Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fly Me to the Moon???

At last...a bad vegan meal!

It's an odd thing but, since becoming vegan, I had been waiting for the time when I was met with resistance or ignorance in a restaurant. It was almost like a rite of passage - according to the wider community, it is to be expected that meal requests or questions will be met with a blank stare and vague confusion on the part of the waitstaff.

Here in Massachusetts, however, I had not had this experience.

Until last night.

My Beloved and I met with our friends, R&R, to catch up and see what was new in each other's lives. We opted for the Apollo Grill in Easthampton, a small restaurant of which we'd all heard good things. And My Beloved - having looked online at the menu - was 100% confident that I was in for a treat there, so I was quite excited at the prospect in general.

However, upon arrival it quickly became apparent that the menu had changed. So I explained that I'm vegan and that I don't eat meat, fishes, eggs, diary or anything that had a face or its mother loved it, and asked whether the kitchen could prepare the advertised vegan dish? I was met with a blank refusal: 'if it's not on the menu, it's not on the menu'...I was told.

We all nodded sagely and looked hard at the menu again.

'What about the vegetable spring rolls?' we asked.

'Oh yes, no meat, no dairy, all good!', we were told.

'Excellent,' I said and was turning to the question of an entree when I was brought up sharp by the caveat '...oh, except for the egg-white wash'.

'Hmm...' I pondered out loud, 'not vegan....I'll pass on the spring rolls after all. Erm, so what can you recommend for an entree?'

I hoped that throwing it into the hands of the waitress would let her take charge and show me what this place could do. I mean - several months ago - I had an experience in a steakhouse of all places where the chef was more than happy to create something off-menu for me and I ended up having a waaaaaaay better meal than My Beloved's regular menu choice! So I assumed that this experience could be replicated.

'Erm...well, we could make you a plate of roasted vegetables, I guess', she said, uncertainly.

'Awesome' I replied, with a conviction that I did not feel, eyeing the beer menu and mentally adding up how many pints of beer equal a full meal.....

'How about this,' I suggested....'I'll take the burger but instead of having some cow in there, I'll have a portabella mushroom instead? And if you hold the cheese and mayo, I'll be wicked happy......could we do that?'

'Oh, yes, OK, I guess...' she said.

'Awesome', I said, this time with a tad more conviction.

Suffice to say, the meal was OK, passable and was eaten - except for the side of coleslaw that I was sure contained mayo - but was not good. I was disappointed and hungry, but in a perverse way I was also relieved to have finally joined the club and experienced - indeed survived - what others in the community put up with every time they try to dine out.

Of course, fundamentally the evening was a success as the point really was to see our friends. And we very much enjoyed the opportunity of spending an evening with them. Indeed, I would have hung out in a McDonald's in order to spend time with them.....but I wouldn't have got much to eat there either!

Stay Vegan, friends!

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