there’s a place up ahead and i’m going…

There’s a time and a place for CCR, and that time and place is the classic, all-American roadtrip!

We’re taking our third trip of the year and things didn’t pan out quite as they were supposed to. Flight prices rose and unforeseen bills popped up (like the $600 I had to spend to fix the A/C in my car). So, instead of flying to Philly to visit our friends, we’re driving!

Some cringe at the idea of driving for 13 hours, but I say bring it on! We drove the same distance last year around this time–to Denver–and it was the time of our lives. My boyfriend has never been much of a fan of the classic roadtrip, and unfortunately my vision for us (singing along to CCR) is never fully realized, and is instead replaced by reality (me humming CCR quietly to myself as he snores in the passenger seat), but that’s okay! The thing I love about a good roadtrip is a) I haven’t seen much of the middle states, and a roadtrip is a great time to pay those states a visit, and b) I kind of love anything I get to build a soundtrack for. I’m a HUGE music nerd and I get super stoked about making the roadtrip playlist.

As a vegan, the stress of traveling tends to develop a new dimension. Some cities are more veg-friendly (San Francisco, Denver…), but then we find ourselves hanging out at halfway points (Cleveland) and finding a suitable vegan eatery is a tad more challenging. Or, there’s always that pesky little problem of being outnumbered once we get to Philly (three omnivores to one vegan) so at least a few days of my trip will be spent foraging, and probably eating my fair share of clif bars. (…And french fries. and beer.)

We’re running short on time, as we’re leaving straight from work on Friday so we can make it to Cleveland Friday night as a stopping point. Clearly, as the resident music nerd, a trip from the midwest to the eastern seaboard wouldn’t have been complete without paying the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a visit. From there on Saturday, we’ll drive straight to Philly and spend two days there. Monday, as both of our friends are working, we have the day to ourselves, where we’ll be eating at a vegan pizzeria that I’ve already scouted out. Tuesday morning, we take off for Pittsburgh (possibly taking a detour to Gettysburg, because why not?). We’ll be spending a short while in Pittsburgh so we can catch a Pirates vs Cubs game and eat some more yummy vegan fare. Wednesday morning, we’ll take off for the last leg of our trip so we can be back at work on Thursday. It’s a whirlwind!

I’ve never been further northeast than Columbus, OH, so if you’ve been to Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or Philly, I’d love to hear about your favorite vegan restaurants. Pittsburgh and Philly don’t seem to be too difficult–it’s Cleveland I’m worried about!

I hope to return next week with photos and stories of my travels. My birthday is this Sunday and drinking good beer with good friends in a new city isn’t too shabby of a way to celebrate.

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4 thoughts on “there’s a place up ahead and i’m going…

  1. birds fly says:

    I’ve gone on many vegan food binges up in Philly. It’s only two hours north of Baltimore so it’s an easy trip. There are two good vegan dim sum places in Chinatown: Kingdom of Vegetarians and New Harmony. I highly recommend eating at one of them; they both serve similar fare and omnivores should be pleased, as well. Govinda’s To Go is a good take-out place for sandwiches and desserts (it has some tables but not much space). They also have a vegetarian fine dining restaurant next door. Gianna’s serves vegan pizza and cheese steaks but have dealt with controversy in the past over their cheese not being vegan (you can probably Google the details if you’re interested…they claim the cheese is vegan now, and I still eat there). Sadly, last time I was there they’d stopped selling desserts, which previously had been the crown jewel of their offerings. I think the woman who used to make them had left. Ohh, those vegan cannolis…. I can also recommend a great vegan brunch place: Mi Lah Vegetarian. The brunch used to be a prixe fixe menu that included coffee, juice, baked sweets, fresh fruit, and an entree, but I just looked at their menu and it seems that they’ve changed that. I still recognized some of the entrees, though. It’s a little pricey but the food is amazing and servings were good-sized. I don’t know where you’ll be staying, but these places are all generally located in the Center City area. I know there are other places to eat that are good, including one nationally known vegan fine dining place (can’t remember the name offhand, but I tried making a reservation there once and failed). At any rate, I don’t doubt that you’ll eat well. Philly is a nice city for just walking around, too. Have fun!

    • Thank you so much for all the tips! It sounds like I’ll be returning home a solid 10 lbs heavier! I don’t think I’ll be able to get my omnivore compadres to join in on the vegan feasting, so sadly I’ll have but one day (Monday, when both of my friends will be working) to explore the vegan fare with my boyfriend. I hope to get a solid three meals in on that day. 😀 One place we wanted to check out was Blackbird Pizzeria. Have you heard of it/been? They serve pizza by the slice as well as sandwiches, including a vegan philly cheesesteak. And on the topic of Baltimore–we have a little extra time on Tuesday morning and I was hoping to find a place in Baltimore to have a quick vegan breakfast (really just to say I’d been to Baltimore, because I haven’t), but I had zero luck finding anything on the vegan breakfast front in your city. Do you happen to know of anywhere? If not, we’ll have to save Baltimore for another trip.

      • birds fly says:

        That’s interesting about Blackbird…I’m guessing there are new owners? That’s probably for the best. It always seemed slightly sketchy to me. I’ll have to check it out again next time I’m there. As for Baltimore, the only real place for vegan breakfast is One World Cafe. Another place that has a couple of vegan options for breakfast is Golden West Cafe, but it’s southwestern style food, not traditional breakfast fare. Baltimore’s not really known for its vegan food. Too bad you’re traveling on a Tuesday as there is an amazing vegan place farther down 95 toward DC called Great Sage. But they are only open for brunch on Sundays. They do serve lunch starting at 11:30 during the week, though.

    • Whoops–I just read on the Blackbird website that it was formerly Gianna’s. So that answers my question!

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