Charlottesville vegan desert
Sunday, January 10 2021
room 31, Oakhurst Inn, Charlottesville, Virginia
Today Gretchen and I would be driving back to New York, so after packing up our stuff in our beautiful room, we drove out to the Corner to get provisions for the road. While Gretchen was getting two enormous bowls from Roots Natural Kitchen (the place where she got a bowl yesterday), I walked the main drag of the corner in hopes of finding coffee. Given that the Corner is the closest commercial center to the University of Virginia, one should be safe in assuming there would be diverses sources of coffee there. That was certainly the case back when I lived in Charlottesville nearly 25 years ago. But that assumption is wrong. There appears to be only one coffee shop on the Corner, and it's a Starbucks. Gretchen doesn't like Starbucks coffee and has been boycotting them the entire time I've known her (for the same reason she boycotts Amazon), so I decided to get my coffee at Bodo's Bagels instead. Bodo's had a special setup just for the pandemic. A few staff members stood behind a table and radioed orders back to the kitchen, which would bring the food out in disposable containers. So, even though I'd brought travel mugs, the coffee I ordered was brought out in paper cups. Gretchen had hoped to get some sort of vegan milk in her decaf, but Bodo's is still living in the 1980s with respect to vegans. I then checked out the convenience stores nearby to see if maybe they stocked a vegan milk for the many lactose-intolerant students that University is bound to attract, but alas, they had no such products. They did, however, have a great diversity of protein shakes and "muscle milk" for the backwards-baseball-cap demographic. This experience goes to show that unless you have foreknowledge of vegan products there, you're probably in a vegan desert even in the most civilized parts of the world.
Charlottesville is a desirable place to live, so its real estate is expensive. This justifies constant reworking of the streets and intersections. For that reason, I got confused at an intersection and found myself driving on Ivy Road instead of US 29 Business. After untangling that mess, I thought maybe I'd stop at the new Trader Joes to get Gretchen some oat milk, but I almost had an accident trying to make that left turn, so we kept on driving. Periodically I eat a slice of yesterday's $50 pizza.
I drove fast and we made good time. Somewhere north of Charlottesville, my brother Don called us again, as looks to be his habit. He still seems to think he would make a great teacher's aid instructing children on arithmetic. To me, this sounded like he might have a touch of Dunning-Kruger going on in addition to his other psychological issues. As we approached Washington on I-66, I was astounded by how much road construction was underway. Huge machines were chiseling away at the topagraphy on either side of the highway, sometimes only a dozen or so feet from adjacent houses. Living there must be complete hell, and yet people do.
In southern New Jersey, Gretchen placed a massive order at the Colonial Diner in Woodbury, NJ (not far south of Philadelphia). Gretchen had discovered the Colonial Diner on her Happy Cow app. It's a conventional diner in all respects, though it has a massive vegan menu as well. I was most excited about the vegan poutine, which is rarely found on an American menu. People were eating inside the Colonial Diner as if there was no pandemic killing 4000 people per day across the country, but there was no way we'd be doing that. One of the staff told Gretchen about some picnic tables in the back, and that would've been nice, but when we were there, the sun was beginning to set and they were decided in shade. So we sat in a sunny spot on the sidewalk near a cosmetic dentistry business and ate our diner food like a couple homeless gutterpunks. There was plenty leftover, some of which Gretchen had earmarked for Powerful. I'd eaten so much dense, caloric food in the past few days that the only thing I would eat for the rest of the drive would be antacids.
Powerful had cleaned the house a little before we got home, which was nice.
Our hotel room this morning not long before we hit the road.
Our massive haul of vegan diner food from the Colonial Diner in Woodbury, NJ. There was still a little sun and it wasn't too cold to eat outdoors.
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