For whatever reason, the central east coast of Florida is not so hip to the vegan thing. This does not mean there isn't good food to be had. You might just have to work a little harder to find it.
My grandmother lives in Edgewater, right near the very fun town of New Smyrna Beach, just south of Daytona. The beaches are amazing (as seen from the pic I took above), with soft white sand and warm blue water that I happily lazed in on many a day. However, for vegans, the restaurant options are slim. I mean, don't get me wrong, I like salad and french fries, but not for every meal. Luckily, Heath's Natural Foods is right on the main drag ready to sell you organic produce and pre-packaged vegan delights. Needless to say, I cook a lot when I'm with grandma. But on those nights where we just have to get out of the house, there are a few good options nearby.
First up is the relatively new Big Planet Pizza (view of the ceiling from my seat, above). Right on Route 1 in Edgewater, it is not only convenient to Grandma's house, they serve some good grub!
This Greek salad (without the feta) was seriously yummy and made for the perfect start to my meal. The salty olives, tangy pepperoncini, and lush marinated artichokes married perfectly with the crispy greens and tomatoes. Honestly, it was way better than I expected it would be and I'd order it again in a heartbeat.
And then there was, of course, the pizza. I got the "Veg Head" without the cheese and it was very tasty. True to its name, it is covered with tons of veggies. The tomato sauce wasn't sweet enough to counteract the strong red onion taste, but other than that, it was a damn good pie. I've become such a pizza snob living in SF! Sigh... Next time, I'll probably just do the create-your-own thing and not include any onions.
On another night, we headed to Stonewood Grill in Port Orange for some slightly more fancy-pants food and I was pleasantly surprised by the vegan options. The lighting in there was very dim, so the salad above may not look like much, but it was really good. A light and refreshing vinaigrette plus the lovely additions of pine nuts, mushrooms, and string beans, make this a winner.
For my entree, I had the hummus flatbread. This thing was delicious! A crispy flatbread gets smothered with hummus and topped with tons of julienned veggies like squash, red bell peppers, and cabbage. A winning dish for sure. Just remember to get it without the cheese. Same goes for the salad too.
Okay, so central Florida wasn't so bad, but up next, I go back to one of my favorite restaurants on the planet in Fort Lauderdale. Stay tuned!