'Twas a rainy Valentine's Day in Vancouver, and I spent it at a conference downtown. While this wasn't nearly as cool as my last two Valentine's Days (14-02-10 we flew to Sweden and 14-02-09 I was in the Philippines), this Valentine's was going to be just as exciting because I was going to make it my first Vegan Valentine's Day. Who needs the excitement of world travel when you can spend the day avoiding milk chocolate in adorable heart form?
I am becoming very aware of the prevalence of meat in mainstream eating and how noteworthy it is to some people when others avoid it. Last summer, Rob the husband and I joined my family on an Alaskan cruise. We had dinner in the same dining room, during the same time slot every night, and got to know the wait staff over the course of the week. We were not yet flirting with (or even aware of) the Kind Diet, nor was the idea of veganism or vegetarianism anywhere in the realm of our consideration. But every evening Rob would order the vegetarian entree from the daily menu, to the amusement and disconcertion of our waiter. It became something of a joke, as Rob was the only male at our table and the waiter couldn't fathom why the "man of the house" would always disregard his recommendations and order the "girlie" veggie options. Rob wasn't trying to avoid meat; he was just going with what appealed to him the most, and the waiter couldn't understand how anyone who was NOT a professed vegetarian would willingly choose this
Hmmm...one point for the layered veggie pate because it isn't staring at me.
Rob had never been much of a meat eater anyway, and certainly wasn't a fan of seafood, so to be able to indulge in creative, unique vegetarian dishes on a nightly basis was exciting for him, but left our waiter scratching his head at the end of the week.
Which brings me to my Valentine's lunch. I had sushi down in the foodcourt of the convention centre (avocado and yam tempura rolls). Nothing out of the ordinary, straight off the menu, no special requests. As I was paying, the cashier asked me if I was vegetarian. It threw me off for a second...I've come to expect the question when making special requests ordering food in the last couple of weeks, but not when grabbing a couple of rolls to go.
I answered, "No. I'm just trying to eat like one for a while," which has pretty much become my standard response when people ask me if I've gone veggie or vegan.
Along with my sushi I also had my first strawberry banana soy based smoothie (pretty and pink and Valentinesy)...and I think I may have another one when I go back for lunch on Convention Day Two. Soy milk in smoothies seems to work just fine for me.
Vegan Lunch = Successful.
Vegan Dinner, on the other hand = Sorta Successful...Kinda...Not Really.
We have some Earls gift cards that need to be used before the end of the month, so Rob met me downtown and we went to Earls for a Valentine's Day dinner. Awwww.
I ordered the pan bread and rocket salad (minus goat cheese coulis & parmesan chips) to start, and Rob ordered the gyoza.
This is where the "not really" part of the successful vegan dinner kicks in.
When he was considering the gyoza, our conversation went something like this:
Me: "Gyoza? What's in it?"
Rob: "Shrimp and veggies."
Me: "Shrimp? Really? Are you sure you want that?"
Rob: *shrugs shoulders* "Yah."
Me: *eyebrows raised* "OK."
Then when the gyoza came and I turned down a bite, Rob finally clued in that shrimp wasn't vegan (and I doubt the sauce they poured over the gyoza was either...or the dough for that matter). The next part of the conversation went something like this:
Rob: "Why did you let me order it?"
Me: "I questioned you on the shrimp!"
Rob: "I thought you meant because I don't like seafood."
Me: "No, I meant because shrimp used to be alive and are therefore definitely not vegan!"
Rob: "You're so loud."
Me: "Shrimp are alive."
Rob: "You're right. You're always right. Here's a five thousand dollar gift card to Anthropologie and a chocolate peanut butter cup. And your dark hair doesn't make you look like Angela Anaconda."
*disclaimer...the above may not be a totally accurate representation of the discussion in question. Some details may have been exaggerated or totally fabricated for dramatic effect. But unless you were at Earls on Hornby between 5:30 and 6:45 pm on Feb. 14, 2011, you wouldn't know that, so never mind*
Dinner (probably with the exception of the noodles themselves...eggs? Dang this is hard!) was animal and dairy free as far as I know. Mediterranean Linguini (minus the parmesan and feta) and Hunan Kung Pao.
And thus concludes my Vegan Valentine's Day endeavor...every bit as exciting and romantic as a trip to Sweden and every bit as inspiring as Elvirus singing K'NAAN.
xoxo to my Valentine. Thanks for being the best furry children parent ever.
And your Abercrombie hoodie smelled really good today.