My evening with John Salley

I spent last night with John Salley.

No, wait. That doesn’t sound right! Last night, I attended “An Evening with John Salley,” a special event at Plum Bistro. The event was a fundraiser for Pasado’s Safe Haven and was also an opportunity for John Salley to share wines from The Vegan Vine with the crowd.

Salley collage

John Salley, as any self-respecting sports fan will know, is an NBA superstar. With four Championships under his belt, he’s played with the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, and LA Lakers–that’s quite a resumé!

What you might not know, though, is that Salley is a long-time vegan, wellness expert, and animal advocate. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing his story, learning about how he connected with Makini Howell, owner of Plum Bistro, and also how became the owner of a winery. And not just any wine: Vegan wine.

vegan vine wine

Many people don’t think about animal products when they drink wine, but many wines are fined (or finished) with clarifying product that include gelatin (from cows or pigs), casein (a milk protein), albumin (from egg whites), or isinglass (from fish bladders). Now I’m a fan of voting with my dollar. So why support a company that uses animal products (even if they’re not in the final product)? There’s no need.

John Salley is such a genuine guy. You can feel his love for animals and people and being vegan when you’re in the room with him. He also happens to be really funny! I felt like I’d known him for a long time and even though I was a bit star struck, talking with him was fun and comfortable.

jean, john, steph and amy

Plum didn’t disappoint either! We nibbled on decadent vegan hor d’oeuvres and drank plenty of The Vegan Vine wine. All proceeds went to Pasado’s, a farmed animal refuge right here in Washington. Pasado’s fights against animal cruelty, helps pass animal laws (and enforce them) and is a sanctuary for abused and neglected who would have ended up on the dinner table.

I knew a number of people at the event and it was a great way to catch up with friends. Best of all, I didn’t know a lot of people. I love meeting vegans and that’s what I did. It was a great night all around–right to the very end when I won an auction item: an autographed (by Mr. Salley) bottle for Vegan Vine wine.

The event sold out in days, but you can ask for The Vegan Vine wine at your local Whole Foods. And if you ever have a chance to meet John Salley or hear him speak, don’t miss it! You won’t be disappointed.

Cruelty-free Thanksgiving

Last year, I attended the Feast for the Turkeys at Pasado’s Safe Haven. This year, the event is already sold out. To make up for disappointment, Hubby surprised me with reservations to a prix fix vegan Thanksgiving meal at Plum Bistro. That’s not until next week though. In the meantime, I’ll show you what last year’s event was like.

guestcard

Instead of having turkey, the turkeys had us! Butterball was the official host, but Stacie, our lovely guide, took us on the tour. First stop: Turkeys, of course!

turkeys

Turkeys are gentle and kind. It’s not true that if it rains and they look up, they drown. On the contrary, they’re smart birds who protect each other, “talk” to their friends (including people), and are loving parents to their little ones. I got to pet Butterball–what soft feathers! As smart as she is, I’m not sure she noticed that I color-coordinated with her today.

At Pasado's

Next, we met these little piggies, who were rescued from a fire. They loved eating the popcorn, carrots, apples, and bananas we brought.

mini pigs

While I was taking their picture, look who snuck up on me! (You might recognize that mug from my banner.)

goat

I gave him a carrot, and he was happy. As we fed the goats and sheep, I spied a rooster, well, roosting.

roosting rooster

I found lots of chickens in the coop next door. The white ones are rescued laying hens. To think they used to live in cages with no more room to move than if they were standing on an iPad. They love their freedom now! And they’ll never end up in a pot.

chickens

They loved eating lettuce and grapes. Look at that blur–she sure was a fast one!

feeding the fowl

This photo doesn’t show how big these two pigs are. They’re each over 600 pounds! Splash, on the left, saw her siblings slaughtered and escaped certain death by swimming across a river where a startled, but loving woman took her in until she could find a proper home for the pig. Nora, on the right, was rescued from a horder and was starving. They’re both happy, healthy, and safe now.

Splash and Nora

The cows loved the carrots I brought for them, but they look a little suspicious of me, don’t you think?

Eddie Cheddar

cow

After an amazing tour, we toasted the animals with a glass of bubbly and went inside for a feast!

I got teary-eyed as our hosts read the menu: Autumn vegetable samosas with plum chutney, carrot miso spread on baguettes, and baked chickpeas; red kuri squash and coconut soup with cashew cream and beet reduction; massaged kale salad with pomegranate, hazelnuts and pears; parsnip apple puree, root vegetable latkes, orange balsamic glazed Brussels sprouts, and maple baked tempeh with apple cider glaze; pumpkin cake with chocolate-hazelnut ganache.

feast

I was overcome with emotion because as we dined on our vegan meal, rescued animals were snuggling in their stalls in the barns next door. Animals that would have been pork chops, turkey cutlets or hamburgers. I wished for peace for all living creatures and longed for every restaurant and household to serve delicious, cruelty-free meals like this.

What a wonderful time! I hope you take a tour of Pasado’s or a similar sanctuary in your area. They’re amazing places.