Moving On + Loads of Food!

Hello again!

These past few months have been nothing but hustling 'n bustling. I'm proud to say that I am now a college graduate, and I'm shaking in my boots. While my day-to-day activities have hardly changed (aside from three or more hours of required reading a night), I'm beginning to understand my life within the "bigger picture." My experiences as an undergraduate were mostly devoted to bettering myself. All of the studying and all of the classes were to foster my interests and expand my capacity for knowledge. Now I'm at a stage in my life where all the lessons and skills ingrained into me are mine. I've learned a great deal from the people I've encountered the last four years, and I'm confident enough in them and in myself to pass these lessons on.

Vegan Yum Yum's Avocado Wasabi Salad
Brown Rice with peas, carrots and a garlic-ginger sauce

Well that was a hearty after school special to last for the rest of the year! Since I've surpassed one of the greatest transitory experiences of the young adult life, I'm ready to move on. Literally. And move on is just what I did. My plans to remain in Tallahassee for another year (or more) were quickly snuffed, as my partner was offered a good position at a paper mill just north of Baton rouge, Louisiana. Within two weeks we were saying our goodbyes to our closest friends over a plate of toasted sourdough topped with my best ackee scramble (which will receive its own post one day!). Tears were shed on the driveway, on each others shoulders, and all over my steering wheel and seat belt. I don't think i said this enough during my residency there, but my friends in Tallahassee were, no ARE, amazing and irreplaceable. Some of those relationships took years to develop, while others grew so strong within the first. I'll miss you guys.

Vegan Shells and Cheese with Roasted Tomatoes
One of my best vegan Mac and Cheese recipes to date! I'll share the sauce in another post. Shells are tossed with roasted tomatoes and baked with panko breadcrumbs

Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The Red Stick. I never imagined to be living in a Louisiana city that wasn't New Orleans...and Bon Temps. The recent oil spill is a topic for another post, so I will avoid any lengthy opinions on that particular atrocity. Currently my partner and I as well as a mutual friend are staying with my partner's parents in Zachary, a small industrial town 20 minutes north of Baton Rouge. Our first ventures into the city weren't terrible. In fact, they were surprisingly reminiscent of Tallahassee and my hometown, Fort Lauderdale/Miami. Baton Rouge is like Tallahassee in the sense that everything is upfront and in your face; it's a college town with an enormous fan base, and alumni that have chosen to live there for the rest of their lives (and their children's children's children's...you get the idea). Because it is a college town it is loaded, no overflowing with restaurants...I mean fast-food joints. That being said I've found one deli/bakery that acknowledges and understands veg*nism. However, there is a (massive and always crowded) Whole Foods and a smaller grocery/vitamin store named Our Daily Bread (which I have yet to visit).

Ackee Scramble topped with Avocado on a Baguette Boat
Ackee scramble (again, will be featured in a future post) sauteed with garlic, onions, corn, carrots and spinach, then spiced with thyme, cumin, oregano and a dash of curry powder and nooch (nutritional yeast). All is piled upon a baguette half.

Truly Free Bakery and deli is a little unpolished gem born out of the owners' medical conditions and food allergies. It is entirely egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and casein-free. They do serve meat, though it can be replaced with tofu/tempeh upon request. I can vouch for their wraps, conveniently served in nor, cabbage, or rice paper. Their Vegan Reuben (tempeh, sauerkraut, thousand-island dressing and cheddar cheese) was delicious in cabbage, but much tastier wrapped in nori (a wise choice made by my partner). I've also tried their Eggplant Avocado Panini (grilled eggplant, avocado slices, greens, tomato, hummus and egg/dairy-free mayo) with a side of undercooked baked fries. Having sampled what I did, I am no longer bouncing off the walls to visit. The cabbage-wrapped Reuben lacked cheese when I ordered it and the cucumber salad that accompanied my meal was dressed with little more than olive oil and soggy red onion chunks. The panini was deliciously layered and pressed, by far the best thing I've sampled yet, but sadly the fries were soggy and undercooked. I haven't given up on the place though! There are still the wondrous baked goods - snicker doodles, chewy ginger, almond butter, and chocolate chip are the only cookies I've sampled - and a plethora of palatable pizzas rife with potential! To be perfectly honest, the few blunders and mishaps I've suffered couldn't deter me from such a clean, well-intended and friendly place.
We also found a bar that allows dogs on the back porch!

Coconut Cake from Sublime Restaurant in Ft. Lauderdale, FL.
Three layers of moist yellow cake separated by a coconut buttercream and topped with toasted coconut flakes. All of that decadence is accompanied by a sweet and crispy almond tuile

Pasta Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette
Fusilli pasta tossed with roasted corn, shredded carrots, diced cucumber, baby spinach and fresh basil, all of which is coated in a creamy roasted garlic vinaigrette.

While I'm sure that all (...3?) of you have enjoyed my small sampling of Baton Rouge, I feel it necessary to finally post some food porn. I haven't got much since I'm working with a cheap camera phone (digicam, I'm saving for you!), but it will suffice for now. My phone is backlogged with mediocre images of some extraordinary dishes.Free your STOMACH, for a FOOD explosion (Human Giant, anyone?)!

Banana-Walnut Bread from JoVB

Quinoa Tabbouleh
with quinoa, roma tomatoes, diced cucumber, fresh parsley and lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper

Golden Agave-Sweetened Cupcakes
inspired by VCTOTW

More updates in the future...I promise.


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