Posted by: Antonia Ciccolo | August 31, 2010

Nervous About First Dates

I’m not sure how I feel about dating as a vegan, especially with guys I don’t know very well. I met a guy at a bar in Portsmouth about a month ago (who I will call Portsmouth boy for the sake of this post) but didn’t get to talk to him very much that night, since we were sitting diagonally at the table and could barely hear each other with the loud music from the live-band behind us. At the end of the night, he asked for my number and I gave it to him, but mentioned that I’m not in Portsmouth much – just a few weekends here and there over the summer. After some texting back and forth for a few weeks, I finally told him that I would be in Portsmouth for a few days starting August 29. So August 29 rolled around and I received a text early in the day saying, “Hey, are you in town? Would you want to do dinner and drinks tonight?” My immediate reaction was, yeah sure, it would be nice to get to know someone in Portsmouth. But then thought to myself, oh man, I’m going to have to explain the vegan thing.

I decided to go on the internet to Google vegan-friendly restaurants in Portsmouth, thinking maybe I could suggest a normal restaurant but know ahead of time which menu options I could eat, without asking the server a hundred questions. The last thing I want to do on a first date is come off as difficult or demanding. I noticed that The Portsmouth Brewery has both vegan and non-vegan options: it would have probably been a good restaurant suggestion. I quickly realized though, that there would really be no way around it. My dinner selection would indicate that I have abnormal eating habits.

About mid-way through my search, my Dad walked into the room and told me he was making my favorite eggplant/swordfish dish and that he’d make some of it without fish. I just couldn’t resist: eating an amazing vegan home-cooked meal at home with my parents was much more appealing than going on a first date with someone I barely even knew. I sent Portsmouth boy a text back saying, “Hey, I’m in town but committed to my parents for dinner,” and then told him that it probably wouldn’t work out this time, since I was leaving for Boston the next day.

During my search for vegan-friendly restaurants, I noticed that Portsmouth has one all-vegan venue: The Juicery. I decided that I had to check it out while I was in town. The next morning, my Dad and I ventured into downtown Portsmouth for some vegan juice. Right on Hanover Street, behind Congress Street (the main drag in Portsmouth), is a little shop with just enough space to order and wait for your juice. Alex, the juicer, said he’d been working the shop for three years and was happy to report an all-vegan shop, even though he isn’t even a vegetarian himself. You can order an All Natural Smoothie (thicker drink with frozen fruit and juice) or a Fresh Organic Juice (vegetables and a little fruit put into a juicer) for a beverage. They also offer a wide variety of wraps for a meal. All wraps are made with whole-wheat tortillas and organic and local produce.

I decided to order the Jungle Juice, consisting of celery, spinach, cucumber, apple, and parsley; and my Dad ordered Life Blood, consisting of carrot, apple, beet, lemon, and ginger. I would definitely recommend adding some ice on a summer day. We also split the Mexican wrap with seasoned brown rice, homemade zesty black bean salsa including bell peppers, corn, tomatoes & red onions with avocado & romaine. Delicious! Check out their website:

As we were walking out of the Juicery, enjoying our juice late in the morning, I got another text from Portsmouth boy saying, “It’s pretty slow at work, would you want to grab lunch?” I had to turn him down again unfortunately, the juice and wrap left me content for most of the day. It’s safe to say though, that I’m a little nervous about dating people who don’t already know I’m vegan…


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