Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Observation on Tolerance

I recently had a fundamental disagreement about animals and those who hunt them with a family member (member by marriage only into my mom's family) and just discovered this person has unfriended me on Facebook. I am amused. How is it that vegans such as myself are always accused of being self-righteous and intolerant and yet we are unfriended by those very accusers who apparently live with a double standards-- oh we can be friends just as long as you agree 100% with my views?Apparently agreeing to disagree is no longer an option today. And we wonder why the political and cultural atmosphere are nowadays so hostile!

I'm sorry that my cousin apparently finds my views so abhorrent to her way of thinking that she felt the need to end our relationship. I feel bad because now I won't know how her son is doing (he was recently in a bad car accident). Yet I doubt she has ever given a thought to how her views appear to me or frankly ever cared. The difference is, I can tolerate views different from my own. If we can't participate in civil discourse within our own families, there is little hope for the mood to change across America. In the meantime, I soldier on--I have no time or patience with close-minded people. Life is too short to keep beating my head against the wall on lost causes.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Review: Rabbit Salad and Grill

Friends, do not worry! Rabbit is not a dish at Rabbit Salad and Grill. What you will find here is a refreshing and delicious take on what is often derided as rabbit food. This is not to say this is a vegan or vegetarian restaurant (you will find fish, pig, cow and chicken amongst some of the dishes, much to my sadness), but Rabbit Salad and Grill is certainly very veg friendly. If you don't want goat cheese in your beet salad, no problem--ask for tofu. You know you're in a veggie friendly place when the menu states "add protein for $4.00" instead of the usual "add chicken, beef, or shrimp." Protein is not just defined as animal flesh--this includes tofu too. Bravo, Rabbit, for recognizing that.

I sampled the beet salad on this visit--on a huge heap of arugula sat thinly shaved red beets, pickled beet stems, orange slices, and sauteed pine nuts all dressed in a citrus vinaigrette. Instead of the goat cheese, I had two slabs of tofu deliciously seasoned in soy sauce and sesame seeds--very tasty. To wash it down, I tried the "rabbit juice", a concoction consisting of carrot and apple juices. Even those who don't like carrot juice will love this very refreshing drink. Of course, I had to have a cupcake--the owner of Red Velvet Cupcakery opened this restaurant, which opened in July this year--and happily vegan is an option. The frosting was very sweet but the cake was moist and made for a lovely end to this meal.

You don't have to have a salad here at Rabbit, but those they offer are very large and filling. There is "the rabbit" which consists of mixed greens, roasted carrots, shaved carrots, diced carrots,blanched snow peas, sweet peas, shredded mint, carrot top pesto in a citrus vinaigrette. The caprese and watermelon salad sounds intriguing--though not acceptable for vegan lifestyles--consisting of seasonal tomatoes, arugula mozzarella, sundried tomato, shredded basil leaves, watermelon, all in a basalmic vinagrette

Rabbit also offers sandwich plates, hot plates and grilled sandwiches. For vegetarians you may want to try Frank the Bunny--a grilled cheese sandwich with roasted red peppers. The Jessica Rabbit peaked my curiousity--this is a hot peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Grilled PB&J? Really?) The hot plates offer a veggie option--the grilled vegetables & crusted tofu. Hot plates are served with smashed potatoes and an herb salad.

Incidentally you can get wine and beer if you'd rather pass on the rabbit juice. Mondays through Fridays, Rabbit offers a "Hoppy Hour" starting at 4. And the restaurant is very easy to get to, only steps away from the Clarendon Metro station. Be sure to check out their website to learn more about the chefs, the philosophy behind the food here, etc. The owner, Allen Gordon,a D.C. native is pictured on the website holding a rabbit. That alone impressed me, as did the food. One last note: Rabbit Salad and Grill is casual. You order at the counter, pay, and you pick up your food when it is ready. But this is by no means fast or casual food. The ingredients are fresh and the preparation clearly was precise and careful, as in any formal dining establishment. Rabbit can hold about 50 guests. Look for some outdoor seating in the spring and summer. If you have vegan friends or you're vegan and have omnivore friends and need a place where everyone can be satisfied, Rabbit Salad and Grill is it. Check it out and tell them the Hoppy Vegan sent you. : )

Address: 3035 Clarendon Boulevard, Arlington, VA. Telephone: 703-243-5660. Rabbit now delivers in the area for lunch from 11 to 3 Monday through Friday. See website for more details.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Me and You and a Bun Named Boo

Say hello to the newest member of my little family. Boo was brought home on 6 November 2011 as a new companion to my widowed mini-rex, Cinnamon. It was love at first sight for both of us.

Who can explain it, who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons, wise men never try...

Some Enchanted Evening, by Rodgers and Hammerstein

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Meeting of the Buns

As of today, I am happy to announce that I am in the beginning stages of bonding my widow bunny Cinnamon to Boo, a beautiul white Holland mini-lop, we adopted through BunnyLu Adoptions. Besides being quite the handsome bun (snow white fur, bright blue eyes), Boo has a rather sad background. His original human companion passed away, and sadly her surviving family members (husband, daughter) were not interested in caring for him. He was being fed but that was about it. He has been starving for affection and when you meet him, you can see how sweet he is. But he has also never been with another rabbit before, so when Cinnamon, my mini-Rex with the princess attitude, came along, needless to say, he was, shall we say, EAGER? To my amazement, Cinnamon did not seem to mind the mounting at all, though I am very nervous he will hurt her.

Tonight when I brought them home, I put them in small square pens side by side, with the intention of putting them together each night for 15 minute sessions, increasing each session as their relationship strengthens. Tonight Boo kept mounting Cinnamon again and again, then he would sit quietly, and she would kiss his neck. At the fifteen minute mark, he got startled somehow--it happened too fast for me to see if she had nipped at him--and when he lunged at her, I broke it up. Now I have them in the carry cage next to me, trying to keep them together in one small space as frequently as I can. But I wonder now, am I progressing too slow? Are they already advanced in love, as a friend has just suggested, that I can give them the same small space? I certainly can't allow that when I am at work all day.

I hope I don't do this wrong! I want more than anything for both these rabbits to be happy. They need each other, they have both been so lonely but they are rabbits after all, and dominance issues and the territorial issues must be worked out first. I will be blogging often about their progress so I can keep a written history of a bonding, with the hope of learning better techniques and learning from mistakes (which I hope I don't make!) I certainly hope I don't bore you! Also, I welcome any and all suggestions as I go along documenting the love story of Cinnamon and Boo. Feel free to chime in at any time. (Photos to come soon.)

The Hoppy Vegan

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Living (truly) in a Meat-Free Zone

I have been in my condo now a little less than a month, and among all the other emotional rides I have been experiencing the last few weeks with this situation, it struck me the other day as I was staring at my Meat-Free Zone magnet on my fridge that I am now truly living in a meat-free zone.

I have had that meat-free magnet for years on the fridge at the townhouse that my soon-to-be-ex husband now owns. I had stuck it on the freezer door even though it really wasn't a meat-free zone at the time. So many times I had to reach over cellophane-wrapped fish corpses to get to my Gardein chicken scallopini. Or worse, freezer-bagged sausages a.k.a. pig body parts, set aside for my husband's favorite dishes. I shudder just to recall those moments.

Perhaps I am just desparately seeking a bright side to this dark, painful process of marital separation and divorce, but it does give me some pleasure to see in my freezer only veggies, Gardein beefless tips, Candle Cafe entrees, leftover veggie chili...not a single animal part or entrail to be found. I wish that fleeting pleasure was enough to lift me from the sadness that permeates my soul every day as I look around and see how alone I am. The constant ache of aloneness can hardly be eradicated by the vegan inventory of my fridge (and my cabinets for that matter.) But it is something, I suppose, and the rebuilding of a life, and the search for happiness must start somewhere, even with trivial matters such as the contents of my pantry.