Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Meals out in the second half of 2012

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As I told you in my last post, there were a lot of reasons why I didn’t post for the second half of 2012.  But I *did* eat and had always intended to share these meals out with you.  Since I don’t see myself going back and doing in-depth posts about each of them, here are some highlights.  (This makes me feel better and lets me, with clear conscious, move on to 2013 posts!)

On a trip to Ocean City MD I shared a great night with my family and some close friends, and found a new place that wants to accommodate vegans.  My friends were staying at the beach and had emailed the owner of Crazy 8’s to ask if they could handle feeding a vegan.  They were very honest about not knowing exactly what that would entail but made it clear they wanted to accommodate.  There were several choices but I went with a veggie wrap without cheese and with homemade guac added.  Wow.

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My daughter and I took a vacation to Connecticut to see some friends and they introduced me to all sorts of wonderful food!  Soups by The Soup Girl and Wendy’s Bites from Shayna B’s.  Not to mention the fresh Sun Gold tomatoes eaten right out of their garden and the amazing take-out they got for me.  I don’t even know where these pictures came from, but I know they were wonderful!

pizza cupcakesdairy free ice cream

We also ate at 2 vegetarian/vegan restaurants while in CT.  The Red Lentil in New Haven was a fabulous upscale place with lots of choices.  Vegetarian with vegan options and some gluten free options.  Unfortunately it looks like the New Haven location has closed.  Bummer, but it was a great meal!

020021024025028029 (Can you tell I really liked the desserts??)

After a trip to visit the Mark Twain House in Hartford CT we had lunch at Fire and Spice Vegan restaurant.  It was a small place with an even smaller staff and, unfortunately, we entered right after a huge party who didn’t have a clue what they wanted.  This meant it took a long time to get our food, but it was quite good and the staff were really apologetic.

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Fall found me mostly at home, so no restaurant meals to speak of.  But winter break found us on a few outings.  This was my second visit to the Great Sage restaurant in Clarksville MD, but the first for my family.  I’m the only vegan, but my son is gluten-free so I was happy to see that they could easily accommodate that.  (A funny story:  I told the waitress that my son is gluten free but that he’s ‘not adventurous’ because I was looking for things that were not spicy.  She thought I said ‘he doesn’t eat vegetables’ and was a little concerned that I had brought him to a vegan restaurant!)

These photos are pretty rough but I don’t like using my flash in restaurants and it was nighttime, but you can see the yummy goodness!  (Obviously I made a mistake and used my flash for the ‘chicken wings’ – best picture though!)

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And we’ll end with a restaurant we found in Tom’s River NJ through Happy Cow on my phone.  Via Roma is a small Italian place with an extensive menu that includes a full gluten free menu, a full vegan menu, and a gluten-free & vegan menu!

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This calzone was amazing.   And this is the small; I still had to take half home!

Ok.  I feel better now.  I’ve shared all the restaurant meals I had intended to share and now I feel better!  I can move on to 2013 with no guilt.  🙂

Where have you had amazing meals out?  Especially vegan meals!

The Sea Star in Chincoteague Virginia

Some time ago, through using Happy Cow, I discovered that there is a small restauraunt in Chincoteague Virginia with vegan options.  I was intrigued, since that’s only 45 minutes from me.  But I haven’t been to Chincoteague since I was 15 and need I say, I am *way* over 15!

So today when we dropped T at a week of sleep-away space camp the rest of the family decided to go out to dinner before we started home.  Now, I didn’t even know Mark had put the Happy Cow app on his phone, but I shouldn’t be surprised since he’s pretty darn supportive.  As we waited to be dismissed from the social event that started the camp, Mark suggested we hit the Sea Star in Chincoteague for dinner.  Who am I to resist a cool place with vegan options??

This is one of those places where you walk up, order and pay, and then wait for them to call your number for food.  There is a whole “vegetarian” section of the menu with four sandwiches specifically marked as Vegan.  I chose the Malibu, a whole wheat wrap with hummus, avocado, tomato, sprouts and lettuce.  That little wrapped thing in front of the sandwich was my pickle and it was darn good.  The drink is an unsweetened passionfruit mango tea, and the chips in the back are not mine.  They, actually, included dairy but I liked reading the package as they were made by a very small company in Virginia.

Mark and E waiting for their food

My unwrapped meal

Yum

After dinner we walked around the funky little town some, checking out the “Misty of Chincoteague” statue before we drove down to wildlife refuge that is the beach.

It was a nice evening for the three of us, and definitely a place I’d go to again.  Since I’m not a local it may only be a place I’d go to in the warmer months when I could comfortably sit outside and eat, but it’s worth the drive for the cool feel and good food!  This is not fast food, though, and you have to wait while they make everything to order.  But that gave me more time to listen to the gulls!

My boring vegan life?

Ok.  I don’t really think my life is boring.  I mean, any life that has this happening in it can’t be boring, right?

Yes, the dog jumped onto the lime to be with the kids.  Of course, the dog can’t get out of the pool so when she does this it necessitates some assistance at getting her back to land.  So nope, it’s not boring.

Last week I spent the week at the Arts in Motion Academy at Salisbury University learning about ways to integrate the arts into my teaching.  My favorite part was beat-boxing and this article showcases some of what we did.  (My group is not up there, but we did something similar.)  I also did a play to demonstrate how early man discovered fire could do things wherein I played the very difficult role of a bird shot down into the fire!  I learned to paint on screens and how to dance mutiplication patterns.

This screen painting was supposed to be folk art of fruit but it really turned out to look like a clown face!  I might not be the most gifted visual artist, but life is not boring!

We went out to lunch 4 of the 5 days and I got some wonderful Vegan food including this Vietnamese food and Mediterranean food.

And while I was taking this class my niece and nephew were staying with us and attending nature camp with my kids.  They swam in the mucky disgusting pond everyday and came home smelling, um, interesting.  I got very talented at spraying out their shoes with the hose!  Not boring.

And today, the first weekday after my class, I got caught in a torrential downpour, had 5 kids running around my house, and cleaned out my fridge.  How could you think refrigerator cleaning is boring??

But the thing is, I haven’t done a ton of cooking so I haven’t been able to post any recipes.  I do have two posts in the works.  One is about being a “bad vegan” and the foods I don’t like.  The other is a review of the fantastic new cookbook “Great Gluten Free Vegan Eats” by Allyson Kramer.  But, I don’t always post what I’m thinking about because I don’t want to bore you.  So, what would you like to hear about?

Are you interested in how I navigate being the only vegan in my circle of friends?  How I deal with the pain of RA?  How I relax?  How I deal with teaching all day and raising my kids while having RA?  Restaurant reviews?  Something else?  Or are you mostly looking for recipes?

Seriously.  Are there any specific topics you’d like me to cover?  My brain tends to jump around pretty intensely and it will probably still do that, but I’d like a little help focusing on what you’d like to read about.  Because I know you’re not here to see my beautiful screen painting!  LOL

When it rains it pours, or craziness in my vegan life!


This is the time of year when things heat up in the world of a special education teacher.  We’ve got IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) that must be re-done every year and many of them come due now.  We’ve got the end of the year coming which is always a push to get them done.

So that’s part of the reason I’ve been absent.  The other reasons range from our family trip to Disney to sickness to all the kid events we’ve had lately.  And to top it all off the last reason I haven’t posted lately is:

I dropped my laptop and shattered the motherboard.

Yep.

I wish I could say I had a good story for what happened.  (Zombie Apocalypse?)

But nope.  I just dropped it.

A dear friend, who is our tech guy, was able to recover my pictures which is phenomenal.  But this means I haven’t had any way to download new ones (hence the lack of my post on Disney) or a computer set up for me to blog on easily.  Plus, and I have to admit this, I hate Mark’s laptop.  Something about it doesn’t fit my hands correctly so it makes it tough to use.

But last night we went out and bought a new laptop just for me.  It’s the right size for my hands and I can customize it for blogging which is a wonderful thing.

Tomorrow night is a the Slow Food Delmarva event at Hobo’s where I gave away tickets so I’m super excited.  Saturday is FanCon and then the Salisbury Festival.  Sunday I intend to relax and hopefully get all those Disney photos downloaded and my post written.  But please know I have missed blogging and am glad to have the opportunity to get back into it.

I leave you with a few photos of the recent happenings here.  Just no Disney pictures.  Those deserve their own post!

The first weekend back E’s Destination Imagination team competed at the state level.  Mark and I are enjoying a beautiful day on the University of Maryland Baltimore County Campus.  I was super impressed with the vegan food options but less than a week back from Disney and just after 2 days of having a stomach virus (all vomiting and no eating) it was a tough day.

I’m still cooking and eating, but there hasn’t been much that was super fancy.  The rooster and I enjoyed a vegan orange julius.  The rosemary bread was topped with hummus and tomato, and we took advantage of the early spring to do some strawberry picking.

Last weekend T went to engineering camp about 3 hours north of us with the members of his competitive lego robotics team.  He went up on Friday with the parents of another child but Sunday the 3 moms drove up, in the pouring rain, to get the boys.  We stopped at a Bonefish Grill for lunch where I was pleasantly surprised by what they could fix me.  This was rice and lots of veggies with a tomato basil sauce.  6+ hours in the car in the rain didn’t do great things for me, though.

So from my crazy life to your, hopefully, calmer life.  I hope you are well.  I hope you feel strong and healthy.  And I look forward to getting back in touch more regularly.

So tell me, what have you been up to?  Is your life nuts right now too?  Have you ever dropped a laptop?  (Please.   Someone have done this!  LOL)

Vegan Cupcakes in Salisbury at Pemberton Coffeehouse!

I have talked before about how much I love living on Delmarva.  (The peninsula where Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia meet.  Also known as “The Eastern Shore.”)  We’ve got beach.  We’ve got space. We’ve got amazing people.  But alas and alack we don’t have as much in the way of vegan eats as I’d like.  To be honest I really want a Foodswings though it’s probably best for me that we don’t have one.

We’ve got some places that try.  OC Kabob is a good choice with their stellar hummus.  I can get veggie sushi in town and when I want a major treat Restaurant 213 is a fabulous choice that can accommodate me and do it well.  We’re actually going out with friends tomorrow night and made reservations at a place in town that is tried and true for being able to whip something up for me, Sobos.  And I was happy to find out recently that Cactus Taverna is an option.  Their hummus, pita, and stuffed grape leaves were excellent.  (The black bean soup was good too but the picture was even worse then this one!)

So even with no specifically vegan place in Salisbury I can eat quite well.  But something has always been missing.  There really isn’t a place I could go to easily get a vegan dessert.  (Ok.  There’s Rita’s Ice and it’s good but usually it leaves me wanting something more.)

So imagine my shock while reading facebook today to see that one of my local places, Pemberton Coffeehouse, listed a vegan cupcake on their list of today’s items.  And since I’m home with a little girl who has pink eye I thought it was worth a treat!

I can’t convey how excited I was to see this sign:

And really, how cute are those little yellow papers?  They only have one flavor at a time and I don’t think it’s a daily thing (though if enough people buy them perhaps it will become so!)  Today’s was orange and it was really really good.  Both E and I had real pieces of orange in our cupcakes.  They were a tad spongy but the flavor was great and the icing was excellent.  Nice and sweet without being cloyingly so.  I felt like I was eating a cupcake.  Winner!

I got 2 to go and E and I enjoyed them in the fresh air.  Pemberton Coffeehouse has regular food too and salads etc.  You can sit out on the deck overlooking the water or inside in the cozy interior.  But really, I’m just there for the cupcakes.

As is my Princess of Pink Eye!

A funny aside story:  E’s crumbled just a little and she made mention of it.  I said “I’ll eat whatever you don’t want.”  She paused for a second and said “You can’t say that very often, mom.  But no.  It’s MINE.”  LOL

Mini Vacation Adventure or Superheroes, Cool Art, and Hummus

“Life is a great big canvas and we should throw all the paint on it we can.”  Danny Kaye

That quote is my way of looking at the world.  I can’t always throw as much paint as I’d like, but I still try to add some new layer of paint every day.  To be truthful, most people who are close to me refer to them as “Jen’s schemes.”  Things that I think will be lots of fun but most people are slightly concerned about.  Generally they work out, though!  (Don’t ask Mark, he might tell you some tales of the few, very few, that did not work out!)

So when some friends asked if we wanted to spend a few nights in Baltimore over winter break I thought it was a great chance to explore.  We spend a lot of time in Baltimore because it is the closest city, but usually we are there for a bit and then come home.  We have done most of the iconic things like visiting the National Aquarium, the MD Science center (T’s very favorite!), and the Inner Harbor.  We’ve visited the Children’s Museum Port Discovery and been to The Hard Rock Cafe.  We’ve seen many an Orioles game at Camden Yards and we drive by Ravens Stadium pretty frequently.  I even took E and a Spanish exchange student to see Babe Ruth’s house a few years ago.  We have experienced culture in Baltimore!  (Actually, Mark and I met at an, *ahem*, “dance club” in Baltimore almost 17 years ago!)  It’s also where I go every 3 months to see my rheumatologist.  But I knew there would be some wonderful places to explore that we haven’t already seen.

I have always wanted to go to the American Visionary Arts Museum but it is closed on Mondays (my typical doctor’s appointment day) so I knew that was a must-stop.  After some google searches for “best places to take teenagers in Baltimore” I came up with the second must-stop: The Geppi Entertainment Museum.

The hotel had a few breakfast with some reasonable vegan options.  Toast with peanut butter and fruit were just fine by me.  We then walked to the Geppi, stopping at some outdoor sculptures on the way.

This is the MD Counties memorial and that’s the county where we live.

We got to the Geppi before it opened so we walked around Camden Yards for a bit.  I’m sure it was the scene going on at most major league baseball parks:  There was lots going on to prepare for next season.

Promptly at 10 we were able to enter the museum and the wonder that is: Pop Culture!

Starting with mini comic books and going all the way to Harry Potter and current entertainment trends.

Yes, I looked adoringly at Superman and tried to imitate Batman’s stance & facial expression!

After spending so much time with superheroes what was the next natural step?  Why, veggie burgers of course!

A forever friend (we’ve been friends since HS Orientation in, gulp, 1987) was in town from London and came to meet us for lunch.  It was a wonderful time to catch up and enjoy each other’s company!

After lunch and some chatting my friend made her way back to her family and the rest of our group went to the coolest art museum I’ve ever been to.

These are all self taught artists and, basically, anything goes.  You couldn’t take pictures inside the museum but I took a few in the outdoor gardens.

And the piece de resistance from the trip:

I really think that should be next year’s Christmas card.  I *think* T is imitating the duck’s mouth but really I’m not sure.

After a tiny bit of shopping at the inner harbor (I need to interject here that I bought 2 shirts in a size large.  Large.  Now that might not mean much to most people but this time last year I was a 20/22.  A normal large was not something I thought I’d ever wear!) we watched the laser light show at 6 pm and then went to the Baltimore location of The Lebanese Taverna.  All I can say is “Wow.”

T got the gluten free menu and, when they brought out bread, our waitress brought him out some rice crackers and his own olive oil dipping sauce so there was no cross contamination.  I told her that I was a vegan and she made sure that everything I ordered was ok.  We ordered the hummus trio which usually comes with meat and I asked her if one of them could be served without.  The chef went to great lengths to top each hummus with something different and vegan so that I could eat all 3.  We dove right in which is why I didn’t get a picture of it at the beginning!

My entree was extraordinary yet simple at the same time.

This is a zucchini, a yellow squash, and a green pepper all stuffed with grains and pine nuts and topped with tomato sauce.  The spices were outstanding and really, I want to eat this again.  Now.

A dip in the oh-so-cold hotel pool (what we do for our children!) and my day was complete!  Today we had breakfast at the buffet again and then started our way home stopping at both a Trader Joe’s and a Whole Foods for some provisions we can’t find in Salisbury.  When we arrived home there was a box waiting for us on the porch from my Aunt:

What is better than fresh fruit awaiting me?  It was the perfect ending to a wonderful mini vacation.  I hope the end of the year finds you well and embracing the adventures you find.  Please throw all the paint you can on your canvas!

My Trip To Great Sage

Before I left on my adventure last weekend my cousin Moe called and left me a message that basically said “Is there any restaurant you’d like to try or do you want me to cook you a vegan meal?”  Now, Moe is a culinary school graduate so anything she cooks or bakes is good but I called and left her a message that said “Well….since you asked….I’ve been dying to try Great Sage in Clarksville.  Is that too far?”

The next communication was a text from Moe that said “Of course not!!” and so I found myself last Friday night sitting at a lovely little table with Moe and her 16 month old son W, looking at a menu full of lots and lots of things I could order!

I told the server I was overwhelmed; That I live in an area without Vegan restaurants and that I didn’t know what to do.  He smiled and said “Because you can order anything on the menu!”

I decided to start with a green juice.  However, I did make a little mistake.  I read it quickly and saw that there was cucumber and mint but I neglected to read the word “celery.”  Celery is the one food I cannot stand.  I detest it.  Really and truly.  But I drank it.

We decided to split an appetizer and went with the soft pretzel and sauces.

The three sauces were a mustard sauce, a spicy hummus (very spicy!), and a cheese sauce.  My favorite was the cheese sauce and I pretty much licked the container clean.

Moe got the mac & cheese for adults which was wonderful.  It had Brussels Sprouts and cauliflower and I know next time I go I’ll be getting this!

I went with one of the specials which was eggplant breaded and fried with a sauce over pasta with a vegan creme and tomato sauce.

Yum.  Of course we had to order dessert.  Basically we ordered two and split them!  Pumpkin Creme Brulee and Chocolate Lava Cake with homemade coconut ice cream.

The pictures don’t do these desserts justice because, well, WOW.  Definitely a wonderful meal and a place I will go to as often as I can!!