Well, I’ve been back in NY for more than a week, so I figured I better get this blog post written. Even thought I’ve been back from my roadtrip, I have not stopped moving- that’s for sure.
The morning after my school year ended I packed up my car, picked up my best friend, and we hit the road. We had plans… flexible plans. We had already decided which cities we would stop in as well as options for food and fun while there. We were very specific in finding restaurants to enjoy as I needed nutritarian options and my friend needed paleo options. So, we researched farm-to-table restaurants which all had veg/vegan options on their menus. We started our first day with driving to Cleveland OH and stopping for lunch at The Flying Fig.
We parked the car and walked a few blocks to the small eatery and started smelling yeast….hm, a brewery! Great Lakes Brewery to be exact! We didn’t even know that we were in that area of Cleveland, it was a welcomed surprise.
When we arrived at the eatery we decided to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air after sitting in the car for six hours. I ordered a chicken and fresh salad dish. The salad was dressed with grilled lemon, it was so crisp and peppery…absolutely delicious.
We finished eating and hit the road again for another six hours until we made it to Louisville KY where we stayed for the night. We had dinner at Bluegrass Brewery Company which was again a farm-to-table restaurant and local brew house. I enjoyed a porter after a long day of driving and for an appetizer we had tempeh ‘chicken’ wings with fresh local honey for dipping sauce–so fill of flavor and texture! Something that our waiter informed us as well about the restaurant- the owners are vegan! :-)
After a solid night’s rest we finished our last three hours to Nashville TN where we stayed for three nights at my friend’s house. As soon as we got in we went to lunch at Local Taco where you can get a taco for $2.75 that makes you want to scream and shout it’s so good! We ended up eating there every day we were in Nashville because we were so in love with the food. I had the crispy fish taco and the portobello mushroom taco which was obviously my favorite.
I want to remake these sometime soon — marinated portobello strips dressed with fried red onion, zucchini slaw and a sage goat cheese. Oh my god. Honestly, my mouth is watering right now just thinking about them. The flavors so perfectly melded together- the salt from the goat cheese and the zing from the marinated mushrooms. Yum!
After we filled our bellies… and trust me, they were full as I had three tacos and guacamole, we headed to the craft beer festival! Fifty plus breweries from Nashville, Carolinas, and the west coast came to this event and I enjoyed so many new brews! Afterwards we strolled on Broadway St, the famous tourist street of Nashville where everyone buys their cowboy boots and dances to live music.
After dancing and singing along at the bars we were starving so we headed out to dinner at a restaurant that was feature on Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives on Food Network: Athens. I had a greek salad that was a huge bowl of tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and onions all tossed in olive oil, vinegar and spices. Yum!
The next day we had breakfast at the local bakery about a quarter mile down the road from my friend’s house called Star Bagel. Here they make fresh juices, smoothies and breakfast sandwiches from local free-range eggs and hormone free meats. I had a Sante Fe which included red peppers and onions mixed in with the egg and fresh turkey sausage on a whole wheat bagel. Delicious! But, let me tell ya, the amount of gluten I had consumed already in Nashville was getting to me if you know what I mean.
After breakfast we ventured to the Jackalope brewery which was our favorite from the beer festival. I had a flight while I read the local farm magazine…god I love this place. Then we ventured to a local antiques mall and some fun shops.
For dinner we went to Whiskey Kitchen which was a fun restaurant and bar where I had a delicious black bean burger with avocado and sweet potato fries with a side of whiskey shaken with ginger bitters. Yummy! And so so filling!
For our last day in Nashville we got up early and headed out for a five mile hike at a local park. It was located in Belle Meade, which according to my friend is the old money neighborhood of Nashville. I didn’t take any pictures of the estates, but man was it beautiful! The whole area was very historical with the original stone walls from the Civil War. Of course we had local taco for lunch and then ran over to the Grand Olde Opry for a guided tour.
And at last…. The Wild Cow for dinner. This vegetarian restaurant was my oasis. I could eat whatever I wanted from the menu for the first time on the trip :) So, we had some fresh homemade hummus for an appetizer and I ordered greens and beans — kale and pinto beans served with a garlic aioli. Served at room temperature, I gobbled it down as my mouth tingled with such bold garlic flavor. I bought a chocolate peanut butter cookie pie for dessert and didn’t end up eating it for days – but when I did, it was heaven.
The next morning we got Star Bagels again and hit the road for Asheville NC. It took us a lot longer than expected to get to Asheville as we had to drive through all of the mountains on curvy roads where you can go about 40mph. But it was well worth the time. I fell in love with Asheville immediately upon our arrival. We got to our hotel, laid by the pool for two hours, and headed downtown to do some exploring and get something to eat. For the first time on our roadtrip I felt 100% relaxed and comfortable. It’s like that experience I had when I visited Wells College for the first time – my shoulders fell to the side and I could breathe easy – I was home. I can’t wait to visit Asheville again so that I can spend much more time there.
So anyways, we did some shopping- my favorite of which was a local farm fresh clothing store. All of the fabrics were made from local cotton, made right in Asheville. I bought these super fun feminist bracelets there -
Then we went to Chai Pani, a Indian street food restaurant with, of course, local farm fresh ingredients. I ordered the fried kale and a side salad with roasted beets :)
Afterwards we went to the French Broad Chocolate Lounge where they serve vegan desserts :) We shared some vegan chocolate truffles and a slice of olive oil chocolate vegan cake! Oh, and we ran into Owen Wilson while waiting in line… no big deal. This place was really cool and it was also a certified green restaurant :)
The next morning we headed out for some more exploring of Asheville and we ran into a LOCAL TACO! I couldn’t believe it! They had different tacos – so I ofcourse had the portobello and then tried an avocado taco.
Then we went to the actual restaurant we had planned to go to, Tupelo, Honey! I ordered an open-faced vegetarian sandwich that was topped with local goat cheese. It was super flavorful as was the side of pickled beet salad that I had.
Before leaving Asheville we stopped at the local coop for their tailgate farmers market. We got some vegetables and lettuce to make a salad for dinner that night while camping in Boone, NC. We also got some farm fresh goat cheese that was absolutely to die for! We got into the car and drove two hours to Boone, set up the tent & then got rained on!
After an hour the rain stopped and we made our salad for dinner. We enjoyed it with fresh bread and hummus from Asheville as well.
After eating we visited with a family that was also camping at the camp ground we were at. They were from Eastern NC and our conversations were memorable. We woke up early and drove out to Boone Creek for a five mile hike before getting on the road again for our last city— VA Beach. The mountains here were so breathtaking. I want to move here…
Once we got to VA Beach we went down to Oceanfront immediately for some seafood. It was our mission to eat fresh seafood every day while in VA Beach. Why? Because its fresh ocean seafood, duh! I have a weak spot for seafood. So, we had some raw oysters at Cylpso’s Bar. Then some drinks and dancing.
The next morning we woke up to breakfast and homemade Bloody Marys. We knew then that this city was going to be different from the others…
After some much needed down time sitting and catching up with my brother and his friends, we headed to the beach for the rest of the day and night. It was so beautiful and relaxing there. I didn’t even get burnt, which if you know me, is very bizarre!
At sunset we went for some more seafood– this time at Chick’s obviously for some more oysters. We had raw oysters, oyster shooters (raw oyster, beer, cocktail sauce and hot sauce), a steamed basket of clams, mussels, and shrimp, and of course my favorite- fried calamari. Man oh man were our bellies full! I was in heaven :) We went out for some 4th of July festivities and enjoyed chatting with everyone.
Saturday we got up early and made breakfast for everyone — venison breakfast sandwiches (a tradition in my household – so well enjoyed by my brothers). Then we headed off to the beach again, a different location this time – the waves were crazy! I had so much sand in places I didn’t want it that my shower when we got home was much needed. We decided to have a Boil at the house so we went out to the local Asian market and grocery store to stock up on goodies. We had scallops, shrimp and crab legs with potatoes and corn. My plate was made special before the garlic butter was added :) I’m so loved!
For our last night in VA Beach we went to the Goo Goo Dolls concert with Plain White T’s and Daughtry. We stopped at a local Irish pub before hand so that I could have one last seafood meal. I ordered an immense amount of food… shrimp, raw oysters, 1/2 pd crab legs and an oyster poboy. I ate most of it and the guys helped me finish it up.
The sky that night was beautiful and the concert was relaxing and joyful – a great way to end our last night on the road.
The next morning we got up and hit the road for home. That drive was the most taunting and strenuous. Eleven straight hours with only stops to use the bathroom and get some snacks. I was exhausted by the time I got home and enjoyed sleeping with my man who happened to be home. The next night I made leftover shrimp from the boil with another friend and we tossed it in a salad. Delicious!
So, in short, ha! The trip was amazing. It was full of delicious farm fresh food and good company. I will cherish the memories that I made in these ten days and I can’t wait to do it again!! :)