Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Genghis Khan/vegan marathon

So on Saturday, I ran a freaking marathon! My first! And I ran it WELL. I finished way faster than I thought I would—26.2 miles in 4 hours 55 minutes. I'm incredibly proud...possibly more so than for anything else I've ever done. And what kept me going (besides my boyfriend, who was wonderfully supportive the entire way)? Almost all vegan food. I'm living proof that a vegan or mostly vegan diet provides more than enough high-quality fuel for feats of endurance. Think vegans can't be athletes? THINK AGAIN!

After the marathon, we ate lunch at my favorite restaurant in the world: Genghis Khan. I promise you, you don't know Mongolian barbecue until you've been here.

This place is hip, healthy, and PACKED with options. You start out with veggies...

There are WELL over a dozen different vegetables to choose from. Mushrooms, spinach, jalapeno, bean sprouts, corn, pineapple, broccoli, water chestnuts, edamame, carrot, zucchini, green pepper, red pepper, cabbage. roasted potatoes...those are the fifteen I can think of right now, and there are more I can't even recall. There are also peanuts and tofu...and they have the BEST, most perfect pre-baked tofu IN THE WORLD.

Everything is cut evenly, all ingredients are insanely fresh, and things like the potatoes and tofu are precooked so they don't mess up the cooking time for the whole dish. My signature mix: broccoli, carrot, corn, edamame, red pepper, tofu, potatoes, and peanuts.

The next section is meat and seafood...yeah, I didn't take a picture of that. But there is also the choice of rice noodles, egg noodles, or bean thread noodles. Mmm! Then...the sauce station.

There is no way I could remember all the choices here. Soy sauce, sweet & sour, sesame oil, canola oil, garlic water, sugar water, ginger water, white wine, sriracha, and at LEAST half a dozen others. My signature sauce: a couple ladles of soy sauce, a couple ladles of garlic water, and just a dash of sesame oil.

At the edge of the bar are the dry spices. Salt, black pepper, white pepper, thyme, basil, curry powder, tequila lime powder, chipotle powder, crushed red pepper paste, and once again, several others I can't remember. My mix is a dash of red pepper paste, quite a bit of white pepper, and a mindboggling amount of curry powder.

Bwahaha! Then you hop in line and surrender your bowl to these guys:

They toss and turn and sizzle your personal stir-fry on the huge hibachi till it's all hot, cooked, and ready to go. They even use different food-tosser-thingies for the vegetarian dishes. After that, all that's left to do is to add a sprinkle of sesame seeds, go back to the table, and die of happiness.

I just salivated on my keyboard. I'm telling you, there is nothing like this restaurant. Somehow, though I have certainly tried, the taste and perfection just can't be replicated at home. The Khan Cravings begin about 4 hours after eating here...and they pervade my life nonstop until I get to go again.

And what a sweet surprise—Nick ate vegan too! I was proud.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that vegan diets don't give you enough nutrition, energy, or stamina. They are so sorely mistaken. To all those non-believers—in your face!

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  1. Congrats!

    There are a lot of olympic athletes and professional athletes that are vegan or vegetarian, so you are definitely not alone!

    The world champion ultra marathon runner is also vegan. :) And if THAT's not a test of endurance, strength, and health, I don't know WHAT is!! :)

    That mongolian restaurant looks delicious! My husband and I will have to go back to The Mongolie Grill sometime...we haven't been there in years!

  2. Thanks! And Scott Jurek is most definitely a badass.

    You MUST go back to Genghis Khan! But be warned, it's highly likely you'll get sucked in, and then it will become a biological imperative that you return there every several weeks...

  3. Ugh I'm so jealous! The closest I can find to Mongolian here in Portland, is nothing more than mediocre