Join us for Penguins & Patagonia in October 2018!

By Midge Raymond,

Save the dates: October 29 to November 6, 2018!

Join us and Adventures by the Book on a journey through the majestic land of Patagonia and immerse yourself in the setting that helped inspire My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail.


When John and I volunteered at the Punta Tombo penguin colony in Argentina, helping with a penguin census of the largest Magellanic colony in the world, our experiences with the land, penguins, and dedicated scientists inspired our novels, The Tourist Trail and My Last Continent. Now you can join us for a chance to see this spectacular colony firsthand, learn about its incredible history, and find out how to help conservation efforts in this extraordinary part of the world.


You’ll also have the opportunity to see and experience wildlife in ways you never imagined as we travel from Buenos Aires to Punta Tombo to the UNESCO World Heritage site Peninsula Valdes, where penguins, rheas, guanacos, foxes, sea lions, elephant seals, orcas, and many more stunning creatures reside. We’ll have a uniquely intimate experience with nature based at the private estancia Rincon Chico, accompanied all the way by a team of experienced local guides. (Note: While we’ll experience a lot of wildlife, we won’t be “roughing it” — the activity level will be light to moderate, and the accommodations will be lovely!)

And if you’re up for a further adventure into the icy places of My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail, there is an optional add-on excursion to Antarctica!

This literary & wildlife adventure includes…

  • Welcome dinner & tour in arrival city Buenos Aires
  • Penguin & wildlife excursions, including whale watching, with local guides
  • Signed copies of My Last Continent and The Tourist Trail 
  • …and so, so, so much more!

Reserve your spot before January 31, 2018, for a $300 discount — reservations are limited as this will be an intimate, exclusive tour. Learn more here, and feel free to contact us or Susan McBeth (susan@adventuresbythebook.com) with any questions you have.

Dining well in Laguna Beach

By Midge Raymond,

While in Laguna Beach recently for a book event (don’t miss the fabulous Laguna Beach Books while you’re in town), we were able to stop in at the glorious vegan restaurant The Stand.

Fitting for a beach town, The Stand Natural Foods is indeed a stand: You order at the same counter where you pick up your food, and there are a few tables, seats, and stools to sit on, but given how crowed it was at 3 p.m. when we stopped in for a very late lunch, it is likely hard to find a seat during peak hours, which speaks to this place’s popularity.

The menu is incredibly extensive, as you’ll see in the photo below, and it’s hard to decide what to order, given the choices, which include everything from burritos to bowls to salads to sandwiches to wraps to soft-serve natural “ice cream.” And everything on the menu is 100% vegan.

We ordered the avocado sandwich on squaw bread, and then proceeded to wait for more than 30 minutes; the service is friendly and welcoming but very slow, so be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to eat here. (One woman actually fell asleep while waiting for her order.)

Fortunately, there is a basket of books (mostly children’s books) to keep you and your little ones entertained, and the unhurried vibe is part of its charm.


When it finally arrived, the avocado sandwich was worth the wait — fresh avocado on delicious squaw bread (other breads available are whole wheat and rosemary-garlic sourdough), with tomato, lettuce, alfalfa sprouts, guacamole, and a lovely lemon herb dressing.

The sandwiches and many other items are served with The Stand’s signature Have’A Chips™ (if you think a tortilla chip is just a tortilla chip, think again); these are thick, crisp, and flavorful.

We hope to be back again to try out more on this incredible menu.

Dining well in San Diego’s Little Italy

By Midge Raymond,

I was delighted to learn that San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood has among its many Italian restaurants and cafes one known for its vegan menu: Civico 1845.

One of the great things about this restaurant is that it brings the vegan menu to your table along with its regular menu and wine list, unlike some restaurants in which you need to ask for the vegan menu (or those in which the vegan menu is such a secret you don’t even know to ask).

Even the wine list noted the vegan options with a (V), which was wonderfully helpful. We began with pinot noir and the oyster mushroom “calamari.”

This appetizer was very good, and would probably be a hit with omnivores as well due to the texture: these mushrooms are lightly fried and chewy, with thin tendrils that melt in your mouth. The arrabbiata sauce was a bit watery and quite bland, unfortunately, but it was otherwise a lovely dish.

For our main courses we sampled the Ravioli Boscailoa, house-made mushroom ravioli with truffle sauce, and the Fettuccine alla Bolognese, house-made fettuccine with slow-cooked seitan ragout.

The Ravioli Boscailoa was our favorite…beautifully cooked ravioli with a wonderful mushroom filling, accompanied by a sauce that managed to be light and rich at the same time. The wild mushrooms gave the whole dish a big burst of flavor.

The fettuccine dish was also good — the seitan and the bolognese sauce had a robust “sausage” flavor (and was topped with nutritional yeast instead of parmesan), but the fettuccine was a bit overcooked and overall this dish wasn’t nearly as inspired.

Overall, this wasn’t the best vegan Italian (sadly, our very favorite, Portobello in Portland, Oregon, is closed), but it would be a wonderful choice for those visiting San Diego with omnivores, as it’s so easy to order off the vegan menu without having to ask a lot of questions or make special requests.

And if you are in San Diego’s Little Italy and looking for a completely plant-based dining experience, try Cafe Gratitude, which has an abundance of options, including wine, beer, and cocktails and a great happy hour.

Dining well in Melbourne & Sydney: Lord of the Fries

By Midge Raymond,

One of the best vegan discoveries during our trip to Australia was Lord of the Fries. (I should add that this was good for our taste buds, but perhaps not ideal for our health: Lord of the Fries is vegan fast-food takeaway: not the healthiest but definitely delicious.)

We first discovered Lord of the Fries in downtown Melbourne, which has two locations, one on Swanston Street and another at the Flinders Street train station.

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The menu is entirely vegetarian, but most of the items, including milkshakes, can easily be made vegan.

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As you can see from the menu, it’s definitely fast food — but it’s incredibly delicious.

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Among the very best sandwiches is the “chick’n” sandwich, which comes with vegan cheese and your choice of vegan sauces.

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We also tried the burger, which was great and nicely loaded up with veggies (adding the illusion of a healthy meal….).

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The breakfast sandwich were my very favorites, as these are nearly impossible to find in the States. They are made with a tofu “egg” and come with vegan cheese as well as a “meat” option if you’d like.

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The fries are delicious and come in many forms, from shoestring to sweet potato. Tip: get your sauce on the side, unless you like smothered, soggy fries. The onion rings are divine: very crispy on the outside and perfect and flavorful on the inside.

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The only thing we didn’t like was the hot dog, which arrived with not-quite-melted cheese and a too-large doughy bun. Perhaps this was an anomaly, but it was not at all appealing.

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Most of the locations are takeaway, but there are a few with seats, including the one in the Fitzroy neighborhood of Melbourne.

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We were thrilled to see this Australian chain always busy. Lord of the Fries not only helps the planet by being plant-based, but in addition its food is locally sourced and the chain recycles its cooking oil to fuel its delivery trucks. We hope that, as the sign reads, ethical fast food becomes a thing not just down south but around the world as well.

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Dining well in Adelaide, South Australia, part two

By Midge Raymond,

Continuing our vegan tour of Adelaide, we discovered several places that were not all vegetarian but had good vegan options and were also delicious.

Chopstix on Rundle is a fantastic Asian restaurant with a few gorgeous vegan dishes, like this salt-and-pepper tofu appetizer.

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The tofu and vegetables in curry sauce is also divine.

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If you’re in the mood for drinks and noshes, Rundle is a good street to explore. In Australia, the pubs are often called hotels, and one particularly cool historic pub is The Stag Hotel, which opened in 1849.

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They have South Australian wines on tap, and while very little of the menu is veg friendly (unless you are really in the mood for salad), we did enjoy a plate of chips.

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  Category: Vegan
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