Monday, January 3, 2011

But What Do You Eat? Dining Out Edition

The question every vegetarian or vegan gets. As I wonder, how do people feel comfortable eating factory farmed meat, milk and eggs at every single meal?

During a recent snowstorm, on the news they were interviewing people outside a grocery store, and a woman was listing what she deemed necessities: milk, eggs, butter, and cold cuts. It struck me they were all animal products. I also thought, how necessary are cold cuts? Of course if you ask my family dog, that's another story.

Here's a sample of what I've been eating in the past month:

An Arnold Palmer (a mix of lemonade and iced tea), $2.25, and falafel, $5.25, at Maoz Vegetarian (this location recently opened on Eighth Ave. at 43rd and 44th Sts. in New York City) I was super excited another veg option is available, especially in a high-traffic tourist area, but you can find great falafel at many places.

To go at Maoz: vegan rice pudding, $3.50.

At Empire Hunan, a Chinese and Japanese restaurant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, bean curd soup, $1.75.

After sharing steamed vegetable dumplings, $4.50, devouring sesame fried tofu with veggies and brown rice, $9.50. A feast, and made more frugal by splitting the dish. Don't waste food (and money) - if you have leftovers, take them home, and bring your own takeout container when you can to reduce takeout waste.

To end, fragrant lychee fruit, $3.95, also to share. After the season of over-indulging (which is thankfully over), fruit is a refreshing and welcome change to complete the meal.

At cozy Mario's Trattoria on Ninth Ave. at 37th and 38th Sts. in New York City, garlic knots, $6.

The Mediterranean chopped salad, $9: green and red peppers, red onions, artichoke, tomatoes, cucumbers with oil and vinegar.

Heck, I can even eat at a steakhouse! My dad choose Charlie Brown's Steakhouse for his birthday dinner. So full from the salad bar (included in the price of the entree), I barely had room for my pasta primavera, $11.95 with garlic bread. I took it home in reusable container, and paired with a salad I got two more portions.


A dining out tip if you're looking to eat veg: don't just look for vegetarian entrees. Look at the other sections and see you can leave off the meat. If you are ordering a meat entree sans meat, ask if they'll give you a price reduction. I've had $1 to several dollars taken off. For example, at P.J. Finnegan's in Westwood, New Jersey, they took a few dollars off the chicken stir fry when I asked since I was just having the veggies and rice. Call me cheap - I prefer frugal. But it's more principal. I don't expect to pay for an ingredient I'm not having. Never feel embarrassed about respecting your hard-earned money. I don't.

Know you can find great vegetarian and vegan food dining out even if you don't have access to all the veg dining options. I dine primarily at non-veg restaurants. If you feel adventurous, ask the waiter or waitress to have the chef surprise you. Don't feel suprised when you don't miss the meat.

2 comments:

ParisBreakfasts said...

These are terrific sources Catherine.
THANKS!
Carolg

Catherine said...

You're welcome. I'm getting hungry again looking at the photos! I wish I had some garlic knots and chopped salad now.