Cinnamon Snail Giving Fans a Holiday Treat

NYC pay attention! The Cinnamon Snail is going into hibernation for a month…well, sort of. They’ll be off the street but hard at work to bring more goodness in 2014. The snail has had an eventful year. (I can only guess what the parking ticket count is at?) And they’re going out cheap…for you at least. Tomorrow, they’ll be giving away one menu item to each person until the food is gone.

Tips from a regular snail-crawler:

1) Go early: And I do mean early. I typically go around 11:45am, just before the noon rush, to any of the mid-town-ish locations. I got to Park Ave this Friday at 11:30 and there was already a line forming. So, def give yourself a little leeway time tomorrow.

2) Go with little expectations: Everything’s good…but it’s going to go…fast. Don’t have your heart set on one menu item; be happy with what you can get…hell, try something new…oh, oh, or close your eyes, spin around, and then randomly pick something. When I went on Friday, there were massive gaps in the dessert case and it wasn’t even lunch time yet. I repeat: It’s all good and it’s a gift so be nice.

3) Pay it forward: Get something good, like a sandwich from your favorite food truck, give something good, like cans of veggies to your local food drive. Or put in all or part of what you would have paid into the donation cup for Farm Sanctuary. Tis the season. Go forth and be snaily.

See the press release below, sent out this afternoon, for the word straight from the Snail and check their Twitter feed (and probably their Facebook) in the A.M.

Wishing everyone on the crew a happy sabbatical! Thanks for being so dope.

Cinnamon Snail Food Truck

Photo courtesy of The Cinnamon Snail

Sunday December 22, 2013

For Immediate Release:

A Cinnamon Snail Holiday Gift to NYC

The Cinnamon Snail is shutting down for about a month while we complete work on our new kitchen and NEW TRUCK!

As a way of returning the love to NYC that we are shown every day, we are going to make everything on the truck FREE for our last day out before our break! (MONDAY 12/23)

ANYTHING YOU WANT ON OUR MENU IS FREE!

There will be a limit of one free menu item and one pastry per person.  We will stock as heavily as we can, -really, we will stick the truck to absolute capacity, but all free food will be available until we run out. So, please don’t be mad with us if you show up late and we are out of food.  It’s first come first serve.

Exact location will be announced Monday morning, so please keep an eye on our twitter @veganlunchtruck, or www.facebook.com/TheCinnamonSnail for the exact details.

Thank you so much for making 2013 a great year for us.  Aside from rocking the streets really hard, here are some other highlights of 2013 for us:

-We were nominated for the 4th year in a row for the Vendy Awards and were took home the Vendy Hero award for the relief work and free food we served after hurricane sandy.  

-We were awarded the 2013 Compassionate Commerce award by Farm Sanctuary for our efforts in bringing vegan food to the mainstream.

-We were named one of the top 10 food trucks in America by the Huffington Post.  

-We were named Americas Favortie Vegetarian Food Truck by mobile cuisine magazine for the 2nd year in a row.

-We took the Vegnews Veggie award again for best Food Cart in America.

-Our thanksgiving catering service was way bigger than ever this year (we served vegan thanksgiving dinner to more than 1000 families), and it went smoother than ever thanks to our kick ass staff.

You have all been patient, supportive, inspiring people to cook for, and it is truly an honor to serve you all. We love you guys lots and lots. Looking forward to crushing it on the streets like never before, and making even yummier food in 2014!

- Chef Adam Sobel, and the Cinnamon Snail crew.

In defense of VEGA

Considering all the health articles in books and magazines touting the benefits of animal products, one might think vegans are setting themselves up for failure. Something like only 2% of the population is vegan, or at least self identifies as such. For all that literature, for all those people, meat-eating doesn’t appear to be any golden ticket to health.

If I paid attention to most magazines, I’d feel inadequate. Likewise, if I listened to the people who listen to these magazines. One of the recurring questions I get is, ‘Do you take supplements?’ It’s posed as a question, but it tends to turn out the vocalization of an assumption: ‘You are vegan so you must take pills.’ The shock when I reply ‘No’ confirms it. However, a stroll down the aisles of GNC and I start to fume. If everyone thinks I’m such a pill popper, why the hell is this such a needle in a haystack mission? I’d sooner have better luck finding a vegan article in one of those magazines…bonus points if it’s not facing a recipe for chicken or tuna.

It’s odd when the assumption of my inadequacy comes from those who are themselves inadequate, like the coworker drinking protein powder. While I was vegetarian, I still ate eggs and dairy so I was good…even if I was just as annoying. Obviously, I still got my protein and calcium; so that I would take a supplement wasn’t a given. Nor was the prospect of taking a supplement so daunting.

Despite the troughs of pills and powders encapsulated in gelatin or peppered with dairy that I can’t take, somehow, because I am vegan, to take a supplement is to admit that I am a failure. I didn’t get being vegan right. It’s not that I work long hours. That sometimes the microwave is my best friend. That, yeah, I had that extra cupcake…so what’s it to ya?! Sometimes, that our worlds can’t be perfect. Where we can do all the math on our food. Eat this with this to help the uptake of this nutrient but not with this because it inhibits it.

At no time was I more perplexed than when sitting across from a vegan man drinking a smoothie with maca powder. He’d told me that he’d just finished a container of VEGA. Among other things, VEGA contains B-12. However, when I admitted that I was considering taking a B-12 supplement, he shamed me for the thought. After months of feeling like a disappointment, I realized the chain extends: if I listened to the people who listen to the people who listened to these magazines, I’d feel inadequate. I decided against taking something that someone else was taking because I’d bought in and let myself feel like it was admitting failure.

If I still ate meat and was an athlete, I’d probably take a multi-vitamin. I don’t still eat meat, but I am athletic, so I take VEGA. If I wasn’t running, I probably wouldn’t bother. However, plenty of non-vegans who barely exercise take multi-vitamins. Even safe drivers will get the added insurance. I can still eat as best as I can and take a supplement. You never know what the road ahead will bring you.

Running for Chocolate

Jimmy D 5k, 9/1Today, I ran my first race rocking my Team ASPCA jersey: the 9th Annual Jimmy D Memorial 5k, helping support burn survivors. (I found the race through Active.com; subscribe to emails and they’ll periodically send you info on races in your area.) Running has become a passion of mine. I typically run rocking animal rights message shirts, so I thought it would be great to join a team and raise money for animals. Chocolate was the name of my rescue kitty growing up. She’s not here anymore, but I still think of her black fur and the little butterscotch patch between her ears. The funds donated to the ASPCA benefit their NYC shelter, as well as providing much needed funding across the country, via grants. (Please donate to my Run for Chocolate!)

Race recap: The course was a pretty flat out and back so I was hoping to clock a PB; I was a little nervous, though. I ended up running in 26:59.05; just off my personal best. However, in previous races I’ve run, your time began when you crossed the start line; here it did not. Numbers don’t lie but, factoring the temperature difference from April as well, I really think this race marks an improvement for me.

It’s bizarre for me to think about all the numbers. I started running a little over two years ago with the goal of running Central Park. Come on, tell me you haven’t seen it in the movies and on tv. It seemed like a necessary NYC experience. So I set out to make the city my gym, as one MTA ad read. I’ve run Central Park numerous times now. Except for the horse-drawn carriages, I love the park.

Since growing into veganism over these last couple of years, I’ve become more aware of the stereotype of vegans as weak or being vegan and athletic as challenging (read as ‘impossible’). While training for my first half marathon, I encountered a trainer at a well-known gym still pushing the idea of mixing your proteins at every meal. (A theory since recounted by it’s author, Francis Moore Lappe.) Seriously, I’ve been meat-free for more than a decade; I’m not withering away. Forget the vegan factor, just being healthy in today’s modern world is tough.

So, today was the kick off for me. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon, which I’m raising the money for, will be my fifth half in just over a year. It’ll be kind of a tune-up race though. My major goal for this year was a marathon so the countdown to Philadelphia begins!

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Running Ireland

Like many sports, the marathon is the microcosm of life. Agony and Ecstasy become familiar feelings.Dr. George Sheehan

My trip to Ireland started with a text message. Sitting on the train to work this past January, reading the latest issue of Competitor magazine, I stopped on the ad for the Rock ‘n’ Roll series. As I scanned the list, I noticed the Dublin date was near my birthday. ‘Nice. My sister has always thrown around the idea of going to Ireland. It would be fun to run there.‘ I’ve been struggling since college to figure out what you do with a Sociology (hint: it’s not Sociology…but I wouldn’t trade my major), so big trips never seemed possible…but maybe…so I snapped a picture and sent.

Parcel from Cornucopia, August 4th

Parcel from Cornucopia, August 4th

My main fuel the day before the race came from a parcel from Cornucopia (no comment) and my usual bananas. It was great to have my friends Molly and Dan there to cheer me on and really awesome to be in the same lineup with my sister. Happy extra-birthday-amazing-ness-to-me! I didn’t earn the time I’d wanted, 2:20:31, but I’ll get there. In the meantime, I have a badass little guitar and some awesome memories.

My sister and I at the end of the Rock 'n' Roll Dublin Half, August 5th

My sister and I at the end of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dublin Half, August 5th

Dublin was a memorable experience, but I was pretty naive in thinking the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half was the only game on the island. Driving around, I spotted a couple makeshift signs for local races as we went through the counties. While in Donegal, I’d even gotten into a conversation about finding races; the young woman, Anne Marie, wanted something local race. I wish I’d known how developed Ireland’s running culture was at the time.

I got into the running culture in NYC, via NYRR…almost every race is hella early. When we drove into Galway after seeing the Cliffs of Moher in Clare, we sat down to a nice dinner. To come out of the restaurant just before 7pm and see a race starting was a novelty. Seriously, my kind of people! My goal is actually to save up and go back in two years for the 30th running of the Streets of Galway. Cross fingers!

Upcoming Ireland races I spotted:

Frank Duffy 10 mile, Aug 24, 2013 (Co. Dublin)

Waterside Half Marathon, Sept 8, 2013 (Co. Derry)

Moone Kilomarathon, Sept 28, 2013 (Co. Kildare)

Dublin Half Marathon, Sept 21, 2013 (Co. Dublin)

Start of the Streets of Galway 8k, August 10th

Start of the Streets of Galway 8k, August 10th

My next major race will be the Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angeles Half benefiting ASPCA. I’m excited I’ll be donning a team jersey!

Team ASPCA members at the race start, August 5th

Team ASPCA members at the race start, August 5th

Landscape dotted by life

My dad kept telling people about my childlike glee my first morning in Ireland. I looked out the window in Donegal, out to the mountains dotted with sheep. ‘There are sheep outside my window,’ I told him. It was pretty awesome. They we’re commercial sheep, free to roam around their owner’s land, but not really free. The spray paint on their backs indicated their owner. The same went for the cows; different breeds, but all had the recognizable tag in their ears. Still it was refreshing to see them. Ireland is very vegetarian-friendly, but that still includes the use of animal products like wool, milk, eggs, butter, and cheese. Considering the demand for meat and dairy in Ireland, despite the numbers I saw dotting the landscape, I doubt that no intensive confinement occurs. In Dublin, sadly, I even spotted a horse-drawn carriage and horse racing is also quite popular.

One day, I hope that everyone has a childlike awe when they see a cow; that it’s beautiful, not a milk machine. In the meantime, how humans treat animals isn’t representative of the animals. They are moving, feeling, and thinking. Below are some of my favorite pictures of the animals and birds of Ireland.

Sheep in Donegal, August 1st

Sheep in Donegal, August 1st

Cows grazing alongside the Cliffs of Moher, August 10th

Cows grazing alongside the Cliffs of Moher, August 10th

Mice in a pet shop, Midleton, Cork, August 9th

Mice in a pet shop, Midleton, Cork, August 9th

Dog outside Castletown House, August 7th

Dog outside Castletown House, August 7th

Swan in Galway, August 10

Swan in Galway, August 10

London(derry) Calling

(You know I had to…it’s a good album…and you can thank/blame me for putting that song in your head.)

We rolled out of Donegal in the mid-afternoon and into Derry (officially Londonderry) just after 6pm. Early…but too late for any museums.

We’d been going to wing it with our accommodations when we got in, but a quick stop at the visitors center before we set off from Donegal made us realize that was no good. We ended up at the Tower Hotel. I was more than a little ‘Hrmph’ at the price (+120 pounds a night) but, since we were there for only a night and it was centrally located, it was worth it. (Seriously, though, no complimentary WiFi. WTF?!)

As soon as we got in, we heard music blaring from speakers. It was Friday and there was a free concert underway. Once we were settled with our rooms I set out to see what I could. I walked down to the water and across the Peace Bridge; Derry is a city with a turbulent past.

Coming from a heat wave, I wasn’t sure how to dress (I have no concept of temperature). Walking around in shorts, a sleeveless shirt, and flip-flops, I got a few looks from people in trousers and jackets. After a few miles, I headed back to take on the city wall; the last fully intact in Ireland.

After a lap around the wall, I met up with my sister and dad for a birthday drink at Peadar O’Donnell’s and a vegan burger from Build-A-Burger (total score! girl behind the counter was really helpful! 5 pounds with fries). I bought my sister a hot dog and noted I was conflicted, which prompted a civil dialogue about why I am vegan (yay!). [If you're keeping track, I did switch from euros; Northern Ireland uses pounds.]

My legs were still restless, so I headed to the hotel gym for a quick run…at 11pm, lol. After a few km, I was ready for bed. Not a bad way to send out and bring in a new year.

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In the morning, after quickly seeing the city in the light, we headed out again. Destination: Bushmills (how could we not?).

The tour wasn’t cheap, but it was really worth it. Our guide was really enthusiastic and informative…and their was gold at the end (vegan-friendly according to Barnivore). I’m not a big drinker, but when in Rome.

The food on sale in the kitchen was mostly meat, but there were potatoes too! The woman behind the counter continued the trend of really helpful people and said that there were chips or she could make me up a salad. Since she said the chips weren’t cooked with meat products, well, when in Rome…

Really cool was that the couple ahead of me are vegan as well. They were Bolivian finishing up a one month trip. The young woman was in line with her partner while he bought a drink because they thought that’s all they could have. Once she heard my conversation, she ordered herself up a portion.

Chips and a Hot Totty, Bushmills Distillery, August 3rd

Chips and a Hot Totty, Bushmills Distillery, August 3rd

Adding to the not-Ireland-on-the-cheap-but-totally-worth-it theme of the day, we hustled off to Giant’s Causeway. This is one of the only places I was confident I wanted to visit and it was beautiful. According to our guide, you can see the coast of Scotland on a clear day, 26 miles away. The interlocking columns, that look from above like walkway stones, are the product of volcanic lava cooling at different temperatures (oh, nature, you badass).

The myth goes something like, the giant Finn McCool wanted to challenge two Scottish giants so he built the causeway to them. He came upon the giants sleeping and they were larger than he. It was a fight he couldn’t win so he ran back. The giants awoke and ran after Finn, who told his wife of his predicament. She dressed him as a baby and told him to pretend to be sleeping. When the Scottish giants came in search of Finn, his wife told them he was not home but would be back; to come inside and have some tea but do not wake the baby. Once the giants set their eyes on ‘baby Finn,’ they thought, ‘If that’s the baby, we don’t want to meet the father,’ and ran back to Scotland scattering the causeway.

Giant's Causeway, August 3rd

Giant’s Causeway, August 3rd (Click for full panoramic view)

You could walk the cliffs for miles. BEAUTIFUL! However, we needed to be back in Dublin, so off again we were…

Check Your Insecurities at the Gate

Our time in Donegal was brief but delightful. The rain was an almost constant companion, but we apparently wouldn’t be getting the true experience if it was sunny all the time.

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Dress by Marc Angelo, Donegal, August 2nd

We spent two nights out in the country, which means I woke up two mornings to sheep outside my window. On our second night, I stayed up until 3am watching Enchanted with my toddler buddy…the kid’s a boss! Not a bad way to ring in your birthday.

Heading into uncharted territory, I stocked up on some goodies from Simple Simon’s for whatever the road might bring me and bummed around with my mom who is apparently obsessed with mugs (j/k…not really…love you mommy).

Thinking ‘it’s my birthday and I’ll dress shop if I want to’ (even though I barely ever wear dresses) when I spotted a colorful print on a mannequin, I found some super cute dresses in a dress shop behind a souvenir store.

IMG_20130802_144003_289[1]Now, I’m not petite by any means; I’ve dated some guys who’ve let me know that for sure. My last boyfriend would even say snarky things while I was eating cupcakes and chocolate…past tense for obvious reasons. So, I tend to be aware of my shape and even self-deprecating at times (join in with me and it’s like going the wrong way down a one way street…don’t do it). However, I’m growing pretty accepting of it. As it is, my body gets me over the finish line. Whatever I want to change about my body stems less from aesthetic desire and more from a desire to perform better, go longer, be faster.

So I grabbed my typical US size and one up just in case, but neither fit me and my face dropped a little. Hesitantly, I grabbed the sizes above it. Fit!

The digits on the tag took a second to wrap my head around. When I was 12, I was obsessed with the Magnificent 7 and Dominique Moceanu was the face of a store called 5-7-9…so naturally I wanted to shop there. Only problem, I didn’t really fit into anything. I wasn’t tiny even then. It was a whole store that embodied what I wasn’t. So for years I was size obsessed; even cramming myself into things that didn’t really look good on me because they were the smaller size. The size on the dresses I was trying on had been, in my mind, a no go zone. Sizes are arbitrary; what the tag says in New York may be different than what it says in the UK. My waistline didn’t expand when I walked (ok, lifted) off US soil. It was only the label someone had assigned to my body that had changed; I was still the same.

The best advice I read about clothes was to not shop for your future self. You might be working towards a weight loss, but you have to dress yourself now. If you buy clothes that don’t fit you, it can be depressing…and then down the rabbit whole you go.

When I went shopping in Derry later, with my mom (you’d think we were attached at the hip), I happily searched for appropriate fitting clothes. In a twist, my shoe size actually went down from an 8 to a 5…but they’re still boats. So, fellow countrywomen, if Prince Charming comes around with a UK size 5 glass slipper, try it on! You never know.

Happy Birthday to me!

Happy Birthday to me!

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