Happy Sunday, everyone! This is going to be a very streamlined newsletter, as I have just returned from a whirlwind 39-hour bus trip (22 of which was travel time) to NYC. Thus I am lacking the time and presence of mind to bring you my usual obsessively crafted newsletter. ;-) One of the many benefits of the trip was that I used part of that long ride to figure out how to use Instagram. After years of hearing about how I should use it, I am finally on board! For those of you who are not as slow to catch on as I am, feel free to check out my account @rangadevidasi where I have posted more photos from the trip. I will also be posting more photos and descriptions on my Facebook page. Here are the super abbreviated Cliff Notes:
Entering the City from the NJ Turnpike. My son and the other children on the bus were all agog to see the impressive skyline.
We had all (about 60 of us) come from NC to participate in the Jagannath Ratha Yatra Festival. This festival originated 1000s of years ago in the eastern Indian state of Orissa. Since 1966, under the inspiration and direction of Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Hare Krishna movement has been recreating this sacred parade throughout all the major cities of the world. I was trying to give an impression here of the sheer magnitude of the procession which entirely filled the width of 5th Avenue and extended for several blocks. If you are curious to experience this joyful cultural festival, Morrisville, NC will be hosting a much smaller version on July 10th of this year (details here). Shameless plug - my band Samadhi will be initiating the entertainment section of the afternoon.
My son and I made a pilgrimage to the Doughnut Plant. This establishment has been making egg-free, high-quality doughnuts since 1994. So visiting a long-standing, successful, vegan-friendly establishment was truly a pilgrimage for this aspiring entrepreneur. There is much, much more I have to say about this place, so please check my Facebook page in a day or two for the complete story.
We wound up our trip with a visit to the ISKCON temple in Brooklyn. This temple is celebrating its 40th anniversary of hosting and coordinating the incredible Ratha Yatra festival. At 9:30 at night, while we were all waiting for our charter bus to pick us up, we watched a semi truck pull up outside the temple and unload uncountable coolers that had been used to transport the uncountable gallons of free food that were served out during the festival. I cannot even begin to tell you how many people benefited from this free food, except to say that there were four lines of people that wound around the block, and still there was plenty for everyone! The stop at this sweet and sacred temple was actually my favorite part of the trip.
Vegetable Pakoras -$3 ea. or 2/$5. These mixed vegetable fritters are made by dipping the cut veggies in a batter of spiced chickpea and rice flours and then frying them in grapeseed oil until they are happy and golden. *GF, soy-free