Optimistic Vegan


Vegan in Texas
April 5, 2011, 8:32 am
Filed under: Food, Lifestyle, Restaurants, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

When my dad and I went to Houston, Texas to see Jane Goodall we expected to have some difficulty finding vegan restaurants. Although we did have some difficulty and we relied heavily on Happy Cow, we survived!

As soon as we checked in to our hotel, we asked the hotel clerk  if there were any vegetarian places nearby. She said that her dad used to frequent the Hobbit Café and that he used to be a vegetarian. We then learned that the other clerk had tried to be vegetarian for a while, but ended up stopping. We didn’t expect to find anything promising, so that was good news! We did go to the Hobbit Café, and the food was great: Portabella Mushroom Fajitas. It was even voted “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” in Houston. We actually found this a little disconcerting because most of their menu contained meat products. It had a lot of character and it all worked out, but it was much different from the highest-rated vegetarian restaurant in good old Seattle.

In addition to the Hobbit Café we also went to a vegan Chinese buffet (decent, but not my favorite, but entirely vegan!) after going to the first few destinations listed at the Happy Cow–only to find out they no longer existed. We later found a Whole Foods Market and got some food for dinner.

Even though it was more difficult, I had a great time finding vegan food in Houston. I feel like if even Texas, popularly known mostly for its steak-devouring cowboys, is offering more vegan-friendly options then veganism must really be going somewhere!

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Happy Cow is a website that has a list of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. There’s a great app for Android (and I’m assuming iPhone) that uses GPS to tell you the nearest veg restaurants.

*My preconceptions about Texas food come from what I’ve heard about Texas being more about cattle raising and eating beef than vegetarian food.

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Bob Parson’s Elephant Hunt
April 1, 2011, 9:28 am
Filed under: Animal Rights, Celebrities, Travel | Tags: , , , ,

I’m sure some of you have seen the video that Bob Parson, CEO of GoDaddy.com, has posted on his website depicting a hunt of “problem elephant.” According to Parson, Zimbabwe has an elephant overpopulation problem and they’re trampling farmers’ crops. The only way to solve this problem is to kill them.

This could potentially be a tricky situation. The people of Zimbabwe need to eat, and the elephants shouldn’t be allowed to trample their only source of food, but I’m not sure killing them is a good solution to the problem. If it were just the residents that were killing elephants to protect their food source, and due to a lack of resources they couldn’t do something like build an electrical fence then I think we would have more sympathy. The problem that I see is that a wealthy American is doing this “great” service for them by killing their little infestation problem. If he has enough money to take time out of his life and fly to Zimbabwe to go on a killing spree, then I’m willing to bet he has enough to responsibly solve the problem more humanely.

Another thing that really bothers me about Parson is that he thinks he’s doing such a great thing. He talks about how impoverished the people of Zimbabwe are and how dependent they are on him and his rifle. Without him, these people would starve! If he actually cared about them, he would help solve the problem in a way that solves it long-term, by providing the resources to build a fence or by providing them with food. All he actually cares about is the opportunity to kill an elephant, which is illegal most everywhere else.

Finally, he turned his video into just another commercial for his business. At the end he zooms in on a GoDaddy.com hat that one of the Zimbabwe residents is wearing. In an interview he says that he always “grab[s] whatever I have in swag and give to these guys, because they have nothing.” Really? You’re such a humanitarian. If you actually cared, bring some fresh food and water next time.

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Baby elephant!