I hope everyone had a lovely weekend! For me, this weekend was consumed with travelling to the “Dirty South” to see my fiance’s brother before he heads off to Afghanistan this week for anywhere from 3-12 months. The drive from Madison, WI to Myrtle Beach, SC was about 17 hours, and obviously, a girl’s gotta eat, but I discovered how few and far between my options became the further south we ventured…
The first time we stopped was at a semi-fast food joint called Culvers, which is a staple in the Midwest. We stopped here because they actually do have a good amount of vegan-friendly options on their menu. I got the Deluxe Veggie Burger Basket (vegan Boca patty) with green beans (no butter) and a fresh squeezed lemonade. Perfect! By the time we stopped for a second time, we were on the TN/NC border, and let me tell you, they had plenty of Waffle Houses and McDonalds’, but not much else! We finally found a Subway attached to a gas station, where I got a breakfast “sandwich” consisting of a vegan muffin (the lady was nice enough to let me see the ingredient list!) with tomato, peppers and olives. This Subway did not have spinach or avocado or any vegan-friendly dressings, so that was it. It was dry and bland and not tasty at all, but I didn’t really have a choice at this point! I decided to stop into the gas station convenience store as well and picked up a bag of Sunflower Seeds, as a snack to hold me over. Not my ideal breakfast, but success nonetheless. It really made me sad to see towns literally overcrowded with Fast Food restaurants and unhealthy chains with literally NO healthy eating options. There was one corner in Myrtle Beach that literally had 9 Fast Food restaurants on one block! It's no wonder the South is the most overweight area in the entire country! Then, we finally arrived at Julian’s family home!
His mother greeted me with an amazing spinach and arugula salad with cucumbers, avocado and olives with an oil and vinegar dressing and a gigantic bowl of Italian 5-bean soup, made “vegan” style just for me! Add to that a side of breaded eggplant (no egg in the breading mix!) and I was in Heaven after a long and unsatisfying car ride!! All weekend, she strived to make amazing foods for me, and not once was I disappointed! She is even going to send me all her recipes, which I am definitely looking forward to! We only ate out once while visiting and the family decided on Abuelos, which is a Mexican-inspired restaurant. Well, I hadn’t heard the most vegan-friendly reviews about this place, so I was pretty much prepared to eat very little while there. Well, I found a meal that looked fairly decent, and ordered the 2-enchilada platter with an avocado enchilada and a spinach enchilada and asked for no cheese on them. As soon as I said that, our super-friendly waiter asked me if I was vegan. He recognized!! I smiled and said yes, and he told me that the spinach enchilada had cheese inside, so to order two avocado ones instead. He told me which sauce to get drizzled on them, and then let me know that all of the sides were made with lard, but the kitchen could steam some broccoli for no extra charge. How nice is that?! My avocado enchiladas were absolutely incredible, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for having such a knowledgeable waiter!!
All in all, the weekend was a success!! I even got to hold a baby chicken and rescued a baby turtle from being eaten by hungry kitties! The turtle was honestly the size of my thumbnail…precious!! So, what did YOU do this weekend??