Veganoogle Search


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dining Out As a Vegan

One question I always get as a vegan is "where do go to you eat out?" Back in high school and college, I usually frequented places like Applebees and TGIF's with my friends. Unfortunately, you're lucky if you could find a salad without meat and cheese in these kind of places. Nowadays, I stick to places that specialize in vegan or vegetarian food so that I don't have to annoy the staff with special requests. On Long Island, my favorite vegan-friendly places are:

  1. 3 Brothers Pizza Cafe, Rockville Centre (offers separate vegan and non-vegan menus with vegan brunch on Sundays)
  2. Tula Kitchen, Bay Shore (offers both vegan and non-vegan menu options)
  3. Dosa Diner, Hicksville (full vegetarian menu with vegan dishes)
  4. Taj Tandoor, Deer Park (offers both vegan and non-vegan menu options)
For a quick and inexpensive bite to eat, the following places can easily accommodate vegans:

  1. Chipotle (rice, beans, veggies, guacamole, and salsa make for a very filling burrito)
  2. Whole Foods/Fairway Market (load up your tray for dine-in or take-out; ingredients are listed above the prepared foods to help you scope out vegan dishes)
If you live near a big city, specialized vegan restaurants can be found in nearly every neighborhood. Most of them are clustered around college campuses. On Long Island we only have a half dozen or so restaurants that specialize in vegan/vegetarian cuisine. When I'm starving and my growling stomach can't make the drive to one of these establishments I stick to ethnic restaurants. Ethnic restaurants are generally cheap, family-owned, and veg-friendly. Indian, Mediterranean/Middle Eastern, Thai, Japanese, and Mexican restaurants usually have menu options that are naturally vegan or can be made vegan. At Indian restaurants, be sure that your dishes are not made with ghee (clarified butter) and order whole-wheat roti, which unlike naan is a naturally vegan bread. At Mediterranean restaurants, check that falafel is made without egg as a binder and be sure that soups are made without animal-based broths. At Japanese restaurants, the miso soup is usually made with a fish stock. Also ask for your veggie sushi without roe (fish eggs). The black beans at Mexican restaurants are usually vegetarian, but the pinto beans are generally cooked with pork. Burritos, tacos, and fajitas can be made vegan by omitting the cheese and sour cream. Ask to substitute these ingredients with guacamole, salsa, or pico de gallo. Another benefit of ethnic restaurants is that many are BYOB--more money in your pocket! 

So being vegan doesn't mean you have to stay home and cook every night! If you must eat at a very vegan-unfriendly place with friends or family, just explain your situation to the waiter, put on a smile and ask in your sweetest voice if the chef can accommodate you. I've been to Italian restaurants where the waiter was more than happy to offer a pasta and veggie dish that was not on the menu (just be sure to tip generously for the extra care)! 

No comments:

Post a Comment