I like to visit new places, and of course I’m always on the lookout for vegan options. I pack Luna bars when I travel so I’m never hungry or deprived, but what I really enjoy is finding a good vegan meal–sometimes where you’d least expect it.
On my recent girls’ trip to Savannah, Georgia I was pleasantly surprised at the vegan choices I had. Southern cuisine is world-renowned but not especially known for being vegan. I did a little planning by looking up places on Veg Dining and Happy Cow. I found a couple of vegetarian places and a host of veg-friendly restaurants.
I started every morning at the Sentient Bean, where I had a soy latté and vegan burrito. I took a slice of vegan banana bread to go and was full ’til dinner. This cute little coffeehouse is a gem at the end of Forsythe Park.
Walking through the park was a great way to start the day. On Saturday, the park hosted a farmers’ market, where I picked up walnuts, fresh berries, toasted kale chips and a bag of grits. (I’ve since veganized a classic grits casserole recipe.)
One evening, my friends and I splurged on dinner at Cha Bella, a decidedly non-vegan restaurant. It did offer local, organic cuisine and sustainable in-season veggies. I was graciously offered a vegan entrée (and I honestly can’t remember if it was on the menu or especially made for me–the service was so good, everything seemed made for us). At most restaurants, ask and ye shall receive. But do tip accordingly!
For another meal, we stopped by the casual Kayak Café, where I had the seared tiger tofu burrito and a delicious side salad. Kayak Café prides themselves on being able to make almost any dish vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free.
Moon River Brewing Company was another great, casual place for a bite–and they have a big, outdoor beer garden. There wasn’t anything explicitly vegan on the menu (well, fries or a house salad maybe), but my lovely server worked with me to create a vegan wrap. She even checked with the cook to see if the rice was vegan (it wasn’t–they cooked it in chicken stock or something). I loved that she looked out for me like that. I wrote a thank-you note on the receipt and left it with my tip (again, showing a little appreciation goes a long way).
At Jazz’d Tapas Bar, I chose a roasted garlic hummus plate and a fresh salad. I was really there for the drinks, so a snack was perfect. We ate and drank and listened to the live band and a crooner who sounded exactly like Frank Sinatra.
At Leopold’s Ice Cream I found a refreshing lemon sorbet. It was as close to tutti-fruity as I could get. Johnny Mercer wrote the song Tutti-Fruity after his favorite flavor at Leopold’s.
Savannah was a lot of fun and I had an easier time eating out with my friends than I thought I would.
Two tips when travelling (besides packing Luna bars):
- Visit a grocery store for fruit and snacks. I dropped by a Kroger supermarket and bought soy yogurt, apples, bananas, baby carrots and hummus. They fit in the hotel room fridge, saved me from eating out three times a day, which in turn saved me some money.
- Look for “ethnic” cuisine. Indian and Thai places, for example, are in virtually any city and are pretty much guaranteed to have vegan dishes.