A Fresh Dille

home at last.

Posted in ANIMALS, FAMILY, FOOD, TRAVEL, VEGAN by clairedille on May 19, 2010

I am finally home.

The story of what caused a delay is almost laughable. It was raining and my little bladder was not happy. We were turning onto route 80 after leaving my aunt and uncles in Summit, NJ to head back to Michigan with a goal of a 9.5 hour trip. Looking ahead, we saw a “wide load” marked vehicle carrying what looked to be a small house (those prefab homes) that was having some difficulty getting onto the ramp switching highways. Instead of pulling off, we continued to follow the cars behind him until we were put to a complete stop. Ten minutes later, after attempting many times to reverse and continue turning, the vehicle just could not make it around the curve. By now, we were already two-thirds around the ramp packed with stopped cars and things were not looking good. People were getting out of their cars and running ahead to see what the fuss was about. It was still early and I am sure there were many people heading into work. Drivers of the emergency vehicles with “wide load” signs got out and also attempted to maneuver the “house.” Cars were honking and construction workers flocked the scene, whipping out their camera phones to snap a shot of the “hilarious” incident. Our car was not full of laughs, especially after already being delayed for over an hour. A police officer who appeared to be twelve came over to our car and told us we would all be backing up onto the original highway and rerouted. We were lucky enough to be in front of the largest truck (well, second after the “wide load”) on the ramp so the backing up took much longer than all the previous cars. That is pretty much the whole story. I arrived home not only an hour late, but also tired and hungry.

To lighten the mood a little, I will tell you about one last restaurant we visited after my sister’s graduation on Sunday.

If you have been to Philly, I am sure you are well aware of Rittenhouse Square. Parc was set on one of the streets surrounding the square and we could tell it was quite the hot spot when it was in plain sight. This is a view of the smaller side of the building, so you can imagine the packed sidewalk on the larger street. It reminded me of the brasseries and cafés spread throughout Paris. The decor reminded me of Pastis, the french bistro-style restaurant I have often snacked on frites in the Meatpacking district of New York. After sitting down in a crowded room full of many other grads and their family’s, my eyes wandered the room before the menu and I saw a beautiful golden beet salad and many tables with bowls of frites. I remember the first place I had quality frites (or fries) when my father took me to Balthazar in Soho, and am always looking for comparable fries. The usual suspects at French restaurants were all on the lunch menu: country paté, oysters, moules frites, escargots, omelettes, quiche lorraine, haricots verts, and niçoise salad. I ordered the beet salad on arugula with a citrus vinaigrette (sans roquefort) and had some of the in-house baked bread and many frites. Everything was delicious and we finished up our shares of frites before I could snap a photo.

I was so happy to see the plate adorned with a few raspberries and radishes. Our meals at Parc were better than I expected and then we were off to spend the next day and a half with my mother’s two sisters before returning to the midwest.

I must mention that Sunday morning I ate what might have been the worst oatmeal ever at our hotel breakfast. The watery oats were eaten as quick as possible for some pre-graduation fuel, but I have realized by now that it is hard to even get close to home cooked oats when out. My mother commented that she doesn’t feel that it makes sense to order oats when out because they probably won’t be that good. However, sometimes I just want to go with what I am in the mood for and know that oats are usually the best for me to keep satisfied all morning with the help of some nuts or nut butter, banana, and maybe some fresh berries if lucky. The oats I had at FARMiCiA were great but maybe I should have tried the Vegan Scramble or something more adventurous that I could recreate in my home setting. I am one who usually goes for sweet over savory in the morning and a vegan tofu scramble is better suited for my lunches or dinners. Although people may feel it is silly to eat oats when out, I feel many other foodie bloggers might be able to relate to the simple oat craving to start your morning off right.

Yesterday, I made thick rolled oats cooked in water (can’t wait for almond milk tomorrow), topped with Vermont maple syrup given to her by a friend, bananas, peanut butter, and strawberries.

We then visited my mom’s sister Joy’s small farm in Blauvelt, NY for lunch, and to see her chickens and goats. She also grows some fresh produce, herbs, and wild flowers that she sells at the Nyack Farmer’s Market under the name “Blue Field Farm” (meaning of the Dutch word Blauvelt). Here are a few photos of her wonderful animals.

A funny fact about me: although I am a total animal lover, I can sometimes be afraid of them. I grew up incredibly afraid of dogs until we got our first one for the family. I was too afraid to ride horses when my friends started doing so, and I still tend to be a little wary when entering into enclosed areas with animals I am not completely comfortable with. I hope this will one day change. Maybe I will have to visit the Farm Sanctuary in Woodstock, NY or another similar one.

When it was time for lunch, I went with what I could find in my aunt’s kitchen. She had sprouted bread that I spread with hummus, local cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, and a little pickled mushrooms (wasn’t a fan). We also shared a bowl of grapes that were delicious. It has been too long since I have had them!

On the drive to my other aunt’s for our last night on the east coast, we stopped at a Whole Foods she had yet to visit to pick up ingredients for dinner and the drive my mother, sister, and I did today. After spending much too long observing the hot bar and salad bar, I picked up a veggie burger for dinner last night and a huge container full of goodies I ate throughout the drive today. The veggie burger was rather greasy and looked like it included quinoa. It was one of those greasy lips burgers that left me with a stomach ache for the rest of the night. We also had roasted rosemary potatoes and an arugula salad with tomatoes and artichoke. I also bought a small bag of spelt ginger snaps that were placed above the hot bar. I was excited to see them after Amanda bought some and remembered the feeling of eating them as a child. My grandmother used to always have these in her NYC apartment and it has been years since I’ve eaten any. These were a great change of pace for me, considering that I tend to go the chocolate way when it comes to desserts. I didn’t see these as a dessert though and ate them while sipping on a new brand (to me) of Kombucha, Honest Tea in Lemon Ginger. It was a great ginger-filled snack.

Today, I fueled for our drive with a bowl of water-banana cooked thick rolled oats topped with more banana, dried cranberries, Vermont maple syrup, and chopped walnuts. It was just what my body wanted before a rainy drive. After telling myself that eating one of my aunt’s humanely raised eggs would be fine, I still simply craved oats. I have no regrets with that decision and after not having eggs in so long, I just didn’t care to have one (or any).

When raving about the perfect size and lightness of this little ceramic bowl, my aunt said my mother had made it in college. This led to us packing the bowl for our trip home, because apparently, no one would appreciate more than myself. Maybe this is true. I do have a fondness for little bowls, spoons, toiletries, and much more…

During the chaos explained on the ramp, I ate this tropical fruit tart Lara. Although it is not my favorite of the Larabar flavors, it was much appreciated at the time. The VegNews beneath helped ease the pain as well.

The Whole Foods we visited yesterday didn’t have some of my typical choices. The massaged kale salad was nowhere to be seen so the base of the container was baby spinach that was then topped with carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, quinoa salad with dried fruit and nuts, and two rather dry falafels. I added two spoonfuls of hummus to the container this morning that aided coating the whole mixture. In the afternoon I ate an apple and arrived home to a produce-less fridge. This resulted in me eating some reheated split pea soup and a multigrain bagel. I also found two last pieces of Chocolate Mousse Pie that my mother had frozen for my sister’s arrival from college. We heated them up in the microwave and discovered it was just as tasty warm as chilled or room temp.

I can’t wait to start posting with the aid of a borrowed camera tomorrow. Today I had some stomach issues that I hope to resolve by cutting out wheat. Maybe the gluten-free challenge was more beneficial than I realized. The weekend was also filled with many nights of tossing and turning and a few stomach aches. I hate to bring up these things around family but I just didn’t feel too well by the end of the weekend.

Tomorrow I have many important things to take care of but will be posting eats and more photos of my aunt’s farm. I am still trying to catch up on too many blogs but hope to very soon.

Other things:

Have you been stuck in a crazy amount of traffic recently? How do you react? I honestly am not the most patient person. I think it comes from being a runner, because most of the time I just want to get out and run…ha.

What are your favorite Larabar flavors? Mine are Apple Pie, Coconut Cream Pie, and Peanut Butter Cookie. I also really enjoy Key Lime Pie and Cashew Cookie. I am sure there are a few I have yet to try, and would love to hear your opinions.

Are you afraid of any animals? I wrote above about my slight fear of being in an enclosed area with certain farm animals. I really need to change this, because I know that they wouldn’t do me any harm.