Sunday, December 25, 2016

A (living) Turkey and Some Mistletoe....

Not everyone reading this blog will be Christian, but unless you’re in a coma, it cannot have escaped your notice that we’re in the midst of a buying frenzy capable of melting a credit card, have double booked office parties, family gatherings, lunches, dinners and cocktail hours, have strung lights, tinsel, garland, popcorn, mistletoe and greeting cards over every conceivable passageway, and entered the ‘glitzy ritzy yet I can’t seem to get past the blues’ season of the year.
As I sit here alone – no, actually, in solitude, on this cloudy first Christmas in Arkansas, I am reminded of what Christmas should really mean to me.  It should be an opportunity to contemplate the loving lessons of Jesus, who set the supreme example of kindness, forgiveness and compassion.

So, as I baste my tofurkey with vegetable broth and put a generous dollop of Earth Balance margarine on my mashed sweet potatoes and organic spring peas, I wish all of you

Peace, Good Will Toward 
all Living Beings.

Diana with Neptune on Farm Sanctuary's West Coast Shelter
P.S. Sliced banana with Soy Delicious non-dairy coconut whip topping sprinkled with coconut chips makes a delightful light dessert after a festive meal.  Truly a vegan response to banana cream pie!

Monday, December 19, 2016

PETRA CAFE - Around the World in 30 minutes

Mediterranean cuisine is always a good bet for vegans, and Fayetteville’s Petra Café is no exception.

I’ve been to the actual Petra excavation while travelling in Jordan, and I would say the food at Petra Café is pretty authentic, replete with all the savory herbs and spices, mint, zesty lemon, generous amounts of olive oil and enough garlic to make any vampire think twice.

I devoted my first visit to their perennial favorite - the Petra Platter.  This dish gives the relative newcomer a sampler of the classic dishes from this culture – the crisp chilled tabouleh salad (diced onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and bulger wheat) falafel, (fried chick peas topped with creamy humus), a side of baba ghanouge, (pureed eggplant, sesame seed paste and mint) and slices of fresh warm flat bread.

Their split pea soup (Wednesdays) and lentil soup (Fridays) are also vegan, and there’s the super pocket which combines all the ingredients in the Petra Platter in a flat bread rollup.  I also discovered foule on the menu, and was told it was middle eastern chili.  Must try that the next time I stop in.

Open limited hours – Monday through Saturday, 11-2:30.  It’s cozy seating, so plan on arriving before the lunch rush or doing carry out.

The awesome Petra Platter
31 E Center Stree
Faeyetteville, AR

Monday, December 12, 2016


Penguin Ed’s is a very popular local BBQ spot (actually three spots) in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

No, they don’t serve penguins slathered in hot ‘n sweet sauce.  They offer the usual BBQ fare of chicken, ribs, and pulled pork, but a diner can also enjoy the several virtually vegan options: garden burger, black bean burger, portabello sandwich and veggie sub.  (Ask them to substitute mustard for mayo and leave off the cheese.)

I say “virtually vegan” because I was not able to get a definitive answer on the ingredients of the Kaiser roll which comes with the sandwiches.  Whole wheat bread can be substituted, but even there, I was not able to determine if honey or any whey products were used in the bread.

And here’s where I get “right sized” about my vegan crusade.  Others can be firm in their resolve to get the full verification of ingredients of any restaurant meal, and I commend them for their efforts.  I’ve found it works better for me to ask the question and get the conversation started.  I engaged with co-owner Diane Knight on vegan choices and complimented her efforts to revamp their menu in recent years to introduce many gluten-free and vegetarian options.  These are steps in the right direction.  Nit picking over a roll’s content wasn’t as important to me as making this connection with my server and the owner.

I can personally recommend their flavorful garden burger or their juicy portabello sandwich complimented by home fries.  Dig in!

Fayetteville Arkansas locations:
2773 East Mission (Mission and Crossover)
230 S East Avenue
6347 W Weddington Drive

Monday, December 5, 2016


There I stood at the window outside a Mexican Restaurant in Springdale, Arkansas.  I was looking at the menu.  Every meat, pork and poultry dish you can think of was not only described, it was pictured in glorious color, with ample cheese and sour cream rounding out the meal.


I stood there in vegan purgatory.  It was a Holiday.  I was hungry and nothing else was open.  I’d been forewarned by a fellow-vegetarian that the city of Springdale was “soulless”, being the epicenter of the Tyson empire.

I stepped inside.

“Do you have any vegetarian options?  I mean, could you make a dish on this menu and leave out the meat ….”  My words trailed off as Alice took over enthusiastically explaining she had vegan (vegan!) friends who came in frequently, and she knew just how to adapt her traditional Salvadorain/Honduran cuisine to accommodate the vegan diet.

Five minutes later I was enjoying a sumptuous burrito chocked full of rice, pinto beans, lettuce, tomato, onions cilantro and just the right amount of salsa.  I asked her to take my picture –  “Woman plunging into burrito – yum!

The site of my love affair:
Salvamex Taqueria Y Restaurante
Check them out on Facebook and
visit them at 130 E Emma, Springdale, AR