Thursday, January 24, 2008


I find that I am well enough to write again. A few days after returning from my Seattle/Phoenix trip I got an email that was terribly saddening. My good friend, Jim, who I just spent time with days earlier in Phoenix was plowed into by a semi truck near El Paso Texas and killed. Within two days of getting this absurd and senseless and stupefyingly sad news I came down with a flu that kept me down for about 5 days. The same thing seemed to have happened several months ago when my brother died. I got sick withing a short time. All this sickness is unusual for me and I am not used to being down and out.

Now, not playing any violins here but stating the facts...none of my friends live close enough or have means to go running around getting juice and soup, etc. for me...although I know had I ask any of them, they would have tried. (besides I did not want to expose anyone to a contageous germ fest coming from my 103-fevered body).
So, I've been dragging and puttering around the house scrounging what I could find and putting little meals together. If I did not feel so sad about losing my friend Jim and so bad from the flu bug, I'd say it has been almost fun. I've had to be creative with bottles of relishes and almost gone veggies and scrapings from raw honey jars. Actually I had just purchased some supplies before this thing got me so I was fine. A little more soup might have been really good. So, don't feel too sorry for me. I'm OK. I can't hear much and am still coughing like a hyena but despite it all...I am happy that 2007 is history. I still have positive feelings about 2008. Just seems like it's gonna be a time of new beginnings for all. Year of the rat, ya know.

Better that you feel sorry for the family of my dear friend Jim or for Jim, himself, who lost his life. When I spent time with him a little more than a week ago, he was happier than I've ever seen him since I've known him. He was going to get his social security soon. He had a great group of friends and raw food folks that he gathered with, he had just met, via emai, a new woman who there seemed to be some romantic possibilities with. In fact she was planning to take a trip with him to Mexico in March. Ah, damn it. There's just no knowing...

So don't forget... friends, loved ones, family or just generally great people who inhabit the realms of your life...tell them how much you love them or how much they mean to you...there may not be another time. It's all so uncertain.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Here I am home again in good ole St. Lou and I want to tell you about two restaurants in Mesa and Scottsdale (Phoenix area).

First, I had an excellent visit both in Seattle and in the Phoenix area. My only disappointment is that I did not make it to Tucson to see some of my friends there. I did, however, make a new friend in Mesa. It's nice to have new friends.

Now first the Guru Palace Indian Cuisine. What a beautiful but down to earth restaurant. I went with my new friend to have lunch here and we sat on the floor on a variety of lush silk pillows while we ate. It was an Indian buffet but an excellent one with several chutneys, several breads and a couple of desserts. There were at least six vegetarian dishes to choose from. The dal (legume soup) was one of the best I've ever had. I usually am not attracted to Chana Masala (a chickpea dish) but I tried this one and it was wonderful.

We finished the meal with an excellent cup of Indian tea, all spicy and chai-like.

Guru Palace is at 2048 E. Baseline Rd in Mesa, AZ (just a few doors down from Trader Joes) should you ever find yourself in Mesa wanting a good Indian meal.

Mandala Tea Room is a wonder for those of us who like vegan food. There is also quite a large selection of raw foods but since I was staying with my friend Jim, who's a raw-only person, I opted for some cooked food. Mandala is in the posh community of Scottsdale and it is right in the thick of all the cool shops and art galleries.

My friend and I shared a delightful appetiser of artichoke and pesto bruschetta on crunchy spelt bread. mmmmm.
Then on to jamaican jerk tempeh, a spicy caribeean dish. Also really great. For dessert we indulged in a blueberry cake that also made me sigh with pleasure. This is a place you'll find a lotta young people, a lot of creative types and folks like me who seek out great, healthy, whole food.

If you find yourself in Scottsdale, maybe visiting Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home, you'll have a great place to eat.
7027 East 5th Av. Scottsdale, AZ. visit their website:

Sunday, January 06, 2008


After the excess of several days of consuming the all too delicious Top Pot doughnuts in Seattle (OMG are they good) I just landed in Phoenix for a visit with my "eats absolutely no food that has been ruined by heat" friend, Jim.

His suburban home in Mesa, AZ had a lovely kitchen complete with that modern contraption called a stove until he had carpenters and assorted workmen come in and rip offending "food destroyer" out and now his lovely suburban home is range-less . I can only heat my morning Buddha's Eyebrow tea on a year's old Mr. Coffee that my friend's out-of-town brother insists he keep on hand for him so he can prepare his morning coffee when he comes to visit. Lucky me. At least my morning warm beverage is still intact.

Actually I like coming to visit Jim because he
renews my interest in raw foods. I always come back to my house with
new recipes and new excitement about raw. 'Course I don't ever see myself becoming a 100 per cent raw food person. I like the warmth of cooked food in winter too much. Spring and summer brings me much more easily to the raw foods table. I'm happy with staying at somewhere in the 60-70 percent raw range. I seem to feel best with that in winter and I like to increase the raw by 10-20 percent in summer.

At a gathering at Jim's house last evening, we had raw burgers, catsup, coleslaw, key lime pie, pumpkin cheesecake, salad, falafel, a couple of sauces and like that. Quite tasty but I've always got to watch eating too much 'cause the food is rich, believe it or not. Some raw foods folks use lots of nuts to prepare their dishes with and it really causes it to be kinda heavy.

Speaking of food, I am enamored with a new book by Michael Pollan in which he "explains it all for you in his new book, "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" (Penguin, $21.95)."

He was a guest on Science Friday just recently and a statement he made really said something to me. He mentioned that food is not something that we only do for health. While it may be true that that is really the only reason we SHOULD be eating, it's simply not the case. Then I started to think back on old conversations I'd had asking, "what would animals do?" That used to be the end-all and be-all in the conversations about food I had with someone in my past. But I started thinking about animals and their eating habits. Clearly, like us, they eat for social, cultural and pleasurable
reasons. That is what MichaelPollan says and I think that I agree. More things affect our health than the food that goes in our bodies. Much of it social, cultural and having to do with pleasure.

If we could only do what his seven-word phrase suggests, we'd all be
better off..."eat food, not too much, mostly plants." Oh,I can see it on tee shirts now.

It is much more important that we eat food, real food, not processed food-like substances that the manufactures come up with, than that we are vegan or vegetarian. Don't for a moment misunderstand...I do not think eating meat is a healthy practice at all but better to eat a little humanely raised meat than all the vegan chips, crackers or other food-like substances in the world.

I however, remain a vegetarian if for no other reason (and there are others for me) because I do not want to be in support of a very brutal meat producing industry. Wasn't it Isaac Bashevis Singer who said, "to animals, humans are Nazis."? Plus, I simply do not believe that I need meat to feel good, be strong and maintain health. Nor do I need it for cultural, social or pleasurable reasons. Although, I must say, vegetarians, vegans and raw food types do get quite a bit of sh__ for their way of eating so it may effect one's social life. Not mine, however, and that's the only person I can worry about right now.

Well enough today. Tonight another pot luck gathering and I'm gonna make chopped veggies with a modified Gado Gado sauce...a bit of an Indonesian dish. I might even do a dessert of some kind. All so exciting to create new stuff. That always turns me on.

I want to tell you about a new British-based food store open here in Phoenix and other time.

Open your eyes and take it all in today...and thanks for reading.