Bagpipes, Guinness, and Cheese. Oh, crap.

When I started this blog, it was my hope to have a new post at least twice a week. One post containing a recipe, another about my plant-based journey through life. If you are a hard-core vegan, you may not have the stomach for some of those journeys.

This past weekend was no acception.

We made a road trip up to Binghamton, NY, where our good friends Amy and Ryan, from our fire department, are from. The city celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, and we celebrated right along with them. The weekend was full of great friends, lots of laughter, and some very questionable food choices on my part. I promise, no animal carcases were chewed on by this mouth. However, there may or may not have been a big slab of ham on my boot at one point.

If you know anything about the Irish heritage, or have been to an Irish pub, then you know they eat a lot of meat and a lot of potatoes. I definitely ate my weight in potatoes. But, just like the seafood restaurant, it was difficult for me to stay plant-based for a number of reasons.

After a 5-hour road trip we arrived in Binghamton, checked into our hotel, relaxed for an hour or so, and went across the street to an Irish restaurant called Dillinger’s for some lunch. At this point we only had an hour before we needed to be to the first event of the weekend, so we drank some beer* and munched on some appetizers. I ordered fried pickles. If you haven’t noticed, I love fried foods, and the only opportunity I have to eat them is when we are at a restaurant. So I take full advantage of it.

We all piled in a van and drove the half a mile across town to the hotel where our first event was held. Once inside I checked out the food situation….

It was pizza.

Chips.

And grilled cheese.

I immediately wished I had ordered the veggie burger I saw on the menu at Dillinger’s, and kicked myself a couple of times for not doing so.

Since we had to pay $25 to get in, Amy and Ryan felt awful about it. Not just for me, but for everyone. But, none of us made a big deal about it, because it wasn’t. I ate a couple pieces of cheese pizza, and the next day remembered why I stopped eating it in the first place. It makes my stomach feel AWFUL. It felt like I had a knot tied right in the middle. Fried foods? No problem. Cheese? No thank you.

We still had a blast because we were with our friends, and the much-anticipated bag pipers came out a few times as well.

bagpipers

After the event we headed over to Amici Pub & Pizzeria

Yes, you read right. A pizzeria. Amy’s cousin owns it, and they make gourmet pizza and other dishes. It was beautiful inside, and they were all so welcoming and nice. But at this point I was quite hungry. The two small pieces of pizza and two beers I had at the event wasn’t quite holding me over. I ordered a salad, and after contemplating, Chris and I ordered a veggie pizza. It was delicious. However, once again I regretted it later on.

Our long day of driving, and subsequently drinking, was starting to hit us. Chris started nodding off at the table, and then talking non-sense to everyone else. Something about being at the airport driving around? The owner was nice enough to give us a freshly baked loaf of bread on our way out so Chris could soak up the alcohol. Instead, he used it to run across the street and start marching with the bagpipe band as we were getting dropped off at our hotel. It was priceless.

If only I had it on video.

We woke up Saturday morning refreshed. I went to the lobby and ate some oatmeal and fresh fruit. My stomach still felt queasy, but not unbearable. I stuffed some extra oatmeal packets, apples, and bananas in my sweatshirt just in case I would need them for later. Which I did.

We headed over to Amy’s sister’s house, which you can see is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, and were greeted with smiles, laughter, car-bombs, and food.

Chris and I

On the menu?

Breakfast pizza.

Now at this point, pizza had become the running joke of the weekend for everyone. This would be the third time in the last 12 hours we would be having it, and Amy was gracious enough to order one veggie for me. If I haven’t said it already, Amy is like super-woman. She is a stay at home mom with two little red-headed girls, and she is so understanding of my plant-based lifestyle. Here she is with her littlest one, Gracie.

Amy & Gracie

{Amy & Gracie}

I ate a lot of fresh fruit, had one car-bomb, and then finally decided that if I was going to be drinking the whole day, then I should eat something more substantial. The car-bomb just wasn’t going to do it. Guinness** counts as food, right?

So I had some veggie breakfast pizza. It had cheese, and eggs (which don’t bother my stomach, I just never cook with or eat them).

Feeling very defeated at this point, we headed to Amici’s again where you could buy a mug for $20 and have unlimited refills on any beer until midnight.

Amici's

{Amici's on Parade Day}

So we bought one! And since Blue Moon is not filtered with fish guts, it’s vegan! It also happens to be my favorite beer, so it was a win-win for me.

Blue Moon

{Blue Moon}

The rest of the day was such a blast. We walked from Amici’s to their family’s parade spot. The kids gathered up all the candy, and so did Chris. My purse was full of half eaten and full-wrapped candy that I had to empty out the next morning because of him. I really did marry a big kid. But I love him for it 🙂

boys

{LtoR Ryan, Bubba, Sean, Amy's sister's husband, Chris}

Binghamton, NY parade

{parade}

bag pipers

{bagpipe band}

The second event of the weekend did not disappoint. More so if you are a meat-eater. But either way it was impressive. For $25 you got unlimited beer, including Guinness, and the buffet included corned beef, ham, cabbage, carrots, and my favorite, salt potatoes. They’re boiled in salt water, and although I’m sure my blood pressure skyrocketed, it was worth it because they were heaven. This is also where the ham ended up on my boot. I’m pretty sure someone did it on purpose. It’s amazing what people will do to try and get a reaction out of someone who is vegetarian/vegan. I don’t think they expected me to take a picture.

After eating all my veggies, and everyone else’s, we danced the night away.

dancingdancingdancing

photo bomb

{Photo bombing Sean & Amy}

On our last morning, we headed up the hills to Amy’s parent’s house for brunch before we got on the road. Surrounded by friends, their family, beautiful views, and lots of food, it was the perfect ending to our eventful weekend. Amy made sure there were things for me to eat, and she even went out and bought a delicious salad. I’m so lucky!

I had baked beans (no bacon in it), green salad, three bean pasta salad, sautéed onions and green peppers, and more salt potatoes (yes!!).

Our view

{Our View}

brunch

{the spread}

Rules I learned from this trip as a veg:

1) Always research your location before you travel.

2) Pack snacks with you as a back-up.

3) If you plan on drinking, be sure to follow rule #2. Eat them when you get hungry so you don’t eat other things you will regret.

4) It’s okay not to eat something if you don’t want to. The fear of offending someone is much less scary than what the food will do to your system. In my case, making my body feel lethargic/tired/achy/toxic.

5) Bagpipes make me tearful. In a good way. (I know that doesn’t have to do with being veg, but so what)

6) We are very lucky to have the friends that we do, and to be a part of the firefighter family like we are. (again, not veg related, but I wanted to brag)

*I was introduced to a new app called Veggie Brews. If you are vegetarian or vegan and/or don’t want to drink beer that has been filtered with fish guts, you must have this! It saved me.

**Guinness is not vegetarian or vegan. But, Guinness Extra Stout is [vegan]. So, yay!

I know this post is extremely long. And to make up for it, my next three posts will be recipes. Starting with my throw-together dinner from last night.

Any tips on how to handle weekend getaways as a veg? What do you do in social situations where you don’t want to offend anyone by not eating their food? (I seriously need some advice on this one!)

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