Thank you for all the great comments on the self-care retreat announcement and movement posts. Be sure to visit my co-host, Cheryl, as well. On week 4 of the self-care retreat, we will talk about self-care through connecting with friends, family and pets. For me, spending time with wonderful friends is so important, which is why I am so excited to tell you about my mini-road-trip with the lovely gals you see on the picture.
I know you recognize Katie and Gena above – they have made previous lunch appearances on the blog, vetted my Rustic White Bean Dip, and their recipes have often appeared in my lunchbox series. Katie had a brilliant suggestion the other week – which completely makes sense because she is brilliant and witty and, also, she has a car – a mini road trip to Great Sage, a vegan dining destination in Maryland, about 25 miles from Washington, DC. Great Sage has been on my list of restaurants to try, but I had not yet gotten my act together to Zipcar it there.
Gena and Katie are much more responsible bloggers than me, as their recaps on our epic dinner, both for its deliciousness and the great company, have both been up for days – here is Gena’s and here is Katie’s. You must visit their blogs – they both write so differently, yet both draw me in. Reading Katie’s writing is like reading short snippets of a memoir, while Gena writes thoughtfully and authoritatively, yet in a completely accessible manner.
One of the things I love about spending time with Katie and Gena is that we are so different, yet get each other. Our day-to-day lives may bear little resemblance (Katie is a freelance writer, Gena is doing a pre-med post-bacc and counsels clients on nutrition, while I spend my day in an office as a lawyer, yet we connect. Whether I see one or both of them, I feel understood and restored.
Also, I generally get to eat some fantastic food, like we did at Great Sage last week. Great Sage is remarkably versatile – lots of raw options, vegan comfort food and over half the menu is gluten-free or can be adapted for a gluten-free diner. Eating there made me so happy!
Gena and I started with the Super Green Live Juice, which was sweet and delicious. We had just been discussing juicing and our table had different approaches – Gena is a weekend and afternoon juicer, Katie has zero interest in juice, and I like to juice ahead of time, almost always at night, and store in the fridge for a day or two. The juice was scrumptious and even Katie was impressed.
Then we split the Mediterranean Hummus Plate.
Gena and Katie were so sweet and did not mind splitting the gluten-free option which came with very tasty vegan gluten-free brown rice bread. Gluten-free eaters will know that tasty vegan gluten-free bread is not necessarily a given. The plate was an all-around success – the tapenade was wonderfully satisfying, as was the hummus was heavy on the tahini which Gena surmised was homemade, which I suspect as well. There were also caramelized onion, grape leaves, artichokes (which were fresh and not overly briny) and vegetables in addition to the bread for dipping.
I also indulged in the Raw California Roll which was parsnip-based and stuffed with red pepper, cucumber, avocado and sesame.
I loved these rolls, though they were a bit on the sweet side. Gena got the Almost Raw Vietnamese Spring Rolls, which contained carrots, cabbage, scallions and a nice balance of additional flavors. I had a bite and these were very good.
We all had the raw California salad, which was pretty much the best salad I have had at a restaurant in a long time. I like my salads complex in textures, and large, and this hit the spot. Also amazing was the red pepper vinaigrette, which Gene has promised to recreate. It seemed to have red wine vinegar and a sweetener (perhaps agave?) in it – the flavors were well balanced.
And because we all love cashew cheese, we each got an identical order of Great Sage’s version of cashew cheese:
And that was our epic meal, punctuated with lots of laughter and discussions about all sorts of topic, some blogging-related, many not. Gena and I entertained Katie (or maybe horrified her – either way she laughed a lot) with our thoughts on the very feckless brown rice tortillas we have both eaten (this reminds me – here is my approach to soften brown rice tortillas without breaking them). It was a memorable evening, and I feel so lucky that we were able to share this meal together.