Saturday, March 12, 2011

Vegan hotel room meals and the Newark Food Coop, Newark Delaware

Twice a year I am down in the Wilmington area for training and my choice is to stay in a suite or studio where I have a full size fridge, microwave, a stove/oven and a minimal set of dishes, pots and pans.

My first stop is usually to the Newark Food Coop and the Asian grocery right behind.  I find it easier to shop here for some stables I need back home and truck everything back to NY in the car than to shlep everything from Chinatown on the subway, especially since there are a lot of glass bottles and jars.

This is from my first night, easy microwaved Amy's Quarter Pound Veggie Burgers.  I had some Ezekiel 4:9 bread I had brought down, some daiya and organic salad greens, spinach and tomato.  Nothing fancy but a lot better than I could have gotten at just about any restaurant ... and I knew it was all vegan.

There's also a toaster in the room so there was a nice light toast to the bread too.
Amazing fresh organic heirloom tomatoes.
Tonights dinner was actually cooked.  I wanted something more than a sandwich or seitan burrito so this was my cooked dinner night.  The bread was multigrain I got from the coop for free.  Seems they were getting a bread delivery the next day and were giving away day old bread.  After toasting it I put a bit of earth balance and daiya on it and tucked it under the broiler for a few minutes.

The organic whole wheat penne was from the bulk area of the coop and that was boiled up to al dente and set aside as the sauce was cooking down.  I started that with half a chopped onion and 3 cloves of garlic sweating down in a frying pan in a little bit of grapeseed oil.  The coop has an amazing spice section

I mean, seriously, this is heaven for someone who loves to cook.  Like me. This must be like ... a million, no, two million dollars worth of spices.  Maybe a billion, I don't know.
and I had a little bag of crushed red peppers and another of Italian seasoning mix which went in while the onions and garlic were cooking.  

I added some red pepper strips and some cut green beans and a few minutes later tossed in some Lightlife Gimme Lean beef style.  When all this was cooked down I added a can of organic Muir Glen Roasted crushed tomatoes.  After a few minutes I tossed in a large handful of nutritional yeast to give it a nice cheesy flavor and thicken it up.  Then I tossed in the pasta and stirred it up.

This is why I prefer to cook rather than eating out.

Newark, Delaware is a college town and there are only two places that come up on Happy Cow.  Shame more young people haven't gotten the vegan message yet.   

Where can you walk in off the street and get a vegan meal like this in Newark, Delaware.  
Breakfast has been pretty standard for me, Amy's Breakfast Burrito with Daiya Cheese melted on it.  But.  The Newark Food Coop also has about 15 different kinds of organic, fair trade coffee so I've been drinking this:

I wanted a 3 bean rating, whatever that meant.  It means good coffee is what it means.
So thank you to the Coop for being my main source of nourishment for my twice a year training and making it EASY to be vegan on the road.  And thank you too to Wang's Oriental Food Store which is right behind the coop.  Here's part of my last dinner in Wilmington on this go around.  I have a few more vegan items in the freezer.  Hope they'll make it all the way home.

Mao Mao Corp also had many animal products in the shelves there but this was only Soybean, Mushroom, Sugar, Soy Sauce, Lily Flowers and seasonings.
The Vegetable Duck had a very nice combination of earthy sweetness.  It was chewy but not tough, the lily flowers added a nice crunch, (think bamboo),  and made a perfect addition to the bun which is mainly mushroom and green vegetables.

My two totally processed ingredients. 
I put a dollop of Sambal chili sauce on the bun and it added a nice kick to the savory flavors.  And a big red dot.
As I've mentioned before, having a car and being able to find a coop, natural market, Whole Foods, ethnic market or anyplace that you can get what you need is half, if not three quarters, of the battle.  Having a way to heat up your food is the last quarter of the battle.  This is my preferred option unless there's a place in a town offering vegan options that I want to try.  Eating this way in your room always comes with the added benefit of never having to ask yourself, "Is this cooked with chicken stock?"

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