What I Ate Wednesday: Just Another Lost Weekend, Part I

October 30th, 2013 - filed under: The Food » Food Styles


Oh hey, did you know I like Tom Waits? Yeah, it’s kind of a thing with me. You know, love his music, follow his work . . . named my kid after him. I guess you could say I’m a fan. (/sarcasm)

And this past weekend, my not-boyfriend and I took a little road trip, to see Mr Waits play a live benefit concert in northern California. And it’s sort of impossible for me to even begin to express the significance of this event – of Tom Waits. Of Tom Waits in my life. I actually started writing a story about it last year, about the way that Tom Waits and his music have been this constant thread in my life, all interconnected and synergistic, and all the giddy tiptoe kisses and all the gutwrench broken hearts. And that story is already 17 pages long, not even close to completion, so I do hope you’ll understand that there’s no way for me to explain the contextual significance of this weekend in any real or meaningful detail.

You’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it was profound. Cathartic. And it all started with a 300-mile drive. Oh, and some green juice, of course.


“Clean Out The Crisper” juice, made with spinach, carrots, celery, cucumber, apple, and orange. Plus a biiiig jar of Earl Grey, for sharing. (the green juice lids (small mouth) are EcoJarz and the Earl Grey lid (wide mouth) is a Cuppow. We love both of them!)

We hit the road pretty early, fueled by veggie juice and black tea and wanderlust. Which took us to about mid-morning. Luckily I’d packed snacks!

A proper brunch:


Cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, tortilla chips, and homemade hummus. The perfect road food.

That held us over until the afternoon. There was also a latte pit stop at some point in there, and then on the last leg of our drive we snacked on these fantastic RAW barbecue zucchini chips that we’d made on a whim very very late a few nights earlier, while wee Waits Rebhal was asleep (we had some serious zucchini overflow going on). “The couple that sits cross-legged on the living room floor in the middle of the night slicing mountains of zucchini together, stays together”, I think is how that old saying goes? Right?

These taste like Lays barbecue potato chips, I swear it. We didn’t measure but basically – a couple of pounds of zucchinis, sliced thin on an angle, marinated in olive oil + apple cider vinegar + tamari/soy sauce + smoked paprika + onion powder + garlic powder + liquid smoke, for 8-24 hours, then dehydrated at 110ºF overnight (about 12-15 hours). Light and crisp and perfectly munchable!

We reached San Francisco in the late afternoon/early evening, and headed straight for our hotel. The Hotel California. The hotel that houses Millennium restaurant!


We had later-night reservations for dinner at Millennium, so after checking in, relaxing a bit, and freshening up, we headed out for a bit of pre-dinner exploring. What we ended up finding was a bookstore-turned-bar, and some incredible seasonal cocktails.

For me, the “a la Mode” – rum, apple cordial, punt e mes, allspice dram, bitters. For him, the “Harvest Manhattan” – rye, house made pumpkin liqueur, dolin rouge, bitters. At Two Sisters Bar and Books.

These were some seriously fantastic cocktails, so elegantly crafted and seasonally spot-on. Perfect to combat the cold and windy weather outside!

I happen to think that drinks and great conversation should always be promptly followed by a knock-your-socks-off meal, don’t you?

Millennium ho!


We had no idea what we were in for. But it went something like this:


Roasted Beets – hazelnut oil, balsamic vinegar, thyme.

King Trumpet Mushroom & Hearts of Palm Ceviche – chili kumara coconut leche de tigre, avocado, heirloom tomato, Belgian endive, radish, crisp corn hominy.

Kimchi Scallion Crepes – housemade sriracha glazed grilled maitake mushrooms, ginger, lotus root & edamame relish, housemade sriracha aioli, butter lettuce & shiso.

Wilted Bloomsdale Spinach & Frisee Salad – smoked tofu, pink pearl apple, roasted potatoes, roasted balsamic cipollini onions, rosemary candied walnuts, cider vinegar reduction, vanilla thyme oil.

OM NOM NOM Special For Two – Sayward in high heels (!!!), dapper not-boyfriend, Italian Nebbiolo infusion, on a bed of vero amore with a waist-band-comfort-level reduction.

Black Garlic Sweet Soy Glazed Tempeh – coconut lemongrass risotto, bok choy, snap peas, baby carrots, carrot kaffir lime sambal, shungiku greens, pickled daikon, toasted peanuts.

Potato Tikki Cake – mustard green coconut saag with tofu paneer, roasted butternut squash, sweet pepper & cabbage hash with curry leaf & cumin, cucumber-red frill mustard-methi salad, sweet & spicy tamarind chutney, torpedo onion pakora. Highlight of the night, oh my god!

And when it was finally all said and done?

So full, so happy!

As we were getting ready to depart, I glanced across the room to the end of the bar, and . . . did a little double take! Whoa! I said to my not-boyfriend, that couple is a pair of dopplegangers for Whitney and Jason!

My not-boyfriend turned around, looked at the couple, looked back at me, and said Nope, that’s totally Whitney and Jason.

If you’re not familiar, Whitney Lauritsen – aka Eco-Vegan Gal – is an LA-based super sweet and totally kick-ass (also, absolutely stunning) vegan media maven who has taken YouTube by storm! And Jason Wrobel is an LA-based educator, chef, and host of the first ever vegan cooking show on TV, “How To Live To 100″. And together, they just so happen to be the cutest damn couple south of King City, California.

As we were getting ready to make our way over to say hi, Whitney and Jason began chatting all excitedly with another couple a bit further down the bar. And when the bartender moved out of the way, who did I see sitting there but freakin’ Colleen Patrick-Goudreau (she needs no explanation, right?) and her husband (who has the best hair, ever. period).

So of course we went over to say hi, because hello?! Serendipity! And it was like suddenly a giant bomb of vegan awesomeness exploded down at the end of the bar at Millennium. I’d met Whitney before at the last Vida Vegan Con, and Colleen I’d met at the first Vida Vegan Con, but I’d never met Jason or Colleen’s husband David, and of course, my not-boyfriend hadn’t met any of them. So handshakes were flying and hugs were hugging and then all of a sudden, to top it all off, a Bonzai reader and her man came up to say hi! (Hi guys!) Oh my god! So crazy.

As Jason later tweeted:

Screen Shot 2013-10-29 at 11.25.04 PM

Haha. Totally crazy. Totally awesome.

From there it was time for us to retire, and if I’m being honest I’ll also admit that we MAY have taken a Chocolate Almond Midnight (almond cashew crust, mocha chocolate filling, raspberry sauce, white chocolate mousse) to go, and eaten it in bed later that night.


So, I was going to post this whole big trip in one shebang, but this is already so picture-heavy that I think I’ll save the second day for a separate post. Coming soon!


Thank you so much to all the people who helped make it possible for us to eat/sleep/stay/explore the way we did on this trip. We couldn’t have done it without your generosity, so THANK YOU! You know who you are.

  • http://callofthe-wild.blogspot.com/ Francine

    aww sounds like a great trip! And awesome food. But how come you keep calling him the “not boyfriend”? Seems like he is.. ;)

  • http://www.imogenmichel.blogspot.co.uk/ Imogen Michel

    It looks as though you’ve been having a great time! The potato tikki cake looks fantastic :)

  • http://www.bring-joy.com/ Janae @ Bring-Joy

    Wow. That trip to the Millenium sounds like it was an out-of-this-world-uber-vegan love fest. Colleen! If I ever meet that lady I’m going to give her a big hug. The food looks A-mazing. Northern California is such a fab place. Thanks for sharing, you’re showing the world how freakin’ awesome it is to be veg.

    (what did little Waits do while you were on your trip?)

  • Sarah C.

    SO glad to see you so happy and loving life. I don’t believe in “deserving” happiness (or at least I’m not sure how I feel about that language) – but sometimes you see someone enjoying happiness and think “yep, that’s right and good, she should be that happy.” (And I think I want to live at a bar/bookstore).

  • fawn

    That food looks sooo good. Yum!

  • Tara Noland

    I completely understand what you mean about Tom Waits. I couldn’t describe what he and his music have meant to my life any better (or at all!) I actually found your blog a few years ago when I had hoped to register this domain name as my own… Haha. Of course, being nosey, I read through your older posts and am proud to say that you are part of what has influenced me to live a healthier, more conscious life! :-) Anyway, wonderful you were able to see him in concert again, and I can’t wait for the pictures!
    - Tara

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Haha, well, it’s mostly a joke (and partially not). When we met neither of us was looking for a relationship, especially me just fresh out of a divorce. Then things progressed and we realized “dammit, we are undeniably awesome together,” but I was still adamant about being NOT IN A RELATIONSHIP. So we started to refer to each other as “not-boyfriend” and “not-girlfriend” and it stuck. It’s good though – as much as we make it a joke, it really serves as a reminder for us to be present, in this moment now. We are not setting our relationship on cruise control by giving it some label and thus a set of rules to follow. Being undefined keeps us mindful, and we get to make the *choice* every day that “yes, I definitely do still want to be here with you”

    Anyway, it’s what’s working for us right now. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Such a great time! And that dish was unreal, unlike anything I’ve ever had before. Soooo amazing.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh man, it was! Such a delightful coincidence to see so many awesome vegans all in one place.

    Waits was with his papa all weekend. =)

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Aww, thank you so much Sarah. I may be happier than I’ve ever been, I just keep looking around and marveling at it all.

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    It was SO yum! =D

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    Oh that’s awesome Tara! What a wonderful way to find my site – a mutual adoration of Tom Waits. Love it!

  • http://www.bring-joy.com/ Janae @ Bring-Joy

    This is why I go to the only vegan restraunt in San Antonio–just to know I’m not alone in this meat-loving city. S.A. is actually hosting a “Meatopia” festival–can you believe it?!

    How nice for you to have a break & for Waits to be well taken care of! Such a necessity for mamas to get some time away…

  • rebelgrrrlraechel

    Sayward, this sounds like a magical weekend already. I have to say that I feel like I am having a similar autumn to the one you had on your hiatus, and reading your posts this year give me so much HOPE that bright times are ahead.

    And as for Tom Waits, I’ve always liked him but have never been a super-fan. That said, my cousin and his fiancee were definitely super-fans, but sadly my cousin’s fiancee passed away last year at the age of 26 from a rare form of cancer. I guess they used to take really long car-rides together and so my cousin played guitar and sang “Long Way Home” at her funeral. It was one of the most moving things I’d ever witnessed and that song still gives me chills.

    Love and light, friend.

  • Sarah

    So very, very jealous that you got to see Tom Waits! I can’t even begin to explain the impact that he and his music have had upon me; he’s changed the way I think about music, life, and pretty much everything. I don’t think that any artist has ever made such an impression on me. Desperately waiting for him to come to the UK again so that I can hopefully see him! Hope you had the most amazing time!

  • http://luminousvegans.com/ luminousvegans

    I want to eat every dish you had at Millennium. They all look so great. And how awesome to meet up with (again) Eco-vegan gal, Whitney and Jason. And Colleen Patrick-Goudreau! Anxiously awaiting when I can drool over the Chocolate Almond Midnight. It sounds divine! I’m all for eating in beds or on sofas…basically comfy eating is good.

  • Shango

    Oh man, Millennium. I miss that place. That was a stand out when I lived in San Francisco.

  • Emily

    You look so happy in the pictures – such a beautiful thing! And that juice looks so good. Love looking at your food pictures!

  • http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/ Sayward Rebhal

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re having a tumultuous time. Luckily those times are usually because of great transition, and for powerful, positive people (like you!) that usually means a BLOOM into a beautiful, better path. But getting there can be hard, and I feel for you if you’re struggling now. Lots of love. ♥

    I’m so sorry to hear about your cousin’s fiancee. What a moving tribute though, that must have been powerful. That song is so tender.

    ♥ ♥ ♥