I enjoyed a wonderful Easter Weekend exploring new places and eating a lot of Vegan-friendly food. It was also the first time I introduced my new Vegan lifestyle to my family members. This entry may be a little long but I do not plan to write another post for a few days while I work on a major final paper that is due for my grad class in 2 weeks.
For lunch, my boyfriend Luc and I decided to check out a highly acclaimed Vegan restaurant in Hartford called Fire N' Spice. The family that owns the restaurant follows a Rastafarian way of life that goes back to their ancient roots in Ethiopia. The restaurant is alive with the Rastafarian culture and the seating area is very inviting, I felt like hanging out there all day. My boyfriend ordered jerk tofu, fried rice with lentil and two samosas (Thin flaky dough crust is stuffed with lentils, onions, ginger). I ordered sesame tofu with qunioa and chickpeas. We both shared our meals and ate every last bit of them. I preferred the jerk tofu because it was spicy while my boyfriend preferred the sesiamie tofu because it had a sweeter taste to it. I had never tried samosas and WOW were they a treat! It I hadn't felt so full, I would have wanted to try one of the many deserts they had on display. I left the restaraunt feeling satisfied, energized, and happy. Already, I can say that this place is a favorite of mine. I plan to return in the near future and hope to try everything they have to offer.
After lunch, Luc and I spent the afternoon walking around Bushnell park and exploring Hartford. We then decided to visit Devine Treasures, a organic chocolate store found in the Manchester shopping parkade. They had a wonderful selection of vegan friendly candy. We purchased two chocolate covered smores, one chocolate kitty, and one small bag of jelly beans. Everything tasted amazing and I now know where to go when I need a chocolate fix.
Friday evening we met my mother, my step father, my sister, and my 2 year old nephew for an early Easter celebration dinner at Applebee's in Manchester. I called ahead and asked if their menu included any vegetarian options and was told about a number of seafood dishes, cheesy pasta dishes, and then a vegetable burger (FEW!). I wanted to know whether or not I should eat before arriving in case all I could get was a house salad. I wasn't at all tempted by my family's meal choices and was happy for the opportunity to educate them on my new vegan lifestyle. The most difficult part was watching my nephew and my sister split a hot fudge oreo sundae. My veggie burger was a little bland but I enjoyed the company of my family and the time spent with my little nephew.
Luc and I went to Imagination Nation in Bristol with my sister and my little nephew. We were asked to go last minute so I scarfed down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for breakfast for lack of having anything else quickly available. We all had a blast at the kid's place and again I had to watch my sister and nephew split a yummy hot fudge oreo sundae. (I ended up getting some coconut ice cream from the grocery store today just so I could fulfill my ice-cream craving!)
For lunch, Luc and I went to Whole Food's in Glastonbury for their buffet. I enjoyed vegetable spaghetti, grilled balsamic tofu, spring quinoa, and seaweed salad. I have always been a huge fan of seaweed which is a powerhouse of nutrients. For anyone who has yet to check out the buffet that most Whole Food's stores offer, I reccomend it! It cost about the same as visiting a typical chinese buffet. You can always put a cover on the tray and save whatever you do not finish if your eyes are ever too big for your stomach, which is almost always the case with me.
For dinner, we all met my Dad at an Irish Pub in Glastonbury called Hanafins. I did not get a chance to call ahead and falsely assumed they wouldn't have any vegetarian options. I assumed wrong, and was actually able to order a veggie wrap that was absolutely phenomenal. It was packed with tomatoes, huge savory mushrooms, spinach, and onions. Everything tasted fresh and flavorful, I was pleasantly surprised.
For breakfast, I went to Dunkin Donuts and ordered a Pumpernickel bagel but was upset to learn that they do not have margarine or any other butter substitutes. I ended up eating the bagel with regular butter. I also had a red velvet cupcake tonight at work. For the rest of the day I consumed a nice fruit platter, celery sticks with Mediterranean hummus, and an Amy's Kitchen bean burrito.
Overall, I was happy to learn that my family is very supportive of my decision to become a Vegan. Entering the weekend knowing that I would be spending a lot of time with them at the dinner table, I worried it may make things awkward or uncomfortable. I realized however, that what was most important was that we were all able to spend time together. Nobody ostracized me for my Vegan food choices or isolated me from any conversations because of it. I spent the whole weekend feeling energized, happy, clear minded, and full of life because I was treating my mind, body, and soul well, and because I was able to spend time with the ones I love.