Off to Iowa City

May 22, 2011

Although we were only in Chicago for two days, we got a strong sense of its diverse and vibrant vegan communities (and we have only just scratched the surface). Having caught up with old friends and having made some new ones, we depart for Iowa City this morning.

Dinner with Laviyah of Ste. Martaen

May 22, 2011

The Just Eats crew was invited to join about 20 other lucky folks for a lovely and intimate dinner at the home of Laviyah, who prepared an incredible array of vegan eats, including BBQ tofu, swiss chard with coconut curry, quiche, and mac and cheese. Laviyah sells all of these delights to her Illinois followers from her traveling food truck – a vegan, on-demand (via Facebook) delivery service! Also available for sampling was the fine cheese Laviyah makes under the Ste. Martaen label, which can be found in various retail shops, including the Whole Foods Market on North Kingsbury Street in Chicago. For dessert, she spoiled us with a delectable pecan pie and cinnamon buns (double yum). We all left with very full and happy bellies. And with deep gratitude.

Chicago Diner

May 22, 2011

The Chicago Diner is a joint both hip and classic. It’s been serving the vegan community since 1983, helping to unite old and new generations of vegans. The Chicago Diner is world-renowned, and its Radical Reuben (vegan) is something of an institution.

From Service to Soul

May 22, 2011

Visiting Chicago’s Soul Vegetarian restaurant was an inspiration. For the past 30 years, it has provided healthful food and promoted healthy lifestyles. Founder Prince Asiel (a fascinating man) spoke with us about the spiritual underpinnings of his exceptional establishment, which include the belief that we “reap what we sow” and that killing animals for food has negative consequences for human well-being. The meal was amazing, and the blueberry ice cream was sublime.

VeganMania

May 22, 2011

After the church service, I spoke with Marla Rose and John Beskey, who work to engage and support the exploration of vegan lifestyles among denizens of the Chicago area. They organize VeganMania, an annual, integrative celebration of vegan culture and commerce, and are part of the Chicago Vegan Family Network, comprised of vegan parents and children.

Sunday Service

May 22, 2011

After having breakfast with the recently formed animal ministry group at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Hinsdale, IL, I spoke at the church’s Sunday morning service. I was pleased by the response and taken by the congregation’s open mindedness and interest in learning about veganism. It was also great to see the several Farm Sanctuary members from the area who attended the presentation.

Karyn's on Green

May 21, 2011

We enjoyed a glorious, sold-out Farm Sanctuary 25th Anniversary celebration at Karyn’s on Green, an amazing vegan restaurant in Chicago. Karyn embodies the healthfulness and glamour of the incredible space she’s created here. She’s been vegan for 42 years and is a model of vitality and health. The event was inspiring, and the crowd was energetic and engaging - and so were the patrons we ended up meeting while eating dinner.

For dessert we decided to guess which treat would be our favorite based on the menu descriptions. We all guessed the Banana’s Foster (rum caramelized bananas, vanilla ice-cream, coconut tuile) would reign supreme. After sampling/devouring the four desserts we ordered, the crew was still favoring the Banana’s Foster - so good! Close seconds were the Apple Pie (granny smith apples, vanilla ice cream) and the almond ice cream that was part of the Ice Cream Cookies (chocolate, almond, and banana-coconut).

VIDEO: KARYN'S ON GREEN

May 21, 2011

Gene and the Just Eats Crew visit Karyn Calabrese at her restaurant, Karyn's on Green. Karyn's on Green is a completely Vegan restaurant in the heart of Chicago.

http://www.karynsongreen.com

Matthew Alschuler

May 21, 2011

After brunch, I reconnected with my old friend Matthew. He lives on a farm a couple hours outside of Chicago and is working with local citizens to oppose a factory dairy farm or a CAFO (confined animal farming operation). CAFOs wreak havoc in rural communities, polluting and depleting increasingly scarce land and water resources. Matthew described how well-funded, entrenched factory farming interests influence corrupt politicians. But, he said there is a revolution underway as family farmers and citizens in rural America are getting fed up and banding together to speak out against the factory farming industry.