One Month At A Time

Going Vegan! Tamarack

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I was sorting through my options at the grille at Tamarack and not finding much when an attendant approached.

“If you need any help, let me know,” she said, cheerfully.

I raised my hand slowly, indicating that I had questions.

“I’m a vegan,” I told her.

She laughed. I was hilarious, but when I didn’t laugh with her, she asked, “Are you serious?”

“Yep,” I told her. “I’m a vegan, and I’m having some trouble figuring out what to get here.”

She stared at the menu, started looking, too, and began asking me the usual questions: Do you eat cheese? Do you eat eggs? Do you drink milk? What about fish?

I shook my head.

On its face, stopping at Tamarack for lunch sounded like such a good idea. I wanted to check for something that might be Virginia Diner peanuts (the best peanuts ever), take a look at the art (always, I’m looking for a story), and get a bite to eat. I was coming back from Virginia, hadn’t really had the heart to wade into a chain restaurant and try to find something that wasn’t a handful of iceberg lettuce sprinkled with Styrofoam-like carrot slivers.

Bon Apetit, loser. Want a plain baked potato and an ice water to go with that?

Dining out as a vegan can be rough, but Tamarack seemed promising.

With the artsy, tourist-y nature of the facility getting a reasonable vegan meal seemed like a pretty safe bet. While vegans probably don’t roll through every day, they’re bound to happen along occasionally. Surely, they had a black bean burger tucked away in the freezer, maybe a festive citrus salad with nuts or even grilled eggplant?

That would have been great, but nope.

What they had was a collection of sides, most of which looked like they were probably cooked with butter or pork or deep-fried. While I’m not overly fussy about meat contamination, I worked in restaurants enough to know that cross pollination between fryers is pretty common. I didn’t want cheese or chicken in my French fries –and also, I can get French fries at your better gas stations.

Dining out is supposed to be a little special. At least, dining out at someplace like Tamarack, I thought, was supposed to be special.

Finally, I said, “You know, I’m just going to go with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich on the Kids’ menu and maybe get a salad.”

Helpfully, she added that the vinaigrette was safe.

tamarack
Unofficially, the vegan option at Tamarack.

It wasn’t bad. The peanut butter was room temperature instead of ice cold and clotted. I got the sandwich on my choice of bread, which was wheat. The salad, while nothing to write home about, was at least a step up from the bagged and tagged stuff you see at your lower tier fast food places.

On the plus side, the fountain drinks came with free refills (I had two cokes), and the little restaurant was located just across the way for The Greenbrier store. I got some peanuts there. They weren’t as good as the Virginia Diner peanuts, but they were pretty good. I had a couple of handfuls of those with lunch, too, and found two artists I kind of want to write about.

So, not exactly a rousing success.

Meanwhile, I’ve heard great things about Sheetz. More later.

Let There Be Yoga! Back to the mat

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After about 11 days off, I finally got back to yoga.

I really hadn’t meant to be away for so long –and I started feeling it.

It wasn’t that I felt my joints stiffening up or that I started feeling weaker. I felt anxious, agitated.

One of the things I got out of yoga in March was an hour several times a week where I was forced to get out of my head, forced to step away from the job.

I am not complaining about what I do. I like what I do, but sometimes there’s a lot to get done, a lot of different people trying to get my attention, and a lot of things to cover –and I have a real problem with editing my day. Sometimes, every story feels too good to pass up, and I will bite off more than I can chew.

The best part about the yoga was it’s really hard to think about community theater, handguns, distilleries, or “Mountain Stage” when you’re going through a series of sun salutations and just trying to keep up with the teachers instructions.

And afterwards, I felt great, I felt refreshed –though, occasionally, a little sore in weird places.

I missed that, too.

So, I took a Yin Express class, taught by Traci Levine, a gentler class than I thought I wanted, but it was the only class I could fit into my week.With the gun series moving forward, it’s been kind of a monster.

It was more restorative than challenging –restorative tends to indicate meditative or slower paced, but it turned out that it gave me exactly what I needed.

I felt awesome afterwards.

So, I’m back on the mat, interested to see where it takes me, and looking for different kinds of classes to try.

Send me invites, and I’ll try to fit it in.

Also, I’ll take some pictures. Even I’m getting tired of the gnome.

Going Vegan: Vegan Cheese!

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Over and over I’ve heard from people about going vegan, “I would, but I could never give up cheese.”

I completely understand. One of my favorite things when I was out shopping was to hit the cheese aisle at Celebrity Kroger’s or look through the cold case at the Wine and Cheese shop at the Capitol Market. There were always a dozen tasty (if pricey) options, and more often than not, I walked away with $15 worth of creamy Latverian goat cheese –or about a quarter pound.

It was good stuff. I remember cheese, even if I don’t particularly crave it these days.

Still, I miss having the occasional grilled cheese sandwich, and would like to have a pizza sometime that isn’t just carpeted by mushrooms, peppers, and olive.

That seems a lot more possible than I would have expected.

ChaoCheeseLG
Honestly, it’s amazing.

Eric Eyre brought me a package of this stuff and told me to give it a try. It was hands down awesome, tasted pretty much like the stuff made with milk –and it melted. So, this weekend, I made a portabello mushroom burger (yes, those are edible) with lettuce, peppers, veganese (yes, it’s a thing), and a slice of CHAO cheese.

I nearly wept. It was that good.

Looking around, CHAO is available at Healthy Life Market for about five bucks a package (I think), but you can probably find it anyplace that sells a lot of vegan/vegatarian food items (Pretty much a couple of Kroger stores and Walmart).

I’m going to be buying more of this.