The Quest for Vegetarian Kimchi

Today, a good friend drove 3.5 hours one way from NJ just to come see me in Fredericksburg, VA.  We spent most of our time together running our mouths non-stop, but still enjoyed seeing some new sites in the Historic District and enjoying good food.  After a lunch of sandwiches, we enjoyed the Trolley Tour of Fredericksburg  After nearly 4 years as a Fredericksburg resident, this was my first time on the trolley and it was well worth the $17.  I was concerned that I might be bored since I’ve been on 2 Fredericksburg Ghost Tours, the Tour of Homes, as well as visited Chatham Manor, the Battlefield, and other local historic sites, but I was pleasantly surprised to find we went on streets I’ve never seen and I learned A LOT that I didn’t know.  For instance, historic Fredericksburg has 86% of its original structures, versus Colonial Williamsburg, which is almost entirely a reproduction built from the ground up by the Rockefellers.  Who knew?  Also, 8,000 men died in the first day of the Battle of Fredericksburg, the same amount that died on the first day of the D-Day assault on the beaches. 

After our tour, we wandered around the shops downtown, discovering Colonial Cupcakes along the way.  I found it disconcerting that the salesstaff was garbed in colonial dress since I wasn’t aware cupcakes were a popular treat during the American Revolution, but nonetheless , I do like to support local businesses…now if only they had VEGAN cupcakes…(  We also stopped in Goolrick’s Pharmacy, which claims to have the oldest soda fountain in the country.  We made a trip out to 5 Mile to the International Supermarket and I walked away with some great loot: taro, a purple yam, pickled eggplant, pickled mustard greens, and a buttercup squash.  If only I could find vegetarian-friendly kimchi, but although the market had every brand under the sun, they all contained shrimp, fish, or squid.  I was tempted to get a can of vegetarian imitation duck, but I just can’t buy any meat in a can, even IF it’s not really meat.

5 Mile International Supermarket Loot

Finally, to cap off a lovely day, we had dinner at Sammy T’s (, which is extremely vegan friendly.  We started with the black bean dip and substituted their homemade ‘hot sauce’ (salsa) for the sour cream.  I had a cup of 8 vegetable soup and the House Simpleton salad.  I know, vegetable soup, so boring.  But this has 8 VEGETABLES.  Let’s see: 1) broccoli, 2) celery, 3) zucchini, 4) peas, 5) mushrooms, 6) tomatoes…don’t remember the last 2.  With a glass of pinot noir, it was a perfect light dinner for conversation and warming up my ice block toes.  No pictures, sorry, I still haven’t gotten comfortable enough to photograph my food in a public place.

My continued explorations of the town further convince me that I’m really lucky to be here.  The town itself just has so much character and I continue to discover new nooks and crannies everytime I venture out. 

A few recaps from dinner this week.  Every week, my nightly salad features something different–this week was radishes, with the leftover Low-Fat Poppyseed Dressing I used on my broccoli slaw.

Japanese Eggplant with spices

Neither seasonal nor local, but cut me some slack.  I wanted eggplant.  I baked it for ~20 minutes and the spices are garlic powder, kosher salt, cumin, and curry powder.

BBQ Tofu and Garlic Ginger Broccoli

I still have not perfect my baked tofu, probably because I’m too darned impatient to actually press the tofu really well.  I’m looking for that perfectly crisp/crunchy exterior and soft interior, without frying.  Here, I just baked some tofu and threw in roasted portobello mushroom, orange bell pepper, onion, and leftover eggplant, with a bit of Wegman’s BBQ sauce.  I like it better with Susan’s Golden Mustard BBQ sauce, but I was ridiculously hungry and the bottled kind will do in a pinch.  The broccoli was just steamed in broth with a ton of garlic, dried shiitake mushrooms, and grated ginger.  There are so many wonderful recipes on Susan’s website that I would like to try, and I have tried a good many, but truthfully, when I get home in the evenings, I’m so darn hungry and tired, I just don’t have the energy.  This also explains my less than stellar photography skills.  I’m trying to capture pictures of the food before stuffing my face, so you’re lucky there’s even a crumb left on these plates!

I’m very excited because this is the last week of February and March is the beginning of champagne mango season.  I’ve been waiting since July!  I’m also looking forward to this week because another friend will be coming to visit from Raleigh, NC, giving me more chances to enjoy good vegetarian food in the area, with someone who will appreciate it!  Tomorrow, grocery shopping and preparing my lunches for the week.  It begins, all over again…

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