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Maybe it was the clearly labeled gluten- free oatmeal on the shelf as we walked into The Phoenix B&B near Castlemaine, or perhaps it was the delicious savory smell of veggies simmering in garlic, or it could have been the Lazure-like paint on the walls that made this place feel like home away from home, but it was clear from the moment we arrived that we would have no problem finding healthy eating options for all our various diets.

My husband and son are committed omnivores, my daughter is happiest wheat and dairy free, I prefer a low-fat high fiber vegan diet, and our adopted-for-the-week teen is a dedicated vegan. Let’s just say I have felt as though I have given a number of the waitresses a thorough interview about the detailed contents of their menu options.

The Phoenix Restaurant bills itself as a seafood and vegetarian restaurant with accommodations. When booking their rooms for three nights, I looked at the menu, saw three obviously vegan options and knew we’d have three nights at least of easy eating. We weren’t disappointed. And it was easy because they knew veg-speak. The question “Is it vegan?” didn’t need any explanation. (The flyer for a Camphill festival made it abundantly clear there was a Waldorf connection–as If the food and decor weren’t enough.)

I’ve opted to be vegan-leaning without too many worries about eating vegetarian instead or even meat–I am on vacation after all. I have to admit the warm chicken and chorizo salad I shared with my daughter the other night was delicious. There have been eggs at breakfast, but I’ve passed up the sausage and ham options.

We’ve found an organic or “whole foods” type store in several places to ask where we can find a soy latte, and the tourist offices are very helpful in pointing out places that are most likely to have veg options. The hostess here in Killybegs happened to have soy milk in her fridge. We found hummus and pita at the local market, and there’s always fruit available.

The photo below is my delicious potato with beans and veggies with salad at the Stonechat in Killarney.


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