A few weeks ago, I took a bus down to Carbondale to spend the weekend with my husband. Carbondale is a small town in southern Illinois, but it’s a college town so there are actually a few things for vegans to get excited about! My hometown (which I am grudgingly living in for now) is five times as big and has not even half the options. The health food store here is small, and has the driest, saddest vegan baked good ever. The eating out options are fine, but there isn’t any place specifically for vegetarians.
I was only in Carbondale for 38 hours, but I managed to stuff myself pretty hardcore.
The first place we went to was Longbranch Coffee House, a vegetarian cafe. Unfortunately they don’t have a website or menu online (and our table was too small for me to get pictures with my portrait lens), but I do remember that the number of options that were already vegan or could be made vegan were a little slim. But i’m a creature of habit anyway, so even if they have one thing that I like that I can eat, i’m happy. I had a veggie calzone (no vegan cheese, just cheeseless), and the dough was to die for. So, so good. I checked out the bakery case at the front and if any of the items were vegan, they weren’t marked as such.
The health food store was just down the block, so we went in there. A quick glance over the bulk section revealed no nooch or gluten – the two things that I can’t get from regular grocery stores that I consider absolute musts. The only vegan cheese was Veganrella, which I didn’t even know still existed because most stores stick to Follow Your Heart or have moved onto Teese and other newer products. Then I looked at the deli case to see if they had any vegan items. They had tofu salad made with Vegenaise…and HONEY. I have this habit about loudly bitching about fucking hippies and their need to put honey in fucking everything, and Brian saw the label before I did and started giggling. I didn’t see much else in the way of vegan items. On the way out, the woman behind the counter offered me some local cheese.
I don’t anticipate going there very much.
Then we got to go to the Co-Op. The clouds parted and the angels sang. It was amazing. Not only did they have everything I expected, but they had more! Chocolate covered ginger, vegan sandwiches and wraps, a daily vegan pizza special (that day was olive, and I hate olives so I passed), and more importantly CAKE. Often times when i’m feeling down, or bleeding and murderous, I often complain that I can’t just get a single piece of cake. I have to make a whole cake or batch of cupcakes (which I can halfsies, but still) myself.
Since I wasn’t staying long I only got the essentials. You know, chocolate and sugar. And a sandwich (called John Lennon) for the bus trip home. Chocolate cake, a mini-carrot cake, chocolate covered ginger, carob energy bites, and my sandwich (baked tofu, peanut butter, and roasted peppers). The chocolate cake was a smallish portion, but it was a little over $1 so that’s okay. I went back before my bus ride to get another piece and they were all sold out (b00). So I got two pre-packaged cake donuts instead.
After the sugar coma that ensued, I was happy when I found out Lent was coming up, and I decided to do the low-sugar, gluten free thing I did last year. But come Easter, I am all over that place again.
The only bad experience was the indian buffet. Brian was all excited to take me, and it turned out to be a total bust. They only had eight or nine trays, and like an idiot I plopped rice down on my plate without looking at the other food first. I’m naive and have had good luck with indian food so I just assumed it would be safe, if only for one or two dishes. They had one bean dish that had meat in it, more meaty things, and then things that clearly had dairy in them. I ended up with plain rice, spicy cabbage that was too hot for me to even eat, and plain salad. I ate as much as I could while trying not to cry, and it was $9! And seriously, what kind of indian place has meat in the chickpea dish?
But overall, it was a pleasant experience and I would really like to sell our house so I can move there already! Mostly so I can see this handsome dude all the time:
under: family, food, life, pictures, vegan in illinois