Richmond Vegetarian Festival, June 15, 2013 was a blast!

Richmond Vegetarian Festival was all a vegetarian festival should be. Rich and I drove the 300 miles from Abingdon, VA with our monster, Phoenix, happily settled in the back of our Subaru Forester. We stopped en-route in Charlottesville, VA and reviewed a marvelous Afghani restaurant called Ariana Grill Kabob House (see post). We sat outside and enjoyed our meal while Phoenix basked in the attention of passersby, her favorite activity.  After checking into our clean, dog-friendly hotel, (Candlewood Suites near the airport) that evening, we visited India K’Raja, renown as Richmond’s best Indian restaurant since 1995, and for good reason (see post).

On the day of the festival, which  took place in the verdant Azalea Gardens at Bryan Park, we arrived just before noon, which is when it was scheduled to begin. The gods were smiling on us as the weather could not have been more perfect with lots of sun, shade trees and a cool breeze. The event was free  of charge and parking was plentiful. Even the parking lot was lovely. We were immediately greeted by animal rescue groups which had plenty of trained and health-certified adoption ready animals to take home. They had children’s bathing pools of ice for animals to help themselves to a cool drink at this pet friendly event. Towards the end of the event we saw a Labrador climb in and make use of this pool’s original purpose! We had to walk past these groups quickly and with resolve as we already have our maximum limit of monsters (the collective name for our beloved animals) in our home.  (more…)

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Cranberry’s Grocery & Eatery

If your travels take you down Interstate 81, you may want to stock up on healthy staples and have lunch at one of the quaintest little restaurants slightly off  I-81, Cranberry’s in Staunton, VA.  Rich and I stopped by for Sunday brunch in response to an anonymous request by one of our readers. We are so glad we did.

Sunday may not be the best day to stop if you are looking for a variety of vegan lunch items as their brunch menu is quite abbreviated. However,  they did offer two sandwiches which we enjoyed. Rich had the Garden Wrap Raw Veggies in a spinach tortilla with hummus for $7.49. I had the New Street Burrito, made of black beans, brown rice, lettuce, tomato, red onion and salsa. ($7.19) They were both served with potato chips. They also carried a Southwestern Tofu Scramble which is tofu scrambled with scallions, bell pepper, roasted chilies and spices served with whole grain toast.($7.89). On other days they offer five vegan sandwiches ranging in price from $7.19 to $8.39, the Southwest Tofu Scramble and something they call Unwraps, which is a wrap’s fixins on a bed of greens. You can also build your own sandwich paying for the items a la carte.

There are two or three booths and a few other tables. It was quite busy by the time we left. You order food at the counter and they’ll bring it to your table. The ambience is that of a charming, old-fashioned main street mercantile with a diner in the back. Check out the rest room’s old fashioned toilettes with the tank high on the wall and a pull chain to flush. (more…)

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Sue’s Super Nutrition, Harrisonburg, PA

If it had been a snake it would have bitten us.  Rich and I were in Harrisonburg, PA to review Indian American Cafe and The Blue Nile Ethiopian Restaurant. On the way back to our hotel we chanced upon a terrific health food store. If you need to stock up on plant-based supplies while traveling I-81, this is just off the highway and is definitely worth the small detour.

Sue’s is a clean, well stocked, medium sized store. You can find some  fresh and frozen foods, and plenty of bulk bin items. This is the ONLY place I’ve been able to find dried fava beans other than on-line. You can believe I stocked up!

Sue carries lots packaged goods, like Bob’s Mills products, herbs and supplements, essential oils and your typical health food fare. Her daughter was working the register the day we were in. She was pleasant and helpful. If you’ve left something behind in your travels, Sue’s may be just the place to find a replacement.

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Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant, Washington, DC

by Danielle Bussone

Dukem Ethiopian Restaurant is the oldest Ethiopian Restaurant in Washington, D.C and has been voted the best Ethiopian Restaurant in area newspaper polls for the past four years running. Dukem’s is located in the heart of D.C. and was the most expensive of the Ethiopian restaurants we visited. I suspect this has something to do with the high price of the real estate in this area of the city.  The atmosphere is casual, there is a full bar and entertainment which is very loud.  Once diners began to fill the restaurant, we could hardly hear each other over the din of customers and music.  The entertainment consists of Ethiopian musicians and singers and runs from 11pm-3 am Fridays and Saturdays and until 2 am on Sundays.  We arrived just as the Wednesday cultural show began from 7 pm-10 pm which includes Ethiopian drums, music and costumed dancers.

The prices ranged in combination platters from 4 vegetarian items for $12.00 to 7 items for $16.45. The choice of any single vegetarian plate was $13.25. The combinations contain selections of the usual Ethiopian fare, spicy split lentils, yellow peas, greens, cabbage, shiro, salad, chickpeas in a spicy sauce and/or potatoes in a spicy sauce. (more…)

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