You Gotta Have Friends...

Well at least I do. Two in particular - my BFF's - Stacey & Teri. I LOVE those girls with every essence of my being - - I just do, dang it, absolutely love them!!  They have stuck with me through high school ackwardness, bad attitudes, chronic lateness, a religious conversion, even crazy trip 1/2 way across the globe to pursue a doomed 1st marriage and now a foray with veg*nism. They are always so supportive. Since I am an only child, my daughter has always called them Auntie. They ARE my family. 

Every year we meet for our 3 birthdays, at a minimum. The first of which normally happens around on President's weekend for Stacey's birthday. For years we'd always go to PF Changs but last year we decided to try at my suggestion - being the group's resident foodie, La Tasca, a Spanish restaurant at the Inner Harbor.  We had a ball. The Sangria and  food were great, the waiter was oh so nice on the eyes and the Sangria - fabulous.  Did I mention that I love Sangria - almost as much as I love my BFFs.  That love affair started 10 years ago in Sevilla, Spain. I'm not a boozing kinda broad (yes, I just referred to myself as a broad). I've only been drunk twice in my life, REALLY!  And that's not because I can hold my booze. I am a serious lightweight in that area.    I don't drink often enough - maybe once a month, some months more, most months not at all but I do love attending area wine fests and learning about wines and wine making.  I think I just love being around anyone's expression of their passion. Stacey and Teri don't drink at all - thankfully I've got other gal pals for that! Should you ever find yourself invited to a meal at my home, you can't go wrong with a handful of stargazer lilies and/or well made Sangria. A red one will do just fine. Sorry got off track, Sangria does that to me...  Anyway, this year at my suggestion (again) we went vegan, Great Sage in Clarksville. Teri loved her "Chicken" pot pie.  Both Stacey and I had the Southwest Ranch "Bacon" Wrap but our reactions could not have been more different. I swooned while Stacey had a close encounter of the worst kind and couldn't finish her sandwich.  Turns out she is no fan of tempeh nor the spices used to "baconize" it.  She loved her apple cider !?!?  I was not so fond of my green drink - too green tasting and not at nearly as sweet and robust as Naked's Green Machine. They do serve organic wines at Great Sage but since I don't enjoy drinking alone I abstained. No one to compare and contrast the wines high or low lights ya know? We all agreed the Spinach & Artichoke dip was awesome. Since we were full and any, nay all of us, are trying to watch what  we eat at some point, we didn't get the Carrot Cake that everyone else seemed to be ordering...bummer.  I'm pretty sure I'll be returning there soon - hopefully  around Mother's Day (hint, hint Yasmine).  I can't say the same for my buds at least not Stacey. And next time I will be having dessert thank you very much. 

They both have been encouraging me for years to cater or just cook for a living, especially Teri.  Her suggestion this year is that I should open a food truck - you know the silver ones you often see near construction sites or Lowe's selling hot dogs, pretzels and drinks. A search on the net proves they are hardly ever just silver anymore and big business in big cities especially so  if you use social networking. I saw a tv show about a guy in Alaska who sells exotic sausages & hot dogs ( reindeer, seal, etc)  only 3 or 4 months a year and is so successful he travels the world a good portion of the rest of the year. Now that's success to me - doing something (cook) you love that allows you to do something else you love even more (travel)! 

I'll need permits, supplies, customers, a truck, investors - oh my. But where would I even start? First I guess I should choose my best dishes - things that don't necessarily appeal to the McDonald's crowd but to those who appreciate good food, preferably flora feeders or veg*ns. One thing I have keenly learned these last 3 months is how limited your options are once you eliminate meat, eggs and dairy from your diet. If there isn't a good  natural food store nearby then your sentence is the local salad bar and at times even that can prove challenging.  I have a repetoire of dishes I do well: tofu scramble,  spinach & cheese phyllo pie, authentic Egyptian falafel, portabello reuben sandwich, chewy granola bars, sweet potato & black bean chili, almond banana shake and this past week I even made a lovely vegan version of Vietnamese pho.  But would those items sell?  How many people even know what Pho is  - much less how to say it. And I just don't think you can have an alternative to faster food without that most American of meals - a burger.  My basic iteration of diced baby portabello mushrooms, scallions, spices, and binding is definitely enjoyable (to me) but it needs tweaking and...a following. Yesterday's New York Times dining section had a fabulous article on veggie burgers. Oh yes, they are indeed that a big deal now and I'm gonna perfect mine because as much as I love good food I am not about to pay $15 for anybody's burger. Me thinks I may be in the majority on that one.

This endeavor is gonna require some brainstorming and definitely a tasting party for honest feedback. Sangria will only be served after the tasting and everyone has gone home...ha! Wow, I wanted 2011 to be the year this Voluptuous Brown Gurl (VBG from now on)  finally steps into her own but I never saw this path...not really. It's scary, exciting, and probably about time. And my bffs are pointing the way - now that's what friends are for...

Love, Greens and Soul ...VBG


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