Honeymoon – San Antonio

We had a blast with our short time in San Antonio.

We started the day early by wandering around the city, just taking in the sights. I loved the brightly colored houses and murals celebrating the Hispanic culture.

Lunch was at Señor Veggie, a little vegan restaurant nestled in the downtown area. Peter had the veggie street tacos with jackfruit carnitas, slaw, pico de gallo, and cashew cream. It was served with a side of freshly fried potato chips.

These tacos, I can’t even form words about how amazing they were, I would know since I stole one from Peter. The carnitas were chewy, the slaw added a fresh bite, and the pico was a mild tangy compliment to it all. If you visit Señor Veggie, please get these.  

I ate the eggplant torta with a side of Texican lentil chili. The chili was just generic lentils with spices, similar to something I could make at home, but not bad by any means. The sandwich though was a show stopper. 

The combination was a strange one, but delicious. Fluffy bread spread with ranch, black beans, and topped off with a fried eggplant patty, lettuce, and pico de galo. I’m going to attempt making this at home next time I get the gumption up to try frying something.After lunch we walked to Market Square. It’s a bit of a tourist trap with shops full of postcards and Texas shot glasses. But some of the buildings contain shops run by local craftspeople with interesting trinkets, clothes, decorations, and even toys.          It was ridiculously hot in San Antonio, so we stopped to sit on a bench and have a cold drink. While there, we watched the plethora of birds running around the Square. Among them was a pigeon we nicknamed “Carl” who was the head pigeon and spent his time bullying the smaller birds over breadcrumbs and stray french fries.Our evening was spent visiting the Alamo. We went about an hour and a half before closing time, so the majority of the crowd had dispersed. We had a great time exploring the old buildings on the grounds and reading about their history. The area was also very beautiful with a lot of greenery, sculptures, and even a koi fish pond.

A wonderful way to finish off a day in San Antonio.      

Honeymoon – Houston

Houston was… interesting. First off, two weeks before we left I received an email saying that our hotel was cancelled. Upon further investigation, I learned our hotel had out of the blue decided to shut down.

The city’s other hotels were packed due to an oil conference, so we were forced to get a super sketchy hotel (like sketchy enough for us to shove our coffee table against the door) on the outskirts of town.

Despite this set back, we decided to start our one day in the city early by taking the bus into the downtown business district.Lunch was at Green Seed Vegan,  a little neighborhood eatery and juice bar. The staff was a bit curt, but the atmosphere was nice and honestly we were just relieved to be someplace with ice cold air conditioning after wandering around in the Texas heat.Peter got a portobello cheese steak and dill fries. The sandwich was just okay, not a ton of flavor and bread was a bit stale seeming. The fries were spot on though, I never would have thought to put dill on themMy jackfruit barbeque sandwich was equally mediocre. The sauce tasted good, but the jackfruit had been cooked down to a mush and the bun was a bit stale too. While I was happy to find a 100% vegan restaurant in the middle of the city, I probably wouldn’t return because the food wasn’t anything to call home about.We decided to walk to the museum district instead of taking a bus, which I’m glad about because otherwise we would have missed some of Houston’s awesome street art.        Some of the paths we walked were truly beautiful and surprisingly green for being in the middle of a city.      The Houston Museum of Natural Science was awesome with a large dinosaur section (with a very excited Peter because he had previously never seen a dinosaur skeleton), Egyptian exhibit, and a huge pendulum that was fascinating to watch.Dinner was at the Hobbit Cafe, a bizarre restaurant we found through Yelp.  While some of the sandwiches had themed names like Smaug’s Delight and Bilbo the Magnificent, the menu mainly consisted of Tex-Mex food. I got the portobello mushroom fajitas without cheese or sour cream and our very helpful server offered to bring extra salsa and guacamole on the side to replace the non-vegan items. Peter got the cheese enchiladas.

The food was amazing. The fajitas were well-seasoned with finely sliced vegetables, and even the side items (brown rice and black beans) which I assumed would be plain, were full of flavor.And while the food was great, nothing could beat the decor. Everyplace from the entrance to the bathrooms was Middle Earth themed. It was fantastic spot if you’re interested in Tolkien’s work, but even if you’re not a big fan, you can still appreciate the delectable menu offerings. 

Honeymoon – New Orleans

The first stop on our trip was New Orleans, the only city we had previously visited together.

Most of the city’s cheap hotels were booked up for Jazz Fest, so we ended up staying across the river near Algiers Point. Our hotel was about a 30 minute walk from the ferry, so we had a nice time strolling (and sweating in the 85+ degree weather) through the neighborhoods near the water.  While riding the ferry, a plane was flying overhead trying to spell something. Or insult somebody, we weren’t quite sure. Hungry from our trek, we stopped in at the always delicious Dreamy Weenies. We were shocked that the place was empty, apparently due to the Jazz Fest. The poor guy behind the cash register was so bored and quizzed us about where we were from and what we were doing in the city.

I got a kielbasa dog topped with slaw and red beans and rice. Peter got a smoked “chicken” dog with sour cream and cheese. 

    The majority of our day was spent taking the Saints and Sinners tour offered by French Quarter Phantoms. This is the second tour we’ve taken from this company and both have been fantastic.

The tour guide took us all through the French Quarter while regaling us with tales about the beginnings of New Orleans, various stories of its seedy history, and even told us about a woman who may become the city’s first saint.

While wandering the French Quarter we also saw this awesome lighthouse for rent. Since we’ve previously discussed moving to NOLA, I’m totally down with the idea of us living in a lighthouse there.

Dinner was at Seed near the edge of town. We dined on beignets (not pictured) to start and for dinner Peter had the southern fried tofu poboy and I had the walnut taco salad with seed gumbo.

I love this restaurant, not just because of the great food and friendly servers, but because we can enjoy New Orleans classics while still sticking with an animal-friendly lifestyle. 

  

Eating Through Rochester

I spent the last weekend of spring break visiting my sister in Rochester, New York. She’s moving from there soon and kept saying “Come visit me and eat all the good vegan food up here!” So I finally took her up on the offer.

I arrived early in the afternoon and we immediately went to John’s Tex Mex. The place was small, but not too cramped and with very friendly staff. We started off with chips and a flavorful chunky salsa.I ordered the un-beef burrito bowl with refried beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, and olives. It was served with a side of Cholula hot sauce and two house-made salsa (salsa verde and chipotle) which were fantastic. I honestly expected it to be smaller, with about the size of burrito filling, but the meal was so ridiculously huge that I ended up getting two meals and a midnight snack out of the one bowl. Not that I’m complaining, we definitely got a bang for our buck here.

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Street art was prevalent throughout Rochester. The image below is just one of many I saw, including  illegal graffiti and several professional murals. Poor Kaitlin had to deal with me pressing my face up to the window every time we drove somewhere or trying to roll down the window to snap a picture.

Dinner was at Spot Coffee, a nifty café inside a renovated Chevrolet service station. The atmosphere inside was great, with a tall ceiling and a large selection of seating areas. Plus the staff was very knowledgeable on what was and wasn’t vegan (parmesan cheese in the dressing, eggs in the bread, etc.)

I settled for the one vegan menu item, the hummus wrap. Apparently their hummus flavor changes on a daily basis, and that day was chipotle. I was pleasantly surprised with how this one turned out. I’ve had a few too many hummus wraps that were under-flavored with sad wilted vegetables stuffed inside. But this wrap was nicely toasted and stuffed with mixed greens, tomato, and cucumber. It was served with a side of balsamic tossed greens.For entertainment that night we stopped by The Little Theatre to see It Follows. The theatre was adorable and plays mostly independent movies.

Before I left Alabama, I’d heard multiple times to go eat at Dogtown when I got to NY. Since my life dream is to own a vegan hot dog cart, I think it makes sense to take any opportunity to try a new veggie dog.

I found out upon walking into the place that Dogtown was honorably mentioned in the Top Five Vegan Hot Dogs contest. I’ve actually been to the restaurant that won 4th, Dreamy Weenie’s in New Orleans. I may need to make a travel itinerary based around eating at all the other winners too…

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Inside the restaurant was pretty packed, so we ended up ordering our food to-go. The décor (and menu names) were all dog themed, and even included this adorable wall of  customers’ dogs.

What I ended up ordering, after staring open-mouthed at the menu board and the plethora of options for a while, was the vegan German Shepard. It was a veggie dog with sauerkraut, yellow mustard, and cooked onions. The bun was also phenomenally hearty (soggy buns make me sad) and didn’t fall apart before I finished the hot dog. Served on the side were fries and ketchup.

The East End area had a ton of cute little shops. One of which was Greenwood Books, a used bookstore with books ranging in topic from vintage piano sheet music to Appalachian herbal medicine.

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Unsurprisingly, I found a book that I needed. This vegetarian cookbook combined two things I love: food and travel. What’s not to like? Since returning home, I’ve already tried the beer battered tofu recipe (from the England section) and it was fantastic. We’ll see, soon we may have a monthly “travel” meal to other countries.

On my final night in Rochester we ate at the Red Fern, an entirely vegan restaurant. I ordered the Compost Plate, a nice play on the garbage plates that Rochester is famous for. All piled together, it featured pasta salad, a chilled sweet potato salad, balsamic tossed mixed greens, and buffalo tempeh. Everything tasted fantastic, my only complaint was that the buffalo was not hot at all. Kaitlin said that she’s had a hard time finding anything actually spicy in the north, and that southern states seem to be better at accurately labeling things as “hot”.

 Kaitlin decided to partake in the buffalo sandwich, which featured the same buffalo tempeh as my plate, stacked together with pickled vegetables and bleu cheese sauce. After trying a bite, I could happily live without a vegan replacement for bleu cheese (bleck!) but the otherwise the sandwich was very tasty, especially the fresh soft bun it was served on.

 I had a wonderful time eating through seeing Rochester and hope to return again someday. Who knows, maybe that’s where my hot dog cart will end up. 🙂

Green Tea Lemonade

For years I’ve been reading about the benefits of green tea, and now that I’m on the band wagon, I’m trying to add more of it into my diet. That’s where I bring in green tea lemonade.

There’s nothing I love more than fresh squeezed lemonade, then add in green tea (which doesn’t actually change the flavor much) and you’ve got a great drink. I substituted 1/3 cup of agave for the 1/2 cup honey, and served it up in this adorable thrifted Pikachu glass.

This is definitely something I could see myself drinking while sitting in a sun dress next to a vegan barbecue.

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Slow Cooker Tofu

Today I tried something I’m surprised I haven’t attempted before: tofu in the slow cooker. The recipe I tried was roasted onion BBQ tofu and it was good. Like, I must resist licking the plate good. The sauce with the onions was the star, but when you cook the tofu for a long time (8 hours on low is what I did) it absorbs all that flavor and becomes equally delicious.

To make the recipe even easier, I just chopped up the onions and sautéed them in the olive oil and then dumped it with the rest of the ingredients into the slow cooker.

I served it with fried potatoes and cabbage. I’ve already got this on my menu for next week and plan on making a little dishes for all my tofu-hating friends. I will convert them all, someday.

Now I’m off to Pinterest to find more tofu slow cooker recipes, because this has opened a whole new world for me. *cue Disney music*

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Christmas Trip – New Orleans

I hope everyone has had a wonderful holiday! For Peter’s gift I surprised him with a short train trip to New Orleans a few days before Christmas. Peter was stoked to ride a train for the first time, and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Amtrak train.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0327.jpgWe arrived quite late to the city and were super hungry after eating an early lunch on the train. We walked just a few blocks to 13 Monaghan in search of good food and we were not disappointed. I got the BBQ tofu sandwich and Peter got the mushroom philly, both served with chips.

This was honestly the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. Chewy tofu smothered in a spicy BBQ sauce and paired with vegan mayo, tomatoes, lettuce, and sliced sweet pickles. I devoured half before gaining control of myself and taking a blurry photo in the dim lighting.

DSCN0990The next morning we set out exploring. Seeing Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, and some of the street sculptures. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0328.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0329.jpgBreakfast was in the French Market at the Meals From the Heart Cafe. We were the first customers of the day and greeted by the very friendly owner. I ordered the vegan blueberry pancakes and Peter got an omelette.

This seems to be a recurring theme in New Orleans, but these were some of the best pancakes I’ve ever eaten. At home, I’m usually too lazy to cook anything significant in the mornings, so I enjoy getting breakfast food out when we’re traveling. These pancakes were just sweet enough, infused with fresh blueberries, and served with vegan butter, maple syrup, and walnuts. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0330.jpgWith very full bellies, we then set off to wander around the French Quarter. We marked off part of our bucket list by visiting a voodoo shop while in NOLA. It was a pleasant shop, not at all creepy like we expected, with helpful staff.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0331.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0332.jpgThe St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 was a must-see for the trip. Full of fascinating and famous graves, we had a great time exploring this small place. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0341.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0333.jpgLunch was at Dreamy Weenies, a funky restaurant near the cemetery. I’d heard good things about this place and was excited to try something different. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0336.jpg/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0335.jpgI got the andouille dog on a wheat bun with vegan chili, sauerkraut, mustard, and ketchup, served with a side of potato salad. Peter got an Italian herb dog with cheese and mustard. We both agreed that these were amazing and I can’t wait to come back to try their plethora of other toppings.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0334.jpgAfter a bit more wandering and spending time in the WWII Museum (please visit, it is a fantastic place) we headed over to the all vegan Seed for dinner. Sadly we had to grab everything to-go just to make sure we could get to our ghost tour on time, but the short time spent in the restaurant was great.
/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0337.jpgSince the food would take a bit to cook, we snacked on beignets and chatted with our super friendly server. The staff was hilarious and we could hear them in the back arguing about what Christmas music to put on. Choices included Alvin and the Chipmunks, Mariah Carey, and Disney. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0338.jpgPeter got eggplant parmesan, and I got gumbo with mac and cheese. Despite being a bit cold (we ended up eating after our tour) the food was delicious. The gumbo was very flavorful and chock full of vegetables. The mac and cheese was creamy and rich, with a nice crunchy breadcrumb topping. I didn’t get a chance to try Peter’s eggplant (the man loves pasta) but he promised that it was great. Also, if you’re looking for a fun and informative tour about the supernatural, be sure to check out French Quarter Phantoms Tours. We had a wonderful time stomping around the French Quarter and being creeped out. DSCN1042The train ride back was beautiful going over Lake Pontchartrain. We had a very good trip and can’t wait to visit the Big Easy again. /home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/7f2/73905162/files/2014/12/img_0339-0.jpg

Glasgow Trip

Glasgow was probably my favorite city that I visited this summer. Something about its vibe just made me happy to wander around the beautiful (and occasionally grungy) streets and chat with all the interesting people I met. It may have also helped that Glasgow had a lot of amazing vegan restaurants to choose from.

The one I visited the most was Stereo, a hidden gem in a dark alley plastered with band posters. They had a set menu and also daily specials to choose from, so you’ll never be bored coming back here for a meal. My favorite meal of the entire trip was loaded nachos.
Corn chips topped with cheese, beans, salsa, chipotle cashew sour cream, and jalapeños. It’s so ridiculously good that I ate this a total of three times over my two trips to Glasgow.
The other meal I tried at Stereo was the cheeseburger. The bean burger was delicious with a flavorful creamy sauce and stretchy vegan cheese. Served on the side was a lightly dressed salad with a hint of citrus, and home fries.

The other vegan restaurant I frequented was Mono. Sadly, something seemed to get in the way every time I ate, so I never managed to snap a photo of my meals. I went twice and got the portobello mushroom burger with beer battered onion rings (yum!) then the chili dog with aioli fries. Everything was delicious.

One of the coolest things about Mono though was the fact that it had a record store and zine shop in the same building. While I waited on my food to cook, I wandered through Good Press and its array of interesting zines.This was my personal favorite of the zine offerings.

The Duke of Wellington statue was on my must see list.
It was conveniently right behind the statue is the Gallery of Modern Art, which had a fantastic collection of pieces. The one that I found the most breathtaking was a project (which I frustratingly don’t remember the name of now) featuring cardboard models of every religious building in town.
IMG_0324.JPGThe best place to visit on a sunny day was the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s a beautiful building and has lovely grounds to lay around on.
And while the grounds are cool, what’s inside the museum is even better. From deranged modern art to classical pieces and historically relevant items, there was something for every interest.

Atlanta – Pizza and Sword Fights

Last week we celebrated Peter’s 22nd birthday a few days early with a day trip to Atlanta. We were originally headed to Dulce Vegan Cafe, but forgot to account for the time difference between Alabama and Georgia, and sadly arrived right as they were closing. 😦

But all was not lost! When we asked where else was good to eat, they pointed us two doors down to the pizza joint Urban Pie.

Urban Pie, a vegan-friendly Atlanta Pizza Joint - Gallivanting Vegan

DSCN0973We got their garden variety pizza with Daiya. It was great, with a thin crispy crust and loads of veggies. It made the meal even better that the weather was nice enough that we could sit outside.

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After lunch, we wandered around some of the shops in the funkier part of Atlanta.

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This included the highly intriguing Junkman’s Daughter store. My favorite of their window displays was the mutant corn man whose name tag read “Hello, my name is GMO”.

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For that evening’s entertainment, we attended the Medieval Times show. I’m happy to say their vegetarian meal (which you choose when ordering your tickets) is entirely vegan! The arena was dark, so I took a picture of the table setting before the lights dimmed.

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The meal was three courses. The appetizer was tomato soup and hummus with veggies and pita bread. The main course was a stew with brown rice, beans, and a vegetable-rich tomato sauce. Dessert was a cinnamon apple turnover (Peter’s included a birthday candle).

Peter had a great birthday trip to Atlanta and we happily went back home with crowns on our head and bellies full of veggie food.

Thanksgiving

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Thanksgiving and school/work break. I was lucky enough to enjoy two meals with friends and family.

A group of our buddies got together to celebrate Thanksgiving a few days early and everyone was required to bring some sort of food or drink.

Peter (the most cooking inept amongst us) was in charge of choosing our drink options. Meagan made chocolate peanut butter balls and Connor, sticking to his Italian roots, made spaghetti with marinara sauce. I cooked up Gardein turkey cutlets, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy, sage dressing, and apple cranberry crumble for dessert.

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Because we’re adults, the tablecloth was a giant coloring sheet and we had a huge pack of crayons on the table. The day ended with us watching Disney’s Pocahontas and ThanksKilling.

On the actual day of Thanksgiving, we celebrated it with Peter’s family. His mom has been experimenting with a vegan diet for a few months to reap the health benefits, so we had a huge vegan spread on the table.

I brought green bean casserole and lemon-berry cheesecake. My plate from the feast included tofurkey, cranberry sauce, green bean casserole, wild rice cranberry salad, mashed sweet potatoes, and a roll. I could definitely get used to celebrating food-centered holidays with other vegans.

Vegan Thanksgiving celebration - Gallivant