Review: Vegan Jewish Deli

By coincidence only, not planned at all, my friend and I went out for lunch on Rosh Hashanah at a brand new deli called Ben & Esther’s.

Portland-based Ben & Esther’s vegan Jewish deli, bakery and bagel shop recently opened in Oceanside.

Named after founder Justin King’s grandparents, Ben & Esther’s is a New York City-style Jewish deli and bakery.

Although the concept initially sold animal products, it eventually transitioned to be completely vegetarian, then to 100% vegan. 

The menu consists of New York style bagels with cream “cheese”, deli sandwiches, knishes, matzo ball soups, lox made from carrots, whitefish made from hearts of palm, and a variety of pastries & sweets.

I had the “lox” on a bagel with cream cheese and capers and it was REALLY good. You could hardly tell that you were eating carrots disguised as salmon.

My friend had the BLT on a pumpernickel/rye swirl bread and couldn’t believe how yummy it was and how “bacon-y” the vegan bacon tasted.

I had a taste of the “whitefish” and that will definitely be my choice the next time we eat there.

The bagels were deli-authentic, which proves once again that you don’t need any form of dead animal to create scrumptious food.

We got chocolate babka for dessert and that was the only disappointment because it didn’t taste NEARLY as good as my homemade version, even though it was filled with chocolate.

https://www.benandesthers.com/

Oasis in a Sea of Ugly

Statement of fact: I don’t like the look of my “village”.

It resembles a village as much as WalMart resembles a Chanel boutique.

Oasis (plural: oases) An oasis is a location with water in a desert, or figuratively can be a happy place surrounded by sadness, which is exactly what I discovered today.

In the almost forty years I’ve lived here, local elected officials (90% of whom I’ve consistently voted against) have destroyed any and all coastal personality by tearing down most of the original buildings and erecting sharp cornered ugly institutional-looking boxes.

Have I mentioned that it’s ONE BLOCK from the beach? You’d never know it, though. It makes me angry. They could have done so much better and it’s as if the designers and architects made a conscious effort to destroy the organic relationship we have with the sand and the Pacific ocean. It’s mindboggling, it truly is.

Because of that, I normally stay away from going there and when visitors come, we go to the beach but don’t hang around or patronize the stores or restaurants. It’s depressing.

However, I actually discovered a couple of gems, two little oases wedged between hulking sad monstrosities; a sanctuary.

I’ve been searching for a birthday gift for DIL and we share a common love of crystals and gems. I heard of a place off the beaten path downtown and thought I’d stop by. I didn’t have high hopes though, but was more than pleasantly surprised by The Village Rock Shop on State Street.

From the moment I walked in, I was surrounded by positive energy and a huge array of rocks and gifts. For DIL, I found an Angel Aura Tower. Doesn’t that sound mystical and intriguing? It’s formed as a result of the alchemical process that bonds platinum and silver, sometimes gold, into pure quartz. It is the perfect gift for anyone who seeks guidance and inspiration from the angels. This magical stone is a powerful aid in getting in touch with celestial beings, exactly right for a mom of two, haha.

Directly next door is another shop I recommend: Wild Gold Gift Shop. It’s beyond adorable. Check out their Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wild_gold_shop/ I spoke with the husband of the owner, Kim Keenan, and he said they were still working on the website, so I can’t link to it right now.

If you’re in the Carlsbad area and as disappointed as I am about what it looks like, please take the time to travel a few blocks away from the ugliness and visit these two shops. You’ll be happy you did!

Your purchases from these independent, local stores support not only the owners of the shop but also local artists and artisans.

And finally, hurry before they’re torn down and displaced to make way for more hideous, repulsive, unsightly boxes.

Looking For a Great Read? Here’s One: The Lost Girls of Paris

If you’re searching for something to read, here’s a suggestion…

From Pam Jenoff, author of The Orphan’s Tale, The Lost Girls of Paris is a remarkable yet tragic story of friendship and resolute spirit by a ring of female spies trained in Britain during World War II.

Way more brave than I could ever hope to become, this book is vividly rendered and inspired by true events. Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of these spies and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood, and the great strength of women to survive almost anything in the face of danger.

But really, who knows how we might answer the call to save our children from another Nazi-like regime, right? As we all aware, mama bears are tenacious and fierce!

Synergy for Good Health

From time to time I’ll review a company or a product that I feel might be of some benefit to me and my enchanted friends.

When The Synergy Company offered to send me some samples for review, I was intrigued. In this lull between re-opening our lives after the restrictive pandemic shutdown and at the same time closing back up to protect us from the Delta variant and the non-vaccinated, I think it’s important to focus on our holistic health routines.

They sent one of my favorites: Immune Health with Organic Mushrooms and Fuciodan, along with Pure Radiance C, and Zinc Complex, something my own doctor recommends. All are made with organic ingredients, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and Kosher.

I curated the following information directly from their website: https://www.thesynergycompany.com/  

Immune Health™ is designed for daily, ongoing systemic support with an exclusive blend of 7 organic mushrooms for immune support and SuperPure® extracts of beta 1,3-glucan, astragalus IV & fucoidan

Pure Radiance C® unites our organic camu camu extract and organic acerola cherry extract with 9 antioxidant-rich organic berries and fruits to yield a 100% natural form of vitamin

Zinc Complex combines fermented zinc with an organic food complex of immune-supporting shiitake mushrooms, vitamin C-rich camu camu berries, and wholesome green vegetables and sprouts.

The company is based out of Moab, Utah.

I was provided product by the company for sampling and review; I was not compensated, and all the opinions are my own.

“Is your wine making you sick?”

That was in the subject line of an email I received, and boy oh boy, when I read that, I sure clicked on it FAST.

It was from a company called Scout & Cellar and they kindly offered to send me a sampling of their wines to try.

“Yes, PLEASE!”

I invited a friend to join me in a tasting and we had a happy time drinking and discussing the merits of each wine.

It all boils down to individual taste, but I can say that we both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

When I first received the email, I hadn’t noticed that these wines are not sold in retail outlets but they’re an online company so they’ll arrive straight to your home, which is pretty cool.

What a great idea if you’re still thinking about gifts for Mother’s Day, especially if you’re still leery of in-store shopping!

Here’s a quote from their website:

We’re on a mission to disrupt the wine industry so we can do better for you and better for our planet. Going beyond organic, our Clean-Crafted™ wine is always free from synthetic pesticides and chemical additives and sweeteners. We partner with growers and family-owned farms to create delicious wine that’s better on the vine, in the bottle, and in your glass.

I appreciate the opportunity to sample these lovely fermented grapes!

To learn more about the company, please visit https://scoutandcellar.com/

As a postscript, I have to be real and share that I REALLYREALLY don’t like the name of the wine called Dove Hunt Dog (for obvious reasons).

(I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own.)

YUM! Miyoko’s Vegan Cream Cheese

Whenever I find a great product, I love to share it with you guys.

I thought I’d try vegan cream cheese again. The last time I did, it was a thoroughly unpleasant experience. It looked gross and tasted like grainy, slimy wallpaper paste that left a nasty residue in my mouth. Yuck.

At Traders this morning, I gave in to temptation and picked up a tub of Miyoko’s Cream Cheese.

I didn’t examine the label with as much scrutiny as I usually do because the store was crowded and I wanted to hurry and get out of there.

When I got home, I was starving and opened a box of crackers, crossing my fingers that this new variety of vegan cream cheese wouldn’t be another disaster.

After my first taste, I thought I had accidentally purchased real cream cheese with LOX (salmon) and I was totally freaking out. I literally ran in the kitchen to look at the container to check ingredients in case I made a mistake. I was gobsmacked (love that word) to read this:

I can’t believe how accurately Miyoko’s replicated the flavors and texture of milk-based cream cheese. What a joy!

Product Details: •Non-GMO • Lactose Free • Gluten Free • Soy Free • Palm Oil Free • Kosher • Ingredients: Organic Cashews, Filtered Water, Organic Coconut Cream, Sea Salt, Organic Seaweed, Vegetable Juice for Color, Cultures

Even if you’re not a vegan, I suggest you give it a try because it’s simply DELICIOUS. And best of all, their products are cruelty-free.

**This post is an unsolicited endorsement; the company didn’t send products for review nor have I received any form of compensation.**

More Green Goo…WHAT did she say?

green-goo-logo-stack-1Yes, I said, “Green Goo”. There’s something I really like about the vibe I get from this woman-owned company which is why I chatted about them a while ago.

Recently, the nice people from Green Goo sent me a sampling of their products.

Here’s the crazy part. I first gave them my home address. Then, I thought I was going to be visiting all of my Angels 1-4 so I gave them THAT address.

At the last minute, my flight was cancelled so the package of goodies is now 1000 miles away from me and Angel Boy 1.0 and DIL are using them, which is totally cool, but I do SO LOVE getting prezzies, so it’s a bit sad for me haha.

Hopefully there will be something left for me by the time I get to visit–if not, that’s OK too. It is what it is.

I’m seriously looking forward to the pain relief salve with ginger, peppermint, and arnica–three of my favorite ingredients, enriched with cinnamon and olive oil. It can temporarily help ease the aching of arthritis, sore muscles, and bruises. It emulates hot and cold therapies to help increase circulation for rapid relief. Check out their website for great reviews.

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This release was emailed today, so I thought I’d share it because I like to support companies who walk the talk and give back.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

GREEN GOO DONATES HAND SANITIZER TO U.S. BASED ORGANIZATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

Women-owned brand expands mission to ‘Spread Goodness’ in face of global pandemic LYONS, Colo. (May 21, 2020) -– All-natural body care brand Green Goo, under parent company Sierra Sage Herbs, is honored to support frontline workers, medical facilities, and local and national organizations making a difference in the fight against COVID-19 with instrumental product donations, including FDA-compliant hand sanitizer and first aid items. Pivoting at the onset of the global pandemic to produce an affordable hand sanitizer for those in need, Green Goo has leveraged its manufacturing partnerships to produce a steady supply of the 63.5% alcohol gel, in a variety of packaging options, in order to provide an in-stock solution for consumers and organizations alike. With production capacity and volume steadier and more reliable, Green Goo has been able to realign focus back to its philosophical cornerstones: philanthropy and humanitarianism. ”Our company mission is ‘Spread Goodness,’ and that never stops, regardless of the obstacles thrown in our way,” Green Goo Co-Founder and CEO Jodi Scott said. “We recognized at the onset of the current situation that we not only needed to protect our families and our employees, but that we had an obligation to find a way to make a difference, no matter how big or small. We are privileged to be in a position to share these meaningful products with those in need. The organizations receiving our hand sanitizers — major government and educational health authorities, hospitals, first responders, and shelters for at-risk populations, for example – are doing the kind of work necessary to keep people safe and informed during these uncertain times. To play any part in that world is the reason we started this company in the first place.” The following organizations have received donations of hand sanitizer and/or all-natural first aid products from Green Goo: • Alameda Health System – Oakland, Calif. • Bayshore Medical Center – Flanders, N.J. • Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times – Los Angeles • Central Texas Food Bank – Austin, Texas • God’s Love We Deliver – New York • Harbor House of Central Florida – Orlando, Fla. • James A. Haley Veterans Hospital – Tampa, Fla. • McLeod Health Clarendon – Manning, S.C. • Navajo Nation with help from Orenda Tribe and The Lani Rhys Collective – Albuquerque, N.M. • Not 4gotten NY – Woodstock, N.Y. • OUT Boulder County – Boulder, Colo. 424 Main Street | Lyons, Colorado | 303.823.2468 | greengoo.com • Providence Fire Department – Santee, S.C. • The Arc of Washington County – Hagerstown, Md. • The City of New York’s NYC Health Department – New York • UCLA Health – Los Angeles While the preceding list ranges from hospitals and medical personnel to food banks, other first responder groups, and entities providing educational and protective services. Green Goo is also setting aside a percentage of monthly hand sanitizer sales to select local and national organizations. The recipients of the financial contribution for the month of April were L.E.A.F (Lyons Emergency & Assistance Fund, Lyons) and Direct Relief. Boulder Community Health Foundation (Boulder) and Johns Hopkins Medicine have been selected to receive financial donations following the month of May. Additionally, donated products have been sent to numerous individuals working in hospitals with affected patients, social workers, small-business owners, and others defining the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Green Goo will continue to produce compliant hand sanitizer options and search for additional opportunities to offer related support for as long as deemed necessary by U.S. health officials. ### Media Contact: Shea Martin, Vice President of Public Relations shea@greengoohelps.com T: 917-903-2795 http://www.greengoo.com Facebook/Instagram/Twitter — @greengoohelps About Green Goo Formed in 2008, Green Goo is a women-owned, family-operated, B-Corp. Our products are cruelty free and made in the USA with 100% natural ingredients. We started small, making products for friends, family, and the local farmer’s market, and we have now grown into a thriving, value-driven company. As we evolve, we remain committed to our roots: a time-honored infusion process, high-quality ingredients, and simple, effective products that are safe for you, your family, and the environment.

Some GOOD NEWS during the Covid-19 crisis: Green Goo

I’m sure there are other companies who have decided this Twilight Zone time we’re living in calls for extraordinary measures, but I liked what I read about Green Goo, a woman-owned biz, so I decided to highlight them on the blog today. Their story is really cool and you can check it out at https://greengoo.com/pages/about-us


In an effort to combat a market shortage and rampant price gouging, Sierra Sage Herbs, parent company of all-natural brand Green Goo, is proud to announce the launch of a new hand sanitizer, scheduled to arrive at its warehouse later this week.

Produced in the U.S., Green Goo’s hand sanitizer, made with an FDA-approved 63.5% alcohol, disinfects and kills 99% of bacteria and germs.

Green Goo will provide the Town of Lyons, Colorado, where the company is headquartered, 3,000+ units from the initial limited allotment, while the remaining products will be included free of charge with every order, in addition to being a part of three wellness bundles, via the brand’s website — greengoo.com.

Additionally, individual sales of the hand sanitizers will be available at greengoo.com and at a multitude of national chain stores and independent retailers by late April.

“Currently, we have a limited supply, so we are including a free hand sanitizer with every order to ensure our customers are able to share this inventory – a little for all,” said Green Goo Co-Founder and CEO Jodi Scott. “We’re producing more hand sanitizer which is scheduled to ship later in April, and at that time we will make it available for sale.”

Green Goo plans to donate 1% of the sales of the hand sanitizers to select local and international charitable organizations making a difference in the fight against COVID-19.

“In these uncertain times, we are all trying to understand how we can help. As a family-operated company and, ultimately, concerned citizens of the world, we feel an enormous responsibility to leverage our resources and partnerships to provide these much-needed products,” Scott continued. “Green Goo is an all-natural brand and this isn’t a ‘typical’ product for us. However, with the urgent need for hand sanitizers, we felt a duty to address the need for the product while complying with FDA-, CDC- and WHO-recommended formulas. There is time, as we learn more about this disease, to evolve the formulation.”

The brand will continue to produce hand sanitizer for as long as deemed necessary by U.S. health officials.

 

Russian Ballet Theatre’s AMAZING Swan Lake

I’ve seen most of the greats: Margot Fonteyn, Maria Tallchief, Rudolf Nureyuv, Galina Ulanova, and Mikhail Baryshnikov with Natalia Makarova.

THIS version of Swan Lake with the Russian Ballet Theatre did not disappoint!

The RBT production captivated us with Russian traditions while adding new choreography, hand painted sets, and beyond beautiful hand sewn costumes.

Getting ready! Lots of excitement in the air. I love to sit close enough to hear the sound of toe shoes on the stage.

The California Center for the Arts in Escondido was packed; it’s lovely to see a great response to ballet. This was the opening night of their US tour.

Olga Kifyak as Odettel/Odile accomplished the Holy Grail–I believe we counted 32 successful fouettes, which is every ballerina’s fantasy to attain. Olga owned the stage with her powerful and ethereal dance and the most amazing extension.

Head Jester Mikhail Ovcharov seemed to fly through the air with his cabrioles and grand jetes–a definite audience favorite.

PLEASE check out the tour schedule below and don’t miss it!!!

For those of you who need a refresher about Swan Lake, it’s based on a German fairy tale. Tchaikovsky’s score tells the tragic but timeless love story of Prince Siegfried and a lovely swan princess named Odette. Under the spell of a sorcerer, Odette spends her days as a swan swimming on a lake of tears and her nights in her beautiful human form. Odile is the black swan, and of course there’s a happily-ever-after ending.

Link to website: https://www.russianballettheatre.com/
Link to tickets: https://my.artcenter.org/single/SYOS.aspx?p=4353

Binge-worthy: Scott & Bailey

While watching Mueller testify and now during a break in the proceedings, I think I’ll finish a post I started last week about a TV show I am SO beyond excited to recommend to you!

And BTW, I think Jimmy Stewart could have portrayed Robert Mueller to perfection, but prolly lots of you don’t even know who the great actor, James Stewart, even is, so my suggestion is to Google him.

I’m not much of a binge watcher; in fact, I don’t watch a lot of TV at all, but I loved The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and that’s about the extent of it. Oh, and Gossip Girl has a special place in my heart. Blair and Chuck forever!

A long time ago, I caught an episode of Scott & Bailey on our local PBS station and it piqued my interest. When I was bored and searching for something to watch on Amazon Prime besides my crush Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off, S&B popped up, and I thought I’d start from the beginning.

I confess that I couldn’t get enough! It’s gritty, it’s real, and I was absolutely HOOKED.

I thought I’d ration myself to one episode a day to make it last longer, but that self control flew out the window almost immediately. Then I said to myself, “Self, you can watch two in a row, but that’s IT, I mean it.”

Well, that didn’t work either. I kept bargaining with myself until I lost all rational thought and binged the entire five seasons, knowing that when it eventually ended, I would suffer REAL pain and feel abandoned by these characters I’d come to identify with and LOVE. Yes, I mean that. I don’t use that word lightly, nor do I take those feelings lightly. I LOVE Rachel and Janet.

They’re two strong women whose lives tended to be screwed up and messy at times, but they PERSEVERED. They ENDURED. They never gave up. You haven’t lived until you study Detective Constable Janet Scott (brilliantly acted by Lesley Sharp) as she interrogates each and every criminal. From her Madonna-like smile to her soft and measured voice, she asks every question with pristine diction and straightforward dedication to solving a crime, often with a full confession. She’s the embodiment of speaking authentically with truth and conviction.(Ha ha, a double entendre.)

Both Rachel (Suranne Jones) and Janet are Detective Constables in the Major Incident Team of the Manchester Metropolitan Police Service, with the team headed by DCI Gill Murray (Amelia Bullmore), whose character is loosely based on Diane Taylor, a former Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police. Yes, it’s a Briit show.

Scott & Bailey was an original idea by Suranne Jones and Sally Lindsay. Jones felt that there needed to be more roles for women “that weren’t wife-of, sidekick-to, mother-of, mistress-to, etc.”[4] Jones remarked, “We were just chatting away over a bottle of wine in a pub” when the idea came to fruition. [Sidebar: see how much can be accomplished with enough vino??]

The creators paired up with Diane Taylor to create the program. The involvement of Diane Taylor as a consultant producer is credited with maintaining Scott & Bailey‘s “rigorous authenticity”. From Taylor’s perspective, television police procedures were often filled with not only technical inaccuracies, but what she felt were inaccuracies of how officers behaved, saying: “that’s what really irritates me in other dramas – detectives crying over dead bodies and getting drunk senseless. You’d last about two weeks”. She said, of her time as a police officer in comparison to portrayals on television, that “reality is much more interesting. I could pull a thousand cases out of my head people would say would never happen. People need drama because they would not believe the reality”. (Background curated from Wiki)

I’ve shared my obsesh with all my friends and a few are as captivated as I was and totally binged. But now it’s over and I went through cold turkey withdrawals, I need something else, cos I’m jonesin’ for a fix.

For me, the only downside of this amazing show was the outrageous number of smokers. At times, the smoke was so heavy, it almost gave me a virtual asthma attack. I only hope for their health’s sake that there’s a lot less lung damage in the real Manchester Police Department.

Watch it and let me know if you love Scott & Bailey as much as I do! And also share some of your fave binge-worthy TV shows.