St. Patrick’s Day Adventures

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This year was my first time celebrating St. Patrick’s day “for real” – as in doing more than having a passing thought halfway through the day of “oh yeah, today is St. Patrick’s day. I guess I should wear something green. What’s clean…”

This was also my first year celebrating St. Patrick’s day as a vegan. And on a day hallmarked by corned beef and cabbage, this can be quite a feat!

But hey, as my freckles, curly red hair, and unfortunate propensity to sunburn can testify, I’ve got the luck o’ the Irish 😉

My adventures started with piling some friends into my car for a lunch run to Dog Haus. I know, press the pause button – Dog Haus? As in hot dogs? With a slogan like “best of the würst,” you wouldn’t exactly expect it to be the most vegan-friendly of places.

Ah, but my friends, this is California. And they had a veggie dog.

Probably the closest thing to corned beef and cabbage that I’ve ever gotten, the veggie dog with caramelized onions, ketchup, and mustard was AMAZING! Gotta remember that my veggie dogs won’t end up being the consistency of rubber if I boil instead of microwave them. 😉

The adventures continued with a road trip to San Juan Capistrano with my friend Joanna to see her boyfriend’s Celtic rock band, the Poxy Boggards, perform at the Coach House. Due to the unexpected lack of traffic or torrential rain, we  ended up arriving about an hour and a half early. We decided to head over to a Starbucks to hang out for a while. And – oh, how serendipitous! – the Starbucks was RIGHT NEXT DOOR to a pet shop!

Yes, yes our trajectory did instantaneously switch to a beeline for the animals. 🙂

If you’re like me, right about now some of you probably have an uncomfortable grumble protesting in the back of your head that sounds something like, “puppy mills puppy mills puppy mills puppy mills…”

As much as I love the chance to be around animals, I hate puppy mills. And unfortunately, that’s where most of the dogs in pet stores come from. I can’t walk by a pet store window display without tensing up.

However, thankfully, I discovered that Pets Plus is doing puppy sales right.

Because they’re just not doing it.

It turns out that “Pets Plus” is more about selling the “plus” than the “pets.” The store is a shop full of pet care items. Besides one small area of the store with non-exotic birds, animals were not among the store’s merchandise. No cages of dogs, no cats in closet-sized displays, not even aquariums of hamsters.

view of the shelter adoption van through the neighboring Starbucks window

That’s not to say there were no animals in the store whatsoever. There were a few dog pens at the front of the store – but the dogs were part of a local shelter’s adoption event. Pets Plus gave the shelter their store space as a forum for finding forever homes for the dogs. When Joanna and I arrived, the shelter was packing up and a store employee was bustling about compiling some goodies to send back to the shelter for the dogs.

Frankly, I was impressed.

The night wrapped up with an AWESOME performance by the Poxy Boggards and their openers, the Merry Wives of Windsor. The Coach House was a great venue where artists like Norah Jones and The Young Dubliners have performed – and where Hugh Laurie will be performing in May! Definitely going back for that one. The wait staff was ridiculously hard working and were even willing to accomodate my vegan requirements by cooking my dish differently from all the other dishes (oil instead of butter, balsamic vinaigrette instead of ranch) even though the show was sold out and the house was COMPLETELY FULL. Talk about a spot o’ Irish luck.

The three and half hours of rocking Celtic folk music, toasts, and an occasional bawdy joke or two or three or dozen definitely capped my St. Patrick’s day in true Irish fashion too 🙂

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