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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Local Dining a la mom

Still nothing going on over here. Breakfast is consistently a banana. Lunch is kale salad. It's not even very good kale salad (I know, weird, right?) Dinner if I can force it is leftover chili. You've seen it before.
So instead, since Shen and Stacy were sharing "mom stories," I was reminded to share a picture I took last week when I was sitting around depressed, probably crying and feeling sorry for myself, counting the hours until I could acceptably go to back to bed.  
Mothers always know, though. It's really something amazing and unexplainable. She called up out of the blue and insisted on picking me up and taking me out to lunch. I, being me, grumbled ungratefully and tried to get out of it but my mother is a very persuasive woman. By the time I washed my face and tried to look acceptable, she was downstairs in the car with my father, prepped with her new iphone, googling to find a local vegan restaurant.
We settled on Champs, which was formerly only a vegan bakery but has now added a full menu. I think they only opened up about a year ago. It's pretty near where I live, but a little off the usual beaten track (Bedford ave) and it's cute inside. The building may have originally been a diner of sorts. There are booths and a counter in a fairly open space. They even have a working retro rotary telephone with a separate earpiece.
Anyway. My parents are not vegans by any means, having both spent a fair amount of time in France and being raised in the 50s but they are wonderfully open-minded. I'm actually kind of surprised he did, but my father went all out and ordered the hot Vegan Cubano sandwich - with "grilled veggie ham, pickled jalapenos, pickles, cheese, mustard and mayo on a pressed hero." My mother ordered another adventurous sandwich, the Banh Mi. It's a new addition to the menu, so I don't have a full description, but they're pretty typical. And me, well, I got a salad. Surprise. But a fun salad! This was a new addition to the menu too, and the (friendly) server mentioned it was probably her favorite of the new stuff.

This is a roasted beet salad with cashew "goat" cheese and walnuts. In a balsamic vinaigrette, and taken with my mom's handy iphone. It was very tasty. The cheese was tangy and the beets were well cooked. It was also a huge serving! I couldn't finish it, but my mom tried some too and liked it a lot. Actually, I think my parents both cleaned their plates so that must mean something.
They also took a vegan rainbow cookie and an almond-blueberry bar home from the bakery. The rainbow cookie was reported as "very tasty and fresh" but they felt that the bar was too sweet.
So. If yr in the Williamsburg area, Champs is definitely recommended by both me and two non-vegan parental units. And thank you, mom, for getting me out of the house. That was a good thing. I am lucky to have a caring and vegan-friendly family. (For the record, they do eat much less meat than they used to. So, yay.)


  1. On the days I'm feeling shitty about the world, it's really nice to remind myself of how many people I've influenced just by being vegan. People who now have a positive perspective on it, or people like my mom who's seen her high blood pressure go down when she stopped eating animal stuff. It makes a huge difference to have an awesome, vegan-friendly family, so I'm happy for you! Take care of yourself, girl!

  2. And I thought I was the only one suffering through a severe depression.

    Speaking of Moms -- at least your Mom can use a cell phone (not to mention an actual iphone with digital picture taking) AND knows how to surf the net AND orders a Banh Mi!

    Anyway, glad you were able to get out for some Beets and subsequently perked up. Now send your parents on a road trip to Virginia to crowbar me out of my misery.

  3. What a great looking salad! You are super lucky and blessed to have such a fantastic set of parents. :)

    When I find out that I'm really a wealthy aristocrat switched at birth, I'll use part of my bounty to send you and G on a trip around the world! Either that, or you can join me when I build a time machine!!

    Hopefully, now you're smiling. Have a wonderful weekend :)

  4. WOW!! Thanks for the shout-out, even though I'm being a shitty, neglectful blogger these days (work is still serving up fresh hell). Like Shen, I'm impressed with your mom's tech-savvyness. Someone gave my mom a printer awhile ago, and I asked her why she was keeping it. She said "in case I need to print something." Note: she does not own a computer.

    Anyhow, that salad looks great.

  5. It is amazing how moms have that sixth sense when it comes to their children. I'm so glad that you went out with your parents and that you shared a lovely vegan lunch with them. Your salad looks gorgeous and I'm also impressed by how tech savvy your mom is! I hope that it brought you a smile and that you are taking care of yourself and on the road back to happiness!

  6. Aw, that's awesome that your parents got you out of the house when you needed it. Sounds like you have a great family!

  7. oh i was right with you today with the full on "blahs"... sorry to hear you were feeling down - but it sounds like getting out brightened your day. i made myself get out for a walk & dragged my butt to a yoga class which helped a bit.

    and your 4 cloves of garlic secret is safe with me ;)

  8. Thanks for the Champs review; I haven't been there since they were solely a bakery & I'd heard there had been a lot of changes. Where are the pics of the sammies for goodness sake!?

    Hope you're feeling brighter. There's a great rainbow cookie recipe on my blog that will make you & your mom smile!

  9. Awwww, I love your parents! And that food looks great.

    Want to try my awesome kale salad? I ate this for like four weeks over the summer:

    I know, I know, everyone has a kale salad they love, but isn't it fun?


    P.S. Better to go out to lunch!!! :-)))

  10. Did I miss something? Why is everyone depressed?...Yeah, you're right, there's plenty to get you down these days. I hope you feel better. Having friends and family around for support always helps, but as you say, so does a few beers, and/or exercise, not necessarily in that order. I get depressed sometimes too, but as I get older the bouts are getting less emotional and more just introspective. Also, maybe you're low on Vit D...that can make you feel depressed too.

    Anyway, the food sounds/looks great! I've been meaning to make some cashew goat-style cheese using sauerkraut...that salad just looks like a taste sensation!

  11. I was just about to ask the same question as Rose, but she already did so I'll just wait to see if you answer. I'm starting to feel a little worried about you, but am glad you have such cool and supportive parents standing by to keep tabs on how you're doing. Keep blogging, keep eating, and let us know how you are. We care about you. I care.

  12. It's great to have vegan-friendly family members. That salad looks beautiful and tasty; I love beets on salads, and cashew cheese is delish! I hope you have a good weekend.

  13. So great for your family, Allysia! Enjoy yr recording.

    Shen, my mother is way more technologically advanced than I am.

    Ingrid, I'll take that time machine. Hope you're having a good weekend.

    Stacy, ha! I love the story. my mom hoards broken ceramics, but not technological appliances.

    Thanks, VAVA, family really helps.

    molly, they are fab. I hope you're taking care of yourself!

    Jess, yoga and moving are sure picker uppers. Good for you.

    Abby, I just read yr Champs review! my folks totally dug in before I could get a photo - they aren't used to dining with a blogger, apparently. I checked out yr rainbow cookie recipe...I will probably never attempt making that but I'm glad you did! They look great.

    Dawn, I'm always up for a new kale salad recipe! I'll definitely be trying it.

    Rose, I will check my vitamin D levels. Which could be related to lack of exercise and light and getting out of the house, haha. Glad to hear you've turned towards introspection; that sounds safe and enlightening. I hope the cheese works well for you! Does the kraut work like a probiotic?

    Andrea, thank you. Don't worry! I hope you are feeling less stressed about the pictures!

    mzrachel! The cashew cheese was bomb. YOU have a good weekend as well.

  14. Good wishes to you, Maud. As a longtime depressive not currently depressed I can bear witness passes. Eventually. I used to have a whole philosophy of depression, the upshot of which is that, if you can step back from your own pain somewhat, you see sides of experience that are invisible to so-called normal people (including the non-depressed you). Depression is a sure bullshit detector and you can learn a lot from it. You pass through the fiery furnace and come out changed. It feels really nice not to be depressed, but there can be real value in those non-complacent, comfortless, suffering states.

    If it helps, my own experience is like Rose's, things gets better and better as I age, for some reason--very likely hormonal, I think, with the mighty wisdom of middle age. It's great that you have such caring parents to do mini-interventions ;-)

  15. PS I do hope you feel better soon. I somehow seem to have avoided my annual winter slump. I've been drinking a lot less and exercising a lot more which seems to help (although I sure miss my booze). It's also possible that just being less depressed for some other reason has helped me avoid those bad health habits so who knows? Ugh. Winter.

  16. Thank you for the honest and weathered words of wisdom, Zoa. I like the idea of having a built in "bullshit detector." You seem to have settled into your strength well! Something to work towards. :)

    Stacy, right; I never know which comes first: the depression or the unhealthy habits but they feed into each other and fuel a pretty bad cycle for sure. I'm glad you're feeling well this time around.

  17. Your mom date sounds stellar--I miss the days of being able to catch up with my mom when things weren't looking so great. The roasted beet salad is gorgeous!

  18. I'm glad you have such caring parents because the mom in me would have wanted to come take you out for a meal, too. Even though I hope I am not old enough to be your mom. My momma instincts can't help from pour out, though, so if you ever need to vent to a stranger-friend off-blog, feel free to email me and purge your thoughts! :)

  19. Jenny, you are too sweet! I hope all is well with you and your family!


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