Dema showing off the inside of his Organic Pink Pearl Apple from Common Ground as we waited for the bus. We stopped by the co-op to pick up some last minute supplies for the drive to North Carolina and a week at Topsail Beach.
After our last trip (a couple weeks before this one) to North Carolina for Rob's uncle's funeral, I decided we needed to upgrade our rental car to a van. Oh so worth it! Josie was able to sit in the back by herself, we had plenty of room for supplies (we loaded a lot of food, the sheets and pillows for the beach house, beach clothes, Rob's guitar, etc.) and this van had a built-in DVD player (we weren't expecting that) with loads of outlets to charge phones, ipods, etc. Best money ever spent!
Rob ready to head to put some miles in before dark. He really needed this vacation. Josie was still crawling the last time we were at the beach.
Josie the next morning (her actual birthday!) still sleepy in the hotel room, but ready to hit the road.
We stopped in Asheville, NC (one of our favorite towns to find great vegan food) at Plant. This is our first time there. I would love to return for a date night sometime, but nine hours is a bit of a haul for a date. We ate outside since the kids were really antsy from the drive. The staff was very sweet to bring reused paper and crayons for the kids. The wait for the food seemed like an eternity for them.
Rob and Parker discussing exciting topics.
Dema tired of waiting for food. We didn't know it at the time, but it was SO worth the wait! My mouth waters just thinking about it. It think it might be some of the best food I've ever had. period.
Rob's Peppercorn Crusted Seitan, which is described on the website as truffled zucchini purée, grilled eggplant, tomato & wine sauce, and shiitake bacon. Oh my!
I ordered the Red Curry Tofu. Then my husband nixed my order. Let me say this again, my husband told the waitress "no she wants the Jerk instead". I looked at him with disbelief! I'm a 40 year old woman with a mind of her own and I think I know what I want to order. He sort of back-pedeled a bit, but was firm. He explained that we could have red curry anytime, but the Jerk was special. I had tried to talk one of the kids into ordering it, but I knew before we arrived at the restaurant that I was going to order the curry. This was not getting or vacation off to a good start. When has Rob ordered for me? Maybe back when we first started dating and vegan eating was new to me, but it has been close to 20 years. I think I can order for myself now. The waitress brought me the Jerk, which is described on the website as char broiled seitan, smashed sweet potatoes , sautéed kale, serrano crudo, fried banana & celtic salt. OMG! It was too good to put into words. Perfection comes to mind. The expertly cooked greens, the flavorful sweet potatoes, the tender seitan, and the unexpected completion with the fried banana...I could eat this every night. Rob was right. I had to eat my words and lick the plate (not really because the place is pretty classy).
All three kiddos ordered the 'Villy Cheesesteak, described on the website as seitan, onion, pepper, mushroom, v1 steak sauce & mayo, mozzarella, romaine on a whole wheat hoagie. Yumm-o! The only complaint was the fries were out of the world salty. I mean too salty for the kids so that is salty.
Since it was Josie's birthday we went for desserts too. Dema inhaled his Blackout Pie (cocoa cookie crust, dark chocolate-peanut butter mousse, banana-macadamia ice cream, and berry agave) with the help of Rob and maybe a the rest of us. The banana-macadamia ice cream was the so creamy and full of flavor that I almost don't want to eat another ice cream again. I would love to try to recreate this at home.
Josie and Parker each ordered a float. I'm pretty sure it was a first for them. This one was made with uncle Scott’s handmade root beer and vanilla bean ice cream. The root bear is the best. I'm not a soda gal, but I do like a root beer from time to time and I think all other root bears will pale in comparison to Scott's. Here is a great review of the root beer. I like the lack of carbonation, I'm weird that way. When I drank soda as a kid, I would open it up and stick it back in the refrigerator until it lost its' fizz.
After Asheville, NC, it is a quick trip to Charlotte. Rob's dad, brother, and sister-in-law all moved into a new to them house recently. This was our first time seeing their new place. It is lovely and they have a pool so the kids wasted no time getting into their swimming suits and jumping in.
Well, Josie was a tad nervous about jumping off the diving board, but eventually did it.
Parker had a great time running with our new nephew, Charley. He's all puppy and has the right energy level for my kids.
Charley before he snagged the beer bottle or started chewing on the goggles. They have their hands full with a whole lot of cute and puppy-ness!
Italian ice poolside while the mom's enjoyed some adult bevys. Vacation officially started.
Our niece, Lillian, and Dema ganging up on Parker.
Rob's brother, Marc, and Charley.
Rob showing off his ping-pong stance. He takes the game seriously.
Dema still needs a few lessons.
Josie with her vegan calzone from Mellow Mushroom in Charlotte. Nothing like eating outside next to the pool, but Josie was done with the paparazzi.
Dema's vacation is complete, it is all about the vegan calzone for him.
My plate with a slice of mega-veggie with Daiya and watermelon.
Rob went all healthy on us and went for the kale salad from Mellow Mushroom.
He said it was super good, but didn't share.
Since it was officially Josie's 5th birthday, Marc and Rob stopped by Earthfare for dessert. Stephanie even lit five candles and
gave Josie the special birthday fork to use. The kids were having such a great time they didn't want to leave and were ready to spend the week's vacation at Marc and Stephanie's house, but we packed them up the next morning and drove several hours to Topsail, NC.
More about the beach in my next post.