An Anniversary Away in Tampa

I wanted to take a second and welcome you all to my blog.  I recently moved it over to WordPress and so far, I’m enjoying this platform way more than the prior one.  Thank you for joining me here! 🙂

My husband and I just recently celebrated our 2 year anniversary.  Shortly after getting married, we agreed that we would take turns planning our anniversary shenanigans.  This year was my turn, and I decided we should head over to Tampa for a long weekend.  I discussed with him what we thought we could afford, then I kept quiet about what my plans were.  If  you know my husband, you know he cannot let anything rest.  He kept trying to figure out what I had planned, and I had to do my best not to give it away.

My husband is a thrill seeker, a gentle giant and a soulful, spiritual person.  I tried to capture all of these things in my plans, while also taking my own needs into consideration.   Something that we have realized since making the decision to be whole-food vegans is, vegan restaurants are few and far between, and when you do find one, there is usually a lot of oil, plant-based meats and processed items on offer.

I only scheduled us to eat out on one night while we were there, for all our other meals, we took along our own home-made foods.  So, lots of pre-cooked mashed potatoes, vegetables and a vegan gravy (Which, if memory serves, my husband got the recipe from Mrs. McDougall of the McDougall Cookbook fame – not personally, he probably Googled it!).  Breakfast was cold cereal with soy milk, snacks were apples and bananas.

Our first night in Tampa, I had us scheduled for an in-door skydiving class.  This was possibly the most fun I have had in a very long time.  The energy at i-FLY was contagious.  When we had been through the training class, and were finally geared up, I was so excited and nervous that I felt queasy.  Our second day, we headed over to Lake Wales and visited the Bok Tower Gardens – a beautiful expanse of lush gardens surround the Bok Tower that houses the carillon bells.  We both love the outdoors, and we packed a picnic to take along on this day-trip.

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After our trip to the gardens, I had us scheduled for a Sensory Deprivation Float Tank at a little shop called Sacred Floats & Gems.  It was a first for both of us, and neither of us knew what to expect.  I found it relaxing and awkward at the same time to be naked in a “public” place. ( More on this in an upcoming blog)

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I was thrilled to have found a vegan restaurant, since, where we live on the East Coast of Florida, we usually settle for the few and far-between vegan options on an otherwise carnivorous menu.  Or we modify something – which, with my husband having been a chef, I know most chef’s hate.  The Head Chef spends hours putting together menus and pricing the chosen dishes based on the ingredients used, and when you go in and modify the crap outta them, you’re essentially messing with their bottom line.  You’re also messing with their “flow” in the kitchen.  BUT… You are a paying customer, so they do their best.  The Loving Hut was different, there was no need for modification to anything on the menu. EVERYTHING was vegan.  It felt really great to be able to just sit down, choose whatever looked good and order it, without having to modify.  The Loving Hut did have one down side,  the food was oily.  But I think we were just so glad to have found a place to eat that didn’t require a lengthy discussion with the wait staff about what we couldn’t eat, we didn’t care.

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I had the burger/sandwich called the “Golden Patty & Fries”, which was a grilled bun, vegan patty (Chef’s Own Recipe), onions, romain lettuce, tomatoes, vegan butter, vegenaise, red onions, pickles, vegan cheese and served with fries.  I had to request that they remove the pickles, simply because I have an allergy – but I didn’t alter anything else on this dish and it was delicious.  I had a suspicion that the patty is made with jack fruit, which to my knowledge I have never eaten, however, when I pressed the server for details, he just said it was the Chef’s own recipe and that he didn’t really know what it was made with.

My husband ate the Zaru Soba Noodle – Organic carrots, onions, soy protein, mushrooms, Napa cabbage, bell peppers, zucchini, stir-fried with buck wheat Zaru Soba noodles.  He thoroughly enjoyed it, and was surprised at how well the soy protein was made to look like meat.

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All in all, an enjoyable meal, but an oily one.  Would I still recommend The Loving Hut?  Absolutely.

If you find yourself in the same, or a similar boat – here are some tips on how to stick to your chosen lifestyle;

  1. Plan ahead
  2. Don’t be afraid to voice your needs to your server/wait-staff
  3. Be prepared to pack home made meals
  4. If you are unsure if a restaurant is capable of accommodating you, call ahead!  The Kitchen Staff will appreciate the heads up about your dietary requirements, and you’ll save yourself time and potential disappointment if they aren’t able to serve you an amazing meal.

If you liked this post, please share it with someone you think will benefit from my learning curves!

 

5 thoughts on “An Anniversary Away in Tampa

    1. Thanks. I guess when you’re not vegan it doesnt occur to you how under represented a certain group is in the restaurant industry. I’ve had friends joke about the great vegan options at a restaurant and when I engage, I find out its the salads they’re referring to! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

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