Updated as of August 4, 2018. All information was obtained from printed menus, signage, and restaurant websites. Please always let your server or cashier know if you do not eat animal products. If you have special dietary restrictions or are concerned about shared fryers and other cooking surfaces, you will need to ask about that as well.
There is an aspect of my life that I rarely get to share on this blog, but I wanted to discuss it today because it speaks to the mindful, compassionate lifestyle I am trying to cultivate in myself. I am a MASSIVE science fiction nerd. I grew up on cheesy Sci-Fi channel movies that my aunt and my dad loved to watch while cooking mashed potatoes and country fried steak for Sunday dinner, and as a teenager, I would speed walk to the science fiction section of every bookstore. Eventually, my love of science fiction lead me to explore other genres of literature as well as science fiction in art, television, and music.
In August 2018, I will be attending DragonCon after a three-year hiatus. Dragon Con is a fan-focused convention that has a little something for everyone. Love horror and never miss The Walking Dead? Really into space exploration or fringe science? Holding a secret crush for Chief O'Brien on Star Trek? Whatever oddly specific thing you are into, Dragon Con has you covered. And as recent plant-based convert, I would hope that Dragon Con has a little something for plant-based, vegan, and vegetarian eaters as well. On August 4, 2018 around 10am, I scouted out many of the vegan and vegetarian options within walking distance of the con. Here's what I discovered.
The first thing I noticed about Peachtree Center was all the construction. They have removed a substantial amount of the normal seating during this process, and it's not clear when and if they will be putting it back in. They are doing their best to update this mall (which is fantastic-we deserve nice things) but I am afraid it may cause some headaches and congestion for con-goers just trying to grab a quick bite. They are nowhere near being close to their final vision for the new Peachtree Center.
Salata Salad Kitchen
This place looks BOMB and a great alternative to Aviva. Proteins (all vegan) include quinoa, falafel, and baked tofu. Their full menu can be found here. Their allergen list which includes a vegan category can be found here. Their organic plum cinnamon tea has my name on it.
Panbury's Pie Cafe
This spot appears to be only vegetarian, not vegan. It would be an excellent stop for those on the Brit Track as they specialize in British pub-style hand pies. It was closed on Saturday when we went, but reading their website, it seems like they will open for special events. (If they are open for Furry Weekend, they will open for us g***mit!)
Aviva by Kameel
The old stand-by. I used to come here when I worked downtown, and even though I was a meat-eater at the time, the vegetarian items were my jam! There are so many options to choose from (including, apparently, vegan baklava) so the menu is here.
I saw a decent selection of vegetarian sushi rolls here, as well as a promising looking vegetarian miso ramen noodle bowl. They were getting ready to open when I went by, and they likely use the same cutting boards for all their sushi rolls.
Taste of India
I can't recall if this is the same Indian restaurant or if it's a new one, but there were some veggie samosas and a generic "veggie bowl" on the menu. It certainly does not look as veg-friendly as the previous place though this is probably not their full menu. Supposedly there will be thalis, so here's hoping they have a vegan one!
A Vietnamese place with classic banh mi sandwiches, bun (noodles base), c'om (rice base), and pho. They are definitely open, and the food they were preparing looked fresh. You can find their full menu here.
Sorry for the blurriness below, but I did not want to get the employees faces in the shot.
I think we all know what a Planet Smoothie looks like, but I noticed they also have assorted vegan cookies you can take away.
This by the pound buffet is still open for business and always affordable.
I can never say no to Thai food, and this appears to be your hole-in-the-wall (literally) Thai menu with dishes including braised eggplant, green beens, and tofu curries. In a rush to get to a panel, I would be perfectly happy plowing into this spread on the sidewalk like a gnarly herbivorous beast.
PEACHTREE STREET (THE GREAT OUTDOORS)
Flavors of Africa
Flavors of Africa mobile kitchen will be located just outside the CVS (233 Peachtree St.). Though I did not see them on my scouting trip, the owner reached out to me personally to let me know they will be open Wednesday through Monday from 10am to 7pm. They have a set vegan menu which includes some delicious and filling African dishes. I did a presentation at work recently on the health benefits of a traditional African diet (and plant-based diets in general), and I am excited to put this place to the test. You can find out more about their menu here. Online pre-ordering is available and encouraged.
This downtown staple opened in 1989 but it feels like forever. They serve classic Americanized Chinese food in a dimly lit, red-painted dining room. Vegetarian/Vegan options are sparse, but include spring rolls, dumplings, lettuce wraps, and mixed vegetables with tofu. Being a former restaurant inspector, I am pretty familiar with ingredients used in American Chinese restaurants. I might ask whether or not they use vegetarian oyster sauce on a the lettuce wraps before ordering it just in case.
Hard Rock Cafe
Suprisingly, I found both vegetarian cauliflower buffalo wings and a cauliflower burger (contains egg) at the Hard Rock Cafe. Still no vegan options to be seen...
Yes, the Poke bowl craze has hit Atlanta too. If you're into tofu poke bowls or are a pescaterian, I am confident you will have a field day at this place. You can find their menu here. And y'all. That otter.
The main thing I remember about this place is one of my Hispanic friends making fun of me for pronouncing "cocina" incorrectly. I still can't remember how it's pronounced...Anyway, there are lots of vegetarian options and likely modifiable vegan options (no queso no crema). I would say it's a little bit on the fancier side - like a place you would go for happy hour drinks after work. The food I had here in the past was excellent.
FIVE POINTS/GEORGIA STATE
I could not make a list like this without pointing out some of my favorite places downtown that are just a short walk from the convention.
This Atlanta-based bakery location, which is sadly closed on the weekend, has a tofu scramble with potatoes and locally roasted coffee. It's very vegetarian friendly and there are modifiable vegan options. Almond and soy milks are available. You can find their menu here.
Ebrik Coffee Room
This is my favorite coffee shop in all of Atlanta city proper. This family operated shop has grown so much over the past three or four years, and yet, they still maintain a laid-back, friendly vibe. Soy and almond milk available. Hummus and veggie boxes to-go if you can snag them. Please do me a favor and give them some love this Dragon Con season.
Bueno Dias Cafe
A vegan-friendly Salvadorean restaurant. They have a special vegan designation on their menu, that includes quesadillas, pupusas, nachos, and tamales. YAAAASSSSS. I can't stand it. If you don't have time to hang around, order online and pick it up.
WITHIN A 20 MINUTE WALK
Herban Fix is an all-vegan fine dining restaurant featuring pan-Asian dishes with a heavy plant-focus. They have a brunch buffet on Sundays. Though I see people walking in with sweatshirts on, I would feel uncomfortable wearing gym clothes or flip flops to this restaurant. They also have a beautiful private dining room you can book for large parties. The last time we went I loved the crispy eggplant entree and their Thai iced tea.
Burger Fi CNN Center
Burger Fi really stepped it up this year by adding the Beyond Burger to their menu as well as offering a vegan multigrain bun. A vegan burger with fries will put you back about $15, but their online ordering makes it so easy and the food is so delicious, I feel like it's always worth it. Add the cajun seasoning to your fries for some additional heat.
Mellow Mushroom is an Atlanta-based pizza shop that opened in 1974. It's got some wonderful hippy vibes and a high AF-looking cartoon mushroom as the mascot. They recently switched from Daiya to Follow Your Heart mozzarella, and the clouds opened up and the sunshine poured down and all the vegans rejoiced. They got gluten-free covered as well.
When you order, make sure to let your server know you are vegan so they will not add garlic butter to the crust during baking. My personal favorite is a regular crust with red sauce, vegan cheese, pepper, mushroom, onion, spinach, jalapeno, pineapple, and tofu tossed in their sweet chili sauce. (The sweet chili sauce is typically used on their chicken wings, but if you ask nicely, they will put it on tofu for you too.)
Now if only their pesto were vegan....
I hope you found this expansive (though by no means exhaustive) look at vegan and vegetarian options available to you at Dragon Con helpful. If anyone is interested, I can also write up a post about my favorite vegan-friendly places by Marta or by car for those willing to boldly go where no con attendee has gone before. See you at the Con!!!
Starting in January 2018, I transitioned to a plant-based diet, which emphasizes whole plant foods - fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and some oils - as a way to address my slightly elevated blood pressure and to get back to a healthy weight for me. Animal products are allowed in very limited amounts, so I have interpreted this as eating slightly more vegetarian while out of town and all vegan when we are here in Atlanta. I've gotten a lot of questions about this way of eating from my coworkers, my friends, and my family so I thought I would share a gallery of all the DELICIOUS and mostly healthy (burgers not so much) foods I've been eating both at home (including Easter Sunday) and in restaurants (including travel).
These last three months have been my trial-and-error period. My only goal was to re-learn to cook all the time without animal products. I plan on doing a 6-month update in the summer with some actual blood test results. For that reason, please don't take anything here as gospel other than you don't suffer in flavor or enjoyment of food by eliminating animals and their milks from your plate.
In 2018, I took a vow of no shopping. Join me as I find ways to have fun that don't involve my shopping cart.