Forget the caricature of the pale, noodle-armed vegan openly judging you for your dietary choices while nibbling on a piece of raw tofu and silently coveting your bacon cheeseburger. It's a misconception that could stand to be put out to pasture and certainly not one that would apply to Sally Stilley, co-owner of Wave 2700 in Boca Raton and hostess of the vegan dinner series Veg-a-cation.
Sun-kissed and fit, with yoga-sculpted arms and not a whiff of "vegan superiority," Stilley is an ideal ambassador for the meat-free lifestyle. She's blunt but upbeat, speaking with candor about the challenges that a vegan faces in a region that is slow to accept the nuances of an "alternative" diet.
"People can treat you like a nitpicker," Stilley laughs, sitting in a cushioned chair in the Wave 2700 lounge during a recent Tuesday-night trivia match. "I've been known to take my own cheese to the pizzeria."
Despite this, or perhaps because of it, Stilley abides by a more inclusive attitude at Wave 2700, where her omnivore husband/partner, John
Stilley, runs the meat-and-seafood-stocked kitchen and she created a small vegan and vegetarian section of the menu. Wave 2700 also is the setting for the Veg-a-cation dinners, a recurring event that gives vegans and nonvegans alike a chance to sample a four-course vegan dinner, complete with organic wine pairings.
"You can be vegan and vegetarian and be gourmet and use quality ingredients," said Sally Stilley, who's had an
on-again, off-again relationship with animal-based proteins throughout
her adult life and has been a "happy vegan" for two years.
The Veg-a-cation dinners provide Stilley with an opportunity to share tips about the vegan lifestyle with those who may be new to the diet or want to further explore the Meatless Monday concept. Stilley, who uses local produce in her recipes as often as possible, advocates using a whole-food approach to cooking and avoiding the highly processed meat alternatives that are a mainstay for many fledgling vegetarians.
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"Learn to enjoy your grains," Stilley said. "Avoid Tofurkey. There's so much out there, you don't need something that tastes like something else."
The next Veg-a-cation dinner is Wednesday, April 18, at Wave 2700. The four-course dinner is $29.99 per person, including tax, tip, and wine. The menu includes a tossed green salad with herb Dijon dressing, hummus with pita squares, mushroom barley soup, whole-wheat pasta with veggies, and a raw vegan chocolate bar. Call 561-361-2700 to book a spot. In the meantime, get a recipe for Wave 2700's vegan loaf here.