Recognizing the deranged look in my eyes, Rick took the day off yesterday, and we went on a little field trip to Santa Fe. We did some shopping, and had plans to have a nice lunch at the Tree House. We wanted a Food Adventure, in a restaurant we'd never been to. I had seen this place mentioned in VegNews magazine, and was really excited to give it a try. Even though it's not really a "vegan" restaurant, the menu looked much more veg-friendly than we're used to in these parts. Not only do we live in the Land of Enchantment, we live in the Land of Meat-Eaters, where plant based meals are rarely found outside of one's own kitchen.
So I grabbed the address from the Tree House website, and off we went. But... my enthusiasm got in the way of my reading skills, and I sort of overlooked the part where they mention being closed on Sundays and Mondays. I should have known. A lot of places are closed on Sundays in this part of the country. After pressing my nose against the window and making a little whimpering noise, we got back in the bigass truck and just sat there in the empty parking lot. We didn't want to go to any of our regular lunch spots, all of which have had really limited menus for us since our grand vegan return to New Mexico. Finally I suggested we go to Whole Foods and check out the cafe. I knew we wouldn't get margaritas there, but at least we'd have some good food choices. Dining in a grocery store isn't exactly my idea of a fun date with my sweetie, but we were hungry. And I have to admit, we had a really delicious meal.
After cruising the cold deli, hot bar, salad bar, and sandwich/pizza counter, we decided on some cold salads from the deli, which they happily put on plates so we could "dine in." I had quinoa salad and a beautiful green kale salad. Rick had the same, and added some coleslaw with black sesame seeds, and a little bit of broccoli salad. It seemed like all of them had more or less the same dressing, sort of a light vinaigrette, but because the other ingredients were all so different, it tasted different from dish to dish.
I don't have actual recipes for these, but I did poke around on my plate quite a bit, and made some notes. I think you can figure it out from here. The quinoa salad had: red quinoa, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, and parsley. The kale salad had: chopped kale, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, edamame, sunflower seeds, cashews, and... blueberries. Yes, blueberries. To be honest, I didn't think that part worked. There weren't a lot of them in there, but enough to know it wasn't a mistake. Still, every time I got a blueberry bite I just thought it was more weird than innovative. Not bad, but not worth doing, in my humble opinion. Anyway, we really did enjoy our lunch. The food was great, the ambience was... casual... and the price made me feel like a real cheap date. In a good way.
After clearing our own table, we got in line once more for a couple of excellent rice milk lattes, which we sipped on our way back home. The Rio Grande was beautiful, lined with sprouting green things all the way up through the canyon. We stopped for a few minutes at our favorite spot along the river, stalling just a little bit longer before going home. I waded in with two little girls who were there with their parents, and who warned me not to get my flip flops wet. I ignored the warning, and admired their Sunday clothes and pretty hair styles. That's what gypsies do; break the rules and look for the beauty. Standing there in the cool water, knowing it was on its way to Mexico, even if I wasn't, I felt more like myself than I have in weeks. I'm still in here somewhere, and I know I won't be stuck forever.