The Reluctant Vegan

It seemed appropriate to touch base with a mate of mine doing Veganuary before the month was up, particularly one who is vocally in favour of eating meat. Enter Dan, Owner of Union BBQ restaurant chain, telecom entrepreneur and also an executive at a jetpack company.

I’ll give him his due – Dan is up to the challenge and has been committed to a fully vegan month, inclusive of toiletries. If you are vegan you will become increasingly tired of the naysayers quips and pokes, but Dan has seemed to be holding his own with an open and inquisitive mind.

The main benefit of going for lunch with Dan is that Dan owns a car, and is able to scoot us up the A3 to tick off the top of both our vegan-dining bucket-lists: Earth Restaurant in Petersfield.

Earth boasts a comparatively giant selection of burgers, wraps, milkshakes and all the delights you’d expect from a fast food diner – with the reassurance of being 100% vegan.

With minimal deliberation, we ordered a Big Earth and a CBC burger (getta load of this menu!) air fries, popcorn chicken and onion rings. The service was speedy and soon we were compromising a conversation with the stuffing of faces.

Dan is a busy chap. He rarely cooks and eats out constantly. For that reason he’s found real hardship with finding food at the drop of a hat – especially when out and about or at anti-social hours. I really feel for him, I have always worked odd hours and all over the show, and whilst I had it good in foodie-progressive Bristol, I’m not sure how I’d hold up in Southampton. Do we need more fast food options?

Other Veganuary-experimenting friends have really revelled in the act of incorporating new ingredients into their cooking, switching up their techniques and in many cases trying foods they’ve never had before. A month with an unchanged schedule has stripped Dan of this pleasure. With the limitation of only eating out, the experience has been lack-lustre, uncreative and – whilst the options have been particularly plentiful this month, and wonderful as a treat, I can imagine they become quite heavy-going as regular meals.

That said, Dan has made a pretty heroic effort, only faltering once accidentally. His main takeaway (other than the lack of just that), has been the experience of receiving his friend’s harsh opposition of his choices. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, playing out on my Facebook feed. Swathes of criticism – nothing new to us seasoned vegans.

So as of today, (literally 12:20am with the delivery of a pizza) Dan will be going straight back to his usual diet (boo). Nevertheless, whilst we were enjoying a whipped-cream-topped Oreo milkshake to round up our Earth visit, he did admit that the lack of dairy in his diet has definitely agreed with him and he will be significantly lowering his meat and dairy intake for better all-round health. He reckons he’ll consider vegan and vegetarian meals as viable options on a menu where he would have previously glazed over them, assuming every meal had to include meat.

Reflecting on the bigger picture, a positive outcome of Dan’s trial month is that as an influencer in the food trade, he has seen the merit in offering a wealth of options on a menu, and has learned how frustrating a falafel option is in EVERY. DAMN. JOINT.

Have you done Veganuary? What were your thoughts and how has the month affected your approach to your diet? Do let us know 🙂

And if you can find a friend with a car – get down to Earth. It’s (ironically) out of this world, and totally worth the petrol.

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Rockstone Vegan FORTNIGHT? Let’s go twice!

…and that’s exactly what I did.

Along a strip of Southampton that (comparatively speaking) stands the test of time, sits The Rockstone, a boozer that ticks all the boxes – a traditional pub atmosphere, friendly staff, brilliant rotation of craft beers, and the pièce-de-résistance for vegans and omni’s alike – a huge menu that boasts some of the most decadent delights this side of the Solent.

As part of their commitment to providing new and exciting special menus, their Vegan Fortnight, originally introduced as a one-off but repeated again and again due to demand, recently ran to coincide with the beginning of Veganuary. Proving to all that veganism doesn’t have to be boring.

And boring it was not. So much so that on my first visit, I was so dazzled and torn by the great options that I planned to visit a second time before the main course came out.

IMG_1048On that first visit I was tempted by the ‘Voyal with Veese’* seitan ‘chicken’ burger, topped with a hash brown. It seems like this is the Marmite of the vegan burger world according to pretty much everyone I asked. Regular meat eaters were a little dismayed at the glutenous texture of the seitan, seasoned vegans reasoned that due to the thickness, the seitan to breadcrumb ratio was off. My opinion is positive, I REALLY liked this burger. I mean, I could barely wrap my mouth around it, it was a nibbler for sure. But it was satisfying to eat, and had a texture that doesn’t appear very often in my regular diet. Also, let me repeat: THIS BURGER COMES TOPPED WITH A HASH BROWN. I feel it can really do no wrong in my eyes.

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Check out my mates inspecting their Voyals with incredulity

On my second visit, torn by the ‘Steve MacQueen & Chz’ and the ‘SriraCha Cha Slide’, I let my hunger from a day of fasting in preparation get the better of me and opted for the former, which – you guessed it – came with a healthy portion of mac cheeze on top of a sweet potato & bean burger. Whilst this burger initially seemed lack-lustre after the joy of the seitan, it was actually flippin’ delicious, and boasted all the glorious individual flavours from the sum of its parts.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Rockstone’s portions, they are plentiful. Whilst costing slightly more than your average beer and a burger, you will be hard pressed to find a better burg for your buck. For that reason, I unfortunately had no room left to sample one of the many amazing starters or desserts that had been specially designed and homemade for the event. Though from a previous trip a few months earlier I was lucky enough to sample their homemade ice cream. Perks of knowing a chef huh!

I also failed to try any of the enticing vegan beers especially tapped for the fortnight, on account of my Dry January. Watch out February – I’m banking all these urges! The pub deems this special event to be a great success, and have been delighted by the positive response to their menu.

Vegan Fortnight will be resurrected in September and will revert back to their standard (still great!) vegan options as of today. Until then, we’ll keep you posted on the delicious events to see us through the Spring/Summer!

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Cheers!

*Dear Rockstone, no one enjoys pronouncing this many ‘V’s in such close succession. But watching people try/avoid was hilarious!

Vegan Fortnight at The Rockstone

Vegan Fortnight returns to The Rockstone this January!

This is their 5th Vegan ‘Takeover’ at The Rockstone, due to popularity and demand!

The menu below has us salivating at the very thought!

– STARTERS/SIDES –

Taco’n ‘Bout A Revolution – 4.95
BBQ jackfruit tacos, served in blue tortillas with charred corn salsa and lime rice.
(Ve/GF)

Stranger Wings – 4.95
Vegan chicken wings, in a sweet and spicy jerk rub. Served with a a creamy mango dip.
(Ve)

– MAINS –

Mango’s Not Hot – 12.50
Sweet and sour vegetable curry, with mango, butternut and fine beans, served with rice.
(Ve/GF)

Royal With Veese – 14.50
Succulent seitan ‘chicken’ deep fried in our secret herbs and spices. Topped with bbq sauce, a hash brown and vegan cheese. Served in a floured bun with fries and a side salad.
(Ve)

A Fish Fit For The Cods – 12.50
Juicy, flakey vegan fish fillet, battered in lemon and curry seasoned batter. Served with seasoned fries peas.
(Ve/GF)

SriraCha Cha Slide – 14.50
Veggie or Sweet Potato & Bean burger, topped with smashed avocado, Sriracha hot sauce and toasted pine nuts. Served in a floured bun with fries and a side salad.
(Ve/GF Option)

Steve MacQueen & Chz – 14.50
Veggie or Sweet Potato & Bean burger, topped with rich vegan mac and cheeze. Served in a floured bun with fries and a side salad.
(Ve/GF Option)

Bahn Mi From Writing Puns – 11.50
Pickled vegetables, red pepper hummus and fried vegan sausage, drizzled with garlic butter. Served in a fluffy baguette with fries and a side salad.
(Ve)

– DESSERTS –

TBC!

This will start booking up very quickly so grab those tables now, you can book on Facebook or by giving them a ring on 02380 637256.