Last time I was in Ithaca, New York I had a horrible time. I exasperated an illness with the drive north and then had to drive home in miserable shape. I wrote my most scathing review thus far on the subpar eatery where my friends and I dined. It was a bad time. This time was also filled with folly that I will again blame on Ithaca, whose tainted land was distributed to Revolutionary War soldiers by way of land grants, claiming the lands of the tribes of Cayuga Indians, big players in the Iroquois confederation (Thanks, Wiki). Yes, I blame the early American settlers for our strokes of Ithacanian bad luck… and I blame Nascar.
That’s right: Nascar. With a Nascar race in Watkins Glen (home of Farm Sanctuary), we were shut out of the city. No rooms save for those fetching $250. So, the backseat was my bed, a bag of sweet rice I bought from Wegmans–my pillow and my chlorine-soaked bathing suit– my my eye mask to cover the harsh, glowing light of the Kohl’s parking lot lamps. With CandyPenny reclining in the passenger seat, we snoozed 5+ hours anxiously awaiting breakfast. It was good to know I still had the flexibility and good humor to partake in such shenanigans.
So yes, my pillow of rice came from Wegmans. Had we not been so astounded by the quantity of vegan pantry items there I may not have rested so easily in the HHR’s backseat. Huge tubs of Vegenaise, agave nectar and Braggs… oh my! A long stock of non-dairy milk options, yogurts and cheeses. International aisles. Real low prices. Love it!
Killing time before breakfast, we poured over stock at Ithaca’s local natural foods co-op, GreenStar, and their great selection of bulk foods.
Morning was filled with several misadventures, including having to spend prolonged time in a Starbucks, terrible coffee at a local diner whose wait staff resented our loitering and this elusive post in VegGuide that sent us on a small excursion to a weird, desolate building. The posting and link was for Vegan Epicure, a deli that offered “12 flavores of Seitan. Tofu 3 Flavores, Tempeh cooked. Vegan Spanikopita’s and tempeh Empanad’s Great food.” No such find. It was only later while wasting time in GreenStar did we see the locally-made seitan and felt a little better.
And finally! Waffle Frolic was open! This poor place had taken on a heavy load considering our misfortune. All was riding on our breakfast. And it was ok.
I got the Waffle Dog, a Smart Dog dipped in their vegan waffle batter and fried. I really wanted this darn thing… far more than I wanted to drive another couple of hours out of the area after a whole day of driving the evening before to attempt find a room. Was it worth it? No. But it was worth getting back into Brooklyn before flood waters overtook the place. I am thankful we hightailed outta that town quickly thereafter breakfast. Lagusta’s Luscious in New Paltz and Jolo’s in Westchester, we’ll hit you next time.