vegan eats in Orlando (with a cameo appearance by Cocoa Beach!)

March 25, 2010 at 2:47 pm (eating out)

I consider my living situation pretty lucky; my house is situated in the middle of downtown, biking distance to tons of great restaurants and cafes, including an almost unreasonable amount of vegan ones. so let’s explore all the ones I’ve visited and documented so far.

first and foremost, my favorite cafe in downtown Orlando (if not all of Florida) is the Drunken Monkey. they’re on 444 North Bumby Avenue, hilariously next door to the Beefy King and a stone’s throw away from Etoile, a great vintage boutique. they offer a variety of food for omnivores, vegetarians, and vegans, and it all ranges from paninis, wraps, burritos, hot dogs, soups, paellas, to the best baked goods everrrrrrrrrrr. seriously, if my wallet permitted, the Drunken Monkey would make me the fattest, happiest, sassiest person in the world off of their oatmeal bars, marshmallow brownies, and ANZAC cookies alone. and yes, their marshmallow brownies are vegan. praises be sung because they are glorious. another thing I really love about the Drunken Monkey is that they don’t have a static menu, so you can come in every day and they’ll have something you’ve never tried before. and I can almost guarantee you it’s gonna be good.

ANZAC cookies and one of the many adorable bottled drinks they offer.

the blood orange herbal tea, from their long list of great varieties. if you've never had blooming tea, definitely try it at the Drunken Monkey. it amuses me to no end.

marshmallow brownie, oatmeal bar, and an ANZAC cookie. I could live off of these if I had to (and would love to).

he samosa wrap, one of my favorites. the only downfall of their rotating menu is that I can't get this whenever I want (but I know they'll have something else that's just as good so it's not even a big deal).

up next is Raphsodic, a 100% vegan bakery co-op that just recently opened on 710 N. Mills Ave. I’ve had the pleasure of visiting them a few times and have yet to not be impressed. last time I was there they had a reasonable selection of gluten free goodies that I would have tried if I hadn’t been tempted by the coconut chocolate banana pie instead.

a toasted coconut and almond brownie and the very first scone I ever had (which was deeelicious).

the aforementioned slice of pie, which was so good I ate it all on my way to work with my bare hands.

then of course there’s Ethos, Orlando’s very own (only?) 100% vegan restaurant, located on 1235 North Orange Avenue. you really can’t be a vegan in Orlando without having been to Ethos at least once in your life. and it’s definitely worth a visit. unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the foods I’ve even there, but I’ve had their Samson burger (my favorite, highly recommended!), the philly, and the sheep’s pie. and of course their cookies which are omnomnomnom good. people swear up and down about their mac and cheese, but I haven’t had the opportunity to pay them a visit on Saturdays yet so I apparently am seriously missing out. hopefully I’ll find out sooner than later!

and then we have Tony’s Deli, a teensy little Mediterranean restaurant on 1323 North Mills Avenue that I always knew was vegetarian friendly but was surprised to find out that they’re actually pretty much 99% vegan and extremely accommodating. everything is handmade there, including their doughs and such, so their spinach pies and baklavas are vegan!

falafel, spinach pie, and an awesome salad.

though it’s not an Orlando-only staple, we also have the Loving Hut, whose quality of food is only slightly surpassed by its creepiness. but I brave it out and drink their green smoothies and ignore the fact that there might be some kind of brainwashing agent in them. (if you don’t know what I’m alluding to, obviously you’ve never been. pay them a visit and watch their TV for a little bit and you’ll see exactly what I mean.) last Sunday I got to experience their all-you-can-eat buffet for the first time ever! it’s from 3PM to 9PM every Sunday and it’s about $10 per person. here’s my suggestion: bring a computer, book, or something to occupy your time with and spend the whole day there partaking in their delicious food. you’ll most certainly get your money’s worth that way and trust me, they are waaaay too polite/sedated to kick you out. once again, no pictures because for some reason I deleted them all. some subconscious reason that drives me to worship the almighty vegan master, perhaps?

last but not least, there’s the Green Room Cafe in Cocoa Beach, on 222 N. 1st Street. I spent a night there during my spring break and it was the only vegan-friendly restaurant in the five-mile vicinity of my hotel (not counting the co-op which closed at 7PM). they’re great! I had the Golden Fold, which is a wrap consisting of rice, pineapple, tofu, and tons o’ greens, with an uhhhhmazing sauce. I’m not even a huge fan of pineapple, but I really enjoyed it juxtaposed to everything else. if you’re ever in or around Cocoa, definitely pay the Green Room Cafe a visit. they’re super duper nice there too. :>

that salsa was damn good too.


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venturing into veganism

February 21, 2010 at 5:21 am (eating out, vegan)

first and foremost I apologize for the cellphone-quality photos, but my camera is out of commission for the moment since my memory card has mysteriously disappeared and I have yet to retrieve or replace it. :<

anywho! about a week ago I decided to go vegan. I could go on for days about why, but here's a comment I made to a friend that summarized it in a somewhat short and sweet rant:

it’s not about animal ethics at all. I’ve been looking more into the meat industry in America and it’s disgusting. knowing how poorly taken care of factory farms are, how much messed-up practices go on with hiring illegal immigrants, how the FDA has practically no power and grounds on regulating safety and health, how many genetically modified chemicals are put into everything with no limitations, and the kind of politicians that are in charge of all of that really just makes me sick to the point that I don’t feel comfortable putting animal products in my body and supporting such corrupt business anymore.

I had a ton of non-vegan food at home and I didn’t want to just throw it out or let it go to waste, so I told myself I was going to finish eating it and start going vegan as soon as it was all gone.

steamed vegetables, bbq tofu, tempeh, barley/couscous salad, and some kind of Indian chickpea curry type of deal.

well, I ate my last piece of a poppyseed roulette on Friday, so Saturday was the big start for me. luckily I’m visiting my family this weekend, so I had the extreme privilege of getting an all-expenses paid Whole Foods shopping spree courtesy of my mom, who reluctantly accepted my new lifestyle (after initially getting furious and flipping out). and I also had my first meal as a vegan there, which was pretty good, but not good enough for the price ($15!). if anything, it gave me ideas of things I could start making myself at home.. for much much cheaper. however, their vegan chocolate chip cookies were the best I’ve ever had, so at least they have that going for them.

my initial goal for the weekend was to spend it cooking and baking my ass off trying to show my parents that a vegan diet is not only healthy and reasonable, but also totally delicious. so far, I made these banana nut muffins. they turned out slightly less sweet than expected, but for something that’s ‘healthy’ and has no sugar whatsoever, I think the recipe does a pretty decent job of making it as sweet as reasonably possible. I still liked them a lot, and my mom did too, which means they were a success! next time I might add some agave syrup, though.

tomorrow I will be exploring the wild world of chocolate chip cookies, tofu pot pies, and if I’m feeling really adventurous, vanilla cupcakes. wish me luck!

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