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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Busted Ol' Suitcase

Traveling does weird things to me. Whenever I return home from a trip, everything feels odd and disconnected. It's been a week since I returned from Florida, and now I'm wondering, was I ever really there?

Packing and unpacking are horrible tasks. It took a week, but I'm finally unpacked. My suitcase has seen better days, that's for sure. With every trip I take with it, more pieces break off from the inner frame. The cover looks like someone was jumping on top of it with steel-toed boots, like a trampoline. As much as I'm looking forward to (one of these days) getting a new (indestructible) suitcase, the romantic in me loves all its snags and holes and jagged edges and scuffs. It makes me feel like I've really been somewhere.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Raw Food at a Mexican Joint?!; Or "Life is Full of Surprises"

When researching vegan options around the Sarasota area, I was very surprised to find that one (and only one, currently) of the locations for Mi Pueblo now offers an "organic menu," featuring organic, raw, and vegan dishes. Of all places! I was eager to try it, and brought along a willing omnivorous friend to join me.

I ordered the "ensalada del sol." It's hard to get plenty of fresh, raw veggies while traveling, and a bed of sprouts with slices of avocado (and julienned summer squash, carrots, spinach, and Romaine) with a sunflower-lime dressing sounded too good to pass up, even if it was pretty overpriced. It certainly was gorgeous.

My friend ordered the Brazil nut burritos. She said she'd never eaten fancy, prepared raw foods like this before, and she really liked it.

Despite the steep prices, I couldn't pass up a raw dessert while in such close proximity. Behold! The raw chocolate torte:

Mmm... This torte had a cacao-coconut-crushed nut outer shell, which held in smooth, creamy, decadent cacao-avocado fudge. Drizzled over the torte was a light macadamia creme (always good) and sliced strawberries. The fudgey center was the best; I'd eat my way through a kiddie pool of that creamy, chocolatey goodness.

If you're in the north Sarasota area, and money is not a big concern, check out the "Organic Menu" at the Mi Pueblo location on University Parkway. The atmosphere is wonderful and the food is fresh!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bar Food @ Libby's

The grilled chopped veggie salad (above). The vegetables are marinated in truffle oil, grilled, and chopped. It was heavenly. I could have eaten a bucket of this stuff.

(Above)The Vegetarian (Mostly Fried, Oily, Greasy, But So Darn Delicious) Platter. (Don't judge!) The cucumber salad was my least favorite. I have a weakness for garlicky sauteed spinach and that was NOT a disappointment. I also really loved the Black & Tan onion rings. It's hard to screw up sweet potato fries, too. (I wasn't kidding about all the deep fried goodies!) Hey, people eat way worse in bars, so I am not ashamed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Home-Cooked Meal

After recuperating from a bachelor party followed by a bachelorette party followed by running-around-like-crazy-one-week-before-a-wedding, it was really nice to kick back and enjoy a home cooked meal, prepared by my lovely (and now married!) hosts.

Above is B, plating the salad and couscous.
Below is K, getting the grilled goods ready.

The finished product! Perfect!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Manly Meal in the Woods // A Delicious Meal Indoors

Who knew that it would be possible to enjoy a plate of grilled veggies at a bachelor party in the woods? (We had permission to crash it, FYI.)

The following night was the bachelorette party, which we kept indoors because classy ladies such as ourselves can handle only so much sweat and bug bites. The first stop of our 3-part evening brought us to Bangkok in Sarasota. I ordered the most chock-full-of-veggies-curry on the menu.

It's hard to mess up a curry (but I did have one bad curry at Drunken Poet later in the trip, but I didn't bother photographing it). This was delicious, but seriously, nothing tops Baan Thai (see previous entry on Thai in Kansas).

The rest of the evening did not involve food, but it did involve good times. ;)

Friday, June 11, 2010

First Meal in Florida: Vertoris

My first meal in Florida was at Vertoris pizzeria in Bradenton. What drew me to them was not only their vegan options, but also their gluten-free savvy.

Kate and I started out with a gluten-free beer flight.

I am by no means a "beer drinker," but many of my friends are, which has set me on a journey to find at least one beer that I like, strictly for social reasons. I found it in this flight! The first beer of the flight is Red Bridge, made by Anheiser-Busch, and it fit the bill. I don't LOVE it (like I said, I am not a beer drinker), but I could certainly handle a full glass of Red Bridge. Flights are a great way to taste-test beers (and much classier than constantly sipping a friend's brews over and over).

My meal was a gluten-free, vegan lasagna, topped with Daiya cheese - my first time trying this highly recommended faux cheese.

I'm not a big pasta person, but the gluten-free pizza crust at Vertoris is unfortunately not vegan. The owner is a very sweet and knowledgeable woman who was able to answer all of my questions and even showed me the ingredients to their gluten-free and vegan items. My final verdict on the lasagna: Delicious! I amped it up by adding broccoli and mushrooms (one can never have too many vegetables). The biggest difference between Daiya and Follow Your Heart cheeses is not the melt, but the s-t-r-e-t-c-h of the melted cheesiness. Daiya has FYH trumped in that department!

Vertoris is a wonderful place for anyone seeking gluten-free and/or vegan fare of the Italian variety. We didn't have room for dessert, but it was nice to know that a vegan and GF spice cake could have been available for our enjoyment. Maybe next time!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Back Blogged // Boredom Busters

I had a wonderful time in Florida for my dearest friend, Kate's wedding. We were pretty busy (understandably) the whole time, which means I didn't get a chance to photograph every wonderful (and not-so-wonderful) meal I had while in the Sunshine State, but I do have some delicious photos to share. Bring on the back-blogging!


Before embarking on a journey, especially by plane, I try to bring along plenty of things to keep myself occupied. Being bored on a plane makes the flight go by excruciatingly slow, especially when flying solo. (You can never count on having a friendly and fascinating person seated next to you, however I lucked out from Atlanta to Tampa and had a lovely conversation with a man who works at the Dali' museum.)

I was armed to the teeth:

I never even cracked open that issue of Bust, nor did I write any notes for my Maid of Honor speech, and I just barely finished Eating Animals by the time I returned home. Oh well; better safe than sorry.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Thai in Kansas

When someone thinks of Leavenworth, Kansas, if they've ever heard of it before, they probably think of the prison and the army base. I prefer to think of delicious Thai food.

Above is the delicious red curry made with coconut milk, tofu, and green peppers.
Below is the milder green curry, made with coconut milk, tofu, bell peppers, and zucchini.

These delicious meals came from Baan Thai, a beautifully decorated restaurant with an equally beautiful vegetarian section. We received very friendly service and the portion sizes were perfect. There's plenty of space in this restaurant for large parties, too.

After enjoying warm bowls of curry, I highly recommend swinging by the Corner Drugstore for an old fashioned soda.

No high fructose corn syrup there! They have a variety of fruit flavorings. Seen above is strawberry-lime.