Sweet Travels – Lancaster, PA

Firstly, hope everyone is enjoying your holidays and a very Happy 2020 to all!

As you all know all my trips be it small or big is surrounded by nothing but Food, Food and Food 🙂

So we decided to take a short drive with fam to Lancaster, PA just to break from routine. During my drive to PA, I was browsing vegetarian places for food stops as always and to my surprise came across plenty of options. During my stay and later on with numerous conversations with restaurant owners I came to know that a huge population in that area was vegan/ vegetarian.

I decided to pick a few that seemed interesting to me. So here goes :

The first one we tried was on Christmas Day and happened to be the one that was open and was packed.

1) Oka Asian Fusion

Primarily Japanese cuisine, Oka’ s menu was packed with delicious Sushi/ Hand Rolls of various kinds. The interesting part of the menu was a vegetarian section which had a good number of vegetarian choices for sushi rolls.

We decided to try the Avocado Peanut Sushi roll. And trust me guys – I am not a huge fan of sushi at all. This one was delicious and I have to admit that I ordered another plate of it after wiping clean the first plate:))

The menu also offered some fusion dishes like the vegetarian pad thai and spicy basil with tofu that we also tried and was delicious as well.

2) Issei Noodle

A small warm and cozy restaurant which smells delicious as you walk in. Once again, one of popularly recommended places which had plenty vegetarian options since the menu has a vegetarian section.

This place is known for its exceptional Ramen bowls so we ordered

Spicy Tan Tan Ramen :

Although it was not on the vegetarian section of the menu the waitress gave us the option of customizing this dish minus meat and fish sauce and substituting with fried tofu and people when I tell you – how delicious this dish was – I inhaled the dish and it was gone.

So hearty and healthy !

Haru Warm Ramen : was the next dish we ordered which again the waitress offered to substitute the pork and shrimp with tofu and vegetables. This dish was equally delicious.

The kids love curry dishes so they ordered a Red Curry dish with rice which was made mild and was so hearty too.

Last but not the least we ordered dessert which were 3 flavors of house made Mochi – Coconut flavor, Mango and the Red Bean. It melts in your mouth and by far the best Mochi I have had.

3) Roots

This casual urban vegan joint was so refreshing. The owner Rob makes his own Seitan from scratch and food is delicious.

We ordered a butternut squash pizza with caramelized onions , vegan Banh Mi and buffalo cauliflower. I would say each dish tasted so fresh and I understand all the vegetables and mushrooms are sourced locally.

This place has no freezer or uses no microwave so the food is pretty much fresh and made to order.

For dessert we ordered a Vegan orange cake to be honest to which I had very low expectations. How can one be successful baking a cake without eggs, cream and butter ??? But my friends – it simply blew my mind off. The cake was delicious with fresh oranges when you slice through. A place worth visiting and giving a shot for sure.

4) Upohar

This global vegetarian Restaurant I cannot emphasize how much I loved visiting.

Owners Puerto Rican Chef Christina Maldonado and Kolkata descent Srirupa Dasgupta create a global vegetarian menu which features a variety of dishes not limited to:

Syrian Rice, Green bean sauté, Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Syrian Kale, Cuban black beans, Yucca, Yellow rice with Pigeon Peas and fried sweet Plantains.

Christina, when I mentioned Love for extreme spice levels got a small container out which had this sauce – made out of ghost peppers, green chili, habanero and star anise. Mind you we had to get 2 more of those small containers and wiped it clean and ordered a TO GO 🙂 – WARNING – It is extremely spicy!!! I grew up eating high level of spice so thoroughly enjoyed it.

Christina and Srirupa are not only extremely talented Chefs as you can tell the food is homely and super flavorful yet healthy and delicious. They are women who also wanted to give back to the community by training refugees and who bought in their household dishes to the table and giving them a new life.

In Bengali language “Upohar ” means a gift.

Upohar is truly such a gift to the community and I say this since I have eaten at so many traditional Indian fare buffet places – this one was truly exceptional and global bringing Cuisines from all over the world to the table and to top it all – VEGETARIAN !!

Last but not the least – ORDER the FLAN people. By far the best FLAN and yes I am not ashamed to say I had Christina pack a second order of flan to take back home along with my container of ghost pepper concoction ( wink wink)!!!

Thank you Christina for the awesome experience. And I look forward to coming back here more…..HIGHLY RECOMMEND !!

Until next time … lots of love and wishing you all a very happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year and most importantly a healthy 2020 !!

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