Listen, I'm a sucker for an epic macaroni and yam combination like anybody else. However, I have to say I'm proud of my fellow African-Americans who have not only taken on the healthy plant-based lifestyle, but have also opened up dope eateries to show others that just because it's vegan, doesn't mean it's not delicious.
You know they had us in mind when they created the vegan version of some of our favorite dishes - it's the best of both worlds. Check out a few Black-owned vegan spots you should definitely check out in your city:
Launched by Chef Babette (Chef B), Stuff I Eat in Inglewood is 100% vegan and 95% organic, i.e. it doesn't get more plant-based than that.
One of their most notable items are their tacos. From the wild rice blend to the tofu, or even a mix for those of us who want to try it all, Stuff I Eat has the vegan taco game on lock. They even feature Taco Tuesdays every week. You'll also want to dabble in other menu items like the organic soul flood platter (yams, macaroni, BBQ tofu, kale greens, black-eyed peas, and more), the Nat Burger, Lava Burrito, and of course a classic vegetable stir fry.
Green Seed Vegan in Houston is another amazing option. And I'm sure it has everything to do with its unique menu choices like pb&p (caramelized plantains with spinach and peanut butter spread), sweet porta (grilled portabella mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and spinach over pesto), and tosh (maple jerk garbanzo tempeh with grilled plantains, spinach and jerk aioli).
If anything, Green Seed Vegan, and its owners, husband and wife Matti Merrill and Rodney Perry, have proven that vegan dishes can actually be fun, flavorful, and soooo delicious. They've had their food truck for years but settled in their Houston brick-and-mortar back in 2012 and have been going strong over since. Fortunately for Houston residents (and anyone who stops through the city), they don't show any signs of slowing down at all.
Baltimore is not sleeping on The Land Of Kush. Owned by Gregory Brown, Naijjha Wright, and Darius Waters, the restaurant has a 4.5 rating with more than 1,000 Google reviews, and the people have spoken: Issa hit. The Land Of Kush was also voted Baltimore City Paper's 2017 Best Restaurant and its award-winning vegan crab cake got a nod in the city's 2015 Top Baltimore Dishes.
Now let's get into this menu. The food is said to be so good, you'll have to do a double-take to make sure it's even vegan, but of course it is. Some of its most popular dishes include BBQ ribs, lentil burgers, candied yams, baked macaroni, spinach lasagna, and vegan drummies. Plus, it's never short of a celebrity sighting like Chloe & Halle and TLC's Chilli.
Plum Bistro – Seattle, WA
Owner Makini Howell definitely had us wannabe-vegans in mind when she launched Plum Bistro on the West Coast. While she's been a vegan all her life, she understands the struggle of sticking with the plant-based diet. This is probably why it's been named Capitol Hill's Most Loved Vegan Restaurant for nearly 10 years.
She's proven that just because it's plant based, doesn't mean you can't get your fill. The menu includes buffalo Portobello burgers, Jamaican wraps, Mama Africa salads, and macho burritos, just to name a few. She even threw in some season vegan desserts like pure vanilla milkshakes, ice cream, golden milk snickerdoodle and avocado lavender ice cream sandwiches, and banana bread. And it's all locally grown. Talk about support!
This mother and son combination is shutting down the vegan game in NYC. Brenda and Aaron Beener have made it clear that what the vegan people want, the vegan people get.
Seasoned Vegan touts some amazing dishes like lemon crusted "chicken" nuggets, pizza quesadillas, and its own classic Po'Boy sandwich. Other favorites for the dinner menu are the smothered "chicken," black pepper "steak," "tuna" melts, and Harlem chopped "cheeseburgers."
The brunch menu includes amazing dishes like fried fermented soy "chicken" drumsticks with pancakes (or even sweet potato pancakes… ayyeee) and Burdock "crawfish" in garlic basil sauce, and, check this out, yam fried "shrimp." It even has a late-night menu and stays open until 2AM on Fridays and Saturdays.
From its creative buffets to themed meals, Louisville Vegan Kitchen has made it clear you can get full (and do a good food happy dance) while indulging in a plant-based diet.
It doesn't only offer amazing meals and dishes like cauliflower nuggets, stuffed mushrooms, spinach wrap spirals, gumbo, and more, but it provides many ways for you to keep up with your vegan goals through health coaching and personal chef services. It also caters events like work lunches, weddings, and more, to show everyone how doable the vegan lifestyle is.
Vegans in Atlanta (and even people who aren't vegan) already know what's up with Tassili's Raw Reality. Located in the West End district, it's probably one of the top vegan places in the city. It's just a bonus that the owner, Tassili Matt, is black and also doubles as the chef.
It features its raw wraps and salads from the South of the Border. like their chili wraps with black eyed pea hummus, and the Mandingo (a really big wrap with vegan mayonnaise and kale, avocado, tomato, sweet coconut corn, almonds, and more). The Dat Ish wrap is also a popular menu item as well as the Big Yoshi. Who else loves these names though?
Is there a black-owned vegan restaurant where you live? Let us know about it in the comments!
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Charmaine Patterson is a journalist, lifestyle blogger, and a lover of all things pop culture. While she has much experience in covering top entertainment news stories, she aims to share her everyday life experiences, old and new, with other women who can relate, laugh, and love along with her. Follow Char on Twitter @charjpatterson, Instagram @charpatterson, and keep up with her journey at CharJPatterson.com .
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Bucket lists are popular and provide us the opportunity to not only put our dreams to paper but to set up an intention to take action and live the lives of our dreams. You could be in that "soft girl era," where your bucket list is all about ease and self-reflection, or in a glow-up era, where it's all about bucket-list activities that lay the building blocks of financial freedom by getting to the bag in all the ways you can. (And y'all know we love a good travel bucket list. A recent study shows that 95% of Americans have bucket lists for places they want to see and things they want to do before they die.)
Well, what about a career bucket list? We spend the most time at work, put our passions and efforts into our careers, and our jobs pay the bills, so they are a significant part of our life's journey. Here are a few career bucket list ideas to help you find fulfillment, fun, adventure, and advancement in whatever you professionally choose to pursue.
1. Take a month, quarter, or year off for funemployment.
Save up that lump sum (or create a plan for funding your journey while being a full-time unemployed bae, on purpose) and do all the things you'd do if you "only had the time." It could be traveling America's West Coast or trekking through the cities of Ghana. It could be investing in a small business. It could be starting one. It could be doing absolutely nothing at all and taking the time for silence, self-reflection, and self-care.
This period can help you rejuvenate, appreciate the job you have (if it's indeed a sabbatical), or enlighten you to new ideas for other career passions and goals you want to pursue.
2. Invest in a coach, certification or masterclass.
It's always a good idea to be a lifelong learner, especially with the fast pace of change across industries. Plus, this is a great opportunity to widen your network, learn something new that you can get paid more to use at your current job, or serve others via a cause you're passionate about.
3. Speak at or host an event of empowerment or career development.
And no, this isn't about creating yet another superficial "networking" event where everyone just shows up dressed to the nines but does little to no connecting whatsoever. Get your name out there, volunteer, or market yourself to be paid to speak at or host events that actually build impact, that talk about subjects you're actually an expert on, or that you can add your very-much-needed two cents to when it comes to your work and life experiences.
4. Negotiate for double the salary you're making right now.
I know, I know. Depending on how much you make, your level of experience or education, or the industry you're in, this might seem ludicrous, but at the very least, this will provide a lesson in confidence, communication, and knowledge of your worth. When was the last time you checked the market value of what you actually offer to a company? Yeah, if it's been years, you need to strategically go to the powers that be, put together a proposal, practice what you'll say with a trusted mentor or colleague (at another company within your industry), and make this power move.
If you can't do this, per se, find other ways to fill the gap in your take-home pay, such as a side hustle or even a search for a completely different position at a totally different company.
5. Work remote twice per month or more.
Whether you have to request this or you just have the power to do it. See what it's like and find ways to maximize systems and technology to save time and make doing your job a bit easier. There are even nurses and doctors who hardly ever step foot in a lab, hospital room, or office, so think about your options and try this out.
For some of us, constantly fighting with traffic, being in cold offices all day, or dealing with face-to-face interactions that make you question your sanity is just not a good fit, so remote work might be the name of the self-care game when it comes to your career longevity and advancement.
6. Learn a foreign language and speak it fluently.
There's all this talk about being a digital nomad and working out of Thailand, France, or Mexico, but that language barrier can be a stressful---but avoidable---crook in the back of your dreams of working abroad. Learn that language, sis (or at least get the basics down) and start really getting engrossed in the culture. If you're working for a corporation that has overseas locations and you want that transfer, this can add a lot to your resume.
If you want to transition to a different aspect of your industry, such as education, PR, or financial services, this is essential because while many of us lean on the fact that in many countries, when business is being handled, English is an option, you're truly a boss when you can speak Mandarin to close that deal in China.
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