Captain’s Log: Day 4

800 hours:  I eagerly skipped into the Los Alamos Co-op, confident that I would find more deliciousness awaiting me.  After stocking up on food, by which I mean, I put things in my dad’s basket for him to buy, I went outside to sit with my mom while he checked out.  She and Ianto were sitting at the lovely little outside patio, and I excitedly told her about today’s selection of treats.  “Today the ‘deli vegan baked item’ is a blueberry fruit bar, and there’s also pumpkin walnut spelt bread made with coconut milk! Doesn’t that sound delicious?!”

She smiled at me and asked, “So which one did you get?”

I looked at her with a quizzical expression, “Uh…both….duh.”  As if that were even a question.  Pshh.

I would have also gotten another peach cobbler, as there were plenty left over from yesterday, but I wanted to try the new things.  I was surprised that there were cobblers left; it was so good, who could resist it?  Maybe  people in New Mexico aren’t particularly fond of peach cobbler?  However, there is also the possibility that the word “vegan” scares people.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably know that vegan food can be just as delicious as “real” or “normal” food.  In fact, in my experience, vegan food has a higher probability of being utterly delicious simply because vegans try to combat the notion that “vegan” means icky rabbit food.  It is my hope, that people like myself, who enjoy eating and making yummy food, will help to change people’s minds with our food activism, as well as our loud, persistent voices spread across paper and the internet.  I hope to explore this topic in a future post, when my brain isn’t mushy from traveling all day.

So, back to food.

My vegan breakfast burrito from the Co-op was good, but not great.  The potatoes and peppers gave it a lot of flavor, but I was disappointed when the tofu wasn’t scrambled, but simply plain.  A little seasoning like cumin, salt and pepper, and maybe some nutritional yeast can make plain ol’ tofu mouthwatering, as anyone who has made the Post Punk Kitchen’s recipe will know.

1200 hours: We stocked up on things for lunch at the Los Alamos Co-op, and so we were able to stop in beautiful Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a picnic in the park.  I stuffed myself with an Asian noodle dish in the sunshine, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and trying to ignore the frat boys in inner-tubes floating down the river.  I sampled the blueberry fruit bar from the Co-op and found it to contain about fifty percent brown sugar; which means it was delicious.

My mom had some apple ginger juice that she got from the Co-op.  And because Ianto is her favorite child, she shared a little bit with him.  Just thought I’d let everyone know that this juice is corgi approved.

1400 hours: Okay, I know it’s an evil corporate chain, but thank goodness for Starbucks, because you can always count on it to have soy milk.  I know, most cafes have soy milk nowadays, but when you’re traveling through small towns, it’s nice to be certain that there’s one place you an always count on to make you a decent soy latte, and you don’t have to go searching for it.  I can’t help it, I really like coffee.  I blame my addiction on my white people-ness and my time spent in close proximity to Seattle.

Anyway, we’ve finally crossed into Utah after cutting across a tiny corner of Colorado.  My mom and I immediately began listening to the soundtrack to The Book of Mormon the musical.  If you haven’t heard the Book of Mormon soundtrack, you really should; it’s hilarious, catchy, written by the creators of South Park, and it won all the Tonys last year.  So you really have no excuse.

1800 hours:  Cumin in hummus?  Yes, puleez.

The Peace Tree Juice Cafe has locations in Moab, Utah, as well as in Monticello where we are spending the night.  The Peace Tree in Monticello is located conveniently across the street from our hotel, meaning that we didn’t have to drive anywhere– which you really appreciate when you’ve been driving all day.

The only vegan things on the menu were the hummus plate, which came with carrots, celery, and pita pieces, and the wild rice with grilled vegetables.  The hummus had a lot of cumin in it, which I enjoyed, but it definitely had a totally different flavor than the regular hummus; so don’t order it if you’re are craving regular hummus.  The grilled veggies and rice was delicious, and quite colorful if I do say so.

My brother had the ravioli, which was the other vegetarian option, while my parents both had meat.  They said it was all delicious and amazing, which I suppose is the best you can hope for really– that at least if people are going to cook with animal products– that it taste really good and be worth it.

The waitress told us that it was only their third night serving dinner– they previously only served breakfast and lunch– which surprised me because the food was so good.  I looked at their breakfast menu and was intrigued by their smoothies.  A smoothie sure would beat eating bad oatmeal and cut up fruit at the hotel for breakfast.  Tomorrow is looking just a little bit brighter!

Captain’s Log: Day 3

800 hours: Wake up and go to breakfast in the hotel.  Find the room full of old people all wearing name tags that say “Zoomers” on them.  I don’t know what they were zooming to, but they sure were being poky moving through the buffet line.  I partook of some weirdly salty oatmeal from a packet.  It tasted better after I added some of my own almond milk.  The hotel put out some bananas and I had to rush to get one before the old people took them all.  Young people like mushy food too, thank you very much.

Ianto likes mushy food, too.

1200 hours: Veggie sandwich from Subway–it was meh, but it had plenty of green stuff on it.  Practiced my ingredient reading skills on some of the snacks available in the gas station.

1800 hours:  I have found a vegan oasis in New Mexico.  Ok, maybe not an oasis, but a puddle at least; and of all places I found it in Los Alamos.

Our route took us through Santa Fe, where most people would have stopped for the night.  My family, however, is made up of nerds; and my brother is the super-science-nerd-overlord; and I say that with love and affection, because the level of nerdiness he manages to achieve astonishes me daily, and someday, he will be the science-nerd-overlord of us all .  So, instead of staying in Santa Fe, we drove twenty more miles to spend the night in Los Alamos.  Now, Los Alamos is nerd mecca because it was the site of the Manhattan Project during World War II, and is still home to the Los Alamos National Lab of National Security Science.

While my brother worshiped at the altar of the science museum there, I found my own mecca in the form of the Los Alamos Co-op.  Conveniently located directly next to the hotel where we were staying, the Co-op, if I had to guess, was made up of approximately 30% vegan foods– maybe more.  This is impressive considering that 1) the town of Los Alamos is quite tiny and 2) the Co-op itself is small.  I frolicked around the store, probably befuddling all the other shoppers with my gleefulness at finding my first great vegan travel discovery.  I seriously felt like the freaking Columbus of vegan food– without the disease and genocide.

I knew the Co-op was a good place when I saw the  Uncle Eddie’s Cookies, which my friend has been urging me to try for awhile now, but I have been unable to find (I found them Alison!!).  I shall now proceed to replace my daily ration of Oreos with Uncle Eddie’s cookies and the assortment of chocolate that I purchased.

Of course, although we were only buying dinner, I proceeded to slip extra items into our basket.  Here is a picture of my total haul:

Don’t worry, I didn’t eat it all in one hour ;)

For dinner I had a baked tofu wrap from the Co-op and for dessert the “Deli Vegan Baked Item” of the day– peach cobbler.

I gorged myself on the whole thing of peach cobbler– because no one wanted to finish it, and I sure wasn’t letting it go to waste.  Now I’m going to fall asleep and have wonderful peach cobblery dreams because I have extracted a promise from my parents to return to the Co-op in the morning for breakfast.  Can’t wait to see what the “Deli Vegan Baked Item” is tomorrow.