Mike - I think you found the secret to eating out as a vegetarian/vegan. You said you were at your favorite restaurant, so they probably recognized you as a regular customer. Then you gave the chef the freedom to make a salad for you. The chefs get bored making the same things over and over again, so by giving him some room to create something for you, it was probably very refreshing for him.
If you go the same restaurants frequently, let the hostess/waitress/chef know that you're vegan or vegetarian. If they really want to make you happy and keep you as a regular customer, you will know it when you get your meal. I would even call ahead to ask if the chef knows how to prepare vegan/vegetarian. If you get a bad meal or they add things you asked be removed, don't go back, because they don't really care.
If you're visiting a city, you can always look for vegetarian/vegan restaurants on www.happycow.com .
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My husband and I eat out about once a week. We are lucky here in the Cleveland, Ohio area to have some restaurants that are more aware of healthy offerings and have vegetarian options on the menu. Since I strive to be vegan I usually find a dish that I can ask the chef to alter a little for me. The other night, there was a dish called Thai fried tofu stir fry over rice noodles. I left off the fried tofu (it was deep fried) and the egg and asked them to throw in more veggies to replace them. It was an excellent dish, the sauce was a pad Thai sweet/spicy mix. Yumm-o
I would suggest that you look up the Indian restaurant near you on-line and find their menu. They will have many dishes you can alter a little to make it vegan. Indian restaurants are bid on GHEE (a clarified butter/olive oil spice mix) It is really delicious but I tell them I can't have butter and they leave it out for me. Most of their flat breads contain yogurt. But if it is a good restaurant they will have one or two that are not.
I always check the menus on-line and go in with a plan. Sometimes, I have to have something that is more vegetarian (like I accidentally found out that my fav pizza place puts cheese in their pizza sauce) When I found that out, my hubby and I had the pizza sitting there in front of us. (The pizza was vegan otherwise, all veggies, no cheese.)I just went ahead and ate it and figure I made the best choice possible. (I found a new pizza place, one with a wonderful whole wheat/multigrain crust option)
Hi I don't have much ethnic here, some chinese buffets which are not that good health wise, there is a vegetarian and an Indian restaurant but I haven't tried them yet. When we ate at my favorite restaurant I told the waitress I wanted a big salad with no meat or cheese and to be creative with the salad stuff, that was the best salad I have ever had out
I typically go to vegetarian restaurants only, or ethnic restaurants that offer veg options. Where I live there are three such restaurants... and organic, veg cafe, a Thai place and and Indian Fusion place. All three have veg options which makes it easier to eat out.
At generic restaurants, if I'm forced to attend, I will order any salad I like with meat and dressing and cheese removed. I don't make a huge deal about soups/pizzas/etc being vegan, but if they're vegetarian that is fine since I don't eat these foods frequently at all. However, trying to make the move to vegan 100%, it will be harder to eat at chain restaurants.
Vibeke ~ Health nut, green mama, plant eater, raw food enthusiast, reformed wino and coffee addict, environmentalist, compulsive recipe collector and lover of tattoos.
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