San Francisco Tea

Toffee Rooibos (left) and Japanese Cherry (right) teas!

Yesterday Mom and I went into San Francisco to see the city, find my new job (the Federal Reserve Bank), and just hang out. My building looks pretty cool – there are trees on the roof. There are Starbucks on every corner.

But, Mom and I decided to forego Starbucks in favor of something more local: The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. It was a small cafe with an emphasis on quality coffee and tea. They had a lot of choices, but I eventually decided on “Toffee Rooibos” (herbal, without caffeine) and Mom got “Japanese Cherry” (a green tea). I had mine with a bit of soy milk (yes, I’m really trying the vegan thing) and Mom added a bit of raw sugar to hers. We both liked the Toffee Rooibos best. They made the tea bag right there, with fresh tea leaves and a little sachet. Here’s a picture:

Rooibos tea comes from Africa and it is naturally sweet, without any added sugar or honey. I had it for the first time in my Emerging Markets class last year and I was hooked. The toffee flavor in this one really brought out the savory rooibos. Go out and try rooibos tea! It has lots of antioxidants, no caffeine, and you don’t need to sweeten it! It’s becoming common in most grocery stores and I’ve even seen Lipton rooibos tea bags, so it’s not hard to find.

PBBA (peanut butter banana and applesauce)

This is a quick and easy sandwich that’s filling and healthy. You probably don’t even need dessert afterwards because it’s sweet on its own. I apologize for the poor picture – for some reason every single one came out a bit blurry.

Peanut Butter, Banana, and Applesauce Sandwich

2 slices whole wheat bread
1-2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 banana
1-2 tablespoons applesauce

1. Spread the peanut butter on one slice of bread and the applesauce on the other.
2. Cut the banana in half lengthwise, then across. You should have 4 pieces of banana to put on the sandwich. You can also cut it across in slices, but I like having 4 big pieces.
3. Arrange the banana between the slices of bread, cut in half, and serve!

On Being Vegan – Skinny Bitch Book Review

I wish I could be a vegan. I just finished a book called Skinny Bitch, by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin, and it’s making me rethink almost everything that I had always believed about food. I say, “I wish” about being vegan because I know that my body does best when I have animal products in my diet. I feel great when I include things like eggs (very often), yogurt (often), and meat (rarely) in my meals. I just wish I could have those things without harming animals – wishful thinking. Maybe this attitude seems selfish, but I take health very seriously and I do whatever I can to keep my body in great shape.

Since I won’t become a vegan, I’m going to at least try to buy more organic and local foods. My new house in California is near a great Asian grocery store and I will always have access to fresh produce.

On a side note, my sister, a vegetarian since the age of 9, read one chapter of the book and promptly declared herself a vegan. (She has since gone back to being vegetarian because being vegan can be very restricting for both the mind and the body.)

On the ride up through California, my mom and I passed a factory farm called Harris Ranch on Interstate Highway 5. I was sleeping at first, but the stench was so bad that I woke up. This feedlot is California’s largest – it holds about 100,000 cows on 800 acres. There is no grass, only mud and dust. They live in their own excrement and are injected with hormones to become fatter before they’re sent on to the slaughterhouse.

After seeing and smelling something like that I don’t want to eat the meat that comes from those animals. You smell the farm before you can even see it. It was pretty terrible and I think my mom was rather shocked (she doesn’t eat beef anyway). After seeing that, I want to make an effort to find humanely raised meat (for the rare occasions that I do eat meat).

Skinny Bitch the book – my verdict:

Going back to the book – I would strongly recommend Skinny Bitch for anyone who can take their style of writing. It’s crude and straightforward and they are not afraid to criticize. It’s graphic and gross at times, but effective. It’ll make you think about what you put in your mouth and make you aware of the dishonesty of the American government and our regulation systems.

NYC food

The morning after Auntie Jo’s birthday party we had breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien (the daily bread). It was amazing. I continued my yogurt and fruit obsession and have the pictures to prove it…

Belgian waffles with whipped cream

No recipe today, but a very pretty picture from “dinner”:

This is from Mate Factor, a small cafe in downtown Ithaca. Everything is free-range and organic and incredibly fresh. It’s the fluffiest whole-wheat waffle I’ve ever tasted. I didn’t even need the butter and syrup (but used some anyway…).

Bobby got a salmon bagel sandwich, which I won’t post since I’m trying to keep this blog strictly vegetarian. We also got a Blueberry Hill smoothie – always a good pick. We usually get their muffins, too, but after finishing that waffle I was pretty stuffed.

I’m not one to spurn breakfast food at dinnertime. In fact, I think everyone would benefit from the occasional pancake or waffle or French toast dinner! In France, omelettes are often served as the nighttime meal. “Traditional” breakfast foods can be very filling and I find that sometimes they’re too heavy to eat in the morning – I still want to enjoy them though, so I eat them later in the day.

Bobby and I spent this last weekend in New York to celebrate Auntie Jo’s birthday (Happy Birthday again, Auntie Jo!). We ate dinner at a nice Italian place called Enzo’s and I found many delicious vegetarian things đŸ™‚ The mushrooms were especially good. I have pictures from breakfast the next morning with Tina and Bobby’s mom, so I’ll post them soon.

Tomorrow we’re going to the Korean restaurant down the street for our Valentine’s day dinner. It also happens to be my last meal in Ithaca before I leave for San Francisco… Then probably Tasti D-lite for dessert.