B.V. (Before Vegan) we ate at restaurants at least three times a week. The other days we got takeout or some other pseudo-food from the freezer aisle at our local supermarket. It was a different time in our lives and it seemed like a logical response to our lack of time and my outright refusal to try turning on the stove. Sometimes, I don't even recognize those people that we used to be.
Now I get sick to my stomach thinking of 1) all the garbage I ate and what it could still be doing to my body, years later and 2) how much money we wasted on it. The change in our diets coincided with change in careers and as our wallets tightened we had no choice but to stop handing out hundreds of dollars to the restaurants of our fine city. At this same time I looked in the mirror and realized I had packed on a solid 15 pounds since our wedding. I was also heavily involved in various social inequality/rights and environmental issues by virtue of my schooling and my addiction to current events and somewhere along this line, all of these factors amounted in going vegetarian and then a year later going vegan. I cautiously turned the stove on and attempted to make something from scratch...subsequently my health turned around, my pants fit better, my soul felt more at peace, our wallets grew a tiny bit thicker and I even cleaned out our takeout menu drawer. I try to keep my politics out of this blog so I won't press this issue. But, I really and truly have never felt better than I do right now and so whenever anyone asks me how I can give up so much to be vegan, I respond with "Veganism has given me so much more than I could have ever given it".
Part of this has to do with eating fresh, something that is lost on a lot of restaurants since the invention of the deep freeze. I don't hate on restaurants, though. They are a great place to gather with friends and a good resource to throw together dinner when all else fails. I just think that back in the day we abused this privilege and our health and bank account suffered for it.
Nowadays, restaurants can be challenging for me. They are tricky for vegans, because how sure can you be that what they say is vegan is actually vegan? You can't, unless you're at an all-vegan restaurant. Which we don't have here.
A lot of restaurants are coming around to veg, though. There are some all-vegetarian places (fingers crossed for an all-vegan one sometime in my life!!) Even some roadhouses here have vegetarian burgers. They're probably not vegan, but it's a start and I'm appreciative of the effort.
The B.V. restaurants we used to frequent are not as useful to me now, so going vegan gave me the opportunity to venture out of my comfort zone and try new foods, something I was really cautious of my entire life. Veg Guide has been a great tool for locating these off-the-beaten-path places, which are often overshadowed by the neon lights of big money restaurant chains.
Still, we don't go to restaurants much. I'm so cheap, I usually spend the entire meal thinking about how I could have made it better and for cheaper than the $13.99 they charged me. The only times we really go is to gather with friends (which is why restaurants are great and I want to re-iterate that I'm not somehow anti-restaurant lol) or to celebrate something. I don't even remember the last time Paul and I went and just ate together at a restaurant because we both see it as a waste of money (we are so unromantic and lame, I know).
That is until Wednesday, when I decided I had a craving for a peanut curry from Bangkok Cuisine. I needed it immediately.
Bangkok Cuisine is my favourite Thai place, not just because they have awesome food, but because they don't look at you like you have five heads when you tell them you're vegan. The staff is really knows their stuff with regard to what is in things (i.e. egg noodles versus rice noodles, fish oils, etc.) and if they don't know they go to the kitchen and ask. If you go there, you have to have the peanut curry. Bamboo shoots, waterchestnuts and baby corn in a peanut sauce. I usually take the tofu option, but mixed vegetables are good too...and it comes with a side of rice. This peanut curry is by far my most favourite food on the planet (at present - this happens to change a lot).
And yes, Paul and I went, just the two of us. We totally went for lunch though, because it's $10 bucks cheaper than at dinner.
1500 Weber St. East,
Kitchener, ON N2A 2Y5