vegans at the Rosendale Street Fair
Saturday, July 23 2005
Rosendale had its annual street festival today, and Gretchen and I showed up in the early evening. We parked at the west end of town at the residence of T, one of our non-vegan friends who happens to be a Buddhist and, like me, a Lyme Disease survivor. Oh, the Venn diagrams I could draw!
Rosendale had closed down its main drag Route 213 and it was choked with pedestrians and little stands of people selling things. Periodically there would be a music stage spaced in such a way that the sound from one wouldn't interfere with the next. Since Rosendale is hemmed in between steep cliffs and Rondout Creek, its long and narrow, enough room for five sound stages. I think there was at least one Ad Hoc sound stage set up in someone's yard: a group of kids with a drum kit and electric guitars playing something that sounded like Mallcore. Unfortunately, little about the festival was particularly top-notch, whether food, music, or crafts. But Rosendale is in love with itself, justifiably so, and people were having a great time. Rosendale is to the over-rated Woodstock as Boston is to Akron, Ohio. Lots of people were wearing the tee shirt that says "Rosendale Rocks." I did find a vendor selling excellent knishes and Gretchen bought a $40 ring made entirely of hand-blown glass. The quirky specialty of the festival was a chocolate-covered frozen banana on a stick. Gretchen thought it looked phallic, but to me it looked more fecal than phallic. Not that how it looked mattered; it tasted delicious.
T randomly ran across her father and Gretchen and I joined them at the Rosendale Café, which was uncharacteristically serving customers from a limited menu onto paper plates with plastic flatware. The knish had rendered me unable to eat tempeh reubens, which was just as well because that wasn't on the limited menu. So tonight marked the first time I ever ordered something there that wasn't a tempeh reuben. I got the black bean burrito. It was a knife and fork kind of burrito with no aluminum foil in sight. But it wasn't the worst burrito I ever had; that honor goes not to Taco Bell but to Gabriel's in Uptown Kingston.
We ran into the vegan contingent outside the Rosendale Café just as a tuba-fronted band (which included T's husband as its drummer) was getting going on the nearby sound stage. The vegans are a lot of fun in a social outing like this, when there's no available audio bandwidth for yet another reiteration of animal rights talking points. The fun of being with them actually made me flip into extroverted mode, something I rarely enter these days.
We had a plan to maybe go into the Alamo and have some drinks and vegan carbs, but they were demanding a $10 cover at the door, which was too high of a threshold for our interest. But not having an alternative plan, we hung around in front like a bunch of high school kids waiting for Gretchen to get back from the Rosendale Café's sound stage.
We decided to go to the Egg's Nest in High Falls instead, but since the vegans' car was on the east side of Rosendale, either Gretchen or me would, since we're familiar with Rosendale, have to ride with them in order to show them how to get to the west side of Rosendale without the benefit of Route 213. That person ended up being me, and our group divided along gender lines. The men walked east and I showed them how to cross the Rondout on Route 32 and bust a right at the Citgo. The women all walked west and rode with Gretchen.
When you're eating with vegans at a restaurant, even if it's just a late night snack, there are lots of questions associated with the ordering process. For me, all that mattered was the perfect vegan junkfood: french fries. No questions necessary, and even if there had been I wouldn't have asked them.
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