Making the start of each day seamless, our accommodations provided our Vegan breakfast options during our stay. Who knew that I could stay on course before even venturing out?
That first morning, I feasted on roasted red potatoes, fresh berries topped with crunchy granola, and whole-wheat toast with fruit preserves.
The next morning, I started my day with a big bowl of steel-cut oatmeal, topped with sliced almonds (protein and calcium), brown sugar and dried cranberries.
As a market, café and juice bar, Elements is a fairly new brick and mortar café, birthed from a husband and wife’s food truck days. With the friendly duo running the show, this Happy Cow gem offers its patrons organic, local, healthy, and exclusively plant-based options, making it painstakingly impossible to choose just 2 menu items (so we chose 3). I never imagined being Vegan and finding difficulty in choosing from a menu because it had so many options (many seasonal).
As burdensome as it was, we selected the seasonal Pumpkin Curry – heirloom pumpkin, brown rice, red curry, celery, and coconut milk on a bed of micro-greens and topped with pumpkin seeds. It was my favorite.
Next, we chose Elements’ Amazing Bowl, which was simply that. The Amazing Bowl – brown rice, kale, beets, black beans, house sauerkraut, cacao mole, and avocado on a bed of micro-greens and topped with a jalapeño vinaigrette.
We also shared the Veggie Burger – a homemade veggie patty topped with the house sauerkraut, Vegan Ranch and served alongside the yummiest red cabbage, sesame salad.
On my way out, I decided to pick up a few bottles of their fresh cold pressed juice, the source of their popularity as food truck owners. Pictured below is Wanderlust (beets, carrots, cucumbers, apples, lemon and ginger) and GoForth Green (kale, pear, cucumber, spinach, lemon and ginger).
Lunch on Day #2 was a no-brainer. When in doubt, choose an authentic Thai restaurant. Suwana’s Tofu Fresh Roll –tofu, cucumber, carrots, cilantro, avocado and basil leaves wrapped in a rice paper roll, generously topped with peanuts and nestled on a house peanut and Thai chili sauce. Yummilicious!
Our first night in Asheville wasn’t a Happy Cow App selection; it was a suggestion from my vegetarian friend, Shannon. She sung the praises of Laughing Seed so the hubby and I decided to give it go. I’m glad we did. It turned out to be our favorite spot in Asheville and one that I plan to frequent on each visit to the cozy, panoramically captivating city.
The Laughing Seed Café is a Vegetarian restaurant with Vegan options. Live music, colorful and eclectic décor, a friendly staff and a bustling, casual crowd fill the seats of this establishment, which prides itself on serving local, organic, farm-to-table, creative menu items.
We chose their Sloppy Joe Sandwich – tangy, crumbled Tofu barbeque with Southern slaw, tahini mustard, and lettuce on a house bun. It was served with a delicious Black Eye Pea Salad – black-eyed peas, onion, red peppers, and parsley in a spicy molasses vinaigrette. This was by far our favorite meal of the entire trip.
Next, we ordered the Eggplant Parmesan – breaded eggplant with Vegan ricotta, sunflower seed pest, artichoke-cremini ragu and Daiya mozzarella faux-cheese served on a bed of arugula.
Plant promises to serve “sophisticated, scratch-made” food with “multicultural influence.” They try to source local vendors and create their dishes from organic, seasonal produce. They’re philosophy is to remain environmentally responsible, compassionate towards all living creatures, give back to their community, and promote health and longevity through cuisine.
We decided to be proactive and make reservations. I’m glad we did. This place is so popular, even with a reservation we had to wait 20 minutes. And although the inhospitable hostess was a misrepresentation of the overall philosophy of the restaurant, the food and our friendly waitress more than made up for the hostess’ shortcomings. It exceled beyond my expectations the moment I took the first bite. Again, it was hard to choose.
We chose the Seitan Chile Con Queso – a Tamale Gordo with grilled farm squash and cilantro mojo with pickled jalapeño and onion. I haven’t the faintest idea what mojo or Gordo is, but the meal was simply delish.
Next was the Applewood Smoked Porto’House – Chard and garlic, seared polenta, fennel salad, grape tomatoes, and steak sauce. This was another winner. Beautifully plated and equally flavorsome.
Plant had probably one of the best Vegan desserts I had ever had. The infamous Blondie included cranberry compote, candied pecans, caramel, and salted pecan Vegan ice cream. I practically fork-whipped my husband over the last few bites. We were both smitten.
Overall, the WVL’s 1st Road Trip was a success! I didn’t feel like I’d missed out while dining out and as an added bonus, I came home without the added pounds. I never felt overstuffed on this trip, yet I always felt satiated. This was my first B.V. (Before Vegan) vacation, I’d always come home to a few extra pounds, uncomfortable bloat, and constipation. This trip was a complete 180.
I can’t wait to get back to scenic Asheville. It is definitely worth the trip. I have a feeling I’ve only scratched the surface of what the quaint city has to offer for plant-based, healthy tourists. It gives me hope that travelling as a Vegan can be seamless and not at all intimidating. Not once did I have to order the run-of-the-mill, bland salad or blah French fries. I look forward to my next adventure.
If you’ve visited picturesque Asheville and want to share your plant-based dining experience, please spread the love by submitting a comment. I’d love to pay your untapped treasure a visit on my next trip there and share with others.