Fun in AC for Everyone!

Never in a million years would I have believed that I’d be anxious to go to Atlantic City. Not even once, much less twice in one year! What do they have to offer little, innocent me? Aside from parties, great food, a beautiful beach, amazing hotels and casinos, gorgeous people, and an indescribable energy….

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This time I was in Atlantic for two days and a night with the fella to whom I introduced you last time, and his son. They really made the experience even better. We drove the two hours from Jersey City to Atlantic City in their family Lexus with Top 100 Hits playing in the background as we discussed life, death, and everything in between. Let me tell you, these two are quite a pair; the laughs and fun are endless!

A great soundtrack for your adventure:

You Want It Darker

My one concern was that his 19 year old son would be bored! However, we discussed the plan and made sure everyone would be entertained and content. After all, drinking, gambling, and partying are not the only things to do in Atlantic City. Not to mention, there was plenty of food! What does a teenage boy love more than food?

When we got to AC, we were tired, but not ready to stop just yet. We ate at the Asian restaurant in Harrah’s Resort and Casino- where we were staying for the night. They didn’t have too many vegan options, but I had edamame and they each had sushi and sashimi.
After some wandering and window shopping, the young guy was exhausted and went to hang out with my dog in the room. Meanwhile, the two big kids went to Harrah’s ‘Pool After Dark’! Considering how many cars were in the self-park garage, the crowd seemed slim. Still, we grabbed a drink and partied with Ja Rule; he was the guest host that night.
Now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile!

The funny thing about the ‘Pool After Dark’ is that no one ever seems to be in the pool. Everyone creeps around it, trying not to fall in. Though, two brave men were chilling out on pool floats in their swimming trunks this time. They looked comfortable. Everyone else just congregated in cliques and danced like only people from New Jersey can dance. new_jersey_pumps_fists_classic_round_sticker-re4aea560380e431e9890426d396bd2a9_v9waf_8byvr_324We did what we came to do: pump our arms and lose money! Well, he lost money. I did my usual one-game-only: one roll in roulette– black. Doubled my money and walked away. Like a champ. Once hunger struck, we went to the 24 hour hotel cafe. He got a fruit tart that looked a bit frigid and sad, and I got an apple. A green Granny Smith apple. Will I never learn to carry snacks with me everywhere I go? We ate our late night snack, and went off to bed just in time for the sun to rise.

Next time, I’m bringing these:

KIND Bars, Dark Chocolate

The next day was no less fun or eventful. After a long, satisfying meal in the Borgata’s buffet, we did a little more window shopping. This time we made a huge purchase- a black and grey hoodie with the name ‘Borgata’ on it. For me, of course!

Unfortunately, we once again did not plan ahead well enough and missed out on seeing a show. The shows were later in the evening and nothing that we were too interested in seeing. Eyeing the rain outside, and knowing how anxious his son was to see the movie Jack Reacher, we went to a movie theatre not far from Tropicana . It looked like a shabby theatre from the outside, but the inside was large, clean, very buttery smelling, and, once the movie started, the darkness was impenetrable. The movie itself wasn’t my cup of popcorn, but it was lively and fun to watch it together. The group who fights bad guys together, stays together.

After this, just as we thought we we were ready to pack up and go, there was a realization that everyone was tired and hungry again. Hungry and tired. Driving two hours in a car together when everyone is hungry and tired is just asking for trouble. We couldn’t do much for the sleepiness, aside from some energy drinks, but the hunger could be solved with no difficulty at all. When we discovered there was a Buddakan in Caesar’s Palace, we knew where to go.

The Buddakan in New York City is absolutely awe-inspiring, but I’ll admit, I think Caesar’s version may have it trumped. Starting with the hotel’s recreation of Ancient Greece, and then a major scenery change into a faux boardwalk, we were under the Greek spell. We walked down the “boards”, looked out at the real beach with its setting sun, and entered a darkened hallway. Once you start down this pathway, you can’t help but turn your attention to the long, amber glass table leading to Buddha himself. Sitting with legs closed and heart open, he entices you to come forth, be seated, and eat!

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We did eat. Although the waitress tried to convince us that a salad and two entrees would not be enough, we restrained our grumbling tummies, and decided to only order more as necessary. We’re very responsible… and stubborn. Nonetheless, the waitress and all the wait staff were extraordinarily friendly, patient, and concerned with our comfort.

I was surprised at the limited number of vegan options, but some of the dishes could be adjusted to fit vegan needs. In the end, I went with the tofu and cashew dish and requested a side of spicy sauces. Can’t skimp on the spice!
Considering that 2/3 of the members of our table were staunch animal eaters, the salad really did get nabbed up quickly. Between the voracious hunger and the amazing ginger dressing, that salad didn’t have a chance.

As far as the main meals, I can’t speak for the shrimp lo mein, but the cashew and tofu was a delight! Being slightly less starved and deprived at this point, we had an opportunity to appreciate all aspects of this dish and its elements. Cashew and tofu protein aside, there was mint and pineapple and eggplant, too! Truly a little of everything, and all the parts of the puzzles added their own unique touch.

When it came time for the end of the meal, we were all completely satisfied and ready for the drive back. Stuffed to the gills and all! Good thing we had mentioned it was my birthday! Not that it was my birthday, but it “was” my birthday. Y’know? It was quite a surprise when along came a little cardboard box wrapped in a red bow. There was no birthday song, but the single lit candle was perfect. I unwrapped my gift and smelled the most amazing chocolate stank of my life. It was glorious.

Unfortunately, upon asking, we learned that the waitress had forgotten I was vegan. Goodbye, my sweet sweet! Fortunately, I was with two men who truly cared about me and were willing to eat my brownie for me. Plus, the embarrassed and guilty waitress brought over a strawberry sorbet that I could eat! Not my ideal dessert, but I ate it without a care or fret in the world.

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No hard feelings, Buddakan, this was my punishment for lying, I suppose.

Once fed, packed up, and filled with a heart full of joy from a marvelous day, we headed to the car with feet dragging and a little whisper in our ears to “stay… staaayyyy!”

Finally, having forgotten my phone in the hotel earlier in the day, I asked for photos that my younger comrade collected throughout the day. With all we had done and seen and all the unforgettable memories and moments between the three of us, I was anxious to have images to hold onto and share. He forwarded me the three photos he took:

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Pictures of advertisements for chocolate from the hotel wall

That says it all, folks. That’s everything.

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In the meantime, get satisfied!

‘Things to Try’ (click the link)


Asher’s Gourmet Pretzels, 1Lb


Vegan Street Food

Just a Letter

Some letters are personal and meaningful, others are empty and cold. Some change lives, others change little. One way or the other, letters are important. They have the ability to connect us with anyone! Whether it be a complete stranger in another country or a loved one in another county. The conversation between man, paper, and pen is irreplaceable and is not something that should be forgotten or left behind in the Dark Ages.

Last year I went on social media and asked that anyone who wanted a letter from me send me their home address or P.O. box. The response was incredible! So many people responded! Some I’ve known for years, some I’d only just met. They all were so excited to receive a personalized letter from me. I’m not a celebrity or a rising star. I’m not even an influential local figure! I am just a person with a paper and a pen. I doodled, I rambled…. I had a ball creating my little pieces of art and literature!

The idea originated when I received a letter from my grandmother. It was just a simple envelope with a simple note alongside a few dollars. The money was certainly nice, but that letter was by far the most incredible thing that I had found in my mailbox in years, if not ever. It was real. Touched by human hands and done with care and love. It carried a message that could be repeated as many times as I was willing to read it over and over and over again, even when she could not say them herself. In those few words, everything I needed from my grandmother was expressed and felt and given. She gave me a gift, and I cherish it.

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I wish my handwriting was as beautiful as hers

Not only did I receive my grandmother’s letter, but around this time I also started getting invitations regarding my brothers’ engagement parties, their fiancée’s bachelorette parties, their wedding invitations, the baby shower… not to mention ALL the ‘Thank You’ cards! Some of these were printed, some handwritten, but the gratitude and thoughtfulness expressed in them was felt and appreciated just the same. I held onto every single one because they had all touched me in different ways at different times in my life and their lives. They are a collection of special, beautiful moments.

Processed with Snapseed.

Don’t forget the holiday and birthday cards!

Once my little project kicked off and I began writing my 50+ handwritten cards, I was so excited to see what I would come up with next. What memories were brought back to me, and if I had no specific memories with this person, what would come to mind? It was an experiment and an experience! How could I make each letter different and unique? How could I keep myself excited about this? How could I get my wrist used to writing so much!? Admittedly, I did find myself with writer’s block and an aching wrist by the time I got to 15 letters. I kept going, though! I had made a promise to them and to myself that I would reach out. Even if they had forgotten or blown off my promise, knowing that it meant something to them, that they would be excited to see that letter kept me pushing on.

I also forgave myself for days when I was less motivated. If all I could manage was a few sentences and a smiley face, that was fine. It’s not necessarily about the message, but the effort and thought. It wasn’t that I cared less over time, I simply found myself stuck. For some, my handwriting was very sloppy, but that’s normal.

Unfortunately, not everyone wrote me back or let me know how they felt about the letter. I like to think they were all received with joy. I know I did my part, and I felt good about it. On the other hand, many people did write back, and a couple continued to write back. Not to the point of being pen pals, but once every few months or on holidays I might receive a greeting. It’s not about reciprocation, though. Like everything in life, it’s about the joy of the experience; the good and the bad. In the end, it was worth it for the positive feedback and some photos I was sent on the holidays or invitations. It made me feel like part of their family, or at least a friend worth considering a friend, and not just a figure online or in someone’s cellular phonebook.

Processed with Snapseed.

Processed with Snapseed.

Even just a postcard from some far off country or state was really a thrill. It brought me into their life and their home, and I hope my letters gave them the same journey. Brief but bold. Short but stunning.

I think it’s time to start writing letters again!

If you’d like me to send you a personalized, handwritten letter, contact me with your address at:

SWEETTOOTHNOTHINGS@GMAIL.COM

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In the meantime, get satisfied!

A Bar for the People by the People

How to Open a Successful Bar

A month or so ago, a bar opened up in Jersey City, NJ called Pet Shop. It was popular immediately, everyone was talking about it. To be fair, there’s quite a commotion anytime a new spot opens up in sweet, little Jersey City…. Still, there was a strategy to the creation that has helped it make a splash upon opening. Here are the top 10 reasons I think it’s succeeding and going to continue to do so.

  1. Great location. The group of people involved in this project had the funding to grab up a great spot. It’s a couple blocks from the really HOT area of Grove Street, but not too close, as to not get lost in the sea of bars. Pet Shop stands out and holds its own. It’s also on a corner where no one can miss it. You immediately see its black exterior and contrasting string lights. unnamed
  2. Smart design. Speaking of the exterior, this is a great example of less is more. Black is seemingly simple, but it automatically leaves one curious. This look could be a dive bar or a high-end lounge. You have no way of knowing what’s inside, but you know you really want to take a peek in. Everyone wants to look inside the black abyss. Once you’re inside, you can enjoy the interior design!
  3. Welcoming atmosphere. This where they excel, as well. The place is not intimidating, but it’s not dirty. There are stickers on the “jukebox” bragging for local vandals, but they don’t have graffiti everywhere giving the place the feel of a drug den. You have the option to sit at the bar with some friendly tenders, in the sit-down area with tables and a couch, or outside on the benches. This means any number of people can be comfortable, whether you’re on a first date, a business meeting, or bringing the kids for a meal.
  4. Outdoor space. Not everyone has the privilege of finding a space with a backyard, of course. Keep in mind, though, that this is something to aim towards. A yard space, even a tiny one, has become more and more common. People really love it. It means they can get some fresh air but still be part of the event. Or the entire event can be outdoors on a nice day. This one is nicely surrounded by brick walls, so noise to the outside is kept to a minimum. unnamed-6
  5. More than a bar. A jukebox is a cool touch for that vintage, nostalgic vibe. It also brings in a few bucks and allows patrons to choose their favourite tunes. However, stepping it up is always good. For example, Pet Shop also offers a pinball table and a functioning photo booth. You take your photo and get the print out in moments with the bar’s name on it. Marketing and fun all combined into one! If there’s room for even more, even better. As long as everything is looked after and keeps working.
  6. Not your average food menu. What really excited and intrigued people about the opening of Pet Shop was that it was to be vegetarian/vegan-friendly bar. This was a unique and uncertain twist. Would the people want a healthy, veggie snack after drinking? The good news is, it doesn’t have to be healthy, but it can be. With options like Bombay fries and “Pulled Pork” sandwiches, most people don’t really miss their fried chicken and beef ramen. Those are just a couple of options from the Summer menu, anyway. We all anxiously await the Fall and Winter menu!unnamed-2

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    The Tres Pates. 3 bean-based spread on toast. 

  7. Interesting drink options. Getting rid of the old, reliable drinks is not an option, always have those handy. However, also throwing in something new that everyone wants to try is a must. Not Your Father’s Root Beer or Hell or High Watermelon are the drinks people are looking to try without committing to an entire 6-pack. Why not be the bar that offers those super hip drinks alongside an easy choice like Corona Light?unnamed-3
  8. No more sports bars. I like sports bars. I like the energy and excitement it creates. When people get together to eat nachos and scream at the television. However, we’ve got those. So, so many of those. What about a bar where people can sit and just look at each other and chat? Although, I do kind of like the idea of having one television in the corner for the lone drinkers, bored drinkers, and the drinkers who need somewhere to look during a bathroom break or pause in the conversation. Nothing wrong with a television, just use it in a unique way. Pet Shop always plays movies on their screen. No captions, no sound, just something to peek at now and then and maybe stir up a fun conversation.
  9. Know your audience. Jersey City is where the young professionals go after work in Manhattan. They’re trying to escape the high prices and the extremeness of everything. Being that escape is hard business, but it will pay off. If you’re looking to attract the classier or older crowd, know if that’s in your best interest, then know how you can do that. Maybe electronic music and sticky bar tops aren’t the way to go. On the other hand, if you’re looking to pull in the college kids, free chips and a dance space are probably good attributes, as long as local laws will allow dancing at your establishment. Yeah, there are laws about that.
  10. Research, network, and research some more. Laws and permits and ordinances are just the tip of the iceberg. If we’re talking about general attractiveness and desirability of your bar in order to maintain interest and keep people talking, you need to know what everyone else is doing right… or wrong. Get to know other bar owners; they’re better as allies than enemies. Support them and let them help support you. They’ll send people your way and do you good, as long as you return the deed. Speak kindly and generously of them. Get to know local companies, also. Get involved in the community, be willing (and excited) to go to fairs and give out merchandise and give out business cards. Have special deals, events, and themed nights. Have fun so your customers can have fun, and just maybe things will be a lot easier than you expect!
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    In the meantime, get satisfied!

Fantastic Atlantic

When it came to my trip to Atlantic City, I had no idea what to expect. Extravagance and sleaziness? A bunch of old people in scooters and cargo shorts? Maybe all the college students of New Jersey gambling away their college savings?

What I got was everything and then some. Atlantic City has no particular type or crowd, it was everyone in one place! You definitely had your dirty and crooked folks, but they were alongside the young and naive and the old and debilitated. It was a free-for-all, and everyone was welcome! Some people even brought their kids and babies. That seemed a odd to me. What do the kids do all day? Aside from planning how to get alcohol, I guess….

Oh, and for the record, it’s true, there were no clocks and the alcohol was free. Yet, I didn’t see a single person passed out on the floor. Either AC has class, or is really good at sweeping up its deadbeats.

My friend and I had a room reserved at Harrah’s Resort and Casino for 2 days. We only planned to stay 2 days and a night, but we kept the room to avoid early checkout. Very much worth the extra cost.

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Harrah’s was a beautiful hotel! The room wasn’t overly ornate, but I am sure they are trying to keep people out of their rooms! Fair enough. The room was functional, either way. Plenty of space and lights, comfortable accommodations. That’s all I ask for in a room.

The rest of the space was quite shiny and exciting, so I definitely was ready to walk around. People were friendly and cheerful…. Though, I didn’t feel the excitement and thrill that I was expecting. There was no champagne flowing and glitzy cocktail dresses and screams of joy/dismay. Everyone at the tables looked quite serious.

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Note all the button-up checkered shirts. Looks like a bunch of computer guys took off for the weekend. They’re so used to sitting and staring at a computer screen that they don’t know what to do with themselves.

This trip made me rethink my camera choice. Using my iPhone 5c camera wasn’t really doing anything any favours. Most of the pictures are grainy, dark, and blurry. Sorry about that.

After some initial gambling and a couple free drinks, (I had me some champagne) we went to find food. The earliest reservation that we could get at the hotel’s Italian restaurant was for 10 PM. I guess that’s the Atlantic City life for ya! No problem, though, we had more casinos to see and wristbands to purchase. They were offering bracelets for $20 that would allow us into Harrah’sBorgata, and Golden Nugget. In just 4 hours we did a complete tour of these three, along with Trump’s Taj Mahal, (which is closing in October!) Caesar’s Palace, and Bally’s.

My friend and I agree that Golden Nugget sounded the most unpleasant. Neither of us liked that name, but their music was the best by far. Harrah’s Pool After Dark was the coolest, I think. It was beautiful and felt ritzy. The atmosphere and energy really pulled us in and got us excited. Not to mention, Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell made an appearance. After running into him and chatting with him throughout the day, I had no idea who he was until we went to the club and saw him signing autographs and all. Talk about big name celebrities!

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Upping my quality of life

We bounced around a bunch and felt out which spots we liked the most. We agreed to hang out at Golden Nugget and Harrah’s… after dinner, though. We were hungry by 10!

The Italian Cafe Martorano was not your typical, nor traditional Italian dinner experience. It was modern with a touch of the 20s. There were disco balls and the floor was checkered with shiny black and white. The waitstaff all wore newsboy caps with suspenders. Don’t ask me what this look was, but it was gorgeous!

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I cut off my friend’s head for the sake of privacy!

Even after waiting 4 hours for our reservation, we still were asked to wait at the bar. Now, that’s how you sell a drink! While my friend ordered a Moscow Mule, or a Sicilian Mule, as they called it, I tried something a little sweeter, a Sicilian Kiss.

Sicilian Kiss – Imperia vodka, monin mango syrup, monin blood orange syrup, fresh blood orange juice, lime juice, garnished with a blood orange wheel

They made and sold those real fast! These were both very tasty drinks. Although the prices weren’t insane, I still don’t recommend looking at numbers. Just enjoy.

When we were finally seated, we looked upon the menu and drooled a little bit. Having only eaten a few bites of a huge apple that afternoon, I was ready to mangiare!

Guess what? Atlantic City doesn’t do vegan. It’s not in their vocabulary and they don’t care if it’s your thing. They don’t.

We went with antipasti dishes:

Eggplant Stacked

lightly breaded fried eggplant, homemade mozzarella, marinated tomato topped with arugula finished with balsamic and DOC Parmigiano Reggiano cheese $22.00

Antipasto

Homemade mozzarella, prosciutto San Danielle and marinated cherry tomatoes $24.00

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Mozzie and tomat

He ate the cheese, I ate the tomato, and we shared the eggplant. We were fed. Kind of. We distracted ourselves on the dance floor. There was a DJ and a small area for dancing, so we boogied. The music was a remix of old party songs turned into electronic house music. It was really cool! The older and the younger people could appreciate their jams. Jam… boy, I could have gone for jam on toast at that point. Not to say our food wasn’t yummy, but neither of us were really full.

 

Fortunately, there was a little food spot on our way back to the room. We grabbed some buffalo wing pretzels and a cup of grapes. That hit the spot.

After feeding ourselves, I walked my pup. Oh, yeah! Dogs. They’re allowed. And mine happened to behave super well during this trip. I think she was so confused that she forgot how to bark. I can’t say all resorts in AC are dog-friendly, but I can definitely tell you that Harrah’s loves your dog as much as you do!

Once she was happy, we went to the boardwalk and then explored the clubs more.

In spite of some grey and cloudy weather with some drizzling, we walked and had fun. The boardwalk was very low-key and the lights were pretty. Reminded me of Coney Island back home, but quieter.

Finally, around 4 AM we decided it was time to stop bouncing. Enough bouncing, said we! We went back to the room and pretty much fell asleep in the doorway. It was amazing. I woke up around 8 AM and put myself together. My buddy waited until 11 AM to get up and figure out what planet we were on. Surprisingly, though, I was the most well-rested and energized I have been in a long, long time. I felt super clear-headed and fantastic! Still starving, though. That feeling wouldn’t go away. The good news is, we had a breakfast/lunch buffet right downstairs! We bolted in that direction.

The buffet was perfect… for non-vegans. Plenty of meat and eggs and all those things. There was a little fruit and veggie salad available, though. Some mini-bagels which were adorable. I wasn’t complaining. However, we probably would have done just as well having bought bagels and peanut butter and passing on the $20 buffet. But it was extremely meditative and added to the fancy feeling of the trip. Those are very important things to take advantage of while living the luxury life!

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Breakfast with a view

After breakfast, there was a little more depositing of money at the casino bank, and we headed home. Happy, relaxed, and really anxious for our next trip! Peace out, AC, don’t spend all your money in one place, now….

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If you would like me to attend your event, review your product, or if you want to submit your food/travel review, contact me at:

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In the meantime, get satisfied!

Packing for the city… Atlantic City!

I’ve been to Israel and Ireland and India, but I’ve never made the 2-hour drive to Atlantic City. Why is that? I don’t gamble, I don’t drink much, and I don’t really like beaches, or New Jersey… that’s why.

But I am going to Atlantic City this weekend.

What changed the tune of my whistle? A friend offered me a trip there. I wasn’t busy this weekend, so I was like, “Let me check with my… uh… oh. Let’s go!”

The details have not been shared with me, but I know there’s a hotel where I can bring my dog and many clubs and restaurants from which to choose. That’s all I really need. Well, maybe a few other things, but that is on me to bring from home. You know- clothing and whatnot. That silly stuff.

In preparation for my journey, I did what any seasoned traveler would do…. Yep, without procrastination or hesitation I went to Rice Cream Shoppe in the West Village. I tried my first ever vegan rum raisin rice pudding with toasted coconut on top. Seems raisin-able.

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It’s a store I had passed a million times before, but I’d never gone in. Rice pudding was never really my thing. I don’t like eating something smooth and then dealing with unexpected chunks. It’s weird to me. Especially in the case of rice pudding where the chunks are little and slimy. But, being that it was apparently the week of doing things I didn’t really want to do, I decided to try the vegan dessert. Or, lunch in this case.

Rum raisin is not a flavour I’d had before, actually. You guessed it- it’s another thing with components I don’t necessarily want or need. Rum is nice, I like being a pirate. Rum and raisin, though? Pirates don’t do that. Today, this pirate did that. I’m a rebel pirate. That’s a double rebel.

Turns out, rum raisin tastes like vanilla. With raisins. And coconut if you ask for coconut on top, as I did. I was sticking with my Caribbean theme. It was a nice dessert. Not overindulgent or sickeningly sweet. It was tasty and refreshing. Left me with room for more food. That’s good or bad, depending on your goal.

Admittedly, the rice pudding confused me a bit, though. I needed to walk around a bit, take a breather, procrastinate on my packing… that sort of thing.

I was in Brooklyn…

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Then I took a bike ride in Jersey City to the waterfront. I waved at Manhattan.

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I did so much. Man, I was tired at this point. I took a nap.

Good nap. Good job, self. What to do with the rest of my evening…. OH, RIGHT! PACKING! Let’s do that.

Packing list for Friday, Friday night, and Saturday. Short, simple, and sweet. Now, I should keep in mind that it was a little chilly and rainy today. Still warm enough for shorts and dresses, but I may want to bring a sweater. Yes! Nicely done. Planning ahead with the weather. That’s something responsible travelers do.

Friday wear: Cute top and pants or shorts with sneakers

Pack: Super cool dress for Friday night. Like, so cool you might freeze the place. Maybe even heels to make everyone stop and stare when you enter a room. That’s another thing that actually happens in reality. All the time.

Also pack something comfortable for Saturday and the return trip.

Now I am thinking, “What do people do during the day in Atlantic City?”

Though, I guess the casinos don’t have clocks, right? I’ll never even know whether it’s day or night! Night is when you’re passed out on the floor from the free alcohol. Is that only in the movies? Maybe they DO have clocks and you DO have to pay for your drinks?? I don’t know what is real anymore!

All I know is, I’m probably not going to the beach. No bathing suit or any of that business necessary. I should just wear sweatpants and a bib since I’m really just going for fancy food. Vegan food in Atlantic City, you ask? No. Not so much. I can’t find any vegan restaurants in Atlantic City. That’s going to be interesting. Whatever I end up eating is going to be expensive, though. That much I know.

I’m still not packing, though. I’ve thought about what I should pack, but I’ve not even brought my bag up from storage in the basement. Ugh… I forgot I had to go downstairs and get it. This is so much work.

Here’s my packing list: toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, makeup, cellular device, and charger. This is a good start. Although, I’ll need these things in the morning, presumably, so let’s wait to pack those. And try not to forget them.

Now, let’s step it up. Undergarments, deodorant, socks, pair of sneakers (or sandals), pair of heels, and razor. For shaving… or shivving someone. To be determined.

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Final round. I got this. 2 tops, 1 pair of jeans, 1 skirt, 1 dress, and a sweater.

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Cute, girl, cute. You got all the matching happening and the style and the fun but flirty. That’s exactly what magazines suggest. Magazines know best.

Anything missing? Something’s missing. Something is always missing…. SHOOT! I nearly forgot pajamas! You ding dong, how could you? Sleep is the prerequisite for being awake and alive. These are such important things! Do not forget your “No one will see these anyway” jammies!

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Now you have all yo junk together. You’re set. Oh, and a cherry Blow Pop. Because.

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Is, “Mmmm…” a scientific explanation?

Then just shove all that beautiful and expensive clothing in a bright pink bag you got for free at Victoria’s Secret, and you’re off!

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Don’t no one get in my way, I’m ’bout to take over AC! Don’t worry, I’ll tell you all about it when I get back in a couple day!

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If you would like me to attend your event, review your product, or submit your own review, send an email to:

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If you’re curious about Rice Cream Shoppe, I’d give it 7/10 unicorn hugs.

Their website is: http://www.ricecreamshoppe.com/

In the meantime, get satisfied!

Try your best, but you don’t succeed

I always thought Indian was in my blood. As though I could turn water into lassi. I love the Hindi language, I loved my week in India, the Hindu beliefs, the culture… and most of all, I love Indian food. I’ll eat daal and dosa or palak and poori any day of the week!

Being so convinced that I was born to be a disciple of Brahma, I got it in my head that I would be a natural when it came to cooking Indian food. That makes complete and total sense. Not delusional at all.

This is when I decided to make one of my favourite Indian foods: samosas! These are triangular pastries filled with potato and spices, then fried (or baked.) Samosas are beloved for their flaky dough and soft and salty insides. They are also often served with various chutney options or tamarind paste. They can be filled with lentils, peas, corn, onion, or any vegetable you like. I kept it simple: I just wanted spicy potatoes. Most people have samosas as a side or appetizer. They also serve as a tasty little lunch, though!

On my hunt for the most perfect and easiest samosa recipe online I came across The Flaming Vegan. On this website, I found a recipe for vegan samosas. The author of this recipe, Neha Basrani believes that I can prepare these dumplings of delish in 10 minutes, and after cooking for 30 minutes have perfect little Indian knishes. Here’s her photo:

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Okay- cool! I’m totally down for perfect symmetry; golden tetrahedrons. Just show me the way, Neha!

Here you can see her recipe:

INGREDIENTS:

For the pocket:

• 1 cup of all purpose flour

• Vegetable oil to fry the snack

For the filling:

• 3 large potatoes

• 1 tablespoon cilantro finely chopped

• 1 onion finely chopped

• 2 green chilies finely chopped

• 3 tablespoon oil

• ½ teaspoon turmeric

• ½ teaspoon red chili powder

• ½ teaspoon crushed garlic

• ½ teaspoon grated ginger

• Salt to taste

Incredibly, I had many of these ingredients! Sure, I had to substitute leek for onion. 2 green chilies for one large. Cayenne instead of chili powder. Whatever. You get the idea. I was mostly there.

Unlike my usual cooking adventures, I was ready this time. I was willing to make all the mess, use all the bowls, and do whatever necessary in order to have my samosas come out ready to serve to Buddha. Yeah, Buddhism- WHAT!

Maybe using my recipe sheet as a spoon and vegetable rest wasn’t the best way of doing things, but I had no fear at this point. I was ready to cumin, salt, and conquer.

METHOD:

STEP 1: In a medium sized bowl, mix the oil, salt, and flour together to form dough. The dough should not be too hard nor too soft.

STEP 2: Cover the bowl with a cloth for for at least twenty minutes and let it rest.

STEP 3: For the filling, first peel, boil , and mash the potatoes.

I have never in my life peeled, boiled, nor mashed potatoes. Turns out, this is fairly easy. One might even say it was fun! Not that I had a potato masher tool thing…. I just used my fork and stabbed the potatoes a lot once they were boiled and soft. Anger management complete!

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Go, Potato, it’s your boilday! Gonna pot ya like it’s your boilday!

I did a really good job at boiling and mashing my potatoes. Pretty sure I could do that for a living. Not to brag. #hireme

STEP 4: Heat some oil in a pan (approximately 3 tablespoons). Add ginger, garlic, onion, and green chilies. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the mixture turns golden brown.

STEP 5: Now add mashed potatoes, cilantro, salt, turmeric, and chili powder. Saute the mixture for two more minutes.

STEP 6: Set mixture aside for five minutes to cool.

I was pretty good at this, too. I chopped up two types of chili peppers and added a bunch of spices and herbs and junk. Like, you’d be impressed if you knew how much I added. The cacophony of flavours would flip your lid. The tricky part was knowing when the potato mix was “browned”. Turmeric is kinda golden, it turns the taters brownish. I just kind of assumed that they were cooked when they were burning my fingers. That is, because I kept taking forkfuls of the mix and eating it. This is part of the recipe that was left out. Always taste what you’re cooking… multiple times.

Now, here’s when things start getting complicated. I’m still completely confused when it comes to the dough.

STEP 7: Take the dough and roll it into 5” flat ovals. Cut each of them into halves.

STEP 8: Take one half and roll it like a cone in your hand.

STEP 9: Put about a tablespoon of the filling into your cone. Then seal the third side with a moist finger (use oil or water) so that when you deep fry them, no oil will enter.

STEP 10: Repeat. 

STEP 11: Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the samosas. Serve them piping hot with dipping sauce of your choice, such as a chutney.

My dough wasn’t really cooperating. I really did use the amounts of oil and flour that are suggested here, but the dough was like bread crumbs. So, I added more oil. Then more flour. Then more oil. No matter what I did, the dough kept falling apart!

In this photo, things were looking okay. Maybe even promising. I took a big ball of my crumbles and squished them together. Then I made a triangle with my hands. I’m not sure what the logistics were supposed to be when it came to cutting and shaping, but I just kinda did what made sense to me.

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Apparently, what makes sense to me is nonsense. Everything just… wasn’t good.

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I don’t know how many samosas you’ve seen or eaten in your life, but I’ve had many. Many. Never in my life have I ever had a samosa that looked like this. My dough was just not having it. It was like, “Yo, it’s Saturday. It’s my day off, I’m not dealing with this.”

For my second trick I took pieces of dough and applied it like cement to the cracks. Not gonna say I’m a genius, but I’m pretty sure I’m thinking at Einstein level.

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Check that out! It almost looks like something! I continued this method due to the success I was having. Great success, let me tell you.

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I mean, how badly do you want to eat these samosas? They look just like the stuff you get at the restaurant, ammirite?

Put those suckers in the oven at 250 for 30 minutes…. Oh, yeah, I decided to bake them rather than fry them, ’cause I’m so health conscious and junk. This meant I had to totally guess time and temperature. Sounded good to me. Like they say: too much is better than too little! …right?

At this point, I had also decided these little guys were going to completely transform in the oven. Like, they were supposed to look like this, and then would change completely as they heated up.

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A little something I learned in the 90s

Presto! It worked!

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Wait… no… that’s not right. Let me try again.

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There we go. Levitating lunch.

Remember earlier when I told you that people loved samosa because of their flaky exterior? We missed the boat on that one, kids. My samosa dough wasn’t bad, but it was soft and fluffy. Like a cupcake samosa for your toothless friends.

Now, am I going to lie and tell you that my samosas came out looking like love dumplin’s? Yes.

Now you can try!

My attempt: 2/10 satars for appearance and likeness … but, 7/10 satars for flavour!

The recipe itself: 8/10 satars

If you would like me to try your recipe or product, or you would like to submit your own review, contact me at: sweettoothnothings@gmail.com

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Meet Mayhem

mayhem |ˈmāˌhem| noun

violent or damaging disorder; chaos: complete mayhem broke out.

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Remember that puppy I introduced you to a couple posts ago? His name is Mayhem. At a mere 10 weeks old, Mayhem does not cause mayhem at all. He is the most laid back puppy I’ve ever met. He’s a sweetheart. Mayhem is a rescue dog.

Hemmy was born to a female dog, presumably, about 2.5 months ago on a farm in Mississippi. He did nothing wrong, yet he and his 2 siblings were unwanted. We may never know why. As I say, their loss is our gain. They were then taken to the vet at 6 weeks old, given their necessary booster shots and checked out briefly, then sent up to good, old New York City to start their lives anew.

Not far from New York City, around the same time as this was all happening, I was at home debating whether I should start fostering again. I had taken a break because of travel and moving, but I was starting to get that foster itch. That feeling of something missing. Remembering all the dogs and cats of past, as well as seeing photos of all the new ones who need homes. The urge was too strong, I contacted the rescue I have worked with for years and told them I was ready to foster again. Holly DeRito, my puppy rescue hero got back to me very quickly to let me know that I could choose a pup from the site and have him by the following week.

Puppies aren’t like grocery items, you can’t just squeeze their heads to determine which will fit your lifestyle. For a new foster, knowing what you can and can’t do is very important. Sometimes you can’t predict things that will force you to hand over the pup to another foster, but we aim to avoid any problems like that. As a fairly experienced foster, I have a pretty good idea what I can handle, and what my own dog can handle. My dog, Lolita Lollipop Unicorn (also known as Lolly) has been very patient, but can also only handle so much…. Taking into consideration other pets, family members, housing, costs, space, time, and patience, many people can foster a young puppy. Other people require an older dog who is already housetrained. If you live in a building, you have to know what your landlord, contracts, and neighbours will put up with. Remember, many dogs have separation anxiety, this means they may bark, whimper, and scratch if you’re not nearby. You have to prepare for messes, a little destruction, and having to be home enough throughout the day to walk, feed, and love your dog. Health conditions do come up, training may cost you, treats and toys, and various other necessities depending on the animal.  Are you traveling? Moving? Otherwise tied up? Maybe it’s not a good time to foster/adopt. If you have someone willing to dog sit, all the better! Just keep in mind, then that person also has to fulfill all the temporary housing requirements.

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Lolly is weary of this little guy (Ducky, 2015)

Yeah, fostering and adopting is a commitment. There’s a lot to keep in mind. Would I say it’s HARD, though? Or unpleasant? Nope. Because I love the animals I foster. I love the whole experience. Saving a puppy or kitten who barely had a chance is one of the most fun, exciting, and kind things you can do! It’s really more of a compromise: if you’re willing to do your part, out of it you get a best friend.

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Hand…touching hand…. (Taffy, 2015)

If anyone has convinced you that rescue dogs are ugly, mean, stupid, sickly, or otherwise undesirable, they too have been sadly misinformed. Typically, the opposite is true. An adopter once told me, “We bought two purebred pugs once and both got very sick due to inbreeding. We’re only rescuing mutts from now on!”

The number of times I’ve heard this same story is astounding. Unfortunately, it’s absolutely true. When siblings and cousins and distant relatives are forced to mate, they create unhealthy and abnormal babies. As to the other rumours….

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And MEAN??

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about unhealthy?

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Eh, maybe. But I’m willing to look past it

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Doc, Hero, and Bella (2013)

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Dexter and Bug (2012)

If you’re interested in fostering or adopting, please do your research. This is a long, long commitment and lots of responsibility. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or your local dog rescue.

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So very Zen

What better way to impress someone on your first meet-up than to choose an entirely vegan restaurant? There is no better way. That’ll teach you to let me choose the food!

I met my new acquaintance at Go Zen in the West Village, NYC. We both got there at the same time and had the same confused and concerned looks on our faces. “Is this the right place?” “Did I really agree to this?” “Who is that strange person staring at me like I’m an internet celebrity? Oh, right!”

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Did I mention I found this person OkCupid? If you’re not familiar with the site, well, you’ve not been on the internet. Also, I will fill you in! It’s an online dating site where people post a picture (or pictures), include small-talk bits about themselves, and match up with random folks based on distance, preferences, and algorithms. You just throw the word “algorithm” in and people love it.

So, I matched up with someone, we set a time and day, I chose the place, and we met. I chose Go Zen because it was easy to get to, I knew that the area had other stuff, in case we got bored (of the place or each other), and most of all, because I hadn’t been there and I wanted to review it.

On their website’s menu there’s an item called Golden Ball: After your eat it you will know what it is. I really wanted to find out what this was.

My company was very patient and understanding when I paused to take photos or talk about our opinions on different things. I am a tough judge, so I tried to get an idea of what the experience was like and how it was going for someone else… oh, and me being considerate to other people’s happiness and whatever. That, too.

All together we had spring rolls, the golden ball, and veggie tofu delight;
Braised Tofu, zucchini and tomatoes in black bean sauce. Served with brown rice.

It turns out, the Golden Ball was just poori with peanut sauce. Don’t get me wrong, I love poori and I love peanut sauce, it just wasn’t as exotic and thrilling as I had expected. It was also an unexpected Indian dish at a Chinese-focused restaurant. My brain was confused, my heart was pleased, and my stomach was fed.

Check out my new friend’s elbow. I chose a good one, eh?

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Unfortunately, the poori was a bit too greasy for my taste. The bread had a nice crispness, but there was way too much oil. The peanut sauce was good, too, but a bit heavy. Normally I can chug peanut sauce like a German at Oktoberfest (who is chugging beer, not peanut sauce, presumably. However, if you know of an Oktoberfest for peanut sauce, do not forget to send me an invite!)

The spring rolls were your usual spring rolls. Thin, rice paper outer with cabbage and carrot and all inside. Spring rolls aren’t usually my favourite, but I was curious how they compared with the usual spring rolls that I don’t love. I was hoping I would dislike them less than usual- as has happened once or twice in my life. If you like spring rolls, though, these are just what you seek! The sauce was a perfectly good duck sauce, too. Faux duck sauce, if you must. The lettuce is what really made the plate, though. Look at that artistry. Purple and green… I mean, how do they come up with these things?unnamed-3

The last dish we ordered was the tofu dish. Sure, we could have gotten something more exciting, but my companion thought that tofu was key. That it was the basis of veganism (ehh…) and therefore, one must judge a restaurant’s tofu in order to know their real value.

As you can see, the dish had lots of veggies, which is good. Also lots of sauce, though. As someone who like veggies and is cool with tofu, the layers of sweet sauce was unnecessary. I would have liked the tofu to be more firm and substantial, as well.

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But I do give them credit for pretty colours and excellent marketing; with their logo on the plates. I like that.

So, the whole experience was pretty successful. After eating, we went for a long walk to talk about human nature and the universe, and we exchanged phone numbers. The meal was decent, and I would recommend the place for low-key, simple vegan Asian food in the area. Wouldn’t go out of my way to get here, though. I would say that Go Zen deserves…

7/10 unicorn hugs

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S’More Fails and Successes

When facing the options of taking the easy path or the fun path… always choose the latter. Unless, of course, you want everything to go smoothly. Nothing will come easily if you cut corners, edit instructions, and float in the breeze. I’m the floating in the breeze type.

Today was NATIONAL S’MORE DAY! Hershey’s was SOO happy. Nabisco was peeing its pants with joy! Whoever makes marshmallows, well, things worked out for them, as well. Coincidentally, S’More Day comes in August. A month when no one is typically concerned with S’mores. Right? I don’t know, I’ve never had a S’more in my life. This is because my family didn’t camp, my family didn’t enjoy bonding around a campfire, and my family didn’t really do DIY fun desserts. Blame my family, not me. How do I explain the past 10+ years in which I could have been S’moring my brains out? Ignorance.

I didn’t even know people actually made S’mores! I thought it was a snack reserved for cartoons and people who couldn’t afford real gifts for holidays.

This year, however, that all changed. I joined Twitter (https://twitter.com/SweetToothVegan) #desperatetimescallforTwittering…. I now know every “National” holiday and I know why people like to say “Hashtag Blessed”. That’s actually not true, I still have no idea what that means. Blessed to be brainless? Hashtag!!

Still. I wanted to make S’mores… on a budget… and vegan… and not too messy or difficult. uugh.

First stop: Whole Foods. Last stop: I stayed at Whole Foods. I just didn’t want to go elsewhere.

I thought buying graham crackers without honey would be difficult. Turns out, it was easy peasy! That was the only easy peasy part of this 3-piece puzzle! The next step was marshmallows. Sweet! Whole Foods totally, definitely has vegan marshmallows. Heck yeah, I even got the last bag! Apparently, I’m not the only kid on Tweeter. We all wanted in on that action. However, I then saw the price of the weightless bag of feathery treats…. It was like 5 or 6 bucks! HOW DARE THEY?

I could have just put the bag back, but… buuuut… ya know…. I put it in the canned beans section. Why? Because I was there buying a can of garbanzo beans for 79 cents so I could make aquafaba marshmallow fluff. Obviously. Also because no one will find it there unless they just happen upon it. It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’ for young, rich people who are obsessed with online trends. hashtagblessed.

Finally, I needed chocolate. That’s a pretty major part of the whole thing. It’s 1/3 of the ingredients, to be exact. Of course, bars of chocolate are sickeningly expensive. Like. What? When did chocolate become a bartering item for kids’ kidneys on the Black Market? Sick. Thus, this too I had to fraggle my way out of. Instead, I purchased a packet of hazelnut chocolate butter for $1.25. You heard that right- single serve Nutella, basically. Chocolate accomplished.

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Should be easy riding from here, ammirite, cowboy?

See? You’re as naive as I was. You came in here thinking you knew of what I was capable. You and I, we thought I was ready for this jelly. Once I got home, ate some graham crackers, contemplated the true hazardous nature of “safety” pins, I got to work. That’s when things went downhill.

1- Aquafaba did not want to aqua. Or, I should say, it didn’t want to become fab. It just stayed liquid and ugly and smelly, despite all the whipping and naying I could produce.

2- Hazelnut butter decided it was time to melt. Not bad for taste and mush, but bad for my desire to maintain some doody-free hands. My hands were more brown than Murphy…Brown…. I’m not good with things.

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This is when I went for the bottle. Sparkly and alcoholy and pink- alright. Let’s S’more.

Fortunately, someone had really old, really hidden away Oreos in her cabinet. Did I put them there? Maybe…? They might have been there before I moved in. I can’t say for certain. They’re Oreos, though, they don’t go bad!

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Look.

Look at my art.

Yes, in my first attempt, I forget to add the nut butter. I just put cookie crumbles on a cracker. Upon noticing this, I was tempted to just eat the carb’more, but I made the responsible, adulty choice and added chocolate to my sugar cracker and chocolate cookie treat.

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Now, that’s a S’more to write home about. I did it, guys. I really did it.

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My S’mores were good. Were they S’mores? Is a cigar just a cigar? We’ll never know these answers, but what I can tell you is this: the world tried to put S’mores in a box. It told my graham crackers and me that we had to be like the other kids and the other cookies if we wanted to be a success. Well, we said NO. We stood up and said, “NO.” Not this time.

My S’mores were a gosh dang 9/10 trans fat cubes. I’d give it a better rating, but seriously, those Oreos were old.

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Get satisfied!

Papa Ganache has panache

What do you get when you put a non-vegan, non-baker from New York into a vegan bakery in New Jersey? The winner of the 2013 Food Network Cupcake Wars… of course!

The vegan bakery Papa Ganache in Matawan, New Jersey is run by a licensed clinical social worker named Lisa Siroti. When Siroti isn’t offering psychotherapy services or doing intensive in-home and community therapy for at risk youth and families, she is baking her big heart out.  Unbelievably, aside from running a very successful bakery, she is a huge part of the Papa Ganache Project. PGP combines vegan baking with a life skills program for kids. Basically- Lisa Siroti is living my dream. On one hand, I truly envy her chutzpah and success, on the other hand, I am inspired by her initiative and positive attitude. Learn more about this incredible project at: http://www.pgpnj.com/

Now, let’s get to the fun part: the food! I’ve been going to Papa Ganache every chance I get for the past 3 years. In those years, I’ve seen the food options increase and improve. I am never disappointed by lack of new creations and tummy satisfying treats! Donuts and ice cream and cookies and pies… you have your kosher, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free… they even have sugar-free options, no trans fat, no preservatives, no cholesterol, and best and most of all: NO ANIMAL PRODUCTS!

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Lest we forget that Papa Ganache is not only a sweets haven, but they offer savory delights, as well! With a very Italian food menu, I really can’t stress how much I want you all to try the eggplant Stromboli! Heat up a big slice in the oven for 15-20 minutes and I have myself a very satisfying lunch. If that’s not your thing, though, there’s more! Yes- more! Pizza, mac n cheese, lots of soup options, rice balls, fettuccini alfredo, and even quiche… the list gets longer and longer! Kids love it, adults love it, and your grumpy great-grandfather will love it (if he’ll just put his dentures in and keep an open mind!)

The menu at Papa Ganache is so extensive that everyone is bound to be happy! Plus, there aren’t a million add-ons and options and switches, unless you specifically request them, so you don’t have to have a minor panic attack in order to achieve lunch (+1! DING!)

The million dollar question is: just HOW GOOD is the food? Is it good enough to ditch steak, lobster, and the stinkiest, greenest cheese ever? Or just good enough to pass on the fried pig butt on a stick at the county fair? These things matter! The thing is, I believe in vegan food. I believe it can be just as good, if not better than the foods I ate as a non-vegan. However, it’s not this good everywhere. I would say in the year 2016, 45% of the vegan food I eat makes me want to throw my morals to the wind. Sometimes I’ll eat something so tasteless or hard or boring that I just want to go grab a baby chicken and chew on its crispy, salty little beak for relief. Papa Ganache and the other 65% has kept me on the clean and righteous path. Thank goodness.

To date, I’ve tried Papa Ganache’s eggplant stromboli, the rice ball, the mac n cheese, and one of the quiches. Let’s start with the mac n cheese. This is hard to mess up, right? Particularly with today’s vegan cheese options. The mac was your average mac, I didn’t go gluten-free. I paid for gluten, I got my gluten. The cheese was great, I really didn’t have any issues with it. Like any other safe food, I am sure it could have gone above and beyond with a few added spices or something to really give it a special kick. But, hey, I ordered the mac, I ordered the cheese, and that’s what I got. As for the other food, I was really quite blown away. Some of my vehemently non-vegan acquaintances whom I have force-fed have also been blown away. The stromboli is as good as Oprah’s curls would taste if they were chocolate ramen noodles.
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“Stromboli” is not a word that has ever otherwise been in my vocabulary, yet here I am. Passionate and devout. Crisp bread that requires work is what’s up. I want to sink my teeth in and fight that sandwich for all I’m worth, and these guys deliver. The eggplant is also breaded perfectly. Like it went to Fashion Week and took notes. The rice balls were just as good; the cilantro knew what it was doing. It entered the Oscars award show like it had funded the Oscars award show. The quiche? Well, I’m out of similes. Let’s just say, if your vegan spouse gives birth to a quiche, you’ll know who to blame.

Now… the cupcakes. You know, since that’s what really came here to talk about. Can we talk about cupcakes for a moment, please? I’d really like to discuss cupcakes if you have a moment. Do you have a moment for our Lord and saviour, Cupcake?

Papa Ganache cupcakes are really worth discussing. As are their tarts and pies and cookies and what have you, but if you forgot that thing I mentioned up there, Papa Ganache’s cupcakes went up against some of America’s most popular and beloved NON-VEGAN cupcakes and it freakin’ won. They won. The vegan cupcakes won the whole dang thing. There was a cupcake war and the vegans took it home, to the animal sanctuary, to the pet store to buy some dog food, and back home again. They killed it- without actually killing anything. Amazing. I can’t really offer much more as far as accolades than that. It says it all. They’re good cupcakes. The variety is endless, as well. That’s the real winner in my opinion. One vegan cupcake option is good, but almost 40 flavours? Forty? With that many options, you better start saving your pennies and Weight Watchers points, because you have a lot of chewing to do.

Not every flavour and option is going to be life-changing, that’s something we all know. Sometimes a berry is one berry too many, or maybe you enjoy the apple pie, but the crumb cake doesn’t really do it for you…. I won’t chase you with any sharp objects, I understand. Therein lies the beauty of options. The potential to rise up tomorrow, start the day anew, and try something completely different! The doors are wide open, you just have to saunter in.

Admittedly, I would be remiss to not mention the two flaws of Papa Ganache. I write with honesty and bluntness, so I should mention, that if you intend to snack or dine here, you will do so with a price. It is not the sort of place one eats at on a daily basis. I see this delicious little bakery as a special treat once every few months. That is, unless you are truly committed to the food or your money-producing machine has a new ink cartridge. The other downside is that, although Papa Ganache is located walking distance from the NJTransit Matawan train station, that is about all it is near. If you are not a local, you have little reason or excuse to be cruising the hood. Then again, most of New Jersey is inconvenient! After all, it’s New Jersey! If you’re going to do so, make the travel for the sake of a chocolate hazelnut cupcake or a vegan cookie dough cheesecake cup; NOT to reach the mall mecca of America.

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My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of snozberry. That’s right, if you’ve ever wanted to try snozberry, you can get that here, too!

In case you’re wondering, Papa Ganache isn’t just a place to order your snacks and run. It’s a great place to grab some food and sweets and take a seat. There are a bunch of seats indoors and a few outside, so your dog or cat or pet moose can come along for the ride! The inside is comfortable and as sweet as the cupcakes. I love looking at the old baking pans on the wall and trying to figure out for what purpose they are intended. Also tempted to lick them and see if any cake remnants are leftover. Ain’t too proud to taste test!

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If you haven’t figured it out, I love visiting Papa Ganache. I find their food and their desserts delicious, their store is comfortable, and everything about it makes me feel like I’m celebrating something special. Everyone deserves to feel that way!

Get over to Matawan and try some amazing vegan baked foods and snacks. You definitely won’t be disappointed! For all these reasons and then some(that I may be forgetting,) with great confidence I give Papa Ganache…

10/10 unicorn hugs

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