Monday, May 23, 2011

Biscuits and Gravy across America!

Since I've settled in Brooklyn, my blogging time has really disappeared, but I'm still eating copious quantities of delicious vegan food, and a recent Beauty Bar and Sailor Jerry-sponsored Pin-Up Class tour I went on gave me some time to try out delectable vegan delights across the US while I spread vintage pin-up glamour and put on burlesque shows.  

I started off in Seattle, where I taught my pin-up class high atop Queen Anne Hill, with an amazing view of the Space Needle and sucked back the fresh Pacific air. I don't get a lot of fresh air in Brooklyn, so it was a nice treat for my lungs!  My first stop for food here was a place I haven't tried before, and now I know why.  It's called Sunlight Cafe, billed as the longest standing vegetarian restaurant in Seattle, and so bearing this in mind, I was quite disappointed when the blandest meal in the world was served to me.  Now I'm not a huge fan of tofu scrambles at their best, to be fair, so bear this in mind at my review, but this is the type of meal that gives vegans a bad name: devoid of salt, chunky, undercooked veggies, altogether a meal not made with taste or pleasure in mind.  I think the photo below really says it all:
Yes, those are big chunks of PLAIN TOFU!  A light drizzle of soy sauce or something like it was sprinkled over this 'scramble' at the last minute.  Meals like this really ruin my whole day.
Luckily my next stop in Seattle was far more pleasant.  I would have thought with a hippie-ish name like Silence-Heart-Nest that I would have been in for some seriously obnoxious and healthy blandness like you see above, but it was amazing! I'm talking about my favourite vegan breakfast food, biscuits and gravy, served with a large portion of homefries!!  Even my parents who think I am a "VAY-gun" loved this place, so that's saying something!
After Seattle, I jetted off to Denver, Colorado for the first stop of my Beauty Bar tour, and what a first day!  I got up earlier than I go to bed most nights to catch an early morning flight from Seattle, and mercifully Rosie, the co-owner of Beauty Bar took me directly to City 'O City, a delightful punk rock hangout where I decided to go for the biscuits and gravy again.  No sense in passing that up! 
It was amazing, and I was also able to get steamed almond milk, which I prefer over soy any day.  It didn't hurt that they were also playing one of my faves, Immortal Technique; I enjoy a healthy side of political underground hip-hop.  I checked into my hotel for a bit, had a short nap, and then went to the Denver Beauty Bar to teach a SUPER full pin-up class, followed by a great burlesque show where I got to book my favourite performers from the area!  Luckily one of the staff at Beauty Bar offered to grab me dinner, in the way of a fried peanut butter sandwich on VEGAN banana bread again from City 'o City! Cora Vette did an amazing job as host, and I was excited to see Vivienne Vavoom, Miss Orchid Mei, Lo-Lo Flamingo, and Veronica VanTassel shimmy and shake the night away.  Hoarse and exhausted but SO happy, I collapsed into bed that night for a couple hours before getting up in the early AM again to do the whole thing over again in Las Vegas the next day!  You can see my bleary view at the airport in the morning to the right.
I was very excited about my trip to Las Vegas, not only because it's one of my favourite cities, but also because I was getting to work with some dear friends.  I had Amina Munster assisting me at my Las Vegas Beauty Bar Pin-Up Class, who I first met back when I started modeling for, so it was so fun to catch up with her!   My class was great, and while my vegan food wasn't so great as to warrant photos, I was stoked to find a place called Thai Vegas that delivered to my hotel in the Fremont Street area (see my view in the photo at right), and it was cheap and quick, and still good after I got home from my show VERY late.  After my class I went to a place called Hennessey's Tavern, where the veggie burger itself wasn't vegan, but the sweet waitress brought me a delicious portobello mushroom burger that was, so I didn't have to pass out from starvation before my show that night!  I couldn't have asked for a better line-up in my show that night, starting with my great luck at having my dear friend Vincent Drambuie in town for vacation and happy to host the show.  Rounding out the burlesque show at Beauty Bar was Cha Cha Velour, Renea' Le Roux, Bobbie Baltimore, and Miss Karla Joy, all amazing gals who I can't wait to work with again.  My favourite NYC chanteuse, Melody Sweets, is now living in Vegas headlining at Absinthe at Caesar's Palace (a great show, you must see it before it ends in September), and she brought the cast down to my show and we all piled into the photobooth to capture the moment (See left).  Needless to say, I stayed up way past my tour bedtime, and while still early for a showgirl, my early morning flight made me a bit grumpy, but very glad I had made arrangements with my cabbie coming into town to pick me up the next day so I didn't have to sort that out in a 6am stupor.
While I was loath to leave the warmth of Las Vegas for chilly Chicago, I was thrilled by the decor of the Beauty Bar in the windy city, check out this picture I took in class of one of my favourite modern vaudeville entertainers, Lula Hoop Garou!
I had another good sized class here and was ably assisted by Dee from Black Hearts Hair House, so things went quite well here.  I'm pretty sure my schedule did not allow for me getting any food that day until dinner (ACK!) but I was able to slip across the street between class and show with my lovely costar pictured above for vegan sushi that was pretty decent.  The show that night was very fun, with Lula Hoop Garou doing her amazing hula-hooping routines (seriously, youtube that girl!), Jeez Loueez, Deirdre Doll, Scarlette Deville and host Jack Midnight.  Chicago did not disappoint me vegan-wise, never fear!  I had a lovely meal with an old online vegan friend at Karyn's Cooked and capped off my tour with more vegan gravy, which you can tell is a fave of mine! I would definitely eat here again.
That's all for now, I'm in Memphis at the moment and that's a whole new blog I hope to write soon!


  1. Hi Bettina! My friend Autumn, who sells merch for the Belles, sent me a link to your blog. I saw your perform at the Hi-Tone on Saturday. Fabulous show!! I'm also vegan, and I've got a fun vegan food blog called Vegan Crunk. I'll add you to my blogroll and come back often.

    P.S. The biscuits and gravy look AMAZING!!!!

  2. I was just flipping through the channels on my T.V. and I looked up to see you dancing on The Real Housewives of New York City. You did a great job! It was pretty cool to see one of my favorite SGs on television. Good luck with your career.

    I had no idea that you had a blog until I searched for a way to leave you this comment. I'm veg (not vegan), so I'm excited to read this.