Today, August 28, 2014, is exactly 4 months since veganism was mandated upon me.
For a while I was kind of depressed about it, but luckily that all turned around, because there are bigger things in my life that want my negative attention now. (Like, my unemployment mopeys.)
And I’ve managed to go on various trips (within the US, important to note) without having to cheat too horribly.
How am I celebrating? I bought myself some nutritional yeast (aka “nooch,” apparently).
Anyway, I’m in the mood to write lists today, so here are 4 things that I’m thankful about, four months in.
1) Finding a favorite vegan restaurant. This has been really key because it proved to me that vegan food can be delicious, and usually it doesn’t even involve any fake meat. The restaurant is called Sage, and it has TWO locations — one in Echo Park, one in Culver City. In addition to the regular menu, the Culver City location has a beer garden, pizza, pretzels, and SOFT SERVE Kind Kreme. (The one in Echo Park has regular Kind Kreme.) They both have the “famous” pierogis and amazing vegan nachos. (I didn’t even like nacho cheese in my non-vegan life.)
I have been there probably 8-10 times in the last 4 months, including TWICE for my birthday. I’ve been to the Culver City location twice — which is a major endorsement, because I am Westside-phobic.
2) Figuring out what I like and what I don’t like. Likes: coconut milk-based ice creams, pretty much any cheese made with nuts, kale if it’s in soup, Amy’s low-sodium soups, if I don’t have time to make one myself. Dislikes: daiya cheese, possibly nooch (?!). (I’m giving it another go because it’s such a thing for vegans.) If you don’t know what you don’t like, you keep eating the wrong stuff, and then you don’t like being vegan. (And you need to like a lot of things so you can mix it up.)
Basically what I’m learning is that what I — and probably most people — really miss is that creamy, dairy-esque flavor. So it’s important to get some of that, however you like it best.
And finding good stuff inspires me to try to recreate it. (See: the ice cream below, inspired by an amazingly creamy scoop of coconut milk ice cream at Salt & Straw in Portland… both the original and the homemade were creamier than Kind Kreme. Sorry, Kind Kreme.)
3) My new food processor! So far I’ve only used it to grind some almonds for coconut milk ice cream, but I’m looking forward to making all sorts of fake cheeses, pestos, etc. with it. (Also, food processors have the SCARIEST warning labels. It’s like, back away if you want to liiive!) There’s something really satisfying about cooking a vegan meal for myself… and then I have leftovers. Leftovers are key.
4) People who are good-natured about going to Sage with me (and then get HOOKED). It never goes unnoticed when my friends (and loved ones) are cool about going to a vegan restaurant, or let me order our shared pizza with cashew cheese, or even cook a special dish for me if I’m visiting. Because food is no fun if you can’t make it social!
All right, that’s enough of that. Time to grind up some pesto… carefully.