What does a vegan do on vacation?

Well, if you are this vegan and have a sick dog like I do, you don’t go too far from home.

But it did challenge me to find fun within a short drive, including a couple of vegan-centered activities.

I arranged for a trip to Chicago on one of my days off to have dinner at Kitchen 17, which is a relatively new restaurant in the city’s Lake View neighborhood on the North Side.

The restaurant is really more of a cafe with a very casual and hip atmosphere and a menu to match that includes a variety of burgers, pizzas and milk shakes. I kept double checking with the owner to makes sure everything was vegan because everything sounded so non-vegan.

After ordering hummus just to keep one foot safely in vegan land, I took a chance and ordered a loaded pizza that included seitan pepperoni and sausage. I am generally not a big fan of eating foods that remotely taste like meat, but the pizza was pretty good.

I was eating with a non-vegan friend, who also liked the pizza, but astutely commented that the trick from his point of view was not to expect the vegan cheese and meat to taste exactly like cheese and meat.

Later in the week, I drove the opposite direction to South Bend to catch a talk and musical performance from Will Tuttle, author of “The World Peace Diet.”

The book and his talks make a compelling connection between the way we eat, our culture and a broad range of social ills.

He spoke about the necessity of realizing we were all “born into an industrialized herding culture that is organized at its core around reducing beings to things.” This results in billions of animals treated as “mere commodities” with no purpose other than to feed us.

The solution, he said, is to stop consuming animals and undertake the tougher challenge of freeing ourselves from the “sticky web of interrelated attitudes injected into us by our herding culture.”

I recommend picking up a copy of his book, which was a top seller a few years ago on Amazon.

I plan to return to Chicago this weekend for the annual Veganmania. I will share my experiences next week.

The opinions expressed here are solely that of the author.

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Bob is a 22-year veteran of The Times. He covers county government and courts in Porter County, federal courts, police news and regional issues. He also created the Vegan in the Region blog, is an Indiana University grad and lifelong region resident.