Friday, November 5, 2010

Vegan MoFo: Day 5, Eating Out in Little Rock and Making Brownies

Today, the two youngest ones and I went to the library for books, audiobooks, DVD's, and CD's for our upcoming road trip. (We're going to NYC!!!) Then we headed over to Boulevard Bread Company in The Heights for lunch. It's a busy, happenin' place (and has the word "vegan" written on the menu, which wins me over). My (vegan) sister Tracy works there. We ordered hummus and bread...

...fruit cups, a Naked Juice, and 1 1/2 Vegan Hummus sandwiches. The sandwich consists of something like tomato slices, lettuce, onions, avocado, hummus, and peppadew spread.

Tracy came over to join us on her break. She'd made herself a grilled sandwich with tomato sauce, hot sauce, and vegetables. It was also very tasty.

So...speaking of Little Rock restaurants...

Earlier this week, Shen asked me why Pei Wei is one of the only restaurants I'll eat at in Little Rock. There aren't any vegetarian restaurants in LR, so in that case, I'd generally rather eat at home. (If we're in town, we usually just eat at Whole Foods. And there are a few other places I'll go: Star of India, P.F. Chang's, Cafe Bossanova, etc.) I'm just sort of skeptical and uptight about the whole thing. I know that isn't the best way to be...but I sort of can't help it; it's a mental issue (I don't mean "mental," as in "I'm crazy." I just think about things too much). When I don't know EXACTLY what is in my food, it's hard for me to enjoy it. This bugs my husband, who does like to eat out occasionally. He thinks I'm doing an injustice to veganism - making it look too restrictive and difficult. I mostly agree with him, and I sort of wish I could be as carefree and easygoing as I am in the other areas of my life. Anyway, hopefully that all makes sense.

So back to Pei Wei...I like it because the meal I get seems so fresh and innocuous. Another random reason: my kids are very well-behaved in restaurants now, but not long ago (when my 5 year old was a bit more immature), that wasn't the case. It's sort of noisy in Pei Wei, and it was just one of the places we got used to taking them.

After lunch, we bought groceries. We saw a new kind of brownie mix we hadn't tried.

They're pretty good. Rather plain-tasting, which was puzzling until I realized they are gluten-free. I will say they are good for being gluten-free. Ryan pointed out they would be even better with frosting, and I agreed.

And, of course, it's always hard to review a product accurately when there were 4 extra hands involved in the process.


  1. I find it difficult to enjoy eating food I didn't make too. Restaurant food tends to have too much fat, sugar and salt and who knows what else. Commercial vegan food (fake dairy and meat) tends to be a science project that I don't want to be part of. Can you tell I agree with you. LOL

    The food where you sister works sounds like a great compromise to me. ;-)


  2. Jenny, I'm the exact same way about eating out. When people get frustrated with that choice, just remind them how much money you're saving. It is nice to eat out as an occasional treat, but I get so stressed out about it sometimes that it doesn't even feel like a treat.
    Anyway, the stuff you make at home always looks fresh and delicious - why pass that up??

  3. Oh, the cute little faces eating that hummus! Your lunch sounds cool you have a vegan-insider in a local eatery. The sandwiches sound yummy...can not go wrong with hummus, avocado, and other veggies!

    I haven't tried many gluten-free things...interesting that they taste different...I would have assumed it was more of a texture difference.

    Cute little brownie makers!

  4. PS: I think your youngest has your smile.

  5. It's funny, I think I'm the opposite of you - I'm really perfectionistic and stubborn and NOT easygoing in many areas of my life, but for whatever reason, with food/veganism, I'm totally relaxed & laissez-faire about it! :)

  6. I totally understand your reluctance to eat restaurant food when you don't know what's in it. I have a really hard time with worrying about things like fish sauce, too much salt and fat, and hidden dairy, but I keep trying to relax a little. Not about whether things are vegan, but about trusting people who tell me they are.

  7. I love eating out but I tend to go to the same places again and again because I trust them. But eating out as a vegan isn't restrictive in Seattle where they are tons of vegan places. I always see it as society's fault, not our fault.

    Funny about the brownies being good for gluten-free, eeks! A sign of a good GF item in my book is that you can tell it is GF.

  8. Can you believe I've never eaten at Star of India??? Oh, and The House has a vegan lentil (I think it's lentil) burger on their menu by the way. We haven't eaten there yet. We tried a few weeks ago but Sat and Sun lunch is only brunch foods.

  9. Thanks for the explanation and you are right about Little Rock. I did a quick search on "Little Rock & Vegan" and could only come up with this place:

    I do enjoy Cheeburger Cheeburger, but if you're super picky about ingredients, then I 100% cant vouch for it.

  10. peppadew spread, thats sounds interesting. ill have to look that up, its a spread made out of seeds...?

    i get your stance and i get your husbands (on eating out) i get stuck in between all the time. do i eat the vegan sorbet at the local icecream shop? what about the sauce at "this" place, it prob has sugar in it. the more you get out and order food the way you want it the more people hear about vegan. although i dont shout it from the rooftops.... and im kinda subdued about it when i go out....i could be more vocal like some people.

    anyway im glad that there are more places that you go to other than pw. i probably felt just like shen. (that that would be really hard!!)

    NYC! have fun cant wait to read about THAT! i used to love going to the library with my mom. you are just the type of mother i want to be


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  12. Looks like a fun outing! I can understand being picky when going out - oftentimes I've come across wait staff who even gives out bad information.

    Those brownies do look good - nice and gooey. Too bad they were just okay.

  13. Oh, Jenny, I can relate to both things you said: about wanting to know what's in your food, and kids having a hard time behaving in restaurants. I am actually preferring to eat at home the longer I'm vegan - you just never know what's out/in there. And, I think it's hard for kids to sit completely still at a table waiting for food. At home they don't do that, right? They're playing until dinnertime. It's a journey!

  14. Your littlest sister is so pretty! I'm sure the middle one is just as, if not more, beautiful than the both of you.
    Have you ever tried El Chico in Conway? You might like it there.

  15. Vegans, do not listen to my sister Cary's wayward advice.

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