While Evelyn had met both Tessa and me in-person on multiple occasions, I had only known Tessa via online exchanges. I had originally planned to spend a few weeks in Colorado this summer, and Evelyn noted that Tessa would be coming to Colorado as well, but not until a bit later. So, again, it looked as though we would not yet meet up.
But, my plans subsequently changed, and when I saw that it could be arranged to coincide with Tessa’s visit to Manitou Springs, I began a secret plan with Evelyn to surprise Tessa.
Tessa and her daughter, Lia, arrived to what they thought would be a simple lunch with Evelyn and her husband, Steve. Meanwhile, my brother and his girlfriend were driving me down from Vail. We were running a bit late, so Evelyn had to get rather “creative” the last few minutes when her lunch entrée had come out of the oven, yet, she mysteriously refrained from serving lunch to a table of hungry vegans!
Soon, the doorbell rang, and Evelyn asked Tessa to come to the door with her. SURPRISE!!!! (and, yes, the plan succeeded and Tessa was, indeed, surprised!).
Evelyn, Tessa, and Lynne finally united at last!
Evelyn prepared a wonderful vegan lunch for everyone, and graciously hosted me overnight before I would travel back to Chicago the next evening.
Although our time together was short, we had great fun together. Later in the afternoon, Evelyn took me for a great walking tour of Manitou Springs. What an adorable little Victorian town surrounded by mountains!
That evening, we joined Tessa and Lia for a fantastic Middle Eastern meal. Can you believe Manitou Springs has not one, but TWO Middle Eastern restaurants in town?!! Evelyn and I both had this terrific “Vegetarian Combo Plate” featuring Tabouleh salad (lower left), Hummas (lower right), 2 Falafel balls (center), 2 stuffed grape leaves (top), and fresh, warm pita triangles. I’m hooked!
The next morning, Evelyn and Tessa decided to try out Evelyn’s old juicer, a Salton Vitamin Bar, making a refreshing orange, carrot, apple & ginger juice. The Salton is about 1/2 the size of today’s jumbo-sized juicers, and should be compact enough to take in the RV this winter to Mexico.
After gabbing awhile, it was time for lunch on the patio at the delicious Adam’s Mountain Café’ (are you getting the impression yet that we vegan vagabonds just live to EAT?!!)
while Evelyn enjoyed this savory blend of grilled veggies, almonds, and rice --
After walking our lunch off around town and chatting non-stop, by mid-afternoon, it was time for me to head home by taking a shuttle bus from Colorado Springs to catch the evening Amtrak train from Denver back to Chicago. I was originally going to do an airport shuttle to Denver and fly home, but thought it would be more fun and unusual to take the train instead. So, we hugged and said our farewells, and Evelyn dropped me off at the bus station.
Fast forward an hour later—the bus was running WAY late. So late, that it was now looking like I’d miss my train in Denver (and that could become a real panic as there are no accommodations within walking distance of the train station, and I also needed to be back to Chicago for an important appointment and could not be delayed a full day). What’s a frantic vegan to do? Call her fellow meatless musketeers to beg for a rescue, that’s what!
Tessa fired up her little red Prius (affectionately named “Toots”), picked up Evelyn, and soon was “taking off like a rocket” to transport me up to Denver on a first-ever Vegan Vagabonds road trip!
Do these gals seem a bit obsessed with their techno-gadgets?!!!
Unfortunately, we not only hit rush hour traffic, but construction delays and a few accidents as well. What once had seemed like a slam-dunk to get me to my train on time, was now turning into a nail-biter. As it began looking like we weren’t going to make it, I checked the Amtrak website one last time to check on the train’s status. Miraculously, the train was now showing 3 hours late! YIPPEE! Not only would I make my train after all, but we’d now have enough time to grab dinner at Tessa’s favorite vegan restaurant in Denver! Hooray Toots!
Tessa had be raving about WaterCourse Foods, and the raves were well-deserved. It was the best vegan/vegetarian restaurant I’ve ever eaten at!
I had a Po’ Boy sandwich made with batter-dipped artichoke hearts that looked/tasted like fried shrimp bites, topped with fresh cole slaw in a lemon caper aioli sauce on a kaiser roll. Tessa and I had the same side dishes-- a spicy tomato curry bisque soup, and vegan mashed potatoes and gravy. Not the healthiest low-cal meal, but a delicious special treat, for sure!
Evelyn was the “good girl” of the bunch and had an interesting and tasty, low-cal, green tomato caprese salad, while Tessa grinned with glee over her seitan roast “beef” Grinder sandwich with melted vegan swiss cheese and au jus for dipping. Who says plant-based diets have to be depriving?!!
Thank you to my fellow vagabonds for hosting me, sharing some great restaurant finds, and rescuing me from a near-disaster with my travel! Can’t wait until we meet up again!