A year ago, Rich and I passed through Carlisle en-route to Central New York for an annual Easter visit with relatives. Carlisle has a dearth of restaurants offering healthy, plant-based options. There is a Tappas bar which claims to offer vegan options but when questioned closely you’ll find the fingerling potatoes are fried in beef tallow, the croutons contain eggs and the olives are just taken from a jar and dunked in a pool of flavored olive oil. The pita bread is obviously store bought. They will remove the cheese and other offending products but offer nothing to compensate the diner for the loss. No thanks, we’ll pass.
There is an excellent Japanese/Vietnamese noodle shop (we reviewed last year) called Essei Noodles and there is a wonderful market (also reviewed last year), Appalachian Whole Foods. So, last year, following our lunch at Essei, we stopped to check out a lovely little vegetarian café on West Pomfret Street called Gaia Fresh Food Café. We spoke with Gaia’s owner, George Catselis. We didn’t try the food at the time since we had already eaten. However, we did get a look at the place and an earful from George on his plans to make this a community meeting place where people who care what goes into their bodies and care about what is happening to our planet can congregate. A year later, and George’s plans are coming to fruition.
En-route to visit Issei Noodle restaurant in Carlisle, PA, we ran across Appalachian Whole Foods Market, right across the side street from Issei Noodles. The market opens onto a corner and you are immediately greeted by its owner, Sandy Zell. The store is larger than it appears from the outside. It is quaint and rustic and a pleasure to peruse.
What is unique about Appalachian Whole Foods Market is that it is entirely vegetarian, though not necessarily vegan. We noted quite a selection of bulk bin items, Sandy says there are over 200 bins of organic dried beans, nuts, grains, flours and spices. There wasn’t a lot in the way of fresh produce, at least at this time of the year. When spring produce is ready to be harvested these items will no doubt appear in greater numbers. I noticed fresh eggs, a large supply of organic onions, some greens and herbs. There was also a wall of refrigerated items. We did note fresh breads, plenty of supplements, body products, essential oils, incense, candles and organic grocery items, including gluten free products. She also carries a selection of books on health, specialized diets and vegetarian cooking. (more…)
Issei Noodle restaurant is a unique merging of cultures, authentic Japanese udon and ramen noodles side by side with Vietnamese Pho. The restaurant comes by it honestly as owners Robert Pham, is Vietnamese and his spouse and partner, Naomi Pham, is Japanese. Their two daughters, Chané and Tash create a perfect fusion of the two. This is a first generation family owned business.
Rich and I ate at Issei Noodle about a year ago when passing through Carlisle, Pennsylvania and have not forgotten the experience. It was reminiscent of our years in Japan where we often took a train to Tokyo just to slurp down a hot bowl of ramen noodles or udon with fresh vegetables. Imagine our delight to find an authentic Asian noodle restaurant right in the heart of Carlisle! This year as we made our annual trip to Central NY to visit family we made it a point to revisit Carlisle and to visit Issei Noodle. It did not disappoint. We even witnessed a young Asian man holding his bowl to his mouth and drinking the broth directly from the bowl in true Japanese fashion and other Asian customers sucking down noodles from heavily laden chopsticks making slurping noises which would have made our parents grimace. It was truly an authentically Asian experience though the restaurant was filled to capacity with western diners as well. Not all dishes are vegan, there are plenty of options for your carnivorous friends as well. (more…)