Situated less than three hours from my hometown of Pensacola, New Orleans is a city I’ve had a close relationship with for more than a decade—since I could legally drive a car. And in the years following high school, I’ve spent some monumental moments in this city.
New Orleans is the first (and only) place my car has been towed. It’s where I’ve seen some of my favorite musical acts, between intimate venues and festival settings. It’s where I became an adult, that is, I spent my 18th birthday here watching the Faint and Bright Eyes perform. It’s where I saw Sufjan (the man) Stevens up so closely that I presented him with a personal note (creepy? maybe). It’s the location of impromptu day trips taken with my mom, and friends. And it’s even where I [unintentionally] was with my roommates the moment the New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl five years ago.
This photo was taken just after we stepped outside onto Bourbon Street, minutes after we watched the Saints win the Super Bowl, on a big screen inside the confines of One Eyed Jacks. I’ve never seen an entire city erupt like this and I wouldn’t trade being there in this moment of chaos for anything.
With so many memories attached to this city, it’s no wonder I was eager to experience it from a street-level perspective (running). And so, at the beginning of 2012, I jumped on the opportunity to run the New Orleans Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon for the first time. I was back for round two the following year, in 2013. Unfortunately, timing didn’t pan out last year, since I had literally just quit my job, wasn’t quite trained, and the race fell on the same weekend as a 15K at home in Pensacola, so I opted for that instead. However, for the past year, I’ve been eager to make a NOLA race comeback. Granted the drive was much longer this time coming all the way from St. Augustine, I wasn’t going to miss it. Thankfully Andrew wanted to join, so we made an extended venture out of it.
In my last post, “Run Happy, Run NOLA,” I elaborated on the race itself and the moments leading up to the start line. I also noted there to be much more to our trip. With that, here are some of the sights and tastes we experienced, beyond the race.
Yesterday, I revisited several “On the Run” highlights from the first six months of Vegan on the Run. Since at the heart of each and every one of my days is plant-based cuisine, today I’ve decided to revisit the recipes that I’ve shared thus far. And so, I present to you a visual recap of the spread of vegan eats and drinks I’ve included on the blog since its launch date.
Intrigued by any of the dishes below? Simply click on a photo and it will take you to the appropriate blog post—complete with ingredients, directions, health perks and more.
When I’m asked, “Do you want to do brunch?” my immediate thought is, “Is there anything for me to eat there (aside from a fruit cup)?”
Truthfully, while I typically abide by a “You can take me (almost) anywhere” mantra, brunch can be a tough one for vegans. But when it’s on, it’s on. In recent months, I’ve enjoyed some standout vegan brunches across the Southeast states—brunches too good not to share.
With the exception of End of the Line’s $15 all-star, three-course brunch (that I most recently indulged upon this past Sunday with my mom), all of these platefuls came in under ten dollars a pop. For this reason, I will go ahead and refer to the following selections as vegan brunchin’ like a boss on a budget.
Whether you are planning to stay in for brunch, or dine out this coming weekend, here’s a little vegan brunch inspiration to get your mouth watering.
Brunchin’ in Pensacola — End of the Line Café
Brunch Hours: Sundays, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. CST
On My Plate: Brunch of the Day–tofu eggs benny florentine with hollandaise and grape tomato-basil relish over black-eyed peas and yellow grits, served with a spring salad; Not Pictured: roasted red pepper bisque; peach cobbler with vanilla cream and toasted almonds
Selling Points: Although open for lunch and dinner throughout the remainder of the week, Sunday brunch is one of this vegan café’s most notable features. The following excerpt from a write-up I did last year for Inweekly’s Best of the Coast awards sums up my sentiments toward this rave-worthy hole in the wall: “Multi-course weekly spectaculars, tempeh anyway you could dream it up, made to order cashew cheese to take home with you—and that’s only the half of it. Over the course of the past decade, Jen Knight-Shoemaker, owner of End of the Line Café has transformed her coffee shop into a full-fledged, bright, shining, organic, locally-sourced, powerhouse of a vegan restaurant, coffee bar and art space. Yes, it really is quite a mouthful! And a tasty one at that.” Owner Knight-Shoemaker also contributed to a cover story I wrote for the paper last November during World Vegan Month, titled “V is for Vegan.”
Between my marathon trip to Nashville with my mom just two weeks ago, and Mother’s Day Sunday, “Mum” has certainly been the word lately.
With the launch of Vegan on the Run, and marathon training, I’ve spent ample time since the beginning of the year reflecting on two arenas my mom has been (and continues to be) highly impactful, and two appreciations that we share—running and food.
During marathon training, my mom encouraged me every step of the way, all the way to the finish line. When I found myself battling doubts leading up to the race, she was quick to call me out, set me straight and eagerly share her own marathon trials and stories. She reminded me that although running the marathon was something I really wanted, it wasn’t the thing I wanted more than everything else in my entire life. She reminded me there were other things I wanted and had invested myself in, urging me to keep in mind that it’s all part of the never-ending balancing act.