Good Friends and Aside of Heart

I have had the honor of working side by side with some amazing and passionate people. All of which have, and continue to contribute something to the growth and success of our cafe and will always have a special place in my heart. It’s not often you find yourself in this world amongst people with their heart in the right place.

Yet as I continue to live a life filled with nutritious and bountiful food, it only brings me the gift of more positive influences. Everything from confidence to good friends. Friends that show their loyalty and gratefulness by eating with us every day. Friends that give without expecting anything in return, just to see you succeed. Friends that make sacrifices in their own lives because they believe … in us. On my hardest days I remember my friends and I am filled with gratefulness to know every one of them; strangers or not. A few weekends ago we had to say goodbye to one of The Cutting Board Crew and two of our friends, for they were about to embark on their own great adventure in life. I’m no stranger to change. In fact I’m very stubborn when it comes to change. But life has taught me that good friends will come and go. Whether they are acquaintances, strangers, or close relatives they will always be remembered.

So we celebrated our last days together the only way we knew how – with Vegan food and music! The Cutting Board Crew migrated to downtown Phoenix to check out Aside of Heart for food and The Lost Leaf for music. None of us had been to Aside of Heart yet so we were all eager to try it out.

I love the chance to get to Downtown Phoenix when I can. The art and culture of downtown makes me yearn for diversity. Sometimes I feel like I don’t really know Arizona until I visit the heart of Phoenix, or spend time walking the small college towns of Arizona’s cooler climates. Aside of Heart was located right on 5th street; a street lined with history. Okay … houses turned into locally owned book stores and coffee shops. Still, I dined wondering whose living room I was sitting in. And where else can you go in the East Valley and see bright and beautiful graffiti art painted on a house that doesn’t look the same as the one sitting next to it? There weren’t too many people in the restaurant but in their defense it was a Sunday night. Who goes out on a Sunday night!? Oh yeah … we do.

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We all started off sipping cappuccino’s (mostly to help get us through the night after a long week and day at work) and took a tour of the house to look at the space’s current exhibition of local artists.

Then we were brought complimentary bowls of Miso Soup before our meal. It was nice sitting in the company of good people. The air was humid from the monsoon rolling into the Valley and the buzzing of the swamp cooler blowing into the room while sipping on my carefully crafted coffee, left me finally feeling relaxed for the night.

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The best thing about being in a big group of people (especially when they are all Vegan) is they all want to try everything! Even better is – we didn’t have to cook any of it!

Everyone ordered something different and we all ended up swapping out portions of each other’s meal which gave us a pretty good taste of the menu. Sean and I ordered the Jackfruit Tacos, the Hummus Sandwich and a side of the Potatoes. For the life of me I can’t remember the exact names of the meals but I do recall that their menu and dish titles were very creative and fun to read. The meals were brought out with beautiful presentation and very obviously crafted with love. This was my second time trying Jackfruit and it was a much better experience than the first time. I loved the texture it brought to the tacos and the flavor from its slow simmer in spices was very savory. I did find myself very envious of the kale salad. I never order salads at restaurants because I often find myself very disappointed by tasteless, cheap ingredients but I would go back just to order that salad. It was loaded with creative veggie combinations and an amazing dressing. The sandwich was good but not as flavorful as the tacos and the potatoes were just a little too tangy for me.

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And of course … desert! Vegans get desert because there are so few chances to have Vegan deserts unless you make it yourself – Brownies, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Strawberry Lemon Cake! . I left Aside of Heart happy for the full tummy and a tasty, worry free and labor free meal – big shout out to the crew at Aside of Heart from The Cutting Board! Thank you for the wonderful dining experience!

After our meal we went to The Lost Leaf, literally a skip hop and a jump across the street! If it were Mesa we would be driving for hours in search of good music and beer. From the minute we walked in we found ourselves at home to an amazing selection of wines and beers. The band, Deltaphonic from New Orleans was just setting up to play – perfect timing!

I felt like we had stepped into another town in some other state. There was so much character and personality brimming from the walls. We were sitting in the kitchen of an old brick house with wood floors jammin’ to the tunes of a band that made me want to buy a plane ticket New Orleans.

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After a few hours everyone bid their farewells. Sean and I stayed. These days it is extremely rare to be anywhere but running around a Cafe or entertaining the baby.

So we had another beer. Talked to a very nice bartender and ran into one of my old friends from college. We stayed until the band took their second break and then decided it was time to turn in the for the night, leaving with a souvenir – the memory of a great night shared with good friends and aside of heart.

One Comment

  1. I’m a vegan for the health beinfets. Not a moral decision .although that is a side benefit. I also watched forks over knives and made the decision to try it for 30 days. Although weight loss was not a goal, I easily dropped 5 lbs that I have tried to lose for years. EASILY. My energy level was up, my blood work improved significantly, my sleep patterns improved drastically, and I have begun to enjoy cooking with my granddaughter (5 YRS OLD) and eating a conscious meal at the table! Sounds odd, but I am so busy working that I have not cooked meals or eaten at a table for years. The vegan diet is easy. My only hangup was cream for my coffee, which I solved with Coconut creamer (no it doesn’t taste like coconut!). Now the vegan diet is incorporated into my life and I can’t think of a reason I’d ever go back. It’s a personal choice though and I’d certainly never try to preach. I still buy cream for my friends at my dinner parties!Found you on the internet when I was looking for a Kale salad recipe. The Kale, Pear and Cranberry Salad is WONDERFUL!

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