Friday, August 5, 2011

A Very Vegan Anniversary

Rob the Husband became Rob the Husband  8 years ago when we said some vows and stuff in a church in front of a bunch of family and friends and God and all that... to commemorate that day (as is customary for many people) we went out and stuffed our faces.

But where oh where could we find classy, anniversary-worthy carcass-free / titty-milk-free / shell-encased-fetus-free dining options in downtown Vancouver? Ahhhh, my favourite default setting:


Come hither, and I shall tell ye a tale of a glorious hotel chain that wised up to the idea of catering to guests with dietary restrictions, creating delicious dining experiences worldwide for those limited in food choices by health issues, food intolerances, or lifestyle choices.

Ok, that wasn't much of a tale.

The Lifestyles menu, available at all Fairmont hotels, was introduced in January 2011, which is, incidentally, the same month that I started flirting with animal product-free eating. Basically, you can walk into any Fairmont restaurant, request a Lifestyles menu, and order one of their fine Lifestyle meal options. Whether it's gluten free you're looking for, or macrobiotic, raw, vegan, or acceptable for those with heart disease or diabetes, they have created meal options for everyone.

It's pretty awesome.

On Canada Day last month, Rob and I indulged in some stellar Lifestyles dining at Herons at The Fairmont Waterfront:

Appy Beets (I think it was beet carpaccio) 

My entree...soba noodles in the most insane, flavourful kombu broth with tofu and veggies

Rob's entree: Raw zucchini "noodles"...I think tossed with a pesto sauce? Delicious.

Dessert: apple crisp and a poached pear

Oh so good. The standout of the bunch: definitely my soba noodles. OMG the broth was incredible. 

Now as much as I love Fairmont, because they are a classy fancy shmancy hotel chain a lot of their restaurants serve foie gras (boo). When we stayed at the Fairmont Mission Inn in Sonoma a couple of years ago we were really choked that we couldn't eat at their hotel restaurant. Sigh. The ducks come first.

We had been wanting to eat at Oru at the Farimont Pacific Rim just down the street from the Waterfront for a long time, but kept avoiding it because they served foie gras. So when our friend (who works at Oru) 

mentioned to us a couple of weeks ago that the menu had changed and foie gras wasn't on it, I was THRILLED. 

So were the ducks.

Oru it was, then, for celebrating 8 years of divorce evasion. The celebration was even more festive because it marked my Stella Falabella's first day out.

After toasting the fact that we lasted longer than J-Lo and Marc Anthony, 

we enjoyed a refreshing amuse-bouche,

and then dug into our appies. The house made tofu was off their regular menu...

and the spring rolls were the vegan appy off the Lifestyles menu

We both ordered the curried lentil dal off the Lifestyles menu because it was the only vegan entree they offered. It was hearty and Indian-y and delicious, and OMG the naan bread was INSANE.
Here's something I don't really understand. This curry dish was delicious. Most people won't bother asking for a Lifestyles menu, so most Oru diners won't even know about this dish. Why not just feature everything on the regular menu, and indicate which items are vegan/gluten-free/heart-healthy etc.? I mean, are people going to be offended by a dish's presence on the regular menu because it's labelled gluten-free or dairy-free? Why feature a separate Lifestyles menu at all? I mean, it does essentially close people off to these delicious options because most don't even know about them. Just something to scratch my head over.

And because they gave me a finger and I now feel entitled to take the whole hand, I'd also love to see the Lifestyles menu evolve to include more options under each preference. We like to try lots of stuff when we go out to eat, and it's kind of a bummer having to order the same entree, even when it's delicious. This seems to be a pattern for us Vegas we had to order the same pasta at Lupo and the same vegetarian platter at Craftsteak. Sigh. Variety is what will keep people coming back. We avoided lunch at Griffin's at the Hotel Vancouver this week because they had the same zucchini pasta on their lunch menu that we had at Herons. 

All in all...I'm super grateful the vegan options are there at all. Now I'd just like to see more of them to give me incentive to come back again and again.  And again.

The real winner of the evening was definitely Rob's tofu. This stuff was sooooooooo yum. When I go back to Oru I am definitely ordering two portions of the stuff and making it an entree. 

There was only one snafoo in my awesome vegan-friendly Oru dining experience. I ordered a delicious drink (I think it was called a Kefir Colada or something like that)...lime & pineapple and probably rum and this ridiculous coconut foam that I could have eaten by the bucket.
This drink was stupid good. I mean, holy crap was this ever good. I'm a fan of any kind of pineapple-coconut hybrid concoction, but the addition of lime and that coconut foam just put this over the edge. I never order two of the same drink (seems like such a waste when there's only so much alcohol your body can handle and so many incredible cocktails to experience), but this time I wasn't interested in sampling anything else...I only had eyes for my Kefir Colada.
Number twoooo

Love Love Love. This drink was love.

Unfortunately, 'twas not to be between the Kefir Colada and me. Our relationship quickly went the way of the Hollywood marriage after we had the chance to speak to the bartender. 

I started gushing to him about how awesome this drink was and how I wanted to run away with the coconut foam and have lots of little foamie babies, and name them Owen and Tristan and Leigha and Madeline, and the coconut foam wouldn't be able to protest against my baby name selections because it can't talk, unlike Rob who shoots down all my baby names and then can't even come up with one himself because he sucks (ok, he suggested "Charlotte" once, but that's it). 

I was seriously considering disregarding social conventions and leaving Rob for the coconut foam, until the bartender inadvertently crushed my foamie dreams.

He proceeded to tell us what a labour-intensive process it is to make the foam. It involves melting down sugar and adding the lime juice and coconut cream and then that thickener stuff...oh what's it called again...starts with a "G"...

"Glyceryn?" Rob asked, looking at me with a hint of trepidation. I immediately started thinking ohhh shiiiii.... not glycerin (phew)...the animal bone stuff (shitshitshitshitshit)...

"Gelatin?" I asked, knowing the affirmation was inevitable.

...yah that's it, gelatin...

Oops. Great. Just like that my fantasies of a future with the Oru Kefir Colada were dashed. 

You know what? It was still a friggen delicious drink. Will I have it again? Nope. But if you're ever at Oru and you don't mind consuming animal bones and horse hooves in the form of coconut foam atop a Kefir Colada, enjoy one on my behalf. 

All in all, great food, classy space, attentive service, and hot waiters.

And after eight official years of tolerating each other, in spite of his frustrating lack of motivation and creativity when it comes to baby name suggestions, I suppose I'll keep Rob the Husband around a while longer.

I mean, he is kinda hot, in that non-threatening boy-next-door way...

And he loves the furbabies...

And he did bring me and my Stella Falabella together...



If he shoots that name down I'm insisting on Falabella. 


  1. ya! Again congrats :) I just went to a dinner at the Keg... the vegan option was the side of Asparagus haha!

  2. Great post Yola! You look adorable :) Too bad on the drink...I've stopped eating my favourite gummies because of that gelatin stuff. :(

    Great bag too! And Falabella is a beautiful name! lol

    Will have to try Fairmont soon too...