Eating Authors: Amelia Beamer

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Amelia Beamer

If you’re reading this on Monday morning (and let’s assume you are), I hope you remembered to cast your ballot for the Nebula Awards (assuming you’re a card-carrying member of SFWA) — and not just because I also hope you voted for my novella (which I do!), but because it’s important to point out what we liked, what entertained or inspired us.

Another thing about this particular Monday also pertains to voting. The deadline for this year’s Hugo nominations closes tonight. And yes, while again I’d be happy to see my work on the ballot, the larger point here is that this is an opportunity for both writers and readers to express what really spoke to them in the previous year, both professionally and fannishly, in print and audio and film. And don’t even get me started about the Campbell Award. Bottom line: if you’re eligible to nominate (i.e., have/had supporting membership for either LoneStarCon 3, LonCon 3, or Sasquan), please take the time to do so, if you haven’t already.

Okay, with that bit of public service (and wee bit of shameless self-promotion) out of the way, let’s turn to today’s EATING AUTHOR guest. Many of you probably already know Amelia Beamer from her endless years of service as both editor and reviewer over at Locus, but she’s also writing fiction, and her first novel, The Loving Dead, is a wild spin on the traditional undead tale. Forget having a shambling horror biting you, and instead consider what happens when the zombie plague requires sexual transmission. Oh, and did I mention the zeppelin? Right, you’ll be clicking that link to order a copy real soon. But first, keep reading to learn about Amelia’s most memorable meal.

LMS: Welcome, Amelia. Please tell me what stands out for you as your most memorable meal.

AB: I had to think about this question a lot because I’ve eaten many memorable meals in many great parts of the world. Farm-raised lamb in rural Iceland, spicy pizza in suburban Australia, soft boiled eggs and soda bread toast in Dublin, bacon sandwiches in England, hot dogs with the works in Chicago, pork buns in Oakland, bean burritos in Los Angeles, gyros in Detroit, chicken and papaya soup in Honolulu.

The Loving Dead

I want to talk about Café del Soul in Marin County, California. Think salads and wraps made with big pieces of avocado, feta cheese, house-made hummus, chicken, brown rice, spinach, tomato, black beans, and cilantro-lime vinaigrette. Dishes are named Sun Salutation, Hummus Yummus, Nachos de Maria, and Ishtar’s Delight. The ginger limeade is an amazing balance of tart and sweet, and is 85% organic. Dining in or picking up, you hear the whirring of blenders and juicers, the quick speech of skilled workers, the clinking of dishes, the sounds of chopping and washing and relaxed conversation. There are comfortable chairs and free wifi. But it’s more than any of this that makes it memorable.

Café del Soul is the most honest, respectful, and uplifting restaurant I’ve ever been to. Chicken and vegetarian dishes are made on separate prep lines, and a lot of the menu is gluten free. The prices for each location differ slightly because tax is included. They don’t offer loyalty programs because they’d rather keep prices low for everyone. They speak openly on their Facebook page about the reasons behind changes to menus and prices. “Made with Love” is handwritten on takeout containers in real time by the line chefs. When the original location’s building discovered a cockroach infestation in 2012, they called the health department on themselves and voluntarily closed until the problem could be fixed. Whenever I am in Marin I eat there often, and sometimes I think of it wistfully.

Thanks, Amelia. Your description makes me wistful too, in much the same way I yearn to visit certain independent bookstores instead of frequenting chain stores or ordering online. Sigh.

Next Monday: Another author and another meal!

#SFWApro

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