- Memphis, restaurants, grocery -
I decided to go vegan for 30 days. I knew it would be a challenge and better for the planet, but I didn't realize how much of my diet is animal products until then. I couldn't have my coffee that I usually get at Ugly Mug when I needed an extra boost in the morning. I couldn't eat the chicken parm that my mom fixed for dinner. I couldn't eat buttered noodles with garlic salt when I started to feel sick. These were all issues that I came across within the first 72 hours of being vegan. I knew I was in for a difficult time, but I wasn't going to let myself quit just yet. I did my research on some animal-alternatives and discovered a few on my own.
Global Café, crosstown concourse
When my friend and I decided to go to Crosstown for dinner one evening, I knew Global Cafe was going to be my best option. I usually get the falafel and veggie sambusas, the falafel being vegan. I ended up getting the falafel with an order of black bean empanadas, and they didn't disappoint. Other notable vegan items include the stuffed grape leaves and the Venezuelan vegan plate with rice, beans, and fried plantains.
Trader Joe's, germantown
My research during the first 3 days led me to Trader Joe's. I picked up Soyrizo (vegan chorizo), vanilla coconut milk for my coffee, chicken-less mandarin orange morsels, veggie samosas, and kale cashew & basil pesto. It was all wonderful ,and each satisfied an animal-product craving of mine. I might even go as far to say that I like Soyrizo better than chorizo which is no small feat.
Mulan Asian Bistro, multiple locations
By day 6, I decided that I couldn't avoid tofu any longer. I was very skeptical of it, and didn't want one of my first times having it to be homemade. After googling "crispy tofu near me," Mulan popped up. I decided to try their crispy tofu with a side of General Tso's sauce, and it didn't disappoint. I would, and definitely will, get this again, even though I am not vegan anymore. Never in a million years did I think i would say that about tofu.
Casablanca, multiple locations
My usual order at Casablanca was already pretty much vegan, so this was an easy go-to on nights we were going to eat out. I always get the falafel "big mac of the middle east," but add the creamy sauce that's on the table. I instead got an order of hummus to go with it. It was an easy substitute. I'm not going to lie, I definitely missed the creamy sauce, but it wasn't going to make me cheat.
Cordova International Farmers Market, cordova
For my meal prep one week, I made air fryer veggie empanadas. I used empanada wrappers, and the only place I've been able to find them is at the Cordova International Market. I also picked up a bag of chili and lime spiced peanuts, which were a great snack to take to school.
Lucky Cat Ramen, midtown
Week 2 came around and the inevitable occurred. I craved ramen. I knew that Lucky Cat had a vegan ramen, so I went in planning to get that. After browsing the menu (I don't usually do that because I always get the pork belly donburi), I stumbled upon the mushroom and rice. I ordered that sans egg, which was a painful experience considering the egg is my favorite part of donburi & ramen. Once the mushroom rice was in front of me though, I didn't miss the egg one bit. The crispy rice with the broth underneath it was satisfying and flavorful. While I don't think I will be ordering it over pork belly donburi, it is definitely a good option if you are vegan or vegetarian.