My first step towards become a Veggie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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On Sunday after great contemplation in regards to my diet, I decided to become a vegetarian. For those of you know me well... this will be quite the struggle. I've grown up with a love for a great filet mignon, p√Ęte on my baguette and pan-seared scallops since the age of five.

It'll be difficult to give up such delicious and savory pleasures but I know for a fact that my health and physique will greatly benefit from such a change. 

To celebrate and kickstart my veggie conversion, a dear friend of mine and hard-core vegan/veggie (Embem - aka Emily; check out her blog here) had a date night with me at Cafe Flora.

exterior
interior; there is an outdoor patio seating area, too
Situated in a quiet neighborhood outside of Capitol Hill, Cafe Flora stands out as an urban, eclectic and trendy hotspot amidst the boutiques and quaint little houses.

We began my veggie adventures just like any other great dining experience with a cocktail and wine. I had a Southern Sweetart ($10), consisting of Earl grey gin, rosemary lemonade and lemon and orange liqueur, while Emily ordered a glass of Sleeping Dog Sauvignon Blanc ($8).

After our drinks arrived, our server an absolute gem gave us "the lowdown" on all of her favorites. We finally settled on splitting the Coconut Tofu and Sweet Chili Sauce for the appetizer ($8) - coconut breaded marinated organic tofu wrapped in leaves of lettuce, sprigs of mint, basil, and cilantro- all dipped in a sweet chili sauce (reminding me of Mama Nguyen's traditional vietnamese dish of bo nuong vi). With the first bite, I was hooked; I didn't even realize that it was vegetarian and couldn't wait for the next dish.

Southern Sweetart (photo courtesy of flickr)

Coconut Tofu and Sweet Chili Sauce
Emily ordered the Nectarine and Argula Salad ($10, seasonal) to share for our salad course, and it was spectacular. The nectarines were juicy, and its sweetness blended well with the basil-infused dressing over fresh arugula and pine nuts.'

*Note: Many of the dishes we ordered were seasonal since the server recommended trying something that we wouldn't get again for another year. The every-day dishes are to be tried on our next visit; I'll keep you posted when Em and I try the Artichoke Croquettes. yum

For our entrees, we each got our own dish.

Emily's vegan Heirloom Tomato and Sweet Corn Pizza ($15, seasonal) looked and tasted delectable. The combination of the crisp sweet corn and fresh tomatoes danced on my taste-buds when I stole a bite.

Being a pasta-lover, I ordered the Ricotta Gnocchi with Chanterelle mushrooms and arugula ($18, seasonal). I fell in love. To be honest, I was a bit hesitant to order gnocchi because at other restaurants, gnocchi tends to be too rich or an over-the-top portion. However, I did not regret Cafe Flora's gnocchi - not one bit. Light, appropriate sized and a perfect blend of rich and creamy, the gnocchi was pure bliss. I was absolutely content with it.

To finish off dinner right, Emily and I gave into our sweet tooth. Vegan Chocolate Espresso Four-layer Cake ($8.5) for her and the Peach Crisp with Vegan Vanilla Ice Cream ($8.5) for me. To compliment her cake, a sip of Sandeman Character Sherry ($8) accompanied each bite full of chocolate goodness.

It was a precious date night for Emily and me - two gal pals/ADPi sisters having heart to hearts over boys and celebrating my first big step towards becoming a vegetarian. I couldn't ask for a better dinner date. We toasted to my veggie journey, the boys who had us head-over-heels and to the new fall quarter ahead.

It's exciting to start this school year with new goals, big projects and a different perspective.

In regards to my goal for the Veggie Journey: I'm shooting for a month. It will be quite difficult, and I'm not going to lie when I say that I wonder when I will give into my food temptations. I almost did last night, when my sister Annie asked if I wanted a cheeseburger. uhhhhh yummm... too bad I'm giving up the cow #veggieproblems






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