Monday, October 3, 2011

Vegan MoFo Day 3: Awesome Arizona, Part 1

I don't think I'll ever forget where I was on the evening of Election Day 2008. When most people were doing their civic duty, or hunkered down in front of their television sets watching early election returns, I was...on a plane, flying home from a trip to Arizona. I was kind of bummed about being trapped 30,000 feet in the air while the historic election was taking place, but I got home early enough to watch the coverage as polls started closing across the US. My hubby and I had already completed our absentee ballots, but we still felt like we missed out on something...actually going to the polls and standing in line with our neighbors. There's just something so awesome about being able to vote in a free country, you know? So, whenever I think about my Arizona trip, I'll always think of that election. They're just tied together in my memory!

Today, we'll be taking a trip to beautiful Arizona, the land of the Grand Canyon, old mining towns, and lots and lots of cacti. You laugh, but just ask my husband...I was beside myself when I saw my first real cactus just after we left Phoenix-Sky Harbor Airport. I mean, it's not like I see cacti every day in Rhode Island, people!

Our tummies were rumbling after our long flight, so the first thing we wanted to do was grab lunch. I had done my homework before I left RI (an essential step for vegan travelers, no?) and wrote down the names and addresses of several veg*n restaurants along our travel route. There was one in nearby Scottsdale that I wanted to check out, Green New American Vegetarian restaurant. I remember several things about this meal: one, it was the first time I got to try Zevia soda (I am a HUGE Zevia fan!); two, I had the most amazing seitan ever - the No Harm Chicken Parm Sandwich; three, my hubby loved his Secret BBQ Chicken Sandwich so much, he still talks about it; and four, I had my first-ever vegan soft-serve ice cream cone. It was...amazing. But I was still three years away from becoming a food blogger, so course I didn't know I was supposed to be taking pictures of this yumminess. But just trust was awesome.

After lunch at Green, we hit the road in our rented PT Cruiser and chugged puttered drove our way to Jerome, billed as both "America's Most Vertical City" and the "Largest Ghost Town in America." It was three days before Halloween, so I thought it would be a blast to spend a night in a place once known as the wickedest town in the West. We checked into the Ghost City Inn and spent the remaining daylight hours walking around town and checking out the sights.

The local brothel...

I thought it was cool that there was a big "J" on the mountain!

I couldn't wait for it to get dark, because I was super excited about our dinner plans...we were going to The Asylum, a former hospital (some say insane asylum) that was converted to an upscale restaurant with a decidedly psycho bent to it. I mean, there were old medicine cabinets, straight jackets, and skulls on the walls. I'm into that sort of stuff, so it was right up my alley!

No food porn, but I remember having the Sesame Tofu, Brown Rice, and Butternut Squash entree with pickled ginger and wasabi peas. It was pretty fantastic!

The next morning, we laced up our running shoes and hit the streets for a pre-dawn run up and down the hilly streets of Jerome. We even saw a couple of mountain lions! We ran out to the state park and up to the old gold mine, enjoying the fresh mountain air and beautiful scenery.

After a great breakfast at the hotel, we visited the Jerome Mine Museum and browsed through the eclectic artisan jewelry and crafts stores in town. I must say, this was one cool's really small, but it's definitely worth a visit if you are in the area!

We headed to Sedona in the early afternoon and checked into the Apple Orchard Inn. We then took a Pink Jeep Tour on the Broken Arrow Trail, which was incredible! Our guide, Christine, was gnarly driving up and down those steep trails!

After our tour, we ate dinner at D'Lish Very Vegetarian Restaurant. This restaurant will always hold a special place in my heart, because the food looked so, so amazing that it caused me to spontaneously bust out my camera and do something I'd never done before: take a picture of my food. Yay, first food porn!

Introducing the Rawsome Raw Platter. Almond pate, raw slaw, guacamole, raw burger, sea veggies, raw beets, raw carrots, raw crackers, lettuce, avocado, sprouts, and pumpkin seeds. It also came with a little pitcher of some killer salad dressing. It was love at first sight. And it tasted as good as it looked! I think I ate nearly the entire thing and then my hubby had to stuff me back into the PT Cruiser. But I didn't care!

Tomorrow: Part 2 of Awesome Arizona!

1 comment:

rachel said...

that looks like it was so much fun! i love all that halloween stuff. and the rawesome raw platter looks amazing.