You can’t beat beets! That what my Dad always says and I have to agree with him. This vibrantly colored root vegetable is frequenting local food markets and CSAs right now. Amy shared a couple with me from her bounty and yesterday I put one of them to good use by making a batch of my Walnut Beet Burgers. They were as quick and flavorful as I remembered and I was glad to have blogged the recipe I came up with last year.
Beets from NYC certainly aren’t local for us so it will make more sense when I share that we went to visit Arron & Amy this past weekend. Arron’s week of performances in City Center culminated in my favorite ballet of all time, In the Upper Room. His artistic prowess was lauded in the New York Times a couple of days ago. The reviewer found his phrasing in the piece unbeatable, comparing him to one of the world’s top ballet dancers.
Arron Scott is so stylish a dancer that, even when he’s beside Mr. Cornejo in “In the Upper Room,” it’s to him I look to see just how a phrase should be accentuated.
I seem to be blogging backward because even before going to the city to visit with Amy (her first time seeing In the Upper Room) Jim and I had some wonderful times together earlier that day. We made time to finally stop in Bloomsburg and had lunch at Prana Juice Bar and Namaste Cafe. Columbia County is just a hair outside of the limits that are set for the judging for the Pennsyltucky Veggie Awards but it is still home to one other very few all vegetarian restaurants in central Pennsylvania.
Prana was having a Harvest Festival and it was in full swing during the time we chose to visit. This may have caused minor delays and unsynchronized arrival of our food being served but the staff was great about it all. They were cheerful and not in a spacy and oblivious way. They were aware of the increased patronage of the day and recognized it to us in a way that was a pleasant matter of fact and didn’t come off as a whiny excuse as it could have. The place was very busy but we were well taken care of as we placed the order, were directed to seating of our choice, getting our order correct and checking that it was to our liking.
We sat at a cute two-seater in a small room toward the front of the building where we could enjoy the live entertainment that was on the front porch, pleasant acoustic guitar performances graced the length of the festival. It was during this time that some of the other guests were the only unpleasant issue we had. One mom’s free-range parenting style allowed her elementary school aged girls to bang their small pumpkin gourds on the keys of a piano that we sat 3 feet from. She stood over them, enjoying the cacophony until I had to tell her that Jim and I couldn’t hear what each other were saying. Soon after, a young man in his late teens came wandering in and started looking under the cushions of a plush couch that was on the other side of our table. I assumed he had lost something but he turned to explain to us he was looking for spare change, ” …hoping to find $.50.” He went on to share that he was hoping to buy a small portion of one the cleansing juices, “…before I have to poop.” I grabbed up my change purse and gave him 2 quarters so he would be able to… um… get on with his business somewhere other than the dining area.
The juices do sound incredible and I am hoping the fellow got a schmecken of the Pranayumma, carrot, apple and beet juice because it would be my choice. We stuck to water though and ordered the Organic Soup du Jour, a thick vegetable stew with so many hearty and tender veggies we couldn’t count them all. It was well seasoned and might have even classified as a mild vegetable chili, a perfect bowl and a crisp Fall day.
We also shared and Avocado Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus Wrap. The hummus wasn’t super spicy but the flavors of jalapeno and cilantro were just enough to set it apart from the traditional. Fresh and perfect avocado wedges, crunchy but mild onions and other veggies were all wrapped up together with a nice sprig of kale to make a huge wrap. A few slices of gala apple and seedless grapes blessed the plate and added fresh color and flavor as a garnish, very nice.
Prices were pretty reasonable for the quality of food, portion size and customer service we received. The staff really seemed to care about how our meal was and we assured them that we would be returning. Prana Juice Bar and Namaste Cafe isn’t just a groovy idea, it is a well run restaurant that should be on every vegetarian’s radar. We were assured that it is rare to come across a menu item that can not be made vegan (vegan cheese choices on sandwiches) and the kitchen and staff are eager to please all dietary needs without being preachy, judgmental or conversationally aggressive.
You can’t beat a nice run before a long trip in the car. Yet one step earlier in our day we made a stop in Mifflinburg to participate in a local fundraiser for the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail, the Flat ‘N Fast 4-Mile run/walk. I used this well maintained and new rail trail for quite a few of my longer training runs before my first marathon this year. Jim biked as I logged many a mile so we were very appreciative of the location and condition of this trail. The entry fees and festive race were all in support of the trail, we got on board by pre-registering a few weeks prior.
When you pre-register for something you never know for sure what the weather will be like or how you will be feeling the day of the race. The weather was perfect and but poor Jim had been pretty sick the day before and wasn’t quite up to a 4 mile jog followed by a drive to the city and then also attending the ballet. He decided to just collect his race shirt and rest while he waited for me at the finish line.
The race was well run, they provided a shuttle to the start line and transported warm-up clothes back to the finish line for all runners. I chose to warm up by jogging to the start line but did take advantage of clothing transport by tossing my gloves in and collecting them later. They also had markers for specific pace groups so that the slower runners and walkers wouldn’t get trampled by the speedsters.
This was the first time I ever toed the line with the sub 9:00 minute milers. It made me feel almost legit as I stayed up with a woman who looked like she could be in my age group as long as I could. I had to let her go after the first mile and she came in 6 runners ahead of me by averaging an 8:25 minute mile. She took first in the 55 – 59-year-old women. Luckily I am only 50; she took veterans but I got 1st in my age group of 50-54!
As we waited to collect my award, a cool ceramic mug with the race logo and year printed on it, Jim entered a raffle for a basket of local goodies. I told him that I hoped they would choose his ticket since I wanted him to come away with something since he didn’t run that morning. I screamed with delight when they called his number. He was such a good sport about letting me still run the race and driving to the city, his support is unbeatable and he deserves prizes like this all the time.