Bacteria and all.

by Holly on April 14, 2010

in dinner,eating out,meet-up

First, thank you for all your lovely comments + e-mails on my last post regarding frustration. I never say it enough, but all you readers constantly amaze me with your insight, wisdom + support! I appreciate you letting me release my feelings via writing (the best way I know how) – it has given me such confidence to pursue my writing dreams.  And for that, I thank you.

Second, do you ever have one of those days where everything that could go wrong inevitably does go wrong? As in, you walk out your front door at 6:45am only to find yourself holding the broken doorknob in your hand and locked in your apartment? How’s running into a car accident, train crossing and every single red light possible on your way to work?  What about a hole in your favorite skirt, massive paper cut across your thumb and shoving down lunch while cleaning up after people who just ate?  Do you ever have a two-inch-long centipede fall from the ceiling into your bathtub as you are bathing then proceed to jump out of the tub screaming at the top of your lungs like a 13-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert?

Or wait, is that just me?

Yes, it was that kind of day.  Luckily however, I got to meet up with three lovely ladies at The Green Owl Cafe – the only vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Madison!  If you know Madison at all, this is an incredibly surprising fact, seeming as this homey Midwestern town is known for its liberal, hippie ways.

How’s about some “Home-style Vegetarian & Vegan Food for People Who Love Food?”

Yes please, preferably with a side of kale chips.

Feeling quite frisky (maybe it was the 4-mile run beforehand sending those endorphins flowing?), I started with something completely new to me…


You know how I mentioned kombucha scares me? Well, call me a convert, because I downed this sucker – bacteria and all.

Then, I went to town on this Vegetarian Meatball Sub….

Those would be homemade eggplant balls.  <insert inappropriate joke here>

With it, I got my side of kale chips crisps…

I am a firm believer that a pickle makes a meal complete.


Homemade vegan desserts?

Well, don’t mind if we do.

Split four ways, we’ve got a slice of Vegan Marshmallow Mud Pie

…as well as the winner for the most intriguing dish of the night, Vegan Parsnip Cake with Lemon Glaze

Even though it had a distinct parsnip taste (as well as chunks of parsnips, right Allison?), I must admit this cake was good.  We decided it’s probably not something we would ever crave or order again, but I am glad we sampled it. Convincing myself I racked up one serving of vegetables eating it helped as well.

My adorable, lovely dining companions…

Allison + Kristie

Julie + I

In case you are wondering, I did go to dinner straight from that 4-mile run.  Turns out time management isn’t my strong suit.  However, I figured if you are to go to dinner a smelly, sweaty mess; you might as well be meeting up with other healthy living bloggers who understand the importance of exercise.

We may or may not have also gone to the co-op after dinner, and I may or may not have purchased another kombucha. Bacteria and all, I sense an addiction coming on.

Have you tried kombucha? This is my first time, and I can say – it was surprisingly refreshing.

What’s the most intriguing dish you’ve tried lately? The aforementioned parsnip cake was definitely something I had never tried OR even seen before!


Erica April 15, 2010 at 12:01 am

Sorry it was one of those days. Did you read Alexander and the no good, very bad day when you were little? I always think of that book when I have a bad day. What a yummy meal- the sub looks incredible. I am yet to try the bacteria…I’m too nervous I will hate it after paying all that $$

Madeline - Greens and Jeans April 15, 2010 at 12:06 am

I’ve been a huge parsnip fan recently, so that cake definitely intrigues me… I’d say that the grapefruit bars I threw together the other day due to a mass quantity of said fruit are one of the most interesting flavor combos I’ve had in the past week

Laura April 15, 2010 at 12:10 am

I haven’t tried kombucha, in fact I haven’t seen it anywhere and don’t really know much about it.

Although its not actually a dish I was intrigued to try Blue Cheese and purchased some last week. I wish I hadn’t.. its was the most foul tasting thing to ever pass my lips and I could not rid my poor taste buds of its flavour for about an hour.

I feel your pain re the centipede, I have horrible millipedes (that seem to be immune to surface spray)coming into my house from every direction at the moment, whilst I haven’t bathed with one I have stepped on quite a few of the crunchy little fellows and they give the creeps.

Shelley April 15, 2010 at 12:44 am

i adore kombucha! and omg htat dinner looks so good- i am sooooo sad i missed it :( ugh. another time??

Lynn @ The Actors Diet April 15, 2010 at 1:15 am

i don’t know why “vegan parsnip cake” sounds so good…only hippies like us would think that, huh?

Diana April 15, 2010 at 1:27 am

Phew, sorry you had a tough day!
I’ve never tried kombucha, I don’t think we have it here in Portugal. I’ve never seen it anywhere at least.
The most intriguing.. I honestly don’t remember. I’m not hugely adventurous when it comes to food and I don’t eat out very often!

Kristie April 15, 2010 at 4:59 am

Looking at that Marshmallow Mud Pie makes me want to order it all over again. Maybe twice ;).

Jessica @ How Sweet It Is April 15, 2010 at 5:37 am

Hope today goes better for you, girl! Those days are the worst. And I love kombocha!!!!

Lauren April 15, 2010 at 5:59 am

Oh no!!! I am so sorry you had such a terrible day! Awww, hun I would have traded that Kombucha for a couple glasses of red wine after the day you had. But at least it seemed to end well.

Today will be great! I promise! :)

Amy B @ Second City Randomness April 15, 2010 at 6:23 am

I’m sorry you had such a randomly awful day! I’ve had those… and by the end of it, everything bad that happens just make me laugh. I’m not sure if I’m trying to make light of the situation, or it’s a crazy laugh from how awful I feel… either way- it happens.

Michal April 15, 2010 at 7:42 am

I love kombucha! Love love love! I love GT’s mango flavor – its my favorite.

Jenny April 15, 2010 at 7:58 am

sorry about the ick-tastic day. Today will be better for you, I just know it :)

sending you peanut butter covered hugs and kisses, Holly Bear!! Mi amo mucho <3

Nicole @ Geek Turned Athlete April 15, 2010 at 8:16 am

I hope things are going a little better than they were yesterday! You look great, and clean up well considering you were just on a run. I would have had a halo around my head if I went out after working out! That is the price of curly hair (or at least MY curly hair). ;)

Lauren @ Eater Not a Runner April 15, 2010 at 8:26 am

I love kombucha…’s addictive!

brandi April 15, 2010 at 8:36 am

wow, that place looks awesome! what a fun dinner :)

and I’ve never tried Kombucha. It’s so expensive!!!

katie April 15, 2010 at 9:05 am

TOTALLY agree w. the pickle thang. PREACH SISTA!!!

Susan April 15, 2010 at 9:18 am

Parsnip cake?? Oooh, this intrigues me!! They’re a little bitter, and I can’t see the texture lending itself nicely to a cake. But at the same time, I really want to try it now.

“I am a firm believer that a pickle makes a meal complete.”

Ditto. I will always find a way to add pickles to my meals, and I usually succeed.

1. No one in my province has even heard of kombucha yet let alone tried it. We are soooo behind the times.

2. I had an apple coleslaw with sunflower seeds a couple weeks ago that was pretty darn intriguing :)

Oh, and did all those things really happen to you!? Dang. I hope your Thursday is looking up!! xoxo

Morgan April 15, 2010 at 9:33 am

Pickles really do make every meal complete. If not pickles, then banana peppers!
That parsnip cake would have made me a little nervous, but looks like a great meal all together!

Chelsea @ (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) April 15, 2010 at 9:36 am

Parsnip cake is a new frontier in vegan baking innovation. That actually looks really good!

I ADORE kombucha and have been drinking it fairly religiously for at least five years now. So glad you enjoyed it! A friend of mine brews his own, and apparently, you can divide the cultures up and share your “kombucha babies” with others so that they may brew their own at home….I think I’ll stick to the flavored/bottled variety though….haha.

Whitney @ Lettuce Love April 15, 2010 at 9:54 am

I really want to try kombucha — it looks a little scary but I think I could handle it. I need to face my fear! Glad you had such good food and awesome company at your meet-up :)

samantha April 15, 2010 at 10:05 am

those days are cuhrayzay, but i love how something as simple as a fun dinner can turn it all around. always about putting things in perspective, i guess.

plus, i wish i could look like that after a four mile run! i’m always a sweaty, red beast. oh well.

*Andrea* April 15, 2010 at 10:45 am

you look super cute. kale chips at a restaurant?!? wish this would catch on… and sweet potato rounds and oiaj lol

Amy Hansen April 15, 2010 at 11:12 am

The centipede was too much, I think I got goosebumps just reading that. eesh.

Julie @savvyeats April 15, 2010 at 11:23 am

Sorry that your morning was rough, but at least the day ended well, right? ;)

Diana @ frontyardfoodie April 15, 2010 at 11:28 am

I seriously need to get into kombucha more. I know that I could benefit but for some reason that kick of bacteria is a little much for me. Maybe I just need to keep at it.

Graze With Me April 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

You tried Kombucha?

I LOVE YOU!!! (sorry, too much??) And I love that you liked it!

Parsnip cake? Uhhh. A dessert that counts as a veggie? SOLD.

Adrien April 15, 2010 at 12:05 pm

I haven’t been able to find kombucha anywhere- except for in yogi green tea- it’s pretty good that way though- I need to do some more reading about it- figure out what makes it so hot

Jenna April 15, 2010 at 12:20 pm

never tried kombucha-but i really wanna :)
restaurant looks fab!

janetha April 15, 2010 at 1:22 pm

i love the green owl! i have said this before, even though i have never been. but i love owls, therefore i love that restaurant. and it has KOMBUCHA? that, my friend, is awesome. i am glad you embraced it. it is so damn good.. and expensive. i hate the word moist, but it describes my new recipe for protein banana cake to a T.


Lisa April 15, 2010 at 1:53 pm

funny you said that about kombucha!! I just bought some yesterday and I am pretty dang scared to try it as well!

Kacy April 15, 2010 at 2:02 pm

Did that centipede thing really happen??? Oh Holly bless your heart! I had a similar incident with a spider once, but it basically just crawled up to the ledge and jumped in because it wanted to eat me. I subsequently jumped out and ran naked screaming into the living. I lived with my parents. Fail.

I love vegan/veg restaurants. So much fun! And the desserts sound spectacular!

I’ve never tried kombucha. I know I would love it, but I’m scurred to get addicted since it’s pretty much fo’ dollas a pop, and I can’t afford that kind of addiction.

I hope today is shaping up much better for you dear!

Katie April 15, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Sorry about your crapola day, miss. I’ve been having those a lot lately, too… it must be catching!

This was almost a year ago, but when I was in Germany I tried a lot of things made with elderberries… sweet and savory alike! I loved ithe flavor.

Kate April 15, 2010 at 2:17 pm

i love kombucha! it is a full on addiction for me. i try to limit my pruchases to when i can find it on sale tho.

the marshmellow pie looks freaking amazing!

Allison April 15, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Oh parsnip cake… you’re flavors are so mysterious and your chunks… well, they’re just kind of weird. lol.

I had a blast with you guys last night! I’m drinking my cosmic cranberry as I type. I have to be honest, the bacteria “blob” was floating and I just took it down in my last sip. I forgot to pound it and I felt the nastiness go down (wow, awkward)… it was not my favorite feeling.

As for the much needed soap, I’m not sure if it worked or not but I don’t feel like people are avoiding me so that’s a good sign that I don’t smell. Here’s to hoping… :)

Naomi(onefitfoodie) April 15, 2010 at 2:44 pm

YUM that dinner looks so good! i cant believe restaurants are serving kale chips! ahh I need to find a restaurant in boston that serves them!! (or I guess I could just makethem on my own)

LOVE kombucha, it is def an acquired taste and i LOVE it!! I have a guava one in my fridge right now and can’t wait to try it!!

Brynne April 15, 2010 at 3:17 pm

So glad you like the kombucha! I think it’s very refreshing too – I crave it with salty popcorn .. is that weird? It’s fine.

runnerforever April 15, 2010 at 3:57 pm

Those are the best looking vegan desserts I have seen in a long time!
I never have tried komboucha, looks interesting though.

Susan April 15, 2010 at 4:24 pm

You look hella fierce for coming straight off of a 4-miler!

What an amazing restaurant! Feed me eggplant balls any day! (Is it wrong that I have completely inappropiate images of personafied vegetables floating in my head now and it’s making me giggle? Nawww)

BroccoliHut April 15, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Wow, this restaurant looks fab! Don’t be surprised if I ever show up in Madison and demand that you take me there. Any place that serves kale chips deserves my business!

Adam April 16, 2010 at 12:29 am

Madison sounds a lot like where i live, except there is one big difference… At least you have ONE vegan option. There are literally none in Windsor. I have to cross the border to Detroit if i am feeling some fresh vegan cuisine… Your meal looks amazing. Eggplant balls? I love eggplant and i love… well, we’ll just stick with eggplant. But it can’t be any less tasty in ball form so i would definitely give that a try! I wish i lived in a place that was within like 2-3 hours of any these blogger meet-ups i have read about. I feel so out of the loop! For some reason, a big slice of parsnip cake sounds so delicious to me right now… Your life is full of interesting eats! I love it!

Alison April 16, 2010 at 5:46 am

So fun! I wish I could have come. I must go to the green owl!

I’m sure you know this Kombucha doesn’t have bacteria = it has yeast. Yeasts are much bigger than bacteria.

I’m not a big fan of the kombucha I picked up at willy st coop. It was OK but ever since a blogger and my little 7yo boy said it tastes like vinegar it kinda set me off.

I’ve been delving into whole wheat bread baking and ice cream making. Completely traditional flavors to boot! I’m not very adventurous!

K from ksgoodeats April 16, 2010 at 11:00 am

Get out of here! I’d travel to Madison just for that restaurant – what a divine meal! Sorry you’ve been feeling frusterated and having a rough go this week. I hope that your weekend is mucho better! You deserve to let your hair down :)

Oh and the centipede thing didn’t happen to me but there was one on my friend and I ran away from her screaming like Justin Bieber. Although, it was years ago so it was more like Aaron Carter.

Dawn April 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm

That veg meatball sub looks aaamazing! I haven’t gotten on board the kombucha train yet–maybe I should!

Gabriela (froyolover) April 16, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Lovely post as always, girl :)
Delicious vegan sub!
Have a great weekend!
Brazilian XOXO´s,

Katie April 16, 2010 at 2:48 pm

First, I love Kombucha. Wish I had a million dollars to supply me for life.

Also, I love veggies and I love cake – but togehter?? Oh wait, I LOVE carrot cake. Did it taste like carrot cake at all? Parsnips kind of look like carrots. I would have to try this one first, I’m not totally convinced.

I put 1/2 a sweet ‘tater in my green monster this morning…it was interesting.

Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) April 16, 2010 at 6:54 pm

1) I agree that pickles make everything better.

2) I am guilty of going to dinner after a run too. ;)

3) You look so pretty regarldess of having just run 4 miles.


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