It’s no secret that Chad and I love our pork products.  Bacon, sausage, a thick and juicy chop…nom nom nom.  We both really enjoy vegetables, but we also like beef and poultry and lamb and fish and eggs and alllll the cheeses.  Suffice it to say, vegan we are definitely not.

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However, in Chicago this past weekend, we stayed with good friends who ARE vegan.  They’ve been eating vegan for a couple of years now, and they approach it from more of a nutrition standpoint.  While we don’t agree on all the details of their decision (No cheese? So sad.), we do love them and respect their decision as consumers.  Choice is important for all of us.  And, trying new things and having adventures is important for all of us, I say.  So, after church on Sunday, I asked if they’d take us to their favorite restaurant for brunch.

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We geared up for our first vegan experience at Karyn’s on Green – making vegan sexy is their mantra.  I’m a pretty adventurous foodie and like a wide variety of food, but my tofu experience has been limited to miso soup, which I love, but I always leave the little chunks of tofu at the bottom of the bowl.

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I explained my vegan inexperience to our very nice waiter, and asked him if the chef would prepare me a tofu sample so I could taste it.  Since it was brunch time, the chef sent out some pressed & scrambled tofu seasoned with turmeric, salt and pepper, alongside some sautéed mushrooms and onions.  The texture was a little bit different than scrambled eggs but not offensive to me.  Egg-lovin’ aside, I’m not too proud to say that it was REALLY good.  I will probably still leave the tofu behind when I eat miso soup, but I’m proud of myself for being brave and trying (and enjoying) something new.  Pass the bacon, baby!  Oh…

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For my meal, I ordered corn cakes (which were also gluten free) with apple margarine and maple syrup.  The syrup was quite thin and lacked something, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.  The corn cakes were delicious, and the apple margarine, while missing the creaminess of real butter, was a nice addition.

Chad ordered a fake-chicken buffalo wrap, and well, he did his best.  The fake chicken was made from soy; the waiter described the process as similar to making cotton candy.  The flavor was fine, but the product’s texture was problematic for Chad.  Our friends enjoyed butternut squash soup, biscuits and mushroom gravy (which would have greatly benefited from some actual dairy, in my opinion), and black bean & sweet potato burger.

I’m thankful for consumer choice that lets us all eat what we want, and all in all, I’m calling our (one meal) vegan adventure a success.  We broke out of our comfort zones and tried something new, and our friends were able to introduce us to an important part of their life.

Then, we went to a Super Bowl party and ate all the things stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon.  Delish.