Feelin Blah and ION (Not At All Related)

Happy Hump Day, or as I’ll call it this week, Happy Thursday, because I don’t have work this Friday! Does anyone else have the day off?

Yesterday I was feeling blah. I was supposed to head out to eat with Rachel for one of our foodie dates, but ended up kinda crawling into an anti-social shell from the moment I woke up to the moment I went to sleep. Ever have days like that? I didn’t sleep well the night before, had a group project presentation in which I helped team-teach our two-hour class, and had to stay after class to get feedback. It was just a LONG day (first world problems). I wanted nothing more when I left campus than to go home and watch last week’s “Smash” with my mom (so glad we’ve found a show we can enjoy together). So that’s what I did, while enjoying a delicious dinner of Moe’s black beans, leftover roasted Brussels sprouts, and Newman’s Own frozen veggie pizza, baked to crispy perfection in the oven on a pizza stone.

Recycled photo, yes I’m wearing PJ’s.

I was super bummed yesterday to discover that when I went to do my usual Tuesday morning Yoga Works Body Slim video on Hulu, it and all other Yoga Works videos were GONE! I am so bummed. I loved that video and I ended up with a lame substitute from Exercise TV. This only contributed to my crappy mood. I have P90X Yoga to do tomorrow as I usually do on Thursday mornings before work, but I don’t want to give up on Yoga Works just yet. Does anyone know where I can access Yoga Works videos for free? I couldn’t find them on their website and a YouTube search did not prove to be fruitful.

I did want to take a moment to do a quick review of It’s Only Natural, a vegan/vegetarian restaurant that I’ve been to a couple of times, including with Heather of For the Love of Kale when she came to visit. She even did a write-up of her opinion and our experience.

Located in Middletown, Connecticut’s newly-developed downtown area, It’s Only Natural (ION) has a cozy, chill vibe and quaint decor. It’s a place where no matter who you are, or what your eating philosophy may be, you are bound to feel comfortable and welcome.

The tabletops even double as chalkboards! Each table is well-equipped with plenty of multi-colored chalk. So much cooler than the whole draw-on-a-paper-tablecloth concept (sorry, Macaroni Grill).

The menu has something everyone would love, even the most avid meat-eaters. Unique craft beers are also offered, in addition to a pretty good wine selection. During one of my visits I had a Tempranillo that was yummy.

I’m a chronic decision-avoider. Decisions stress me out, even ones from menus. This is why I love sampler platters. Thank goodness for the ION Tribute, a sampling of the cajun tempeh, cajun crab cakes, and potato spinach pierogis. The waiter even put up with my annoying side-subbing habits.

I went for sauteed greens and pinto beans. This meal was beyond amazing. The vegan “sour cream” and “tartar sauce” were both fabulous. I’ve had bad experiences with too-salty tempeh before, but my tempeh-aversions are now completely gone thanks to ION. I can’t say enough good things about this dish. I think the tempeh crab cakes were my favorite part though I honestly was all over the pinto beans.

I really think a visit to ION is incomplete without ordering these fresh-cut sweet potato fries with homemade ketchup. Honestly, the best ketchup I’ve ever had and also quite possibly the best sweet tater fries too. The ketchup has tomato chunks in it, that’s how fresh it is.

I went sweet potato crazy when I went to ION with Heather, finishing her sweet potato fries for her 😉 (least I can do) and ordering the sweet potato enchiladas with vegan “cheese”, pinto beans, and veggies for myself. Had to get the beans again! Just as amazing as the first time and the enchiladas and vegan “cheese” were more than I could ever ask for in a unique meal. Not to mention the veggies were seasoned to perfection and not super oily like so many restaurants prepare them.

This dessert was sent out to our table during my first visit, courtesy of  The Sexy Carrot, the voice behind ION’s social media. All I can say is THANK YOU! ION desserts are no joke. This vegan coconut cupcake blew me away. The icing especially was a winner. I’m an icing freak. I could’ve eaten a tub of it.

My companions also ordered a slice of the vegan coconut cake, which was essentially the cupcake in cake form, except it came on a plate garnished with some kind of tasty apple butter. 

Can you spy The Sexy Carrot?

I can’t wait to go back to ION again and again. I’m not lying when I say I want to try everything on the menu.

Have you ever been to a vegan or vegetarian-only restaurant? Is there anything like that offered close to your home?

Do you ever get in those blah moods that bring you down all day? How do you snap out of it?

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