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.


ParisBreakfasts said...

These are terrific sources Catherine.

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.