Monday, June 29, 2015

Thanks for the Meetup @Soy House!


You can probably tell by my smiling face that this past Friday's vegan meetup at Soy House made me really happy! It was so enjoyable and fun and I wanted to be sure and say a special thank you to Tony who has always been so welcoming, kind, and vegan-friendly from the very first moment I ever walked through the Soy House doors out on Bakerview so many years ago. Also, thanks to our wonderful server and to everyone at the Soy House who hosted us so graciously. And of course, I need to thank the Soy House one more time for having so many fantastic and delicious vegan options!


I always get a kick out of watching vegans order at Soy House--while I consider Bellingham to be pretty vegan-friendly, having so many vegan options at one restaurant is a little unusual, so it can be a bit of a struggle to decide what to get. I should say, however, we are quite appreciative of this particular struggle!


My next thank you goes out to all of you who came to the meetup. I can't tell you how great it was to get to hang out with such awesome, wonderful, fun people. The evening flew by and I feel like we could have all talked for hours and hours!


Sharing delicious food over stimulating and entertaining conversation is definitely one of my most favorite things. Thanks also for inspiring me to plan a picnic potluck in the park this summer. I am excited about this idea and hope to have more details coming very soon.


And last but most certainly not least, a HUGE thank you also goes out to the very talented AJ Barse who captured the evening with his fantastic photos. Thank you  AJ for generously sharing your gifts with us and creating such lovely images for us to have as souvenirs of  this special and memorable evening.


Another thing this meetup did was remind me once again how very fortunate I am to be a vegan in Bellingham, and that is largely because of all of YOU. Thanks for all you share with me and the many ways you help create this wonderful community that we inhabit together.


For those of you who wanted to come but couldn't make it, never fear! Luckily, Soy House always has fabulous food for you to eat without having to make any special arrangements in advance. Just let them know you are vegan and they will take care of you! 


And, as far as missing out on a chance to meet up with some other local vegans and vegan-friendly people, I promise you will have another chance to get together with everyone very soon. I am looking forward to it!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Reminder about Next Friday's Meetup @Soy House!


This week's post is essentially a reminder about the meetup this coming Friday, June 26th. We are also fortunate to be joined by the awesome AJ Barse and his beautiful wife, both of whom are huge Soy House fans. And while they are not vegan themselves, they are very vegan-friendly and also happen to love good food, so you can see we have much in common with them already!

In case you did not know, AJ is an incredibly talented photographer who lives here in Bellingham, and he and I have talked about collaborating on some sort of social media communication project for awhile now. This meetup presents us with the perfect opportunity for such a collaboration that also involves you guys, (if you are willing of course!). I can't tell you how much I love exploring the fluidity and intersections between connections made in the physical day-to-day world and the "virtual" online world. So many ways for all of us to connect now, both in person and online over shared interests, good food, artistic expression, and love of community.

Also, just as an aside, I plan on writing another follow-up post about Aslan in light of some things I have recently learned since my initial decision to cancel / postpone organizing a vegan meetup there--would love to share some insights with you guys in person and get your perspectives as well. I am sure we will find plenty to talk about as together we enjoy delicious food from the Soy House.  As always, please don't hesitate to email me (veganinbellingham@gmail.com) if you have any questions. Looking forward to seeing you Friday!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Vegan Meetup Venue Change - from Aslan to the Soy House


WHAT: Summer 2015 Vegan Meet-Up in Bellingham 

WHERE: Soy House, 400 West Holly Street

WHEN: Friday, June 26th 6:00pm


Since I last wrote, there have been a few developments in terms of planning the vegan meetup, and you may have noticed I updated the Doodle poll and changed the venue from Aslan Brewing Company to the downtown Soy House.

Vegan Veggie Pho from the Soy House
I know that for awhile now many of you have been concerned that Aslan's menu is becoming less vegan-friendly, but for quite some time I remained confident that they would replace the vegan items that they removed from their menu with new items that could be made vegan--especially when they still say right on their website: "nearly all of our vegetarian items can be made vegan." After starting out strong and very vegan-friendly with a number of items (including their veggie burgers, their fries, and their amazing curry), things started to change... 

Tofu with Garlic Sauce from the Soy House

Currently, not counting a modified salad, there are two items that can be vegan, the yam bowl and the yam tacos. And after communicating with them online a bit, I now realize that adding new veganize-able items to the menu does not seem to be in the works, at least not any time soon. Unfortunately there is the perception that providing vegan options would somehow require "special" preparation and effort, something they cannot promise they can do when they are very busy. 

Vegan Spring Rolls from the Soy House

Maybe it's because I have been vegan for so long or maybe it's because I have eaten lots of delicious vegan food in Bellingham,  but I am always surprised by the perception when I encounter it (especially in Bellingham) that preparing a vegan dish is challenging and arduous--I know I shouldn't be surprised by this since vegans are still a minority, (and trust me, I wouldn't be surprised at all if I was back in West Texas!), but being vegan in Bellingham isn't that unusual...

VeganVietnamese Pizza from the Soy House

All of this triggered memories for me of the very first meetup we ever had in Bellingham so many years ago at the Soy House (out on Bakerview), which made me remember how awesome they were about hosting us. From day one the Soy House has been naturally everyone-friendly, no matter the dietary need or preference of the customer. And their food is consistently amazing. So this got me thinking... why not have our meetup at the Soy House at the downtown location? The Soy House is still, in my opinion, the vegan-friendliest restaurant in Bellingham, and we are lucky to have them in this great city. So why don't we show some appreciation for a place that caters to everyone, be it omni, gluten-free, vegan, or vegetarian, by enjoying some of the Soy House's wonderful food and beverages together?

More Vegan Goodness from the Soy House

Which brings me to where I am now...I got off the phone with the Soy House a little while ago and confirmed that they are happy to host us. I have set the date and time for what ended up being the most popular spot on the poll, and I really look forward to seeing you guys there! If you have any comments or questions for me about the meet-up, please feel free to leave them on this post, or as always, you can reach me by email: veganinbellingham@gmail.com. (And a very special thank you to the Soy House for being so awesome and welcoming!)

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Meetup Followup

Thanks to all of you who have participated in the Doodle or sent me emails about the upcoming meetup @Aslan. I am glad there is some interest and I am looking forward to making this event finally become a reality!

 I hope to close the poll out and set the date and time next weekend, and I will be in touch again with finalized details for the meetup in my next post. So if you haven't already submitted your time preferences, please try and have those in by the end of next Saturday, June 13th. And thanks again! Looking forward to seeing you all very soon.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Vegan Meetup in Bellingham?

It's been awhile since I have organized something for the vegans (and vegan-friendly!) of Bham to get together and eat and talk about how much we love food. :) I would like to get something scheduled for late June / early July-ish and was curious about how much interest there is for something like this. I have been talking about a meet-up at Aslan since the end of last summer, and would love to revisit that idea if there is enough interest. While over the weekend I did confirm their amazing curry is no longer on the menu, I am hopeful they can make something else for us that would be tasty and good, especially if a bunch of us were interested.

I created a Doodle Poll with some potential dates and times to see if there are people out there interested in making this happen. Here's the link if you are interested--please feel free to share and it will help me get a sense of how much interest there is and what times/dates would work better: http://doodle.com/qg46nvq3msq3g454 Also, as always, feel free to email me (veganinbellingham@gmail.com), leave a comment on this blog, or send me a tweet!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Casa Que Pasa: 1415 Railroad Ave.


I love a nice long three-day weekend, even though I am never as productive as I mean to be. I always head into that Friday night before a long weekend full of optimism and good intentions! For some reason, having 3 days ahead of me makes me think I'll have more time to devote to all of my various projects and interests, and then because I think I have more time, I actually end up playing around more and struggling to be disciplined as the weekend draws to a close... Yesterday, the weather was beautiful, the air fragrant with the scent of flowers, and the day loomed long and lovely and full of promise. So rather than stay in my comfy little study at home, typing away on my computer or reading articles for my research, I decided to walk downtown with my husband to Casa for margaritas and an early dinner/late lunch.

Casa is one of my favorite long-standing go-to places--it's been around for so long, there's something simultaneously comforting and appealing about its presence in my life. I was so very sad when they closed and so very happy when the new owners brought them back! I hope Casa is around forever.


I used to eat there as a poor undergrad during what seems like a lifetime ago now, and admittedly there is somewhat of a nostalgia factor that makes me want to return. Nostalgia and margaritas. The two go well together! Especially on a day when I feel like being carefree and irresponsible...

While there are a number of selections that can be made vegan on their menu, the core ingredients are essentially the same in each dish--flour tortillas, romaine lettuce, flavorful beans, yummy rice, and tasty pico de gallo. But you can get these core ingredients as a burrito, a cheese-less quesadilla, on a platter separated out (as in the "light lunch,"), or in my current favorite format, as soft tacos.


Yes, each dish is made from essentially the same thing, but I am ok with that--even more than ok. I sometimes get a craving for the comforting & tasty simplicity of Casa that no other place in Bellingham can satisfy. Those of you who have been in Bellingham a long time more than likely know what I am talking about. (If you, like me, still smile every time you see the painted headstone tribute to the 3B, then you probably know what I mean.) Sometimes food provides nourishment on multiple levels, and cravings are connected as much to emotion and association as they are to flavor. And because of that, I am grateful for Casa. And for three-day weekends. And for having some time to play despite my best intentions.