- there are normally at least 3 within a five-minute drive from anywhere
- they have really awesome coffee and an impressive selection of flavored non-dairy creamers
- they have a milkshake blender (I've never used it, but I've watched children and I think it must be the coolest thing in their day)
- they have "healthy" food, in the form of Luna bars and other such nonsense
- some locations have very low-priced but high-quality gas
- there is an impressive selection of hot food, even if most of it contains meat
- the Wawa where I went to college also carried individual-sized Pizza Hut pizzas
- they are open 24 hours
- their frozen cappuccinos are the only blended coffee drink (including Starbucks) that doesn't make me sick to my stomach
- they have a make-your-own sandwich bar (well, you choose your selections from a touchscreen computer and then a washed and gloved employee makes your sandwich)
- they have amazing soft pretzels (another big deal in the Philadelphia area)
- there is a truly impressive array of fresh prepared foods, such as wraps, hoagies, salads, fruit cups (I got sliced mango yesterday, but there's also grapes, sliced apples, and mixes), whole fruits, "protein platters" made up of an appropriately portioned multi-grain bagel, natural PB, a hardboiled egg, and a packet of almonds. The list goes on, but those are the things that stand out
Anyway, not too long ago, I extolled the virtues of my favorite Wawa feature: the build-a-salad feature. I fell in love at first bite with salads so magnificently constructed that they don't need dressing. They are also the perfect fit for my mid-winter fresh-raw cravings (I must be orthorexic!), which have officially begun, at almost exactly the same time as last year. Unfortunately, they were either a "limited time offer" or they were not as popular with everyone else. I went to a Wawa for lunch the other day and was utterly disappointed to find they did not have salads on their touchscreen order boxes, so I picked up a ready-to-go salad. It was just slightly better than awful - primarily the white, nutritionally useless parts of iceberg lettuce, some dried out "shredded" carrots, fair cherry tomatoes, "meh" diced bell peppers, and sorry looking chickpeas. There was also a terrifying sliced hardboiled egg that I removed upon opening it. Although this is how Wawa wants to represent it, it looked nothing like this:
It is the only prepared salad, though, that doesn't have meat on it. I don't understand the need to add meat to salad. Different strokes...
So, silly me, since I had never been to that particular Wawa before, I thought they just weren't offering that option. Yesterday, I had a hankering for a salad that wouldn't infect me with Swine Flu, so I went to my tried-and-true Wawa to get me a made-to-my-specifications salad. I was profoundly disappointed to find that the option had disappeared from the menu...no matter how many times I walked away from the touchscreen and came back (three times - the staff must have thought I was insane), so I grabbed the same garden salad from the prepared foods island and headed back to work.
If it's possible, this one was even more of a salad failure than the first one! I figure that to dice the bell peppers, they must have just thrown a whole one into a blender or something because I can't figure out how else there would be a 3:1 seed to pepper piece ratio. To put this in other words, my love affair with Wawa has been tainted.
Tonight, I made Curried Udon Noodle Stir-Fry from Veganomicon. I know I've made it before, but I'm too lazy to dig through my posts to find the link. It's fun making the curry roux, and it comes together faster and easier than most rouxes (?) I've made. It's a good dish and I enjoy the taste and texture of udon noodles, but the sauce needs just a little something more. I'm thinking "soy sauce" is that something, because this is my issue: the curry powder smells so good when it's cooking, but then it's somewhat bland when you taste it...it must need some kind of salty agent to enhance the flavors present in the scents.
Finally, since we went out for Valentine's day on Tuesday and had leftovers the night I was too pissy to cook (Monday?) this week's menu includes a few of last week's leftovers:
1. French Lentil Soup with Tarragon and Thyme from Veganomicon
2. Red Lentil Artichoke Stew from The Vegan Table
3. Potato Corn Chowder from The Accidental Vegan. I really pondered this one for a few minutes because I feel like it makes the week soup-heavy again. I decided to go ahead when I realized that soup season will actually end in a couple of months and remembered how good and thick and hearty this soup is.
4. Lo Mein also from The Accidental Vegan. Veggie Lo Mein was one of the first things I learned how to cook when I became a vegetarian and it was really ad hoc. This is the first time I've actually bothered with a recipe, so we'll see how that comes out.
5. Kedgeree also from The Accidental Vegan. This is actually a very common middle-eastern dish of brown rice and lentils (a complete protein) with herbs and spices. I haven't been a fan of it as a main dish because there are no vegetables involved, unless you count the herbs - I don't. With this recipe, Devra apparently feels my pain, because she has included dark leafy greens (kale, my new love), carrots, and...fungus. Mister, as I've mentioned, is not a fan of mushrooms. I solicited advice from some friends on a substitute that would incorporate the earthiness and meatiness of the mushrooms and the suggestion I fell in love with was olives. Brilliant!