Cliffs at Ocean Beach

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Still don't want to vote?

I was reading a friend's Facebook comments recently about a man running for the state house in Michigan who removed her comments and blocked her from his Facebook page after she posted that she would not be voting for him. My first thought was "typical", and then I started really thinking about it.

This guy, who I also would not vote for if I still lived back in my hometown, could easily win. He may not support women, he may not support public schools, he may not support equality for gays and lesbians. He could support corporate and agricultural welfare, he could support allowing anyone to buy any type of gun from anyone else and he could support a myriad of other things that I might disagree with.

And he is just like someone running for political office where you live.

He is almost assured a victory.

Unless you vote.

There is a huge us vs. them battle going on these days. This is perpetuated by those in political power and those who want political power. And it's not just one party, it's members of both parties.

In many activist communities I have met people who do not vote. Amazing activists, incredibly passionate people. Yet they don't vote.

In November, there will be elections all over the country. New congressmen will be elected or re-elected, members of state houses will be elected, new school board members, etc. Whoever wins will represent you at the US Capitol, your state capitol and your county school board.

I write a lot about being a voice for the voiceless. This is another one of those opportunities. Check out the candidates in your area. Find out where they stand on issues important to you. Call them or email them. Even if you are in a supposed district where the winner is already known.

We have the power.


Vote for the animals. Vote for equal rights. Vote to support equality for women. Vote to support nine year olds who are refugees on our border. Vote to speak out loudly for the voiceless.

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Have you heard of Kate Kelly?

Until last month, Kate Kelly was a Mormon.

I just started learning about Kate Kelly when we were recently in Salt Lake City.  Mrs. Kelly is the founder of Ordain Women, a group of Mormon women seeking equality and priesthood.

In June she was excommunicated from the Mormon Church, a church led by men. Only men.

This post is not an anti-Mormon post. It is a post to let our readers know about this atrocity, an atrocity that is common in many religions where only men have real power.

I do not know Kate Kelly, yet she seems to be a woman of devout faith, devoted to her church, to Jesus and to God.

As far as I can tell, the only problem is that she thinks women should be able to be priests in the Mormon church, that they should be equal to the men of the church. Imagine that.

We live in the United States of America. Doesn't that mean that women can freely express their opinions when it comes to religion?


I am not Mormon. I do not know much about the Mormon church. The most I know about the Mormon church I learned during the Prop 8 vote in California, when the Mormon church poured millions of dollars into the campaign that would make gay marriage illegal.

The Mormon church can do whatever they want to their members.

Excommunication seems a bit harsh. Their spokeswoman (women can be spokespeople in the Mormon church) said that there are right ways to disagree with the church and that there are wrong ways.

I haven't read the official verdict from the church, the one that made the excommunication of Mrs. Kelly official.

What is said in it doesn't matter to me. I disagree with what they have done to Kate Kelly.

I think Kate Kelly is incredibly courageous. And faithful.

I imagine that those men in power at the Mormon church are frightened of people like Kate Kelly. Just as they are frightened of so many in their churches getting disgusted with the way the church has treated gays.

If you would like more information on Ordain Women, click here: http://ordainwomen.org/

Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Restaurant review - Gracias Madre

Los Angeles is one of our go-to places for vegan cuisine. Since we go to San Diego often, we have gotten used to going to Los Angeles before or after a trip to San Diego. This summer is no different. The difference this trip has been being able to check out new places, new to us at least.

Meet Gracias Madre. "Our menu is vegan and 100% organic. Our mission is to celebrate and serve the presence of the mother which resides above us, within our hearts, within the earth, and in all those who nurture us. We serve cuisine inspired by the kitchens of Mexico sourced from locally organic ingredients. Welcome to a seat at love's table."

This is how you are greeted at Gracias Madre. Well actually, you are first welcomed by a smiling host and when you are seated you get a menu with the warm welcome quoted above.

Soon our server arrived and offered us drinks. Mike loves the smokey margarita. I tried one of the fresh pressed juices and also the horchata. Both were delicious. If you like beer, wine and/or tequila you have plenty of options.

Order a drink and also order the cauliflower starter. Don't even think about it, just order it. You will love us for this recommendation. We loved this creative appetizer and it was a wonderful way to start our dining experience.

For dinner, I ordered El Plato and Mike ordered Flautas de Comote. The second night I ordered the Enchiladas con Mole and Mike ordered the flautas again. Mike loved the flautas. Similar to a taquito and filled with sweet potatoes and carmelized onions, the flautas wil make you very happy. I enjoyed both my dishes, loving the mole but thinking the enchiladas were too filling, yet delicious.

While eating our meals we felt relaxed and very comfortable on the patio. Gracias Madre is gorgeous, and both times we were seated on the patio and that added to our already perfect experience.

Before we knew it we had finished our meals and it was time for desert. One word: flan. Yes, vegan flan. I ordered this both nights. The first night the flan was so creamy I couldn't believe it. The second night it was a little gritty but still delicious. Mike ordered the fudge brownie and finished it with a smile, loving the salted mezcal caramel and the orange coconut whipped cream.

The fire is going in the fireplace that is centered on the patio. It's darker out and the patio lights are on. It is just so beautiful and relaxing. Again, the perfect environment.

As we have been telling friends since our first night at Gracias Madre, we had one of the best dining experiences ever. Ever.

A few additional bits of information: We parked a few blocks away but there is valet parking. Make a reservation. Ask to be seated on the patio. I know the restaurant might not like this but the ambiance on the patio is simply the best.

Gracias Madre is perfect for a date night (like the two times we were there) or for a night out with friends. You might even make new friends there as we did.

I also want to say that on our second visit we had the HUGE pleasure of meeting Executive Chef Chanda Gilbert! She is amazing, and it was perfect to meet the woman whose dream came true with the opening of Gracias Madre.

Finally, and I just now thought of this, Gracias Madre is all vegan and it is packed! I know, this is Los Angeles, but still!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Vegan (and gay friendly) Salt Lake City!

Our summer road trip took us in a different direction as we wanted to visit family on the way to California. So we ended up with a night in Salt Lake City and I am so glad we did!

When you think of Salt Like City, what do you think of?


Anti-gay people?

Well, we love Salt Lake City. If you ever have an opportunity to visit, I highly encourage you to take advantage of that and do it.

We stayed at the lovely Hotel Monaco. One of our favorite hotels in Denver, we wanted to give this one a try. It is right downtown, and convenient to several vegan dining options. They are dog friendly and Suga loves how she is pampered at a Hotel Monaco. We were not disappointed in the least. Great room, great service and the location rocks.

The Hotel Monaco also has bikes! Perfect. We rode them to our first meal, at Sage's Cafe.

In our short time in the city we had food from Sage's and their sister restaurant, Vertical Diner. At Sage's we both ordered the special, explained to us as carrot cake pancakes. It ended up being a carrot cake muffin lightly grilled.Quite tasty but not what we were thinking when we ordered. The menu is filled with items that looked tempting, but one can only order so much!

Back at the hotel we were able to order food from Vertical Diner and have it delivered to the hotel! Score! So we ordered the Chicken Biscuit, similar to a pot pie. We both loved this dish and have talked about it a lot since eating it. If you ever get to Vertical Diner I highly recommend it.

Any review of vegan food in Salt Lake City would not be complete without mentioning City Cakes bakery. Oh my. We went twice. Mike had three different scones and loved them all. I loved the cinnamon roll. We both really enjoyed the sausage potato burrito. The entire staff was so kind and friendly, and we especially enjoyed our conversations with Olivia. Definitely check out City Cakes!

Two places we did not make it to but heard very good things about are House of Tibet and Zest Kitchen and Bar. We will definitely check these two out next time.

Great food, great hospitality, a very friendly downtown and an overall progressive feel. Try Salt Lake City if you ever get the chance.

Thanks for reading!