Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vegan Travels -- Mexico!

It's been a crazy week!
Thumbs up!

Two pretty significant life events occurred this week:

1. I walked in my college graduation ceremony.

Really, quite exciting. 

2.  I went to Mexico!!!
Gettin my tan on!

 Woo woo! Such a nice reprieve from the Oregon weather.

I am continually shocked and pleasantly surprised by the increasing amounts of vegan options that are available everywhere I go. From the plane ride to the resort, an assortment of animal-product-free items were not only made options if requested but were actually prominently displayed on the menu.

Even airplanes have now jumped on the healthy eating, cruelty-free living bandwagon.

I'm not usually one for airplane food, but Alaska now has these neat little "snack packs" aaaand, yep - you guessed it - they now have a vegan and gluten free option!

I took photo evidence:

Multigrain chips! Snack olives (I don't know how I feel about those)! Hummus! Almonds! Fruit leather! Espresso dark chocolate!

I mean, yum! So great that airlines are making the effort to accommodate dietary restrictions. If you might have noticed, all of the items except the snack olives in this snack pack were also Kosher.


Props to Alaska Airlines!!

The next vegan meal I had was at LAX - Starbucks fruit cup and a Clif bar because I didn't want to spent $10 on a salad but we won't elaborate on that.

When I actually arrived at the resort the first thing I had wasn't food either.

It was this:

Mango margarita for the win!

These things were like crack. So so good.

Other drink highlights included the sunset (half mango and half strawberry margarita) and these pomegranate tequila shots which we slurped up when we went into town.

Among the only drinks we actually paid for during our whole trip...

So totally worth it.

Now onto the food!

Every morning for breakfast I started with a plethora of fresh fruit including (but not limited to) papaya, mango, pineapple, water melon, apple, grapefruit and/or banana. Additionally, they had the most amazing refried beans that were totally vegan and made with vegetable oil so I ate some of those atop their jalapeno hashbrowns with pico de gallo, avocado and ketchup on top.

Strange amalgamation of food, I know. But after our daily morning gym routine, it was enough to get my my vitamins, fiber, protein and fats to really start my day off right! They also had these amazing little rolls that I ate at every opportunity.

Lunch was a little more simple; usually I either ate a salad or these delicious veggie tacos that they would make special for me :)

Also served with guacamole and beans. Yummy!

The sun was so bright it was difficult to take pictures, but you get the idea.

Dinner was where we mixed it up a little bit. The definite highlight was the sushi that they made - also served with edamame and vegan fried rice! They made the single greatest avocado rolls I have ever experienced, which of course I didn't take a picture of because I would get too excited and gobble them up. But I did manage to take a mediocre picture of the cucumber roll which was good but not as good as the avo roll.
Usually they were served wrapped with actual pieces of vegetable instead of whatever this orange stuff was but it depended on the sushi chef.

So cute though! They even served the rolls with a little beet flower in the middle and extra carrots and wasabe. I was totally in love with their sushi, it was so fresh and satisfying.

On one of the last nights we were there we went to the Pueblo Bonito Blanco - the sister resort of the Pueblo Bonito Rose' where we stayed - and ate at their slightly more upscale restaurant.

I was happy that they had vegan food listed on the menu, however it wasn't very good :/

We started with these rolls, served with a fruit flavored oil and vinegar combo (delicious).

The half eaten roll on the right was vegan, the roll on the left was not but we got 4 total so I ate the vegan ones and left Colin with the croissant-imitators.

On of the seafood dishes that Colin ordered had a pomegranate salad on the side which I took the liberty of eating that was actually really good.

But the main course that I ordered, the roasted veggies, tofu and mushrooms, was lackluster at best.
To be fair, this picture doesn't exactly do it justice, but you get the idea.

Veggies and tofu and weird tasting mushrooms. Grilled. And then DOUSED in oil and vinegar and spices. Seriously. They were practically drowning in liquid.

Just goes to show that sometimes cooking veggies can be more difficult than you would think. It's actually really hard to get them seasoned correctly, textured right and cooked evenly. The Pueblo Bonito Blaco, who gave veggie cooking a valiant effort to be sure, did not quite hit the mark. I tried everything ont he plate but ended up leaving most of it.

Still! Vegan food on the menu at a resort's upscale dining restaurant is a great step - now they just need to learn how to do it right ;)

Overall, this trip was a success in terms of vegan food and I was pleasantly satisfied with the healthy and well proportioned options I found as a vegan.

I even met two other vegans at breakfast one morning who had a similar experience! They were even a little more hardcore than me and talked to the chef who made them special vegan items like lasagna with veggies instead of noodles and some other pretty impressive sounding dishes.

That's not my style so much. I really like to see what I can do with the menu in front of me before I ask for special dishes. It's just an easier, more flexible and ultimately more sustainable way for me to do veganism. But to each their own!

Live long and prosper. And travel vegan!

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