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.


16 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Danielle said, on May 19, 2010 at 1:30 am

    You little traveler, you! Sounds like fun, even with the crazy traffic. My favorite Larabar flavors are the Apple Pie and Peanut Butter Cookie. Also, I am not afraid of any animals, really, but a goat bucked me once at the petting zoo so I’m cautious. Eek, hope I didn’t freak you out 🙂 I was obviously fine. Have a great night!

  2. Lindsay said, on May 19, 2010 at 6:36 am

    The animals are beautiful. I’m such an animal lover! My favorite Lara bars are the peanut butter cookie and coconut cream pie! Yum!!!

  3. maya said, on May 19, 2010 at 6:38 am

    i love your posts, always. This one was so great. 🙂 SO much to read and look at, looks like quite the adventure 🙂 Those animals are so cute, AND OMG i could have came and saw you lol, you were seriously like 20 min. from me! Blauvelt! thats where my Dad works! And Nyack farmers market is the one i go to, i live right there 🙂 AH so funny! I will have to look out for “blue field farm”!
    And that Parc cafe, rally does look like Pastis! i love pastis and Balthazar! i have so many amazing memories at Balthazar’s, having brunch or lunch or my birthday dinner there. the frites are so amazing. Your salad looks really yummy and pretty.
    My favorite larabar flave is, cashew, lemon, gingersnap, and jochocat coffee 🙂

    love ya!

  4. healthyexposures said, on May 19, 2010 at 6:55 am

    Ugh, sorry to hear about the delay! I would have been quite grumpy, too – I know the feeling of just wanting to be HOME, already! I get really frustrated in traffic, too. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I live on a road that sees about 20 cars a day…so whenever I drive through the city (even just to work – which is hardly a city! haha) I start getting annoyed with crazy, rude drivers.
    All of your eats look amazing, but that’s too bad about the oats! You would think they would be the easiest thing to cook, too! Just imagine if a group of food bloggers ran a restaurant 😛
    It seems that Tropical Tart Larabar is popping up everywhere all of a sudden, and people either love or hate it! haha. I definitely loved it and it’s in my top flavors 😀 I also love coconut cream pie – but I have many more to try.
    Have a great day – enjoy some homemade oats 😛

  5. Megan @ The Oatmeal Diaries said, on May 19, 2010 at 7:48 am

    Beautiful eats as always! I cannot believe I’ve never had beet salad. Yours looks so tasty!! And traffic sucks when you have a small bladder. =/
    My fave lara is hands down the coconut cream pie. I have a key lime pie sitting in my pantry that I can’t wait to try!

  6. Eliza said, on May 19, 2010 at 7:55 am

    This post was so good and i love reading about the places in Philly, because i am going to college in right outside of Philly (Glenside PA) and i now know some great places to go 🙂 any place that reminded you of pastis or Balthazar fries is a must for me, those are my 2 favorite restaurants in NY, haven’t been in ages but used to go so often! 🙂
    i love all the animal photos you are such a great photographer, i always love looking at your images! And as Maya said omg we could have seen you, we live right in rockland county and my dad works in Blauvelt and ahh i must check out blue field farm at the Nyack farmers market i love that fm! 🙂
    favorite Larabars are: Pistachio, cashew cookie, ginger snap, pecan, coffee jocalat, and the new carrot cake one ah it is amazing!! i love them all i never can really choose lol, the coconut one is so delicious as well and PBJ … okay i cant choose favorites! ;P haha
    idk if i am afraid of any animal really, maybe like rats lol…or perhaps if i was like stuck in a pen with lots of chickens or turkeys i would def. freak out, they kinda scare me.


  7. Lauren @ Health on the Run said, on May 19, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Glad you’re back safe! Sorry about your delay, though that story IS ridiculous. I actually have more horror stories from traveling on 80 than any other highway… haha

    It’s been fun to look at all these pictures from your weekend. Your aunt’s animals are so cute. I’m not afraid of animals (unless they’re dangerous). I typically take the opposite route — I assume they want me to pet them when most likely that’s not the case! haha

    And sorry to hear you weren’t feeling so great at the end of the weekend. Hopefully making a few changes to your diet will fix that.

  8. Amanda @ . seek . said, on May 19, 2010 at 9:04 am

    I completely agree that it’s next to impossible to get a good bowl of oats when out. But at least you made up for the crappy hotel oats with two delicious bowls of your own 🙂 (I’ve been loving the strawberry/banana oats lately too!)

    I’m seriously horrible in traffic. I’m incredibly impatient, and even when I’m not in a hurry, as soon as I get in my car I seem to be. I hate being caught in traffic, so I try and avoid all the really bad hours… it’s been a while since I’ve been stuck, and for that I’m thankful.

    My favorite Larabar flavors are coconut cream pie, cherry pie, and banana bread.

    When it comes to a fear of animals, the only ones I’m really afraid of are birds… so chickens would rank up there as well. I think it stems from being chased by a huge turkey on my aunt’s farm when I was younger. Plus the claws and beaks freak me out… Eep.

  9. brandi said, on May 19, 2010 at 9:07 am

    It’s so beautiful there! I hope you enjoy today 🙂

    I love that tropical fruit larabar – one of my top 3.

  10. Blond Duck said, on May 19, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    Popped in to say hi from Fit Foodie’s blog! My husband and I love seeing animals–it’s one of our favorite things to do together!

  11. wendy @ ABCs and Garden Peas said, on May 19, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    I am in Central PA, so I often get stuck behind Amish buggies and farm machinery. I will admit, I get more than a little agitated.

    As for animals, I get pretty uneasy around llamas. One barfed on me when I was about 7, and I thought it was going to bite my arm off. I guess it never really wore off.

    Loving your blog! I’ve added you to my blogroll!

  12. Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine said, on May 19, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    My parents love Parc, but I have yet to go! Your pictures look delicious, though. The Blue Route in Philly is currently under construction, meaning every time I take it there’s a MASSIVE delay. No detours are time-efficient either, making it a major pain in my booty.

    No animal fears, but I am absolutely petrified of bugs!

  13. actorsdiet said, on May 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    my in laws live near rittenhouse square – i love places like that! delicious eats at your aunt’s too.

  14. Jocelyn @ Peace.Love.Nutrition said, on May 19, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Beautiful photos! Love the animals

  15. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said, on May 20, 2010 at 12:10 am

    i am so happy for you, love that you’re home at last!

    great animal pics

    i dont buy lara’s, i make them myself or i go without

    and traffic, unless my child needs to use the restroom or i do, i just realize, there is nothing i can do. chicago and so cal both necessitate alot of patience for traffic 😦

  16. kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com said, on May 20, 2010 at 12:39 am

    oh wow! thanks for sharing that story haha.. i mean it is laughable but not so fun when its happening! especially arriving back hungry and tired!!

    im so in love with the designs on those cookies. this is the first time im seeing them up close.. wow cute 🙂 love the sun one.

    ps. my bladder can be rediculous lol.. at the worst times! ha

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: