The Holiday Season already seems like it was months ago, but it was actually just a couple of weeks ago that Mike and I were in Florida visiting my family for Christmas. While everyone I know seems to have packed up their holiday decorations weeks ago, here I am finally sharing my Holiday recap.
And I do have a good reason for the delay! I have some news to share that I wanted to tell my close friends and family before posting here… but you’ll have to read on a little further for the scoop as I share some of the highlights (both food & fun) from our time in Florida.
Mom’s Home Cooking
As usual, my Mom was the perfect host while Mike and I were in town for the week. Mike’s parents visited for a few days too and spent Chrismas with us. My Mom did a great job of cooking healthy, simple meals that everyone would enjoy, including veggie options for myself. (Thanks, Mom!)
Our first night in town, she made a Superfood-Stew of sorts: Lentils, Butternut Squash, Beets, Turnips, & Kale. I love how red everything turned! The leftovers from this dinner were my entrees for the next night too, while the rest of the group had an omnivorous entree. The stew was especially delicious over Whole Wheat Cous-Cous.
Another night, she made a pot of Curried-Salmon for our guests. For me, she made a separate batch of the exact same recipe, subbing in Tofu for the Salmon. This was sooo delicious and it reminded me a lot of the Thai Pineapple Curry from Happy Herbivore Abroad.
And when she made Pepper, Onion, and Potato Hash out of the leftovers from the Christmas Roast, she made me my own version using Gardein’s Beefless Tips.
I even talked Mom into trying out a Vegan Pancakes recipe, instead of using her usual mix. She agreed the vegan pancakes were just as easy to make as regular pancakes, and Dad and Mike agreed they tasted just as good too! This is the recipe we used, though we subbed in Whole Wheat Flour, Raw Sugar, and added mashed bananas & blueberries.
A Day in Delray
One day My parents, Mike, and I decided to drive up to Delray Beach to walk around the town and check out their Art Fair.
While there, I popped into the Nutrition Cottage for a green juice. I loved that the juice-bar actually had a bar where every seat was taken by individuals enjoying their drinks and light bites – what a cute place!
It was super crowded, and I had to wait a while, but my Green Goddess juice (of Spinach, Cukes, Celery, Parsley, and more) was worth the wait!
For me though, the highlight of our day in Delray was lunch at The Mellow Mushroom! This was one of my favorite places to eat while attending college in Florida, but the chain hasn’t come to Illinois yet. My parents & Mike enjoyed the pizza and beer, and I was completely enamored with my veganized Tofu Hoagie!
Marinated Tofu, Sauteed Bell Peppers, Mushrooms, and Onions, Lettuce, Tomato, and Loads of Sprouts on a Whole Wheat roll made for an epic sandwich. I also paid $1.50 to add avocado to my sandwich and was so impressed that instead of just a few slices like most restaurants, they put an entire avocado on my sandwich. It was so much that I passed some of the slices around the table to share.
In hindsight, I should have ordered a HALF sandwich, but I devoured almost all of this tasty sandwich. Afterwards, to compensate, we all walked down to the beach before returning back to our car.
But the best meal of my trip home was at Sublime in Fort Lauderdale, one of the premier Vegan restaurants in South Florida. My parents treated Mike and I to a dinner there to celebrate.
To celebrate what? Well, let me back-track a little bit to Christmas Day…
A Christmas to Remember
On Christmas Day, we easily spent half the day in our living room, taking turns opening stockings and presents.
After several hours, it was finally time for the last present – a large box for my Dad. I helped him open it (it turned out to be an end table / magazine rack) and then started cleaning up the wrapping paper…
Just then, Mike said he saw one more present under the tree. When I turned around, he was on his knee, with his grandmother’s ring in hand, asking if I’d marry him.
My response: “Of course!”
We later laughed at the fact that my Dad’s new magazine rack and large box were in his way and he had to slyly push them out of the way as he kneeled down.
He also told me that a couple nights earlier, while I was in the shower, he had asked my parents for permission to marry me. In response, my Mom started jumping up and down screaming “Yes! Yes! Yes!”. I love how happy they are to welcome him to the family.
I’m sure you’re all now wondering about our wedding plans. To be honest, I’m wondering about them myself While I know I want a very simple wedding, I’m not sure yet what that entails. For now, we’re just busy being happy… we’ll figure it out eventually.
Sublime Restaurant Review
So a couple nights after Christmas, my parents took us out to Sublime Restaurant to celebrate our engagement. This upscale, 100% Vegan restaurant was the perfect place for this occasion.
We were greeted by the restaurant’s owner, herself – Nanci Alexander. She was so friendly and warm (and I am kicking myself for not asking for a picture with her). I think it’s so amazing that she dedicates 100% of profits towards supporting Animal Welfare.
The meal started out with the all-vegan cocktail & beer menu (if you’re curious how alcohol can be vegan / non-vegan, click here for more info), including a Cucumber Martini, an organic beer, and a Moscow Mule. The cocktails were well-crafted, but I was a little bummed they didn’t have any fresh veggie juices on the menu.
Next, we were served an Amuse Bouche – Pesto Polenta Triangles. I love how Amuse Bouches always make a meal feel extra special.
To start, the four of us agreed to split the Spinach Salad and the Maryland Shore Cakes.
We all enjoyed the Tofu & Sea Vegetable Shore Cakes but I LOVED the Spinach Salad. The Vegan “Feta” chunks were sweet, savory, and creamy and paired perfectly with the sweet Balsamic Dressing and savory Tempeh strips. I would definitely order this again.
For our entrees, we had an eclectic mix at our table and I had the pleasure of tasting everyone’s order.
My hands-down favorite were the Reef Tacos that Mike ordered – they were incredible. He loved them too – especially the perfect tartar sauce. The Thai Red Curry that my Mom ordered was the runner up. It had the right amount of sauce with delicious lemon-grass and ginger notes, tossed with crisp-tender vegetables and served over fluffy jasmine rice.
We were less impressed by the Raw Mein that I ordered and the Portabello Stack my Dad ordered. The Raw Mein was heavy on the ginger and tasted one-dimensional. My Dad thought the Portabello Stack should have been renamed the Potato Plate, since they were included in both the stack and mashed on the side. It was tasty though, but not exactly balanced.
The dessert course, however, was flawless. I’d read countless reviews on Yelp raving about Sublime’s Coconut Cake and Chocolate Nirvana. Despite being stuffed to the brim, we decided to order one of each to share 4-ways.
Both cakes were phenomenal and it was hard to decide which of the two we liked better. Mom’s vote was swayed to the Chocolate Nirvana by the delicious Kahlua Buttercream Frosting. Dad and Mike voted for the Coconut Cake. My vote between the two was close, but I also sided with the Coconut Cake since it was so amazingly moist with generous amounts of coconut mixed into the frosting. If you eat at Sublime, I certainly recommend trying both and deciding for yourself
Overall, we had a great time at Sublime and it was such a perfect way to celebrate our engagement!
I’d love to hear from you!
What wedding planning tips do you have?
Cast your vote: Coconut Cake or Chocolate Nirvana?