The Great Food Search has trekked up and down the San Joaquin Valley, ventured to Morro Bay and Mariposa, and sampled the foods of the Fresno Rogue Performance Festival. Currently, I have been busy in Fresno, rehearsing for the Good Company Players production of I Remember Mama at GCP’s 2nd Space Theatre (which opened this weekend). Being a semi-human individual, I need sustenance to sustain me through these play practices, so I eat. Where do I eat? In the Tower District, which the City of Fresno defines as the area bounded by Blackstone, Belmont, West, and Shields. Let me tell you about my edible explorations.
In the state of California, when you think of the havens that are considered vegan, you would imagine cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Rarely would you think of the Central Valley. And by reputation, deservedly so. We are the agricultural capitol of the world, especially when it comes to meat and dairy. You can’t go a square mile in this area and not see a farm of some sort.
In the culinary world, the term “secret menu” by definition is exclusive knowledge that’s unknown to the majority of the public. It is known only to those select few who are aware of certain items that are not on the everyday menu of their favorite eateries. It’s very much a VIP thing. Well, here in the Central Valley, there’s a secret menu of food out there from an establishment that is gradually gaining attention through word of mouth.
“On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” - Revelation 22:2
The tree stands at 2139 Kern St. between M and L Streets. Inside the Tree of Life Café are the fruits of many local trees along with other delicacies prepared by Chef Phillip Ocheltree, under the watchful and proud eyes of his parents, Steve and Carolyn.
There are 250 fast days in the Ethiopian Orthodox year. 180 of them are obligatory for all. During the evening meal, all food is free of animal products, and thus, vegan. If that sounds like a drudgery or burden, you have never visited Lucy's Lair in the Woodward park area.
I wanted to catch up with a former co-worker of mine, Guiseppe Maione, the founder of Alchemy Creamery which produces vegan, gluten free and kosher ice cream in New York City. This is a very busy season for him, especially with the hot and humid weather that New York has been experiencing recently.
I ordered a Big Mac the other day and I told them to hold the meat, the sauce, and the cheese. Why? Because I’m a vegan. I’m not going to be one of those vegans who preach it as if it’s a religion, but there are many benefits of veganism. First of all, veganism isn’t so much a diet as it is a philosophy and a lifestyle. There are environmental benefits, health benefits, and the benefit of saving animals from cruel treatment.
& Robin Allen
This week we have a review of a fun culinary mystery that involves not only food, but a different twist, the main character is vegan. The author Robin Allen also shares about a guest post about organic farming and community-supported agriculture. At the end of this post you will find details on how to win a copy of this book.
Now that summer is in full force you may be craving more raw, refreshing foods. In the warmer months it makes sense to eat more cooling foods and intuitively our bodies crave it. Water dense foods, like watermelon, peaches, pineapple, cucumber, tomatoes and berries, cool us off and give us more hydration. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat only raw all summer. It's good to have a diet varied in all kinds of fruits and vegetables, both cooked and raw. Here are some tips on how to cook seasonally and get the most out of your diet during warmer months.
Here is another fun Thanksgiving mystery short story for you to enjoy, originally published ten years ago online in Laugher Loaf!