Before I get into the super awesome weekend of food and fun that I had in Fort Worth recently, I need to get something off of my chest...
I recently became a vegan.
It's been over two weeks now (with the exception of a Rodeo pizza/wine tasting I did on Saturday that Jon had bought us a month or so ago - that day obviously was not a vegan day, albeit a delicious one), and I felt the need to finally blab it out to the interwebs in case you start to notice a lack of cheese or eggs in future posts. But here's the thing. This is first and foremost a Houston food/restaurant/travel/lifestyle blog. In my opinion, this is not - nor has it ever been - a blog about being a vegetarian (now vegan). What will removing eggs and milk from my diet look like in terms of this blog? I'm thinking there won't be much of a difference because - thankfully - there are many wonderful vegan food options out there at restaurants!
But to answer all of the questions I've been getting from family and friends the past few weeks: No it isn't difficult, especially having transitioned from a vegetarian diet; the reason I've made the switch is to live my life as peacefully as possible, while striving to not harm other living things if I can (except for snakes, kill all the snakes, sorry Buddha); physically, I feel great!; yes, there might be very few special moments that I eat a piece of cheese or something, like when Jon and I are in Napa in June and the wine people are like "this cheese paired with this wine contains the secret to life"; and YES FOR GOD'S SAKES I'M GETTING ENOUGH PROTEIN.
Cool? Cool! If any of you have any questions or comments about this, or if you have advice or are looking for tips regarding plant-based diets, leave a comment below! And you can always shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'd love to hear from you!
Two weekends ago, Jon and I went to Fort Worth to cheer my mom on in the Cowtown half marathon. In addition to seeing my mom (and dad), we were able to spend time with my sister Emily and her boyfriend Danny, who both live there. On Friday, Jon and I went to dinner with the two of them at Vivo 53, a downtown restaurant we'd visited during our last trip to Fort Worth.
I ordered the broccolini for us all to share, which was really great. Topped off with red chilies, garlic, vinegar, and pangratatto (bread crumbs), the dish was light and wonderfully garlicky. It also had a nice soft, slightly crunchy texture from the pangratatto. For my main course of food, I asked if they could make a vegan pasta. They brought out penne tossed in marinara and vegetables (red onion, mushroom, spinach). I wasn't too crazy about this dish. The onions were basically raw, and the pasta/marinara combo was incredibly dry and sticky. It wasn't bad, and I definitely ate it, but I was a little disappointed in the end result.
We still were raring to go, so afterwards we stopped by Max's Wine Dive, a bar/restaurant located in Fort Worth's West 7th Street area.
I had been to Max's on Washington Ave in Houston before, and it was a little hit or miss for me. But I really dug the vibe at the restaurant's Fort Worth location, and the staff was wonderful. From the awesome full-bodied red wine, to the groovy jukebox (that my sister and I lost our minds over), to the custom-made vegan apps they brought out to us, we had a fantastic time. The rest of my crew indulged in some fried oyster nachos, and when the manager found out about my diet, she brought out truffle chips, as well as some sliced tomatoes seasoned with fresh basil, olive oil, salt, and pepper. The truffle chips - she assured me the fryer had just been cleaned out, so they were fully vegan! - were warm and had just the faintest hint of truffle oil. To be honest, I could have done with more truffle oil because that's the stuff that dreams are made of. I absolutely adored the fresh, simple, juicy tomatoes with fragrant basil!
The next morning, Jon and I went to the restaurant in our hotel (located in downtown Fort Worth) for breakfast. This is the food I had, and I assure you, it was delicious (and only $4! #cheapdate):
After that, my sister and I went to packet pickup with my mom, while the boys went out for lunch/beers.
^ (My mom and sister spun a wheel and both won pencils, while I won a box of brown rice, nbd.)
Then the three of us popped over to Central Market to pick up food for dinner. We also grabbed lunch to enjoy on the patio.
That afternoon, Jon, Emily, Danny, and I imbibed in some wine and played pool in their complex's club room. Also, Jon got an awesome new camera that he couldn't put down, and btw he's my new photographer for the blog (he just doesn't know it yet, kthanks Jon byeee).
After that, we were in need of some food! For dinner, I prepared vegan calamari (it was certainly not calamari, but it was a delicious, worthy substitute!) for us to munch on, which came from the cookbook Crossroads. My sister and mom made delicious salad and pasta for our main course of food.
Sunday was the day of the race, and my mom kicked total butt! She clocked in her best half marathon time, despite having had a minor back injury a few weeks prior. Also, remember how FREEZING it was last year? Yeah, this year the weather was waaaay better!
Before heading back to Houston, we had a post-race celebration lunch at Pho District, a Vietnamese restaurant in Fort Worth's West 7th Street area that I absolutely adore.
I ordered a ginormous, hearty, spicy, delicious bloody mary to start. For an appetizer, I tried the restaurant's crispy avocado spring roll, which was out of this world. Filled with fried avocado, green onions, cilantro, and carrots, the rolls were divine when dipped into a sweet peanut sauce. The contrast of the crunchy outer casing against the soft avocado was wonderful. And I loved the kimchee fried rice so much last time I ate there, that I had to order it again for my main course of food. Even though I didn't add the egg on it this time, it was still just as sinfully delightful!
As always, it was a great visit to Fort Worth. I absolutely love that cute little city, and there are some fantastic restaurants that are definitely worth a visit. Thanks for following along, and see ya next time, FW!
Seriously. Out of this world.