Well see I had this great plan… See my previous post for the full scoop… but in a nutshell it went something like this: I’m getting paid today, July 1, so I’ll have money to do some vegan shopping and have a nice cushy, vegetables playing harps transition to veganism. Well that didn’t exactly happen because I didn’t get paid. That’s ok though, because I have a great vegan friend named Sunny who came to the rescue and we went out to dinner at an AMAZING vegan restaurant! So what did I do before my lovely dinner?
I was super smart and on June 30, the night before V-Day, I printed out a recipe from the Post Punk Kitchen for Brown Sugar Peach Muffins http://www.theppk.com/2009/04/brown-sugar-peach-spelt-muffins/ and baked them so I would be vegan breakfast ready. So breakfast I had a yummy little muffin & coffee with soymilk. I’m not going to lie, I was a little unprepared for lunch and after some inner torment about whether or not the crackers at my work are vegan or not, I only ate an applesauce. Don’t be upset though because dinner was amazing.
So my super awesome new friend Sunny (whose personality lives up to her name) took me to Souley Vegan in Oakland, CA. Souley Vegan specializes in all vegan southern soul food. In 2010 it won the “Best of the East Bay” (Thats the San Francisco Bay Area) award for best Soul Food. Just hands down, not in a vegetarian/vegan category or anything. Just straight up best soul food. Period. I’m here to concur.
So we started with an appetizer, this mega dish of fried okra pictured above. Fried okra just happens to be my favorite food of all time. If I were going to die right now, I would beg for okra before you killed me. I would have just picked up the whole plate and shoved okra in my mouth with both hands but you know, I was eating with a guest, so I contained myself. I guess the takeaway point here is that okra is bomb, and vegan okra is even better. Seriously.
Pictured above is my dinner, candied yams, garlic collard greens, and spicy black-eyed peas. Wow. So good. The spicy, sweet and savory combination was drool inducing. Just a little FYI, maybe this just looks exceedingly healthy to non-vegetarian/vegans out there. Maybe it just looks like too many vegetables all together. Let me put your minds at ease.
First of all, it’s not too many veggies, it tasted great and I’m still totally full more than 5 hours later, so don’t worry. Secondly. my choice of a mostly veggie plate was a conscious decision. They have macaroni and “cheese” on the menu, they have fried things, they have potato salad, they have corn bread. Souley Vegan has everything soul food.
I’m gonna be honest, I don’t like to waste things, so in the days leading up to V-Day (the day I planned to go vegan, aka…today) I attempted to eat every dairy item in my house so that I didn’t have to throw things away. I failed, and in the end a non-vegan friend of mine said she would be more than happy to take my food post July 1. So after my dairy extravaganza, I’m really over anything that resembles dairy or unhealthy stuff right now. I needed some healthy. I needed some vegetables. There you go.
This was Sunny’s dinner. A spicy BBQ tofu burger with mashed potatoes and country gravy. I tasted the mash & gravy, and it was spot on. I can say this with confidence as a very, very new vegan that it tastes the same as non-vegan gravy. I’m not so far removed from dairy that I don’t remember what serious gravy tastes like. Take my word, you’re not going to miss out.
Yeah so that’s me. That’s me really excited about dessert. Not just any dessert, sweet potato pie. Oh man, I haven’t had sweet potato pie in quite some time and the vegan version didn’t disappoint. It was really hot in Oakland today and because sweltering weather isn’t too common there, no one has air conditioner. So we were sweating it out all day. That is until we were served chilled, sumptuous, vegan sweet potato pie. Suddenly a strong cool breeze wafted into the restaurant beckoned to accompany sweet potato pie bliss.
Yay so that was dinner! Fellow new vegans, potential vegans, seasoned vegans, don’t be upset about me only eating applesauce for lunch. I’ll get the hang of it. Tomorrow I do some grocery shopping. I told you at the start that I was going to be honest about my experiences as a new vegan, I might not be perfect, I might not be the best representation of the perfect vegan, but I’m new and inexperienced, and honest and I think there is some value in that.
Overall a great first day. It’s late at night in my little place in the world, end of the day. Physically, after 24 hours of veganism, I feel great. I still feel full and satisfied from dinner, and despite the fact that it’s my bed time, I have an inordinate amount of energy remaining. However, I’ve got some doggies and kitties who need snuggling so I’m signing off for now. More tomorrow.