abracapocus i have a serious brain disease. please bring me a cat.

April 27, 2015

Eating Vegan on the Road: 500 Miles Atlanta <--> Central Virginia

Sometimes when we travel, it’s more about the food than the trip. Asheville, I’m looking at you. But sometimes we need to travel somewhere for other reasons, usually involving relatives or maybe work.

Eating vegan on the road used to be a little more challenging but with chains like Chipotle stepping up it’s become so much easier. And if you have time to veer off the highway, Happy Cow can help you find vegan friendly spots along the way.

On this recent trip to Virginia, I decided to pack a small cooler with food for the way there. A Tofurky cold cut sandwich, some chips that I got at a gas station when filling up and maybe some Oreos ended up going into my pie hole. I really wanted a Chick-O-Stick, but none of the convenience stores seemed to have them. It’s definitely less than a perfect road trip without Chick-O-Stick.

I brought Tak along. She’s a pretty good traveler but on the way there she’s so excited that she doesn’t want to lay down and sleep. Which wore her out pretty good. And that was fine.

boston terrier on a road trip

Normally when I go visit my mom, I make every effort to go into Richmond and eat all of their vegan food. But this time was more about family, so I brought some provisions and stuck close to home.

Since I was driving, I hauled the Vitamix with me so I could have smoothies every morning. I also used it to make a raw cashew cheesecake that I took to our Passover dinner. Other provisions included Soy Curls, BBQ sauce, tofu, nutritional yeast, black salt and some Earth Balance. I knew my mom would have vegetables, so this was plenty to keep me fed.

The first night, my mom and partner wanted to go out to dinner. And they didn’t want to go to Richmond. So I got on my phone and started searching around for something. A Mexican place called Don Pepe popped up and they had a vegetarian section to their menu. That’s something I can work with. By the way, this place is right off of I-95 if you’re ever passing through.

As you can see, I was a bit hungry and attacked this before I remembered to take a picture. It’s a bean burrito with rice and I got an order of guacamole as well. It was really good. The sauce on the burrito was fresh and flavorful. And the guacamole wasn’t filled with a bunch of filler like some places do.

eating vegan on the road mexican  food in chester, virginia

The next night, I made BBQ Soy Curls with sautéed kale and a couple of pieces of toast. Soy Curls make an excellent provision since they don’t require refrigeration and they’re light. As a matter of fact, I’m making a mental note right now to pack some when we head to Mexico in a couple of months. My mom was pretty adventurous this visit and tried the BBQ Soy Curls and really liked them.  Whenever I cooked something, she pretty much ate what I ate.

vegan bbq soy curls, kale, toast

For Passover, I made up a batch of tofu scramble and took a little box with me. It was packed with veggies too so it could be a full meal. There were various munchies around I could eat as well. I’m assuming you’ve seen a tofu scramble and also I forgot to take a picture, so here’s a lovely haggadah.passover

The next day, we met some family at the cemetery to visit relatives.

grave stone at Blandford Cemetery

Then headed to Old Town Petersburg to walk around. This is a good side trip from Richmond.

old bricks in petersburg virginia

old brick facade in petersburg virginia

After that, my mom and I grabbed lunch at Wabi Sabi. The menu is a mix of sushi and sandwiches. With the sushi option, I knew I could make something work. That something turned out to be veggie sushi with a side of sweet potato fries. My mom may or may not have learned an important lesson about wasabi when she accidentally scooped up the whole dollop with a piece of her sushi. Ouch!

vegan sushi

sweet potato fries

wabi sabi petersburg virginia

Finally, my last day in town, we did make it to Richmond for lunch. There was a new place I was thinking about trying, but they were closed Mondays, so we went to an old favorite, Ipanema Cafe.  It’s a vegetarian sandwich place with lots of vegan options, including a jackfruit sandwich, and more importantly vegan pie. ipanema cafe richmond virginia

My mom and I both got the tempeh reuben. Delicious and only a little messy. My mom really liked it which is pretty impressive. Tempeh can be a hard sell.

tempeh reuben at ipanema cafe richmond virginia

And pie could not be resisted. My choice was the cherry pie which I had with the soy ice cream because it was the right decision to make. It had a crumb top and shortbread crust. Yum!

vegan cherry pie from ipanema cafe in richmond virginia

After that fine dessert, coffee was necessary and Harrison Street Coffee Shop, another favorite, is right around the corner. They also have simple sandwiches and vegan breakfast items. Plus it’s one of my favorite coffee shop spaces. Oh, it’s also vegetarian. Yay!

eating vegan on the road harrison street coffee shop iced latte

On the drive back, I didn’t want to worry with packing anything. I decided I’d just wing eating vegan on the road. This time I hit the old standby, Taco Bell. I learned the lesson long ago, to always check the innards of a wrapped food before biting unless you’re in a vegan restaurant. Taco Bell is no exception. Save yourself some grief and open them up at the counter before you take off. Even though my ticket was right, both of my burritos were wrong. They put some ranch sauce in my modified 7 layer burrito that doesn’t even come on it and there was cheese on my bean burrito. No worries, just had them remade and was on my way. Why did I go to Taco Bell rather than Chipotle? Because you can hold a Taco Bell burrito in one hand while driving.

taco bell bean burrito

How do you handle eating vegan on the road? Do you carry food, research spots along the way and plan or just wing it?

April 28, 2012

A return to Ipanema

My last day in Virginia, after dragging my mom around Maymont Park, I made her eat vegetarian food at Ipanema Cafe. Kevin and I went last time we were in Richmond and had a lovely brunch. Tofu or tempeh benedict, I think. And pie, glorious pie!

Now it was lunch time. And there was a BBQ Jackfruit sandwich on the specials board. I’ll take it! Even my mom liked the jackfruit. Which reminds me, I need to send her some cans. They topped it with tangy slaw, with sides of sweet potato fries and salad. Perfect!

My mom had a hummus wrap which she really liked, and then strawberry rhubarb pie which was outstanding. Since I’d had their pie before, I decided to try the Coconut Creme Brûlée. Because how often does a vegan get that chance?

It did not disappoint. But I did find myself with pie envy and kind of wished I’d order a slice to carry away. What was I thinking?

Afterwards, I walked over to Harrison Street Coffee Shop for a coffee. Because they’re awesome.

April 27, 2012

Road trip to Virginia

Filed under: garden,photo,travel — Tags: , , — laura @ 9:34 am

So, I packed up the dog and my bike and drove to my mom’s in Virginia for Passover/Easter weekend. Tak is pretty good in the car, once I get her off of me and into the passenger seat. She still won’t lay down and sleep. She tries for a second then gets right back up and sits. Exhausting for a little dog! At least she did lay down on the way home. Maybe it’s because she doesn’t know where we’re going on the way there, but knows we’re bound home on the way back. Who knows.

My mom’s cat, Smokey, is 21. He’s a frail old man but still gets around okay, eats, purrs, uses his box and is an all-around sweetie.

When I first got to Atlanta, I thought Piedmont Park was a shithole. I thought maybe it was just the whole “everything is inferior to San Francisco” problem. But having been to a few cities I’ve come to realize that pretty much everyone has nicer parks than Atlanta. This is the Japanese garden at Maymont Park in Richmond. I remember hopping across those rocks on a school field trip in elementary school.

A waterfall by the Japanese garden. See what I mean? Don’t get me wrong, we do have some nice little parks in Atlanta, and if you drive a little bit outside the city you’ll find lovely places like Sweetwater Creek State Park, but nothing like this. I will say that Piedmont Park has improved quite a bit since I first got here in ’98 so I would no longer classify it as a shithole. Oh, and Maymont Park is free. More pics here.

Oh, I also got in a nice bike ride, but I already posted about that.

May 27, 2009

Sammiches for Lunch

Most of the cool, vegan-friendly restaurants in Richmond are near VCU. So Monday, Memorial Day, Panda Veg was closed and so was Harrison Street Coffee Shop. I figured since Ellwood Thompson’s is a grocery store, it would be open. And it was. It’s kind of like Whole Foods, but independent and more focused on local items where possible. 

They had a hot bar that didn’t look that appetizing. There was also a salad bar that looked okay. So we settled on sandwiches. They had a bunch of options for vegans. You fill out a little laminated card with all the options you want on your sandwich and they make it for you.

Mine was a vegan chicken salad on sourdough. The texture reminded me of Soul Vegetarian’s eggless salad. Kevin said it tasted better than Whole Foods’ fake chicken salad. It was tasty. And the sandwich was huge! Half would have been plenty. But I ate 3/4 of it any way. 

Kevin got the vegan BBQ. It was supposed to be heated but wasn’t really all that warm. The texture was satisfying but I’d probably punch up the flavor of the sauce a bit. I like a bit more oomph to my BBQ sauce.

They also have baked goods. I picked up this orange cookie with chocolate glaze that I ended up eating on the road Tuesday. It was a fat cookie and the texture was somewhere between shortbread and a scone. I’d be tempted to eat this for breakfast. I think I’m more of a chewy cookie sort of person. The orange flavor was lovely and the simple chocolate glaze was a nice contrast.

Ellwood Thompson’s also carries some of Twin Oaks‘ products. They use only organic, Virginia-grown soybeans in the products. So I picked up their chorizo, breakfast sausage, regular tofu and Italian tofu. Once we try these out, I’ll give a report on how they were.

May 25, 2009

Ipanema Cafe

While we would have been perfectly happy going back to Harrison Street Coffee Shop for lunch Sunday, we decided to continue the standard food tour every vegan does when they visit a different city. So we went to Ipanema Cafe instead, which was right around the corner from Harrison Street. 

Ipanema Cafe is in the basement of a building. Lots of exposed brick and definitely on the dark side. I can see it being a favorite of people with hangovers and vampires. The place was full when we got there, but the bar was empty so we decided to go ahead and sit there to eat. They were serving the brunch menu but while we were sitting there we could see the dinner menu posted on the wall and spent some time drooling over those options and wishing we could come back for dinner.

I ordered The Rubi (Tempeh Benedict) – smoky grilled tempeh resting on homemade english muffin, sautéed spinach, mushrooms, onions and marinated tomato. Topped with a vegan citrus béarnaise sauce. The tempeh was packed with flavor and sliced thin. Baked, I think. Everything else complemented it well. It was definitely a winner. It also came with sweet potato hash and fresh fruit. Here is a blurry picture thanks to the fact that my camera only focuses when it feels like it. I’m sure someone on some blog will make a snarky post about crappy food porn pics. That person can bite it.

Kevin got the French Toast with Warm Apple Compote – Billy Bread dipped in sweet apple sauce batter and griddled. It was good, but apparently didn’t come close to touching the french toast at Pick Me Up Cafe in Chicago. 

The girl at Harrison Street said we HAD to get a piece of pie at Ipanema. Just as we were getting ready to ask about that, the bartender came out with a free piece of blueberry pie for us since we were from out of town. How cool was that? It had a shortbread crust with a tasty, crunchy streusel on top. It was really good, but the baker in me is always thinking of things I’d do differently. Can’t help it. 🙂

I don’t know what we’re going to do about food today. Harrison Street and Panda Veg are both closed. Time to hit up Happy Cow!

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