Vegan MoFo: Anniversary Dinner at Native Foods

Alan and I celebrated our 12th anniversary today! I searched my blog today, and realized that, with the exception of a sentence or two on my Story page, I’ve never really told the story of our wedding. I promise I’ll be (relatively) brief.

First of all, background on the story: Alan and I met at the finish line of the Tram Road Challenge, in 1996, one of the two years that it was held twice, in April and October. We met the day before Easter while we were both cheering on the athletes who were finishing one of the toughest climbing running races. Following the race, at the pancake breakfast, Alan asked a mutual friend to introduce us. Our first date was three days later, and we’ve been together ever since.

When we decided we were going to get married, in 1999, we decided that neither of us were interested in a regular church wedding, and we started looking for something that would suit us. Our friend, Greg Klein, who is the race director for the Tram Road Challenge, was very open to the idea of our holding our wedding on the finish line of the race.

We made our arrangements, found a minister, invited a few friends and family (and, of course, a 1,000 or so acquaintances who, even now, remember us from our wedding). Our minister, plus the family and friends who chose not to actually participate in the race, had to get up really early anyway, because they had to be transported to the top of the Tram Road before the 7:30 start of the race.

Alan and I ran together, I in my white satin running shorts that I’d had made (two pairs, so I could change at the finish) and white lace running bra. After we finished, we went to the restroom to freshen up. I changed into my other white outfit and added a white lace t-shirt, and Alan wore a morning coat with some black & white running shorts. We waited until most of the runners had finished (it is too much of an accomplishment to finish that race, we didn’t want to take away anyone’s moment), then, surrounded by family, friends, and other runners, we were married right there on the finish line.

Flash forward 12 years. Here we are today, still running (and biking and swimming, too). We started our celebration with a run, of course, just a few miles with our dogs. Our plan for the day was simple: Dinner and a movie. Or since we’re a little older now, a movie, then an early dinner. Our movie choice was The Ides of March. Not bad. Our dinner choice was much better. Native Foods. If you read my blog, you know that Native Foods is my favorite restaurant. It is also the only vegan restaurant within at least 75 miles or so of La Quinta. Lucky us.

We arrived pretty early and there were just a few people in the restaurant. We started by ordering a glass of wine for me and an order of Native Chicken Wings. I’ve had them before (in the Palm Desert location), but these were much better than I remembered. Hot, crispy, served with buffalo and ranch dressing, they were excellent.

There were actually five or six pieces, but I got excited and ate a couple before I remember my blogging duties.

Alan ordered the Scorpion Burger, one of his favorites, and I ordered the Chicago Dip Au Jus, a new item added since Native Foods has recently opened three locations in Chicago. I have probably never had a real one, even when I was eating meat, but this sandwich was really good. Made with seasoned seitan on a fresh baked baguette with lots of veggies mixed in, it was flavorful and filling.

I also ordered the seasoned fries. I’ll admit it. I am a french fry lover. They have always been my weakness. Even when I was still eating meat they were just an occasional treat. Now, because I don’t know the preparation methods of most restaurants, I very rarely eat fries. I knew that I was safe at Native Foods, though, so I ordered away. And told suggested that Alan order the sweet potato fries with his meal so that we could share.

My eyes were definitely bigger that my stomach tonight (gosh, I can hear my mom say that phrase!). After the appetizer, I could barely get down half my sandwich. Alan cut his in half too, and we packed up our leftovers. We did leave a little room, though, for this:

Native Pumpkin Pie! The description from the menu: A holiday tradition gone vegan! Organic pumpkin, seasonal spices and granola crust with ginger creme on the side. It was one of the best desserts I’ve had at Native Foods. The spices were perfect and the texture was just right. Definitely worth that stuffed feeling that I’m enjoying right now.

I’m still sad because the Native Foods in Palm Desert is closed down indefinitely, at least, they say, until they find a new, larger location. In the meantime, Palm Springs, even though it is an extra half hour drive, is a great alternative.


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  1. Carolina Villa says

    I loved to hear your story and think that love should always be celebrated and you two found a very unique and fun way to celebrate yours(Even though nobody had the guts to tell you that you forgot your bottoms of your outfits)Kiddin of course. You two look great and the love shows.

    • says

      Those shorts are really short, aren’t they? Thank you for your comments. I’m just happy that 12 years later we can still do all the things we do.


  2. Carol says

    What a great story. You two are very fortunate to have found each other. I hope that you have many more years together!

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