mints in New Jersey
Tuesday, August 25 2015
location: 22nd Floor, Hotel Palomar, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
We had good luck this morning at Rittenhouse Square after walking two thirds of the way around the periphery of Rittenhouse Square. Ramona had been doing a walking squat for hundreds of feed when suddenly a poop came out. It was just one, so I grabbed it with a leaf and threw it into a nearby trashcan. But then came another, so I used another leaf. And then a whole shitload came out, which I bagged and took to a distant trashcan so as not to draw flies to an area where people were sitting. We're all part of a community, you see.
Back in our hotel room, Gretchen arranged (as she nearly always does) for a late checkout, in this case at 1:00pm. This would allow time for more midday vegan tourism. It would also allow us to watch the rest of Hot Tub Time Machine II, which didn't get any better at the end.
The free coffee at Hotel Palomar had been fairly good, but (as with their happy hour) it had stopped abruptly after an hour. So when we went out to begin today's vegan restaurant adventures, we first when to Serafina, the big brasserie-style restaurant across the street from HipCityVeg. They weren't open yet, but they were super nice and let us in anyway and made us coffee to go, which Gretchen said was the best of our entire vacation.
Across the street at HipCityVeg, it wasn't even 11:00am yet, so there was no line to wait in when Gretchen placed an order for sandwiches and salads to go, the idea being that they would be something we could eat today on the drive back to Hurley. Relaxed by the lull before the lunchtime wave of customers, the person at the counter was being chatty with Gretchen, and soon I overheard talk of "Hudson Valley" and "the Catskills." Gretchen was talking about where we were from.
Since the HipCityVeg food was for later, we had to also have lunch somewhere. It should come as no surprise that we returned to V-Street, our favorite restaurant in Philadelphia. Gretchen thought it opened at 11:30, but no, that was a half hour too soon. They were nice and told us to come back in 15 minutes, so we squandered that time in Rittenhouse Square, watching a white child who was far too old and unretarded for such things being carted around in a stroller.
We ate at the corner of V-Street's brutalist concrete bar, snarfing down favorites from the other night as well as one of the five most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth: the Poha, an Indian-style papadum & cauliflower taco. It had cucumber, so Gretchen couldn't have any, but I could eat that every day of my life. The only dish that seemed a little weak (and only in comparison to the other things) was the Tortilla Cobb Salad. While we were there, Gretchen also managed to do some successful vegan networking. She has to arrange poetry readings in far-flung towns, but before doing that, one has to network. And, unlike me, she's great at it.
We checked out of Hotel Palomar about ten minutes before 1:00pm, wrangling our dogs and modest luggage into our Prius when the valet produced it from wherever it had spent the last couple days.
I-95 is depressing and congested, so we used Google Maps to direct us on a more directly northward route through Princeton, which is a town we've often driven through when going to and coming back from the Washington DC area. On a smartphone (without the interactive capabilities of a real computer) the way to force Google Maps to direct us there was to first say our destinationwasis Trenton and only once there change it to Hurley. Northeast of Princeton, we found a good place beside an overgrown field (40.526657N, 74.626862W) to pull over and then took our dogs for their first country walk in two days. They were much more relaxed here and both took the opportunity to urinate. Eleanor, who was at that point our most constipated dog, took care of all her business. While there, I discovered the most strongly-flavored mint I've ever tasted growing as a weed. Unusal for a mint, its flowers came in tight little umbels. (Perhaps it was Mountain Mint or a close relative.)
A couple hours later, we were back home in Hurley. I sat down in front of my computer to find that it had sat there for the last five days asking me if I wanted to abort a list of applications. I'd made the mistake of asking it to shutdown, and evidently it was perfectly happy to wait forever with that question.
Gretchen had the idea that we needed to harvest the garlic from our long-neglected garlic patch. It had been so neglected that we were forced to systematically dig through the topsoil in search of them. Happily, at least, I found a great many huge nightcrawlers living in the soil, suggesting that my efforts to improve the fertility of that soil have been successful. Unfortunately, the attention Gretchen paid to the garlic patch soon had her looking at other parts of the garden, particularly the tomato patches, which were similarly overrun with weeds. She wondered why I had let it get so bad and said that she doesn't weed the garden because I'm overly protective of it (true: I'm concerned she will pull up the wrong plants). That made sense, and I felt bad, and together we pulled a huge number of weeds, exposing many long-lost tomato vines to the sun. As I've said before, it's easy to (and almost inevitable that someone will) neglect a garden at this time of year.
We hadn't been hungry on the road at all and didn't develop sufficient hunger to attack those HipCityVeg sandwiches until dinnertime tonight.
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