WTF is the name of my favorite podcast of all time. It’s actually the only podcast that I’ve ever listened to. I’m slow on the uptake when it comes to trends. I still have no idea what a Blu-Ray is (does?) and I’m pretty sure it’s already obsolete.
Marc Maron is a comedian and the creator and host of the WTF Podcast. Marc (because I like to pretend we’re on a first-name basis) is currently in the running for the number one spot on Molly’s Man Crush list. This spot has been held by Anthony Bourdain for years, but Marc is inching his way closer with each new WTF podcast I listen to.
I could go on about Marc and I probably will in future posts, but today’s post is all about the OTHER WTFer.
Kristin Lajeunesse is the creator of the hugely popular website, Will Travel For Vegan Food (WTF Vegan Food). In 2011, Kristin set out in her van with a mission to eat at every single vegan restaurant in the U.S.
Two years later her mission was accomplished and just two days ago her memoir, Will Travel For Vegan Food was officially released.
From the second I started reading her book, I didn’t want to put it down.
Kristin’s voice is authentic and relatable and you should absolutely read this book, whether you’re vegan or not.
I love that Kristin had the balls to say Fuck It to her 9-5 job, make a completely different choice for herself and dive in headfirst (um, mouth first).
So many of us get stuck on autopilot and allow fear to hold us back from doing what we really, really want and from making bat shit crazy decisions to make it happen. I take my hat off to Kristin and what she has accomplished. I know this is just the beginning for her.
I caught up with Kristin earlier this week and asked her the first questions that popped into my head.
Molly: You literally ate your way through the country. Did you ever get food poisoning from any of the restaurants, cafes or food trucks that you ate at?
Kristin: Nope. Not once, thankfully. 🙂 The only time I kind of felt queasy was if I over-ate. Or that one time after having a donut from VooDoo Donut in Portland. Made me and my folks a bit queasy the rest of the day.
Molly: What are your top three tips for successfully eating vegan while traveling?
1. Pack lots of snacks.
2. Scout out veg eateries at your destinations, ahead of time.
3. Remain open to what may be available in even unlikely places.
Molly: This country has some serious pockets of crap-tastic food, especially along the highways and interstates. What were your workarounds?
Kristin: If I found myself in a place with little-to-no vegan restaurants I’d search out health food stores, co-ops, or in some cases (worst case) Wal-Mart and even gas stations have *something* (fresh fruit, ready-made guacamole, chips, peanuts, snack bars, juices, etc.)
Molly: In your opinion, what are the best 3 albums to road trip to?
Kristin: Oh my! Hmm… I’m a bit of a song-picker, if you will (vs. full album listener), but according to my iTunes account, the albums that I listened to the most while traveling were: Queen (greatest hits album), the Avenue Q soundtrack, and all of Sarah Bareilles. Oh and (bonus!) all of Pink Martini as well.
Molly: Did you plan on writing a book from the beginning or did the idea manifest while traveling?
Kristin: No! Well, not really. I had (apparently as one of my old journals would later reveal) written down—among a list of life goals—to “get published” someday. It was dated April 2011. I embarked on my trip in October 2011. In January 2013 I received a note from a Boston-area acquaintance. He said he
had a business opportunity he wanted to chat about.
A few months and conversations later I had signed a contract with the soon-to-be launched Vegan Publishers via Casey and his wife, Christen.
Originally we talked about working on a coffee table book. At some point that transitioned into the memoir that’s sitting on the desk next to me right now, as I write this. Eee!! 🙂
Molly: What was the hands down best restaurant, cafe or food truck that you ate at on your journey?
Kristin: Vedge, in Philadelphia. I gushed about it in the book! 🙂
Molly: I think you went to a restaurant that I opened in North Berkeley, Nature’s Express. Do you remember it?
Kristin: Oh yes, of course I remember. I actually went 3-4 times when I was in the area. I quite enjoyed it (and I’m not just saying that, haha)!!
Molly: Did any of the places where you ate start to feel repetitious of one another?
Kristin: The Asian inspired cuisines were all quite similar (well, the Chinese cuisine mostly). It seemed as though the places I’d gone used a lot of the same faux meats, recipes, etc. I’m sure it was just happenstance, but those were the only times I felt like I just couldn’t eat another meal like that.
Molly: What type of restaurant would you have loved to eat at but it just didn’t exist? (I’m not looking for ideas, btw – I am insanely fucking happy to be out of the restaurant biz.)
Kristin: Well, Crossroads (Tal Ronnen’s place) wasn’t even a whisper when I was traveling. It opened shortly after my journey ended and I would have loved to have gone. But, if we’re talking a style of restaurant that still doesn’t quite exist yet.. hmm… I guess that would have to be a true fast food joint. A roll up to the window and order kind of place. Now that’d be cool!
Molly: Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline? Do you want to go conquer Asia with me – vegan style?
Kristin: Hehe! 🙂 Yes, well… aside from the dozen or so Vegfests that I’m speaking at this year (yay!). I’ll be releasing some new business products into the world (to help veg business owners flourish). Those will be on my business website: KristinLajeunesse.com.
Then next February I’m co-hosting a lifestyle retreat in Nicaragua with my friend Grace VanBerkum of Gracious Living. She’ll be teaching daily yoga and raw food classes while I’ll be taking participants through business clarity courses. After that, I’ve got my sights set on Berlin and Thailand. But nothing solid booked yet. 😉
Hoping Ellen will call with that TV show offer to become her vegan foodspotting correspondent.
Thank you Kristin for talking with me. I wish you all the success in the world.
Here’s a super fast lunch that you can whip up lickety-split.
I’m not even giving you measurements for the salad part – it’s that easy.
Chickpea Kale Salad Bathed in Sesame Orange Dressing – Whole Food Plant Based
Chickpea Kale Salad Bathed in Sesame Orange Dressing - Whole Food Plant Based
- Cooked garbanzo beans
- Chopped kale
- Sliced radish
- Grated carrot
- Thinly sliced red onion
- Sesame Orange Dressing recipe below
For the Sesame Orange Dressing
- 1/4 cup tahini 55g
- 1 garlic clove grated
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Add the garbanzo beans, kale, radish, carrot and red onion to a mixing bowl.
Drizzle with as much or as little dressing as you desire and mix until fully incorporated.
Add black pepper and salt to taste.
To Make the Sesame Orange Dressing
Place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until creamy and smooth (you will have enough dressing for several big salads).
Have a happy week. May it be filled with lots of reading, plenty of clarity, and breaking the rules at least once.