restaurants / travel

Key West!!

Okay, so… I am really bad at posting. I have an excuse, though! My neighbors below me moved out and took their internet connection with them. :/ Since I have a super-awesome Droid I have been able to catch up on my favorite bloggers’ activities, but unable to update my own.

But today I bring you glorious updates! My mom and I went to Key West last week and we visited many a vegan-friendly eatery! Along with the food we enjoyed 3 excellent drag shows, aimlessly strolling and enjoying the sunshine, some swimming, street performers, a ghost tour, some museums, the Eco-Discovery center (I recommend!), and lots and lots of unwinding. Key West, although very tourist-y, is such an amazing place to visit. Gorgeous plant and wildlife everywhere you turn, as well as a fascinating history. Do visit if you have the chance. But KT, what could a vegan eat in such an obviously seafood-filled town? Good question!

There’s Green Republic, a vegetarian establishment which recently opened on the island. They boast a menu of vegetarian and easily veganizable sandwiches, wraps, salads, Indian cuisine, smoothies, etc. Also, all of their mock meats are made in-house!
Their set up is very simple. There are two rows of large bench seating against the windows with pillows for your tush, so carrying-out your meal to a shady bench might be the best option.
My mom got the dhal lentil rice bowl with vegan naan on the side. (BTW: my omnivorous mama ate 98% vegetarian during our trip! Save for a few pieces of sausage at breakfast, her meals were meat-free! And she reported feeling energized instead of deprived. I am so proud!)
After much debate I decided on a “bacon” wrap – tons of fresh veggies, fake smoky bacon and a mustard sauce. A perfect light dinner for walking around town.
Mmm, key lime sorbet on a hot day!
Hands down, our favorite restaurant on our trip. We ate at The Cafe (website is down, sorry!) 4 times!
Mostly vegetarian (save for a few seafood choices), this restaurant easily caters to a vegan diet. I literally made a list of the things I wanted to try for the inevitable following visits we were going to make!
Teriyaki “Un-Wing Dings”, a side salad with orange-mango vinaigrette, and the best sweet potato fries on the planet to share! My mom also got a cup of cream of tomato soup.
The “Un-Wing Dings” were not bad. They are made with silken tofu, which I thought was a bit confusing… if they had been made with firm block tofu or with tempeh (*drooool*), they would have been much better. I would have liked to try the “hot” flavor instead, as well! Since they are usually served with a bleu cheese sauce, our waitress subbed the tahini dressing for me to dip. I must say – never would have thought teriyaki and tahini would mix so well, but I was pleasantly surprised!
Oh, god, sweet potato fries… how I love thee. These are one of my “if you were stuck on a desert island” foods. The curry lime sauced served with the fries is NOT vegan. But these babies did not even require a sprinkling of salt to please my palate!
Rice Dream mint ice cream cookie sammich! More about where I picked this bad boy up later… πŸ˜‰
After a long day of strolling in 90 degree weather, I suggested we visit Help Yourself!, all natural and green eatery. Serving ominivorous fare, this carry-out restaurant served dishes for vegetarians, vegans, and raw foodists!
Raw Mexican Salad with black beans, corn, pico, guacamole, cashew sour cream, dehydrated tortilla chips and a tasty vinaigrette. Not bad!
Tempeh BLT wrap with chipotle vegan mayo! This was very good, although the marinade for the tempeh was far too salty for my tastes.
Help Yourself! also makes its own raw, vegan ice cream made primarily from coconuts and cashews. It reminded me very much of sorbet and was not too sweet.
Sugar Apple natural foods market and vegan deli! This place is a dream come true, reminding me of local favorites such as Mustard Seed Market and Krieger’s back home. This is where I picked up not one, but TWO Rice Dream ice cream treats! Hey, a vegan on vacation has to indulge, too, right?!
Mmm… the Peaceful Tempeh sandwich with tahini-dressed side salad and fresh pressed carrot juice.
This is the best fuckin’ tempeh sandwich I have ever eaten. Broiled tempeh, vegan mayo, cranberry sauce, avocado, lettuce, carrot, red onion on a multigrain seeded bread. I got this sammy twice!
Back to The Cafe! I also had this meal twice… their famous veggie burger on ciabatta bread! This burger is so soft and tasty, made from beans, sunflower seeds and fresh veggies – all that was on this sandwich is the burger, sprouts, tomato, and lettuce. No sauce needed! This is coming from the ketchup queen! Didn’t need a single added flavor – the crunch of the ciabatta and the lettuce matched the fall-apart-in-your-mouth texture of the burger perfectly. And that marinated chickpea and kidney bean salad to the right? Out of this fucking world! So simple, so fresh, so delicious.
The Cafe had been offering a vegan key lime cheesecake the previous days we had visited but had run out on that day. No fear – I ordered the vegan chocolate mousse tart with mango puree and maple praline almonds. To die for! The omnivores agreed. πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with the unintentional happy face left in our friend Tina’s beer glass. Sums up our trip pretty well! Now… back to the grind. I wish I could take a vacation like this every week. I highly recommend visiting Key West and then posting food porn of your delicious vegan meals, fellow bloggers! πŸ˜€
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