3/23/10

Finally Spring?

Pommes Frites in Grand Platz: So freakin' Belgian (haha, kinda...)

My little brother came to Brussels last week, can you believe it!? Not only that, but he basically brought Spring with him... No Rooz, Passover, Easter are all here or coming, and the weather is adjusting accordingly. At least for me, the added sunshine as well as my little brother's brief presence has led to a complete mood shift, and I'm so excited for everything coming up, even the stressful parts. (Meh, what's stressful anyways, after the bar exam.)

In order to make my bro feel at home in sometimes-bewildering Europe, I decided to cook for him a large Mexican plate, which, although we are not Mexican, is one of my whole family's favorite comfort foods. (Either that or Thai food are the two things perpetually on the table at my house in VA.) So, in my tiny kitchen I whipped up the following: Urban Vegan's Havana Beans and Rice, Cashew Sour Cream from Vegan Brunch, Avocado and Mango salsa (from me) and some simple fried plantains. If we had been at home it probably would have also had some sweet potatoes, but those things are bloody expensive here! To top it off, I had some vinegar and a bit of tabasco. My friends and family member gobbled everything up happily, and the culture shock was drastically reduced. My bro also brought a lot of amazing things with him from my parents, including some vital wheat gluten, dried cranberries, maple syrup, and the new VegNews and Vegetarian Times. I was in American seventh heaven, let me tell you.
A splash of vinegar on top is now mandatory, thanks to Urban Vegan.

After a few days of Brussels, with attendant lemon pea risotto (no pics, sorry!), frites and vegan Pho at Indochine, one of my favorite veg-friendly restaurants on Rue Lebroussart, we headed to Berlin to meet up with S. There we really introduced my brother to some European decadence with lots of late nights out at loud and smoky clubs, long walks through Kreutzberg, and an absolute overload of falafel, hummus, and Berliner Kindl. In other words, a perfect introduction to that grand town. We also visited the "Modern Times" exhibit at the Neue Nationalgalerie which was full of gorgeous, weird, and moving works by German and non-German artists, as well as a few of the pieces that had been sold or lost during the National Socialist era because of their denunciation as "degenerate art." I highly recommend it if you happen to be in Berlin anytime soon.

When I got back I had the honor of attending a No Rooz celebration hosted by the wife of the ambassador to Afghanistan in Brussels. I am taking some food photographs for an upcoming (non-vegetarian) Afghan cookbook that will benefit a woman's school in Afghanistan. No Rooz is a Zoroastrian New Years holiday celebrated throughout the world, but particularly in Iran and Afghanistan. The food was absolutely gorgeous and that which was vegetarian was delicious. (That which wasn't I think could be quite easily, and I'm looking into it for next year...)
For more on No Rooz, go check out Amey's blog, she has some gorgeous pictures and great recipes from her family's celebration this year.

Hope you all are enjoying the first pangs of Spring as much as I am...

Song of the Day: Nick Cave- Breathless

6 comments:

jessy said...

we're enjoying spring here in rva too, T - so awesome that its finally come to Brussels as well. yay! also awesome: your bro's visit (and that spread of mexican deliciousness & falafel 'n hummus overload)! w00t! that rocks some serious socks that he brought you some goodies - what a fun picture of the two of you! don't 'cha just love how the nicer weather and good company can make you most happyfaced. :) i've never heard of No Rooz so i'm gonna have to do some research and check it out, fo 'sho (and i also need to get The Urban Veagn)!

Sarah said...

Typically, it's raining here in the UK. The Spring briefly showed its face on Sunday but since then it's been miserable. I'm intrigues by No Rooz; thank goodness for google! x

Mihl said...

You two look cute! How awesome you could celebrate together. That NoRooz feast looks totally amazing, how fantastic you werre able to be there.

HayMarket8 said...

Wow! That is a huge spread! I love it. I want to go to Brussels....

shellyfish said...

That's so amazing about attending the No Rooz party! I was very bummed because our Persian deli has closed for good, and I usually picked up some special yummies from them.
Isn't Spring great! It's been so warm here, well, I guess I'm much further south, but still - love it!
And yeah for little bros!

automate crystal said...

you look cool..seems your enjoying spring!