Monday, May 28, 2012

Key West Trip 2012!

Here is the promised recap of my mother-daughter trip to tropical Key West, Florida! We had an absolute blast and, with this being our third trip to the island, we were able to try out some new activities (like kayaking and snorkeling!) as well as take a lot of time to unwind by the pool. A much needed respite!

But I'm here to tell you about the excellent vegan food options available in the Keys. Who would've thought? The last time we visited I was vegan and we were able to explore some of the specialty cafes. We revisited some and also found some unexpected gems elsewhere.

We flew into Miami and then rented a car for the rest of the trip down. As we passed through Marathon, about an hour away from our destination, I was psyched to stop by Food for Thought, a wonderful vegan health food store with a raw cafe serving wraps, entrees, raw desserts, and fresh juices.

My mom ordered the garlic hummus and balsamic wrap.

And I got the raw Pad Thai wrap - the sauce was mildly spicy and was made with almond butter. Both wraps were stuffed with fresh veggies, greens, and sprouts.

Our money-saving plan was to visit a grocery store to stock our guest house kitchen so we could nosh on some healthy snacks during the day and eat out on the town at night. I picked up some delicious pizza-flavored Flax Snax by go raw, perfect for dipping in hummus. Publix had a fantastic jalepeno-cilantro flavor which I would love to reproduce at home!

Now it wouldn't be snacking without some top quality chocolate, right?

The Cafe is a beautiful pescetarian restaurant which serves many vegan options. We dined there many times and were both very pleased with our meals. My mom ordered their tomato soup every time and tried, however unsuccessfully, to coax the recipe out of the staff!

Our first night I ordered the cold soba noodles in a spicy peanut sauce. With plenty of edamame, red peppers, and scallions this dish was perfect for a hot day.

Another visit provided a perfectly balanced grilled Mediterranean sandwich: artichokes, portabellos, roasted red peppers, greens, onions, and balsamic vinaigrette. Add bean salad as a side and a wonderful dinner is made.

Our last dinner on the island also took place at The Cafe. I ordered a bunch of small dishes, including these scrumptious spinach gyoza with ginger-soy dipping sauce.

With sweet potato fries and a side salad? Magnificent!

Could we walk away without ordering the vegan carrot cake? Absolutely not.

In the mood for some spice we dined at Amigos one night. This spot boasts a large menu with a wide range of ingredients and toppings. The veggie burrito filling is naturally vegan and included grilled veggies and corn roasted salsa. Paired with a fabulous guac and mild, homemade salsa this meal was incredibly satisfying.

Willie T's was a spot we visited our first year, when I was a vegetarian, and we remembered them serving a tasty veggie burger option. We stopped in this year and found that their veggie burger selection was labeled as *vegan* and included sweet potato fries (woo!) and red pepper jam. The burger was very hearty and was made of lentils and sunflower seeds - not for a puny appetite!

One afternoon we meandered over to Help Yourself!, an organic omni restaurant off the beaten path. This place is a small oasis in its surrounding residential area with its own vegetable gardens and small health food store addition.

I had a taste for tempeh and ordered the TLT wrap with chipotle mayo... creamy, smokey, and drool-worthy.

If you are ever thinking of visiting Key West, do some research on Happy Cow and Yelp to find some great vegan foods hidden away behind all the seafood-heavy cuisine. And another tip: Get out on the water! Danger Charters gave us an incredible morning of kayaking and snorkeling on the reef and their crew was knowledgeable, entertaining, and so much fun (they also served us fresh fruit, beer and wine, and chips with salsa and hummus!).

Until next time, Key West!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Post-Vacation... Post

Hello, all! I returned from my tropical getaway earlier this week, but my vacation didn't end without a nice bout of the stomach flu which began our last, travel-filled day. Yuck! I am just now feeling mostly recovered from the bug and promise to post a colorful account of my time spent in Key West soon.

Lately I haven't been able to think about food, let alone eat enough of it. So, the thought of reviewing my eats from the trip has been unappealing until now. I'm trying to get back on my nutritional feet and I plan on stocking up on some wholesome fruits and veggies tomorrow and reignite my foodie passion. This is what I ate for dinner tonight, and really - is there anything better?

I'll catch you guys'n'gals up later this weekend with my Floridian vaycay recap!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I'm on vacation, friends!

I'm currently sitting in the Atlanta airport awaiting my flight to sunny Florida. The mama and I are on our biannual trip to beautiful Key West and should arrive later this evening... Not sure if I'll do any blogging while I'm there, but you can count on a jam-packed post soon with all of the vegan accommodations the island can offer. Get pumped, I know I am!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wholesome & Organic Dog Treats

Let's take a break from delicious human vegan food and consider the other members of our households who love to nosh as much as we do: our pups! My lovebug, Dori is a fan of all things edible, but most notably corn on the cob, peanut butter (holy mother), and carrots. She has been fed a vegan diet for the last 3 years or so and is positively the most energetic and loving, albeit territorial, pooch you'll ever meet.

Upon learning that the local Pet Supplies Plus had been relocated and upgraded a few months ago I eagerly stopped in to see what new treats they might be carrying. This store has always displayed an impressive range of natural foods and treats for companion animals, many of which are meatless.

I was pleased to discover the addition of Wagatha's Organic Dog Biscuits to their shelves. This company, based in Vermont, boasts organic and wheat/corn/soy free ingredients in all of their products. They seem to appreciate the importance of feeding our companions quality foods with diverse flavors and textures. I grabbed up the three vegan flavors available (most others had some sort of dairy ingredient):

Behold: Coconut Grove with Tart Cherries, Vermont Pumpkin Pie with Maple & Cinnamon, and Nutty Banana with Apples and Flax Seed. How amazing do those flavors sound? These could easily be human treats!

And we got a significant amount of treats for the price (about $7 per bag): We are reaching the bottom of our second bag after about 2 months of twice daily treating. Be on the lookout for Wagatha's in a pet store near you.

Look at that poised little weenie. Definitely happy with the new snacks!