Eating out can be a challenge as a vegetarian, even worse as a vegan. However, I'm finding that more places are making an effort to really step up their veggie game, lately. Also, I'm learning that there's a lot more options open to me if I just ask the restaurant to leave off the meat.
There's a local Italian restaurant , From the Boot, that I frequent for lunch with a crew from work. There are about 4 vegetarian options on their menu, all of which I've had numerous times. I always felt awkward asking for modifications to food orders. I was convinced that the waiter or cook would be offended that I was trying to modify their recipe or be annoyed and end up spitting in my food. However, I've frequented this Italian restaurant enough that I felt comfortable asking for them to leave off the meat. It opened up so many more entrees for me to eat. Yeah, I got a double take the first time, but this is no different than someone who has allergies or is one of those people that just hate cilantro. I don't understand those people ;) Sometimes, they'll even throw on more veggies to replace the meat.
One of the other challenges I struggle with ask asking how something is prepared. There's a Mexican restaurant near me, Tu Casa, that makes the best veggie chimichanga. I'm pretty sure it's the beans they use, and I'm only now starting to wonder if they cook them in animal fat. Damn that delicious animal fat for making things taste delicious, but I'll give up a little flavor for not having an animal suffer through our industrial farming practices. They also make a delicious Salvadorian Papusa with re-fried beans, but, again, I don't know how it's made. I just need to ask, unless someone already knows. If you do, please share.
Also, don't be afraid of BBQ joints. Oddly enough, some of the best vegetarian food I've had was from BBQ places. First, The Pit, in Raleigh, NC. I visited this place years ago when I ate meat and enjoyed everything I ate. I went back as a vegetarian in 2015 after finding out they made BBQ tofu dish. I had to ask several times to make sure it wasn't chicken. It tasted so good. I really appreciated the effort they put into making a delicious vegetarian dish.
Yes, that's tofu!
And if you're in Ambler, PA, check out Lucky Well. They make a super tasty veggie sandwich. It's also super messy, but so worth it. Here's a tip. If you ever decide to try it. Make sure you eat it over the fries so all the roasted veggie and sauce drippings land on your fries and make those extra tasty too.
Many restaurants definitely are making an effort to offer something more than boring vegetables, but maybe by asking them to leave off the meat will, in the end, reduce the demand for it.
Have you found super delicious vegetarian food in your area or travels? Share them in the comments!