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Traveling, Day 6

Posted by tinako on April 22, 2010

Hotel breakfast.  Packed almonds for another day at Legoland and they came in handy again.

In some Legoland souvenir shop my daughter pulled out a yard-long, 3/4″ diameter plastic tube with strange caps at both ends, wondering what it was.  It turned out to be a tube that you filled with flavored sugar (think Pixie Stix) from dispensers.  And then you hold it up to your mouth and dispense it into your bloodstream.  And then you have a meltdown and go home.  She asked if she could buy it, but her interest waned when I pointed out it was $5.

We had lunch at Funtown Market, which the Lego site had suggested had several vegan options.  It did indeed have an excellent salad bar.  They even had marinated tofu cubes!  The prices were very high, however.  Well, $10 for a large plate from the salad bar is not bad, but there was no smaller plate for kids.  If we’d thought about it we would have had the kids share a plate.  Also the drinks were outrageous – $3.50 for a large (probably 20-oz) paper cup of lemonade or coke, and nothing smaller for kids (or someone who does not want to drink 20 oz).  None of us could finish our drinks.  Again, if we’d thought about it we would have shared, but getting four people through a cafeteria is a bit stressful.  So it was a great selection and good food, but cafeteria-style lunch for 2 adults and 2 kids was $60!

Before we left for Legoland I picked a place for dinner, since my husband’s cousin and family were going to join us.  I picked Hill St. Cafe in Oceanside, Ca.  I was excited that reviewers said they had many vegan options and a variety of great food to please anyone.  I was really worried that reviewers universally panned their service.  I’ll make a potentially long story short and sum up that not only was this a great selection of vegan food (probably 6 entrees), and not only were all of us very happy with our meals, but we were entirely satisfied with the service.  They were super-friendly, almost frighteningly attentive, and bent over backwards for us.   The eight of us had a lovely private room upstairs in this converted old residential house.  Various servers stopped by to see if 1) we were all set, 2) was the music volume too high, 3) were we all set, 4) were we all set, and 5) sorry, were they pestering us too much?  Most amazing of all… they had vegan dessert.  Apple cobbler.  When it came smothered in vanilla ice cream, I winced at first, “Is this…?” but the server dude jumped in with, “Oh, no, that’s soy ice cream – I made sure it was vegan for you.”  If you follow this blog, you know that I almost wanted to cry.  It probably had oats (allergic), but I ate it anyway.  The itchiness will be worth it.

The only negative was that the meals dribbed and drabbed in over the course of about 15 minutes from first (the kids’) to last, but they apologized and we were busy talking, so it didn’t really matter.  I had Cajun Tofu Steaks with grilled vegetables and grits.  Very good – their tofu was excellent.  My daughter had penne marinara with tofu.  They didn’t have a kids’ menu but were very accommodating with half portions and substitutions.

My husband’s cousin verified that people seem to have the idea that Californians are vegetarian just because they’re active and care about healthy eating.

I was thinking today that servers here probably feel the same way I would feel if I ran a vegan restaurant and someone who followed a raw diet came in.  They would ask questions (I guess) about which items were cooked, and maybe I would not be very understanding about the restrictions they impose on themselves, or possibly feel defensive about my menu items.  In the same way, perhaps servers here are less tolerant of vegans because they already put thought into what they eat and feel it is healthy enough.  It’s a working theory.

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