Meat Free Monday: Babalu in Jackson, MS

Babalu Tacos and Tapas is positively great.  They have a few vegan things on the menu,  including their outstanding guac and their black eyed pea hummus.

But I got a couple of almost-vegan items made vegan: the vegetal taco (just ask them to hold the cheese. It is delicious!) and the black bean burger, which came with guac, onion, arugula, and a delicious sauce. 

They normally fry the black bran burger, which requires an egg bath, but for vegans, they skip the egg bath and grill it instead. It was outstanding.

Their iced tea was also good. Ask for it with lime, for an unexpected treat.

They have locations in Jackson, Memphis, Knoxville, Birmingham (Alabama, not England), and Charlotte.

Meat-Free Monday: Eating Mexican While Vegan

Last Friday we took my parents out to their favorite Mexican restaurant, Pericos, to celebrate their anniversary. 

We all had fun visiting, and of course they loved seeing their granddaughter.

Pericos is known for their meat dishes, and I can tell you from my pre-vegan days that the reputation is well-earned.

I was a little concerned as to what I was going to order,  because there was no menu online,  and when you have a 3 year old with you,  you can’t always focus on the menu. 

Remember,  this is all taking place small-town Mississippi, fat from the nearest Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. I may have been the first vegan to darken their doors since, well, maybe ever. 

But I had no cause to worry. They had a short vegetarian menu, and one of the items was “1 bean burrito and 1 cheese enchilada.”

They gladly made that 2 bean burritos, with no cheese or sour cream. They brought out a spicy red sauce on the side. It came with a side of rice and beans, so it was very filling. I added a guacamole salad appetizer and put most of it on top of the burritos. 

The end result was tasty, very filling, and quite affordable. A lovely dinner. Mission accomplished. 

The moral of this story?  You can do it, even in small town Mississippi, and it doesn’t have to be a big sacrifice. 

Meat- Free Monday:  Eating Out Vegan Style

So I’ve had some experience eating out now as a vegan, and it has honestly been a mixed bag.

Whoever said eating out as a vegan was cheaper must have been eating expensive places as an omnivore. I  haven’t found it to be true.

Fast food is right out.

Small towns present very limited options for vegan dining, but you can sometimes get them to make exceptions. 

Our local pizza buffet, Deb’s, takes requests from customers, as many buffets do. So I asked them if they could make a veggie pizza with no cheese.  They did, and it was delicious. I know: I ate the whole thing.

Fast fresh places like Qdoba are pretty easy, and good. Even Subway has vegan options, but as my father said, their veggie delight is all veggie, no delight. I think it’s better than being hungry, but that’s as far as I’ll go to praise it.

Chain delis  like Newk’s can offer good options. Newk’s veggie club is amazing, with Portobello mushrooms, red and yellow peppers, and crusty  bread. Just hold the cheese and pesto and you’re golden.

Sushi is easy, since it is all handmade, and many Japanese restaurant menus have multiple vegan options built in. It was fun having so many options I actually had to CHOOSE. 

Italian restaurants, even big box chains like Olive Garden, are easy. The menu will have several easily- altered starting points, and they often are on the cheaper side.

Chinese buffets usually have a few veggies, plus lo mein. Many have hibachi or “Mongolian grills”  whet you can build you own stir fry as part of the buffet.

Hey, I live in rural Mississippi. Did you expect a review of five star,  $200 a plate restaurants? đŸ™‚ 

I tell you what, when I eat at one, I’ll tell you all about it.