I cuddled with a donkey and then stuffed my face. It was pretty much the best day ever.

Guys! I had the best day. It started with a fun romp with some new furry friends and ended with a giant plate of super delicious food in my belly. Shall we recap? Let’s begin.

The awesome folks at New England Voice For Animals arranged a meetup at the Beech Brook Equine Rescue in Mystic, and I could not wait to go… I’d been wanting to visit Beech Brook (one of the only farm animal sanctuaries in the state) for a quite a while, and this was the perfect opportunity. It was a pretty grey, muddy day but everyone except for me was smart and wore boots and I was dumb and got wet feet. Ahem.

The amazing volunteers at Beech Brook took us on a tour of the facilities and we met all of the super adorbs animals they have rescued.

This is Jigs, my new bff.

This is Jigs, my new bff.

me and higsBeech Brook is mainly an equine rescue, but this big lovebug was also saved from a neglectful living situation, as well as a few chickens and an alpaca (!). Jigs was pretty shy but after a few tasty apples (he shunned our offers of celery, smart boy) he warmed right up.

Seriously, that face.

Seriously, that face.

horses

"Who are all these visitors? And where is my snack?"

“Who are all these visitors? And where is my snack?”

Colin and Lightning. (Lightning is the horse)

Colin and Lightning. (Lightning is the horse)

The rescue is run by an amazing group of volunteers who work tirelessly to keep everyone clean, fed and healthy, and find forever homes.

The volunteers! (Check out what’s going on with the kiddo and horse on the left!)

Beech Brook saves horses and companion donkeys from pre-slaughter auctions and abusive or neglectful living situations, and works to rehabilitate those with emotional or physical trauma or health conditions so that they can find forever homes. It’s an amazing organization and I am in awe of their dedication and spirit. Truly inspiring!

After our farm visit the group went on over to Kate’s Cafe, a fairly new and 100% vegan restaurant in Mystic. I’ve been eyeing this place for a while, and was siked to be able to check it out with awesome company. Plus I was ravenous.

Kate’s has limited seating (it’s pretty tiny!) so our large group really took up half of the dining area (sorry, fellow diners!).

Kates 1

It has a lovely, upscale interior, and I’m told that there is tons more seating outdoors in the summer. Score.

kates menu

Check out that menu! Everything is 100% vegan, and many items are gluten-free or have a gluten-free option.. soy-free and nut-free items are also listed. The chef is an accomplished baker, and makes the gluten-free breads, muffins, and desserts from scratch. There’s lots to choose from: salads, sandwiches, wraps, soup of the day, and kids menu (I was eyeing the kids grilled cheese. What.). I could NOT decide and so at the last minute blurted something out. I think  it sounded like “Smoky Chickpea Burger” but I was too overhelmed with hunger all of the amazing options to tell.

Then this happened.

chickpea burgr

I should really paint my nails.

You guys. This was seriously one of the best veggie burgers I have ever had. The burger itself was perfect – crispy, chewy, moist, topped with roasted red peppers and served on the most delicious house-made gluten-free rosemary focaccia. That bread was amazing. So, so good. Ugh I want some right now.

My meal came with roasted sweet and white potatoes and greens, and it was so much food I almost could not finish it all. BUT hello. I did. And then really wished I had worn my stretchy pants.

It would appear that our younger group members also enjoyed their meals:

kids at kates

Two grilled cheeses (with Daiya) and a taco wrap. These guys raved about their meals!

Food porn warning:

Open-face taco "sandwich"

Open-face taco “sandwich”

This looked amazing.

In all, Kate’s was ridiculously good. The portions were huge, and prices very reasonable. The cafe also offers a takeout fridge with lots of pre-made offerings, great for grabbing something on the run, soups, drinks and, of course, amazing looking desserts. I was so full I wouldn’t even look at the (gluten-free) tamarind chai cookies the size of my face (who am I kidding…I looked.), but I will definitely be back, and now that I know better, I’ll save room for dessert.

The cafe also serves breakfast (sidenote: there’s a Waffle Panini on the breakfast menu, people. Veg sausage and Daiya cheeze, paninied (?) between two waffles and served with maple syrup. OMG WANT THAT.) and an occasional Saturday dinner. They don’t take reservations, and thedining area is small, so best to wait until summer if you have a large party, but the staff was lovely and accommodated us quite well.

But please, do not wait until summer to try Kate’s. In fact, maybe just go by yourself, like tomorrow, so you can stuff your face without shame. I certainly won’t judge.

Kate’s Cafe

27 Broadway Avenue, Mystic

860.245.5832

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3 thoughts on “I cuddled with a donkey and then stuffed my face. It was pretty much the best day ever.

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