The first thing that my friends said to me when I told them I was going out to Texas for a week to do some filming was ‘what are you going to eat?’
Granted, Texas isn’t exactly known for its vegan cuisine and I wasn’t too worried as I would have been happy to live on salad (which was also down to the fact that one of my costumes was a Racquel Welsh One Million Years BC style bikini – faux fur of course) but I was very pleasantly surprised by what was on offer.
I started my trip with a full vegan breakfast at Wagamamas at Heathrow and a customary glass of prosecco, I fully stand by my logic that airports don’t really have time zones so drinking in the morning is totally acceptable.
The flight on the way was with American Airlines and they had a chickpea curry and rice as the vegan offering which was lovely and the wine was flowing too which is always fun in flight (as long as you have an aisle seat because you need to pee a lot and you don’t want to annoy the person next to you if they’re a stranger).
The first day of filming on location was at San Padre Island, about an hours drive from Edinburg which was where most of the filming was done as the director, Joshua Kennedy is an Edinburg native.
It was a beautifully hot but very windy day at the beach, and a crazily busy day too, first shooting in the dunes in full black cowgirl get up for ‘Cowgirls V’s Pterodactyls’, I’m amazed I’m not still finding sand in places I didn’t even know sand could get and then cooling down a little whilst wearing the cave girl bikini and finally donning a kingfisher blue catsuit and taking a dip in the sea whilst shooting scenes for both the characters I play in ‘Saturnalia’ – the title character, Sarurnalia being the cave girl and her nemesis Elsa, who usually resides in the sea and has a sidekick called Igor played by Julian Flores.
Oh, I forgot to mention, I didn’t go to Texas to shoot just the one movie, I went to shoot three, the third being Mantopus that’s being shot on a vintage 1970’s 16mm film camera! #3films1week.
On the way back from filming we stopped at BurgerFi and I went with what I know and opted for the Beyond Burger, they did offer me a lettuce bun but I’m a vegan not a cretin, the regular bread bun was vegan and burgers are meant to go in buns!
After the next days filming, the wonderful Ana Kennedy (who makes the BEST vegan club sandwiches I’ve ever tried) picked up refried bean tamales from Delias, how I spent two weeks in Mexico last year and didn’t try a tamale I have no idea but that has now been rectified! I love Mexican cuisine and these were amazing, covered in smashed avocado and chilli sauce!
By midweek we were ahead of the shooting schedule so took an afternoon off and went to a 75th anniversary screening of Meet Me In St Louis, I didn’t think it possible to love this movie any more than I already did until I saw it on the big screen! Christmas magic at it’s best, they just don’t make movies like they used to!
After the cinema, a trip to Burger King to finally try the Impossible Whopper, it is aimed at vegetarians rather than vegans sop you have to make sure you order minus the cheese and mayo but OMG, it tasted exactly how I remember whoppers to taste, I can’t wait for these to make their way over to the UK!
The rest of the shoot flew by far too quickly, I was spoilt again by Ana Kennedy when she made a special vegan chocolate and raspberry cake and presented my with giant bags of Lay’s barbeque flavoured crisps, oh how I wish Walkers’ would bring their barbeque crisps back!!!
I also managed to pick up a few things at the supermarket, a bottle of scorpion chilli Tabasco which is WAY hotter on the scoville scales than any of the other sauces by the brand and a few bottles of liquid smoke which apparently you can find in some UK supermarkets but I’ve never has any success, I can’t wait to try it out to make carrots taste like smoked salmon at Xmas!
I didn’t get the hang of Texas time the whole time I was there so was up at the crack of dawn and in the gym for 6.30am every morning, shame I haven’t managed to keep it up since I got back, in my defence though, it is Xmas and I don’t have to shoot in a bikini for a while so will pick up again after Xmas . . .
My final morning in Texas was free so when I asked what I wanted to do, anybody who knows me will know that the obvious choice was to take a trip to the birding centre.
The weather had been a little bi polar during my stay, hot one day and cold or rainy the next but it was the perfect morning, gorgeous sunshine and beautiful wildlife, I saw pelicans, egrets, hawks, my favourite grackles (I fell in love with them in Mexico last year), green jays, kiskadees, thrashers, mockingbirds, vibrant red cardinals, chachalacas and tufted titmouse birds, I also spotted a pair of turtles having a swim but only one lizard in the whole time I was in Texas. Thankfully I didn’t see any tarantulas but I did get eaten alive by the mosquitoes, they must have liked dining out on my foreign blood!
After the birding centre, we stopped at Snow Bite for lunch on the way to the airport, a Vietnamese place with great vegan options, I went with tofu spring rolls that we more like summer rolls that spring rolls and the vegan noodle soup, both were delicious and then we were given a complementary dessert of banana bomb which was vegan when eaten without the ice cream, yum!
I wouldn’t usually eat a 3 course meal at lunch time but it turned out it was lucky I did as American Airlines had no vegan or even veggie options (which apparently had been pasta in a plain tomato ragu) by the time the got to where I was sitting on the plane and then the flight attendant asked me if I would like to try the chicken . . . I had to explain that vegans don’t eat chicken. I survived the flight on mini pretzels and some dry crackers, it was a night flight though so I watched a couple of movies and slept, had it been a day flight, I’d have been starving!
Touching down in London, luckily passport control and baggage claims were quick and I went straight to M&S for a much needed Hoisin no duck wrap, if you haven’t tried them, you really must.
So after an adventurous week in Texas, riding pterodactyls, fighting against myself and going up against a Mantopus, I have to say I loved every minute of it and dare I say it, I’ll be back . . .