Tag Archives: Our Vegetarian Travels

Baltimore’s Local Flavor

Baltimore’s Local Flavor

This past weekend the Totally Vegetarian team went off to Baltimore to attend the Natural Products Expo East. Our goal was to seek potential sponsors for the show and to explore what’s new in the natural and vegetarian/vegan food industry. I can tell you that there will be a lot of exciting stuff hitting the shelves soon. We managed to spend two days sampling food out of tiny cups that never seemed to end and I’m sure I consumed enough Green Tea to fill up a small pond. The food was great and the vendors were interesting and inspiring. It’s so wonderful to chat with people who are dedicated and commited to producing delicious food and healthy living products.

Though the weather was lousy up until our last day, we were finally able to check out a downtown farmers markets before we had to fly out. On our way to the market, I asked everybody I met if they knew where I could go for a crab-free mock crabcake. The question of where I might find this culinary “oddity” brought us some very interesting responses from local people and really made the day a great deal of fun. Since we never found it, the experience also gave me the incentive to create a crab-free mock crabcake recipe.

When I travel, I try to make a point to check out local stores and, when possible, farmers or open markets. I encourage all of you to do the same. It’s a great way to learn about local cultures and cuisine, and you’ll may get unique ideas for new recipes. Baltimore’s farmers market boasts a blend of fresh foods, friendly people, music, entrepreneurs, adorable dogs, and colorful local eateries that set up for the day. If you’re ever in Maryland’s largest city, be sure to check it out, and, if you find a crab-free crab cake, please let me know.

Spring in Italy

Spring in Italy

I recently returned from my annual spring trip to Italy. Every time I go back, I discover something new, partially because it’s virtually impossible to sample everything in one trip, but also because there are seasonal foods available in different regions. If you travel around the country, you’ll always be sure to come across fresh vegetable dishes prepared in a manner the local populations are accustomed to.

This trip I traveled with a friend and our two middle school aged sons. We went to Lucca with my sister-in-law Daniela and decided to ride our bikes along the great medieval wall that surrounds the city and then to have lunch in one of the local family-run restaurants called a hosteria. In Italy you have ristoranti, trattorias, and hosterias. Historically, each type of eatery has a different purpose and level of formality and therefore offer menu selections that are unique from each other. The place we chose had a limited menu in the sense that not everything you might get in a typical Italian restaurant was available, but the choices were many and each sounded better than the next.

We all selected different dishes so we could sample as much of the available vegetarian fare as possible. Our favorite that day, was a plate of raw baby artichokes, small and tender, sliced very thinly and topped simply with a little salt, olive oil, and shavings of pecorino cheese.

It was a memorable day all around and it just doesn’t get better than that.