Monday, October 23, 2006

Beach Bummin' It (looooong post)

So we're back from our latest excursion to St. Augustine where each morning greeted us with this,
a magnificent sunrise. It was energizing and soul soothing to be there. We were married there nine years ago and take every opportunity we get to go back for a visit. This time, my brother and his wife were celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary and asked that we join them since they'd be in our sunny state.

When traveling, I always bring my trusty insulated soft cooler and try and stock it with anything I can whip up in a pinch. This time, I brought:

leftover herbed roasted potatoes
mushroom caps (stuffed with a tempeh mixture I created)
some apples
some avacados
sprouts (adzuki, lentil, and
green onions
sesame dressing

the first morning we were there, the omnivore men went out in search of some breakfast grub while my brother's wife (who was totally down with trying whatever I made, excited that it'd be all vegan as she's an omni herself) and I held back to enjoy the view and the beach and a breakfast of our own. We had...

reroasted herbed potatoes and stuffed mushrooms, some avacado slices and some golden delicious apple slices (not pictured).

I was worried the mushrooms would go bad if not used while we were away so before we left I stuffed 'em with a mixture of VwaV's sausage-like tempeh crumbles that I had leftover, some vegannaise, and a ton of nutritional yeast. I packed 'em stuffed and just roasted them in the oven while the potatoes were reheating. the avacados were creamy and perfect to mellow out the spiciness of the tempeh stuffing, and the apple was refreshing and juicy. the potatoes are always amazing, no matter how many times you reheat them. :) It was a filling and tasty start to our fun filled beach day! She loved all of it, and nothing makes me happier than the ooh's, aah's, and mmmmm's out of the mouths of omni's enjoying vegan fare!!!

I never did make the sprout salad I was hoping to as we wanted to take them to a bunch of our favorite restaurants and I'm never going hungry when we go out, you can always piece together something. Granted, this was easier as a vegetarian, but I'm determined to always figure out something off a menu if for no other reason than to enlighten the restaurant that they are leaving out an entire community of prospective patrons when they plan a menu that does not consider or include vegan options. It's a challenge, but worth it to me.

We first took them to a place we like to hang out and drink beer (Stella Artois....Mmmmmm, AND it's VEGAN!) on their deck overlooking the ICW (intercoastal waterway), the Matanzas Inlet Restaurant. I was able to have a decent size house salad with a yummy mango vinaigrette and a side of beans and rice that I topped with their delicious datil pepper sauce. It wasn't the most filling of meals (too much white rice, not nearly enough beans), but it hit the spot and was tasty so I was happy. I took pictures but they're on my brother's camera. duh. so how's about another look at that beach?
the next place we hit to eat was A1A Ale Works. Looking at their menu you'd think, 'not very vegan friendly'. They have, hands down, the BEST hummus I've had yet. It's creamy, light, did I mention creamy? sooo good. And they'll serve it (a whole mess of it!) to you with a generous helping of roasted red pepper, zuchhini, summer squash, and the freshest pita bread I've ever tasted. Paired with a scrumptious salad of baby field greens, pecans, golden raisins, red onion, and a mustard vinaigrette it was an incredible meal for me. I don't even miss thier beer ale soup which was always the reason we just had to eat there. Now, for me? It's the hummus!!!! I loved this lunch so much and was having so much fun I didn't even remember to snap a shot to share with you! sorry!!
sea wall pic

There were a couple duds on the trip, like the pizza place I ordered a calzone from. I wanted all the veggies (they touted broccoli, spinach, fresh tomatoes, and roasted garlic in their list) and sauce inside but ABSOLUTELY NO CHEESE! they told me no problemo. we had it delivered soon after they closed. when we got the food? My calzone was covered in parmesan and stuffed with tomato sauce and more onions, green peppers, and green and black olives than you can even imagine. It was late and I was starving so I picked at my greek salad (that they actually left the cheese off of) then turned my calzone over and pulled it apart eating it from its cheeseless bottom up. Needless to say, we will never order from them cheer me up?

more walks on the beach!Another dud was an old favorite the SouthBeach Grille. they have great outdoor tables to sit at and the dunes are right there so it's a favorite spot to hang but to eat. Used to be I would enjoy their signature pasta salad with sundried tomatoes, blk olives, & artichoke hearts, but it relies on a cream sauce. Not so appetizing if you're a vegan. Sure, they made me an oil/wine based sauce, leaving out the butter for a another signature pasta dish of theirs...but it was very overcooked white pasta topped with a once frozen green peppers, onions, and tomatoes mix. The salad was good and hey, at least I didn't fill up on pasta! ;) again, no photo of the food, but...rock beach (Washington Oaks State Garden, beach side). you can climb along the coquina rock and check out all the tide pools and amazing shapes all carved away by the ocean. we have so many great pics of this beach, but wanted to share just the ones from this trip.

But just when you get all grumpy that the world is just not accomodating you, that you cannot WAIT to get home and blog about the atrocious eating establishements out there who don't even acknowledge that we vegans exist? You find your little niche in the universe and everything is right again, better than right it's near perfect!!! We found Sundancer's eatery and grocery. Funny thing is, we'd passed it every time we left the beachouse and didn't even notice it until that last day! It was worth the wait. Here's my brunch:This was their signature dish, the lentil walnut burger topped with tomato, sprouts, avacado, and ginger wasabi (oh my, this dressing was yummy!) dressing on a sprouted grain bun. On the side they gave me the most amazing yet simple salad of pinto beans, corn, tomato, avacado, red onion and i think a little cilantro and lemon juice. I think they refer to it as their cowboy caviar. while I totally made a mess of it before snapping a picture, it was heaven and we can't wait to go back! they also house a full organic juice bar (they only use organic produce and goods) and shop containg pantry items and toiletries, all organic and earth friendly. so cool! they don't yet have a website, but if you're ever in St. Augustine? you MUST check them out, right on A1A. Everything is so fresh and tasty!

I will post anything fun I come up with before Thursday, then it's off to the Keys! Gotta love living in the Sunshine State where you can soak up the beaches well on into the 'winter months'. Hoping everyone is enjoying their fall so far, still can't seem to comment on many blogger blogs. For now I leave you with sweet Joe, the gorgeous Akita my brother and his wife just rescued. For a member of a breed that has a reputation for being aggressive and hard to manage, he is just the sweetest most gentle creature. Was so excited about running around on the beach, so glad we got to meet him!


Nikk said...

Oh! Joe is so cute! :)

That meal from Sundancers looks fab.

All the pics are have reminded me of how badly I want/need a vacation!

Anonymous said...

Those beach pics make my eyes tear-up... sigh...

Lucky you :)

Candi said...

Those are great beach photos! Looks so calm and peaceful. I hope it helped your stomach to be so relaxed like that!

I love the picnic foods you packed, and congrats on feeding an omni! I love that she enjoyed it all.

I feel your disappointment in finding good vegan food! We went out to eat the other night, and I ended up eating brown rice! The other foods that were tofu dishes, all had meat in them!! I was so sad. So I ate rice. :(

Joe is very sweet and lucky!! I'm so happy he was rescued!! Your brother is compassionate...wonder where he got that from?! ;)

Enjoy the Keys. I've never been to the keys, but went to the Bahamas, and I bet the water is just as gorgeous in both places. Lucky you! I hope you have a great time!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful vacation. It's frustrating eating out as a vegan but when you find a few great gems it's so exciting. There's this burrito place we liked to go to when we ate meat but haven't been since we became vegan. We decided to go and found they took $2.00 off their burrito when you got it without meat & cheese. It was packed with beans, rice, roasted veggies (peppers, onions, etc), and of course - guac. It totally made my day!

laura k said...

Excellent post! The pics of the beach are heavenly... Too bad about your food disappointments, but it does make it that much nicer to get back to your own world.

FH said...

Food looks delicious, photos are gorgeous!!I miss the beach!!

Anonymous said...

Just dropped in to say hi and look at all your gorgeous photos again ;-)

urban vegan said...

pretty beach photos--and what a cute doggy.

clairdloon said...

Beautiful blog - the pictures of St. Augustine Beach are great - I am blessed enough to live in St. Aug Beach and just had lunch at Sundancer's. Every meal I've had there has been wonderful. When you come back I hope the Mayan Cafe is still open; it's in downtown St. Augustine and is organic - lots of organic veggies and great tastes. It's on Hypolita next to Claude's Chocolates. Blessings on you and hope you are feeling better!