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Vegan at Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla, Day 1

soy vegano - i am vegan

Kevin got to go on the company club trip again this year, which means I got to go, which is pretty cool. They decided to go back to Playa del Carmen this year, but booked a different resort, Paradisus Playa del Carmen La Perla. There are actually two sides to this resort and La Perla is the adults only side. Thankfully.

Last year when we went, I made a few posts about vegan food in Playa del Carmen. This year’s visit will also generate a few posts. Especially since we were there for two weeks. Let’s get back to the resort though.

At check-in, we got these nifty cards to show wait staff. “I am vegan.” And I will say that unlike last year, the staff generally seemed to understand what that meant. So that was awesome!

paradisus playa del carmen la perla room

Since I’m really terrible at getting good pictures of the room, I just took one. There you go. It’s huge and ridiculous with a sitting area, a tub you could host a party in and a two-sided shower that’s about the size of my current whole bathroom. If you want pretty pics, check out their site.

After we got checked in, we got on our bathing suits and headed to the little grill next to the pool. Or, a pool. The one nearest our room. The pickings were a little slim on the menu but we weren’t starving so we were okay with chips and guac, fries and fruit. The fruit was super fresh and tasted amazing. I hadn’t had it served with lime and chili powder since I visited Mexico back in 2006 and had forgotten how amazing that is. I recall it being standard on the breakfast menu at the Mexican hotels we stayed in that trip.

french fries

fresh fruit with lime and chili powder

vegan chips and guacamole

The next big decision was what was going to be my drink this trip. The resort is all-inclusive as they are pretty much every year, so that’s a situation I like to take advantage of, just not to the point of illness or verbal diarrhea. So I started with a gin and tonic. It went down okay, but I switched to frozen lime daiquiris. I can make a gin and tonic at home, but I’m way too lazy to make a frozen daiquiri.

gin and tonic

After spending all afternoon at the pool, it was time to go get dressed for the opening reception. The theme was blue. Everybody wear blue. Blue isn’t a color I generally wear, so I found the cheapest thing I could at Old Navy that looked reasonable, a dress for about $12. Score! To be extra ridiculous, Kevin raided their promotional items for a racing shirt with the company logo on it. There’s a picture. If I get a digital copy, I’ll add it to this post.

The company dinners are usually buffet style. We eat salads from the buffet and then they bring us a vegan main dish. Here’s what we ended up with the first night.

The salad assortment. The dressing was really nice for the green salad, a hibiscus vinaigrette, I think.

vegan salads and bread

And this is a vegan ratatouille, I think. I’m not a big fan of eggplant, so this was pretty meh for me. It tasted fine, I just hate when you come to another country and you get some random dish like this. But that seems to be a running theme in these resorts.

vegan ratatouille

Oh dang, the drink of the night was some blue drank. I have no idea what was in it, but I drank a couple. Sadly, no picture.

Thus ends day 1. I got sun burned a little. And didn’t get drunk. So it was a good day. I’m probably going to post day by day at the resort and then maybe two more posts. That should be plenty.

 

 

Vegan BLT Spring Rolls

First things first: do you get the Meatout Mondays email newsletter? If not, you should sign up. Each week they send a recipe along with some other interesting tidbits.

The week that I linked to above had a recipe in it for Vegan BLT Spring Rolls with Avocado. With cashew based ranch sauce. What? Does that not sound like perfect summer food? I thought so and left it in my inbox until I decided to make it.

vegan blt spring rolls

Dealing with rice paper can be a little tricky. But you usually get the hang of it after a roll or two. And if it tears, big deal. You can still eat it, right?

And rolling up spring rolls can be quite the production. There’s definitely a process to it. But these vegan blt spring rolls don’t have as many ingredients as most which makes it go a little faster.

Here’s a video showing you how to work with the wrapper. Bonus: you get another vegan spring roll recipe!

For the tempeh bacon, I just used my own standard smoky tempeh recipe. I guess I should post that some time. There are several commercial vegan bacon products out there like Sweet Earth Foods, Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon, and Upton’s Naturals Seitan Bacon.  Make your own or choose your favorite!

For the dipping sauce, I made the zesty ranch dressing listed in the recipe. It was perfect and we had the leftover dressing on salads. If you want to get a little lazy, Hampton Creek just released their Just Ranch dressing.

vegan blt spring rolls inside shotOh, and if you’re having trouble finding rice paper in your area, you can get it on Amazon. This is one of the brands I pick up at the Asian grocery here.

This recipe made at least 8 rolls. Plenty for a hearty dinner and there were leftovers that I ate the next day for lunch.

These would be a terrific potluck food. Whenever I bring spring rolls to a summer cookout, they are gobbled up. Oh, and these can easily be gluten free!

How about you – do you ever make spring rolls? What are your favorite innards & sauces?

Completely vegan gluten-free cafe in Fort Lauderdale

No, it isn’t hard being vegan. But it’s still challenging to eat out in some place. Now, throw gluten-free into the mix. Again, it’s no problem at home, but on the road it’s nearly impossible. Unless you’re in Fort Lauderdale and you hit up the Green Bar & Kitchen.

Now I’m not gluten free. I eat plenty of it. Probably too much. But I do try to keep it in check. Because the best gluten filled goods are white breads, cakes, and other such naughties full of empty calories.

Vegan Gluten-free Brunch

We were in Fort Lauderdale about to go on a cruise and then again about to fly back home. So we made two stops into Green Bar & Kitchen. The first visit before the cruise, we got there a little before they opened. And a line quickly formed behind us. Because on Sundays they have brunch. Everyone loves brunch!

green bar vegan gluten free cafe

We had to take advantage of brunch. We got the pumpkin french toast and tofu scramble with potatoes. Remember, it’s also gluten-free. But LOOK AT IT! That french toast was not joking around.

vegan gluten free pumpkin french toast

vegan gluten free tofu scramble and potatoes

We’d had bagels earlier, so I was feeling more like having lunch. So I got the curried chick’n salad sandwich (Pea-soy protein, celery, red onion, raisins, cranberries, seasonings & mayo, served on flax & millet bread.) That bread is the best gluten-free bread I’ve ever had. It may be a little more delicate than gluten bread, but it’s so fluffy and perfect and it held up for the sandwich just fine.

vegan gluten free chicken salad sandwich vegan gluten free chicken salad sandwich

Do you like kombucha? They have it on tap! You can sample to see which one you’d like.

kombucha samples

And they have these things called Krunkin which are kind of like donut holes. They were good, but I’ve been fully spoiled by Ronald’s Donuts in Las Vegas. And I’ve never even been to Las Vegas. I’m getting sidetracked. If you’re craving donut like things that are vegan and gluten-free, these are for you.

vegan gluten free donut holes

Vegan Gluten-free Lunch

And here is where I’ve failed you all. We were with Kevin’s parents when we went back to Green Bar and for some dumb reason I didn’t take pictures. Wait! There ARE pictures! They were just hanging out unedited in my Camera+ app.

Kevin had the smoke house burger and I had the buffalo tempeh sandwich. I liked the tempeh sandwich but just wish the tempeh wasn’t so chunky. The burger was really good.

vegan gluten free smoke house burger

vegan gluten free buffalo tempeh

Green Bar also has a ton of raw options. All in all this is exactly the kind of food I want in a warm climate like Fort Lauderdale. They seem to be doing really well, so I hope to visit next time I’m down there. This location is close to the port, so it’s pretty convenient to grab a bite before or after a cruise.

green bar front door

Big, big changes

dough bakery sign

So, I haven’t been really public about this, but since it’s about to open, maybe I should out myself. Kevin and I have been working on opening Dough Bakery for a few years now and it’s finally about to happen. Like quit my corporate job kind of happen.

While we’ve been really good and dumping money into it, bringing on Simon of Gutenfleischer’s fame on as a partner is what is making this possible. Simon has been dealing with all the agencies like a pro. Not to mention getting things organized inside and out. And Star is always there to lend a hand. Like that weekend we all spent painting the outside of the building. Or, remember when it was 105F and we striped our parking lot? Good times.

Anyway, places to watch for grand opening info: doughbakery.com | Twitter: @doughbakery | Facebook

 

Basil rolls with tofu & peanut sauce

So that peanut sauce we put on the pizza was so good we had to eat it again pretty much immediately. I cut a bunch of basil off one of my bushes and star used it in these basil rolls she whipped up.

basil rolls

Perfect summer food! Of course we slathered them with peanut sauce.

basil roll with peanut sauce

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