On Friday I worked from 7am-4pm and then I had a 2 hour break before my 2nd job (I know, my life is kind of insane right now!). So, I decided to make the best of the little 'me time' I had and explore a new-to-me area of Baltimore in the neighborhood near my job.
I headed over to Belvedere Square, which is a little market area of shops and restaurants. I had actually been there once before, a few years ago, to attend an event my friend hosted about her farm's summer produce co-op. However I had never eaten there or walked around. This same friend used to work at a farm-to-table shop in the Square called Atwater's. She would tell me regularly how wonderful the food and soups were and yet, I never ate there. WHY?! Why oh why did I never trek over to that side of town for this food. I was blown away by my meal on Friday.
Atwater's feels like a mixture of a farmers market, produce stand, café, sandwich and cheese shop and bakery all rolled into one! There are various rustic counters set up around the giant store, all offering something different. You can order gourmet sandwiches and soups at one, coffee at another, homemade ice cream at another, homemade bread at yet another, and even a few more. What I did know about Atwater's from my friend is that they source most of their food from local farms in Pennsylvania and Maryland, one of the reasons why she loved working there. This goes for the food they make and serve in the restaurant, but you can also purchase fresh produce and goods like honey and jam that come from local farms as well! It's really an incredible place. There was also a counter serving local organic beer! I picked up a menu (which changes regularly) and had a really tough time deciding between soup, a salad or a sandwich. Everything just looked so wonderful. I finally decided on a vegetarian sandwich that I'll admit sounded kind of strange, but also strangely intrigued me - the Sweet Potato and Hummus on Ciabatta.
The sandwich had two huge slices of creamy sweet potato, fresh hummus, local leaf lettuce, cucumber slices and homemade black olive tapenade on a fresh baked ciabatta roll (it also came with cheese which I obvs nixed). Behold the beauty:
It's hard to even describe how all of the different flavors in this sandwich came together, but the end result was just insanely good! Their homemade pickle was also delicious (I LOVE pickles). For ethical reasons, I've recently been trying to cut back on the meat I eat. Lately, I'm beginning to see how much variety, goodness and flavor can be had in a vegetarian diet.
After I finished eating, I got up and walked around the shop. There were so many wonderful wares to purchase, but alas I am on a budget so I settled on some local blueberry honey. I love putting honey in my tea and liked the idea of supporting a farm for some real honey, instead of that processed stuff they sell at the grocery store.
I still had a little bit of time before I had to be at my babysitting job, and I noticed there was a TCBY across the street. Now normally, there would be no reason for me to set foot inside a yogurt establishment but I had heard that they now served a non dairy option made with Silk almond milk. Perfect! Upon entering I asked the friendly lady at the counter if they did indeed serve this and she said they did! Yippee. On this day they were serving Silk Chocolate Almond flavor. She let me sample it and I liked it so I told her I would take a small cup. I had no idea you are actually supposed to just fill up your own cup with whatever flavors and toppings you want and then pay for it at the end according to weight?! You can tell I've never bought froyo before. I just got a small bit and then decided to go for some sprinkles on top because why not? I told her I actually wanted to try the vanilla flavor too and she said they had some ready in the To-Go case, so I also bought a small container of vanilla to take home!
So my overall verdict on froyo? Well, I'm going to go against the blogging grain once again, because I don't think it's nearly as good as non-dairy ice cream. GASP! The consistency is thinner, grainier and more watery. And it feels like they overcompensate for the lack of fat by making it extra sweet. I'm guessing this is also the case with regular froyo, but I don't know, so please tell me! It's not terrible, but I'd definitely take some non dairy soft serve from Vegan Treats any day over froyo. I think I will probably still eat it once in awhile, now that I know it exists, but I'd really love if I could find a vegan bakery comparable to Vegan Treats in Baltimore that served ice cream. That would truly be nirvana. Maybe I can convince them to let me manage a branch here in Baltimore! Dream job - just putting it out there! (hint, hint)
Feeling oh so satisfied after my two hour break and nourished from all the delicious food, I put on my Super Nanny cape and headed off to work :)
How was your weekend? Did you eat anything super delicious?
If you are a froyo fan, I'd love to know what you love about it! And do you like it more than ice cream?