I spent the past weekend in Woodstock, gearing up for ThanksLiving. But the farm isn’t the only game in town when it comes to good vegan eats; my husband and I stuffed ourselves plenty before even setting foot on WFAS property.
That said, there aren’t that many places for a vegan to eat in Woodstock, which is why we spent so much time at the Garden Cafe. (Note: GC donated 68 pounds of cornbread to be used in WFAS’s ThanksLiving stuffing, and boy, was it good!) It was too cold to sit outside, so we sat inside at one of the mismatched tables with ceramic salt and pepper shaker figurines. Local art covers the walls (as it does most everywhere in town), and the staff, too (though I can’t say for sure that the staff’s ink is local), giving the place a small-town but very progressive vibe.
On to the food: As a rule, I never order tofu scramble when I’m out. Somewhere along the line I got a really disappointing dish of it, and since then it’s been all pancakes, French toast and biscuits and gravy. But I was in the mood for protein, so I threw caution to the wind and ordered the Basic Tofu Scramble with spinach and avocado. And I cannot express how happy I am that I listened to that instinct! The scramble was, simply put, divine. The menu doesn’t say much more than “with onions,” and aside from spinach and avocado you can add mushrooms or bell peppers. But the flavor was so oniony (in a green way), the scramble so delicately and satisfyingy seasoned, that I couldn’t wait to order it for breakfast the next day. It comes with a slice of toast, cut into wedges, and some Earth Balance. Between that, some coffee and a small glass of OJ, I didn’t need anything else.
I can’t say enough about Garden Cafe’s Basic Tofu Scramble. I’m a changed woman.
Well, almost anything else. Sated as I was, I decided to go for a little palate cleanser, and the winner was the Apple Crisp, listed on the menu as Wheat-Free Cinnamon-Baked Seasonal Fruit with Crunchy Oat Topping. It was scrumptious, not too heavy, and with just the right amount of sweetness, the crunch of the topping balancing the softness of the apples. It was the perfect after-breakfast dessert.
The Apple Crisp is the perfect after-breakfast dessert.
For lunch we decided to go somewhere else, mostly because e were coming back to the Garden Cafe for dinner. So we headed over to Joshua’s, where there wasn’t a whole lot on the menu for us, but what was there was clearly marked. Of course, there were the usual sides and salads, plus a Mediterranean sampler (hummus, baba ghanoush and tabbouleh), and thankfully a few vegan soups, too, because it was getting nippy out. We got a Lentil Barley Soup and an Apple Butternut Squash Soup, then we split an order of hummus with pita and got some homemade sweet potato chips to go. The Lentil Barley was good and hearty, though flavor-wise I didn’t love it. There wasn’t anything wrong with it; it just didn’t suit my palate after my Butternut Squash. And boy, was mine delicious! Thick and sweet, with a generous helping of cinnamon, it really hit the spot. We would have ordered more (and found out whether the Veggie Burger and Falafel could be made vegan), but we were saving room for dinner. And I already knew what I was having…
Well, I didn’t know which appetizer we’d end up having. I had my heart set on the Garden Cafe’s Spicy Tofu Satay with Peanut Sauce special, but instead we got the Quesadillas with caramelized onions, roasted peppers and “cheddar,” plus black beans with corn and spinach (the other option is black olives). I don’t use sour cream or salsa, so I can’t say how good they were, but the guac was great, so the small scoop was definitely not enough, especially for two of us. But the overall flavor was smoky, and the tortilla was nice and crispy, so I would definitely order this again.
For dinner my husband got the Homemade Southwest Black Bean and Roasted Sweet Potato Burger with guac, salsa and vegan cheddar, while I finally got my special: Baked Seitan with Red Wine Fig Sauce, which came with roasted cauliflower with olives, mushroom flan and sautéed greens. I’m a mushroom-phobe, and the flan was really mushroomy, so I took one bite and never looked back. But I devoured my greens (as always), the cauliflower-broccoli-olive mix, and every single morsel of the seitan. The seitan’s texture was perfect, and its flavor was complex and stew-like, exactly what I was hoping for. Between dinner and the lovely dry red wine I’d ordered, I didn’t have room for much else, though I did manage to scarf down a scoop of vanilla and a scoop of chocolate ice cream—but only to clear my palate, of course.
The Baked Seitan with Red Wine Fig Sauce was the perfect meal for a cold night out.
Garden Cafe’s seitan dish was amazing, and it made me wonder: Is it because they use the locally made seitan we get at Sunflower Market on the way home every year? I was too busy eating to remember to ask, but I’ll make a point to inquire next time.
No trip to Woodstock is complete without a stop at Sunflower Market for some locally made seitan.
Speaking of next time, our innkeeper told us they make a great vegan hash at Oriole 9, just a few doors down from Joshua’s. I can’t imagine it could even come close to the Scramble at Garden Cafe, but I’m interested to try it. But maybe for lunch: Now that I’ve found such a good thing in GC’s scramble, I’m in no hurry to replace it with anything else.
This is Part 2 of my Woodstock Weekend posts. Click here for Part 1 and find out what the good folks over at Woodsroack Farm Animal Sanctuary served up for ThanksLiving 6.0.