Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Missing me?

Sorry for the long silence! The Rich Vegetarian now has her own home on the World Wide Web. Head over to The Rich Vegetarian to continue reading her ongoing vegetarian adventures... :)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pastries, coffee et al... Oh, Asheville.

Downtown Asheville has stolen my heart. It's just the kind of place that I'd love to visit, again and again. I didn't click too many pictures but the collage above should give you an idea about what we did that morning. Coffee and pastries, tea and conversation, sunshine and street musicians, olive oil tastings, lovely Thai food... now that's what Downtown should be like! Downtown Asheville has a relaxed vibe that has its own hip and casual style to it. Would I be raving as much were I an Asheville resident? Who knows! Maybe... :)

I know that the collage above is way oversized, splaying into the Comments section! But I just had to put in the higher resolution version so that you guys could get an idea of the sheer loveliness of those pastry displays... :)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Crepes and Coffee at Cork and Bean Wine Bar and Coffee House

It was a mellow Sunday morning. En route to Atlanta, we stopped at Cork & Bean Wine Bar & Coffee House in Bryson City, North Carolina, for breakfast. Actually, we had been there the evening before and had decided to stop by the next morning. How I loved that place! Actually, all of us did... Wood-paneled walls, cozy chairs and tables, high ceilings, display cases with organic baked goods, teas, coffees, crepes on the menu. A very casual and laid back cafe with a hip (hippy?) vibe.

The evening before, we got some muffins, coffee and tea, and settled into those comfortable chairs (left). I swear, I could have fallen asleep in them! Some of the other tables were occupied, people chatting, eating crepes, drinking coffee, reading. We decided to skip the crepes that evening.

Next morning, we came back, just a few minutes after the place opened. Crepes with Nutella and bananas, Cappuccino, Latte, an Everything bagel with cream cheese. P got another order of crepes with spinach and avocado that came with a side of balsamic vinegar dressing.

Disclosure: Yes, crepes contain eggs. Would you believe this is the first time I am eating them? So maybe I am not best qualified to comment on them? Anyhow, these crepes were incredibly light and airy. Bananas and Nutella are a fabulous combination. P's crepe contained baby spinach leaves and avocado slices. I would have preferred the spinach to be lightly sauteed instead. Some sun dried tomato slices and olives would have been great additions too. Oh, I forgot to mention, the crepe contained shredded beets too. The red stains on the plate (right) reminded me.

I didn't sample the bagel. I am sure it was pretty good. The Latte was good; S mentioned that her Cappuccino was fairly okay.

The glasses were made of renewable and compostable materials - always makes me happy to see that!
I felt so utterly relaxed that morning, nestled in those comfy chairs, greedily drinking the sunshine streaming in through the huge windows, relishing the sense of quiet and calm permeating the space... A memorable morning it was.

On our way out, we bought a muffin (it contained eggs) with carrot, apple, nuts and a host of other delicious ingredients. Yummy.

Cork & Bean Wine Bar & Coffee House
16 Everett Street
Bryson City, NC 28713

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Vegetarian in Cherokee Nation

Technically, we were not in Cherokee Nation but we were fairly close... maybe a mile out? The last weekend saw a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains. We stayed at a hotel in Cherokee and drove out to the National Park on Saturday. Fabulous weather (cool and warm, no better combination, really!), sparse crowds, winding trails, and an interesting chat with one of the park officials (he showed us some extraordinary photographs he had taken at Midway Islands; a well traveled person with some amazing stories to share)... we were off to a rocking weekend.

Around lunch time, we got out of the park to look for a place to eat lunch. Drove around, checked out menus for various restaurants and fast food joints but there was not a thing we could find at any place. Really, not a single vegetarian item... Wow. Finally we arrived at Marco Polo's. Decided to take a chance and go see what they had to offer.

We were lucky.

A cheery place with loads of music paraphernalia strung up all over (vinyl records were actually stuck up on the ceiling - see right), graffiti scrawled on the walls, blinking light signs, huge posters, message boards with funny messages... I am sure you get the funky message. The guy behind the counter was a jolly person with a demeanor mirroring the decor. P ran into a gentleman dressed in the regalia of the Cherokee tribe. You can see them conversing in the far left of the picture (right). He carried a spear with a shiny steel tip, sharpened to perfection. He had feathers attached to his hair and clothes. It was quite a striking presence that he had. P and he spoke about the commonality between ancient Hindu customs and Native American practices. I didn't hear much of it but I bet it was an interesting discussion.

What about the food? Check below.

Good spread, huh? P got a Veggie Sandwich and a Greek Salad. I got the Greek Vegetable Sandwich which was really P's Greek Salad encased between two slices of bread. Lots of Feta cheese, Greek olives, red onions, shredded red cabbage, lettuce, cucumber slices, sprouts, Tzatziki sauce... Good stuff. I cannot recall much of what went into P's sandwich but he picked a Mango-Pineapple Viniagrette that was simply lovely. Spicy and sweet in equal measure, it was a great complement to the sandwich filling (that I barely remember).

We were SO happy that we found a decent place to get a vegetarian meal without having to drive miles away. That, my dear friends, is a BIG relief especially when traveling.

Next up? How does Cork & Bean Wine Bar & Coffee House sound? I would rate this place as one of the sweetest and coziest breakfast places I have ever visited. Or a cafe. Or a hangout joint.

Marco Polo's Sandwhiches & Treats
1655 Acquoni Road
Cherokee, NC 28719

Monday, March 21, 2011

Jasons Deli... Delish.

Jason's Deli is not a place I frequent a lot. 

No specific reason really; it isn't exactly a dining place and so P and I haven't visited for dinner. At work, one time someone got me lunch from there. It was a huge Muffaletta sandwich, I remember. Only a quarter sandwich but it was H-U-G-E.

S and I went to my favorite salon in Tucker last week and stopped by at Jason's Deli in a nearby strip mall for a sandwich lunch. I got the Quarter Muff deal that comprises of quarter of a Muffaletta and a cup of soup. I picked the Tomato Basil soup (vegetarian). 

I love the combination of fresh tomatoes and basil, as is evidenced by all the posts from last summer. The Muffaletta contains grilled portabello mushrooms, provolone, organic spinach, tomatoes, red and yellow bell peppers, purple onions and an olive mix. Sounds like a helluva lot of ingredients to stuff into a sandwich, doesn't it? It really is! I wonder how they pack them all in there but a good job they do! However, eating the sandwich is a messy affair, as you can imagine.
It is a delicious sandwich. Choc-a-full with healthy and tasty ingredients, this is a satisfying lunch. It could even do well for two people, especially when combined with the cup of soup. My husband is not particularly fond of this sandwich simply because he felt rather weighed down after eating it (the one time that he ordered it). I can see that happening possibly due to the grilled mushrooms. Take them out, and you should have a relatively light sandwich. Wasn't very cheesy either.

The soup was delicious. The serving size was perfect too. Tomato, fresh basil, cream, a smattering of cheese... Oozing deliciousness.

Jason's Deli is a place I can definitely recommend to vegetarians. The menu has many other options too, and they all look reasonably priced. I am sure I'll be back there again, one of these days, sampling another one of their delicious sounding dishes.

Jason's Deli
4073 Lavista Road
Tucker, GA 30084