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Today, I hopped on the train to Fairfield, CT, so that I could pay a morning visit to Hannah Kaminsky. Hannah’s blog, Bittersweet, is a treasure trove of meticulous, gorgeous recipes, elegant and heartfelt writing, and some of the most beautiful photos you’ll see online. In addition to being the author of Bittersweet, Hannah is a professional photographer, the author of three cookbooks (with a fourth on the way), and a student. Did I mention she’s about five years younger than me? Hannah is a powerhouse of talent, and I am so tremendously inspired by her.

Hannah and I spent a few hours at her home, both laughing and speaking seriously, and sampling some of a terrific new pumpkinseed brittle she has concocted. I also got to peek at the studio in which she creates her marvelous photos. As someone with very limited photography talent and not enough time in which to improve substantially, I really appreciate Hannah’s artistry. After we had a chance to visit, we made our way into Fairfield for lunch Catch a Healthy Habit—a local raw, vegan café.

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I’m always excited to find and support raw establishments in cities that aren’t giant metropolises. I take it as a sign that culture is changing in a much more pro-raw, pro-vegan direction, and it gives me a chance to explore new menus! I was instantly charmed by the cozy interior of Catch a Healthy Habit, and Hannah and I enjoyed peering over the many cool products being sold there, including cacao butter, various superfoods, and homemade crackers.

It was hard to pick from the extensive and wonderful menu. See for yourself how lovely it is! Since I didn’t want to choose between the nori wrap and the spring roll and the house salad, I decided not to; I got the spring roll and salad for lunch, and took the nori wraps to go. But it all began with a carrot, celery, and kale juice (unpictured—I forgot!). For her part, Hannah got the Lo Mein (zucchini and kelp noodles with a coconut and sesame seed sauce). Here’s a shot of our whole lunch feast:

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Everything was so tasty! I especially loved the spring rolls, which were wrapped in a spinach and coconut wrap (must recreate!) and stuffed with kelp noodles, avocado, mango sauce, carrots, and avocado. So many of my favorite things in one little package!

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The salad was a simple mix of veggies and a fresh, lively vinaigrette:

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It’s amazing how you can “know’” someone through blogging for a long time without ever sitting down to chat intimately. I so enjoyed learning more about Hannah’s life, work, and story. It was especially nice to compare our vegan “conversion” narratives. After sharing them, we both nodded solemnly and said, nearly in unison, “it was the best decision I ever made.” It’s such a gift to find people in the vegan community who understand so totally how powerful and life changing a journey it is!

I was sad to leave Hannah and head back to Manhattan, but I was pretty excited to bring with me the nori rolls with fig marmelade, cashew cheese, beets, and lots of greens. Needless to say, they were totally divine. I enjoyed them later on for dinner with a giant salad of raw veggies and steamed brussels sprouts, all dressed with a little hemp oil and lemon. A beautiful plate of food:

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I’m so grateful to lovely Hannah for her company, her work, and her contributions to the vegan community. And for introducing me to Catch a Healthy Habit! Hopefully I’ll be back at some point soon.

EDITED TO ADD: Someone commented just now saying it was odd of me not to mention the recent tragedy in Connecticut in this post. I totally understand how it may have felt like a glaring omission to chat about food without addressing it. The fact is that Hannah and I did talk about it, gravely and with a combination of disbelief and horror. But neither of us really knew what to say, and right now I am struggling to know how to talk about it, privately or publicly. Normally I can find my voice with current events–for example, when I wrote about sandy–but this feels different, and leaves me at a loss for words. I’m so sorry if, in not knowing what to say, I said too little. Forgive me. As I wrote on my Facebook page earlier this week, my whole heart goes out to anyone who has been touched directly by this tragedy. And I hope we all remember to clasp our loved ones a little closer this holiday season.

Goodnight, friends.

xo

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