It’s been a whirlwind, friends! A tornado, a hurricane, a twister, a tsunami, a typhoon…what I’m trying to convey is that this year has felt crazy bananas coo coo wack-a-doo. Last night I celebrated my year of being a vegan at my all time favorite restaurant (Harmony) with one of my favorite peeps, Adrienne. We actually got together coincidentally on my one year veganiversary; I did not seek out a celebration for this because I’m not a crazy person. Nor did I get a smash cake (though I totally should have…amiright?). We ordered a ton of food and ate and laughed and talked and caught up and all was right with the world (especially that extra peppery wonton soup).
This year has not been without its hiccups (i’m looking at you, delicious and creamy non-vegan cheesecake that I ate when I had two wisdom teeth removed last April and could not eat solid foods and hated my life and was on pain pills) but overall, it has been amazing. I have met SO many new, amazing, and welcoming people in the Atlanta vegan world. I have had unfaltering support (with a few laughs thrown in about protein) from my friends and family when I announced “the change”. I have joined up with PlantBasedATL which lead to monthly meet ups and a book club. I helped bring Cowspiracy to Atlanta. I’ve eaten SO MUCH DELICIOUS FOOD. I have traveled and experienced other cities. I have volunteered at a farm sanctuary. I am one of the official bloggers for the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo. I’ve watched far too much Netflix. I have purged leather goods and questionable nail polish to good homes.
I wouldn’t change any of it. The highs and lows have lead me here, to this moment. I finally feel that my insides match my outsides: my love for animals/the environment/health is finally represented in my everyday life. I am not perfect, nor would I want to be. That sounds super duper boring! I will forever be learning and changing and growing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I try my hardest not to judge others, but again, I’m only human. My way is just one of the paths. And I’ll be damned if it hasn’t been one of the best decisions of my life thus far (the best decision obviously being to adopt my cat #crazycatlady4life).
On to the food! Adrienne told me to try two new dishes last night and I am so glad that I did because I now have a new favorite: chicken and string beans. Sounds boring, right? Sounds like a normal blah blah blah dish. I hate to break it to you all, but your lives will never be complete until you eat this effing chicken and string beans. With one bite, I silently closed my eyes and drifted to a beach far far away with a cool breeze blowing and sand in between my toes, for this plain ol’ chicken and string beans brought me to my happy place. It was that good. My mouth just now watered as I thought of this dish. I’m pretty sure I heard the wisssssshhhhhh sound of angel’s wings as they flew by. The other dish was steamed chicken with ham: an amazing mixture of mushrooms, Chinese broccoli (gai lan), bean curd (yuba), and ham on a giant platter and covered with Chinese bechamel (white sauce). Usually I am not one for the ham at Harmony, but for some reason the ham and the bean curd were totally on point last night. I gave Adrienne all of the mushrooms because they are the spawn of Satan.
We also had wonton soup and it was delicious as always, super peppery and wonderful. We each got a spring roll and Adrienne showed me that she wraps hers in a napkin to take off the extra grease which I found ingenious, and promised myself to steal and pretend like I had been the one to think of it.
We finished the meal with fortune cookies (don’t eat them, they have eggs) and oranges and a lovely drawing on my to-go box by Miss Adrienne herself. Can we talk about how freakishly cute these hand drawn kitties are? They kill me.
It’s been an amazing year. In some ways I still feel like “the newbie in town” for only being a vegan for one year, but everyone starts somewhere. Here’s to many many many MANY more amazing meals with amazing people!