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Remembering Sevilla

Remembering Sevilla

By on May 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

Featured Song: To really understand more deeply the art of flamenco, Gaetano and I knew we would need to eventually go to its heart in Andalusia, Spain. The day finally came during the winter of 2010, and off we were on a plane across the Atlantic with our 7 year old boy and a childcare provider/filmmaker for a two month flamenco study.  The journey began with a visit to Gaetano’s family in Sicily, then living in Sevilla to study at two flamenco schools, a day trip by ferry to Morocco, then finishing with a journey by car from Valencia to Barcelona to Madrid. In the summer of 2011, our family returned to the Mediterranean, first with a 24 hour adventure in Lisbon, Portugal, then back to Spain for a week long flamenco intensive in Cadiz followed by another month long study in Sevilla, with weekend excursions to flamenco festivals in various parts of Andalusia. We look forward to reflecting back throughout this blog on all the amazing places with vegan treats we found in the Mediterranean so far. But for this post we will focus on just one city, Sevilla, and really just one little area where we literally and culturally found home, la Alameda de Hercules. One strategy we use while travelling for an extended period of time in a place with limited vegan options is to rent an apartment where we can buy local food and cook. This strategy is a good idea in Sevilla where pork is an almost fundamental part of the diet. Our apartment in Sevilla for both our trips was located on a small street off of a larger plaza like area called la Alameda de Hercules, and around the corner from a small shopping strip called Calle Feria. The covered mercado (market) on Calle Feria was our favorite place to purchase our fresh fruits and veggies for cooking. Our first trip was in the winter and second in the summer, and of course, each had a slightly different selection of seasonal produce to choose from. A couple of our favorite items to grab from the vegetable stand were the figs and cherries, each selected by hand from the stand owner and offered to us wrapped in...

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Mother’s Day In Albany

Mother’s Day In Albany

By on May 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

Featured Song:   I moved to Albany, NY about six years ago from Philadelphia, where the cuisine is pretty much a vegan dream (and we will get to Philly in later posts). Moving to Albany, on the other hand, has been a bit of a challenge for a vegan foodie, but this Mother’s Day we discovered a really fabulous vegan gem. Our day started with trip to the The Hindu Temple Society of the Capital District, where our friends and fellow musicians Veena and Devesh Chandra were offering a free Indian classical music workshop. This was the last day in a series of workshops they offer every year, which is quite a special treat considering that Veena is one of the foremost women sitar players in the world, and her son is an amazing tabla player as well. The workshop was intimate and beautiful and full of wisdom. In the kitchen we could smell Indian spices being cooked. Sadly, the workshop ended just as the kitchen closed. With our mouths watering for Indian cuisine, we decided to take a trip to Parivar Spices and Food, an Indian grocery store and cafe we had heard about. I must preface that my knowledge of Indian cuisine is from a very limited American perspective, but I have eaten quite a lot of Indian food around the country. The deli had so many selections of foods, many from South India, that I had never seen before, and I was eager to try something new. We knew that we love samosas and chutneys, so we decided to order the samosa chaat, which was unbelievably filling and delicious. It was a very affordably $5, and contained a mix of chopped samosa mixed with chickpea masala and topped with onion, tamarind and mint chutney. We sopped up our meal with an order of chapati,  a delicious flat bread.  They had a very comfortable and spacious seating area with highchairs for the baby, and their hours are an unbeatable Tuesday through Sunday, 10am-10pm. Now, I can’t really speak for the rest of the menu, but the samosa chaat is definitely worth going back there again and again. I look forward to trying something new next...

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Albuquerque and Flamenco

Albuquerque and Flamenco

By on May 13, 2013 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

Featured Song: We have stopped through Albuquerque several times on tours, often after long drives through the desert, with another long drive ahead of us. Sadly, we never had time to really get to know this beautiful place. Thankfully, this Spring’s flamenco study and family vacation allowed us a full week steeped in Nuevo Mexico cultura (not nearly enough, but a beginning) and delicious food. Our long time friend April is a flamenco dancer at The National Institute of Flamenco in Albuquerque. We have flown her into Albany to perform with us several times, and in turn, she has been encouraging us to come stay with her in New Mexico and check out the rich flamenco community she has become a part of. This spring our baby turned 1 and we decided it was time to celebrate and finally make this trip happen. I was going to dabble for the first time in flamenco dance classes at the conservatory, and we both had private music lessons lined up. Our eldest son was excited to check out the science and children’s museums in the city. And we were all interested in knowing more about the Native history, present experience and resistance movements. On our first day, April brought us on an a beautiful journey into the mountains of Jemez, joining many families on an Easter Sunday hike to a hot spring. As if that weren’t enough, that evening we were invited to a family paella party! We were reluctant because we know that vegan paella is far from the norm and we hate to be impolite guests. But we were reassured that April’s friend, an amazing cook, would have something special for us. Little did we know that she actually prepared a huge vegan spread which included our own vegan paella. My son, a serious foodie, was thrilled! It could not have been a more special end to our perfect first day in New Mexico. April wanted to take us out somewhere that would really highlight the delicious and unique cuisine of New Mexico. She chose a place called El Patio of Albuquerque, which as its name insinuates, has a relaxed outdoor seating area where locals of all types come...

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