Friday, October 17, 2008

Food for Thought or VeganMoFo Day 14

I was thinking today about Rob in California, eating at veg restaurants while I drown in a sea of lovely chickpeas. Sure, he is out there on business and working very hard, but still. I then thought about the fact that I prefer to eat at home most of the time now. I have more control over the content of my meals, I feel better after eating at home, and we eat 99.9% organic which is not possible while eating out in the middle of the country. Then my thoughts went to all the great veg places we have eaten through the years...Atlanta, GA has Cafe Sunflower where we used to eat while we were working for Nextel and basically commuting from DC to Atlanta for a time. There was this place in Boulder, CO which we couldn't find when we were back there last year, but I remember the food and the feel of the place and we ate there when we went to a wedding many years ago. The Sweet Onion Inn in Vermont where we stayed for our second honeymoon (which I just noticed sadly is no longer a vegan bed and breakfast...sniff!). Of course, I've blogged about the Laughing Seed in Asheville, NC and probably the Chicago Diner. I have fond memories of eating at the Zen Palate when I took Parker to NYC when he was three without Rob. It was such a nice bonding time with Parker, walking to Central Park every day and checking out the museums and walking on Broadway at night.

So many places we loved in the DC area and the many memories. I miss "number 2" at Sunflower Vegetarian Restaurant in Vienna, VA and the many co-workers we hooked on General Tso's Surprise. Of course, The Vegetable Garden and Yuan Fu's in our town of Rockville, MD. When we were both working and pre-kids, we ate at one of those restaurants at least once a week. Mary the owner of Yuan Fu's would always give us a little something special and she remembered us years later after we moved away. Niwanohana, also in Rockville, where Rob taught me to love vegetarian sushi. Working in NW DC for Fannie Mae (yes, I admit I worked there during the Clinton years when the economy was booming) with wonderful people for long hours and ordering Thai food on many, many long nights. Ethiopian food in Adam's Morgan. Eating our weight in Indian at Udupi Palace in Takoma Park, leaving the restaurant with yellow fingers from the turmeric. Amma Vegetarian Kitchen in Vienna, VA with cheap, fast, yummy Indian food for a quick lunch. So many, many great meals and so many, many wonderful memories.

The one that sticks out for me today though is a restaurant that is now only in our memories. Food for Thought. I can't think of this place without thinking of our friends, Sean and Jen. I miss them. I miss the vegan nachos, the vegan chocolate cake, but most of all the vegan lasagna. Oh my gods, the vegan lasagna. I have never before and never since had lasagna that good. I hear you can still get some at the Black Cat, but it couldn't be the same for me. I wish I could replicate that lasagna though. I have thought about it many times and tried a time or two, but never succeeded. If anyone out there remembers the Food for Thought lasagna and has a recipe which will come close, I would love you forever. For now, I just drool and remember, and get jealous of my husband enjoying the Cali (then Chicago) restaurant scene without sharing with sweet little ones or worrying about having to get them home to bed. As much as I love my life in my small little town, far away from the animal rights scene that I love and the plethora of vegan dining options, I am also a tad jealous just for today of all of your living out there.

Even more appropriate since I used to go see Natalie with my friend Jeff every chance we could when I lived in DC. One very memorable time in Baltimore where we met her after the concert and she shared pompadoms.


Julie said...

It's so exciting that there are tons of veg restaurants popping up all over. I commend you on eating at home, though-I am trying to limit my going out. I hear you on the chickpeas, though. I am going through a plethora of white beans myself. :]

Inanna said...

R and I will never forget our first taste of Ethiopian with you in Adams Morgan. We've found nothing to compare since, but still remember the experience vividly! THANK YOU for introducing us to it :-).

Was the vegan place in Boulder next to the food co-op? So sad that it closed down last year :-(

VeganLinda said...

Julie, I would trade some chickpeas for white beans. :-) I do love that there are more and veg places. We only have one all veg restaurant in our town and I would love to open up a vegan place, but the restaurant business is crazy.

Inanna, I love that you and R were always up for trying anything. There really is nothing that compares.

We did notice that the co-op closed last year while we were does a co-op close in Boulder? It just doesn't seem possible. I don't think the restaurant was there, but we just can't remember since it was sooo long ago.

Loretta said...

I dearly miss my favorite vegetarian restaurant, Gillie's, in Blacksburg. For at least the first three years we lived here I complained and complained about how much I missed it to David. They had the most awesome dishes, many vegan or quite a few of the rest were easily veganized, and THE BEST brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. They did their best to buy local and organic, and the owners also owned the bakery/coffee shop (Bollo's) around the corner, so all of their breads, baked goods, and desserts were homemade (and many were vegan, too). Ugh. Now I am so homesick.
If you opened a vegan restaurant in town we would totally come and eat there A LOT! :) Is it just a midwest thing that there aren't a lot of vegetarian places in these parts? You would think in a college town like CU there would be several v*gan options.

Inanna said...

If the mysterious ways of the universe send us back to CU, I would totally be down with opening a vegan place with you! Perhaps starting small with a cafe specializing in local, vegan baked goods, fair trade coffees, etc? I do love vegan baking!

I know, the co-op was one of the big draws to moving here. I'm not sure it's kind to elaborate on why I really think it's gone as my opinion reflects my over-all disappointment with a town so revered as a pinnacle of liberal/alternative living...but, basically, too much competition from flashy natural food stores. Very sad.