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13609HERB BENHAM: I went vegan and didn't miss the meat

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  • Maynard S. Clark
    Sep 1, 2014
      Monday, Sep 01 2014 09:00 AM

      HERB BENHAM: I went vegan and didn't miss the meat

      1. 1 of 1

        By Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

        Herb Benham

      By The Bakersfield Californian

      I was not optimistic when I opened the cold case at Nature's Food Market & Juice Bar and looked at the selection that included an eggless egg-salad sandwich the turkey sandwich made with vegan turkey and the chicken- salad sandwich made with vegan chicken.

      Can a man get a piece of meat around here?

      "All the sandwiches are meatless," Glenn said.

      That's OK for you because you haven't eaten meat in nearly 40 years and you are inclined to burst into song when a menu includes more than one vegetarian option. But I'd had a rib-eye over the weekend and I wanted to back it up with half a farm-raised chicken.

      We were at Nature's Food Market (on H Street across from the Fox, where Henley's used to be) for lunch. The market was light, attractive, had high ceilings, honey-colored wood floors, a sleek juice bar on the left, several rows of canned goods (meatless, I suspected), and the cold case had sandwiches like the bologna sandwich with vegan bologna slices, shredded carrots and spinach on whole wheat bread.

      I chose the chicken-salad sandwich, ordered a small pina colada smoothie, picked up a package of ginger cookies that I hoped were not gingerless, a bag of barbecued rice chips and sat down.

      A new meatless business.  Are there enough people in this bloodthirsty town to make it fly? This is not Sausalito.

      I unwrapped the sandwich and took a bite. I would have sworn that was real chicken. It had good chicken chunk. The wheat bread was moist and delicious. The sandwich satisfied my meat-crazed imagination. The pina colada smoothie was excellent and brimmed with pineapple juice, and the ginger cookies were gingery.

      By the time we were done, there were two lines of people. The market was pumping. One more good place to eat downtown.


      A couple weeks ago I wrote about locals Chris Ennis, Nolan Graf, Jason Love and Eric Santos, who were among 35 teams that competed in the Red Bull Soapbox Race in Seattle on Aug. 24. The Sriracha's Before Muchacha's had constructed a soapbox racer with used mountain bike wheels, an old go-kart, metal tubing, sheet metal, bailing wire and spit that resembled a bottle of Sriracha sauce tipped on its side.

      The plan was to hit 40 mph over the 1,500-foot course. However, it turned out to be a hot mess according to the PR firm reporting on the race.

      "The Bakersfield team Sriracha's Before Muchacha's won people's hearts with their Sriracha bottle soapbox car, wowed the crowd with their chicken suits and chicken dance, but unfortunately they crashed after the second jump, losing the front wheels"


      Kay Powers wrote in response to the Fox Theater in Taft showing "The Best of Times" after Robin Williams' death.

      "How refreshing to read something positive about our little town. My husband and I have lived here our entire lives and appreciate things like the free parking. We were not able to go to the show because we were babysitting our only grandchild in Santa Monica. Now, that's a city that makes free parking a valued asset.

      "I can't wait until I read about your first grandchild (does Kay know something I don't?). We had decided we would not be experiencing that. Our daughter married at 39 and had our granddaughter at 41. She was nine weeks early, but is perfect in every way."


      Charles Powell writes in response to the column about the 40th anniversary of It's a Small World.

      "We moved to Anaheim in 1954, when I was 9. We lived down the street from the park and loved sitting on the porch and watching the 9 p.m. fireworks.

      "I was one of the lucky kids chosen to attend the July, 1955, opening. While in college, I was a Disneyland ride operator for three years. My dad was a carpenter and built the beautiful stage at Bear Country Jamboree.

      "During my last year working at Disneyland I was working on the Matterhorn, which is directly across from Small World. Do you know what it is like to listen to "It's a Small World" for eight straight hours for five months? I would dream about it. Even today when I hear it, I cringe. Yes, I still love Disneyland but don't count on me to hum the tune. Just writing this has given me the shakes!"