cloudsI had the opportunity to take a nine-day road trip. (Summer work in Arizona for a banquet cook is pretty brutal). I spent four hours making sure the cooler was packed with yummy vegan foods for the partner. I knew that in Topeka, Kansas, our first stop, food choices were bleak. But we were heading to Denver, destination…Watercourse Foods.

We managed some nice sandwiches at a subway shop in Erril, Kansas on our way to Denver, and had a picnic by the river. Food to fuel our bodies on the grueling ride through grain elevators, corn and soybeans.

Finally, Denver. First night at the friends house, we were too tired to go out. So she turned her kitchen over to me. She had organic pastas, salad makings, a nice sauce, and the Boca fake ground round. Made a nice dinner for all of us (have knives will travel!).

The next day we went for a late breakfast at the Watercourse, where I reveled in the seitan bacon, and my partner had food orgasms over the tofu scramble. We walked out full. That day we traveled through Denver, looking at new agey shops and discussing a tattoo.

City o City Vegan Bar and Restaurant in Denver, COThat night, dinner at City O’ City, partner of Watercourse. Good friends, and really yummy pizza. We had teriyaki seitan wings, and buffalo seitan wings. The teriyaki got a little thick as it cooled, but otherwise was finger lickin’. The company enjoyed all the vegan goodies.It was really too noisy to participate in conversation. I drank the house-made Chai, and smiled, a lot!

The next day we met friends who live about four hours from Denver, and we took them back to the Watercourse. I had a Reuben, which satisfied, with french fries, and coleslaw. The portabellos melted in my mouth, and it took a much shorter time to eat the french fries than it did to cook them.

After Denver, we headed on down to Santa Fe, NM. After a long drive over La Veta pass, and through the Rio Grande, we drove through the north end of town, and noticed a brand new resort being built. We both noted that it was a Hilton property. We kept driving. We got to the hotel, unloaded our stuff, and found the closest open natural foods store, fortunately it was just a few blocks down from the hotel.

We gathered some dried fruits, energy nuggets, and found a new brand of frozen vegan food called the Tandoor Chef. We grabbed a couple, and headed back to the room. I promptly popped in the meals so that we could get some energy up to sleep. The tandoor chef food was surprisingly good. I don’t make it regular business to eat microwaved food (thus all the packing of food for the road trip), but it was surprisingly spiced, with enough heat and flavor to make my taste buds say wow! We shared chickpeas and potatoes, and some other concoction (I’m writing this two weeks later, sorry the details are sketchy), and washed it down with some natural sodas.

The next day we explored Santa Fe, and drove around downtown for quite awhile looking for a place to park. Destination: The Georgia O’Keefe Museum. After that, while walking back to the car, one of those famous New Mexican storms blew in. The sky was dark and cloudy, and the rain drove down in sheets, and we both relished in the coolness. And we both knew we would be moving to Santa Fe.

Annapurna decorWe lunched at a place called Annapurna’s Cafe, an Ayurvedic Indian styled cuisine. We had rice cakes, soups, and split dosas. The food was humming inside us, as I sipped Chai, and watched my partner revel in some of the best food she’s ever eaten.

During the time at the cafe, we began discussing moving to Santa Fe, and what that would involve. I work for a Hilton-managed property, and since the Hotel we passed coming into town was noted as a Hilton property, a transfer request would be easy on my end of it.

We drove home, still discussing the possibilities. What if’s and how would we? Santa Fe is a Chef’s town. It’s full of chili’s, salsas, New Mexican style cuisine, and flavor. Organic farming, road-side stands, and a well-known farmer’s market. I could live there. (yes, it snows, but hey, it was only 85 degrees in mid-July).

We got home, still digesting all the good wonderful food and friends we had on the trip. And we began planning.