Day 200 of the Nowhere To Be Project brought me a mysterious gift…kohlrabi. I just learned about kohlrabi last week from chef and author Celia Brooks at her SUPERVEG book signing Related Blog Post. She raved about the merits of this elusive and mysterious vegetable so much that I became obsessed with getting my hands on one. I inquired at three different grocery stores without a sniff of luck. Most of those I queried were like me, completely kohlrabi illiterate. I had all but given up on ever sinking my teeth into one when just as with love, I happened upon it when I was least expecting it (during my usual Sunday visit to the Vail Farmer’s Market). The lovely ladies of Trout Creek Farm always bring the finest produce to the market and on this day the holy grail that is Kohlrabi was included in their harvest. I snatched one up for just $2 along with my usual bounty of sprouts and greens.
All that’s left now is for me to decide what to do with my prized kohlrabi. I could use it to create a salad with mint and poppy seeds as exemplified by Celia Brooks in SUPERVEG?!? Or maybe I should be more indulgent and make fries out of it?!? I’m going to give it a day or so to consider it. If you have any clever ways of preparing kohlrabi, I’m dying to hear them. Please connect with me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or via email at email@example.com. I’ll be sure to share the fate of my kohlrabi.
Day 191 of the Nowhere To be Project placed us back in our beloved RV, the Tiny Dancer, Too. If you’ve been reading my recent posts, you know that I’m totally obsessed with autumn. In the mountains of Colorado, we’ve been getting an early taste of the awesome beauty of fall with cooler air, bursting colors and festivals galore. Everything good comes to an end (including fall), but we are going to do our best to enjoy every minute of it.
With that goal in mind, we’re going to roam up to Wyoming and see what’s happening up there before making our way home very slowly through Colorful Colorado. I literally have the words of my beloved Dolly Parton in my mind (Here you come again…and there I go!) as we roll along in search of anything and everything autumn. Much, much more to come…
I dined at Tavern on the Square on Day 190 of the Nowhere To Be Project. The Tavern is a casual yet upscale dining option in Vail. It is attached to The Arrabelle, a luxury hotel owned by Vail Resorts (Rock Resorts) located in the Lionshead corridor. The prices are a bit inflated in keeping with the local norms. I was alerted to the fact that they offer a full vegan menu by the “Vanilla Bean” app and decided to give it a go for dinner.
We dined outside on the patio with a lovely glass of Malbec and a breathtaking view of the mountain which was alight with stunning fall colors. After we were seated, I asked the server for the vegan menu. He apologetically confessed that it has been scaled down significantly for the off season. He went on to list a few salads, a hummus appetizer, the Impossible Burger, and sorbet as the obvious vegan options. I chose the Impossible Burger with a side salad.
I’ve eaten many Impossible Burgers and they are always enjoyable. This one, although extremely dry, was tasty. The bread to meat ratio was really off though, with way too much bread. My husband had a cheeseburger which came with the same huge bun. The difference being that his burger had about four times the amount of meat that my Impossible Burger did, making the bun a much better fit for his meal. A vegan cheese option and/or a vegan “special sauce” would definitely add some flavor to the Impossible Burger and might help to reduce the dryness.
The service was very attentive and the million dollar view was well worth the trip. I’ll more than likely visit Tavern on the Square again, if for no other reason than to lay eyes on their elusive “vegan menu”.
Day 188 ushered in the first day of obvious color change among the Aspen leaves in Vail. Change is in the air and the leaves are doing their thing with color! Just imagine green, yellow, orange, pink and red as far as your eyes can see. That is our incredible reality right now. Even more exciting is that we are at the center of the bullseye of fall color right now which means that we can chase the color in any direction from the mountains for a few weeks to extend our leaf-peeping delight. My husband and I are heading out in our RV in a few days to do that very thing and I AM SO EXCITED! Have I mentioned that autumn is my absolute favorite?
Day 187 of the Nowhere To Be Project had us chanting “Prost” in the middle of Lionshead Village in Vail. This celebration was part one of Vail’s double duty Oktoberfest festivities. The Vail Village celebration is scheduled to take place next weekend. Three days of costume contests, stein holding competitions, bratwurst eating contests and live music gave Vail a very Bavarian feel. Add to that thousands of people (and dogs) downing German food and beer in the crisp almost-fall air and you’ve got yourself a street party. Can’t wait to do it again next weekend!
If you decide to visit Vail for Oktoberfest, be sure to stop at the ID and Token tent first. Once you’ve exchanged dollar for dollar in tokens, plan on spending about $7 per beer and $4-10 per dish to imbibe. Parking and all Oktoberfest-related entertainment is free.
On Day 186 of the Nowhere To Be Project my husband and I attended the Wheels and Wings Festival in Eagle, Colorado. The festival was threefold: part car show, part air show and part live auction. It was held beside the runway at the regional Eagle Airport. My dad was a dragster turned car dealer, so I’ve been around cars (especially fast ones) all my life. And as the mom of an aerospace engineer, I’ve had my fair share of airplanes as well. With that history behind me, I would give the Wheels and Wings Festival a big thumbs up.
There were so many beautiful old cars, many of which won ribbons in the show. The variety of airplanes was not as rich, but the obvious effort toward aviation education was appreciated. I especially loved watching the local Civil Air Patrol commandeer their first flight as it reminded me of when my son’s chapter did the very same thing. The auction was very entertaining as well with many of the classic cars creating bidding wars among the spectators. I had my eye on a beautiful old Corvette, but the $100,000 price tag put it way out of my reach. The food trucks (one with vegan options) added the finishing touch on an already perfect afternoon.
On day 181 of the Nowhere To Be Project I lunched at The Rose in Edwards, Colorado. The Rose is located at 97 Main Street West (suite 102B) in Edwards, Colorado. This was my second visit to the quaint café, both being at lunchtime. On my first visit I sat outside on the small patio. This time I was inside which presented some unique challenges (keep reading).
The establishment’s website describes the restaurant as one that is focused on locally-sourced foods which is always a draw for me. The bigger draw though is the Impossible Burger, a plant-based delight created by Impossible Foods. As a vegan, I am always searching for plant-based options and have literally chased this burger across the country since I found out about it a few months back.
Before I get into specifics about The Rose, I should address the controversy over the Impossible Burger. Recently, the CEO of the company revealed that the product was tested on rats to receive FDA approval. Cruelty-free products are the goal for most vegans, myself included, so this has obviously ruffled some feathers. After considering his statement and the methods employed, I feel that the company had little choice in the matter in order to achieve the greater good of having a vegan meat product approved by the FDA (thus widely available for consumption). Animal testing was not something that the company approves of, ever wanted to do, or plans to do in the future. Sadly, without it the product would not have come to fruition. Now, back to The Rose…
The Rose appears very small from the outside, but opens to several rooms upon entering. I would describe the decor as “industrial tea room”. There are comfy couches and tiny two-tops. There is also a bar and a pool table, so the social vibe of the space likely changes depending on the time of day. My guest and I were seated at a small table and instantly noticed many, many flies occupying the space. They were in the air, on the furnishings and buzzing in our faces. I asked to open a door to the outside and was permitted to do so, but was told that it probably would not help because they had been having an ongoing issue with the flies! We were a bit grossed out and considered leaving, but decided to ride it out.
We began with hot tea (they have a nice selection of interesting loose leaf teas) and the fried pickle appetizer. The tempura-style pickles were amazingly delicious and the addition of the sriracha flavor was unique. After the pickles, both my guest and I enjoyed the Impossible Burger. It was topped with avocado and more pickle, and was served with a side salad. The bun was good, but would have been even better if toasted. While we loved our meal, the flies were certainly an issue that left us both wondering if we’d return. Hopefully, they can get the issue resolved because there is potential for charm at The Rose Restaurant & Bar in Edwards, Colorado.
Today, day 179 of the Nowhere To Be Project, brought me cooler air and my first official pumpkin sighting of the season. Unlike nearly everywhere else in the United States, the temperatures in the Vail Valley hovered in the mid 60s today. Despite the rampant Labor Day celebrations in town, the cooler air helped to put everyone in sweater-mode. As I drove through the mountains, spotting the first tinge of yellow on the leaves of the Aspen trees, I was inspired to plan a few trips. The goal for my fall travel is singular, to witness the awe-inspiring colors of mother nature as she shuts the door on summer. Autumn is my absolute favorite time of year and even though it has not officially started, its hypnotic lure is beckoning as witnessed in the yummy vegan Pumpkin Cakies with Brown Sugar Mascarpone Frosting that I created this afternoon (recipe to follow tomorrow).
I attended Vail’s Gourmet on Gore food and wine tasting festival on Day 178 of the Nowhere To Be Project. This annual Labor Day Weekend event offers tasting menus and special food-centric events in town. It is always popular with locals and visitors alike as the streets of Vail are cordoned off and filled with tents staffed by local food and drink vendors. I have attended the event several times and was hoping that this would be the year where vegan options would be plentiful. With that hope in mind, I purchased $25 in vouchers at the get go keeping in mind the fact that most tasting dishes range in price from $3 to $8.
I wandered from tent to tent gazing upon nothing but meat-laden dishes. Some of the vendors offered several dishes (Almresi, Mountain Cupcakes, Craftsman) while most others had just one option (Larkspur, Sweet Basil, Elway’s, Leonora, Blu’s). There were sausages, chicken skewers, hamburgers, steak tacos, short-rib plates and countless meaty sandwiches. There were even a few breads and sweets here and there, but all were made with egg. I finally found an heirloom tomato gazpacho with pistachio at a tent hosted by the staff of Craftsman, a whisky and sandwich tavern located in neighboring Edwards, Colorado. I told them that they should make a sign to let vegans know that they had the only plant-based option at Gourmet on Gore. The chilled sip of soup was tasty, but cost only $3 in vouchers. That left me with $22 worth of vouchers which were begrudgingly spent on a pricey Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon by Beringer. Not necessarily the lunch of champions, huh?
Vail is so progressive in so many ways, but food is not one of them. According to recent research by a company called Globaldata, 6% of Americans identify as vegan (an increase of 600% in just three years). Furthermore, plant-based eating has been earmarked by Google Trends as the future of food globally! In Vail we have one vegan dining option, Green Elephant Juicery. It is a casual spot that I frequent offering mostly cold-pressed juices, a few cold take-away foods and occasional hot soups. I love that they exist and I hope that they’ll eventually expand their menu. Other than that, very few restaurants in town offer a plant-based choice on their menus. As a town that was recently certified as the only “sustainable mountain resort” in the world, one would assume that plant-based dining (which is widely viewed as the most sustainable method of food production) would be readily available. Sadly, that isn’t the case in Vail. Despite the lack of vegan choices at Gourmet on Gore, I had a lovely day in my chosen hometown. I am really thankful for that gazpacho though!