The holiday foodie post

Hey guys.

Often on holiday I have found it difficult to find veggie options, especially healthy veggie options. On past holidays to the USA my typical dinner would be either veggie burger, grilled cheese sandwich or pizza (I would sub a salad or fruit for the fries if possible) but this was hardly ideal. As Andy eats meat he often wants to try certain restaurants too.

Anyway, this holiday we used the wonder that is trip advisor to help us choose places to eat (we use it for hotels all the time), and also asked for recommendations for good local places, and we found some gems!

I could not decide how to do this post – e.g. by meals, by days, by places (or whether to do each place in a new post) but in the end I am going to do them in the order (ish) of where we went to. Apologies in advance as it is a long post! I will link to the places too if they have websites, so enjoy.

Key West

We went for lunch at “The Cafe, A Mostly Vegetarian place” link also here. It did serve fish, but it had marked on the menu which items were vegan. And they did sweet potato fries! I had a veggie and goats cheese wrap, and Andy had the veggie burger (on special with hummus in it)- we shared and his burger was amazing. Now he loves meat but even Andy said the veggie burger was delicious, and also much more filling than a regular one. Plus I had freshly brewed raspberry iced tea.

We were so full that day (we don’t normally have a real lunch on holiday) that we went to a dessert resturant for dinner. “Better than sex” was a little cheesy/ smutty (all the desserts have sort of kinky/suggestive names like peanut butter perversion) but the desserts were amazing! I had a cookie nookie pie (I did not even know you could get cookie pie)

and Andy had the Pb dessert with strawberry conserve (does this show how massive it actually was?)

– we shared, we took the leftovers back in a box but we could not finish them! But they were amazing.

One day we went to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner- my only option is normally a veggie burger, but there was a lovely salad on there, and they had Vita coco coconut water to drink! In that heat that is exactly what I ordered.

We also had lunch at panini panini (we shared a roasted veggie sandwich and a piece of key lime pie). Yum. They also served vegan cookies.

There were loads of other options too, so we could have eaten at other places had we stayed longer.

Miami beach

On our drive on the way up we stopped at the turtle hospital, and then there was an awful thunderstorm and bad traffic, so we got to our hotel later than we had planned (and it was raining). We also stopped off at a supermarket and I loaded up the bags with goodies to eat on our trip.

Because of the rain and traffic we got in late so shared a veggie pizza from Pizza Rustica, (close to our hotel) which had great reviews, and had a proper oven to make proper thin delicious pizzas.

On our main day in Miami we wandered around the beach, and went for lunch in Pauls, which looked like a nice cafe with french baguettes behind the counter. It was OK- I had a goats cheese bruchetta- I nearly went for the half sandwich option but I am glad I had the full sized one as it was not that big. It had way too much cheese on it though.

We had seen an amazing looking ice cream parlour, so we went for one after that. We usually share a small serving (after learning that our eyes are often bigger than our stomachs) but this had buy one, get one free. So Andy had chocolate peanut butter (which tasted like Dark chocolate dreams) and I had toasted coconut after the girl recommended it to me. Heaven in an ice cream! But I could not finish it and felt so bad throwing it away.

That evening we went for dinner at Juice and Java which was delicious (Andy saw it on the net and said to me “they even do quinoa- their menu looked like our kitchen so I thought you would like it”). We had a smoothie each (Andy was craving a smoothie Β so this way we could taste two!)- I had a falafel wrap and Andy had some pasta I think. The shop sold all sorts of health food bars and things too, and it was all made fresh while we waited. Plus it was right by Miami Ink (I don’t watch it, but some of my friends do) so of course we had to have a photo! We took our food to the beach to eat- loving the summer weather.

I also got some coconut water and apple chips (which were just dried apple slices with either cinnamon or peach flavour, no oil or anything)

I took some nuun with me too, which I had on a few days as it was just so hot, but the coconut water was a nice change.

Orlando

My favourite place in Orlando has to be Sweet Tomatoes, which is the most amazing restuarant in my opinion! You get a plate and then walk along a 55foot salad bar, where you load up your plate with whatever you fancy (we went there 4 times, ahem, and mainly I went for- spinach, lettuce, carrots, beetroot, grated butternut squash, courgettes, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, kidney beans, pickles, raisins, sunflower seeds), then you pay, sit down, and then you help yourself to fresh cooked soups, pizzas, pastas- they even had baked sweet potatoes! Plus they do amazing desserts, and fresh fruit. It is amazing.

We also went to Earl of Sandwich a couple of times. We were staying at Disney and there is one in the Downtown Disney part- they do a lovely sandwich with mozzerella, tomato, basil and balsamic vinegar, but also wraps and salads.

On the days we went to Seaworld I had the least amount of options. The only thing I found in the park was a vegetable wrap, which was literally a wrap with grated carrots, cabbage and courgette inside. No spread, no hummus, nothing. I shared one with Andy for lunch (plus some pineapple) and then we left for dinner. We went back the next day for the evening, and I had to have it again as that was all there was. Β Come on Seaworld you can do better than that.

At Disney I had a lot more choice. We booked a “proper” meal each day (as opposed to the counter service places) and they were very good at accomodating or adapting items on the menu. At Magic Kingdom the Liberty Tree Tavern is fab– they have a veggie item on the menu (this time it was veggie pot pie) but I didn’t fancy it, so I asked for a salad minus the chicken- the salad is amazing with crunchy apples, pecans, cranberries, smoked cheese and salad veg. At Hollywood studios (MGM) we went to the Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre, which had brilliant theme-ing (check out the link)- again they had a veggie option of mango glazed tofu with veggies and rice. I asked for a salad instead of the rice (I don’t mind rice, but I don’t like it really) but they could not do that, so Andy had my rice! The mango tofu was lovely. At Epcot the San Angel Inn serves proper mexican food (not tex mex)- they used to do a veggie option but this time they didn’t. However the waitress was lovely at speaking to the chef (I had asked if the refried beans were OK as sometimes they can contain animal fat)- she checked (they were fine) and also told me that the vegetable rice was not OK as it was made with chicken stock, so they adapted a chicken tortilla meal by giving it to me with refried beans and cheese. We had2 days there so we also went to Tutto ItaliaΒ Restaurant, which serves lovely woodfired pizzas. Italian is always a good option anyway. One day we had lunch at Epcot – I can’t find the link but in The Land there is a food court and they do a lovely goats cheese and beetroot salad (red and yellow beetroot) with pecans which I love. We also had breakfast and there was soya yoghurt, soya milk and fruit, so a good option.

We also got to go to Wholefoods in Orlando, where I spent quite a bit of time and money!

Lots of peanut butter! The pouches came in handy when staying in Disney as the breakfast at the hotel was oatmeal made with water, no toppings or anything, so I used a pouch each day πŸ™‚

Plus lots of Clif bars (we had a coupon for a dollar off the kids/crunch ones), but again these made handy snacks to share when out.

St Augustine

First I must give a shout out to where we stayed. It was a B&B called “At Journey’s End” and Tim, the host, was amazing. We had put on the form that I was vegetarian, and when we arrived he checked that eggs were OK, and said he had planned the menu around me. There were 8 guests, and each morning we ate breakfast together at 9am. There was fruit and granola to eat before “the main course”. The first day we had a coconut cake stuffed with oatmeal (amazing) and some mini spinach fritattas, and the second day we had some cornflake crusted french toast (normally I find french toast too rich but this was lovely) and some spicy potato thing. Anyway, Tim recommended to us a few places to eat, and I think we managed them all!

We went to The Floridian for dinner, which was a lovely place which serves local produce whenever possible. I had an amazing sweet potato and black bean burger (which I topped with roasted peppers mmmm), but they had so many delicious sounding things, the waitress even pointed out that the soup was vegan. We shared a slice of pecan pie which had coconut and chocolate in it too- amazing.

Andy was keen to try A1A, as it served locally brewed beers. In the end I had a salad without the chicken (and with a different dressing as it was meant to have bacon dressing) but the salad was lovely- goats cheese, dried cherries, apples and spiced pecans.

We went for lunch at The Bunnery Cafe and Bakery, having seen their cinnamon rolls in the window looking amazing! I had a pb and j sandwich (there were plenty of other veggie options but I fancied one!), and a totally tropical smoothie complete with umbrella!

By that point we had been walking around all morning (well, I think it was about 2.30 or something) so we were grateful to sit in the cool!

Their cookies looked fabulous, but we had no room πŸ™

We also went to the Hyppo (another recommendation from Tim) which makes gourmet popsicles. So so delicious and refreshing. I had a strawberry peach, and Andy had pineapple coriander but it took me so long to choose.

Savannah

While wandering around in the heat of the day we came across Smooth (on Bull Street) and I was so excited to see that they actually made their smoothies fresh! So many places in the USA claim to sell smoothies, but they are those things that look like melted slush puppies full of syrup. While we were sharing our smoothie they cooked a batch of soft pretzels for samples- neither of us had ever had one before- I tried the one with cinnamon sugar, and Andy tried a salted one. They were amazing, so we went back. The owners remembered us the next day, and were lovely. I think I had another pb &j there, and we shared a pretzel! They were talking about expanding their menu to include a veggie plate, so worth a visit.

We had dinner one day at the Kayak Cafe. This looked a little strange as it is in the entrance to a gym, but it was busy and the food was lovely. I had a tofu burrito which was crammed with veggies- delish.

Another day we went to B and D burgers, which had the biggest menu ever! I could sub a veggie burger for any of the burger creations, so in the end I went for one with guacamole (so good) and of course sweet potato fries.

We had also heard good things about Leopolds Ice cream parlour– so we went there for dessert both days. We shared- the first day peanut butter and butter pecan (I had never tried that before but it made me reach my pecan limit) and peanut butter and coconut the other.

We went out for breakfast before we left (the other days it was a clif bar in our room) at Goose Feathers Cafe. I had some fresh cooked oatmeal with cinnamon and apple (took me ages to choose between that and the banana maple one), and I got a bite of Andy’s cinnamon roll which was amazing too! I noticed that they did baked sweet potato with pecans- how good does that sound??? Maybe not for breakfast though! Again, loads of choice.

Charleston

This was the one place that we found veggie food hard to find. After our days in Savannah (which I also thought would be hard but was fab) I was optimistic that we would find loads of nice healthy cafes, but no, it was meat,meat, BBQ sauce and more meat. Andy really wanted to go to Sticky Fingers and they did a salad that I could vegetarian-ize, so we went there one evening. It was a salad without the chicken and without the blue cheese,and it was OK (apples, flaked almonds, raisins and tinned mandarin segments- random), but not great for the price.

One day we went to Wholefoods and I used the salad bar to make an awesome salad. They had balsamic glazed tofu, chickpeas, some vegan quinoa veggie salad, sunflower seeds, plus loads of veggies. And a fruit salad (plus a top up of clif bars!). Andy was happy as he had a turkey sandwich (it looked small in the cabinet but was huge)- I think if we had been there longer we would have gone back as they did soups and chilli and pizza and things too. (Of course I also topped up the Clif bar supply that we had eaten on our holiday!)

We had seen The Hominy Grill on Man V Food (ahem, normally I love watching it but would not eat anything on that show) and the website showed it did a veggie sandwich, so we went there. We could choose our sides, so I went for sweet potato mash (Andy had some as it was very rich) and we also shared some pecan pie. And (the most exciting part) that was where we were given the boiled peanuts! Having seen lots of signs on the roadsides and not having a clue what they were, it was good to try.

On the last day we were wandering about trying to find something, and was considering a Starbucks when we found Taziki Cafe. The menu outside looked lovely, and it had several veggie options. I had a roasted tomato and basil sandwich which was huge (and came with crisps and fresh fruit salad) but it took me a while to decide as I actually had options!

Well done if you have read this far! I am hoping people might find it useful if they were travelling around any of the places I visited, plus food is a good blogger topic anyway!

So, how do you deal with special diet requests when you are on holiday? Do you have any places that you would love to go back to because of the food? Β And most importantly, did I buy enough Clif bars? πŸ˜‰

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24 thoughts on “The holiday foodie post”

  1. I’m pleased that overall you were able to select veg options but also that people were kind enough to adapt for you as well. I always believe that you should be able to ask for adjustment to a meal within reason and if they have the items available elsewhere on their menu. For instance at Giraffe for breakfast mini-me snr likes their pancakes but with chocolate sauce, strawberries and marshmallows on the side not the blueberries and banana it come with as standard & they always oblige as they have the items in stock.

  2. Yum, all that food sounds delicious (and I did read every word even though the chances of me going to America anytime soon are slim!) The B&B owner in St Augustine sounds so sweet, I love french toast! I can’t quite get my head around the coconut cake stuffed with oatmeal though…what was it like??

    Chocolate Covered Katie has a recipe for cookie pie which looks similar to your photo, but hers uses chickpeas! I liked her chickpea blondies based on the same recipe though, so not as strange as it sounds!

    All the peanut butter ice cream flavours sound amazing, I wish we could get them over here!

    Glad you had a great holiday, it all sounds really relaxed and fun πŸ™‚ I failed a bit when I went to Barcelona food-wise…we ended up in a couple of restaurants that literally had no vegetarian or easily adaptable choices, so took the “easy” option and ate fish. Next time, I will be more prepared and look up places in advance, and carry snacks in my bag so I’m not too starving to assert myself!

    1. Wow I will have to look up Katies recipe- thanks for that.
      I don’t like fish (and the idea to me is a bot horrible) so I would never choose it, just go grumpy and hungry! Trip advisor is good for places and also links to the actual websites so you can check out menus beforehand.

  3. I loved the food in Spain last year and actually they were much more accommodating of me being gluten-free than I would have thought – I got a Spanish friend to write down the Spanish for gluten, wheat, rye and barley and showed it to the waiters, who were brilliant, much better than they were in LA a couple of years ago!
    I love the sound of a whole restaurant for desserts but couldn’t look at their website too long because I was drooling too much πŸ™‚
    The chocolate peanut butter ice cream sounds out of this world – and gorgeous pictures of you!

  4. Oh, Peanut butter perversion? Really? :))
    I think it is very hard for me sometimes to stick to vegan diet when I “hit the road”.Especially when I visit some vegan “un-friendly” cities. But I just try to ask for some modifications or substitutions in the regular menu and usually I end up eating at least something (mostly a salad, very creative πŸ™‚

  5. Wow- this is so comprehensive, thanks! We’re thinking were going to go to Savannah this fall, so I’ll consult this list- Goose Feathers sounds cute! I went to a Sweet Tomatoes when visiting my parents in Phoenix once, I loved it πŸ™‚

    1. Glad you found it useful- I made sure it was detailed to help us remember if we go back to any of those places too πŸ™‚

  6. I love your holiday food recap- really interesting experiences! Although, Better Than Sex sounds a bit dodgy!

    I would LOVE to try the salad bar in Whole Foods one day- I think I might have to plan a trip tp London in the near future!

    1. I know I felt a bit silly in there and Andy teased me because I asked for the cookie pie and not the cookie nookie pie haha! But I am so glad we went because it was sooooooooo good!
      Yeah of the big Wholefoods in London does that salad bar I would give it a visit too, so good.

  7. I loved reading this – it made my mouth water πŸ™‚ It sounds like you found some really yummy food, even if you had a few below-par meals along the way.
    I don’t have any dietary requirements, but I only like to eat meat 1-2 times a week, which can be difficult on holiday, especially with my family who are avid meat-eaters.

    1. Ah glad you liked it πŸ™‚ I am lucky that Andy will try veggie food now, but generally places cater for both so we have been OK> and yeah most of the food was great, just a few places with limited options but then again in the end it is my choice to not eat meat so I do not fuss.

    1. Yes we got the pb ones and shared them (as you get2 per pack) and also some choc pb ones which I have not opened yet. They are like the nature valley bars but better πŸ™‚

  8. Sounds like you did better as a veggie in Florida than I did, I generally had to eat off the kids menu and get small pizza and chips and in one place I ordered the beef and mushroom sandwhich without the beef which really puzzled the waitress… she asked if I still wanted the beef jus it came with lol… mind you things have probably changed, that was 10 years ago, sob πŸ™ I so want to go back!

    1. The first time we went there (maybe 8 years ago?) it was like that- I really struggled to find things and ate mostly grilled cheese sandwiches, or things like pancakes for dinner as they always do breakfast foods. Things are much better now!

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