Links 4/07

I hope you had a lovely Saturday. I took a forty minute detour to claim a vegan cinnamon roll, visited the Louvre’s special Delacroix exhibition, and ate a pizza (also vegan).
Keep an eye open for an upcoming ‘best vegan pizzas in Paris’ post. The sequel to the Boston edition- we’ve relocated.

So here’s what’s happening on the interwebs, carefully avoiding the trend for snorting condoms.

  • The city of lights from the sky
  • I’m fantasizing less about these outfits and more about the swoon worthy descriptions of spring weather
  • Body glitter is now the only appropriate use for the Kira Kira filter. I am entranced.
  • What happens when you add illustrations to those random snippets of overheard conversations
  • I would stay here– books and beds are the only things I need in life
  • For it to really be Paris he would have an accordion
  • Infernal Affairs and The Departed– for me The Departed wins because Boston, but I have yet to see Infernal Affairs (it’s been on my list SO LONG) so that’s not worth much. It does look excellent, doesn’t it?
  • If you’re a Royal Wedding fan, maybe you want to enter this social media contest to suggest its defining ice cream flavor?
  • The unstoppable rise of veganism, about which I have mixed feelings (more people want to eat my cinnamon bun but more places sell vegan pizza).
  • The benefits of a plant-based diet for health and the environment.
  • Congrats to Yale and congrats to Nathan Chen.
  • An interview with my favorite makeup artist
  • A follow up on the Orientalism inherent in Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs, and in the broader world of American cinema (with a very interesting segment on 2015’s Met Gala theme).
    “It’s Japan purely as an aesthetic — and another piece of art that treats the East not as a living, breathing half of the planet but as a mirror for the Western imagination.” And perhaps the only thing that will lead to a more fair, just, and equal portrayal of Asians in cinema and pop culture is the spending power of that huge sector of the world population.
  • Turkish Rondo in finger snaps
  • Molly Ringwald reflects on the problematic legacy of John Hughes movies in the era of #MeToo
Advertisements

My Weekend and Potential Future Blog Plans

ob_f9e41c_bandeaupetitpalais

The most significant piece of news is that there is currently no heat in my house.  Let’s just say it’s not the most ideal of circumstances.
However, with the help of twice as many blankets, two sweaters, and a hot water bottle I spent an adequately comfortable night.  My landlords predict that they will have someone in to fix the heat on Friday morning. Or maybe it was Monday- I may have misunderstood the French.  Suffice it to say, I’m hoping for Monday.

The second most significant piece of news is that it’s 26 days until my flight back to Boston- WOOOO!

And how am I spending the interim, besides being unreasonably cold?

Yesterday:

  • I revisited the Petit Palais for the new exhibition, Les Hollandais a Paris.  It was absolutely gorgeous, well set-up, and interesting. Highly recommend if you’re in Paris.  My only regret is not having waited to see the pastel exhibition until now so I could have gotten the joint ticket and saved a few euros.
    The exhibit is a collection of the work of Dutch artists who have studied and worked in Paris, showcased along with the work of their friends and contemporaries.  It’s arranged chronologically and really demonstrates how artists inspire one another, fads for different subject matter come and go, and styles change over time.  Covering the period from 1789 (French Revolution) to 1914 (WWI), you get to see the procession from very detailed and lifelike floral still lives to realistic landscapes to impressionism to gritty realism to fauvism to cubism and cubist-inspired pieces.  Unfortunately pictures weren’t allowed but I wrote down the names of my favorite works for future reference.
  • Post Petit Palais I went to lunch at Happiz, a completely vegetarian pizza restaurant (with vegan options, including vegan cheese) located in Les Sablons.  I did a build-your-own-pizza thing (the large was 12 euros, a steal for everything I’ve ever wanted in a vegan pizza- vegan mozzarella, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, and vegan chorizo). They also offer gluten free pizzas.  It was an absolute mess (my pizza did try valiantly to stand up to the heaps of toppings I ordered, but did cave under the pressure a few times) but the restaurant (a pretty small place) was quiet when I got there around 2 pm, very casual and very welcoming and personal.
    I’m pondering the right way to post about my favorite restaurants (vegan of course) in Paris, and whether it’s better to do a big lump post (which would probably be overwhelming for both you and me) or to divide it into manageable ‘types of cuisines’ bite -sized chunks (pardon the pun)- like best lunch sandwich places, best pizza places, etc.  And how to handle the places I haven’t gone yet?
  • After pizza, I rounded out my day with yet another activity beginning with the letter P- protest (the theme was unintentional, I assure you).  I visited the March for Our Lives protest, Paris edition, in the Place du Trocadero, just across the river from the Tour Eiffel.  Lots of Americans and lots of French who feel strongly about kids being shot up at institutions of learning. Can’t understand it.
    It was a great way to feel connected to America.  I’ve followed politics fairly closely but it’s hard not to feel pretty impotent from here.
  • My second to last stop was Citypharma, maybe the most famous (and most crowded) pharmacy in Paris. They have pretty much everything (but were unfortunately out of the Sensibiafine baume visage that I was looking for).  I’ll just have to stop back another weekend.
  • Lastly, I swung by another eatery called Brasserie 2eme Art to check out their menu, which isn’t available online.  It’s a bit expensive for me (pretty much everything is still under 20 euros, but a fair amount is over 13, which is my arbitrary cut off).  Still, it looks like there could be some more great vegan pizza there- so maybe that will be in my pizza round up.  Except lord knows I’m more interested in getting the banana split. 😉

Today, Sunday, is a grocery shopping and cooking day, and I also need to do some studying as we have two exams this week. Unfortunately that’s very difficult when your hands are freezing.  Whatever- it’s all bout doing your best, isn’t it?

In terms of future blog plans- not now, but over the summer, I’m considering doing themed weeks to organize my thoughts more around what content I want to be posting.  possible topics include nostalgia, food, films, reading material, perfume, etc.

Grasse is Always Greener

27540441_1752570854782507_5582919684332944709_n

I think the real hallmark of a good pun is when you feel secondhand embarrassment for the person making it.

Today I’m taking a trip in the way way back machine to the three day field trip (+bonus weekend) my class took to Grasse back in February.  Since coming back we’ve had many tests and a two week break, which will maybe explain why I’m only getting to the Grasse lowdown now.

For those who don’t know, Grasse is a region of the South of France instrumental to both the development of the perfume industry and the production of many raw materials today.  IFF, which sponsors my training program, has one of its LMR centers there, which coordinates the production of high quality natural raw materials around the world (including in Grasse).  We’ve smelled many of these materials as part of our course.  Granted, because it was February, there was very little in bloom and not much ready to be harvested- except the mountains and mountains of mimosa, which was absolutely spectacular and perhaps the pivotal experience of our visit.  Not to mention that the city was beautiful, we were lucky with weather, and it wasn’t snowing like it was in Paris and Versailles.  Plus meals were included.

On Day One, we took taxis from our school in Versailles to the Orly airport.  There was a little singing on the ride and some playing of Contact, a game I’m pretty fond of.  Of course, because it was snowing, our flight was delayed by maybe an hour, but it wasn’t too late when we got into Nice airport and I slept on the flight anyway.  We then took a hired bus to our hotel in Grasse, Hotel le Patti, and promptly collapsed in our shared rooms.

Breakfast at the hotel was provided and opened at 6, which was excellent for me because I always wake up too early, even if the breakfast wasn’t too exciting (or at all vegan friendly).  That day we visited the LMR facilities and listened to a talk about their purpose and practice.  We split into two groups for a tour of the factory and the smelling of some raw materials.  Lunch was brought in for us.  Though we had been asked about our dietary requirements (and I identified myself as vegan/vegetarian), the choices were fish and chicken.  Which caused me to have a bit of a hunger panic attack.  After more smelling we left LMR and were left with a free evening.  Somehow (everyone accepted my suggestion based on frantic vegan research) we all ended up at a little Vietnamese restaurant, which was great fun.  Then groups of us splintered off for exploring.

The next day was my favorite.  After another early wake up and early breakfast, I took about an hour to wander around the city of Grasse on my own, which was absolutely beautiful.  I love discovering new cities.  When it was time to leave, we departed for the mimosa harvests.  We visited a small shelter that was housing already harvested mimosa and took an hour’s break for a photoshoot, wine, and nuts.  I may have stolen a lot of leftover cashews.  I may not yet have finished them.  The bus then took us on a tour through the mountains and Tanneron, the mimosa city.  the whole place was covered with blooming yellow puff bubbles.  Lunch was a fiasco similar to that the day before.  This restaurant did make me a special vegetarian meal- unfortunately it was fish.  Struggles.  I had a lot of table bread. After lunch we visited the LMR experimental field to see what was growing and being worked on.  It was definitely not the season for it, but I imagine in later spring and summer it must be very interesting.  We returned to the hotel and once again converged on the same place for dinner (once again a place I had suggested- Achiana, a fantastic Indian restaurant that I very much recommend if you’re ever in the area).  But there was a bit of a SNAFU in the form of a very dramatic house fire that almost entirely blocked the path.  It was an amazing and terrible sight.  After dinner we frolicked in the city and got up to mischief.

Friday was our last day, and the most rushed.  I followed my pattern of the day before of an early breakfast followed by a walk around Grasse.  By the time we left I was starting to get familiar with the area- the city center is pretty small, but very varied in elevation.  We visited the Perfume Museum in Grasse, which was pretty cool but very rushed.  Highlights included a mummy hand, a mummy foot, a toilette case that had belonged to Marie Antoinette, many gorgeous old bottles, and a visit to the greenhouse where we were shown labdanum, among other things, which I was later able to identify when I visited my grandparents in Spain over vacation.  We were given free time for lunch and splintered off in smaller groups for the first time.  I was with a group that had a very splapdash meal at Achiana- because we couldn’t leave Grasse without going back!  But of course we didn’t have time to finish. Thankfully I got to carry some food out to eat later.  We visited the museums gardens after lunch, which were somewhere between Grasse and the Nice airport.  Again, February was certainly not their peak season, but there were a few interesting things to see.

Many of us had decided to stay in Nice for the weekend and made our way to our respective abodes after being dropped off at the airport.  Because I don’t have any notes or a schedule from the weekend, I’ll just rattle off some memorable moments- walking high up to view the city, seeing a beach for the first time in forever, riding the ferris wheel (it was Luis’s first time!), waking up to see the sunrise over the water, and just generally exploring the city.  I have to admit, Nice isn’t really my cup of tea.  My classmate George says it reminds him of Florida, his home state, and that’s pretty accurate to me.

A Vegan Pizza Tour of the Greater Boston Area

20622155_1570581716314756_3527438687899219495_n

Just going to rapid fire this one off before I lose the truly tactile experiential pizza memories. And also because I’m super tired right now.
I just saw Wind River in the theater (It’s excellent, very bleak! Politically sympathetic to women and Native Americans but still makes white people the heroes and Jeremy Renner a very stoic lone wolf savior-type).

Pizza.

Criteria: In order to be a vegan pizza, the pizza must have something purposefully vegan about it. This can be vegan cheese or some other vegan protein (like sausage or tofu). So I’m not accepting pizza with no cheese, just red sauce and vegetables. Because then I would also have to accept bread with just red sauce. And then I would have to accept just bread. And then eventually I would be buying and testing pizza air. Meh. Continue reading “A Vegan Pizza Tour of the Greater Boston Area”

Yale Dining: Dying Vegan

places_dport-dining

(This is (/was) my dining hall. At least I can suffer surrounded by beautiful symbols of an elitist intellectual old boy culture 🙂 )

In honor of being DONE WITH UNIVERSITY (AAAHHHHH) I’m going to focus for maybe a week or so on college-related topics.  So the first one is going to be the best food served at Yale dining halls.

Now anyone who’s read a few posts here may have noticed that I am kind of vegan (nothing “kind of” about it) and really struggle with Yale’s dining system because, while they make promises about having a vegan entree at every meal, that is frequently not the case. And their idea of a vegan entree is frequently something along the lines of ‘rice’.

But sometimes they actually have quite good and edible options (and when that happens I bring discreet tupperware and load the fuck up like a camel at an oasis in the middle of a hot arid desert). Continue reading “Yale Dining: Dying Vegan”

Veggie Beefs

EDIT// I just found out that October 1st is World Vegetarian Day. How apt. How serendipitous.

Okay, so I know it is the general consensus of the riffraff/plebeians/peasants/“common, vulgar, weak, licentious crowd” that vegetarians are annoying in a holier-than-thou sort of way.  As a vegan (surprise!) I may be more guilty of annoying the general populace than most.  Except I stopped being preachy sometime in middle school (so if I’m annoying people it’s actually because they have a problem with my personal choices and identity- so if that’s you basically go fuck yourself).

That said, I do get a little irritated by the endless parade of ‘ways in which vegetarians are annoying’ and ‘worst things about vegetarians lists’. Thankfully, there are lots of annoying things omnivores do that I can take issue with in retaliation.

But first, a disclaimer: I don’t at meat. It’s a personal choice.  My personal choice is not a judgment on your personal choice.
It seems that a lot of the anti-vegetarian hostility comes from a sense that another’s vegetarianism is a passive aggressive way of passing judgment on others’ choices.  It’s a bit hypocritical of me to suggest that non-vegetarians cut the whole ‘the best defense is a good offense’ shit when I’m about to discuss ways in which they’re irritating, but I do think a more accepting outlook on both sides would solve a lot of problems (Hey, what problems wouldn’t a more accepting outlook solve?)

That’s enough of the peaceful talk. Time for shots to be fired.

  1. When people ask me if I’m offended by them eating meat in my presence.
    “?”… “No?”  Yeah, no, that’s not a thing.
  2. “What do you mean there isn’t anything you can eat? They have salad!”
    I’m vegan but I still have the nutritional requirements of a human being. I didn’t suddenly turn into a gerbil.  I still can’t live on iceberg lettuce.
  3. “That moment when you try the ravioli and it tricked you and it’s the vegan ravioli.  That’s why I hate vegans.”
    Ok, this doesn’t even make sense.  You have options besides the vegan ravioli. I don’t and I also think the vegan ravioli is disgusting.  I promise I would be just as happy if the vegan ravioli disappeared as you.  If anything, the vegan ravioli is a reason to hate omnivores collectively (it’s never a good idea to hate anyone collectively)- because they think because I’m vegan I’m happy to eat dust pockets.  Do not hold me accountable for the atrocity that is vegan ravioli.
  4. “I was vegetarian for three days/oh, I could never be vegetarian, meat is too good!”
    I don’t care about your failure.  Just kidding, it’s just that you hear variations on these so often.  I’m happy if people actually want to have a conversation about their experiences, but so often people seem to just be trying to excuse themselves to me- while I honestly don’t care what you eat.
  5. “Can you pick off the meat?”
    No.
    Further explanation: I don’t eat meat and I also try to not support meat production.  Chucking meat in the trash is pretty much just as bad.  Also I don’t want to touch it.
  6. “What do you eat?!”
    The blood of my enemies.
    The souls of the innocent.
    The tears of children.
    The fondest dreams of virgins.
    The nightmares of angora bunnies.
    I also really like burritos.
  7. “You know you’re basically murdering plants when you eat? How does that make you feel?”
    Mmm. Okay.  I don’t have a problem with death.  I’m not Voldemort.  I understand that things must die to give me life.  But murder is a legal term that does not apply to plants (or to animals, though some of us might feel it should and it certainly does feel like it should when the guy in the horror movie kills the family dog).  But I’m not yet convinced that plants feel pain.  Also, plants aren’t treated as poorly as we treat animals prior to consuming them.  The effect on the environment of eating plants and plant-derived food is also much less than that of eating meat.  So I’ll think about it when I learn that plants feel pain, when they start being put in veal crates, battery cages, etc., and when they threaten the environment as much as raising livestock and livestock feed.
    Also, this question is aggressive.  Middle finger to you.
  8. “I’m also vegetarian, but I eat fish.”
    I think that means you’re not vegetarian.
  9. “What are you eating? It looks disgusting!”
    Your face looks disgusting. And so does your mom.
    A bit of background: I’ve struggled with an eating disorder for a while, so this is a hard one to deal with.  My thought process: “Haha, yeah you’re right! All food is disgusting and why am I even eating anyway?”
    And this is so rude.  If my food doesn’t please you aesthetically, I don’t know who made you a food critic but either way I’m not interested in your opinion.
    And I have so many things to say about how disgusting I find bloodied carcasses.  Don’t get me started.
  10. “But humans are meant to eat meat.”
    Yes, and pop tarts.
    Really though, I’m fine without meat.  It can be done.
    And we’re kind of not meant to drink milk from cows. That’s just weird.
    “We were born to eat meat!”
    Haha, no, I was born to be wild. Byeeee.
  11. “So you can’t eat meat?”
    I physically can. I choose not to.
  12. “What if I gave you a million dollars to eat a steak? What if you were stranded on a deserted island with only chicken nuggets?”
    What if you had to choose- watch your parents have sex everyday or join in once and never have to watch again?  Sorry, that was twisted and cruel.  But hypothetical you started it.
    Also, if you’re curious- probably yes to the first (I’m vegan, not an idiot) and perhaps yes to the second.
  13. “Oh, so you’re vegan- that must be why you’re so skinny!”
    Haha, funny, no. This is actually a result of my longstanding struggle with anxiety and anorexia.  Cheers!
    Also a shit ton of unhealthy things are vegan.
  14. “I could never give up —–”
    As a vegan you generally learn to explore similar-tasting (better-tasting because they also have the pleasant savor of moral superiority) substitutes.  Also, I’m sorry that you struggle with addiction.
  15. When you ask the dining hall worker where the hummus is and they point to the tuna fish.
    No words.
  16. “Can you eat bread?”
    Does no one know what their food is made of anymore? Seriously, someone asked me recently if potatoes were vegan.  No, people hunt them with pitchforks as they roll through the underbrush, all of their eyes rolling in terror.
  17. “You know being vegetarian is unhealthy?”
    Nice response: I challenge you to a dance off.
    Mean response: Who told you that, your obese grandma?
  18. Canonical vegan options
    If I’m offered one more soggy wrap I will shove it up someone’s nose.
    But thank god for the home fries and oatmeal at continental breakfast, am I right?
  19. “I think people just become vegetarian/vegan so they be morally superior.”
    No, I’m vegan because I AM morally superior.