A Special Guest Star

by jenna on June 16, 2010

Tonight I had the pleasure of finally meeting this lovely friend.

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Hi, VeggieGirl!!!

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Miss Liz and I have been chatting now for about three years and it was wonderful to finally put a face to a name. Of course she’s just as sweet as you would imagine and we had a fantastic dinner at none other than Millennium Restaurant in San Francisco!

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This place has been sitting on my soul for years, ever since I saw an ad for it in a vegetarian magazine back when I was in high school. I’ve been dying to go but never really had a reason to until now. I mean it only seemed right that we go here when VeggieGirl was in town, no?
The menu looked incredibly interesting and was full of items I could not pronounce, which made me all the more intrigued.

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Right when we sat down, they brought out their multigrain bread with white bean spread (the spread of the day). I inhaled a few pieces because it was 5:45 and I was about to eat my arm off.

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And, for my entree, I ordered the first thing on the menu—the zucchini uttapam. I mainly ordered this because I had no earthly idea what it was and just liked to think about and say the word “uttapam”.

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It was a marvelous creation! On the bottom was some sort of delicious creamy spinach (but without cream because this restaurant is 100% vegan), topped with some sort of delicious zucchini pancake, topped with some sort of delicious Indian spiced tofu and some delicious coconut-y rice-like creation on the side.
It was delicious.
The only qualm I had was that I thought the spice mixture on the tofu was a little too much. It was sort of a thick spice “paste” and just tasted a tad too heavy on the seasoning. Other than that, it was perfect in my mind.
We pondered the dessert menu but then decided just to eat the chocolate bars I brought us in my purse. And then I made my way back to my Santa Rosa hole.

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Time to go give Dexter a flute concert. If you haven’t read my latest True/Slant article on buying organic meat, you can find it here. What are your thoughts on organic meat? I have to say, reading books like Fast Food Nation and watching films like Super Size Me and Food, Inc really changed my perspective. What about you??

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{ 76 comments… read them below or add one }

katieP June 16, 2010 at 9:30 pm

that meal looks delish!!!!
i wish they had more (any) vegan restaurants where I live in Louisiana!!! so frustrating…

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Crunchy Granola Gal June 16, 2010 at 9:34 pm

oh wow, the millennium restaurant cookbook was one of my first and i’ve been dying to go there for YEARS as a result… living in NYC makes this a nearly impossible feat. :) what fun! food looks fab.

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VeggieGirl June 16, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Stellar evening, my friend – see you again soon! :)

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Ellen June 16, 2010 at 9:39 pm

totally agree with you about the meat– local and sustainably raised, grassfed/free range, and organic when possible is the way to go. however, via the blog, i’ve “seen” you buy conventional meat, though and i think it would be fair to say that you do sometimes purchase it. plus, it’s good for others to know that it’s not all or nothing… some is better than none!

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Suzanne de Cornelia June 16, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Makes me miss San Francisco–so many great places and Millennium is one of the best.

Organic Meat: Tonight watched this outstanding 2008 documentary ‘The Beautiful Truth.’ I verve back & forth between veggie & occasional small portions of high quality meat–but after this–am done with meat. Highly recommend, esp for anyone who has any chronic conditions whatsoever. Lots of great info: http://cinemalibrestudio.com/EarthNow/TBT/media_coverage.html

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Camille June 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm

Looks like fun!
I would love to see a video of this flute concert :)

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Run Sarah June 16, 2010 at 9:46 pm

Your meal looks gorgeous – love the fun combo of delicious vegan foods.

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Allie (Live Laugh Eat) June 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Awww it’s always great to see bloggies get together! I always prefer ordering stuff I couldn’t make myself at home i.e. your gibberish dish :) I can’t believe it’s 100% vegan–I thought it was meat at first glance.

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Bethany @ More Fruit Please June 16, 2010 at 10:01 pm

That dinner looks foodgasmic! The more I read up on how our food is processed, the more I turn to organic. It’s just hard not to once you see where your food is coming from.

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Lisa (bakebikeblog) June 16, 2010 at 10:07 pm

What an interesting sounding dish! Certainly intriguing!!!

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Sarah for Real June 16, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Agreed! Bullseye! Bingo!

I definitely agree with buying organic meat. (Or non-certified organic local meat from a farmer’s market.) Although I have to say, I haven’t been able to do much organic meats lately so instead, I try to eat less non-organic meat when it does come around.

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jenny (green food diaries) June 16, 2010 at 10:34 pm

goodness that spinach looks SO good. i would love to visit this place!…

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Akanksha June 16, 2010 at 10:38 pm

Hey Jenna! Loved your eat–it’s actually a South Indian dish, and the uttapam is TRES HEALTHY. :) The spinach is typically made with milk and an Indian cheese, but I see they did coconut for you!

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Casey @ Chasing Casey June 16, 2010 at 10:39 pm

How nice!
Next time your in the area have a meet up!

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Tasha June 16, 2010 at 10:42 pm

I’m glad you liked Millennium. Unfortunately, I had the opposite experience. I was so excited to try it at first but found that the food was only mediocre. I wouldn’t go back again. Your pictures are beautiful though =) Glad you guys had a good time.

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Helen June 16, 2010 at 10:48 pm

Your dish was certainly interesting! The spinach looks so creamy, I wonder what they used? Glad you enjoyed your evening.
To be honest we don’t really buy organic / high quality meat as it is too expensive. I do feel bad as I know normal meat hasn’t been treated as well but what can we do? Maybe if I did some research I would feel differently…

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jessica June 17, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Watch Food Inc.

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Hillary [Nutrition Nut on the Run] June 16, 2010 at 11:01 pm

I like that in the same post you review a 100% vegan restaurant and talk about buying/eating organic meat : )))

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Kaz June 16, 2010 at 11:34 pm

Dinner looks amazing!

I’m vegetarian, but I only buy organic eggs. Food, Inc. changed my whole attitude, too. I was veggie before I saw it, but refused to pay more when conventional eggs were so cheap. Now I won’t buy anything but organic eggs.

The fella is slowly starting to eat organic meat, too. He admits he does prefer the grass-fed taste. :D

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Freya @ Brit Chick Runs June 17, 2010 at 12:10 am

Oh a vegan restaurant – how delicious! It’s my DREAM to find one of them lol!!
I’m vegan so I don’t buy meat, but before I was I would only buy free-range stuff…

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Annie @ stronghealthyfit June 17, 2010 at 1:02 am

I knew a little about the meat industry before I saw Food, Inc, but that movie definitely helped me solidify my “meat-eating practices”. Unless I know where it’s from and how it was raised, I opt. for vegetarian. I’m not a big meat eater anyway, so that makes it pretty easy :-)

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Jessica @ The Process of Healing June 17, 2010 at 1:24 am

Oh yum! And I LOVE your skirt! Where did you get it?

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jenna June 17, 2010 at 7:40 am

Jcrew…..5 years ago!

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AM June 17, 2010 at 2:42 am

Love Veggiegirl!

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Maria @ A Healthier Maria June 17, 2010 at 2:49 am

Yay for organic meat! I’m a vegetarian but only buy organic/free range eggs (even though they are SO expensive).
p.s. love your outfit!

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Cassie @ Tasteful Tales June 17, 2010 at 3:32 am

Your dinner looked great! My fiance and I try and buy only organic local meats. To be honest I find there is a huge difference in taste and he agrees. It gets pricey though :)

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Rebecca June 17, 2010 at 3:34 am

That restaurant looks awesome! You have no idea how much I want to go to San Francisco and eat at every single restaurant. Jealous you met VeggieGirl! She’s awesome!

As far as the organic thing goes, I’m a vegetarian but I agree with Kaz. I only buy eggs and cheese from my local food co-op. Food, Inc changed my life.

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Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine June 17, 2010 at 3:51 am

Looks like such a fun dinner! I love vegan restaurants- there’s always so many new things on the menu.

I was never a big meat-eater to begin with, but those movies made me go off of it completely. I don’t have a moral opposition to meat, and as long as people make ethical choices regarding where their meat comes from, I don’t have issues with them eating it. Humans can thrive as carnivores, but I think the sources should be natural, safe and humane!

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Staceyhttp://stacey-healthylife.blogspot.com/ June 17, 2010 at 4:01 am

That dinner sounds amazing and fascinating at the same time, so creative.

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Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) June 17, 2010 at 4:11 am

Oh, how fun! I love seeing other bloggers who’s blogs I read pop up in other blogs. So fun. :D

And the restaurant looks great. I totally would have ordered the same thing. :D

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Jen (Running With Cake) June 17, 2010 at 4:13 am

how fun that you got to meet Veggie Girl! She does seem like such a sweetheart!

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Katherine June 17, 2010 at 4:14 am

you two match outfits wonderfully! gorgeous girls having a good time
Katherine

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Cali June 17, 2010 at 4:14 am

I read Omnivore’s Dilemma, and after completely eschewing meat for about two years, I know I make it a point to eat only “happy” cows, chickens, etc. If God created a cow to eat grass, then a cow should eat grass (not pesticide laden corn). And be comfortable in its own space (not in its own feces). And be well-cared for (kept clean and healthy). There are plenty of smaller farmers who remain faithful to their animals, and prepare them for our plates in the most efficient and careful ways – you just have to be willing to 1. pay more, and 2. search out these farmers, because you are unlikely to find them in your major supermarkets.

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Tracey June 17, 2010 at 4:15 pm

I loved this comment! :) I agree completely.

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Stephanie June 17, 2010 at 4:38 am

Great article on buying local, organic meat. We have definitely changed our style of eating over the past year to only include meat we can feel okay about eating (i.e. no mass produced Tyson, Perdue, etc.) and only buying local or organic even though it costs a bit more, it’s definitely worth it I think!

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diana@mymarblerye June 17, 2010 at 4:41 am

the bacteria count mentioned in food inc made me gag. Seriously…I’ve cut back on red meat since then. Ps. Veggie girl is adorb. :)

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Krista June 17, 2010 at 4:52 am

I loved Food, Inc. Crazy what we put in our meat (and those bacteria levels eek)…but I was not surprised. We can always move to Europe where they actually allow cows to GRAZE on, gasp, grass and don’t need to feed them antibiotics :)

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Lindsay @ The Ketchup Diaries June 17, 2010 at 5:36 am

Food, Inc. completely changed my perspective. I’ve been trying to lay off of meat when I’m out and don’t know the source. I eat it in my own home because I know what I buy.

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Sarah June 17, 2010 at 5:37 am

Jenna, what an ADORABLE outfit!!!!

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jenna June 17, 2010 at 5:39 am

what a fun night!! the food looks great! i hope you had a blast w. veg. girl! :)

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Carolyn @ lovinlosing.com June 17, 2010 at 5:40 am

There isn’t a lot of organic meat available around me, but I did get organic ground beeg (85/15) last night at Costco.

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Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman June 17, 2010 at 5:41 am

I tried to eat organic, grass-fed beef and organic, free-range chicken before I saw Food, Inc. But after I saw that, it became non-negotiable.

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Taylor June 17, 2010 at 5:46 am

Hey Jenna! I’m a long time viewer but new commenter.
I have a question about almond milk. I recently found out that I am sensitive to both gluten and dairy. I’m not a fan of soy milk and was wondering what your thoughts were on almond milk. I just bought some Almond Breeze original unsweetened almond milk and tried it in my oatmeal and coffee this morning. My oatmeal didn’t taste as sweet as usual and it was actually pretty bland even though I added 1/2 T. pure maple syrup (good thing the heaping spoonful of pbutter made up for it!). In contrast, the almond flavor was way to abundant in my iced latte! I couldnt even taste the espresso and only tasted the almond! I feel so frustrated! I really want to find a good milk alternative without all of the added sugar that comes with them. Can any one help me?

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jenna June 17, 2010 at 7:39 am

I really like almond milk and they make a vanilla unsweetened one that doesn’t have any added sugar. It might just take some getting used to, or you can try rice milk!

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shera1 June 17, 2010 at 6:00 am

I only buy local or organic beef & poultry. It IS expensive, so we have cut back our meat consumption tremendously (after seeing food inc), and have used any type of meat as an “accent” not the main part of the meal.

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Dorry June 17, 2010 at 6:26 am

That meal looked so yummy. Creamed spinach without cream? Yes, please. Food, Inc definitely changed my perspective on meat processing plants and the importance of choosing organic. Have you seen Food Matters?

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Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow June 17, 2010 at 6:29 am

Food Inc most definitely opened my eyes…as shown in the movie, one of the best things we can do is demand cleaner and better food.

I am not a vegetarian but I refuse to purchase meat that does not come from a farm that treats their animals humanely and without hormones, antiobiotics or an inappropriate diet.

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Karen June 17, 2010 at 6:54 am

That looks delicious! My friend and I debating going to Millenium when we were in San Fran last year but we ended up at Saha instead, which was pretty delicious! My favorite place we went for dinner in San Fran though was Mamacita!

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*Andrea* June 17, 2010 at 6:57 am

yummy meal! lovely company! so jealous :D

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Jil @ Peace, Love & Munchies June 17, 2010 at 7:07 am

That meal sounds awesome! Love the white bean spread for the bread. Yum!

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Heather Eats Almond Butter June 17, 2010 at 7:16 am

Ahhh, 2 of my favorite bloggers in one post. So excited you finally got to meet Liz. She is one of the sweetest ones out there, and both of you look beautiful in these photos. VeggieGirl, your hair really has lightened up.

Jenna, your description of your dinner was cracking me up. I love mystery veggie dishes as well, and yours looked delicious!
Much love to you both!
-Heather

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Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg June 17, 2010 at 7:18 am

How fun that you got to meet up with Veggie Girl! And that looks like the perfect restaurant for a veggie feast…yum!

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Heather @ Side of Sneakers June 17, 2010 at 7:18 am

Food Inc (the book) & Animal Vegetable Miracle were really influential for me :)

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Beth @ DiningAndDishing June 17, 2010 at 7:40 am

I think there is such a difference in TASTE in quality organic meat. If for no other reason, that makes it well worth the extra expense to me!!

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Kate June 17, 2010 at 7:51 am

Organic this organic that. It’s ridiculous. Balance is the key word here.

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Lindsay @ Summit Sandwiches June 17, 2010 at 8:05 am

I’m highly jealous! Gourmet vegan? I didn’t even know such a thing existed….I wish I was in San Fran!

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Kristin (Salty Tooth) June 17, 2010 at 8:27 am

I always buy organic meet now, especially after watching Food Inc. It was eye-opening.

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Kelly June 17, 2010 at 8:29 am

Love that you started the discussion. As far as meat goes, I try to eat local, sustainably raised meat whenever possible. I had a meat CSA share before I moved and once that is gone I plan to buy from my local farmers’ market. Buying organic is less important to me because I know a lot of small farms cannot afford the certification and organic doesn’t necessarily mean the animals are treated better or get to roam on pasture. Buying locally is the only way I’ve found to really get a sense of what the conditions are like since I can talk to the farmers and often visit the farms. I think organic is by all means a good thing but a lot of labeling (esp with eggs) is a bit misleading and producers often follow only the minimum standards to qualify. I wish it was so much less complicated because I believe people really do want to make choices that reflect their ethical principles but often it isn’t easy, especially if you don’t pay a lot of attention to regulations and labeling before you go to the store.

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Kelly June 17, 2010 at 8:52 am

I totally try things at restaurants that I’m unsure of too! I’ve heard a lot of people say that they usually choose things they can’t or don’t usually make at home and this is my philosophy as well. If you don’t know what it is, then you probably aren’t making it at home! Your dish sounded delish!

As for organic meat, I buy it every once in a while, but it is so expensive! I am not a big meat eater so it’s really not that much of an issue for me. I hope someday I am comfortable enough with my finances to make this a priority on my grocery list for my husband and children.

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Kimberly June 17, 2010 at 8:55 am

Jenna – your crisp white shirt tucked into that skirt makes a super cute outfit! love it. Also, the zucchini creation looks surprisingly amazing!
I think it is worthwhile to buy certain foods organic (I buy organic meats and milk) but I don’t think it’s necessary to eat ALL organic ALL the time. Especially when you’re on a tight budget.

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Alex June 17, 2010 at 9:00 am

Jenna,

Where did you get your skirt from? It is so cute!

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Sabrina June 17, 2010 at 9:14 am

Liz is wearing white! OMG! She usually only wears black I feel like! Hi Liz!

Jenna, your outfit is so adorable. I love love love it!

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Olivia @ Blissful Runner June 17, 2010 at 9:32 am

Man, I wish Baltimore had places like that to eat! I check Happycow.com every so often but without much luck. I hear there are some places down the road in DC – maybe it’s time for a road trip!

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Rachel June 17, 2010 at 9:35 am

All of those books/movies etc. just made me turn vegetarian. I was already nearing it naturally, and those messages sealed the deal for me.

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zoe June 17, 2010 at 10:08 am

millennium!!!

i’m so glad you enjoyed it — my family and i are going for my birthday dinner in october for the first time! i’ve only heard good things so i’m glad you liked it too :)! hopefully i can finally show my parents all the foods i CAN eat ;)

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Ozlem June 17, 2010 at 11:11 am

that is an expensive restaurant!!!

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Stephanie June 17, 2010 at 11:44 am

You know, I didn’t really change my eating habits after reading Fast Food Nation…it was graphic and yet I was like “mmm, mcDonalds!!” I just finished the Butcher and the Vegetarian, though, and that one really made me think. Not sure what I’ll do when I go to the grocery store next week. Maybe it’s because I’m 10 years older than when I read FFN? lol

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Lizz @ Leading the Good Life June 17, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Yum! I’d love to go back to Millennium some day…we had some sort of white chocolate mouse for dessert that was mind-blowing!

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Angela (ohsheglows) June 17, 2010 at 2:21 pm

That restaurant looks to die for…ahhh. So awesome you got to meet Liz…love her!

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peabody June 17, 2010 at 4:10 pm

Now this I am super jealous of…I love Liz! She is the best.

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maya June 17, 2010 at 5:08 pm

LIZ!!, when i meet up with her last summer, i almost felt like she was a celeb, haha…kidding… kinda! ;) love her, shes amazing! Glad you had fun. you two look stunning, and looks like such a fabulous time, that restaurant looks so great!

xx

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Orla June 18, 2010 at 6:30 am

Love Love Loving your Orla Kiely handbag!!! I have one that is brown with greens and oranges on it. More of a winter bag but I adore her designs.
Partly because she has the same initials as myself!

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Callie Jo June 18, 2010 at 7:07 am

I agree with you on it is difficult to buy all organic all the time.

I am from the midwest, cattle country South Dakota. I was raised on a farm & ranch. I have watched Food Inc and can say that it didn’t sway me one bit to eat only organic. This is not how all cattle raisers treat their livestock. Think of this, most cattle can’t be raised on grass only. There is only a limited geographic area that can raise cattle this way. Is it possible that all cattle be raised only in these areas, NO, otherwise no one could eat beef because there wouldn’t be that many cattle.

In the midwest the winter weather is brutal. Most winter days you can find the temperature dropping in the negatives and that doesn’t include the wind chill. Now, tell me how cattle are supposed to eat grass only when the earth is covered in two foot of snow and ice. That’s right, they can’t. So how do these cattle survive. Oh, the ranchers grind silage and feed this to them in a feedlot. How awful!!! Not one bit. Once the weather turns around, the cattle are let out to pasture and are able to live off the earth once again. But to place all cattle raisers as the scum of the earth is ridiculous.

I agree there are some producers that give all ranchers a bad name. But I would say that this is the exception and not the norm. My beef comes straight off our farm, to the butcher, and to my freezer.

I do eat some organic and try to eat local, but it is difficult and it is just not possible for everyone to do all the time, and you aren’t a bad person if you can’t conform to this.

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Claire June 18, 2010 at 9:26 am

I am so jealous you met Liz and that you two went to Millenium…that is definitely a person and a place I hope to meet and go! I am a veg but I do try to persuade others I love and care about to buy organic, free range, hormone free meat.

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kirsten June 20, 2010 at 5:01 pm

I love how you dress! You always look so well put together :)

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Maritza Pearce November 15, 2010 at 6:15 am

Jenna,
We have a family of four and the bill is much bigger because we eat only organic but I want my children to eat only organic so their bodies grow strong. I was at a party this past week and we moms were all sitting around talking about where to find the cheapest meats and I simply kept thinking of those animals they were eating and what miserable lives they may have had, how many hormones and antibiotics they were consuming. It is hard to talk to other moms about this because so many moms pride themselves in having the lowest grocery bill. Obviously I couldn’t add to the conversation and changed the subject to the best recipes!

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