If you've read my previous rant (all out of my system now), you'll know that I started classes tonight. This left me out of the safe vegan haven of my own kitchen, and out in the big wide meat-eating world. It's a scary, scary world out there.
Meat is lurking everywhere.....at least, traces of it are. And where meat has not yet crept, milk is already hiding.....silent, but extremely NOT vegan.
At least this is what it seems like in the food court. I mentioned before a great resource of vegan fast food in Canada - http://veg.ca/directory/fastfood.html . I took their suggestions/guidance and did my own little evaluation of a mall food court today.
First prize (and my business) was hands-down to the Lebanese restaurant.
Now, I don't have actual nutrition info from this restaurant (not a chain), so I'm just going by what the owner told me (I asked if there were any milk or egg ingredients in their falafel plate and they told me no). So, assuming they were truthful, I enjoyed a most delightful meal.
Yum! I had giant falafels (the big round things, made of chickpeas, grain and other spices and goodness), drenched in tahini, and surrounded with tabouleh (parsley salad), other salads and hummus. It also came with brown rice and a whole wheat pita (I didn't eat either of them). It was a tad pricey ($7.85 with tax), but no more so than the other selections offered at this restaurant. Very tasty and since it's something I would eat even if I'm not trying to eat vegan, two thumbs way up. Yay falafel! You can also get it in a pita, which is fabulous.....though you'd have to ask about the ingredients in the garlic sauce, as I have a sneaking suspicion it might have egg in it....
Anyway, this was the food court winner for me.
Second prize though (and not too distant) goes to the two japanese food stands, Sushi! and Made in Japan. Sushi! offers a vegetarian futomaki bento that actually has bean curd in it (i.e., protein) and it looked very tasty. Made in Japan offers a variety of stir fries with tofu and veggies, with either rice or yakisoba. I'm not sure if yakisoba is vegan (may contain egg?) and since they don't actually post full nutritional info on their web site, I have no way of knowing. Anyway, both of these options look yummy and actually contain protein (a rarity in the vegan food court experience, I'm finding out!).
Third place can go to both Manchu Wok and Bourbon Street Grill. Both offered a nice variety of starches and vegetables, but little in the way of vegetarian protein sources. Basically, if you go with one of them, you are having veggies and rice. That's it. Not exactly balanced, imho, but would do in a pinch.
And then the rest.....meh. Here is a quick, sad, sorry rundown:
Pizza restaurant - had one plain looking pasta with tomato sauce....of course one would have to inquire as to ingredients of said tomato sauce
Subway - plain ol veggie sandwich. Again, protein free.
A&W - to be fair, A&W actually has a veggie burger now, but it contains milk ingredients, as do the fries. Nothing for vegans here but a lonely old side salad. Oh, and the longest line-up in the whole food court.
Tim Horton's - the delectable vegan offerings here include a plain bun, one particular kind of soup and the low-fat muffins. Oh, and you could always slap iceberg lettuce, orange tomato and neon yellow mustard on your bun and pretend it's a sandwich.
New York fries - plain fries. Tasty, but not exactly balanced eiher....
Beavertails - now, the information is not yet posted on their website, but I'd be willing to hazard a guess that the classic and Killaloe sunrise beavertails are probably vegan. The pastry is made with whole wheat dough (could contain milk ingredients, potentially), but I seriously doubt there is a lick of butter in the spread they use and even if there is, you could always ask them to leave it off. A life without beavertails during an Ottawa winter would be very sad indeed (I feel all nostalgic and hopeful tonight because it was -19C when I left class and all feeling behind) and now I'm all hopeful that the canal may actually open sometime this winter. Watch out people...I'm comin out! Clear the canal (I can't stop....)
Jimmy the Greek - nothing worth mentioning. You could get a salad with no feta or dressing, and possibly rice or potatoes (but you'd have to ask as their website is not terribly forthcoming).
So overall, it looks like vegans are far better off staying home or going to a specialty restaurant, as the typical fast food offerings really don't cater to this lifestyle. That said, I was eminently satisfied with my falafel plate, and am already looking forward to the Japanese feast I'll be chowing down on Thursday (other class, which hopefully won't suck as long or hard as the first).
Poor hubs though....here is his take on the crockpot stew I attempted to make him today:
"If vegans eat like that all the time, I feel sorry for them. It tasted like chickpea and tomato stew."
It really doesn't sound that bad to me...but I guess I'll find out come lunch time tomorrow. Don't fear for hubs though - he chowed down on his vegan Hickory Sticks (300g bag....) so he's not starving.
Thanks for reading! Dinner tomorrow night is adventures in seitan and edamame. Stay tuned for updates, and feel free to add a comment, or email me at mrbunsrocks at hotmail dot com.
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