Monday, December 6, 2010

Vegetarian/Vegan mix-ups.

Ahhhhh, back home! It was nice to visit family for the last month, but it was also very nice to come home to our own place. But it was a long trip home, let me tell ya! We drove for 15 hours on Saturday, then about 7 hours on Sunday. So needless to say I'm still worn out from all of the traveling!

Well, on our way through South Dakota we decided to stop at the Bay Leaf Cafe in Spearfish.
I really enjoy checking out places like this not only because they're an independent place rather than a chain, but also because they have vegan-friendly food as well as omni food for husband. 

I really liked the atmosphere. It was a sunny (but cold!!) day, so lots of sunlight came through the front windows. 

And it's always a good sign when you see a statement like this on a menu:

This looks promising. After looking over my options on the lunch menu, I decided to go with the Black Bean Burger. I asked the waitress if the bun contains eggs or dairy. She went back and asked the chef (cook? chef?) and came back to confirm that there are eggs. So, she said she'd ask him to give me French bread instead, which contains neither dairy or eggs. My meal came with the option of soup, salad or fries. I wanted to get the fries, but my body begged me to get the salad. The salad came out before the burger, just a basic garden salad, so I didn't take a pic. I got oil and vinegar for dressing since I didn't feel like quizzing the waitress about it. Then my meal came out:
I was just about to dig in when I noticed the bread. Is that...butter on the bread?? Wait, is this garlic bread? So...I asked the waitress and she said yes, that is butter. I politely asked her if she could go back and get me some plain ol' bread. No butter, no nuthin', just plain. She was very kind and patient with me this whole time, but I was just a little confused as to why my bread would be slathered in butter when I just had her go back and ask about eggs or dairy being present in their regular burger bun. C'est la vie, I guess. Overall, my meal was ok. The burger was on the dry side, so I compensated by adding more salsa. Then the salsa ended up being too spicy for me! It's not Bay Leaf's fault that I'm a wimp, I know. 

I think this burger really could have used some guacamole. But alas, there was none. So, I finished my dry and spicy meal as it was. For the record though, omni husband didn't like his meal at all. So while I'd be more than willing to give Bay Leaf another chance, husband would not. I guess we may not be stopping here again if we pass through next year.

 Husband was told that there was a bakery next door to the restaurant which I believe is run by the same people. Called Berry's Best. So we stopped in. Sometimes he surprises me and asks the waitstaff for any vegan options before I even have the chance to form a thought. And today was one of those occasions. They said that they have one item that does not contain dairy and/or eggs. And sometimes one is all ya need, right??
Chocolate Dream: Dark chocolate with salted peanuts
So FYI folks, there is an option for vegans at the bakery! It'd probably go pretty nicely with a cup of hot coffee.
By this time we were feeling bad that poor JX probably had some energy to burn off from being stuck in the car. So what else could we do...we just let him run from one end of the sidewalk to the other a few times!
See the Bay Leaf sign in the upper right hand corner there? The bakery is right next door with the yellow awning. Just FYI.
We just told him it was a race.

After a few laps, we told him that he won the race and it was time to get back in to drive, and drive, and drive. 

So, if you're passing through Spearfish, I'd suggest having a look at Bay Leaf, just make sure you're clear about the no dairy/eggs stuff!!

Bay Leaf Cafe
126 W Hudson St
Spearfish, SD 57783-2343
(605) 642-5462

Alright...time to hit the road. And that we did. We ended up stopping at Albert Lea, MN for the night at about 10pm. Then got right back up at 6am to get going again. We were desperate to make it back to Chicago at a decent time. And at this time of year, you've always got to take the weather into account. 

We passed through the Wisconsin Dells, and if you've been reading this blog, you'll know what's there...that's right...The Cheese Factory!! I'm still obsessed with their vegan chimichanga, I just had to get another one on our way through, to go. I went in and ordered, making sure to specify no sour cream on the side, and that it's vegan. They have a vegan menu, but I didn't ask for it because I already knew what I wanted. Well, the host must not have understood what I was asking for, because when we were already headed down the highway and I started cutting into my chimichanga, a huge hunk of stringy cheese was on my fork! Oh the horror! I was so sad. Husband asked if I wanted to turn around, but we were already so damn tired and ready to be home (we still had 3 hours of driving to do), that I said no and just ate around it. Luckily it was all on the bottom, so I just ate the tofu, onions, rice. and tortilla from the top part. But I was still sad and let down. And I was not in a picture-taking mood. Like I want a cheesy chimichanga on this blog, anyway.

Lesson learned: even if I think the waitstaff may understand my needs, I'll have to start making it perfectly clear (politely of course, I'm not that kind of customer) that we're on the same page before my order even goes into the kitchen. ::sigh::'s SO GREAT to be home. I can't wait to start reviewing more Chicago eats and sharing photos with you guys!

Us in Wyoming.

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