Toasted — Orlando, FL

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a face full of truffle fries

a face full of truffle fries

I found myself in Orlando with a hankering for some grilled cheese and tomato soup (the fat kid in me eating his way out), and so I took to Yelp to find where I might satisfy this craving. To my surprise, Yelp yielded this gem of an establishment pretty close to my location. With both my mom and my appetite as passengers, we loaded into the Spark Mobile (my car) and raced (meandered) the 7 miles to our cheesy destination.

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Yelp a brother out, why don’t you?! Take me to vegan cheese paradise!

I was smitten with the place the minute we barged in (entered quietly). The whole room was clean, spacious, inviting, and one of the walls was made to look as though it were made of cheese.  I asked the high-school-aged waitstaff for menus, and explained that mum and I have never dined there before. They pointed out the vegan options for me, which wasn’t hard to find; the V word was all over the place. #winning. Sadly, the tomato soup contains dairy, so I opted for the truffle fries with rosemary to accompany my Vegan Roasted Vegetable Grilled Cheese. Not sorry about it! No wonder pigs love that shit so much; truffle is life-changingly delightful.

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Vegan Roasted Vegetable Grilled Cheese with Truffle Fries

My mom, the non-vegan, went with The 101, a classic grilled cheese sandwich with sliced tomato. She also got a dipper-size portion of their tomato soup. Now if only they can figure out a way to ditch the dairy in the soup! #itsnotrocketscience.

The 101 and Housemade Roasted Tomato Soup (not vegan)

The 101 and Housemade Roasted Tomato Soup (not vegan)

Fun things to know:

  • there are two Toasted locations, neither of which, sadly, are in Tampa.
  • Toasted makes their own vegan cheeses in-house, which is kinda neat.
  • if you fit your whole tray of truffle fries into your mouth, you win a prize. Okay, not really. But please attempt it anyway and send me a photo.
  • http://www.igettoasted.com
  • After your meal, take mom over to Ethos Vegan Kitchen, buy her some vegan snickerdoodles, then eat them together in the beautiful Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park. Don’t forget your selfie stick.
Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park, FL

Mead Botanical Garden, Winter Park, FL

 

Burrito Boarder — Downtown St. Petersburg

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What does the ocean have in common with a burrito? Well, nothing unless you go on a paddle board trip with your best pals and then grab a burrito afterwards. That’s exactly what we did. Although I typically will post about eating vegan in Tampa (hence the name, Tampa Vegan), I couldn’t not write about Burrito Boarder in downtown St. Petersburg. This post will be considered an “Outliers” post. Burrito-Boarder-3_1

 

My gal pal, Alexandra, suggested Burrito Boarder and felt pretty certain that I could find some vegan options there. Not only did I build myself the mecca of all vegan burritos, but I also got to meet another young fellow vegan who works there (always a pleasant treat). The space is decked out in a total surf theme, which fit perfectly with our beach/paddle board extravaganza. The ordering system works pretty similarly with other burrito shacks; you choose the type of dish you want (burrito, tacos, salad, etc), then the meat (or lack thereof, in my case), and then the plethora of toppings and additions. My burrito, pictured below, was phenomenal. The veggies were sautéed beautifully, and the guacamole made for a welcomed indulgence. Luckily the vegan employee warned me that the bean sauce contained dairy (torture juice), so he saved me some embarrassment before I had it added to my burrito. burrito-boarder-2

 

My non-vegan friends (or, “non-enlightened ones” — however you like to think of them) made out pretty nicely, too. Alexandra made herself a gigantic salad, while Helen created some beautiful soft tacos. We were able to sit outside and do some people-watching (always entertaining in the downtown St. Pete region — think hipsters falling off their skateboards). We chowed down and thanked Alexandra endlessly for the stellar recommendation.

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What I like most about Burrito Boarder is that they don’t just have vegan options, but they promote them as well. The menu is crawling with the V-word, and they even have it printed on their drink cups. With more and more people opting for a vegan lifestyle, other businesses would be wise to make their vegan options better known (even if bits of lettuce are the only option — tell us).

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To give you an idea of how hip this place is, I saw a guy ride up to the store on his bike, hop off, and walk with it right into the restaurant. Furthermore, how many “hip points” did this place score when I walked in with two beautiful beach bunnies by my side? So many. If you find yourself in this area, it’s definitely worth stopping in.

As always, you’re doing a good thing 😉

-Hew