I tend to think of Valentine's Day as a holiday for new lovebirds, and not old veterans like Paul and I. This is our 12th Valentine's Day together and so we've run the gamut of red and pink gifts and stuffed bears and boxes of chocolate. We scrapped V-Day gift giving somewhere around Year 7 and instead usually opt for a nice outing together to mark most special occassions. We typically like to acknowledge holidays by going to a place where we can first stuff our faces, then unbutton our pants in the car, and then spend the entire drive home struggling to breathe and groaning about having eaten too much. Romantic, huh?
Since I tend to work a bit late on Mondays, we decided to go out this past Saturday night instead of on Valentine's Day Proper.
A few weeks ago the Groupon deal of the day was for "a vegetarian restaurant for meat-eaters" in Elora, Ontario. Being the coupon enthusiast that I am, I was very excited at the prospect about not only trying a new vegetarian hotspot, but trying it at a discount too! While I am a little disturbed by Groupon and their (allegedly) accidental recent cultural insensitivity, I'm also a bit grateful towards them - without that e-mail from them I may have not heard about such an amazing restaurant that is so close to home.
Whispers is located in the beautiful town of Elora, about a half-hour drive from our home in Kitchener. Back in 2007, Paul and I spent our first wedding anniversary overlooking the gorge at the Elora Mill Inn but hadn't been back since. After a bit of an icy and dicey winter drive through country roads, we arrived safe and sound at Whispers, ready to stuff our faces.
We ordered an embarrassing amount of food and I documented our gluttony the best that I could. However, I do apologize for the poor quality of most of the pictures. I was more concerned with eating and enjoying our date than I was with taking decent pictures, and I didn't want to disturb the other patrons with my excessive clickety clacking.
We started with some appetizers:
Grilled Vegetable Platter with guacamole
Sweet potato fries. Which I admit, were kind of overkill and I fought Paul over the necessity of ordering them. I was defeated, and they came to our table (with the most adorable little ketchup bottle!) and they were, without a shadow of a doubt, the greatest sweet potato fries I have ever had in my life.
Needless to say, we were completely stuffed about halfway through the appetizers. Panic admittedly began to set in as our mains came around, but we are not ones to waste food. Especially delicious food.
I got the Shephard's Pie.
Lentils, vegetables, spices and what I think was a bit of balsamic vinegar - just enough to bring out the flavours and give a traditional "down home" meal a bit of character.
The chef's special this past Saturday night was a really cool coconut-pineapple-curry vegetable medley with rice noodles. Paul had his heart set on the coconut curry linguine, but when our server mentioned that the night's special actually came in a pineapple we knew we had to get it. And the thoughtful and accommodating husband that he is, Paul sacrificed his choice to order it so that I could get a picture for the blog. It turned out to be just fine because it was absolutely delicious. Refreshing and hearty at the same time, I hope this one becomes a menu regular!
I really can't believe we made it through all that food. We were pretty devastated over the fact that we were at the point that we could not physically try the vegan apple crumble dessert without some sort of medical professional on hand. But all that means is that we have a reason to head back to Elora for dinner sometime in the near future!
A quaint little restaurant nestled in so closely to the stunning Elora Gorge, we had a wonderful time at Whispers. We give this bright and cheerful restaurant five stars for quality of ingredients and innovative menu options. We were fully expecting to pay about $70.00 for a gourmet vegetarian meal with all the fixings and we were pleasantly surprised that even before applying our Groupon, all of that delicious food you see above only came to $50.00 total. Being that their most expensive entree item is only $14.00, we praise them for their affordability and for subsequently making flavourful vegetarian dining so easily accessible to the masses. I also want to commend the staff for being so friendly and knowledgeable, helping confirm which options are vegan/easily veganized.
Although it is a vegetarian (not vegan) restaurant, the chef goes to great strides in order to provide us vegans with plenty of options to choose from. And I really, really, really hope he finds a way to veganize the butternut squash ravioli soon!
If you're in southern Ontario and are still looking for somewhere to take your sweetheart for Valentine's Day, give Whispers a call and see if they have room for any more reservations. We give this amazing establishment the This is Vegan: Seal of Approval and can't wait to return sometime soon!
14 East Mill Street
Elora, ON N0B 1S0