5 days into my 7 day Vegetarian Week, I’ve far surpassed expectations.  And, by “far surpassed”, I mean actually doing it.  Unlike Pescaterian Week that saw me fall off the wagon four times, I’ve yet to have any meat or meat-derived products (ie. stocks, animals fats, or delicious bacon bit toppings).  To be perfectly honest, it hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it would be.  I attribute my ongoing success to: 1 part inner strength and personal determination, 12 parts varied recipes from mom’s home kitchen, and fifty-two parts having a massive fruit and oatmeal peanut butter after my morning workout so that I don’t have to worry about lunch.

Last night, Akemi and I took a break from our vegetarian home cooking to check out one of Vancouver’s most lauded vegetarian restaurants: The Acorn Restaurant & Bar that boasts “vegetarian, vegan, & gluten-free dining”!

Okay, come on.  Let’s not go crazy here.

So, here’s how it went…

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!
Akemi, rarin’ to go.  They have zoodles on the menu!

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!

We decided to forego the appetizers in favor of three main courses.  We placed our orders and waited for the feast to begin!

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!

But first, this amazingly delicious non-alcoholic cocktail!  Sur Une Plage (On a Beach): Coconut + Chardonnay Reduction Syrup, Vanilla, Fresh Lemon Juice, and Sparkling Water.  You know how certain restaurants have that stand-out item you go there to order?  Well, in the case of The Acorn, this drink is it.  The Chardonnay reduction syrup imparts a delightfully unique flavor.  It made me wonder if I could pull off something similar with a bourbon reduction.

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!

Main dish #1: Beer battered halloumi, zucchini and potato pancake, smashed peas, mint yogurt, and lemon balm.  I was very pleasantly surprised by this dish – crisp and crunchy with a lovely balance of fresh flavors highlighted by the mint and lemon.  Akemi accused me of cheating by ordering something deep-fried.

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!

Main dish #2 (Akemi’s zoodles): Raw zucchini linguini with mint and walnut pesto, arugula, grape tomatoes, lemon zest, and pine nuts.  It was advertised as vegan, raw, and gluten-free – and, I thought,  pretty much tasted like it.  Akemi enjoyed the dish.  I enjoyed that mint and walnut pesto that accompanied the “zoodles”.

August 15, 2014: All Hail The Conquering (vegetarian) Hero!

Main dish #3: Papardelle pasta with chanterelle mushrooms, sweet corn garlic, and basil.  This was a good dish that could have been great had they swapped out the papardelle with a more texturally interesting alternative like, say, rigati, ruote, or even  conchiglie.

And then, it was on to desserts.  We had a a choice of three and decided to try all of them.  How’d I like them?  Well, here’s a video of me trying all three in succession: first the raw cashew lemon cheesecake, then chocolate-quinoa zucchini cake, and finally the roasted plums with thai basil panna cotta…

I mean, honestly.  There’s no excuse for screwing up dessert.  It’s not as if you’re hamstrung by all those classic meat-dessert recipes.  How bad were they?  Well, let’s just say they were so bad I regretted the fact my buddy Carl wasn’t in attendance so I could have had the pleasure of watching him try them.

Two more days of vegetarians and then I’m going to try the paleo diet wit the help of my dietician (and former Stargate Special Features Producer) Ivon Bartok.

Pray for JoJo.

32 thoughts on “August 15, 2014: All Hail the Conquering (Vegetarian) Hero!

  1. I thought you were joking about doing a vegetarian diet. As in, if you can eat whatever and call it a pescetarian diet, you can eat your normal diet and call it a vegetarian diet.

  2. I know where I want to eat on my next visit, if I can talk Mr. M into it. (He’s a meat & potatoes guy.)

  3. My mom is actually going to try a paleo catering service next week as she’s going home from the nursing home. She’s not committed to the paleo diet in general but is too sick to cook for herself and her food sensitivities (dairy, legume, white potato) are too oddball to find frozen meals for, especially legume since that covers soy. I also stash some of my cooking away for her, but the service is likely to be more consistent and palatable. She can’t digest large amounts of fat so it remains to be seen which cooking is less lard-soaked.

  4. Joe Mallozzi going vegetarian? I would figure that’s one of the signs of the apocalypse. Those mains looked pretty good though, although that second one looked suspiciously non-Zoodle like.

    You’re right about there being no excuse for outright bad desserts.

    What exactly is a paleo diet, given that none of the foods that those people ate are still available? Or, taking into account that those people all died by the age of 40?

  5. Joe, I just thawed out my lamb chops. I plan to cook and eat them tomorrow. Any recommended recipes?

  6. Oh, I get it. JoJo is Joe! You anticipate suffering finishing out your vegetarian and completing your paleo eating. Most people who do paleo take a more gradual path, though, cutting out one major category at a time.

    You’re going to be in JoJo heaven with all the offal and pork fat you can eat. But in paleo veggies are encouraged above fruit so that’ll knock you down a few clouds.

  7. I’ve been a vegetarian for 46 years (no, that’s not a typo) and the most important thing I’ve learned (besides check your side of a half veg/half meat pizza for any unhappy surprises) is that eating at a ‘healthy’ vegetarian restaurant will usually end in tears and a quick trip for a platter of onion rings to make life right again…

  8. JoJo the dog-faced boy…he walks, he talks, he crawls on his belly like a reptile!

    das

  9. “1 part inner strength and personal determination, 12 parts varied recipes from mom’s kitchen, and 52 parts having a massive fruit and oatmeal peanut butter after my morning workout…”

    Where’s the other 35 parts?,… or is my not excelling in math rearing it’s ugly head again? You should try the Dolly Parton diet for a week too.

  10. Oh no, Joe! My dad raises organic Highland beef. Sure you don’t need me to send you some? Do take care!

  11. Oh, October is the Vegetarian Festival in Thailand, most notably Trang (sounds like song) and Phuket, beautiful beaches and fresh sea food. There is where the participants go through a time of meditation and purification and eat only vegetarian foods (some are quite good) and at the climax walk down the street in procession with all sorts of items items pierced through their bodies in particular head and mouth. I have pictures if interested. I know you are planning a trip to East Asia near that time…

  12. JoJo the YoYo…

    NoNo…

    BoGo…

    YoLo…

    PoGo…

    SoSo…

    DoDo…

    Betcha ‘Joey’ ain’t sounding so bad these days, eh? 😉

    😀

    das

  13. I’ve been doing mostly paleo since Feb and really like it. I dropped a dress size without even trying and I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of eggs and bacon for breakfast. I thought I’d miss breads/grains a lot more than I do, but it’s been pretty easy to avoid them. I allow some full fat dairy and occasional cheese, so that’s cool (LOVE cheese). I do very much miss beer, though. That’s where I fall off that wagon, the times that I do!

  14. Desserts are the staff of life….and from your expression…2 of the three beat you and the third one was a…oh well.
    I am a little smug cause I got some Trader Joe Macarons….yummy.

  15. HOW MUCH do I *love* Akemi’s shirt in that picture! Please tell me it is available for purchase somewhere!

    I’m impressed that you have persevered so far with the veg diet! I didn’t have high hopes given how the pescatarian diet was going… 🙂

    If you want another break from cooking veg, you should check out The Parker.

  16. @gforce – The word “paleo” is more an inspiration for the diet, looking at how food has changed and considering if that’s good or not. So, modern greens might have had many nutrients bred out of them because of taste preferences so you’d consider eating more arugula than cabbage, but ultimately consider cabbage preferable over a processed starch. In its current form, the diet would better be called an anti-inflammatory diet, but the word “paleo” sure is easy on the googling.

  17. My cousin went to see The Purge at an abandoned sanitarium in Louisville last night. There were rumors flying around Louisville that it was on for reals Friday night. Another cousin noticed the McDonald’s employees weren’t saying “good night”, they were saying “stay safe”.

    I haven’t heard from any of them yet today, but if that was going to happen for real, it won’t be in Louisville. 20 years ago, a cousin made fun of me for locking my car like a northerner right smack in the middle of the city.

    If everything were legal in Louisville for the night, they’d just do what they always do on Friday nights, but just start earlier just in case. Maybe they’d have to run off some out-of-towners a little earlier. Naw, just kidding, they’d hand the out-of-towners a paper plate and invite them to the party.

  18. It sounds like they were trying to be too complicated with their desserts. I’ve had really good vegan/GF desserts (there’s a bakery in my town) – they just keep it simple instead of throwing in random things like quinoa and whatever the hell else they added to their list.

    One should not ruin good chocolate.

  19. It was fun reading all the posts. Lots of mayhem last night… 🙂

    The food looked good but what was with the desserts? Were they vegan or something?

  20. Hi Joe!, it’s Wendy. Vegetarianism? That’s so 1990 for me….I tried for 10 years then I really missed bacon. Ha Ha. Good to know about Acorn though, I have heard it’s pretty decent. Naam is the winner for me if I have vegetarian friends to take out. Also Paleo/Keto is what Clear and I have subscribed to in the past to loose weight and take a break from carbs/sugar. I can tell you one thing though, drink lots of water and don’t forget about fiber intake but I guess that’s what your dietician is for?!

  21. I just aite a big, juicy cheeseburger! Mmmmmm! 😀

    Enjoy your lettuce, JoJo! 😈

    das

  22. I’ve been lacto vegetarian for 42 years (no flesh of any kind). And you’re right, there is no excuse for crappy deserts. People conflate vegetarian cuisine with no sugar, no _____ and no _______. My wife bakes killer cookies that everyone raves about with no eggs, and they taste just like Mrs. Fields best. Her pies and cakes are awesome – especially Cherry Pie. Yummmmmm Pie!!! You’re just eating at the wrong places. If you want to try decent vegetarian chili, try “Chili-Man Vegetarian Chili” – utterly awesome, especially with a little sour cream and yellow corn bread.

  23. The video was awesome. Poor JoJo. Speaking of JoJo, my second golden retriever we adopted was JoJo before his foster mother called him Buddy and we continued to call him Buddy. So poor Buddy. The diet I’ve found I’ve lost the most weight on and felt the best on was raw — just nuts and raw veggies. I need to go back on it, but when my pet sitting stuff gets crazy, it is difficult to carry raw veggies around all day unless I want to go through the trouble of getting a cooler.

  24. As a diabetic, I am a big fan of paleo…it doesn’t raise my blood glucose at all…but I can eat too much meat, which allows me to gain weight…the diet is supposed to be about 50% animal fat,which I find hard to maintain,,,on the other hand, if/when I do fall off it (a not-infrequent occurrence),,,a great desert is well appreciated.

  25. “chocolate-quinoa zucchini cake”

    Whoever thought that would be a good idea should be charged with war crimes.

  26. You are right to say “there is no excuse for screwing up dessert.” Sounds like an experiment that went wrong. Your face said it all. Hope your next venture in to fooding is better.

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