Monday, July 15, 2019

Sunday: Bonsai Exhibition and a Vegan Cajun Lunch

Bonsai Display

Today, my daughter and I took friend R out for her birthday.

First, we went to the Japanese Garden, where they were having a bonsai exhibition and activities relating to the celebration of Tanabata or Star Festival.  The Tanabata activities included writing wishes on strips of paper, decorating them, and hanging them on bamboo plants.

Tanabata Wishes
The Japanese Garden was as beautiful as ever:

View of the Garden from the Viewing Pavilion

We tried to get there early to avoid the heat.  It was a very comfortable 81F when we left the house a little after 10:00 a.m., but, by the time we stopped to get daughter some coffee from her favorite coffee shop, picked up friend R, and drove to the Japanese Garden, it was 11:00 a.m. and the temperature was 89F!

It was the first time my daughter and my friend had been there and they both enjoyed the visit.  We walked around the garden for awhile and enjoyed the sights and sounds.   The lotuses and water lilies were blooming in the water garden:

Lotus Flowers

Water Lilies
Afterwards, we looked at the bonsai exhibit.  There were so many wonderful displays of these miniature trees!  I was fascinated by this pomegranate tree bonsai with flowers and a pomegranate fruit forming on it:

Pomegranate Tree Bonsai
I also got an idea for my front garden (where there is barely any grass), when I saw this dry landscape just outside the building where the exhibit was being held:

Dry Garden
I also took a few other pictures that might be candidates for the summer photo scavenger hunt (although I've taken other pictures for the same prompts, earlier, at the museum garden):

SPSH: "A Curved Path"

SPSH: "A Curved Path"

SPSH: "Bridge"
We were at the Japanese Garden for a little over an hour, I think.  We stopped at the gift shop and my daughter and friend R both purchased a few items.  I picked up a brochure about becoming a volunteer at the garden!  Volunteers help with special events, act as docents, help in the gift shop, etc.  It's something I am considering doing, although I haven't decided, yet.

After that, we went out to lunch.  Daughter and I had driven past a Cajun food restaurant, yesterday, and we thought we'd try it.  We read up about it, online, and it was a vegan restaurant, with lots of good reviews.  It was owned and operated by a woman who was originally from Louisiana.  Friend R was willing to try it out and so, we went there for lunch!

Daughter and I had their Jambalaya - rice, beans, blackeyed peas, bell pepper, green onions, red cabbage and vegetarian sausage!

I thought it was very good - spicy, well-seasoned, and I liked the "sausage".  My daughter thought it was too salty and she didn't much care for the sausage.

Friend R had their "Gumbalaya Bowl" - a combination of jambalaya and gumbo (didn't take a photo of that!).  She said it was good.  We couldn't finish our lunches and asked for containers to take the leftovers home!

For dessert, we each chose something called "Voodoo Brownie Beignet" - a beignet with a brownie inside it!  We asked for it to go, as we knew we couldn't finish it, then and there!

Voodoo Brownie Beignet
This was the first time friend R and I had eaten Cajun food.  My daughter, however, had eaten at a Cajun restaurant in San Francisco (although it wasn't a vegan Cajun place).  According to the owner of the restaurant we went to, today, it is the "World's first Cajun vegan restaurant".

I like this sentiment
After lunch, friend R declined my invitation to come home with us for the rest of the afternoon as she had to do a few things to prepare for the work week ahead, so we dropped her off at her apartment and came home.  By then, the afternoon temperature was 97F!

Daughter took a nap while I did two loads of laundry.  Later, I watered the front garden and prepared the rest of the package of frozen chicken pot stickers for our dinner.

Today, I am grateful for:
- Being able to celebrate friend R's birthday with her
- Both she and daughter enjoyed their first visit to the Japanese Garden
- The shady sun hat I wore at the garden
- Tanabata wishes
- An enjoyable day

My joyful activities for the day included spending time with my daughter and my friend, visiting the Japanese Garden again, and going out to lunch.

Tomorrow, daughter will leave to go to the conference.

Monday's To Do List:
- Drive daughter to the hotel where she will stay during the conference
- Change my bed sheets and do a load of laundry
- Take the trash cans to the curb for pick up
- Dust the living room and dining area
- Clean the fridge
- Water the back garden

How was your Sunday?  What have you planned for Monday?  Have you eaten vegan Cajun food?


  1. Jambalaya is so delicious and those plants looks so pretty:)

    1. Yes, I agree! It was the first time I've tried vegan jambalaya, but it was really good! And the plants were so lovely to look at, too. So much care and effort had gone into pruning and training them into the different forms.

  2. Sounds like a great birthday outing--the Japanese gardens and a new restaurant. I am fascinated by bonsai and the patience it takes to do. I'm not sure if I have it in me.

    1. I think she enjoyed it, Live and Learn, and daughter and I are glad we could help her celebrate her birthday.

      Bonsai is amazing, isn't it? There were so many lovely examples on display (and I took too many photos, as usual!), Some of the trees were on sale, after the exhibit, and I was tempted, but, I know my house is not a very hospitable place for plants, so I didn't give into temptation!

  3. The garden looks so beautiful, a lovely place to visit. The volunteering sounds interesting as well.

    I love Cajun food but have never had a vegan dish. I always have chicken and prawns.

    1. It is a very lovely place, Eileen; very serene. I will be going back (and my friend said she wouldn't mind coming, again), but, I think it will be better to wait until it is a bit cooler! I am going to give the volunteering some serious thought - it will be an opportunity to get out of the house, occasionally, meet some new people, and get more involved in my community.

  4. Bonsai's fascinate me, even to the point of wanting to create one, but part of me wonders if it is cruel to deliberately stunt a plant's growth. Recently a stand of about 15 trees down the highway were limbed and left standing and it bothered me until they were finally taken down which was the intent.

    1. I suppose it is the same principle as pruning garden shrubs or topiary, Bushlady, although on a miniature scale. But, I know I would never be able to train and prune a bonsai - even in my garden, the look is more wild than manicured!

  5. I’ve never had Cajun food. I have to see if there are any restaurants nearby. 😊

    Good luck to your daughter with her presentation!

    1. The particular Cajun food I had was quite spicy! It reminded me a little bit of rice and curry!

      Thank you, Nil. She'll be presenting tomorrow (at the Childhood Obesity Conference). She went over it with me, at home, today. She has a 20 minutes segment of a 90-minute panel and we timed her presentation and she did it in 16 minutes during today's trial run. Hopefully, she'll do just fine, tomorrow. :)


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