Go with the Flow

Sometimes things happen that change travel plans.  For instance, sometimes you have another ten days planned in the Abacos, but your daughter breaks her ankle skateboarding.  (Sh)it happens.  For me, this meant catching the first available flight back to the States, dropping the dogs off with the sitter, then driving to Saint Augustine to get to my daughter.  Luckily, we fly with http://flyairgate.com/ , and they are very accommodating when we need to change flights.  There was no extra charge for the change, and they got me home as quickly as possible. They are also awesome with our dogs, even our boxer who thinks she is a lapdog and insists on being held for half of the flight.

When your child is sick or hurt, you just want to be there to take care of them, even if they are 19 and in college.  I am so grateful that my lifestyle allows me to change my plans last minute.  I don’t want to imagine what this situation would have been like had I been working as someone else’s employee.  As it is, I have my computer and wifi, so life is good and I have the ability to be with her until she is back on her feet, literally.

I had time to clean and put everything back where it belongs, and take a walk on the beach before my taxi arrived to take me to the airport.  I love this place, and the tranquility I always feel when I am here.  We keep a little note on the refrigerator at the Crabby Shack that says:  “Smile, you’ll be back soon!”.  It makes leaving a little easier.

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Vegan in Marsh Harbor

Today, I am following up with the post I mentioned before about where to purchase vegan food in the Abacos, specifically Marsh Harbor.  While there are two grocery stores in Treasure Cay, I usually head to Marsh Harbor because there is more selection.  The three main stores to find vegan groceries in Marsh Harbor are Maxwell’s, Abaco Asian Market, and Healthy Way Nutrition Center.

Maxwell’s is a pretty large grocery store located off the main strip.  They have a large selection of fruits, vegetables, rice, beans, etc. They also have a large selection of Bob’s Red Mill Products.  I also can find quinoa, couscous, etc. at this store.  If you ask, they won’t know what you are talking about, but it’s there; just take your time to search the shelves and you will be pleasantly surprised.  The boat that brings supplies to Maxwell’s comes in on Wednesdays, which means the store is pretty well stocked Thursday through Saturday.  By Tuesday, the shelves can be absolutely bare depending on the time of year you visit.  They carry non-dairy milk and creamer, but if you absolutely need your coffee creamer take some with you when you go.  I couldn’t find Silk Creamer the first two weeks of my current stay.  It would come in and be completely gone before I could buy any.  Luckily, I took two boxes of Silk Soy (Vanilla nor Original) with me, so I didn’t have the grumps for two weeks.

Another thing about Maxwell’s is they do not carry a lot of vegan protein substitutes.  They also do not carry vegan butter.  They have plenty of Morning Star products, but MS products are vegetarian, so it doesn’t do me any good.  They do have vegan Boca burgers, black bean burgers and tofu, but that’s about it.  I personally pack a cooler if we are going to be there for longer than a weekend.  It gets filled to the top with Silk creamer, Gardein, Tofurkey, Beyond Meat, and Daiya Cheese (unfortunately, I forgot cheese this trip).  This is particularly true when we know we will be staying for a month or longer.

If I run out of vegan protein subs, I can find canned versions at Healthy Way Nutrition Center.  They aren’t great, but they are edible in a jam.  The shelves look very bare when you walk in, but don’t be discouraged.  Look through her selection, and you will find vegan protein shakes and more.  She also carries Earth Balance butter, though I wouldn’t rely heavily on this since it is often out of stock.  Another thing I like about this place, is that she always has prepared hot vegan food in her little cafe.  She makes soups, lasagnas, and more.  Her menu changes all the time.  Last time I was there she had vegan banana bread for sale, and it was pretty tasty.

A store I recently discovered is the Abaco Asian Market, run by Johnny Cash and his wife, Rapeepan.  According to Johnny, the store was Rapeepan’s idea.  She is an amazing cook and gardener.  Her kim chee, soups, and spring rolls are available for purchase in the store, just verify ingredients before purchasing! They also have an assortment of fresh vegetables grown in her garden in the back.  This is where I found the canned jackfruit for my BBQ sandwiches (see earlier post).  They also have a large stock of rice, gluten free food, and a decent selection of vegan snacks.  For updates on what is happening in the store, you can visit them at www.facebook.com/abacoasianmarket

I hope this post is helpful for vegans planning to visit the Abaco island chain in the Bahamas.  If you have not been to the Abacos, I highly recommend it.  There are plenty of hotels and beach house rentals.  Boat rentals are also easy to come by for those of you who enjoy snorkeling off of Great Guana Cay or want to head to No Name Cay to feed the pigs.  Dive excursions are available, and the beaches are beautiful.  Please comment if you have any questions, or if you have been to the area and have other suggestions for finding vegan food in the area.


The Restaurant at Orchid Bay

We eat out quite a bit.  I love trying new food, and it’s nice not to have to cook all the time.  I also find it is a really good way to get to know an area.  Unfortunately, when you are vegan, it’s not always easy to find food that you can eat when dining out.  Since we are in the Bahamas, we headed out on the boat the other day.  The weather was phenomenal, and the wind had died down after the front moved through.  It’s always fun to explore the other islands in the Abaco Island chain and one of our favorites is Great Guana Cay.  It’s only a 2o minute boat ride across the Sea of Abaco on a calm day, and the water between where we are staying and Guana is so pretty!

I was in absolute heaven.  They say it’s better in the Bahamas and it really was on Saturday.  Just look at that water.  There is no filter on these photos.  No matter how many times we come to the Abacos, this water never ceases to amaze me.

Anyway, our neighbors recommended a restaurant at the marina that we had not tried before.  They said it was nice, and we were pretty excited about it.  The wind was light and variable and it was cool in the shade, so we sat on the front covered patio to enjoy the view with lunch.  I could have sat there all day.  Really, it was that nice.  Look at that view.  Look at it.  (The angels are singing right now.)

There is never a large selection of vegan items on any menu in the Bahamas, so I felt pretty lucky to find a garden salad and a veggie wrap.  I ordered both and asked for no cheese, please, on the veggie wrap.  The waitress brought my salad and I happily dug in.  It was super fresh and delicious, and I would definitely order it again.  Then my wrap and Bruce’s burger came out, and boy did my plate look yummy!  I went straight for the “spicy” fries, and killed about half of those before grabbing my wrap and taking a huge bite.  Well, guess what….cheese.  UGH!!!!  🙁  Yep, cheese.  I usually check BEFORE taking a bite, but I had been so specific and I know the waitress heard me.  When she came over and I told her, she was super upset and took it back to the kitchen.  The cook told her she had certainly not put any cheese IN the wrap.  She had simply put cheese on the outside flap to hold it together.  For really??????  The poor waitress was beside herself, so I couldn’t be mad at her.  *sigh

My lunch ended up being the salad and most of the french fries.  I know I can’t be the only vegan this has happened to.  It just goes to show that no matter what, you have to double check your food before taking a bite.  I would say “especially when you are in the Bahamas” or “especially when out of the United States”, but we all know this happens quite often right in our own neighborhoods, so I can’t even say that.  At least the fries and salad were good, and I really enjoyed the new Sands Pink Radler I tried.  🙂