Food, Friendship, and Fun

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Hey guys!

Wondering about the uncharacteristically peppy blog post title? Calm yourselves. I have not gone cheerleader on you. Instead, I meant to evoke with alliteration the title of one of my favorite vegan blogs in blogdom: Diet, Dessert and Dogs. It’s the child of Ricki Heller, teacher, health educator, and mother two some very well loved pets. Ricki’s name has appeared on CR before; I’ve written about her incredible anti-candida desserts, which are intended to indulge the sweet tooth without dropping a sugar bomb. And I’m a regular reader of Ricki’s blog, which I think is one of the most beautifully photographed and well written out there.

Last Friday, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Ricki in person for lunch at one of my favorite spots: Bonobo’s Vegetarian on 23rd street. I’ve written about Bonobos before, too, and my never-ending love of their coconut crack chai. It’s my favorite spot to bring people who’ve never tried raw food before, because it’s delicious, has tons of options, and compared to other raw lunch spots (sorry One Lucky Duck, I love you but your incredible salads come at a hefty price), it’s relatively affordable. I’m a huge fan of their soups (the avocado and bell pepper and coconut have both inspired home versions), and I also love to get their nori rolls.

As soon as I arrived at Bonobos, Ricki and I greeted each other with a hug that suggested we were old, old friends:

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The power of blogging friendship!

Then came the daunting task of food selection. Creature of habit that I am, I went with my standard: a mixed bowl of the avocado and tomato soups, and a kale salad.

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Ricki was slightly more adventurous, and made her own nori roll with a poppyseed pate. It was beautiful! I’m pretty proud of my cashew ginger nori rolls, but clearly I’ve got to work on my presentation skills.

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Hers and hers:

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Note that this isn’t the first time I’ve cracked out the camera in public at Bonobos. I was playing photographer just a few months ago, when I met Sophia and Diana there for lunch:


And in case you were wondering how I really feel about the soup…


Over lunch, Ricki and I chatted about blogging, cooking, writing, teaching, and, of course, our mutual passion for veganism. I think Ricki sets a bright and shining example of the vegan life through her words and her delicious recipes. I’m lucky to follow her journey as a cook, and lucky, now, to have brought our friendship out of the ether.

I’m also lucky to have the delicious raw treats she brought me from Canada – crackers, cookies, and buckwheat granola. Can’t wait to try them!

Thanks, Ricki, for a lovely lunch. Hopefully I make it to Toronto soon for some raw fare at Live!

I’ve said it before, and so has every other food blogger, but connecting with likeminded foodies is truly one of the nicest perks of blogging. When was your last blogger meetup? Where did you eat, and whom did you meet?


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  1. I LOVE Ricki! See her at all the events around the city, love her book and all her goodness on her site. And I love that you two now know each other in person. Maybe now you have to come up to Toronto and we can show you around our fare offerings (which will likely include a stop in my own kitchen).

  2. I haven’t been to Bonobo’s since you and I met Sophia there! Which means it’s been too long. 🙁 IwantIneedIwantIneed. The Bonobo’s AND the Gena, that is! Want to Pump it for lunch some time?

  3. looks delish. if you ever hit up toronto and need a raw enthusiast please do let us know. live organic food bar = my fave resto ever, good thing it’s about 5 seconds from school. also, i concur with what vegan lisa said above… toronto in the winter is no fun.

  4. So nice to see two women I love hanging out and looking happy together.

    Gena, we would love to host you in you Toronto. However, I would suggest waiting for spring.


  5. I have been a vegetarian for a little more than a year now and I love looking at your blog because it inspires me to make healthy, simple foods! I have one question though–When you refer to nuts in pates,do you mean raw nuts or roasted nuts? I notice that sometimes you specify raw and sometimes you don’t, so I wanted to be sure so I could make some yummy recipes!

    Thank you!! =)

  6. The ONLY reason I blog anymore (and in large part read blogs) is for the friendships and connections. Sorry but if I want to read about food, there are a zillion recipe-oriented sites. And I do enjoy reading my friends’ recipes and creations, like your lovely nori rolls and all your sauces and new found baked good(s) recipes…but it’s not really the reason I read blogs or blog myself. I really value the connection with others. You and I have chatted before that talking about food ad nauseum can be a bit…boring.

    Ive had TONS of blogger meetups and they are indeed the highlight of blogging! I am so excited for Food Buzz where I will meet 350 of my closest friends 🙂 Only you’re not going to be there… 🙁

    Usually when I’m with food bloggers, I also have Skylar with me, so our connections and meetups are shorter, coffee and snack but fun always!

    And Ricki…love her and would love to meet her, and you, both of you! one day!


  7. i agree, meeting like-minded beautiful beings is definitely a perk of blogging! i had the pleasure of meeting carmella, don, and their furries from sunny raw kitchen last fall when they stayed with me during their tour. i also drove 10 hours to canada this past summer to stay with nelly (from nelly… with love) and heather (sweetly raw). while there i met other bloggers. toronto has an amazing raw scene!

  8. I love Bonobo’s! Wish there was one in every city.

    I met up with a fellow blogger sort of unexpectedly at the vegan bake sale on Saturday. We had each read each others blogs and our husbands knew each other through work. Small (vegan) world. It was nice.

  9. Ahh this food looks delish and also great that its affordable unlike one lucky duck gotta get myself into NYC to try it asap. Blogger meetups seem so fun. You are one blogger who I would love to meet:)

  10. How fun! Ricki is awesome! 🙂 Looks like a delicious time! Again, I am loving your hair long!!! You look hot, my lady! 🙂

  11. MHMMM! This looks so good! I love your face smiling over the soup! Great to create friends through blogging…my blog seems to have more interest outside europe when I have created it to finde others that enjoy vegan and raw food close to me..but well I just started so HOPES UP!

  12. I love you so much:), your blog is so inspiring. I would love to see a post about your ED strugle, if you are in a place to do such post now.

    • Oh, my. I’m not worthy! But thanks, what a kind comment.

      You know, I’ve never had much success simply writing out my ED story as a continuous narrative. For whatever reason — perhaps that the condition itself worked in fits and starts and bursts of time over many years — my capacity to share it doesn’t work that way. I can ALWAYS answer questions, though. Want to ask me something specific?

  13. Sounds like a perfect time! I am craving some time like this! Last meetup was this past MArch when I went to Toronto for my birthday. I got to meet Angela from Oh She Glows and 17 other women. It was SO much fun!

  14. How lucky you are to have such great blogger friends and wonderful NYC vegan lunch dates 🙂 Your meal looks awesome but I think Ricki’s looks so fun and delicious! Your blog makes me want to plan a trip to NYC just for all the great vegan places you go to eat 🙂

  15. Every time you talk about that place I wish I could go there! I’m really excited to attend my first blogger meetup this Friday with other Georgia bloggers. Should be a good time!

  16. Gena, it was such a delight to meet you! I agree: the pleasure of meeting up with bloggy buddies is unparalleled, and I also felt as if I were greeting an old friend! Thanks for such a beautiful summary of the lunch (I’m hoping to have my own up later today). I loved our chat, loved the food at Bonobos and loved New York. And you MUST come to TO for that dinner at Live! 😀 *hugs*

  17. I’m so jealous! I’m a big fan of both of your blogs…would have loved to have just listened 🙂 I love Bonobo’s! I got there on Tuesday nights before my class for a quick salad. YUM.

    I had the pleasure of meeting and having dinner with Lindsay of Happy Herbivore fame. We ate at the new V-Note and both the company and the food were divine!