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I am on Day 30 of trying to complete 30 Days of Vegetarian eating. This was lunch. Meaning I only technically have one meal – dinner – and possibly an evening snack to go before I can successfully say I did 30 days with zero meat. So to not bury the lead, that is why I’m eating vegan bacon this lovely Thursday afternoon.

Vegan bacon is an odd thing. It looks like a thick dark brown popsicle stick that is slightly chewy and flavored with liquid smoke and a lot of salt. You know just like real bacon. No seriously, it’s bacon-ish at best. While bacon-ish is the best I can say about the vegan bacon itself, I am happy to share that the B.L.T.A. (Tempeh Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado) I ate it in was pretty good.

You’re probably scratching your head wondering how can a chewy, smoke, salt popsicle shaped substance taste good in anything? It’s a fair thing to wonder, but I swear it really does work in this vegan version of a B.L.T.A. sandwich.

The combination of the fresh ingredients and vegan mayonnaise with the grilled sourdough bread makes it a solid sandwich and one I’d definitely order again, even if I wasn’t doing a no meat personal challenge. Does that mean this sandwich is better than the real thing – a B.L.T.A. with real “B”?  Possibly. I’ve had some poorly executed real B.L.T.A. sandwiches that I’d pass for the vegan alternative. I still prefer real bacon and yes I did miss it in the rest of this perfectly executed sandwich. And that’s okay. I survived vegan bacon and it wasn’t that bad when the rest is right.

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The sandwich comes with a couple choices for sides including mixed green salad, coleslaw or potato salad. I went with the potato salad.  I prefered this vegan version over the typical potato salad with egg whites which is something I pick around, as I’m not much of a fan of eggs. It was a nice compliment to the sandwich as I’m sure the salad or coleslaw would be as well.

Overall, I enjoyed this quick lunch.  The sandwich was reasonably priced at $12 including the side.

I look forward to coming back and trying some more from the menu. The Burrito Fore and some of the vegan tacos sound delicious.

Learn more about Flore Vegan on their website: http://florevegan.com/

Address: 3818 W. Sunset Blvd. Silverlake, CA 90026

Phone: (323) 953-0611

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We had an amazing Saturday thanks to a tip from one of Theo’s classmate’s mom.  There was a robot competition happening last Friday and Saturday between International teams with $3.5 million in prize money. The Robotics Challenge is one that has a real impact beyond the competition itself. The competition is really about improving technology in disaster relief response situations using robotics; the competition merely funds the research and innovation.

It’s a free event for the general public. You not only get to watch the robot teams compete in a series of tasks, but there are a number of booths that let you participate in hands-on demonstrations using robotic technologies. It’s a really fun experience for the kids and adults too.

We spent about three hours at the event, which was enough time to see one round of competition and fortunately for us we did see the First Place winner: Team KAIST. The challenges included walking out of a vehicle, opening a door, turning a wheel, cutting open a wall, removing tools from a shelf and finally walking up stairs. It was funny watching the audience react to each successful task with applause. It was like a nerdy sport competition. That’s not to say it was a bad thing, it was just kind of hilarious having a stadium full of people cheering on robots. We loved it.

The booths were interesting too. Our boys had opportunities to use a robotic hand to do tasks similar to what the competition robots did. They also were given robot licenses and controlled robots using game controllers. There were also demonstrations featuring some advanced robots from NASA, JPL, and many others in the robotics industry.

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Theo has a real love for robots and both boys are taking a robot LEGO programming class for summer school. They came away with more excitement about robots and robotics as a possible choice in their careers. Of course at 9 years old, decisions are likely to change. What’s important though is they were each inspired and wanted to know more about what it takes to become a robot engineer.

Thanks DARPA for providing such a great event and we are sure to attend next year too!

I’ll leave you with this a video someone put together using footage from DARPA of robots falling. Unfortunately, the version with a WWE wrestling voiceover was removed by the copyright owners… You’re welcome.

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