Making Lemonade Out of Lemons

27 Nov

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Sometimes, it can be difficult to find good veg-friendly food in certain areas, especially New Jersey shore towns.  Typically saturated with seafood and pizzerias, there are few opportunities to enjoy a good vegan meal down the shore.

I spent the day yesterday in Cape May, which is no different.  In the summer there is a place called Zoe’s and another called Gecko that reportedly have one or two vegan or easily veganized options.  Unfortunately, neither one of them was open on a cold rainy day-after-Thanksgiving.

Cape May is a lovely town, historically known as the nation’s first shore resort still decorated with beautiful Victorian houses now converted into bed-and-breakfast inns.  I enjoy it in the summer and in winter — but I just hate trying to eat there.  Few places have more than an iceberg lettuce salad — which wouldn’t be so awful if they didn’t also have the nerve to charge $12 for it.  One thing that annoys me, not just in Cape May, but in any place, is when I ask for a salad, such as Caribbean Chicken Salad without chicken, and the price is the same.  If that ingredient is not substituted, then why charge full price? — especially for iceberg lettuce!

Last time I was in Cape May for President’s Day weekend, I was pretty bored with my food choices, and eager to return to my hotel room for the cookies and smoothies I had packed.

Well, yesterday I visited for the day and discovered a new option at the Lemon Tree, right on the Washington Street Mall pedestrian walkway among all the quaint shops.

As I passed by, I could see a menu written on a chalkboard display announcing a homemade veggieburger served with sprouts.  How tempting!

But with caution, and a reluctance to get my hopes up, I entered the restaurant and asked at the counter, “Does your veggie burger have eggs in it?”

Much to my disappointment, the woman behind the counter responded with a yes.  As I thanked her and turned around to leave, she eagerly said, “We have other vegetarian options.  We have a veggie wrap.”  She pushed a menu toward me and I accepted.  Sure enough, they had a veggie wrap of grilled squash, zucchini, onions, and carrots.  Cautiously, I asked if there was any mayo or cheese in it, to which the woman responded, “It only has what’s in the menu.”  After I agreed to order one, she immediately offered “fresh hand cut fries, and fresh squeezed lemon juice.”  What a way to upsell!  She was very convincing, and so I ordered all three, even though I wouldn’t normally eat fries.

She was right, however, about the fries being the real deal — the skins were still on some of them, and they all varied in size and shape, unlike those fake fries from typical fast food places.  Even the carrots in my veggie wrap were definitely hand cut!

Another thing that stood out about my wrap was that after putting the grilled veggies in it, they also grilled the bottom of the wrap so that it had a crispy bottom.

Overall, fillin and satisfying.  I’m glad to know there is a winter time, or any time, vegan option in Cape May.

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