How does a couple pursuing a whole-foods, plant-strong diet living in northern Manitoba enjoy a date night? In a land where it still may snow in June, without specialty grocers like Whole Foods, where the main dining establishments are Chicken Chef, Domino’s Pizza and McDonalds, and eating out usually involves some form of compromise, how is it possible to successfully pursue a whole-foods vegan diet and still venture out socially? Certain that this is a question burning in the hearts and minds of my readers (!!), I decided to share with you the intimate dining details of our recent date night, out and about northern style. Please exercise caution before reading further though because since our town has a newly opened East Indian take-out, the details are bound to be a little bit spicy!
Friday June 06th, date night! My heart and evening got off to a wonderful start when my loving son bought me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. For some time now I have been meaning to write a post about some of the challenges we faced with our son this past school year (partly because it will be therapeutic for me and partly because social media can often be a smoke screen for the lives we want to live rather than the lives we are living and I so desperately want to be both encouraging AND authentic!) but despite some pretty harrowing days and weeks, my boy is so kind, loving and thoughtful – he often decides to buy me flowers (with my husband’s money of course, lol).
I packed my red wool coat and white scarf because it was only plus two and big white snowflakes were being driven by a chill wind reminiscent of early October instead of June and we headed for T-town’s newest eatery, a small mobile trailer stationed in one corner of the Giant Tiger parking lot. Chillax WTF: World’s Tastiest Food (seriously, that is the name) is the only place to get East Indian food despite the fairly large proportion of East Indian families who live here so I am thankful that someone got on this and opened up something other than a fried chicken or pizza joint. We ordered the Vegetarian Platter and were told to come back for it in thirty minutes which, even though starving, I happily agreed to because I took it as a good sign that the food would be fresh and worth the wait. So we wandered around Canadian Tire dreaming of all the home fixer-upper stuff we will one day buy before heading back to what I affectionately refer to as the “Indian truck restaurant” or the “Indian truck” for short. We took our order and drove to a spot overlooking the Burntwood River, very romantic despite the grey skies and the awkwardness of eating in the truck (I had originally envisioned us perched on the hood of the truck, sun shining as we ate our meal). Our veggie platter consisted of chickpea curry, basmati rice, a small tossed salad, naan bread, samosas and pakoras. Very delicious although I think I overdid it on the samosas and pakoras because my stomach churned in protest after indulging in these deep-fried goodies.
Then off to the Balance Bar housed in Thompson’s newest Wellness Centre, Mo Tus Nua Wellness, a yoga studio and whole-foods, non-dairy, non-soy smoothie bar!! We have ordered from here before and I must say I am super excited to have a whole foods, non-dairy option for treats up here. I can’t wait for my gluten-free, vegan sister to visit as we now have somewhere we can go for a drink!
We took our smoothies, sipping them slowly so as not to overly upset the delicate balance of our already full bellies, and headed down the now rain-slick highway headed for Paint Lake, our nearby provincial park and campground, where we bundled up and walked off the extra calories, nodding to the few campers who were braving the cold around crackling fires. We walked and talked, reminiscing about all the things that had come to pass since we first ventured north almost five years ago, all the surprises that God had for us and we wondered about all the surprises that are yet to come. Then we drove home through the twilight, listening to Hillsong remind us that God is so close, He’s holding us, in His hands we belong and He’ll never let us go.
And that’s how we do date night in the north. Pretty sweet deal if you ask me.