Currently viewing the tag: "butterfly"

It’s going so fast. I am trying to savor each day, but that seems to make them fly by even faster. Here are some images I’d like to hold on to.

I become obsessed with the Electrician‘s butterfly bush as the the summer rolls on. Monarchs start fluttering around dancing in the air like a child is erratically pulling them with a string. There are a few, then there are many. Here is a rare Swallowtail eating some tasty nectar.

Mr. Blue Sky. The view from my hammock.

All my favorite fruits are in-season. A sweet, juicy retreat before the dense, starchy Autumn.

Splitting time between Long Island and my apartment in Brooklyn, I get the best of both. They both reinforce each other’s better qualities.

The maritime motif of the Nautical Mile, a few blocks from The Electrican‘s house.

I have the time to play tourist. The Grand Central ceiling is one of my favorite city-isms.

And I eat. A lot. Some people lose weight in the summer and bulk up in the winter. I do the reverse. Here are some treats I picked up from Champs Family Bakery to fuel Ladies Night.

And at the end of a long day in the sweltering NYC heat, there’s time to cuddle up with my special buddy Frankenstein

I ❤ summer!

You’re kind of the most beautiful thing ever. And I kind of want a black polka-dot face.

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1. Watching the butterfly activity around the Electrician‘s butterfly bush.

2. Collecting hugs.

3. Trying to return to baking. Here is a two-layer orange cake with lemon glaze icing. For my Pop’s birthday.

4. Weekending in the Hamptons. That’s an outdoor shower next to the “Love Shack”.

5. Seeing the family.

6. Eating A LOT of pancakes…
…and French Toast.

7. Making videos of my “best of” baking endeavors.

8. De-cluttering.

9. Making tons of lists.

10. And my all time favorite, bothering Frankenstein.

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After crashing hard from the evening before, morning had us ready to hit the road for reals. We had a loose destination, an eatery in Fort Worth, Texas about 3 hours or so north from Austin. But after that… the unknown… kinda. We were going to take it one day at a time, like alcoholics. First, a goodbye to Texas Leslie, Friday the doggy, her cute brightly colored things and a newborn Swallowtail butterfly resting on the stems in her butterfly garden. 
We needed a hearty breakfast to quick-start the day. After some Austin errands, we hit Mr. Natural, a 100% vegetarian authentic Tex-Mex eatery. Mr. Natural has a huge bakery case with mostly-vegan baked goods, too! Though the food looks like a sopping pile of prison food, the Tofu Migas (crispy tortilla strips simmered in ranchero sauce and a tofu crumble served with 2 warm fresh corn tortillas) was very tasty! I had to tack on some potato nibbles for an extra 99 cents and a wonderful spinach-pineapple juice. This place reminds me of a breakfast spot I hit in Guadalajara (post here) when I was in Mexico last October.

Besides sampling their pineapple empanada, strawberry bar and a chocolate chip cookie, I had to purchase their Don’t Mess With Texas cookie. Mmmm, panhandle.
It was then time to head north. We pulled up to Spiral Diner & Bakery in Fort Worth quite excitedly. Maybe it was the huge “vegan” painted on the side of the building and the ton of other v-bombs in the front windows that fueled our appetite, but I was all of a sudden starving. Spiral is 100% vegan. 100%. There is a giddy overwhelmingness to perusing an all-vegan menu. Besides a ton of great food options Spiral hit all the other high points. They use only vegan and biodegradable cleaners, source recycled materials, donate to grassroot orgs aligned with their values and excess food to shelters. They also had Oogave fountain sodas, a Colorado-based agave-sweetened beverage company, reported on here
I tried to order light so to leave room for dessert. I had the “Chik’n-Less Salad San’ich”: diced seitan, chopped apples, cranberries and pecans tossed with a creamy herbed mayo/mustard dressing topped off with lettuce, tomato, and mayo and served on toasted multi-grain bread. I chose a side of greens with Ranch dressing because, really, when can a vegan gal get vegan Ranch? The sandwich and greens hit the spot perfectly. Fresh and flavorful, hearty and multi-textured. 
CandyPenny opted for something a bit more belly-blasting. After pledging no more Daiya, for digestive reasons, she couldn’t resist ordering the chipotle tofu quesadilla, packed with thin slices of flavorful tofu, corn and Daiya with two blobs of guacamole and tofu sour cream.
We had to get dessert. Spiral makes their own ice cream. THEY MAKE THEIR OWN VEGAN ICE CREAM. And they had chocolate chip cookie dough. We ordered their standard sundae: a heaping helping of the good stuff topped with chocolate syrup, sprinkles, whipped cream and coconut flakes. Absolutely delicious. Their ice cream was way creamy and packed with huge globs of soft and yummy chocolate chip cookie dough. Stick a fork in me.

With mixed emotions, I headed towards the Donsak pier in Surat Thani to catch a boat to Ko Samui. Surat Thani is the gateway to this heavily developed and very expensive island and my home last night, the slick dealings and price of my room clearly foreshadowing the hell that would await me in Samui. Coming from the sleepy town of Phang Nga, that tries with dignity to compete with Phuket Town’s dominance of its own star attraction (Phang Nga Bay) by way of day tours, Surat Thani’s stark contrast in attitude was frustrating. As I exited the bus I was literally pulled by my arm into a tour operator’s office! After a few moments the stun wore off and I shook my arm free, annoyed. (The bag, they can carry that however.) I’ve been here before… in Ko Chang during the first week of my indie travel and it drove me to the far corner of the country, way off the beaten track. So why am I choosing this heavily stampeded path now? Good question.

Honestly, it is the same thing that had me tickled with glee in discovering Sweet Avenue Bake Shop, a cupcake bakery in East Rutherford, New Jersey, existed or Bloodroot, a feminist bookstore/vegetarian restaurant in Bridgeport, CT. I simply love the process of traveling and, separately, a destination that promises a worthwhile taste experience, never neglecting any of my senses’ need for quality. Like a film aficionado revels in the technical art of achieving emotional catharsis (an oxymoronic process of sorts!), its complex craft of words and moving image, I enjoy the symphony of a good meal. Others, opting for ease and convenience, enjoy a pop song of a meal; they may find traveling for food silly. I find it on par with traveling for sightseeing, very much worth planning and tedious effort. Knowing the emptiness of a bad meal (movie, song, social interaction, etc.), I put the effort in because my senses deserve the best! In all their fickle and erratic glory, they’re worthy.

So I am pressured into visiting Ko Samui because of the “lauded” organic vegetarian restaurant at the Spa Samui Resort… 1 of the top 50 restaurants in the world touts Restaurant Magazine. The proximity of the restaurant to some other attractions rounded out my day trip. Right off the pier, I hired the first taxi driver that approached me to take me to all my sights, my restaurant and then back to another pier, leaving the island A.S.A.P. Here is my driver, a sweet woman who lives on the island but is certainly not an official taxi, despite the brash clash paint job of her car. She was a hefty baht but the lay of the island and its popularity merits the price I suppose.

My first stop was the Ko Samui Butterfly Garden. The small, enclosed grounds were beautiful and pushed away from the crowded beach streets. But it was not conducive to much up close viewing of the butterflies that fluttered about. Unlike the Bronx Zoo’s Butterfly Garden, which hs scrumptious feasts of sweet fruit placed strategically for ample butterfly viewing, catching more than a whisping glance of these beauties was more a matter of luck. There were many gorgeous species I saw for prolonged periods of time: one, unfortunately smashed on the floor, and others preserved unsmashed in glass cases. Also interesting, the many insects they had catalogued.

Next stop was reaching a bit. Hin Ta and Hin Yai (Grandmother and Grandfather Rocks) are rock formations off the island’s Southwestern coast. Legend says that when an elderly couple died at sea after a storm smashed their ship, their bodies floated ashore and their genitals solidified in rock creating this odd tourist attraction, complete with an aptly-named bar at the entrance to the sight and many vendors. Ok, tall rock next to short rock: check. Onward in Samui.

Lastly, my meal. Wonderful. Fresh Vietnamese rolls, raw vegetable lasagna and the spectacular raw chocolate fruit cake. The cake really took the cake. With soaked and paper-thin layers of banana, papaya and mango under a delicious nutty chocolate compote, it was one of the most perfect food items I’d ever tasted. Would certainly consider visiting this place again. The grounds were beautiful and, though I was surrounded by all Richy-rich types, reasonably priced. They offered fasting and detox programs, yoga, meditation, swimming pool, beachside bamboo bungalows and a private beach: the standard spa resort fare but with a suprisingly down-to-earth attitude.

I finished well before my boat was scheduled to leave. The next stop on my island hopping adventure: Ko Phangan.