When the best things on the table are vegan

More confession time: I ate chicken for dinner last night. It was Day 1 in Orlando, and we went to a place called Pio Pio on International Drive for dinner. I didn’t take any pictures because I knew I was going to have meat, and I didn’t think I would have anything to say about it on this here blog. Boy, was I wrong! Thank goodness for other pictures on the Internet. Hope no one minds if I use them here (blah blah DISCLAIMER blah blah THESE ARE NOT MY OWN PHOTOS blah blah WILL TAKE THEM DOWN IF YOU REQUESTED BY THE OWNER).

Let me first say that the chicken, if you’re into that sort of thing, is definitely worth writing home about. But the real star of the evening were the ripe plantains. I’ve had plantains at other restaurants and at home, but these are by far the BEST I have had outside of ones freshly made at home. Oh my gosh, I need to wipe the drool off my chin after just thinking about them. This photo does NOT do it justice! The rice and beans were amazing as well. They don’t skimp on the garlic and seasoning.

One of the other really amazing side dishes that we ordered was boiled cassava (yuca) cooked with garlic and onions. You could smell the garlic in the steam. The yuca was fresh–I would love to try and replicate this at home, but the quality of the yuca makes a big difference, and there’s maybe a week out of the year that we can find yuca this fresh in Chicago.

Between the rice, cassava, plantains, beans, and accompanying sauces (a very spicy salsa verde and a very tasty garlic aioli), I could have had a delicious and very satisfying vegan dinner. There’s a lesson here: think outside the meat on the menu! Check out the side dishes. And while yuca and plantains aren’t anything new to me, I think it warrants saying that you should try new things.

Other notes on the restaurant… I had a glass of sangria that was really sweet and tasty. The food came out really fast and the servers were very attentive with refills and by checking in on us. Their homemade juice drinks seemed to be just as popular as their sangria. We noticed quite a few people getting takeout. There is a lot on the menu including several other side dishes and many vegan options overall.

Do you have any restaurant stories from a vegan perspective that you would like to share? Click on the Contact page to get in touch with us! As for me, I’m looking forward to three more days of vacation and more food stories to share. Wish me fun! –melissa

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3 thoughts on “When the best things on the table are vegan

  1. Kinenchen says:

    This is a conversation I’ve had with Brent many times. Nobody puts rosemary and garlic on chicken because there’s something bland about rosemary and garlic. People tell me they don’t like tofu but I assure you it’s because they’ve never had it prepared correctly. The right herbs and spices and touch of a good cook make anything delicious whether it’s plantains and beans or pig fat and cow anuses. Just ask yourself which you’d rather put in your mouth before the herbs and spices are added.

    • Melissa says:

      Totally agree. It’s a good lesson for a vegan-in-training like me… dining out can be challenging, but don’t surrender to the meat before trying the vegan choices first! And also don’t be afraid to ask about vegan options in restaurants.

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