Friday, June 27, 2014

Exploring Home: Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum

Centro Ashe has been opening up a whole new pathway in life for me to joyfully skip down. My head whips back and forth at stoplights marveling at the stands of roadside echinacea, I'm cultivating new acquaintances in my garden like motherwort and hyssop, I'm kneeling in stranger's front yards and on sidewalk cracks trying to identify new plants and now a whole new genera of museums has come to my attention.
 And luckily I have one in my own backyard.

The Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary has been here the whole time. In fact it's been here almost as long as Alexandria itself - starting in 1792 and running till 1933. 

As we toured the apothecary with it's glass bottles full of magically colored powders, tiny crystal vials and heavy wooden drawers full of herbs I couldn't help but daydream about a modern apothecary. A renascence of people using whole plants to support their lives. Beautiful shops full of gorgeous tinctures and salves and teas and a marble soda fountain.

This used to be the norm. 

As you climb the stairs to the room with floor to ceiling drawers, all hand painted with herbal names, you can't help but feel like you've stepped into a Harry Potter story with drawers like Mandrake Root, Unicorn Root and Dragon's Blood Reeds. 

The tour is a quick 30 minutes and winds through the wholly unchanged two floors of the apothecary. Even the powders and liquids still smudged into bottles are original from the 1930's when the apothecary shut its doors. The docent carries an iPad with pictures of herbs pulled up to show you what Unicorn Root actually looks like and to pull up lists of herbal actions for the inquisitive herbalist visitor. 

105 -107 South Fairfax Street 
Alexandria, VA 22314 
703 - 746 - 3852

Tours start at 15 till or 15 after the hour.
Admission is $5

Spring Bowl Trolls

Bok Choy Tomato Soup with Chickpeas and Quinoa 

I started cooking at home. A lot. Every meal. For about a month. 

It was exhausting and invigorating at the same time. 

Really it was kinda inspiring to see what I could come up with, what I could enjoy. At the time I had a lot of restrictions in my diet. 
Crazy restrictions like no sugar, no yeast, no fungus, no grains. 
Do you know how many foods have yeast in them? Did you know things like peanuts are a no go on this diet because they reproduce by fungus? Vinegar is a produced by yeast? Crackers have sugar in them?! Grains ferment in your stomach and feed the yeast/fungus?

My breakfast in particular went to very strange, savory new places.
And through it all I documented and Instagramed (@quinoaween) and someone pointed out that I had a lot of bowls on my feed and that I should name my little chapter of Instagenre.

And so I named it Bowl Troll. 

As I eventually eased back into the world of eating out  I kinda stuck with my plant heavy bowls though and its been an amazing learning experience to think so very thuroughly about what I put into my body and what I don't. 

Flax Drizzled Green Beans and Japanese Sweet Potato Cakes

Buckwheat Cabbage Noodles with Crushed Macadamia 

Life Alive Bowl with Tahini Dressing and a Green Juice

Red Cabbage Tahini Bowl and One Strawberry 

Lemon Dill Wild Rice Stuffed Pepper

Artichoke Soup and Crusted Tofu Salad

Sneaky Spinach Chocolate Smoothie

Purple Paprika Miso

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Where to Eat Vegan: The Holy Donut - Portland, Maine

The Holy Donut is a pretty inconspicuous looking place. I drove by it with the wistful memory of donut sugar sweetness floating through my brain and gloomily thought "none for me."
But as I parked around the corner on Mellen Street at my home away from home, just a few minutes walk from The Holy Donut I couldn't help but let a spark of optimism induce me to google: 
The Holy Donut Portland Maine Vegan.

Low and behold: RESULTS!

Not only do they have vegan donuts but they have special Maine potato vegan donuts made with unbleached flour and organic cane sugar with frostings dyed and flavored with fruits and vegetables and REAL things. 

I walked in and breathed deep the smells of berry glaze, fresh grapefruit juice and bubbling dough wafting from behind the scenes and parked myself at the window with a cinnamon sugar donut that had been handed to me moments before with a triumphant "Yep, it's vegan."

Enter - the moistest, softest donut I've yet to taste. Perfect.

Leigh Kellis and her father are the masterminds behind The Holy Donut and they work beside their crew daily making hand cut and rolled potato donuts.

Call ahead to reserve a box of vegan donuts because the cinnamon sugar (the standard on the menu that is always vegan) goes fast. Call 24 hours in advance and you can get customized frostings to spice things up! Gluten Free options are also popping up on the menu so everyone can enjoy the goodness.

The Holy Donut

194 Park Avenue, Portland Maine


7 Exchange Street, Portland Maine