For me, the highlights of our cross-country drive were Pittsburgh and St. Louis. I’ve blogged a few times before about my love for Pittsburgh, but I’d never been to St. Louis before. I was really excited to see the Gateway Arch, which is part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and is an awesome example of architecture and engineering in the 1960s.
Obviously the arch is huge, but I never fully appreciated its scale before seeing it in person. The top of the arch looks so sleek that I never expected there to be enough room inside for a tram to carry passengers to the top, where they can get out and enjoy views of St. Louis and the Mississippi River.
After visiting the arch, we had a fantastic lunch at PW Pizza. You can get gluten-free crust and vegan cheese on any pizza, so we had a “Popeye and Olive Oil” pizza (cleverly named: roasted garlic olive oil, spinach, roasted red pepper) with those substitutions and vegan sausage on half of the pizza. Best lunch of our road trip!
A year ago I wrote a top ten list of my favorite things that I hadn’t done in a year. Here’s a follow-up on my attempt to do them this past year:
- Swim in the warm ocean with big waves. No such luck. I stuck my foot into the ocean here in Nova Scotia, but it was way too cold to consider swimming in. Maybe next year!
- Play mini golf. Done! Jeff and I played mini golf at my favorite mini golf course, Around the World in 18 Holes in Lake George, NY (shown below), over the summer. We also played mini golf at Beazley’s glow-in-the-dark mini-putt in Dartmouth, NS, where I played the best mini golf game of my life and beat Jeff for the first time!
- Go to an art museum. I didn’t make it to any during the past year, but I plan to go to at least one in Paris in a couple of weeks!
- Go to the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC. Didn’t make it. And it looks like we will be in Saratoga the weekend before the Jazz Festival this year, so we might see the Beach Boys at SPAC, but no Jazz Festival. Maybe next year!
- Play tennis on a non-windy day. I played tennis several times last year. Yay!
- Eat an apple cider donut from Saratoga Apple. Nope. Wheat and I still aren’t friends, so I probably won’t be able to eat a regular cider donut anytime soon. But now that I have a donut maker, I can and will make my own.
- Hang out with my friend Theresa. We didn’t get to hang out in person, but we did skype a few times, so I’ll consider this one mostly successful.
- Kayak. Nope. Hopefully this summer!
- Go on a waterslide. Nope. Hopefully this summer?
- Go to a baseball game with friends on a nice day. I was so close to making this one happen. We had tickets to see the Red Sox play in Pittsburgh while we were in town for a wedding, but our flights got messed up and we ended up missing the game. Maybe next year…
The Daily Post at WordPress prompted me to “make a top ten list of favorite things to do you haven’t done in over a year.” I’m pretty self-indulgent, so I do a lot of my favorite things fairly regularly. But here are the ten favorite things I came up with:
- Swim in the warm ocean with big waves. The ocean in southeastern Florida in the summer is pretty much perfect for me.
- Play mini golf. Preferably Around the World in 18 Holes in Lake George, NY.
- Go to an art museum. This one just made the one-year cut – It’s barely been more than a year since I went to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia with Kerry.
- Go to the Saratoga Jazz Festival at SPAC. Preferably with my sister.
- Play tennis on a non-windy day. Apparently this is a lot to ask for in Nova Scotia.
- Eat an apple cider donut from Saratoga Apple. They are my favorite donuts anywhere, ever.
- Hang out with my friend Theresa. Chile and Canada are so far apart =(
- Kayak. I blame my lack of kayaking last summer on my Crohns-yness.
- Go on a waterslide. I miss the Blue Tubaluba at Sandcastle.
- Go to a baseball game with friends on a nice day. Even better if it’s a Red Sox game and I get to eat a soft pretzel while watching the game =)
The Daily Post at WordPress asks: if you could have anything to eat right now, what would it be? Here’s the rather massive meal that I’d go for (all foods that I love but can’t get in Halifax):
- A veggie burrito from Chipotle
- WholeSoy lemon yogurt
- Bubble tea from Rose Tea Cafe
- Vegan cupcake from Dozen Bake Shop
I fell in love with bubble tea when I lived in Pittsburgh. Rose Tea Cafe and Lu Lu’s Noodles both had fabulous bubble teas in their own right – I loved Rose Tea Cafe’s real (sweetened) teas with pearls, and Lu Lu’s had great fresh fruit blended into their sweet pearl-laden drinks. I’ve checked out a few bubble tea houses in Halifax, and been disappointed to find that they can only make milk teas. Thank goodness for Indochine Banh Mi and their fruit smoothies with pearls! The smoothies are made with only real fruit/fruit juice and tapioca pearls, so they are actually a healthy treat! My favorite flavor (so far…) is mango.
Incidentally, the rest of Indochine’s menu is great too, and very veggie friendly. The lentil and bean pate sandwich and the veggie meatball sandwich are both awesome. I’ve probably never had such a tasty, spicy sandwich as the ones at Indochine.
In light of Pittsburgh ranking a proud #12 in the recent list of “Fun Cities” in the US, the Pittsburgh Marathon today, and my general fondness for the ‘burgh, I thought a tribute was in order for the city I called home for five years.
As you can see in the photos above and to the right, kayaking Pittsburgh’s rivers is a lovely way to spend a day. Or, catch a Pirates game at PNC Park. Hit the waterslides and wave pool at Sandcastle. Go on some roller coasters at Kennywood. See one of the finest dinosaur collections in the world and great art collections at the Carnegie Museums. Then check out the dinosaur statues scattered around town. Go to the Point, where the three rivers of Pittsburgh meet. Ride the incline up to Mount Washington for some lovely views of the city. Listen to the Pittsburgh Symphony at beautiful Heinz Hall. Check out the second tallest university building in the world, the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. Visit the gardens at Phipps Conservatory. Go to a dance party at Brillobox.
Pittsburgh has so many great restaurants for vegans and vegetarians. Some of my favorites are the Quiet Storm (all vegetarian or vegan), Zenith (amazing vegan sunday brunch!), Abay (delicious Ethiopian food with great vegan options), Double Wide Grill (again great vegan options, especially the seitan wings, and has lots of outdoor seating), Aladdin’s (yummy and cheap Lebanese food, great juices/smoothies), and Hunan Kitchen or China Palace (all of their soy protein dishes are really good).
And one shouldn’t miss out on the delicious desserts around town either…My favorites are Oh Yeah! (they have hundreds of crazy custom mix-ins for your moo or soy ice cream and waffles) and Dozen Cupcakes (they have really interesting yummy flavors!).