The Casual Blog

Tag: Living Kitchen

Missing dragonflies, and welcoming motorcycles, new ballets, and Wagner

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I didn’t have any luck finding dragonflies this weekend. I tried Lake Benson, Lake Wheeler, and Yates Mill Pond, but it looks like we’ve about come to the end of another dragonfly season. I did see some butterflies and wildflowers, though, and enjoyed walking beside the calm and calming lakes. It was quiet, except for periodic thunderous roars from passing motorcycle groups.
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It was the 12th annual Capital City Bikefest in Raleigh this weekend, and on Saturday evening we walked downtown to have a look at the hundreds of bikes parked on Fayetteville Street. The bikes were mostly enormous Harleys, but with endless gleaming customizations, objects of pride and passion. Lacking tattoos and denim, we may have stood out a bit, but we didn’t notice any negative energy directed our way.
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We ate at Living Kitchen, the new vegan restaurant, where the clientele did not include any obvious biker types. I had the lunasagna, which was cool and tangy, and Sally enjoyed the living burrito, a collard green wrap. Our server, Rebecca, was friendly and efficient.
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Afterwards, we strolled over to Fletcher Hall for the first Carolina Ballet program of the season. Zalman Raffael’s new work, La Mer was a “non-linear” story ballet involving family dynamics and natural forces. We liked it a lot. I was particularly taken with Amanda Babayan’s character, the daughter with the troubles of adolescence.
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Robert Weiss’s first new piece was titled Stravinsky Pas de Deux, with highly dissonant music and angular gestures, danced with wonderful electricity by newcomers Lily Wills and Miles Sollars-White. Weiss’s The Double featured Alicia Fabry and Lindsay Purrington in startlingly close, tense unison. The final work was Weiss’s new Beethoven Piano Concerto # 5, which was very joyous and musical, with great leaps, spins, and lifts. I especially enjoyed Ashley Hathaway’s graceful solo in the second movement, and Alyssa Pilger imperial command in the finale.

Finally, I need to give a shout out to the N.C. Opera for its outstanding production last weekend of Wagner’s Das Rheingold. This little company somehow assembled a cast of world-class Wagnerians for two performances of this complex and thrilling work. Conductor Timothy Myers was masterful, and the singing was superb. Todd Thomas as Alberich managed to touch some unsettling psychological depths as he drove to his famous curse. I got goose bumps.
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Vegetarian delights, and trying intermittent fasting

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Downtown Raleigh is getting downright vegetarian friendly! I had my first lunch this week at the latest new place catering to those who prefer plant food, Living Kitchen. It’s an entirely organic, entirely plant-based restaurant, and I liked everything about it. It’s airy and lively, with smart, friendly servers, and quite a fine veggie burger. There were many things on the menu I wanted to try, and I’ll definitely going back.

Within just a three or so blocks of my office, along with Living Kitchen, there is interesting and tasty plant-based food at Happy and Hale, B-Good, Buku, Shish Kabob, and Capital Club 16, and excellent juices at Cold Off the Press. A little further is Fiction Kitchen, with a highly creative all veggie menu. I could easily eat too much!
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Indeed, I have. I weigh in every morning on a digital scale, and in recent months have been about five pounds heavier than what I really wanted to be. Maybe my metabolism slowed down a bit.

Anyway, for the usual reasons (health, vanity), I’ve been trying to get rid of the excess, and it hasn’t been easy. I tried upping my daily aerobic activity from 40 to 45 hard minutes, and that didn’t make much of a dent. I looked for potential food intake problems that could be improved, and found few. I’d already cut way down on junk food, sweets, fat, and carbs. I’m used to eating smaller-than-typical portions. It wasn’t obvious what more could be done without leaving civilization and becoming a desert ascetic.

I finally decided to try intermittent fasting. I did some research on various systems for skipping certain meals. The version I settled on was no eating between lunch and breakfast two times a week. It made me a bit grouchy at first, but it got easier. The other significant shift was to cut out alcohol during the work week. Here again, it was a little grim at first, since I very much enjoy some wine with dinner, but the first week was the hardest. This week I finally made it to my weight target.
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