800 hours: Returned to the Peace Tree Juice Cafe to get a smoothie for breakfast. The Desert Nectar smoothie, made of bananas, strawberries, soy milk, and ginger, was extremely refreshing, and a pleasant shade of pink.
1200 hours: Subway again. Granted, we are driving through canyons with only tumbleweeds for company, so I suppose finding a Subway is pretty good. I perked up at discovering some new Oreo products– Oreo creme cookies– which are basically Oreos covered in a light layer of fudgy goodness. I got the peanut butter ones, which tasted pretty much exactly like Girl Scour Tagalong cookies– except deliciously vegan– and my mom tried the plain ones.
1600 hours: I had the good fortune of being able to meet up with one of my school friends in Salt Lake, where he lives. And, because I am a dog pimp, I made him meet us at a dog park and bring his mini Australian shepherd, Mia, for a play date with Ianto. Adorable antics ensued. At first, like the Beauty and the Beast, they were unsure of each other; but then there was something there that wasn’t there before; and finally they were in puppy love. It was good for Ianto to get some exercise after being cooped up in a car and hotel rooms for the past few days.
But, watching all that running and puppy energy made me tired and hungry. Time to get some food we decided.
1900 hours: Gravy. What a great invention. Thank you to whoever invented gravy. And an even greater thank you to whoever made the great vegan gravy I just consumed.
VegNews recently named Salt Lake City, Utah as one of the great up and coming centers of vegan food, so I had high hopes for the Vertical Diner. I was not disappointed; in fact, I was ready to start searching real estate listings for an apartment nearby.
I sit here, my insides coated in gravy, and I couldn’t be happier. While we waited for our food to be ready to go– we had to take it back to the room since my mom couldn’t come with us because the hotel had a ‘no pets left alone in the room’ policy–we slurped down a chocolate mint shake. It was almost gone by the time our food was ready to go, and we seriously considered getting another one, it was that good. It tasted like what I imagine a bunch of Thin Mint cookies taste like after having been eaten by a unicorn and stewed for fourteen hours in its creamy digestive juices; basically, it was magical. Here’s my brother giving it the thumbs up, and actually smiling for a picture– so you know it’s gotta be good.
As if the shake and the gravy weren’t enough, the Vertical Diner is also known for its faux chicken (according to PETA), and so I enjoyed my gravy with a side of fried chicken and mashed potatoes. My parents joked, how do you know it’s not real chicken? But I could tell. It was dense, probably made with some vital wheat gluten or something, and had the same flavor as a Boca chik’n patty. But, it was slathered in gravy, so it was better :)
My mom had the Jamaican plate, my dad enjoyed the chicken biscuit pie, and my brother gobbled down the breakfast sandwich. They all approved heartily of their meals. Somehow we still had room for the delicious spicy fries.
I’d like to take a moment here and give a special thank you to my family for being so supportive and open to eating vegan food. As my mom said this afternoon, as if it had just occurred to her, “You know? We could be really shitty about this, and say, we don’t care if you’re vegan, we’re going to KFC!”
But they are not shitty, far from it. My mom planned our whole route, and went out of her way to make sure there would be places where two omnivores, one vegetarian, one vegan, and a dog, could all get a good meal. If that isn’t love I don’t know what is.
In the musical Rent, the opening song asks, “How do you measure the life of a man?”
Well, now I know how to measure my life: by the amount of puppies in it, and the amount of good food; so today was really really good :)