Jonny and Charlie outside of Aardvark Cafe, State College, PA


They have a separate vegan menu, prepared at a vegan workstation!


Jonny and Aardvark owner Brandon

We spent the weekend at Penn State visiting our big boy, Ethan, and weren't sure how the food situation would work out for us.  Well, we needn't have worried!  Things sure have changed in good old Happy Valley since The Big Sexy was a student there many moons ago. 

On the way to our hotel, we drove by a wonderful health food store called Nature's Pantry.  We bought some almond milk and cereal in case the hotel breakfast didn't cut it and Jonny was excited to discover every flavor of vegan jerky Primal Strips, which would satisfy any college-memory-induced cravings and only have 80 calories each.

I had our dinner places covered, one of which, Spats, Jonny had visited last time he was there without me and loved.  It's a cajun restaurant and they made an excellent vegan jambalaya for us.  I didn't have high expectations for Mad Mex, as I usually stay away from chains, but it was a pleasant surprise with a TON of options, including vegan cheese and sour cream for those who indulge.  We had excellent grilled portobello and tofu fajitas and the most humongous spicy spinach burrito I have ever seen.  The only slip was that the waiter, who had patiently reviewed each vegan possibility for us in the menu, "forgot" and brought us a salad dressing with cheese in it.  We ate some of it before we realized that it tasted "too good..."

Right before the weekend, I found the Aardvark Kafe through Yelp.com. If you don't already do this, anytime you are traveling somewhere, go on Yelp and put in "vegan" and the city and you'll find some great places.  Aardvark doesn't have a website yet, but here's their Facebook page.  We loved this place!!!  It's relatively new and the owner, Brandon (pictured above with Jonny,) takes his vegan food very seriously and is a wonderful cook.  We loved everything we ate, and we got a lot of things to try.  We had an amazing calzone, stuffed shells, sweet potato fries, salad and plantain hummus.  Everything was prepared to order and we enjoyed chatting with Brandon while he was cooking.  Keep this in mind if you are in a rush, as it does take some time for your food to be ready.  Next time, we will probably put our order in ahead of time and arrive a few minutes before to say hi to Brandon.  We were thrilled to learn that he is contemplating a vegan brunch on Saturdays. 

Who knew that Happy Valley could be Happy Vegan Valley?


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