Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Day 24 - Dining with Omnivores

A dear friend of mine is here from out of town, and because of this, we have been eating out every night since Tuesday.

I met him at the emergency evacuation animal shelter in Louisiana which was set up hours after Katrina. I was the animal loving hippie who raced to Louisiana from California days after the hurricane, and he was the trucker from Michigan who was hired by FEMA to bring us water. We formed a fast friendship. He is a meat and potatoes man, but is very understanding of my vegetarianism and now veganism. Where we met pretty much explained my eating choices, so he got it from the first day.

So, during his visit we go out to eat, and he has his hamburgers and whatnot and I eat salad with vinaigrette.....and a potato.

I'm going crazy!!!! What do vegans eat in regular restaurants?!?!?!

I carry my roasted edamame in the car and eat them on the way to the restaurant in order to get my protein, but once I'm there everything is suspect, and I don't want to "accidentally" eat butter or some other animal product. Even at Soup Plantation I had the very nice soup chefs let me read the ingredients to the soups.

Is there a go-to dish for vegans? Anyone have any suggestions?

Tomorrow I'm taking him to a Thai Restaurant that has a vegan menu, so I know I will be able to eat something nutritious and filling. The next two days we'll be a Disneyland, and I've already decided I am packing my own breakfast, lunch and dinner and bring some fruit leather and roasted edamame. I'm not getting stuck in that junk food hell with no vegan munchies.

But what to do after that?

I just figured that I would excuse myself from the whole "omnivore dining culture" and only have to go to non-vegan restaurants every once in a while, but I never figured that I would be in a situation where I would be faced with a solid week of eating out at meaty restaurants.

I need help. I know there is some menu choice I am not being creative enough to see. I feel like such a noob.

8 comments:

Foodeater said...

I have a Disneyland tip for you... go to the New Orleans Square area and look for the restaurant "Royal Street Veranda". They serve the most delicious okra gumbo in a sourdough bread bowl... the best part is that it's totally vegan!

Carynne said...

I've found that one of the easiest things to veganize when eating out is (surprisingly!) pizza. Lots of American/Italian restaurants have pizza choices, so you don't have to take your guests to some obscure place. The waiters are usually happy to leave the cheese off for you--you can also add more veggie toppings if you want. Good luck!

WCG said...

Thank you both so much for the suggestions!!

Vegyogini said...

PF Chang's tends to be a good chain restaurant solution, if you like quasi-Chinese food. I'm not sure what part of SoCal you're in or I'd give you the couple omni restaurants that have very solid vegan choices that're in my arsenal. Italian is generally a safe bet (just ask if they make their pasta and pizza dough w/ egg), as is Indian (make sure to ask for no ghee and/or paneer), and many chain restaurants have nutritional info online, so you can always check out the websites first. Oh, and this blog http://veganmasterlist.blogspot.com/ did a little of the work for us already. :)

WCG said...

Wow! Vegyogini..great tips. I live in Orange County, and am surrounded by PF Chang's. Italian is also something I never thought of, but my non-vegan guilty pleasure was always Maggiano's. I would love to see if I could veganize anything. Also!, thank you for the Indian restaurant tips, and the great blog link. I love new information!!

Vegan Next Door said...

Italian is definitely the way to go. Most regular restaurants have a pasta dish (just watch out for eggs) with marinara sauce, or an olive oil/garlic type sauce that's typically vegan. Carabba's Italian Grill has a fabulous dish called Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu that's to die for with crushed tomatoes, fresh basil, olive oil, and roasted garlic. And I love cheeseless pizza with lots of pineapple-- my favorite right now is Papa Johns' whole wheat. Yum yum!

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Melanie said...

Don't get the Tagliarini Picchi Pacchiu at Carabba's, at least not with the tagliarini pasta, which has egg. So does the fettucine. The kitchen manager at one location informed me that the linguine, angel hair, and spaghetti are egg-free, and one waitress at another location actually went back to the kitchen, read the ingredients on the back of the box of penne, and reported back to me. Fortunately, the penne is egg-free as well.