This past weekend we took a drive upstate for a little Mother’s Day getaway. Our plans had included a visit to Catskill Animal Sanctuary, but we unfortunately weren’t able to get there this time. We were, however, able to revisit some of our favorite places from our last visit to the area and also try some of the restaurants that we missed.
I won’t spend too much time rehashing the places I’ve already posted about, except to say the following: We definitely made a detour to Lagusta’s Luscious for chocolate bars and truffles. I also snatched up a jar of their chocolate hazelnut butter, which made its way onto a sort of sundae when we got home along with some Van Leeuwen’s vegan banana nut ice cream and a pile of sliced strawberries. While in New Paltz, we also swung by Karma Road so that Chris could pick up a handful of their sweet potato biscuits, which he and Roman polished off in less than 24 hours. The biscuits aren’t GF so I got a smoothie, much of which became Roman’s.
We returned to Garden Cafe on the Green for brunch on Mother’s Day, enjoying a feast similar to the one we had on our first visit. We even sat at the same table and, while waiting for our food, I discovered a drawer that I hadn’t noticed before. Upon pulling it out I found the sweet little note pictured below.
Now onto the new stuff!
Catskill Mountain Pizza Company
This casual pizza place is located on the main drag in Woodstock and offers both vegan and gluten-free options. We ate here twice during our stay, opting both times to sit outside and enjoy our meal on their large patio. Roman watched the road for motorcycles while Chris sipped a soda and I enjoyed a New Grist GF beer.
The selection of veggie pizza toppings is ample enough that I had a hard time narrowing down my options. Chris got a regular pizza with soy mozzarella, olives, and tofu both times. The first night there, I topped my pie with tofu, spinach, tomato and soy mozzarella; the second, I went with kalamata olives, spinach, and soy mozz. The gluten-free pizzas are made with that classic 8-9″, thin, crispy, rice flour-based crust that, if you’ve been gluten-free for a fair amount of time, you’re likely familiar with. Which is to say, it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was enjoyable and served its purpose nicely.
Overall the food was solid and the atmosphere was relaxed and pleasant. Though we’ve been twice, we’d go back again in a heartbeat.
We initially bookmarked Oriole9 because it had a couple of vegan options on its menu, but sort of put off going…because it only had a couple vegan options on its menu. Then, as we were trying to decide what to do for breakfast on Monday morning, we found ourselves confronting small-town, weekday business hours. Nothing was open until 11am—except for Oriole9. We figured that a couple vegan options were better than none, right?
The restaurant itself was super cute, with a funky/modern vibe featuring a couple of chalkboard walls and tons of interesting artwork. A small, tot-sized table tucked off to the side was piled with children’s books, a couple of which helped us through the downtime before the food came. They even offered colorful plastic cups and utensils for the kiddos. The place was chill and hip, but decidedly family-friendly.
There were essentially two vegan breakfast options on their menu: oatmeal and a curried coconut tofu hash. Both Chris and Roman ordered the oatmeal and I decided to try the hash. Being the avid lover of oatmeal that he is, Roman was content with his bowl, while Chris, though he enjoyed it, felt that it was a touch undercooked for his taste. The tofu hash, though? Oh my goodness. The flavor was rich, savory, and just mildly exotic—not overpoweringly “curry” at all. Included in the mix were cubes of tofu, potatoes, peppers, spinach, and deeply sweet herb-roasted tomatoes. A light mesclun salad sat off to one side, and I opted to replace the garlic toast with a mound of crispy potatoes. This dish was a bold reminder that, while variety is a nice menu feature, you really only need one solid option. I am so glad that everything else was closed that morning. The tofu hash alone was more than worth the visit.
Sunflower Natural Foods Market
We popped into this cute little natural foods store one night in search of some post-pizza dessert. Immediately upon entering, we noticed that they, like any well-stocked natural market, had tons of vegan items. Since I still haven’t been able to get my hands on them locally, I grabbed a pack of the Field Roast Chao cheese slices and also snagged an herb-garlic soft cheese from Treeline. In addition to the ample selection of vegan cheese, and several vegan and gluten-free snack items that we spied as we chased Roman up and down the aisles, I noticed that the freezer case was also stocked with a handful of non-dairy ice cream options. If you’re visiting or staying in the area, this market should be able to keep you fed and then some. (The Chao cheese didn’t make it home with us, by the way. We had it straight from the package as a pre-brunch snack with some rest stop grapes.)
The Rosendale Cafe
We swung by this vegetarian cafe for lunch on our way home. It’s a bit of a dive, with padded vinyl tables and chairs, many of which are cracked or peeling, but that’s somehow part of its charm. The artwork hung from the walls and ceiling ranges from bizarre, to abstract, to frightening, to beautiful, to a combination thereof. Vegan and gluten-free substitutions can be made for nearly all of the dishes on their menu, which is varied but leans largely toward burritos and the like.
We started things off with a plate of nachos, which, since we got the pico de gallo on the side, consisted of a plate of yellow corn chips topped with cumin-seasoned black beans and melted Daiya cheddar—pretty basic. For our mains, Chris and I both had the breakfast burrito, subbing in scrambled tofu and vegan cheese; mine came on a brown rice tortilla. Roman had an almond butter and jelly sandwich (I think this was the first time we’ve ever ordered him a strictly “kids’ menu”-type item). Our water was served in wide-mouth, pint-sized mason jars garnished with a wedge of lime. The food was good, and vegan, though I don’t know how fresh things were (the spinach on our burritos seemed to be of the frozen variety). That said, as long as you set your expectations to easy, super casual comfort food, it’s a solid option for a vegan and gluten-free meal.
As often as I’m dismayed and baffled by restaurant menus that lack even one animal-free item, I am also incredibly impressed with the increasing number of places that are offering vegan dishes and substitutions. Woodstock, NY and the surrounding areas are really on the ball here, with a vibrant and, it seems, growing vegan scene. I’ve no doubt the local sanctuaries have and will continue to help this momentum build. It’s a good thing the drive is so beautiful, because I sure am looking forward to seeing what’s yet to come.