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Eating Local in Portland, ME

Eating Local in Portland, ME

By on Oct 21, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

Since 2009 my band, Taina Asili y la Banda Rebelde, has visited Maine to perform at one of the many festivals they have at Harry Brown’s Farm in Starks. For the past six years we have driven north to join with our New England family in epic festival adventures. After a beautiful night of singing and dancing, our morning ritual is head to Portland, where we sit down at Local Sprouts Cafe and recap on our previous night of fun over a plate of the most delicious local food. I remember the excitement I felt the first day I walked into this cooperatively run cafe, and saw a menu full of vegan and gluten-free options and a map on the wall which indicated all the places in Maine from which their food derived. As a mom, I was glad to see that they had a large children’s area full of toys. And as a musician, I was happy to see their beautiful stage and full piano situated near the front window. And as someone invested in caring for our environment, I was impressed with their delineated bins for recycling, compost, and landfill waste. And as a vegan food enthusiast, I was delighted by their delicious food options. On this year’s stop there, Gaetano and I both ordered one of their many tofu scrambles, which also include toast and organic home fries. I ordered the “Bones,” which was a tofu scramble with curry-roasted Maine root vegetables, organic greens, and onion. Gaetano ordered the “Garden Backyard” tofu scramble, which included organic Lalibela Farm black bean tempeh, organic greens and house salad. In my opinion, tofu scramble can be hit or miss at different restaurants on our travels, but my experience at Local Sprouts has always been consistently delicious and super flavorful. And though I am gluten-free these days, I have loved their vegan pancakes drenched in their highly quality Maine maple syrup. And they have many more vegan options to choose from, including a number of vegan gluten-free desserts. If you are ever in Portland, Maine, especially with children in tow, treat yourselves to Local Sprouts...

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Birthdays and Vegan Bliss In Berlin

Birthdays and Vegan Bliss In Berlin

By on Oct 9, 2015 in Blog |

Taina Asili

The last day of our Break the Chains European Tour this past June landed us in Berlin, Germany. It has always been a dream of mine to visit Berlin, and it was even more exciting that I would have the opportunity to perform there. But the most exciting part of our visit was that we were there on the 12th birthday of my eldest child. What an incredible way for a travel loving vegan foodie to celebrate this special day! The entire tour we promised him that when we arrived in Berlin, we would feed him some of the best vegan food in the world, and we aimed to deliver on that promise. However, we had some logistical constraints we needed to be mindful of. We had a performance in the evening, and needed to make sure we arrived on time. So any where we chose to eat had to be situated near our venue. Luckily, Berlin is a vegan haven, full of food options around every corner. And it just so happened that not too far from our venue was a vegan creperie called Let It Be. My son loves vegan crepes ever since he had one in Montpelier, VT at The Skinny Pancake, so he was excited to taste what Let It Be had to offer. When we walked in, we were first impressed by the bright, artistic and family friendly atmosphere of the restaurant. There was a corner with children’s books and toys for families to use. Looking at the menu was very excited, filled with vegan crepes, burgers and sandwiches, as well as breakfast and desert options. We also excited about the dishes named after many artists we like, such as the Erykah Badu, the Woody Harrelson or the Joan Jett. In fact, I think we were a little too excited based on the surprise of the person taking our order by the amount of food we were ordering. One of our orders was the Erykah Badu crepe, with semi-sweet and mildly spicy chickpea curry and chutney. We also ordered the Daryl Hannah, with sun-dried tomatoes, beet root-carpaccio, arugula and mint pesto. Since I am gluten-free these days, I ordered the Johnny Marr, with gluten-free bread, caramelized tofu, apple, walnuts and chutney. My son also begged us...

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10 Tips For Easy Vegan Family Travel

10 Tips For Easy Vegan Family Travel

By on Oct 3, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments

Taina Asili

After 18 years traveling the world as a vegan musician, and 12 years of traveling as a vegan family, I have learned quite a few traveling tips that might come in handy to you. Planning ahead and knowing what to look for while you are on the road can make a huge difference in your family’s travel experience. 1.  Reserve a place where you can cook. Especially if I am sticking around in an area for more than a day or two, I like to look for an inexpensive apartment or house to rent with a kitchen (which can be found on websites like airbnb.com or homeaway.com). Many hotels also have rooms with a kitchenette, or at least a mini fridge. The ability to cook and refrigerate will save money, and offer you the opportunity to explore the fruits and veggies of the local markets, which is particularly fun if you are in another country. It is also a great way for your kids to feel a sense of home in a new place. Some of our fondest traveling memories have been cooking as a family in a new place. 2. Save money by packing lunch and snacks. Nut butter and jelly or hummus sandwiches are a quick vegan food you can make in the morning before you head out on your adventure. Packing healthy snacks such as fruit, nuts, trail mix and bars are also essential. I always pack a soft cooler and an ice pack that I can tuck into my luggage and pull out at my destination to pack our family’s food. 3. Bring small boxes of vegan milk. If you are staying in a hotel or bed and breakfast that offers food in the mornings, having a 6-pack of your favorite vegan milk (like soy, almond or coconut) can come in very handy if they are offering cereal or oatmeal. I prefer a 6-pack of the small boxes, rather than a larger container, because then you can use what you need and keep the rest of the boxes closed for future use without having to keep them cold. Just in case, I will often bring (or grab on the road) some cereal or instant oatmeal...

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