Thursday, September 11, 2014

Vegan MoFo 2014 Day 11: Key West - Help Yourself Cafe & Grocery

Video below.

Tonight I made vegan chili with leftover organic black beans that were dying in my relatively empty fridge. I added carrot coins to it; chili purists please don't hold it against me.

Let's get going on today's MoFo video, shall we?

Believe it or not, we had to be back in Key West today, this time for business. We scraped up what we could to look "official" since we were going to a place where togs from the free box just won't cut it, combed our hair, and did our best to look presentable (that explains what I'm wearing in this video, plus you can't see them, but I'm actually wearing heels, holy organic bananas). Once the official business was over, we were hungry so we headed over to Help Yourself on Fleming Street for something good to eat. We both had the same thing, my absolute favorite smoothie there is called a Chocolate Buzz. It has banana, cacao powder, cacao nibs, coconut milk and coconut palm sugar. This place is straight up fabulous, meaning they're all organic, they make stuff on site from their scratch kitchen, and that translates to a merchant who can accommodate many special requests. Whenever I get a Chocolate Buzz, I always leave out the coconut palm sugar.  Today I asked for some organic kale to be tossed in; their reply? "no problem!" My kinda place!

We drank our smoothies, roamed around to see what was new, saw a few familiar faces, and did a quick video tour for MoFo of the wonderful and fabulous Help Yourself. What we love so much about them (besides the great people there!) is the mission of this place, which is to bring nutritious organic food to our community. There is mindful thought in every aspect of this business: they will not use plastic bags (bring your own please!), they have compostable/degradable utensils and "to go" packaging;  recycling is essentially mandatory (a big deal in Key West as the City of Key West has actually and unbelievably EXEMPTED businesses from recycling!-- why? well, anecdotal evidence supports my opinion that it's because 1 or 2 of the City Commissioners own tourist attractions in Key West, including bars, which produce A LOT of waste that could be recycled, but either they find it too expensive, or too inconvenient, to comply with the "request for recycling" that has been put in place for the residents…. and no, I'm not kidding about any of this). But, on top of all this, they're ORGANIC!!! The items offered for sale in the store are of the best quality. Many fairly traded and ethically traded items are available. Although this is not a vegan grocery or cafe, this is a place where it's easy to find and abundant selection of wonderful vegan products and food. People who have special considerations for eating are well taken care of in here as well. I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that they do carry my own professional line of baked goods as well, which to me is a huge compliment in that they feel confident enough in the quality and consistency of my products to offer them side by side with the best of the best.

Help Yourself also likes to try new things (OMG…. the watermelon lemonade I had there once I still pine for, same can be said for the grape lemonade I had once, just once) That's another thing about Help Yourself and the special food items they make and offer… if you see something you like while you're there, grab it as it may never come around again. They work with what they have available, what's fresh, and what's seasonal. It's imperative, in my opinion, for communities like mine to support businesses like this. They are exactly what this world needs, what my community needs, and I cannot imagine being here without them. The cost of running a business like Help Yourself I am sure is quite high. The cost of not supporting a business like this…. even higher.

Enjoy the video, and when in town make Help Yourself a "must visit" during your stay!

See you next time, you bet with more MoFo love! xo

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