No one can say that we didn’t anticipate a few challenges while on vacation with our new vegetarian. I think that eating out anyplace is often a challenge for people on special diets, but in a place that’s celebrated for its seafood, it may have been extra challenging. And yet, Louisa didn’t starve thanks to some creative meal strategies, some wonderful sandwich shops, and doughnuts – no, just kidding. It’s not like I’d feed my daughter doughnuts if they weren’t part of my meals for the week, too.
Like the doughnuts in the photo above from the Sandy Pony Donuts truck that’s a recent addition to Chincoteague. Please note, we only purchased one each despite the temptation for more. We’ve concluded that the difference between freshly made doughnuts has nothing to do with the foundation doughnut, it’s all about the filling or the glaze. Duh. I know, that sounds like a ridiculous conclusion, but you have to eat a lot of doughnuts to reach it. We also ate doughnuts at L’il Whippy, although I forgot to photograph it. Our family is divided on which we like better.
After years of vacationing in Chincoteague, we finally tried afternoon tea at the Channel Bass Inn. We’ve walked by the sign outside countless times and this year I swore we’d try it. So glad we did. We were treated to freshly made egg salad sandwiches, salmon and cream cheese croissants and, for our vegetarian, tomato and cheese sandwiches. And yes, she asked when we made our reservation if we had vegetarians in our party.
That was followed by our hostess Barbara’s famous scones that came straight out of the oven – so good, AND she sent us home with more! There was pound cake with freshly whipped cream and berries, plus, we had little buttery Stuffed Monkey cookies to finish our feast. Not sure if this was more lunch or dinner, but we weren’t really that hungry as dinnertime approached and ended up just ordering appetizers at the local hang.
Pico Taqueria, another food truck on the island, had opened last year but we missed stopping by. This year they did and we all had freshly made tacos, and while the rest of us ordered meat tacos such as my chicken one below, Louisa was able to order a bean filled taco for her lunch.
To change things up a bit we decided to explore the area off the the island and took the long, desolate drive to Saxis, VA, a farming and fishing community that clearly appeals to anyone that desires extreme peace and quiet. Emphasis on extreme. We thought the drive would never end. And then we arrived at the restaurant recommended by the Chincoteague tourism office, Captain E’s Hurricane Bar and Grill, which despite the appearances from the parking lot, was a very cute hangout. Just look at that adorable bar with the Christmas ornament decorations. Apparently a lot of diners arrive by water and park their boats at the dock, a much more attractive view than the car lot.
And while I don’t usually share photos of the bathroom, how often do you find a jungle and a monkey when you walk inside one?
The chef/owner, Frank, is a vegetarian himself and when he learned there was nothing on the menu for Louisa, he prepared a special salad for her. After we ate, he visited with us for a while sharing stories about the restaurant, as well as his own journey as a vegetarian with recommendations for online sites to purchase natural products. You just never know where you will run into like minds.
Another new place for us is called Poseidon’s Pantry, a gourmet deli and grocery store. I ordered the hummus sandwich you see in the photo, but they could make any sandwich vegetarian or vegan on request. You don’t have to be vegetarian to love this deli.
One of our favorite restaurants on the island serves Vietnamese food. For years we avoided it in our narrow minded snobbery, thinking how good could it be this far from a major city? After seeing full capacity there for years, we finally tried it out and now go back every time we visit. With tofu on the menu, Louisa had no problems finding a meal.
A few of the nights she had no options but spaghetti marinara or spaghetti with grilled vegetables. She just wasn’t in the mood for it more than once. And so, her substitute dinner became a salad and a baked potato. Creative? Yes. Boring? For sure. But at least Virginia potatoes are extra tasty and she didn’t starve.
Wash that down with an ice cream from one of the many island shops, and her meal was complete.