Travel Guide: Watkins Glen

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My boyfriend and I hit the 5 year mark in the beginning of August. There was a really great moment when we looked at each other on the actual “anniversary” day and we both thought “wow, five years” with big smiles plastered on our faces.  We knew we had to do something special. A little weekend trip, so to speak. So why not venture about five hours east of Cleveland to Watkins Glen?

Watkins Glen, New York. Nestled right by the Finger Lakes, notably Seneca Lake,  has breathtaking scenery, lots of outdoor activities, an international race track, but most importantly…

FARM SANCTUARY!

I have only been to the NY Farm Sanctuary location once before, when I first went vegan, and loved it. I had been yearning to go back and Tim agreed to the idea. It is a great weekend trip for Clevelanders since it isn’t that far away and it is great for vegans because of the community Farm Sanctuary has built. Below the cut is a guide of where we went and what we did for any vegans looking for a fun trip away from home!

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The Cleveland Vegan Pizza Scene

One day you go with your non-vegan friends to your typical pizza parlor and you listen to them order their pizzas.

“Double cheese”, are the words still echoing in your mind when the waiter asks what you want. You launch into a bevy of questions (what is in your sauce, do you put any butter or cheese on the crust) and then order every vegetable that you want/can afford (these toppings get expensive today) and wait with anticipation for something decent.

Now, I am not saying that this pizza will not be fabulous, because I myself have thoroughly enjoyed a pizza with just tomato sauce and a ton of veggies. However, as you watch your friends gobbling up their cheese masterpieces, you can’t help but let out a little sigh of remorse. Just once, wouldn’t you love it if you could go out and have more options?

Thankfully, that is becoming the case in Cleveland! We now have three pizza places that offer more than just your sauce and veggie fair and all three are very different.

Humble Wine & Bar

IMG_3412Humble offers an array of foods (marinated mushrooms, olives etc), but what is so exciting is their vegan pizza! Listed as the Vegan “sausage” pizza, it has seitan, tofu “mozzarella”, peppers, onions and oregano. I really enjoyed it when I ordered it and have been wanting to go back. They also have a vegan dessert that changes seasonally, so you make sure to save room for dessert!

The Mellow Mushroom

mellowmushroomMellow Mushroom, located in Rocky River, is actually a chain with over 200 restaurants. More importantly, they offer a lot of fun toppings for vegans such as daiya mozzarella, tempeh and tofu. They have a menu online that lists all the items that are vegan or can veganized, but I just went with the build your own path. I never ate Hawaiian pizzas as an omnivore, but lately I’ve been dreaming of them. So I was pretty pumped to use tempeh as the ham substitute and add onions (is that even on a Hawaiian?) and pineapple with a side of BBQ sauce. It was pretty delish and I am not a fan of daiya cheese shreds, normally. The only thing you need to watch out for is that you must request the crust have no butter or parmesan on it!

Cha Spirits & Pizza Kitchen

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Cha Spirits & Pizza Kitchen is nestled inside Battery Park not far from Gordon Square. The lovely thing about Cha is that they have many vegan items on their menu, but the pizza offers two local cheeses from Red Lotus. The only issue here is that it can get preeeetty pricey when making the pizza of your dreams– the Red Lotus cheese is $2.50 on top of the starting pizza price. However, they do not skimp on the toppings and I found the pizza to be quite delicious. I had mine bianco style (just olive oil and garlic), but I would try the red sauce with the cheese next time.

And that sums it up! So go forth and eat some pizza that is worth your while.

P.S. I need to get a camera, because these pictures are pathetic. I will be working on picture quality in the future!

Cleveland Flea this Saturday, August 8th

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Hello ladies and gents!

This weekend the Cleveland Flea will be having their market open on Saturday the 8th from 9am-4pm in Tyler Village (Cleveland Mid-town district). Besides handmade goods and vintage finds, the Flea offers tons of food. Some of the vendors this week have vegan options! The following are:

Bearded Buch|Chill Pop Shop|Fruit Vibe| Fresh Fork Market|Inca Tea|Mason’s Creamery|Nathan’s Coffee Roasting|Old City Soda|Philomena Bake Shop|Piccadilly Artisan Yogurt|The Pierogi Lady|Pope’s Kitchen|Randy’s Pickles|

And then some establishments that have offered vegan items in the past:

Melt Bar and Grilled (Last time they had these AWESOME cookie sandwiches the size of your fist)

So not only is it cool, but it’s really great to go support your local crafters and vendors! Not to mention some previous vendors are now storefronts in Cleveland due to the massive support they got from the Flea (Cleveland Vegan, Beet Jar, and Mason’s Creamery to name a few). So check it out!

Cleveland Vegan News For August

Hi guys!

Today marks the first day of August here in good ol’ Cleveland. As I like to keep you guys in the loop, here are the latest happenings for this month.

Vegan Nights! More and more Cleveland restaurants are offering vegan nights at their establishments. Currently we have the following:

Monday: Townhall (Ohio City)
Tuesday: Orale Kitchen (Ohio City) and Spice Kitchen & Bar (Gordon Square)
Wednesday: Deagan’s (Lakewood)
Thursday: Forage Public House (Lakewood)

Special Events:

Cleveland Vegan Catering has a special 5-course (oil free) dinner on Saturday, August 29th. The menu is based off Dr. Esselstyn’s Plant Perfect diet. There are three time slots and reservations are required, so do not dilly dally if you want to go!

The Great Szechwan Garden Mystery:

In Lakewood resides a delicious Chinese restaurant with vegan mock meats. The problem is…they have been “under construction” for quite some time. Currently there is a permit up on the window that ends in August. Will Szechwan re-open? Have we forever lost it? We will have to see as August crawls along, but some locals have started a thread on the Facebook page to keep everyone up to date! I can only hope it re-opens– I have been craving sweet and sour “chicken” since January.

That’s it for now! Meetup.com is always a great place to check out for any group outings/events. VitD will be doing some updates on best places for vegan ice cream and pizza later in the month, so keep checking-in!

No Whey Chocolates Closing

Sad news in the Cleveland vegan community. Yesterday Stacie Stearns, owner of No Whey Chocolates, posted on her Facebook that the shop (also known as Snaction Heroes) would be closing this Friday. Within the comments under the status revealed the hope that Stacie and her mom, Ethel, will find a different and bigger location so they may serve food along side their sweets.

The location served as a small grocery store, vegan meet up, sweets shop and ice cream parlor. NWC also allowed local businesses, such as Plant Kingdom and Poison Berry Bakery, to sell items at their shop and help the vegan community to grow. Lyndhurst will definitely be a sadder place without the mother/daughter duo.

Best wishes to our chocolatiers  and to finding a new location! Make sure to visit them tomorrow or Friday if you can.

Tip of the Week: Mac n’ Cheese

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Mac from Forage Public House

So when one goes vegan, or is vegan, there are usually a string of questions that are asked. One of them is usually “But don’t you miss cheese?”

Yes. Yes, I do miss cheese at times, but not enough to go back to it. While cheese substitutes keeping getting better and better there are a few things that I still really  miss. Besides cottage cheese (don’t ask, I am obviously 80 at heart), the other thing I miss is a killer bowl of mac n’ cheese.

Luckily there are a few things you can do to procure some mac in Cleveland (and one in Columbus). You can always make your own (I’m still looking for that killer recipe), but if you are lazy or just in the mood to treat yourself here are some options.

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Vegan Tuesdays at Spice Kitchen & Bar

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Vegans rejoice! Another Cleveland restaurant has added a vegan night to their menu, which means we can go Monday-Thursday restaurant hopping in good ol’e Cle. Spice Kitchen & Bar, which has always been a favorite of mine and serves up killer drinks, now has added vegan nights on Tuesday. They were named Cleveland’s Best New Restaurant by Cleveland magazine in 2013.

I went to investigate and I was very happy! They had two appetizers, three entrees, and a dessert! A nice little list of choices. I went with both appetizers and the dessert and only wished I had multiple stomachs to have ordered the rest: everything was delicious! My favorite were the Buffalo Green Beans (insert drool face emoji), but I really enjoyed it all. Menu rotates every week and is dependent about what is in season– Spice is very big on growing their own produce and creating their menu based on the season.

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Mushroom + Cashew Dumplings w ponzu

On the menu: Mushroom + Cashew Dumplings w ponzu/ Buffalo Green Beans w tofu blue cheese/ Grilled Beans + Beets Salad w avocado, pepitas, cumin & a citrus vinaigrette/ Mushroom Flatbread w hummus, evoo, & avocado/ Vegetable Curry w tofu & brown jasmine rice/ Raw Blueberry Tart w coconut whip

More pictures available on the Instagram if you enjoy that sort of thing.