Saturday, September 28, 2013


I tend to write kind of deep blogs, so with the title of this one being “Crossroads,” you might think I am at it again.  But no!  I am keeping it light today, and reporting on one of the hottest new restaurants in the LA!

Crossroads, on trendy Melrose Avenue in LA, is now open for business, taking vegan cuisine to new heights.  No wonder – it’s owned by celebrity chef and author of The Conscious Cook, Tal Ronnen.  I’d heard Ellen DeGeneres was a fan, and sure enough, there she was with Portia DiRossi – a fun celebrity sighting!

But the food stole the show.  Crab cakes, lasagna, chicken parmesan, oysters and other vegan versions of non-vegan foods were to die for.  I hadn’t had some of these types of food since before I went vegan.  In a testament to its tastiness, I was there with my friend, Greg, who had never eaten at a vegan restaurant before.  He said he couldn’t tell the vegan parm (made with Gardein) wasn’t real chicken, and fawned over the crab cakes.  He kept asking, “These aren’t real oysters???  This isn’t real crab???” 

One of the great things about the restaurant is that the entire menu is made up of small plates – essentially appetizers.  So, instead of ordering an appy and an entrĂ©e, you order 6-8 small plates for two people, and get to try lots of different things. 

To make things better, the ambiance is that of a high-end restaurant.  Not that I don’t love the bright green walls, bright lights and animal rights pamphlets that decorate most vegan restaurants, but the low lighting, white tablecloths, and dark wood made you want to sit for a few hours and just hang out.  Which is exactly what Greg and I did!

The only critique I have is that many of the small plates weren’t garnished – I took photos of almost everything we ordered, but only have this one of the artichoke oysters that actually looked as good as it tasted.  The chicken parmesan, for example, just looked like a slab of cheesy chicken on a white plate – no parsley or anything to liven up the look.  Given the photos on their site, this surprised me, but it’s very minor in the scheme of things.

If you’ve ever been to Millennium and enjoyed it, you’ll really like Crossroads.  Chalk another one up for delicious vegan cuisine!  Bravo!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Vegan's Dilemma

I’m in an ethical dilemma I bet many of you are in too:  Should I speak up or stay quiet when others order meat at restaurants?  The obvious answer most vegans give – and what I have always done – is to stay quiet, set a good example, and wait until someone asks about my diet.  If they ask, then I gently try to open their eyes to what is going on with our food system.  

However, if you think about it, this topic is not just a difference in opinion -- it's not like I'm saying "I love God's little animals and you should too!" -- we are talking about true atrocities and horrors that are happening in our factory farms and slaughterhouses, that most people would never put up with if it was happening to humans, dogs or cats, but are overlooking because they are pigs, chickens and cows.  So, in many ways, simply sitting back, “setting an example” and not speaking out proactively can be construed as allowing the horrors to go on.  As MLK said, "All it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to stay quiet."  

Having said that, how does a sane, loving person bring this up proactively without upsetting people, losing friends, or losing your job? For example, I have had clients at work dinners thoughtfully ask, “Will it bother you if I order a steak?” and because I so desperately want to be “normal,” polite and keep my job, I say “Thank you for asking – please order what you’d like.”  But in fact, it’s really not okay that animals were tortured and slaughtered – often alive – for their steak.

I tell myself that it’s okay, because I’m doing my part by setting a good example for them to follow, lecturing, writing a blog and writing books to help people adopt a vegan diet.  These things certainly help offset the damage that is being done, but does that make it okay not to speak up?

Is it ethical to sit back and just watch harmless animals get devoured carelessly with a glass of wine, and not say anything?  Is it okay, when millions of sentient beings are suffering and dying daily, for me to politely sip my iced tea and allow them to order their steak without even commenting on it?

What do you do?  This is a real dilemma faced by all vegans – speak out and be seen as a radical and potentially lose friends, jobs, etc, or stay quiet and watch helpless animals suffer and die?  I would love to hear your comments!