I Survived The South – My First Vegan Vacation *UPDATED*

My vacation to the south (South Carolina to be exact) was much less dramatic than my title makes it out to be. I did a lot more than survive, I totally thrived there thanks to wonderful friends and some good ole’ fashion southern hospitality. The whole trip was so awesome, it was more fun than deep fried cookie dough (you think I’m joking but it really exists…) See exhibit A

 <— Exhibit A (Don’t even ask if deep-fried Oreos are still vegan…shame on you for wanting to abuse your cardiovascular system like that!!!!)

My fiancée and I adventured out to South Carolina to visit some friend friends and luckily for me our friend Nick is a professional chef!! He was the greatest and cooked me gourmet vegan food throughout my whole trip so I certainly wasn’t roughing it, I was pretty spoiled by all this divine culinary creations actually :). Thank you Nick!

We went to several restaurants which I can now recommend because if they didn’t know what “vegan” is before, they know now! I broke them in for my fellow vegan travellers to come 🙂

Zada Jane’s  http://www.zadajanes.com/ Zada Jane’s is found in a cute little area of downtown-ish Charlotte on the way to the No-Da Art District. It’s a hip little place and they know what vegan is and many items on the menu are easily amendable to be vegan. I had just the normal Zada-Janes house salad with no cheese and I highly recommend their Sun Dried Tomato vinaigrette!

Lombardo’s http://www.lombardosbistro.com/ Lombaro’s is an intimate romantic italian restaurant which serves a killer Red Bell Pepper & Olive Oil dipping sauce for their fresh bread that they bring out to you (all vegan, I asked).

There is nothing on their regular menu which is immediately recognizable as vegan but my wonderful, hospitable, amazing friends called ahead to see if something could be prepared for me or if there is anything available for me to eat. We discovered that their pasta is not made with eggs so any pasta with a non-dairy sauce is totally fine.

However, they actually did prepare a special dish for me! A Gnocci with sautéed vegetables and a vegan marsala (?) white wine sauce. The sauce & vegetables were amazing, I am not very familiar with Gnocci but I liked it! Most of all, the experienced reminded me once again, that if you have a good attitude and are kind rather than demanding you’ll never ceased to be amazed how accommodating and amazing people can be! A big thank you to Lynne & Tony for putting up with a vegan freak for our amazing weekend in Myrtle Beach.

BoneFish Grill http://www.bonefishgrill.com/ This is the very restaurant where my dear friend Nick works! So if YOU want to taste the delicacies of an accomplished chef who I had the pleasure of lavishing in his culinary greatness all week…then you should go to the BoneFish Grill in Rock Hill, SC.

The name doesn’t lie, its primarily a seafood restaurant. However, the location which I dined at is fortunate enough to employ our other dear friend Jessica, aka “Manager Extraordinaire”. Who is not only a beautiful, witty, tart-tongued, confident and competent woman, but she also knows what vegan is and will take extra care of vegan partons passing through the BoneFish.

 <— This was my incredible lunch at BoneFish, prepared by Master Chef Nick. It’s Macadamia Nut Pad Thai and it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds.

Zizi’s Takeout http://awesomevegan2go.com/ – I didn’t actually get to try Zizi’s Takeout, Charlotte, North Carolina’s only all-vegan restaurant but I have to include it in my recommendations anyway. If you want a menu that you don’t have to mentally dissect or don’t feel like having to clarify veganism to your waiter, then Zizi’s is for you! Wish I could have made it, but apparently it was about 40 minutes away from where we were staying, and that’s just too long of a drive for a vegan wrap…maybe next time!! Thank you Zizi’s for being there for vegans in Charlotte!

International Cafe http://theinternationalcafenmb.com/default.aspx – This is a cute little pub in Myrtle Beach we had lunch at one day. They have a very large menu which even includes a vegetarian section!  Most vegetarian options are easily amendable to be vegan (usually all this requires is asking for no cheese). I had the veggie wrap with a Tomato Basil tortilla wrap and french fries and lite italian dressing on the side! I delightful little lunch! I don’t drink, but for those of you that enjoy wine, beer or other spirits, they had a very extensive selection!

I’ll update this post shortly to add more pictures of the food and fun experienced in the Carolinas…Currently one of my sim cards is holding about 1/2 my pictures hostage…I’ll have to work this out later so check back for an update on this post!

In closing, Nick & Jessica, we miss you so much! We can’t wait to come back soon, thank you for EVERYTHING you did for us, Jessica you were an amazing host, and arguably the funniest, most bad-ass chick currently residing on planet earth. Nick, not only are you the best chef I have ever had the pleasure of dining from, but also a pretty rad tour guide, roman candle gladiator & hot sauce aficionado (Death By Salsa anyone?). You are both like family to us, and we will be back soon soon soon!!

 Can you tell we aren’t from around these parts?

Fireworks…not illegal in the South.

Why yes, i AM Super Mario thank you very much.

 Another delicacy a’ la Nick, stuffed Jalapeno with red peppers, onions, ghost pepper, & magic. Best stuffed jalapeno I’ve every had, only to be enjoyed by those who love the spiciest of the spicy.

 Nick, the best chef ever. Sorry ladies, he’s taken and his girlfriend Jessica is way cooler than you. 😉

 Yeah that’s right, we’re coming Myrtle Beach. And what happens in Myrtle stays in Myrtle. (And yes, I cut my hair, and dyed it. It looks way different than the last pic of me posted on this blog taken on my first day of veganism)

 My baby & me!

 Well we might be going to hell but at least our friends are coming with us.

 Many moons ago I promised that there would be cute animal pics on this blog…thus far I have failed to deliver on that promise. So I’m making it up to you all by posting an ESPECIALLY cute animal by the name of Lula-Belle…and my fiancee, I think he’s pretty cute too.

 A guy’s wildest dream…most expolosive dream I gues…Fireworks.

 Hello from The Very New Vegan from Myrtle Beach!!

 Skim boarding is super fun!

 My new favorite pic of B & Me

P.S. Hooters fried pickles are vegan. And delicious. Do with that information what you wish 😉

One thought on “I Survived The South – My First Vegan Vacation *UPDATED*

  1. Thank you so much for the great review, Lili! I learned so much more about food and different nutritional aspects of it through you while you were here. Although I am a total carnivore at heart, as is pretty much ALL of my cooking, it was an eye opening experience, and now I am no stranger to preparing vegan and vegetarian meals (thanks to you!) I’ve done this type of menu before in the past, but it was last minute and on-the-fly, but with knowing you were vegan before you got here, I had much more time to actually put my heart and mind into it 🙂 Oh, and thanks for your heart wrenching story about the cows that’s about to convert my girlfriend into vegan… But it will be all the more experience I gain cooking vegan!

    Much love to you and Brian!

    Chef Nicholas Valatkas

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