Here you are, doing great with your new, plant-based lifestyle. You’ve picked up a few recipes, maybe even mastered a few, eating at home is not an issue – you know your options and just how tasty vegan food can be.
And now your non-vegan friends want to go out to dinner! What to do? Even if there are vegan restaurants in your city or town, chances are that many of your friends won’t go there (they don’t yet know the magic that you have come to embrace!). So now, you are tasked with a Major Vegan Struggle – finding options for yourself in an omnivore restaurant!
They had a portobello mushroom burger on the menu – great! It said it came with aioli, so all I had to do was ask to get it without (I asked for guac instead and that was no problem). It came on a pretzel bun, which are usually vegan, and some kind of bean mash and fries. What the menu, or website, did not mention was that it also came with cheese! The cheese was kind of in the middle of the burger and also quite mild, so with all the other flavours, I didn’t even notice until I had eaten half the sandwich! I got accidentally cheesed!
Now, I had not mentioned to the server that I was vegan, so it was kind of my own fault – I should have double checked and the situation could easily have been avoided. There’s the lesson, folks! Do your research in advance, and always double check with the staff before you order.
I am assuming that any business owner wants to treat their customers well so that they will return. Most restaurants will be happy to try to accommodate you for this reason – it’s just good customer service!
If you have the option of calling or emailing in advance, do that. Quite often, the staff will have had this experience before, and they will be able to tell you what menu items are or can be made vegan. Sometimes, depending on the restaurant and the situation, the chef might be willing to create something off the menu for you.
These days, as more and more people decide to stay away from meat and dairy, many restaurants already have a couple of plant-based options on their menu – again, it makes sense to be able to cater to everyone, so that more people will come to their place.
If you don’t have the advantage of being able to contact the restaurant before your visit, there is the classic “make a vegan meal out of side dishes” – option. You’ll have to make sure to ask what the different side dishes are made with or cooked in, but most of the time, you can build a pretty satisfying meal for yourself with a house salad, fries and sauteed veggies!
Fries – saving hungry vegans from starvation every day!