Vegan Food in Orlando, or, How We Made Lemonade

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sometimes when life hands you a giant crapload of sour lemons, it's up to you to make lemonade out of them. That's how the saying goes, right? Due to the recent unfortunate and unexpected passing of my cousin, I found myself in Orlando, Florida over the last four days.

I was born in Orlando but only lived there for about six weeks till my parents moved us to New York. So while I've got some affection for the place I knew little about it other than the ubiquitous theme parks. Tim and I joked that we were going to bum out everyone staying in our hotel when we walked through it in our mourning clothes, lamenting, "Enjoy Disneyworld while you can, kids. Life is short." Sometimes you have to make jokes to get through tragic situations.

Though most of our time was spent with family, we did have a few opportunities to explore the city in search of vegan food. One night we went to a cutesy yup-scale neighborhood called Winter Park in search of Cafe 118 Degrees, an organic, raw foods restaurant. It was closed by the time we got there so we ended up at a Turkish restaurant called Bosphorous instead. Maybe it was because I was a little tipsy and food always tastes better to me after a few drinks, but I'd swear their giant lavash and hummus was some of the best I've ever had.

The next morning, on the recommendation of a friend we grabbed Sunday brunch at Ethos Vegan Kitchen. We got the biscuits and gravy, the tofu scramble pictured here, and a cookie from their bakery. While we weren't blown away by the food, I did enjoy being able to eat out on their patio in a low-key environment. (They're across the street form Lake Ivanhoe.) Looking around at all the other tattooed clientele, I gathered that this is *the* vegan hipster hangout in Orlando. It would also appear that they may be a co-op? So bonus points for that.

Ironically, given the title of this post, we actually had a really hard time finding fresh lemonade. Orange juice appears to be the state drink and the only acceptable beverage. Top it off with a little champagne, like my mimosa at Ethos, and I can live with that.

Lastly, a big thanks to everyone who has sent their kind words and support for me and my family. It truly helped us all get through a very tough weekend.