I have to admit that, even after being vegan for almost three years, I still experience some anxiety before traveling. I often wonder if any vegan options will be available for me at my destination. What will I eat? Will I starve while watching my non-vegan family chow down on their meals during vacations? I know that these concerns are irrational. I have taken many vacations over the past few years and I have never had problems finding decent vegan food; however, my anxiety returned this past week in preparation for a family golf weekend to Stratton, Vermont.
My husband and I planned this trip a few weeks ago, at which time I searched the Internet and Happy Cow for vegan or vegetarian restaurants in Southern Vermont. The search revealed no results. I tried again on the Thursday before we left with no luck. As far as dining options went, I decided to “wing it” although I prepared some snacks and packed fruit for the road.
On Saturday morning before golf school began, we went to a local eatery called “The Fox Stop” for breakfast. For the record, I am not a golfer . My golf school experience and a detailed description of the blisters currently on my right hand (which really hurt) are a subject for another blog post. In any event, I was pleasantly surprised to see that “The Fox Stop” offered Yerba Mate, fair trade coffee with soy milk, homemade vegan oatmeal cookies and tofu sandwiches. After breakfast, we went to golf school (ugh!) for the morning. If you are a beginner golfer, you will not need to read a separate blog post about my golf school experience; you must already feel my pain. Thankfully, lunchtime arrived and we went to “Tenderloins”(I know…not a great name) at the Stratton Country Club for lunch. Low and behold, I had a delicious veggie burger and salad there. The waitress assured me that the veggie burger was prepared sans butter.
Later in the day, we headed to Manchester Center (which is about 15 minutes away from Stratton) to search for a place for dinner. We entered a charming restaurant called “Thai Basil” located at 4940 Main Street. We were immediately seated and I began to peruse the vast menu. I immediately ordered a wonderful Elderberry Martini. When the waitress returned with my drink, I began to grill her about the menu. I became very optimistic about my upcoming dinner when she was able to clearly and confidently name the vegan dishes on the menu. I had my eye on a “Panang Curry” dish and my husband was interested in a “Pineapple Stir-Fry.” The waitress assured me that there was no fish stock used to prepare either dish (which is usually the case with Thai food). When I seemed skeptical, she told me that the restaurant regularly catered to vegans and vegetarians and she knew exactly which dishes were prepared with fish stock. This was quite a relief!
In any event, I ordered a bean curd soup with shiitake mushrooms and scallions and it was the best broth-style soup I have ever had. The Panang Curry was “over-the-top” delicious. My husband absolutely loved his Pineapple Stir-Fry too. My son, who ordered non-vegan food, stated that this was possibly the best meal he ever had in his life! At the bottom of this post, there are photos of some of the “Thai Basil” dishes which were taken with my phone. I did not have my camera on me because I never expected to have such excellent vegan food on this trip.
The story is not over. The next day, after our golf lessons were over (thank goodness!), my husband and son went to play a round of golf at the Stratton Country Club. I was finished with golf for the day (as you may have guessed) and decided to go back to Manchester Center to shop and have lunch. In Manchester, I spotted an all-natural cafe called “The Works Bakery Cafe.” Although this was not an all-vegan establishment, I was able to get a great veggie wrap with sprouts and homemade hummus. I also noticed that they had Tofutti cream cheese as an option for their bagels. On the way back to my car at the end of the day, I spotted “New Morning Natural Foods.” Bingo! I went inside and there was vegan food up the kazoo. They even had those amazing “Rice Dream” desserts which I love. I was told by the woman who worked there that this health food store was in business for over 20 years and did quite well.
As you can see, you never have to worry about finding vegan options when you travel. Unexpected surprises always seem to pop up out of nowhere. This is what happened to me on my trip to Stratton, Vermont. I think I will be planning a winter ski trip there so I have an excuse to go back to the fabulous “Thai Basil” restaurant.