I’ll be the first to admit it, being a Vegan is quite easy within the confines of my four kitchen walls. It’s the place where I have complete and utter control over the contents of my plate. It’s the place where there is an assortment of Vegan choices, even when I’m in a crunch for time. Although dining out locally was a challenge in the beginning of my transition, because I’ve become more familiar with what my city has to offer in the form of a pleasant Vegan dining experience, eating out has become child’s play. I know where I can get fresh, animal fat-free vegetables and I know which restaurants will enthusiastically accommodate my dietary choices.
The big question that comes into play is…
Can I manage to survive a road trip and successfully continue my Vegan diet?
I was up for the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone and crossing the border. In, EP4L’s 1st Road Trip, I began my travels in beautiful Asheville, NC. The hubby and I took a 2-day trip to the scenic location and had our very first exclusively Vegan vacation dining experience.
Deciding not to set myself up for failure, the trip required some pre-planning. I’d heard about a restaurant guide app that caters to Vegans/Vegetarians. It’s called Happy Cow. I was already a fan of their website, happycow.net, and now I would put their app to the test. The app provides a list of nearby exclusively Vegan or Vegetarian restaurants or restaurants with a Vegan/Vegetarian options, just in case you’re travelling with a non-Veg companion. It also offers reviews of the restaurants, a detailed description of menu items (including photos posted by patrons), contact info, directions, and convenient pricing info ($$) if you’re travelling on a budget.
Luckily, there were quite a few Vegan and even farm-to-table options in Asheville, automatically making this a two-part post. I’ll start with breakfast and lunch…
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!
Tomorrow, in The Sequel to WVL’s 1st Road Trip, we’ll explore Vegan dinner spots in Asheville, NC.
In a word…Veg–tastic!
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