Oprah’s Favorite Things: Cracker Box Palace ("You get a rescue goat! And you get a rescue goat! EVERYBODY GETS A RESCUE GOAT!!!")*

Sunday, February 6th, 2011

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So you’ve vicariously tasted the yummy vegan eats at The Owl House as part of veganmofo iv, and last week I introduced you to Ms. Chicktoria. Though it’s now four months after the fact, there’s still one set of vacation photos I’d like to share from my September visit to Rochester. Because they’re from an ANIMAL SANCTUARY and who doesn’t like pictures of SUPER-CUTE RESCUE ANIMALS, hmmmm? Besides, it’s like zero degrees outside and there’s a three-foot snow drift on my patio and I could use a vacation, even if only in my own head.

Initially, my sis and I had our hearts set on visiting Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen – but unfortunately the fall tour hours (weekends only!), coupled with the lengthy drive time and previous commitments, just didn’t fit into our schedule. My mom suggested that we instead visit Cracker Box Palace Farm Animal Haven, a new-ish farmed animal sanctuary located in Alton, NY. (Alton is a short drive from Sodus – which is where I spent the first five years of my life – and Sodus, in turn, is a 45-minute drive from Rochester. In comparison, Watkins Glen is twice as far.)

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According to the group’s website, CBP opened in 2001 on a 50-acre former migrant farm. Originally dedicated to horse rescue and rehab, the sanctuary is now home to geese, ducks, chickens, rabbits, goats, sheep, and several breeds of pigs as well. Currently, it’s leasing and attempting to purchase Alasa Farms, a 500-acre historic Shaker farm.

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The weekend we visited, the group was holding a fair to help raise funds for the purchase.

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Before we begin, a bit of a disclaimer: on its website, Cracker Box Palace isn’t particularly forthcoming about its positions on animal rights and veganism/vegetarianism. In some newsletters, for example, the founders allude to the cruelties of factory farming and ask for donations of vegetarian cookbooks for CBP’s gift shop. They also speak approvingly of Farm Sanctuary and credit its courses with teaching them the skills necessary to start and run an animal sanctuary. (While you may disagree with some of Farm Sanctuary’s positions – and I do – the group does include animal rights and veganism in its advocacy.)

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Hooo! Hooo! It’s the mofo Owl House review! (Spoiler: There will be vegan mozzarella sticks!)

Monday, November 1st, 2010

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The terribly charming exterior of The Owl House, a vegan-/vegetarian-friendly and sometimes-gluten-free eatery located in Rochester, New York.
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Happy World Vegan Day! Happy VeganMoFo! Happy happy joy joy. Now if only the Missouri weather would read the shiny happy vegan memo. (Seriously, sun, my faux-you lamp is busted and I’ve no idea how much of this yuckiness I can tolerate. Come out, come out, wherever you are…)

Ahem. Anyway. If the pre-veganmofo tweet/buzz is any indication, it seems that most every mofo’er has a theme this year. Being, shall we say, not culinarily inclined, my “theme” (if I must choose one) is reviews: books, mostly (I have almost a dozen titles in the queue, oy vey, and veganmofo seems the perfect excuse to knock a few of ’em off the list), but also kitchen gadgets and restaurants!

And so, to kick off the fourth annual VeganMoFo, I present to you: my first-ever restaurant review! During the recent trip I took to my hometown of Rochester, New York, my family and I visited The Owl House, a new-ish eatery with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. (Cue: vacation photos! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!) Let the mofo’ing begin!

The who: My family, including my sister, Michelle (a vegetarian/aspiring vegan; imho, “freegan” is the label that she wears best); my brother, Mike (a shameless omnivore/carnist); my father, Steve (a longtime vegetarian); my mother, Wendy (a guilty-but-stubborn omnivore); and my grandmother, Vita (an omnivore who’s not altogether ignorant re: all things vegetarian, since she raised my father and all) – and myself, of course.

The what: The Owl House, a vegan-/vegetarian-friendly, slightly upscale-in-a-yuppie-hipster-kind-of-way restaurant located in downtown Rochester. [website; Facebook page]

The when: mid-September 2010, on a Thursday night, just before the dinner rush.

The where: 75 Marshall Street, Rochester, NY 14607.

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The Owl House’s too-cute menu, which is also available on its website.
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While my sister (who currently lives in Sacramento) and I were in Rochester, our mom was eager to try out all kinds of “vegan stuff” (here, loosely defined as “animal-friendly”) with us: meals, bakeries, restaurants – sanctuaries, even. Unfortunately, it proved tough to make plans, let alone keep them (so busy was she caring for some of our older relatives), but we were able to visit The Owl House. I guess it helps that Thursday night was Dinner with Grandma Vita Night, and since her schedule was rather tight as well, rescheduling was not an option. So anyhow, this was a family dinner in which the non-veg members were more than happy to accommodate their vegan and vegetarian counterparts.

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Friday Random Cuteness: Down on the "Farm"

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

This pic was taken a few years back at Lollypop Farm, the local Humane Society that cares for “farm” animals such as pigs, horses, and goats in addition to your standard “pets”. We lived nearby, and Ralphie loved strutting his stuff around the on-ground trails and into the park next door.

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I’d love, love, love (!) to take the three furbabies there while we’re in town, but right now it’s kinda iffy. Shane’s sick, and I doubt I can handle all three of the monsters on my own. Peedee and Rennie have never been, though, so it’d be great if we can make the trip. I promise to post some better pictures if we manage it.

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Tagged:

Vegan Donuts & Vacation Pics

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Those dozen or so readers who have been with easyVegan since the beginning (meaning, June ’06) know that I just came back from twenty-one glorious days of vacation a few weeks ago. Well, I finally have the inevitable vacation pictures available for perusal over at Flickr. Just a tad bit late, yes, but in my defense my little sis managed to infect me with her germies right before I left, so I’ve spent most of the past two weeks in bed or, during my more lucid moments, doing mindless dreg work on the ‘puter. I’ll only post a small selection here, so if you’re one of those sickos who actually enjoys looking at other people’s vacation slideshows (gasp!), check out my Road Trippin’ ’06 set on Flickr.

First up – THOSE VEGAN DONUTS from Ronald’s Donuts in Las Vegas:

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Yes, yes, I know – one of the donuts does have a huge hunk missing. It’s in my belly. Well, technically, I guess they all ended up in my belly, but that half was ingested in the seconds before I snapped the pic. You see, I was so excited by the presence of VEGAN DONUTS that I wolfed half of ’em down before I even thought to take a picture.

Luckily, we bought a second batch before our departure:

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Have you ever seen anything so beautiful? It brings a tear. (Guess you’ve gotta be a veg*n to understand.)

Sadly, the donuts didn’t fare too well on the plane ride back. I still ate ’em, though. Hey, it’s hard to completely annihilate such sweetness.

Interestingly, Grist ran a story on green/veggie food options in Sin City not long after we returned to Kansas. It wasn’t a huge kick in the arse – having spent an afternoon researching vegan eateries on Happy Cow before the trip, I was well-versed on all the guilt-free options available in Vegas – but it was fun to note which of the featured businesses we had hit up during our weeklong stay. We went grocery shopping at the new Whole Foods mentioned in the article, and ordered lunch from Rainbow’s End Natural Foods & CafĂ©. It isn’t nearly the dealio as is Ron’s Donuts (c’mon, what trumps VEGAN DONUTS!?), but it definitely rocks the strip. Certainly, Vegas is unexpectedly welcoming to veg*ns – just don’t go there during the summer months. Trust me.

And DO stop by Ronald’s, at least once. Screw the diet, it’s worth it.

While in Vegas, we also…

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