Monday, February 19, 2018

It Wasn't All about the Food, but This Post Is All about the Food

What’s up, friends. How goes it?

I left you last with toilet bowls and whetted palates. (Huh? Go to the last post if you actually want to know what I’m talking about.)

Most importantly, I said I’d let the meals we had at Moszna Castle speak for themselves, and I intend to stick to that promise. However, I do want to give a little bit of context. Before going to Poland, Dane and I were not certain how we’d fare, in terms of our vegan diet, while in Moszna. We knew that, in Warsaw, we’d have an abundance of options because, as our research told us and as our experience proved, the city is full of vegan and vegetarian options. In fact, on our first night there, we went to an all-vegan sushi restaurant called Youmiko. Feast your eyes on THIS:

Brooooooo, you have no idea how tasty this miso soup is!

That, my friends, is eggplant and some sort of vegan fish-egg–looking stuff. Delightful.

Dane had been there once or twice before and it had blown his mind. We were lucky to get a table that evening, as a party of two, because they were completely booked. On our final evening, the restaurant was closed; we were, indeed, prepared to go back to Youmiko for another unique experience, since the menu features a number of types of rolls but, ultimately, diners are regaled with the chef’s choice of ingredients and ingredient arrangements, which vary by day and season. So, since Youmiko was closed, we opted for a tried-and-true classic, with locations reliably scattered all around the world: Loving Hut. This, too, offered a stellar meal, and I was glad I’d ordered too much food, because my leftovers served as breakfast at five a.m. the following morning. Here’s some food for your imagination:

This is what became my breakfast.

It turned out to be the ultimate “boy meal,” as Dane would say.

How do they do it?!

It was cold right by the door, so we kept all of our layers on.
The true star of the show on this trip, of course, as I indicated earlier, was the food at Moszna Castle. Being in the middle of nowhere (in our perception) in a country whose cuisine is not famous for being vegan-friendly, the Polish castle stood as a symbol of bleak uncertainty: Would the chefs have access to vegan ingredients? What will happen if we’re served a meal that isn’t actually vegan? What if we’re hungry between meals—will there be snacks? What’ll happen if there’s no one who speaks English if we have questions about our meal? And will we get enough protein?

(Side-note: I know vegans get annoyed by the “Where do you get your protein?” query from non-vegans, but, honestly, when you’re travelling and you have little or no control over the origins and preparation of your sustenance, you can find yourself feeling hungry really quickly when white pasta or potatoes or vegetables, as delightful and delicious as they are, are all the vegan options in sight and no beans or nuts are made available—tofu doesn’t even cross your mind, of course, because it’s usually too foreign a food in non-vegan contexts.)

Anyway, we covered our bases as best as we could: we communicated to the event organizers our dietary preferences far in advance and I bought us a sh*t-tonne of protein bars.

I also got lip balm and vegan jerky.
Before launching into the photos of exquisite meals that we shared at Moszna Castle, let me tell you this: of all the protein bars we brought to Poland, maybe four were eaten, and maybe two were eaten at Mosnza Castle proper. The rest, we brought home for me to eat on bike rides between campus and home. Dude, we were taken care of. Like, while everyone got their food from the buffet-style main table, we showed up at the counter of the dining hall, ordered ourselves espressos at almost every meal (yup), and stated our veganness to the staff. (Eventually, they knew us on sight and we did not need to say anything.) The staff nodded, crafted espressos, handed us said espressos, and off to a table of our choosing we went. And then they would bring each of us a gigantic plate containing a generous serving of artfully placed items—a selection of vegetables, proteins, and a starch. And as much as it dismays me to waste food, I don’t think I ever could finish a single plate that was served to me. They really wanted to make sure that we never left hungry!

And we never did; here’s proof:

I brought that Valsoia with my from Italy. 

I miss the soups the most.
Like I said: they took care of us, and incredibly well. They were stellar hosts. 

Thank you, CDPR, for allowing me to tag along and for looking out for all of us. And thank you to all the staff at Moszna Castle. Thanks to the casters, the friends of the casters, the players, the friends of the players, the production team, the friends of the production team, the cosplayers, the friends of the cosplayers, and anyone whom I might have missed. Basically, thanks to all the new friends. I had a truly meaningful experience and I am infinitely grateful for the unique view that I was afforded of the competitive e-sports world and, namely, the world of Gwent. I hope to attend another tournament soon! (First, though, I think I need to finish my PhD…)

CD Projekt Red, you are all super rad, and I thank you and the competitors that you bring together for filling my life, via Dane, with opportunities, love, support, intrigue, joy, and generosity. It is a unique gift to see one’s partner fulfill and live his dreams in the span of one year of dedicating himself to them, and I am psyched to be along for the ride.

With immense gratitude to you, dear readers, for riding along with us by reading and supporting us, I send you hugs and wish you a happy, healthy, safe, and peaceful 2018/Lunar New Year. I’ll talk to you soon.

Later, skaters.




ScorpioWrath said...

Love the pics of McBeard and it warms my heart to know that you guys are so well and we’re so taken care of! Yay PO-LAND!

Hannah said...

Note to self: Experiment with eggplant to replace fish in other applications. What a brilliant, and stunningly convincing nigiri option!

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