October 6, 2012

Road Trip with GERD: Stop 3 -- Charleston, NC

"Fast and French" special of the day.   Charleston, SC.

After Wilmington, we raced towards Charleston, where we would spend a day and a half exploring the town.   One of the challenges on the road was matching our itinerary to reality -- it often took far longer to get to our destination that we expected.  So, after checking into our hotel, it was usually a mad rush to find healthy food before places closed or we became too frazzled.  This led to desperate meals.  (Again, I had scouted places out before the trip but once we got to our destination, factors usually prevented us from going to them.  They were closed, too far from where we were, the menu was not pleasing to our entire party, and so on.)

By this time on the trip, my meals had been losing whole foods and vegetables by the mile.   We had been on the road for three days (only) and already I was feeling nutrient-deprived and "overly processed."    Menus never offered vegetables without a meat stock or addition, locally sourced whole foods were difficult to find in restaurants, and I began relying on green salads for my veggies.   I've never eaten so much lettuce so many meals in a row.  This trip opened my eyes to the "food deserts" and overall poor eating habits in the U.S. -- something I don't get exposed to living in NYC, a paradise of artisanal food stands, farm-to-table restaurants, greenmarkets, and vegetarian cuisine.  

We arrived in Charleston around 4:00 PM, and took a long walk on King Street -- the "shopping" street which also had numerous restaurants.  Unfortunately, most of them were upscale fast food places or "foodie" places which did not have anything vegetarian-friendly that I wanted to eat -- most veg-friendly dishes I encountered on the trip consisted of 1) mushrooms, which I loathe, and 2) "caprese" something or other -- and how much mozzarella can I eat on one trip?

Apparently, a lot.  We wound up at The Mellow Mushroom, a popular chain of "hippie" pizzarias:

The Mellow Mushroom in Charleston. 
I should have looked at the menu more closely to see if this location also offered a tempeh hoagie.   Next time...


The next morning,  we were supposed to eat in the Dining Hall on the base, but it was open only for "Grab and Go" food due to cleaning.   Oatmeal was becoming my staple on the road; I brought ground nuts with me for my own topping if needed, and places usually provided fresh and dried fruit.  This morning, the only oatmeal was instant, overly processed -- and unpalatable.

"Grab and Go" breakfast at the Mess Hall, 9:00 AM.

An hour later, my travel party decided to return to the dining hall for the "real" hot breakfast.   I got fresh fruit and watery grits.   It is what it is.

Breakfast at the Mess Hall, 10:00 AM.


I enjoyed my walk around Charleston, and especially the lunch I discovered at Gaulart & Maliclet  -- or, as the locals call it "because we can't pronounce it,"  Fast & French.  What an amazing find -- a daily special that day was the soup of the day with a baguette topped with sauteed leeks, tomatoes and goat cheese.  I asked if I could get the baguette without the goat cheese, and substitute the "fruit with nuts and raisins" for the soup.  No problem, and here, try some complimentary olive spread too.   The menu included many veg/vegan friendly options, and the flexibility of the staff makes it easy to get just what you need/want diet-wise.

Fast & French!

The rest of our Charleston visit was upbeat, and we ended the day with dinner at Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant across the river.  Vegetables!

King Street, Charleston, SC.

Gut status at this point of the trip:  Amazingly low-GERD, no food in throat feeling, no constipation, and no bloating, except for times when I ate too much.  (One of the dangers for me eating out with others is my tendency to "help finish" someone else's meal - an extra bite here and there and all of a sudden I have eaten beyond my portion, I'm feeling bloated and refluxy, and kicking myself for doing so.)

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