Monday, November 1, 2010

Vegan Month of Food! Day one: Wisconsin Dells

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog! Today marks not only the first day of Vegan Month of Food, (AKA Vegan MoFo), but World Vegan Day as well! If you're not vegan (yet), why not give it a try? You could start by trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into your diet, or simply look through my blog and have a look at many vegan items I've featured that are probably available at your local supermarket! Well, whether you're vegan or not, I hope you enjoy what I've put together so far!

I've decided to loosely go with an "on the road" sort of theme for Vegan MoFo. I'll start with our trip to the Wisconsin Dells, and then document our road trip to Billings, Montana where we'll be staying for a whole month. But I won't forget about my beloved Chicago, so I'll make sure to include some Windy City posts as well! I'm going to try and post every single day this month, so please feel free to check back daily!

Ok...let's get this show on the road!

So last week, we spent a few days in the Wisconsin Dells for my husband's annual banquet/awards ceremony for work. Mapping out our route before we left, I realized that we would be passing through Madison, Wisconsin, home to one of my favorite vegan-friendly restaurants, Monty's Blue Plate Diner!
  You folks will be happy to know that Monty's offers a separate vegan menu! How great is that? Well, here's where things get interesting....

After looking over the menu, I decided to go with the Sweet Potato Hash. But then another item caught my eye, the Heathen Vegan Shoplifter's Delight. It was described as "portobellos, fried tempeh, red onion, and fresh avocado with lemon-tahini dressing on sourdough French bread." Now my initial reaction was something like, "well, I'm not a fan of mushrooms, and I'm not too big on tempeh, and I'm really don't care for tahini...PASS!" But this particular day I was in an adventurous mood, so I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and go for it. Here's what I got:
The lemon-tahini dressing and the avocado were under the tempeh-mushroom mixture, which is kind of a bummer because I think the overall presentation would have been better had it been on top. Oh well, you can't win 'em all. 

As far as the taste goes, it was ok, not great. But I am in no way blaming Monty's! I was the one who wanted to "broaden my horizons" and try something that I normally would have shied away from. And although I'm glad I tried it, I probably won't get this sandwich again. I did finish my waffle fries though, for the record. 

But if you are a fan of portobellos and tempeh (and tahini! The taste was pretty prominent), by all means order this! Just ask for extra avocado....

For dessert I had a piece of blueberry pie.
While I thought the pie was good, I was just a little disappointed that Monty's doesn't have any vegan ice cream. I know, I'm so picky! Regardless, I will without a doubt visit Monty's again, either on the way to or from Montana. But next time I'm getting the Sweet Potato Hash!

On to the Wisconsin Dells....

The Kalahari Resort is about a 3.5 hour drive from Chicago, and about 30 minutes from Madison. I've never been to the Wisconsin Dells before, it's a lot to take in! It's full of themed resorts, water parks, and all sorts of other touristy attractions. I would advise going in the summer though, about half of the Dells shuts down in the "off season". 

As I said earlier, we were staying at the Kalahari Resort. 

Now this place is pretty neat! They've got an outdoor water park (obviously closed though), an indoor water park, an indoor theme park (complete with Ferris wheel!), movie theater, bowling alley, rock climbing wall, go karts, convention rooms, etc etc. 

But one unfortunate thing...they are not very vegan-friendly at all. They've got 3 or 4 restaurants and even a sweets shop, but vegans are going to be disappointed. The only meal that was going to be provided to me was the banquet meal...two nights away. So, I had to fend for myself at dinnertime. And the winner was.....

 Your trusty neighborhood Subway of course. So although I cannot speak for the rest of the resorts at the Dells, if you are planning on staying at the Kalahari you may want to bring your own food for your room. The rooms have fridges, microwaves, and a coffee maker so you'll be good there. 

On the highway back to the hotel, I noticed a Walmart (the only thing they've got in the Dells as far as a supermarket goes I hear) and stopped in to look around for snacks/food. I grabbed some baby carrots and bananas, and a couple other things:

Sodium-fest, I know. But beggars can't be choosers at a time like this!

I'll be better prepared next year, trust me!

But my lackluster Walmart trip took a dramatic turn for the better when I came upon this: I wanted to break out into song, but decided against it...I wasn't in Chicago at the moment and therefore people might notice. But seriously folks, How long has this been around and why haven't I noticed?? After giving this bar what seemed like a very long hug (and maybe even a French kiss, but I'm not confirming that), I went to the next step of looking at the ingredients. Could it be? Vegan? Yes! Walmart, you sly matchmaker, you!! 

This bar made my day. Who needs a Kalahari Resort dinner when you have a Panko chocolate bar? For those who haven't tried this...please do. Like, now. The smoothness of the chocolate, the crunchiness of the panko, the...saltiness of the sea salt. My goodness, if you're not sold by this point then you might want to seek counseling!

This concludes my first ever Vegan MoFo post, as well as my first night in the Wisconsin Dells. Stay tuned for day two tomorrow! Goodnight, folks!


  1. I went to Monty's about two years ago twice. I had the vegan meatloaf sandwich. It was weird because it was open face, covered in gravy, and bright orange (from the carrots). I wasn't impressed. However, I did have a decent scramble there the next time I went.

  2. Good idea, I think I'll stick with a scramble next time I go!

  3. Ooh, panko... chocolate? I'd never heard of that! I don't think I've ever actually had panko so I can't imagine what it's like but I'm sure that chocolate bar is amazing...
    Too bad about the lack of vegan options at the resort, though! At least there's always Subway...

  4. Ooh but you must try it! Think of panko like crispy rice in this case. Kinda like a vegan version of a Nestle Crunch bar...but better in my opinion!

  5. I would eat that chocolate bar, yes I would.

  6. I love taking trips and love to read about others' vegan trips. Fun!

  7. Panko chocolate??? I think that would be amazing!