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