I used to feel like I should wear a warning label. For times like these…
Male suitor: Can I take you out to dinner?
Me: Sure. As long as it’s vegan-friendly.
Male suitor: Huh? You serious?
See, a warning label would have come in handy, don’t you think?
In the dating world, individual tastes and preferences in food choices can be a difficult battle–especially when you are a plant-strong-green-juicing-vegan-food-lover like myself. But ever since I started following a healthier lifestyle I realized that my choice in a partner was going to be very much dependent on whether or not I found a man that would be supportive and encouraging towards my lifestyle. I wanted someone who is health-conscious like myself. Someone who takes care of his body and cares about nutrition and fitness as much as I do. Someone who is willing to try new foods, and venture away from the typical cocktail lounge and beer pub watering holes that most twenty-somethings gather at, to perhaps check out a juice bar instead! Lucky for me, I found him. :)
Ever since my new man and I started dating a few months ago, I’ve been spending more and more time up in Tampa, which is his stomping ground. The nice thing about getting out of Sarasota on the weekends is being able to experience a large and vibrant city, bursting with activity and entertainment, a plethora of unique restaurants offering assorted cuisines, and a decent crowd of young and hip people like myself. ;) (Keep in mind I live in Sarasota, which is basically the retirement capital of the world.)
I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find a wide assortment of vegetarian and vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants, health food stores, juice bars and cozy coffee and tea houses. One of our first dates was at a local vegan restaurant called The Loving Hut in Tampa. (Yes, he got mega brownie points for taking me to an all vegan restaurant.) They have a wide variety of locations including Chicago, Pittsburg, NYC, Seattle, Cincinnati, Portland and more, so be sure to check out their website!
The restaurant is located close to the University of South Florida Tampa campus, off Fletcher Ave. I’ve been a handful of times for lunch and dinner items, and they have never failed to satisfy. They make one of the best vegan burgers I’ve ever had, and their curry stir-fry and green smoothies hit the spot. Plus, the prices are mega cheap!
The Green Jade smoothie is my absolute fav–kale, carrots, apples, banana, ginger and soy milk. I don’t think I’d ever come up with that combination on my own, but I can’t get enough!
Another place we love to go to is a small little organic fresh food cafe called Seasons Fresh in Tampa. Their food is phenomenal! Everything is homemade and absolutely delicious. There are tons of vegetarian selections, and they always have a vegetarian soup of the day. I love homemade soups but it can be difficult to find a restaurant that doesn’t use meat stocks. They also have a very friendly staff, and a quaint lil atmosphere with outdoor seating.
I usually go with a soup and sandwich combo, and always their fresh green smoothie! Spinach, apples, celery … divine! My man loves their italian espresso bar and coffee selection, and they also have fresh juices!
My favorite sandwich is the grilled veggie panini, which I sub avocado for the fontina cheese. Today they were serving a delicious tomato basil soup, so delish!
I know I’m a lucky girl to have a guy that ventures out with me to find vegan-friendly, organic and fresh food sources… and with a smile on his face too! So perhaps I don’t need a warning label after all? Or maybe I do… but this time it will say This Girl is Off the Market!