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Day 2: Eating vegan easier than writing about Elton

May 2, 2010 - Andy Gray
I thought I’d be writing about the difficulty of eating vegan at a place like the Covelli Centre. I figured nacho chips with salsa, not cheese or a soft pretzel (assuming there’s no butter) might be the only options.
That turned out to be the least of my problems Saturday. A combination of tech issues – computers, wireless service at the Covelli Centre and the Tribune Chronicle’s Virtual Newsroom – conspired against me sending my Elton John stories and Bob Jadloski’s photos from the venue. Since they were saving a hole at that top of the front page for that story and pictures, I had to make the call and leave at the halfway point and drive back to the office.
That’s why there is a feature story (and lots of great pictures) but no review in today’s paper. I got to sit in my fourth row seat directly in front of Elton's piano for about six songs.
What I saw, I loved. Elton sounded better Saturday than I remember when I saw him in the late ‘80s. Of course, John said recently he’s been sober for 20 years. If I saw him 20+ years ago, that may explain why he sounds better today.
Food wise, I snacked on some almonds I brought with me and never perused the concession stands.
As the end of day two approaches, I haven’t felt deprived. Saturday was an apple with natural peanut butter for breakfast, a big salad (greens, carrots, tomatoes and a Vidalia onion dressing that might not have been 100 percent vegan since sugar was one of the ingredients) and a banana for lunch. Two spinach pies from Ghossain’s in Niles was an early dinner before I left for the show (and those almonds).
Ghossain’s may become my favorite local food place over the next four weeks. I usually stop at least once a week to get spinach and feta pies for lunch, but the spinach-only pies are vegan, as is hummus, tabouli, baba ghanoush, vegetarian grape leaves and pita bread. Sunday’s lunch was a pita wrap filled with tabouli, baba ghanoush, lettuce and tomatoes.
Since veggie burgers (at least the ones in my freezer) are off limits, we made Portobello mushroom burgers marinated in balsamic vinaigrette and green onions and ate them with sweet potato fries. It was a meal that didn’t feel like a compromise, a sacrifice.
And since advance planning seems to be the secret to making this diet work, I made the spicy peanut noodles recipe from Simply Delicious that I did for the food page earlier this year to have for lunch the next couple of days. The only substitution necessary was using agave nectar instead of honey. 
I'll let you know how it turned out.


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