I have been so busy in the sun that I haven't had a chance to blog, so I've stockpiled quite a few things to write about today.
First of all, I tried two restaurants that are definitely noteworthy. Pizza Fino offers delicious Italian food (pizza, pasta, calzones, sandwiches, etc.) in a classy environment in the Kenton neighborhood. There are quite a few vegan options on the menu, including the summer special, which was polenta with zucchini, apricot, and crispy grilled tofu. There are no vegan desserts, but the meal was filling enough that I didn't really need anything more.
The Sangria was full of ripe, fresh, and summery fruit. I could have gulped it down in one second, but I tried to make it last for most of the meal. My dinner mate tried the Summer Manhattan (with apricot brandy and a slice of apricot), and found it quite tasty as well.
The second restaurant was a Lebanese business called Arabian Breeze. Also containing quite a few vegan options on the menu, this restaurant had a fun atmosphere and the waiter reminded us of a combination of Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. We ordered perhaps too much food, but it was worth it: the vegan mezza plate, falafel sandwich that came with rice and a yogurt-like sauce, and veggie kebob, not to mention the bread and oregano/olive oil mixture that came with the meal. It was a trip well spent. Of course, afterwards, we were so full that even getting back onto our bikes took a bit of effort, but it turned into a fun challenge of "how many calories from the meal can we burn going up this hill?".
Second of all, I have been reading the book This Crazy Vegan Life. I have to say, I'm a bit disappointed by its contents. The author discusses how a vegan lifestyle is superior to anything else, how it is successful as both a health choice as well as a sustainable environmental choice, both points with which I whole-heartedly agree, but she goes about it (in my opinion) in completely the wrong way. I read Skinny Bitch when I was a brand-new vegan, and it said basically the same thing, in perhaps a bit harsher tone, but it also sourced all its facts. This book doesn't have a single noted source. I get the feeling that the author did her research and then just expected us to blindly accept everything she wrote. I want to know which studies or articles that she looked at, or the doctors that she talked to, instead of just taking her word for it.
Third and lastly, I'd like to address hot weather practices. It seems that the hot weather takes everyone by surprise every summer in Portland, but that's not an excuse to idle in your car for 20 minutes with the air conditioning on (like I saw a woman do yesterday - while smoking with her sun roof open!). Buses in Portland have the air conditioning running, so unless they are packed full of other passengers, they are actually quite comfortable to ride around town in. Plus, think of the emissions you are NOT pouring into the environment by riding in a bio-diesel-fueled vehicle. Also, think about not using air conditioning in your own home. Both Metro and OPB websites have great local places you can go to avoid the heat in your house/apartment. Using air conditioning units wastes so much electricity, and is not really all that healthy for your body. Instead of keeping cool with artificial air, think about visiting one of the sites hi-lighted on the afore-mentioned websites, drinking lots of cool water, or placing a cool, wet washcloth on your forehead or the back of your neck. These remedies can all help keep you cool during the 3-digit degree weather.