Savvy Veg Eats Her Way To California and Back
California Road Trip: Our 10 yr old car performed beautifully, as did our 60+ vegetarian bodies, the weather Gods smiled on us and the food was mostly good
I just got back from a three month road trip from SE Iowa to Northern California and back, with my husband. Unfortunately we didn’t entirely escape the Iowa winter, but our journey was remarkable in many ways.
Our 10 yr old Subaru performed beautifully, our 60+ vegetarian bodies did nearly as well, the weather Gods smiled on us, and we’re still together (road trips are the ultimate test of relationships). The food was mostly good, occasionally memorable!
We ate lunch on the road every day, and in the evenings I usually cooked in our motel room from my travelling kitchen. More about that in a separate post. For now, I just want to tell you about some of the restaurants we encountered on the way.
NOT following my own advice: We never planned our lunch stops ahead or did any research before travelling for veg friendly restaurants. There just wasn’t time. When we got hungry we’d cruise the nearest decent sized town for food.
We ate sandwiches in the car a couple of times, and we were forced to eat pizza twice, but otherwise avoided chain restaurants. The one exception was an Applebee’s which got the prize for worst food and worse service.
We found that ethnic restaurants were our best bet, Indian or Chinese most of all. They always have rice and beans, go heavy on the veggies, came closest to vegan, and almost every town has one or both.
Thai restaurants are becoming more common, and Mediterranean fast food is too (as in falafel wraps etc). Whole Foods has a great deli if you can find a store. They’re in most of the bigger cities – we found one in Sante Fe, NM.
Mexican restaurants were iffy – the food quality is often poor, and they mostly don’t do vegetables. They got better when we got to CA. The Chipotle mexican grill chain is reliable, as nearly everything is freshly prepared on the premises, and there’s a veggie option.
We stumbled across a few outstanding (and very affordable) restaurants in our disorganized way:
Tulsa OK: A little mediterranean cafe right off Hwy 44, the 4700 block on E. 51st St between Harvard and Lewis, just West of the Star Fuel Center. It had a silly name, like Happy Spud. We had the best falafel wraps there. I’d love to have their falafel and hummus recipes! Tulsa actually has a LOT of restaurants, including a couple of vegetarian, but this one was easy.
Sedona AZ: Mago Cafe – Korean restaurant above a new age shop, at 207 Rt 89A, in the oldtown area. Essentially a new age noodle house. Very fresh, delicious, healthy food, peaceful atmosphere, and a great view (everywhere in Sedona has a great view). We had yummy dumplings, miso soup, brown rice, veggies, tofu. The presentation and service were lovely. We felt very special eating there – we felt special all the time in Sedona.
Cheyenne, WY: The Dynasty Cafe, 600 W 19th St, had an entire vegetarian section on their menu. We ate fresh, delicious vietnamese food, spiced mild for us (their mild is our spicy). Everything was cooked there, including the divine sauces. They happily substituted green veggies for mushrooms and onions which we don’t like.
Chico, CA: In the downtown area, a tasty sandwich shop called the Pita Pit, with great falafels. Plus a lovely Thai restaurant – the Thai Basil, with beautifully done veggies. Both very busy.