What: Thanksgiving feasting and a tribute to The Smiths
Where: Popscene nightclub, San Francisco, Calif.
When: November 27, 2008
Why: To give veg-inspired thanks
The Scoop: Previous holidays have brought me unwanted stress, directly related to being the only vegan in my family. The inevitable, "What are you going to eat?" question arises, and my mother and I scramble to find a solution that the "traditional" folks won't be too offended by. You want to put vegetable broth in the stove-top stuffing? Blasphemy! It generally ends with a few side dishes on my plate and an internal sigh, lamenting the omnivore-crafted meal.
But this year, there were no more excuses for my whining. Being away from my Missourian family led me to host the 100-percent-vegan festivities at my cozy apartment. The dinner quickly gained RSVP’s from fellow 20-somethings seeking a home-away-from-home celebration. As a group, we decided to do it potluck-style, divvying up the dishes to alleviate any stress or financial burden. Needless to say, we went a little crazy and made more delicious food than could fit on the table.
Lauren, another Missouri transplant, took an impressive made-from-scratch approach to her dishes. Her tofu potpie, candied yams, and tangerine-cranberry sorbet were phenomenal. Beca, Jersey-girl extraordinaire, brought her family-inspired classics to the table. A tasty veggie and pita bread appetizer plate with Mediterranean hummus kept us calm during prep time, while roasted asparagus with a crunchy breadcrumb topping, marinated mushrooms, and a trio of colorful roasted potatoes earned her gold stars at the table. The testosterone in the house, Ben and Jake, also fellow Midwesterners, brought fluffy, golden crescent rolls and a sweet salad made with strawberry-marinated greens and raw pecans. I whipped up my mom’s classic stuffing, VN’s famous Mac ‘n’ Cheese, a savory Celebration Roast, and the quintessential pumpkin pie. Are you hungry yet?
There was more food than should ever be consumed in one sitting, but we made a valiant effort trying—and paid for it. Luckily, we had post-gorging plans to help alleviate the food coma/calorie intake/overall bodily discomfort. In honor of our meatless feast, we headed to Popscene to dance our knees off at their 9th Annual Meat is Murder party, a tribute to The Smiths and their leading veg man, Morrissey.
330 Ritch was already packed with an array of scene kids, aging hipsters, awkward-guys-in-the-corner, and every other label you might expect to find at an indie dance club and/or anything related to The Smiths. The DJs were spinning killer Brit pop to get everyone’s feet warmed up, and the bars were packed with people not quite comfortable enough to show off their skills pre-inebriation.
Lauren Paulk and Abigail Young ready for a night of dancing
After a few impatient dances, This Charming Band took the stage and played a short but oh-so-satisfying set of audience-requested Smiths songs. Tracks like “This Charming Man” and “Cemetery Gates” filled the room, and we danced like fiends. Every classic hit was greeted with cheers from the crowd, followed by in-sync screaming of the melancholic lyrics. Lead singer Orlando’s voice matched perfectly to the brooding Morrissey projected on the club’s video screens. If you closed your eyes, the vocal resemblance was uncanny. We also ran—or should I say danced—into Melisser, The Urban Housewife, who came out for the show. It didn’t get any better than being with veg-minded Smiths fans, shouting the lyrics to “Take Me Out” as This Charming Band closed the set.The DJs picked up where they left off, keeping the energy too high to stand still. We continued to tear up the floor until nearly closing time, and then headed on the long trek home. While my family was dearly missed, close friends and the all-veg celebration that took their place made for one of my most memorable holidays yet.