Tasked with going outside this month, our plan was to take you out on the boat to a tiny unpopulated secret island rich with wildlife while we shared a vegan summer picnic. Instead, this very impromptu video and post shares a very personal moment in the lives of a few of us here.... a going away party for one of our favorite people. A dear friend, wonderful woman, staunch animal advocate, proud vegan, compassionate soul, animal rescuer, and someone who gives hope for the human race in general, is relocating to a very far flung part of the world. I'm so sad it hurts, but I'm very happy for the next chapter in her (and her family's) life.
The last 7-8 weeks have been brutal on a personal level. We kept it together pretty well for July, despite the fact that at the end of June there was a death in the other happy vegan's family, yes his mom passed.
In July, two more close friends moved away forever.
In August, our friend who's the subject of this post/video was tasked with winding down her Keys days.
Then, in August, our beloved Princess Glitter FancyPants unexpectedly and suddenly crossed the Rainbow Bridge. That pretty much was the last straw of what we could handle. We bailed on the boat trip. It's so hard to find joy sometimes when in the middle of grief. That, and grief is simply exhausting.
Apologies for the drama, let's get on with the food!
By the time you read this, our friend will be on the road with one of her adult children, 2 cats (1 hospice case), and 1 dog. Super long road trip for them to get to the location where her daughter will relocate with the animals, and then for my friend, in a few more days after her daughter settles in a 14-16 hour airline flight awaits for her to get to her own next destination. My friend's employer/friend put together a beautiful going away party a few weeks ago, and then down to the wire just about 36 hours before she leaves the Keys, 5 of us got together at a local watering hole for some final laughs, vegan food, a beautiful sunset, music and proper goodbyes. Saying goodbye for any reason is never easy for me. Watching friends leave is something that I simply cannot get used to at all, but is so common in such a transient area. Then again..... I just know we will see our friend again some day. Modern technolgy can soften the blow in the meantime too, gotta love social media for that at least.
We went to a very non-vegan friendly place, but ironically they have wonderful vegan veggie "sushi" rolls, and they are my favorite place in the Keys for vegan sushi because they have soy paper as an option instead of nori, if desired. You know me.... I can't stand the taste of any sea veggies, so that soy paper is amazing! This place also happens to be on the water where they get some of the absolute best sunset views in the entire Keys. It's at the top of the 7 Mile Bridge in Marathon, so you'll see in the video and the pictures that sunset. Also, it just so happens, they have a smart, friendly, beautiful inside and out VEGAN waitperson working there, her name is Cleona. I love her to pieces, she is such a bright light.
I shot the video (scroll down below) just panning around from the musicians to the sunset through the entire restaurant. We all ordered the same thing, all vegan... ginger salads, vegan "sushi," truffle fries for the table to share, assorted gluten free and vegan wines/beer/soft drinks, and to share I made a box of vegan, gluten free, organic cupcakes since my friend has Celiac. I like to make extra of any food I bring in case anyone working would like to partake, and in my experience, it's always a thoughtful and appreciated gesture.
We all ordered this same dish, I was the only one who had soy paper.... everyone else went for traditional nori:
|Vegan "sushi" roll|
Mine had soy paper instead of Nori
Oopsie, 1 piece already missing..... YUM!
The restaurant is a giant open air tiki, with a step down bar to their huge outdoor movie screen, pool and musician's area, but... this is the view we had as we were seated right next to the rail:
|Huge pool, huge tiki, step down bar|
What a place!
|These views never get old or tiresome down here|
|Best animal advocate and friend you'd ever want to know|
Our friend Sue with a cupcake
(vegans are taking over, lookout world!)
The restaurant is called Sunset Grille, it is in Marathon, Florida at the East end of the 7 Mile Bridge (most people call it the North end, but it's actually East). I took a few pictures of Cleona too, but the sun was too far set and all you'd see is her silhouette. I'm giving excellent advice when I say this "if you go to the Sunset Grille, ask to be taken care of by Cleona!" Not only will you get a compassionate soul, but you'll be taken care of by the best of the best. Thank you Cleona!
Here's our video, raw footage of the sum total of it all, and some darn good tropical tunes:
So, there it is. We went outside for a going away party in the Keys. Thanks for your support, and for everyone whom has contacted us to express condolences. Princess did appear in a few of our Vegan MoFo videos in the past, so maybe you remember her. She was truly the heart of our home, and the center of our world for so many reasons.
We'll be joining the huge annual VeganMoFo worldwide event again this year as well, coming in October, 2017. We'll be sharing videos with our blog posts, and I think by then we will be in better emotional shape to have some fun and share our beautiful Florida Keys with you, vegan food style.
Looking forward to see you here again soon. Big vegan love to you and yours. xo