A very good friend brought up a great question to me today, after hearing that my husband and I got voracious food poisoning after eating salads at the Cheesecake Factory. What he wanted to know was (in a polite way), what the heck was a vegan doing eating in a place like the Cheesecake Factory???
His points were many – the name supports the dairy industry, the chain preys on Americans’ health with gluttonous platters of disease-causing food, vegans should support vegan restaurants, etc etc. I actually agreed with all of his points. But my husband and I had found ourselves in a conundrum: We were in Palm Springs area for a tennis tournament this weekend, the only fully vegan restaurant (Native Foods) closed down and the only natural foods store (Luscious Lorraine’s) was closed on Sundays. So, Mark and I were forced to go to the dark side where the “others” eat.
Given my travel schedule (every week), I actually eat on the dark side pretty regularly – I have never seen a fully vegan or vegetarian restaurant in any airport I’ve ever been in, and often have to go to client dinners where I do not get to pick the restaurant. Rest assured, I always find a way to eat vegan, but I cannot always eat in a vegan restaurant or natural foods store. When I can, I do, but when I can’t, I try to support a place that has something vegan on the menu. If I can’t do that, I have the chef make me something vegan, and then crow about how good it was and insist they put it on their menu so everyone else can enjoy it too.
But I have friends who literally will not eat in a restaurant that isn’t 100% vegetarian. I have friends who will ask if the tortilla chips were fried in the same oil as the meat. I have friends who simply won’t eat at restaurants unless forced to. And I have friends who slog down McVeggie burgers minus the mayo every week.
So my question this week is, where do you stand on the restaurant question? Will you only eat at vegan restaurants? Vegetarian restaurants? Does it matter to you at all, as long as you get a vegan meal? Let us know! And if you want to throw in your favorite restaurant or two, we’d all be glad! (I had a delicious meal tonight at San Francisco’s 100% vegan “Herbivore”!)