The First Coast to The Lowcountry

The First Coast to The Lowcountry

Jacksonville, Florida has vegan credibility.

This I state enthusiastically in my head while the locals in Southern Roots Filling Station discuss New York City vegan eats. I could chime in, I suppose, and tell them that New York City isn’t all that spectacular. Well, I mean that the places they are naming are not all that spectacular. But I understand that it’s partly generalized New York allure. I see it all over the faces of people all over the country when they see my i.d. or ask where I’m from. It’s like having an overachiever sister who you know is super cool, but you also know that she is a pain in the ass most of the time. Anyway, this little counter spot has some great things going on. Like a ton of decadent vegan sweet treats and some sandwich basics that are perfect starts to the day.PicMonkey Collage

And pretty coconut milk soy lattes.IMG_2203

And local made cheesy spread on the perfect slice of bread. Shakti Life Kitchen makes some of their nut cheeses, but I don’t recall of that is what I got.IMG_2205

So yeah, Jacksonville. And vegan credibility. Sweet Theory Baking Company. How about thee vegan best donuts? For reals. Better than San Francisco’s Pepples. Better than Portland’s Voodoo. Better than Seattle’s Mighty O. Better than Vegas’s Ronald’s Donuts. Better than Brooklyn’s Dun-well. Better than Cinnamon Snail. Minneapolis’s Glam Doll Donuts. Chicago’s Fritz Pastry. Atlanta’s Revolution Doughnuts. Better than all those round, frosted cakes with holes in other bakeries. Better than… wait–I forgot about Los Angeles’s Donut Friend. Sweet Theory has the best vegan donuts in every state but California. How about them apples? Let’s look:PicMonkey Collage2

Divine showcase.IMG_2207

The Samoa, the French Toast and a cinnamon bun. How do I drive with these things next to me?IMG_2213

That is donut perfection right there.IMG_2216

I’m now at 45 states reporting!

Yowzer. but I didn’t eat anything yet. It starts with a roadside attraction: The Old Sheldon Church in Yemassee, South Carolina.
Have to love these trees. DSC_0017
They’re so aliveDSC_0018

Such a rich history. Thankfully it is now preserved and protected.DSC_0027


So first eats in Charleston would have to be Gnome Cafe. I’ve fallen in love with the place via Instagram. And I think the Long Island baker from High Hopes Vegan Bakery started working here? Maybe that’s how I find out about them. I don’t remember. PicMonkey Collage3

I got the Southern Grit Bowl with geechie boy grits, sauteed kale, tofu scramble and portobello bacon. With a light sprinkle of nooch. Delectable! This is the meal I was waiting for. Flavorful, well-composed, outstanding.IMG_2319


Last but not least, my dinner in Columbia, SC. Sick of staying where there are roaming drug addicts and unnerving, prolonged stares from the day mayors, I shelled out a bit more for a room right smack dab in the city center. A 3-minute walk from this raw place, Good Life Cafe. I ordered pick up, avoiding the First Thursday festivities in the adjacent park, and watched the sun set from my tower. This is the good life.
#blessed #jokingnotjoking #jokingagainIMG_2330

Ok, here’s the mostly raw spread. And a cup of fiery, gingery kombucha from their tap. (Shuddering at landfill waste, however.)IMG_2332

Raw tacos: cashew nacho cheese, salsa, cashew sour cream, lettuce, walnut meat, and guacamole on flax taco shells. Walnut meat was a bit salty. Or it needed a sweet component… and some crisp crunch.IMG_2334

Spring rolls: kelp noodles, avocado, carrots, lettuce, mango, red pepper, herbs, cucumber rolled in a rice paper wrap. So good.

And the sunset in the buildings. And you can see the shadow of the capital building. Goodnight, South Carolina!IMG_2341