Eating across the country

So I'm headed home. Yeah, forgot to tell you, I've been out of the office for the past week. Specifically, driving across the country from central Connecticut to San Deigo. It was a whirlwind adventure: extremely exhausting, but tons of fun and I wouldn't take a single second back. 
I panicked for a bit before and as we left, trying to figure out how to control my eating and not be stuck chowing down on McDonald's or something just as gross along the route. We had a 48 hour drive to make and we wanted to be done as quick as possible, since we were in a crowded 2-door car with a couple angry kitties crammed in the backseat along with my co-pilot's stuff (the reason for this crazy trip is so we could move her cats, her car and self out there). 
I went crazy at Target purchasing road food: raw nuts, bit of dark chocolate, dried fruit, tuna and shelf stable single serve almond milk (for the coffee I would DEFINITELY be needing). We supplemented with some fresh fruit. 
I think I did pretty good. Actually, I got too much. We ate about half of this because it became very necessary for us to have some REAL food. I needed me some meat and veggies. But we chose our pit stops well. 23 hours on the road brought us to northern Arkansas, where we had a well timed stop for dinner, showers and sleep at a friend's. Dinner was pasta, but it was dairy free and topped with meat sauce, so I ate very willingly. It tasted like a treat, been such a long time!
Some Paleo-friendly Panera and coffee got us on the road the next morning. Have you ever tried out Panera's hidden menu? Quite a few tasty and guilt free options there. 
Lunch time brought is into Oklahoma City where we stopped at a little steak place that was recommended by a friend. Hello, meat!
Then came the big push, fueled by our cooler of road food and hour long naps at rest stops till we hit Flagstaff, Arizona Thursday morning. Our hunt for caffeine led us to this fantastic little cafe called Macy's filled with lattes and vegan delights. I broke down yet again and had bread, but only because I couldn't resist the chance to try a vegan raspberry Danish. Boy, was it worth it! I've earned a little indulgence by this point, don'tcha think?
Definitely not Paleo, both grain and soy filled, but it was a good experience, for sure. 
Fueled by coffee, we dragged our tired selves through the last 8 hour push. We were loopy by the end as it was now Thursday evening and our last horizontal sleep ended early Wednesday morning. But as tired as we were, we'd made it and we were running on coffee, adrenaline and excitement. 
For dinner, we went to this fun place called Stacked, known for allowing you to custom build your burger and mac and cheese orders with any number of alluring toppings. 
I decided to redeem myself a bit and got a lettuce wrapped burger stuffed with tasty morsels of bacon and avocado and some sweet potato fries. Mmm. It was a little too stuffed though and ended up as burger salad, but it really tastes just as good, doesn't it?
Good thing they gave me a knife. It's like they KNEW. 
Wow, I'm tired just remembering this far, and my week was only half over! The weekend was loaded with more tasty morsels. I spent far too much time worrying about staying dairy free and low carb. Dairy free is EASY in San Diego. Unbelievably easy. It's vegan hippy nirvana. The next few days consisted of Thai curry, Pho, sushi (yes, I had rice and noodles for all of the above, I didn't spend too much time worrying about low carb...) and unbelievable vegan and gluten free cupcakes!
Seriously, those cupcakes were life changing. We spent an afternoon in La Jolla: beautiful beach, lounging sea lions and delicious, independent food shops everywhere. One thing that saddens me most about my area of CT is that my caffeine options are limited to Panera and Starbucks (and Dunkin Donuts, but I can't have ANYTHING there so I don't count them). Don't get me wrong, I love Panera, but I crave a nice, independent coffee shop with some character that I can relax and enjoy myself at. Cups fit the bill so well, I nearly cried. It's a small cupcake and coffee shop stocked with both soy AND almond milk; a large selection of cupcakes, some vegan, dairy free and/or gluten free; and a very friendly and casual staff. I happily consumed an almond milk iced mocha (wonderfully dark and barely sweetened), an unbelievable vegan pumpkin spice cupcake with soy "cream cheese" frosting and carried home a DF/GF peanut butter cup cupcake. I would happily have carried home the entire shop. 
Today feels like such a drag compared to everything from the weekend. I'm eating leftover trail mix from the drive in between flights home. Back to the real world. 

Anyone else have any awesome food ventures this week?

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