Back and Better Than Ever

Returning for another round in the ring, the second issue of Laika Magazine is just as hard-hitting as the first, and even more inspiring. My big story this time around would ordinarily have been a big step outside of my comfort zone, but turned out to be just the opposite. Visiting Philadelphia for the first time in my life, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It seemed like a tough place on paper, rough around the edges and staunchly resistant of outside influence. Every last person I spoke with turned that preconceived notion on its head, not the least of which being Miss Rachel of Miss Rachel’s Pantry. I had never seen a more welcoming establishment, where hugs are dispensed as freely as the coffee, nor felt more at home in a completely unfamiliar place. I won’t spoil the rest of the article for you, but rest assured, I’m equally effusive about the food.

Also included in this issue is another edition of Taste Notes, covering a few summertime staples that would be right at home at any backyard BBQ. Once you’ve got all of those promising ingredients on hand, it would be a shame not to whip up my recipe for meaty, cheesy Grilled JalapeƱo Poppers.

Those are my contributions this time around, but they’re not even the tip of the iceberg for all the material contained in this exciting new issue. You’ll just have to read it to find out the rest.

The Premier

The first few days of a brand new year seem ripe with possibilities, inspiring a fresh start in new ventures or revived inspiration for forgotten pursuits. There couldn’t be a better time to introduce a brand new magazine, starting what could be an entirely new chapter in many lives.

Laika, named as a tribute to the first dog in outer space and all other creatures treated unjustly, takes on a huge responsibility right off the bat. Serving up vegan content that anyone could happily digest, it takes the positive reinforcement approach that won me over so many years ago. It feels like a stroke of pure luck that I had the opportunity to be a part of the premier issue, and in a far bigger way than I could have imagined.

Based in Brooklyn, it was an easy hop, skip, and jump over to the site of Chef Merida’s Vegan Secret Super Club, an event that I had initially only planned to photograph. I hadn’t planned on becoming such fast friends with Julie, the magazine’s founder and editor, nor did I have any intention of writing a single word to grace those pages. Long story short, I ultimately submitted my first ever “real” article to the project, spanning numerous pages and delving far deeper than a mere recipe introduction ever could. Accompanied by my own photos, I feel almost as proud as Julie herself must be of the whole first issue. Of course, my penchant for creating and sharing is never satisfied, so I also was overjoyed to share a few thoughts on new, innovative vegan products, along with a recipe and photos.

It’s not at all a single-focus, food-only publication, despite my own edible additions. It’s the vegan lifestyle magazine that has been absent from news stands, that I’ve wanted all along. It’s about awesome, inspiring people, exciting events, innovative fashion, compassionate beauty and personal care, relationships- All that just happen to be vegan. This may just be the first issue, but it’s far from the last. Like 2013 itself, this is only the beginning of something great.