Monday, October 24, 2011

My Vegan Birthday (Vegan MoFo Day 24)

Today, on my birthday, I was honored to be asked to volunteer in the kitchen of Atlanta's famous vegetarian/vegan "World Peace Cafe". I love this place! Great food, amazing people and peaceful and beautiful atmosphere. And a very interesting fact-this place is run entirely by volunteers. I will blog about World Peace Cafe in the near future. Stay tuned.
I am really grateful for this opportunity. I volunteered with them before, but not entirely in the kitchen. I waited tables, cleaned tables, cleaned the dishes, prepared some simple beverages, served desserts and did a little food prep. Today I was helping prepare food for next week. It was a very interesting experience. I have never prepared food for hundreds of people before, just for a family and friends. I learned a lot today. One of the funny things that I did not know before is that red (orange) lentils change their color with cooking so they are not red anymore, but rather green-brown. I had a great time today and got some new ideas for my own cooking.
If you told me last year that I would be making a gallon of vegan Russian dressing on my birthday I would think you were crazy :-) And here I was making dressings by gallons and other fun things. I was able to experience how a commercial kitchen works and see how much different it is than my home kitchen. I only wish it was not so hot in there, but with the grills and ovens working the whole time and the space being so small it would be impossible to keep the kitchen cool. My volunteering experience gave me a whole new level of appreciation for the hard work that chefs, cooks and waiters do.

Picture source World Peace Cafe (I did not bring my camera to World Peace Cafe today so I had to use a picture from their website)

I had this awesome veggie burger for lunch today. It is the Classic Peace burger that was made with organic oats, sunflower seeds and savory veggies. As a side I had roasted potato wedges. The burger was lovely, great texture, color and taste.

I was so happy when one of my fellow volunteers treated me to a vegan cake. My favorite vegan strawberry cake turned into my birthday cake. I could eat this cake everyday if I had a chance. I shared a piece with my husband at home. Next time I have to buy the whole cake :-)

Yesterday I went to Atlanta Vegan Drinks that were held at Nancy G's Cafe . Chef Khaliq Edwards had prepared a fall-inspired vegan menu that was beautiful, fun and delicious. I wanted to have everything on the menu. Over 50 people showed up. 10% of that evening's proceeds went to Ahimsa House (non-profit organization dedicated to helping the human and animal victims of domestic violence across Georgia reach safety together). We raised about $115 for this great cause :-) Thank you everyone for coming!
I decided to celebrate my birthday that evening even though my birthday is officially today. I had a great time and I was happy to see all my old vegan friends and meet new friends. I missed a few vegan friends that could not make it that evening. The atmosphere was very nice and it did not feel too crowded. Some people were sitting outside on a patio with their dog companions.

For me the highlight of the menu was definitely the Fall-spiced pumpkin creme brulee.
It was my very first creme brulee ever and I was wowed! The spices were just right, not too overpowering and the textures were perfect. The crunchy sugar top with smooth and silky pumpkin tofu pudding made my taste buds very happy.

Fried green tomatoes with "goat cheese," remoulade sauce, candied pecans and micro greens. I got mine without the vegan goat cheese but it was still very good. The remoulade sauce was amazing, I wish I had a big bowl of that to take home :-)

Gumbo with tofu and fresh okra thickened with white bean puree and served with brown rice. This was very good. I have to say it was better than my own gumbo and I usually don't say stuff like this when comparing my own recipes. I have to ask Chef Khaliq what spices did he use because the taste was very different from my own gumbo.

I did not have this beautiful Butternut squash soup topped with toasted edamame seeds, but from what I saw most people had at least one bowl each and loved it. I also did not have Spinach salad with red onions, mandarin oranges, pecans and balsamic reduction and did not get a chance to take a picture of it :-(

A beautiful card from my vegan friends :-)

I wish my Czech and Hungarian family was here to help me celebrate my birthday, but other than that I could not ask fora better birthday.


  1. I did not know world peace was all volunteer run. that is interesting. Sounds like a great day and the strawberry southern sweets cake is the best birthday cake! Happy birthday!

  2. Thank you, Vic :-) Isn't that cool? The Cafe supports the Kadampa Buddhist Center in Atlanta. This is their way how to raise money and promote meditation and buddhism and show people that "Without inner peace, outer peace is impossible." And you don't have to be a Buddhist to volunteer there.

  3. Happy Birthday! :)

    These look AMAZEBALLS! Also I just wanted to tell you I love your blog and I wanted to pass on the love with a Liebster Award. Check out how it works on my blog post and pass on the blog love!

  4. Happy Birthday again! I'm glad working with the chef was fun - I can't even imagine all the work that goes in to preparing that much food at one time! It's enough work when I cook apps & desserts for a party!

    I'm glad you took pictures of the food at Nancy G's - I took the evening off and left my camera in the car! :)

  5. I'm glad you had such a great birthday and happy I could be a part of it. Thanks again for your help organizing this month's ATL Vegan Drinks!

  6. @IrishBelle Thank you :-)

    @Heather and @Brett Thanks! It was great seeing you both.