Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Vegan on the Road: Sanibel Island

I spent the last five days traveling around Sanibel Island and the west coast of Florida with my best friend. It's an amazing place for an animal lover to visit, with so many wildlife preserves and refuges and a heavy emphasis on eco-tourism. But with the Gulf Coast's economic dependency on seafood, eating can be a challenge. Here are a few things we did right:

Fish? This guy can keep my share.

1. Come prepared: I brought dried fruit, nut butter, whole almonds, and organic whole grain bread from home. Then we stopped at Whole Foods on the drive and bought fresh fruits and vegetables, some vegan microwavables, and drinks.

2. Consider where to stay: my friend wisely chose a hotel - the Seaside Inn in Sanibel - that made our lives a little easier. The room had a little kitchenette with a mini-fridge, microwave, plates and flatware. There was a grill outside that we could use. And each day, a breakfast basket was delivered to our room that contained (among non-vegan items) fruit cups, orange juice, and bagels.

3. Get the lay of the land: we drove around a bit before we decided to try a restaurant, getting off the main drag to see where I was most likely to be able to eat. I found some easily veganizable items on the menu at George and Wendy's Corner Grill (I just had to say "hold the cheese!") and the Over Easy Cafe ("hold the honey mustard!").

Panko-crusted fried green tomatoes with basil, balsamic reduction
and a drizzle of chive oil from George and Wendy's Corner Grill

And thank goodness for the ubiquitousness of Subway, which I enjoyed for a quick lunch on Sanibel and also saved us in the tiny town of Everglades City just outside Everglades National Park. 

Thanks to these three things, I really didn't have to think much about food and could just enjoy the spectacular natural beauties of my home state.

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