Vegan in Orlando, Florida

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Earlier this month, I had the good fortune to visit Orlando. This was my first time visiting the city as an adult (and as a vegan) so I was keen to check out all of the food offerings. I stayed with a friend and colleague Randall Abate who does incredible work in the field of Animal Law. Click his name to read more about his work.

The first night, we headed to one of his favourite spots, Ethos Vegan Kitchen… and I can see why he likes it! We started with the garlic knots and sausage rolls. The knots were heavenly with a dense, buttery dough… almost like a croissant, only made better by the garlic dipping butter that they came with. If you ever go to Ethos, you have to order these! The sausage rolls were also incredible. I’m not sure if they were using Tofurky sausages or if Ethos are making their own, but the delicious, meaty seitan filling contrasted perfectly with the flaky pastry and were incredible when dipped into the accompanying Dijon mustard sauce.

For a main, I had a cornbread skillet topped featuring a delicious cornbread base, topped with black beans, vegetables and chunks of tender seitan. It was even served in the skillet pan itself! I also had a garden salad with grilled tofu and ranch dressing which was exquisite. I couldn’t finish everything but the leftover skillet made a fantastic breakfast the next morning!

Of course I couldn’t go home without trying something from their dessert menu but because I was so full, all I could manage was a chocolate chip cookie. It was really good and I wish I could have tried their other desserts like the ice cream sundae or the chocolate Amaretto mousse. I’ll have to go back. Check out Ethos online here.

The next day, I headed to Market on South which is a collective space close to downtown where various vegan businesses are represented. This is such a fabulous idea and I wish every city had one. The two main food vendors are Dixie Dharma (savoury food) and Valhalla Bakery (sweets). Unfortunately I had filled up with leftover cornbread skillet for breakfast (see above) so I didn’t have a huge appetite and only ordered two small sides: the baked mac n’cheese and the crispy Brussels sprouts. Thankfully, the two sides were beyond tasty: the Brussels sprouts were deep fried to perfection and served with an apple cider vinegar reduction. Amazing!

I couldn’t fit in anything else right then and there, but I couldn’t leave Market on South without trying the incredible-looking desserts from Valhalla. Just look at the dessert case photos above. Who could resist temptation like this? I got a ‘Brookie’ to go… it’s a cross between a brownie and a cookie! I had it later that afternoon with a cup of coffee and it was outrageously delicious!

Later that evening, my friend and I had time for a quick bite to eat before driving to Gulfport, so we popped into a branch of worldwide chain Loving Hut… except that this one was called Loving Vegan Market & Cuisine so I’m not sure if they are directly connected to the Loving Hut chain or if they are somewhat affiliated. Anyway, all that mattered to me was they were 100% vegan. The restaurant itself leaves a lot to be desired as it has all of the ambience of a convenience store but thankfully the food was spot-on. They also have several aisles of vegan products for sale so it would be a great place to visit for a snack and to stock up on some vegan staples. Visit Loving Vegan Market & Cuisine online.

The quantity of vegan establishments in Orlando is so numerous, I would need a return visit to cover them all. I barely scratched the surface of what’s out there during this recent trip.

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Written by fatgayvegan

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