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Veg Out

February 1, 2011

I am going to start writing about dining out and here’s why:

(1) I have been dining out a lot.

Heirloom tomato pizza at Carmelita, Seattle

Vegetarian poutine at the Seattle Mobile Food Chowdown ...

... scored just before they stopped serving!

Eggplant tagine at Lola, Seattle

Roasted veggies and cashew-cheese-stuffed thingies with swirlz-o'-balsamic-reduction at Sutra, Seattle

Peas "puddinged" with pistachios and strawberries at Ubuntu, Napa

Local, free-range, biodynamic Parmesan Goldfish while hiking to Lake Serene ... oh wait ...

Veggie brekkie at Beltane Ranch, Sonoma

You get the idea.

(2) Every time I decide to try a new place, it is like I am researching a dissertation. I preview the menu online, but dishes change seasonally, so sometimes I also call the restaurant to confirm the menu for that day. I feel bad calling, so I call early and apologize profusely and thank them profusely. I calculate the number of ovo-lacto-vegetarian-friendly plates and try to decide if I can make a meal out of them. My boyfriend is ovo-lacto vegetarian, too, so if we are dining together and there is only one vegetarian entree, we won’t go unless (a) they are serving something else that haunts my dreams (e.g., the soufflĂ© potato crisps at Luc), or (b) it’s a must-try restaurant, whether ye be herbivore, omnivore, or Cheetovore.

Oh, spring vegetable stew with raita and chickpea fritters at Chez Panisse: The only vegetarian entree on the menu on the night I went, and high on my list of life's most memorable dishes.

(3) I find that even with all my research, it’s hard to figure out in advance whether a restaurant is good at accommodating vegetarians. So far, reactions to “I’m vegetarian” have ranged from warm, fuzzy kindness to snooty disregard to downright mad as pants, the last of which happened at an Italian place called Perche No, where I told the server that I am vegetarian, and he brought out a “special” arugula salad topped with a veritable Mt. Vesuvius of prosciutto, and when I reminded him that I am vegetarian, he picked up my fork, slid the prosciutto off, and left the rest of the salad for me to enjoy. Perche No? Because you took the meat off my salad with my own fork and it cost $12.

Sacre frigging bleu!

So there you have it. I officially am adding Seattle-based, vegetarian-friendly restaurants to the list of Things Upon Which I Am a Font of Information. Currently the list looks like this:

(i) Seattle-based, vegetarian-friendly restaurants

(ii) Curl-defining hair products

(iii) Each and every show Bravo makes

Not too shabby, right? Fancy a drink from my Font of Information? (Rrrrr.)

I usually dine out with my boyfriend, who with his heart of gold and claret-blue eyes and crooked smile tells me that he prefers to remain anonymous. After much debate, we settled on a pseudonym for him: “Jules,” in homage to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction. Why? Jules don’t dig on swine, because “pigs are filthy animals.” My boyfriend doesn’t actually think this. In fact he loves pigs, especially this one. But he likes quoting Pulp Fiction when people ask him why he is vegetarian. And of course, sweetheart that he is, he sometimes pays for dinner using his Bad Mother F’ing wallet.

We just want to walk the earth, getting into veggie-friendly food adventures.

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