they use for flavoring were vegan! I ordered a raspberry soy latte, sadly I did not get a picture because mama's only focus was coffee. I was told the night before that we had a reservation at 10:30 am so I had to make sure we got there on time. He wanted to stop by the farmer's market but the guys at the coffee shop said on Saturday the market is art and crafts instead of fruits and veggies but they did suggest a estate sale that we checked out. After the estate sale we headed to our appointment. I repeat I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world. He booked a couple day at the spa. Hot Springs is know for their mineral springs hence the name of the city. The Qupaw Bath & Spa is amazing and the staff even pronounced our names correctly. (That means a lot to me because our names aren't hard to pronounce but people still get them wrong.) We started out our spa day with a private mineral bath, OMG this bath was amazing. Check out this info from the page:

“It’s all about the bubbles Oxygen-rich microbubbles, to be precise. The patented process supersaturates the water with billions of these little wonders, raising oxygen levels up to 70 percent higher than common tap water. Measuring only 50 microns in diameter, tiny microbubbles form a cloud in the water and gives you a delightful, effervescent sensation. The luxurious blanket of bubbles brings amazing benefits as it delivers a deep breath of nature’s miracle cleanser— OXYGEN. Developed with your skin in mind, MicroSilk creates microbubbles that reach gently into the pores, increasing skin’s metabolism while promoting skin cells growth and the reduction of fine lines, wrinkles and scar formation. Microsilk improves overall skin cleansing, exfoliating and hydrating the skin.”
 After our soak it was on to a couple's massage of course I'll spare the detail but be assured there were no happy endings.

After spa time we hit the Street of Hot Springs. Literally there is one street that everything is located on which is perfect you park the car and just walk. Sadly Hot Springs is not a very vegan friendly city and Cassi did have a meltdown in a restaurant. I get that way when I go too long without food and my options are next to none. Lucky for us a woman heard my melt down and came to my rescue and suggested a place at the very end of the strip. Park Island Market & Cafe. Park Island is not completely vegan but they have a few vegan options and everything is organic. I ordered the Dos Pupusas which is Two Oaxaca Cheese stuffed Handmade Corn Tortillas one with Black Beans &one with a Cactus Veggie Medley served with Rice and a Ricotta Requeson. Don't worry they left out all the dairy! And the boyfriend ordered the veggie burger, not to be nice but because he is a vegan as well!! This makes things so much easier when it comes to dining. 

Sunday its was time to head home and since we already ate at Park Island we decided to wait until we got to Little Rock to eat . Thanks to a recommendation from Bianca we stopped at The Veg LLC. The Veg LLC is a new vegan eatery in River Market. I love the concept for River Market because it is like a giant food court. It looks like a great place for start up restaurants. The Veg LLC has a small menu but don't let that stop you, this food is amazing.I ordered the Chickpea "tuna" sandwich and the boyfriend ordered the Quesadilla with Sweet Potato Fries. The "tuna" sandwich consisted of whole chickpea, seasoning, celery, red onion and "mayo" In my non vegan days I was never a fan of mayo but I am finding now I can deal with it in small doses. As far as the boyfriend's quesadilla I was not able to sneak a bite but I over heard that it had hummus and salsa in it. He also raved about the sweet potato fries because they appeared to be grilled. So if you are in the Little Rock area go check them out.

All and all it was a great weekend. Memories were made, food was found d fun was had. I can't wait to get back and have a do over. 

Friday, May 23, 2014

Japanese Vending Machine

Before I left for Japan I was told about these machines that dispense anything your heart could desire. Everything from food, drinks ice cream etc but then I was informed that you could even get panties from the vending machine! I was determined to find this magical machine so every time I hit the streets of Japan I peeked in every vending machine I saw and let me tell you there were a lot. Before I arrived I did not understand why the Japanese needed so many machines but after hitting the streets via foot and bike I realized why. All that walking and making makes you thirsty.

My first drink in Japan did not come from a vending machine it was given to my by my host Lisa at 6:30 am on my first morning in the city. To be far my body thought it was about 4pm so I wasn't drinking that early and crazy enough it was only one of the two glasses of booze I had the whole trip.

My next drink came when I went to the onsen and because I was fighting a sore throat I was trying to load up on as much vitamin C as I could get my hands on. This one was just like a sparkling lemonade but the crazy thing about Japanese drinks is the calorie and sugar content. It is next to none. Out of all the drinks I had I think the highest calorie count was 71 and that was for 16 oz drinks. 

My next drink came during the battle
 of the trains. To get to the train station from my house it was about a 20/30 minute walk. That is not a crazy long walk but let me tell you when you get done with all the uphill and stairs and dodging little old ladies on bikes you work up a thirst so before I got on the train I grabbed a Match Pink. It was a semi fizzy drink with the hint of grapefruit favor.

I couldn't tell you where I was when I grabbed this little beauty but from the flooring I assume I was at another train station. This was by far my favorite drink. I was aiming for water but because I can't read Japanese I attempted to pick the most water looking bottle and ended up with MIU. It is a water based drink but it has a fruit flavoring to it. Not like the nasty flavored waters we have in the states but this was refreshing and very fruity. The bottle was amazing too because it was semi twisted where you grip it to make holding it easier.

So the next day I tried again on my quest for a simple bottle of water and yet again I failed. It was like playing vending machine roulette and every time I was a winner. I ended up having the Green Da Ka Ra twice because it was so good. I'm not sure if it was vegan or not because it has picture of honey on the label along with a lot of other healthy foods. Vegan or not this drink made the cold I was battling so much easier to deal with. I could taste the aloe, lemon, orange and a hint of honey it. It was almost water. 

My final drinks came at the airport and lucky for me they were under 3 oz so I could take them on the plane. Yes I brought a fiber drink. It is my secret shame. Cassi can not poop while on vacation or while out of town. I don't know why but my body just shuts down. After 6 days in Japan I was willing to drink whatever I could to make myself go. Now my flight home was 23 hours so there was no way I was drinking this on the plane because it would be just my luck that it worked....well. So I saved it til I got home and FYI this drink works fast and it even tasted good. 

I picked this little baby up for my little baby so that he could see what Coke is like in Japan. Yes this was not coke, it was some type of grapefruit flavored soda that my son reluctantly  shared. If it were me I wouldn't have shared either it was really good.

Now I was told about these machines that sold panties ans I did find one but I was not able to get a picture because it was in the onsen and phone where not allowed of course. I was tempted to buy them but they were 550 Yen and they were granny panties. Pass. Maybe on the next trip I will find that magical machine and it will have cute undies.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Eating and Sleeping In Japan

Sorry for such the big delay with posting but once I returned from Japan jet lag kicked my ass. I was having trouble staying awake let alone having a clear enough head to blog about my adventure. I am finally back on track so now I have a lot of catching up to do.
Going to Japan I had a few options on where to stay and since I was going alone I kinda wanted to go somewhere that I would be able to meet new people and maybe hang out with them. I knew that a hotel was out because I didn't want to be in that type of settling. So a co worker told me about the site Airbnb. He used it a few times when he traveled out of town and had positive experience so I decided to give it a try as well. There were a ton of places for me to choose from but after narrowing my selections down I settled on sharing a house verses staying by myself. When I saw this listing I fell in love. There is a beautiful rooftop that gave a view of the neighborhood, the kitchen was was totes cute and it even had a pink toilet!!! What really sold me on the listing was the host Lisa she is the nicest, warmest stranger I have ever met. Before I even booked she was happy to answer all of my questions and even give me advice before I got there. It was also a bonus that she was spoke English.

Along with giving me advice about the area and making sure I knew how to catch the train Lisa was nice enough to cook a few vegan meals for me so that I would not feel excluded from the nightly dinners. Along with Lisa there were 3 other guests in the house. Even with the large number it did not feel the least bit cramped. On my first full day in Japan Lisa made this wonderful rice salad. It was loaded with rice, lettuce, tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chickpeas, kidney beans, pine nuts, sunflower and sesame seeds. Sadly I did not get to enjoy it that night because I started to come down with something shortly after landing in Japan but lucky for me she made a huge salad and I was able to try it the next night and it was amazing. I will be making this at home. There were also a ton of dressing to choose from and lucky for me they were all vegan but I did have to get Lisa to tell me what was what. 

On my second night in Japan the rest of the house had steaks and left over rice salad but again Lisa was nice enough to whip up so Chickpea Masala. My appetite was back so I got to eat dinner. 

When I was gearing up for my trip I was making a list of things I wanted to do while in Japan and one of the things that was on the top of my list was go to a grocery store. Lame I know but I am one of those rare people that love going to the grocery store. On my walk to the train station I would pass this semi open air market and after my day in Kyoto I stopped by. Sadly It was close to closing so they were packing food up but I was able to grab a few things to make dinner. I loved the fact that this market actually packed up all the fresh fruits and veggies each night instead of letting them stay out. Also anything that pre-made or pre-cut went for 50% off after a certain time. That's how I was able to get sushi for 150 Yen. ( A buck fifty American dollars) That is unheard of!

For dinner I decided on a stir fry. The food is Japan is so much cheaper. I was able to get mushrooms for a buck, bean sprouts for 39 cents and wait for it tofu for 59 cents!! It is madness I tell you. The fried tofu over there is so much better than the crap I buy here, it really hurts my soul.

I loved the tofu so much that I went back to the market the next day and since I went a bit earlier I was able to walk around the market to see what they had to offer. Of course very few things were in English but I had my nifty I am vegan card with me so when I saw a product I wasn't sure about I asked for help. Sadly all the things I picked up had fish or milk in them. Never fear I brought more of my bargain tofu and since my fruit intake was a bit low I wanted to see what Japanese watermelon would taste like. FYI its tastes just like American watermelon. I was slightly disappointed. 

I didn't do as much eating out as I thought I would in Japan but even without eating out I don't feel like I missed out because I was able to cook with fresh Japanese ingredients and to me nothing gets better than that. I really want to email Lisa and ask her to FedEx me some tofu so I can show people what it is really suppose to taste like. Now if you are ever in the Osaka/Kyoto area and are looking for a home away from home, check out Lisa's listing, You won't be disappointed.