About 13 months ago, H (my daughter) and I (sort of) decided to try being vegan “for a month or so, just to see how we go”. It was pretty much the same way I went lacto-ovo vegetarian about 20 years ago, and it had the same result – we never looked back.
We can’t actually remember the date of either declaration because, at the time, we didn’t realise they were going to be the start of anything big, but we’re pretty sure we went vegan in January 2013. Unfortunately, in January 2014, H was nursing a very sore mouth after her wisdom tooth surgery, so it wasn’t until this weekend that we finally got our Veganversary celebration.
We weren’t really sure how to celebrate, so we Googled and found some suggestions from PETA and from Georgina Paiella – but to be honest, we just wanted to eat something delicious and have a nice day. We decided on a food crawl of Fitzroy with lunch at Trippy Taco, which is H’s favourite place to eat.
It wasn’t awfully hot, but boy, was it humid! We dressed for comfort and set off early. We caught the 86 tram from Northcote and jumped off in Smith Street, Collingwood, so we could check out some vintage stores for clothes and bits and pieces. I’m always on the lookout for green bakelite and H was looking for a dress. We found lots of fascinating bits and pieces at Vintage Garage – vintage bottles of Leed lemonade (a favourite from my childhood) and some gorgeous (but TINY) evening dresses – but nothing was quite what we were looking for, so we turned our attention to food.
Tired and clammy in the humidity, we headed excitedly for Gelato Messina…but the door was closed! Sadly, we were too early – they don’t open until 12 noon on Saturdays. We nearly wept, but with the hope of Berrissimo only a few blocks away, we dragged ourselves through the side streets to Brunswick Street.
Berrissimo didn’t let us down. I chose a small cup of the vegan nutella frozen yoghurt, topped with vegan chocolate balls, strawberry pieces, strawberry boba (tapioca balls) and complimentary chocolate sauce. H couldn’t come up with a better combination, so she had the same. We settled ourselves on the comfy window seat and savoured the cold sweetness, and the chance to put our feet up for a little while.
Eventually we realised we couldn’t hog the window seat any longer, and we meandered all the way back to the start of Brunswick Street and then back up to Gertrude Street, enjoying rummaging through all the interesting shops, like Sheila Vintage, Rose Street Market and Scally & Trombone. We even passed the new Cruelty Free Shop that will be opening next weekend, right next door to Lord of the Fries.
By the time we staggered up to Trippy Taco in Gertrude Street, we had convinced ourselves that they would be packed out and we would end up sitting in the gutter eating takeaway. But, to our surprise, there was an empty table for two, right inside the door.
H chose vegan black bean tacos and fries, and I just chose vegan taquitos (but, as usual, also ate half of her fries).
As usual the food was fresh and crisp and hot (well, the salad wasn’t hot) and delicious. The taquitos were topped with a generous helping of guacamole, that I scooped up with my salad. H is never too keen on the sultanas they add to the salad, and picked them out and tried to hide them under her cutlery. Ha! I wonder how many dishes are returned to the kitchen with the sultanas left on the plate.
We continued back down Smith Street, checking out Sixes and Sevens, and a few other shops along the way, but our stomachs were SOOO full and we were hot and our feet were sore, and we just wanted to go home. We’d just jump on the next tram home…and then we saw them…people with ice creams…BIG, beautiful ice creams…Gelato Messina was OPEN! Could we? Should we?
Well, it’s not every day you celebrate your first veganversary, and we agreed we could just have one single scoop in a cup – just for a taste. With our heads held high, we bravely marched into the crowded shop and after a surprisingly-short wait, we left – each carrying 2 scoops in a cone. We both had bitter chocolate sorbet, mine with orange sorbet and H’s with lemon.
Oh, that bitter chocolate was really, really worth the agonising stomach ache! And I think we had answered our original concern about “how we would go” as vegans.
The best decision
Over the past year, being vegan has been anything but a hardship! We haven’t missed out on anything we wanted or pined for animal products. We’ve had a lot of fun, met lots of new people and animals, discovered some fantastic new foods and restaurants, and absolutely loved the relief of knowing we’re not supporting animal agriculture anymore. Having a go at being vegan was the best decision we’ve ever (sort of) made!