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Skatecation in Florida: 2 Orlando & South Florida

Published December 18, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Hers and His skates

My gear, Thomas’ dismantled inlines, and my vegan Dansko mary janes

Well, my 2 weeks of vacation finally came to an end yesterday. I was planning on going back to work on Friday, but they were slow and I was still in vacation mode, so when they called my Thursday, I figured, What the heck?! (I’ve never had a 2 week vacation from work before. It was pretty nice.) So since I’m all back and rested, I might as well tell you about the rest of our trip.

Last night in Florida!

Last night in Florida!

First, I didn’t end up skating in South Florida after all. I would really have liked to, but their practice was the last night we were there, and we ended up going out one last time with our friends and having a blast. I figured my own practice was only 2 more days, so I’d make it. I still think that it was worth lugging my gear to Florida to be able to skate the previous week though. One week off skates is fine. 2 weeks makes a tremendous difference!

Before we left Orlando, we did get a nice lunch at Dandelion CommuniTea Cafe in. Thomas and I had eaten there before but my parents hadn’t, and I was also after some of Raphsodic Bakery‘s good’s, which they happen to carry.

Caramel Pistacio?

Caramel Pistachio?

I shared the above cupcake with the table as an appetizer, and it was crumbly (I think gluten-free), but totally delicious. (I couldn’t remember the name very certainly.) For lunch I had what Thomas had last time we were there, the Sweet Potato Burrito $9.50. Funny enough, I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of my own food. But hey, it looked like a burrito, came stuffed with (you guessed it!) sweet potato, quinoa, sweet onions, corn & sweet ginger cilantro sauce, with a yummy side of black bean dip. Definitely recommend.

Side Sampler $8

Side Sampler $8

Mom got the side sampler, and enjoyed it until she hit something spicy. She’s pretty sensitive to heat, where the rest of us douse things in hot sauce, so I went ahead and took the queso off of her hands. It came with black bean dip, sassy salsa, whirled peas guacamole, and the “subtly spicy” vegan queso.

Black Bean Quesadilla, $9

Black Bean Quesadilla, $9

Dad had the black bean quesadilla. Even though he was supposed to be avoiding spicy foods and this was filled with black beans, tomatoes, corn, red onions, peppers, cilantro, spices and some of that same vegan queso, this man eats the hottest peppers and sauces in the world with no problem, and this was pretty mild. He liked it, and I ate some of the leftovers later. They were pretty darn good.

Sunday holiday dinner!

Sunday holiday dinner!

The next day Thomas and I headed to the grocery store to get things for a little holiday dinner with my parents, sister and niece and nephew. Since I could only get the week after Thanksgiving off this year, I made a point for us to have a little make-up holiday dinner together. I made two Field Roast celebration roasts, (which everyone loved!) fresh roasted brussel sprouts and acorn squash, and finally LEARNED THE SECRET OF MY FATHER’S BLACK BEANS!

My father makes the best black beans I’ve ever had anywhere, and it’s not just because he’s my dad. They’re really that good. In college he used to freeze them so I could take them back to school with me. A couple of years ago I had him try to tell me the recipe so I could write it down, and that did not work at all. This time I made him actually show me what to do in the kitchen with SUCCESS! I already made a huge double batch two days after I got back. Half for my derby Christmas Party, and half for us. This is truly one of the best presents he’s ever given me! I LOVE YOU, DAD! The only thing I can tell you is, everything they tell you  in books about cooking black beans is wrong.

Most importantly of all, my father is doing GREAT! It’s going to take some time for him to get back up to speed, but his surgery was successful and he’s recovering well so far. The best Christmas present of all! 🙂

And just for good measure, here’s a picture of Midna, who was extremely happy to see her parents after 9 days apart:

Me and my princess!

Me and my princess!

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Skatecation in Florida: 1 Central Florida

Published December 6, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party
Here's me and my new bangs enjoying the balmy weather without enduring tanning, from the safety of our balcony.

Here’s me and my new bangs enjoying the balmy weather without enduring tanning, from the safety of our balcony.

Hello from Celebration, Florida!

I’m happy to report that my dad is recovering very well from his surgery on Monday, which is actually the reason we’re currently in Celebration. It’s also about halfway between downtown Orlando, and Thomas’ hometown of Winter Haven, so it worked out pretty nicely.

Right before we left Seattle, I did my first attempt at 27 in 5 (27 laps in 5 minutes is one of WFTDA’s minimum skills) and got a very respectable [for a 1st try] 24. Having had a week break due to Thanksgiving between my last two practices, I knew I didn’t really care for such a big gap between sessions, so I googled leagues in central Florida right before we left Seattle for our 9 day trip. (I brought my gear backpack & helmet with me on the flights as my personal item with no issues.) Orlando Area Derby Revolution got back to me first, but unfortunately none of their practices coincided with my days here. Then I was lucky enough to get ahold of the Lakeland Derby Dames, who were willing to let me drop in on Wednesday night.

But before that, we went to check out Ethos Vegan Kitchen at their new location…

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The new place is HUGE! They’ve lost some of the greener, homier touches of the old place like the Dr. Bronner’s soap in the bathrooms and a patio area (from what I could tell), but it’s a really nice space with an impressively long full bar to boot (not pictured).

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Thomas went for the All American Burger $8.95, right away. He got his with the chips and mango salsa. He said it was all good, and that the burger tasted like Gardein, but we didn’t get conirmation on that.

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After some deliberation, I settled on the Coconut Curry Wrap $8.95, made gluten-free with a brown rice wrap, and upgraded for a side of black beans and [white] rice. I really liked the flavor of the black beans, even before the Tabasco & Sriracha, but did wish it’d come with the less authentic brown rice instead. The wrap was more like a soft taco, and a little diificult to manage without a fork, but I’m thinking it was just the way the brown rice wrap worked out. It was just a little salty for me, but the raisins and walnuts helped to give it some contrast. I liked it more the longer I ate, and ended up eating the whole thing instead of taking half home, like I’d originally thought.

My mom actually got excited to see me in my getup, and snapped this photo of us heading out to Lakeland! :)

My mom actually got excited to see me in my getup, and snapped this photo of us heading out to Lakeland! 🙂

When it came time to leave for practice I was still pretty full. I got a little nap in on the way to Lakeland since Thomas drove, and cars make me nearly narcoleptic. Once it was time to go in, I didn’t give it much thought again until about halfway through. The girls were all really great and friendly, and I was super thankful for the awesome endurance practice they gave me. About halfway through I did feel a bit nauseated, so I’m not sure if it was the overeating or all the vegenaise or nerves, or all of the above! 😉 I did make it through their whole practice though, which I was super proud of since I’m not on a competetive team yet, and just a week shy of three months in.

If you want to check out their team, the Rockabilly Rebels, watch their quick video, here’s the link on Vimeo! Like it if you can, because they’re trying to win a contest! And if you’re interested in joining them, they have a recruitment night coming up on Monday!

As always, thanks for reading! We’ll be heading down to South Florida on Saturday, so stay tuned for part 2! 🙂

Still haven't been in the pool yet, believe it or not! Last chance today!

Still haven’t been in the pool yet, believe it or not! Last chance today!

Infusion Tea – Orlando, Fl (Vegetarian)

Published March 18, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Hey all! I’ve been MIA all week because we’re MOVING TO FORT LAUDERDALE tomorrow, and we only had a week to pack! We didn’t think that we were moving until next month, so it’s been a little frantic, but fun, and we’re really excited for the change of scenery. We’re still trying to relocate to Seattle this year or next, and we’ll be able to transfer our lease to Seattle from this place if and when we do find work there. In the meantime, we think we’re really going to enjoy our new place. We’re downsizing from a 2/2 to a 1/1 to save a tiny bit of $ and get used to a smaller space. So my kitchen will be downsizing too, but nothing will ever be as small as that Brooklyn kitchen that I started this blog in, so I’m not worried at all!

Here’s the last review from our trip to Orlando that I didn’t get to put up. I apologize for the brevity. Hopefully I’ll be cooking & blogging again next week when we’re all settled!

: )

This was the last place we ate on our recent trip to Orlando. We can’t wait to get back, because there were so many other places that we could have tried, but the combination of being a tea house and serving a good variety of vegan options sold me, and I’m very glad about that!

Infusion Tea has a nice big space with lots of seating, and they even do special function parties here. (bridal & baby showers, rehearsal dinners, etc.)

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Their impressive collections of teas are served with a special tea timer so you know when it’s ready!

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I ordered the tempeh tacos:

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and Thomas ordered the burrito done vegan:

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Impression:

We split our dishes, and I have to say, while the burrito was good,  the tempeh tacos were GREAT! They even have an all vegan chocolateir located in the shop with it’s own refrigerated case. We had a really nice lunch, and there were many vegan offerings. This is definitely a good place to eat, drink tea and hang out.

Infusion Tea is located in College Park at 1600 Edgewater Dr, Orlando, FL 32804. 407 999-5255 Open Mon-Sat 9a-9p, Sun 12p-6p.

Brunch @ Ethos Vegan Kitchen- Orlando, Fl

Published March 13, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

We met up with Jeremy Sunday morning at Ethos for brunch. I’ve dined at Ethos before with mixed reviews, but if there’s one thing they do extremely well, it’s brunch! Seriously, I don’t think there’s a bad thing on their brunch menu, and you could tell I wasn’t the only one who thought that because it was absolutely slammed when we got there. The line to the register was wrapped around and lengthy, but it went quick.

The weather had dropped 20 degrees over night, so we opted to sit in the less crowded patio to enjoy the brisk weather. They had a DJ out there playing some chill records.

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Jeremy’s breakfast burrito came smothered in gravy and stuffed with tofu scramble and other goodies.

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I ordered vegan pancakes with agave syrup (maple available too!), some grits and a fruit cup. This made me very, very happy. The grits were even better with some of my extra agave. Mmmmm!

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Thomas got the tofu scramble, which I’d had before and knew was good, and some grits too. The scramble and potatoes were exactly the right texture and perfectly seasoned, and he thought the grits were especially good too. Win!

Impression:

If it’s Sunday, and you’re in Orlando, there is absolutely no reason why you should not get your butt over here right now! 🙂

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located near the antiques district at 1235 N Orange Ave Ste 101 (at Virginia Ave), Orlando, Fl 32804. 407-228-3898. Open  Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 10am-3pm.

Ethos Vegan Kitchen – Orlando, Fl (2011)

Published August 1, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

We had a slight change in our plans and ended up spending the day in Orlando on Monday, and then Tuesday in the Magic Kingdom, so I decided to pay a visit to the College Park area’s dedicated vegan restaurant, Ethos Vegan Kitchen. I hadn’t been there since last year (previous review), and was glad for the opportunity. We were both pretty hungry so we ordered fairly heartily. An appetizer, two entrees and some cookies to go.

Ethos is a good size restaurant with plenty of indoor seating and outdoor seating to boot.

Healthy Trio (GF*) (SF) Black and green olive tapenade, housemade hummus, and tomato-mango salsa served with toasted bread, tortilla chips, and raw veggies. $6.95


This was awesome! The bread was great, the tapenade was wonderful, the hummus yummy and the salsa good too.

Pecan Encrusted Eggplant, Sautéed pecan encrusted eggplant finished with red wine sauce and served with mashed potatoes and gravy and today’s vegetable. $12.95


This was pretty good, a little different than what I expected. The dish ended up a bit sweeter overall than I’d imagined. I wish the eggplant was a little more seasoned to contrast the pecan/wine reduction, but still good. The gravy on the mashed potatoes was sweetish too, which was a little odd. The potatoes were good without it.

Sheep’s Pie, A meat-free version of Shepherd’s Pie for our sheepy friends. Sautéed broccoli, carrots, peas, and onions in a veggie gravy topped with mashed potatoes and ovenbaked to perfection. Served with bread. $9.95


This was served piping hot, and it took Thomas a little while to be able to get a bite in. When he finally did he looked kind of dissapointed and said that it could really use some TVP. Hah ; ) It’s true. He was right when he said “it’s like the sides mixed up in one dish”. It would be nice with an Add Seitan or Chickun for +$2.50 option like they have for their pasta. It really begs for a protein, but it still tastes good.

I also picked up a chocolate chip cookie $1 and a chocolate chocolate chip cookie $1.50 to eat later.


Don’t let that greasy wrapper put you off. These were SO GOOD! I remember I wasn’t all that enthused about my gingersnap last year, but these were excellent. Definitely get some cookies! 🙂

Ethos Vegan Kitchen is located at 1235 N Orange Ave Ste 101, Orlando, FL 32804, and open Monday through Saturday, 11am to 10pm and Sunday for Brunch, 10am to 3pm. 407-228-3898

cpv goes to orlando: ethos vegan kitchen review!

Published July 18, 2010 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

something wonderful has happened to orlando… it has become vegan friendly in the last few years!  i’m even finishing up some very delicious vietnamese vegetarian pork leftovers as i type this to you now. the vietnamese part, that’s not new. if you are driving down 50/colonial, just east of orange, there is a vietnamese strip of restaurants and shops that’s been there forever. but just east of that, there’s now a loving hut. i wasn’t in a huge rush to go to loving hut, since i’d already tried the one in NYC, and thought it was just okay. however, there’s also a new hot spot over by O-town’s antique district: ethos vegan kitchen.

ethos vegan kitchen is a really cute little place in a hip part of downtown. it’s a few blocks before white wolf cafe. and as ash put it, is full of what seems to be all the hipsters, hipster families, hippies and lesbians in town.  it’s a casual, walk-up and order type place that then gives you a number and brings the food to your table. there is both indoor and outdoor seating.

the staff is really friendly and happy. the menu is limited, and has both hits and misses. if you ask for a glass of water, you get to have bottled water from their cooler. best of all, i found out today that the owner runs a vegan hot dog cart downtown for all the hungry people coming out of clubs and bars! super awesome. jeremy (omnivore) says he’s had them too, and that they are not only good, they’re cheaper than the meat dogs, and give you an array of topping choices.

we went not once, but twice (1 dinner, 1 brunch) in order to give you the most thorough review possible!  (though the first time i forgot to take pictures until the end!)

Hits:

Dinner: chili, and philly cheese steak. 3 of us ordered the seitan based philly. (on both the win & fail list.)

jeremy really liked his chili, and bobby & mary were super impressed with their phillies.

Brunch: biscuits and jam, biscuits with sausage gravy, tofu scramble and homefries, fruit cup

the biscuits were AMAZING, albeit greasy, but hey, this is breakfast food. they came with a totally delicious jam, but i’m not sure what the flavor was.

jeremy liked how smoky the sausage gravy was, and the tofu scramblers thought that theirs was yummy & well seasoned. the homefries were nicely seasoned and cooked. overall delish. jeremy also had a pretty fruit cup & mimosa too.

Misses:

Dinner: philly cheese steak, pizza,  mushroom wrap, fresh fruit, coleslaw

for me, although the cheese steak was tasty, the seitan was so greasy it sort of killed it. i could literally squeeze butter out of my soaked ciabatta roll by pressing with a fork. bobby & mary felt this was allowed, because it was after all supposed to be a cheesesteak.

laura also had an entirely greasy, and thus soggy pizza. she did get seitan as a topping though, and i think this was the root of all the problems. the preparation is just WAY to oily!

ash was equally unimpressed with her mushroom wrap because the mushroom was completely waterlogged and dripping through the wrapper. she was also dissapointed that her fresh fruit side was just a slice of watermelon. she was expecting variety here. well, more like jeremy’s brunch fruit cup.

my coleslaw was uncontested as the WORST! i was so excited too when i saw it on the menu. but it literally tasted like slaw mix DROWNED in veganaise. no seasoning at all. just some slaw and a ton of vegan mayo. bleh. mary actually referred to it as abysmal. bobby thought it was awful, but put hot sauce on it and made it disappear.

Brunch: french toast and ginger snap. the french toast was okay, just soggy. it still tasted good though. the ginger snap lacked flavor.

Bottom Line:

i think it’s a really great place, they just need to work on a few of the dishes. since it’s a pretty small menu, they should really make sure that everything they do offer is really the best they can make it. the service was excellent, and it was a very cool, clean place to visit. it’s also very reasonably priced, especially for brunch. despite the first night’s dinner being sort of hit or miss, i thought we should go back to try brunch, and i’m glad we did. have a biscuit. really! i could have had several! : )

out of 5 possible stars:

Bobby:   3-3.5
Ty:           3.5        <— cpv
Jeremy: 4
Mary:     4-4.5

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