It’s been such a whirlwind since I got back to Muncie last Sunday, I almost forgot to write about the trip. Of course, the best part of the trip was the food, so I will start with the amazing restaurants we went to in both Nebraska and Minnesota. I’ll talk a bit about running in Woods Park, and a bit more about the things I learned on the trip (e.g. that the big ball of twine is simply that).
When we arrived in Lincoln, Sarah had made homemade vegan tamales and mole for us. It wasn’t lost on me how much of a sacrifice it was for her to make such an amazing meal, and tamales are my single favorite Mexican food. They are never vegan in restaurants; in fact, Sarah’s grandma said that tamales aren’t real when they are vegetarian. They may not have been considered “real” by Mexican standards, but to me they were simply perfect. I loved every bite of every one I ate, mostly because they were made with love.
The next day we went to a place called Maggie’s and had the most delicious vegan wraps, which were washed down with various sodas we’d purchased at Rocket Fizz. My lunch was a coconut curry tofu wrap and a Faygo Rock-n-rye, and both were delicious. We also got muffins for a snack, and they were good too. Once we finished our wraps, we went across the street to a coffee shop called The Mill and I had their Creole Lait, which was a blend of espresso, chickory, and soy milk. Yummy goodness. Sarah and I piece-mealed dinner while Kellie and Daniel went to Daniel’s class.
On Tuesday, I made breakfast with Kellie’s help. We had a filling combination of vegan sweet potato waffles with toasted pecan “butter” and vegan breakfast sausage. I am not sure what was for lunch that day, or if we just lounged around and ate at our own leisure, but for dinner we went to Yia Yia’s Pizza. Sarah and I split a vegan pizza: spinach and zucchini on my half, spinach and olives on her half, and vegan cheese on the whole thing. Kellie and Daniel had the American (bbq sauce, chicken, corn, jalapeños, and vegan cheese on half). The amazing thing about the soy (vegan) cheese was the fact that it actually melted. It was stringy and stretchy like real cheese. Now I am on a quest for delicious fake cheese.
On Monday and Tuesday, I woke up at 6:00 AM to run in Woods Park. The trail went past several different pieces of artwork, a business that looked like a strange doctor’s office, some basketball courts, some tennis courts, and last but not least, an uh-maz-ing public pool. It was a 50 meter pool with 8 lanes, a separate diving well, and a smaller warm up pool. Seriously, it was a perfect way for me to start my day. I got to watch the club teams practice and the lifeguards get the pool ready for the business day. It almost inspired em to start swimming two days a week in the fall. I think I can do that on Monday and Wednesday, but we’ll have to see once school starts.
When we arrived in Minnesota, Ann and Jack were already asleep, so we snuck (sneaked?) into the house like little mice. The next we called Ico to meet with her and we were off! For lunch we went to one of my favorite types of restaurants, Tibetan. We had two types of curry and some fucking-hot noodles. They were deliciously hurty on the tongue. After the Tibetan food, we went to a coffee shop that has become Ico’s favorite. It was passable. My drink was fine, but not exceptional, and Kellie’s was strange and unusual and not in a good way like Lydia on Beetlejuice. Ico loved hers, so maybe we were just flakey. Or maybe I was just expecting something other than what I got. At any rate, when we finished the coffee, we embarked on the ridiculousness that is the Mall of America. We ended the night at the Bulldog with Ann and Jack. I love the Bulldog, except the prices. They have Hacker-Pschorr Dark. I can never find that particular H-P beer here in Indiana, so it’s a nice little treat in the Twin Cities.
On Friday, we had a cookout with Andy, Claire, Tim, and Whit at Ann and Jack’s house. Everyone came, and Ico’s sister Sen made Raspberry Tiramisu cupcakes that were to die for good. But, the most amazing food moment of the vacation was at Evergreen on Eat Street (Nicollet) in Minneapolis. I was a little nervous going there because I typically do not like mock-meat. I generally believe that when you are vegan, your goal should not be to figure out ho to make meatless meat, but this restaurant changed my life. It should be called Life-Change Cantonese instead of Evergreen Cantonese. We had two mock-meat dishes and a veggie dish. All three were fantastic: the mock-meat actually tasted and felt like the real thing, but not in too creepy of a way. Kellie had a chicken dish that she thoroughly enjoyed. The spices and herbs were just right, and the service was great. They had bubble tea, and vegan hot and sour soup. Seriously, does it get any better than mock-beef with lemongrass and peppers? We also went to Smitten Kitten. Interesting.
On Saturday, we drove back to Lincoln and had dinner at the Blue Orchid Thai restaurant. It was pretty tasty, but they need some serious attention to be paid to their wait staff. I have had better service at Abercrombie & Fitch or Hollister and I can’t even wear their clothes. On Sunday, we drove back to Indiana and stopped at a little Mexican restaurant somewhere in Illinois. It was good, but it only served to make me miss Sarah and her tamales. Finally, we ended the trip with pizza from T-Dubs here in Muncie. Kellie loves their pizza, but it has a bit too much garlic for my liking. For some reason, garlic tears me up. Their breadsticks are pretty fine, though. I’d eat them again, and I love supporting a local business with my pizza habits.