Vegan eats at three local, non-vegan restaurants

by JL Fields on July 11, 2011

That triathlon I registered and “trained” for? Yeah, that didn’t happen yesterday. You can read why on my new blog Stop Chasing Skinny: Find Happiness Beyond the Scale.

Since I didn’t race, how about a few brief restaurant reviews?  I recently wrote about vegan “fast food” options locally.  Today I’ll share a few local, non-vegan, restaurants where both the omni and the vegan can dine in harmony.

Mediterraneo (366 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich, CT)

Greenwich, CT is a short drive from my house.  There aren’t a ton of vegan friendly restaurants but I have had salads (hold the cheese) at Mediterraneo so we gave it a shot.  Ironically, as we took our seats outside, we saw that across the street there was a packed restaurant, Bruckner’s, which, turns out, is vegan friendly. Okay next time.

On to our lunch.  I ordered sides and made a point to request that no butter is used. Sound like a silly request? The server wrote it down without batting an eye. You know why? A lot of restaurants finish dishes off with butter for flavor. Even rice!  You have to ask!

A side of lentils…

…a side of marinated beets…

..and a side of fries (I’m not a saint, people!).

Lunch.

It totally worked.

Mediterraneo Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Watermoon (66 Purchase Street, Rye, NY)

I’ve written about this local Asian restaurant previously.  My husband and I met another for couple for dinner a few weeks ago. They ordered a plate of dim sum to share and, being the lone vegan, I broke out of ordering my “usual” starter and opted for sweet potato and asparagus rolls to start.

YUM!

For dinner I ordered the Moo Shu Tofu for the first time.

This was fantastic (I had half for lunch the next day) and it just may be my new “usual.”

Water Moon on Urbanspoon

Chat 19 (19 Chatsworth Avenue, Larchmont, NY)

I went out for brunch with two girlfriends last month.  Brunch at non-vegan restaurants can be tricky. Let me rephrase that. Breakfast can be tricky — brunch works because I can opt for lunch.

It was a gloriously hot and sunny day so we dined al fresco which, naturally, requires beginning with a crisp and cool rosé.

There were two vegan options on the menu (and lots of items with cheese that I could have requested to be modified).  I made it simple and went with the veggie burger with a side of guacamole.

Errr, yes, I went with fries again but, hey, this time they were sweet potatoes!

This lunch didn’t wow me. I have to remember that.

Chat 19 on Urbanspoon

Now vegan for a year and a half, I’m learning where I can go out to eat locally without getting frustrated.

I have been thinking of polling local restaurants to ask them to share every vegan option on their menu. The idea is that I would start a page on this blog that would direct folks in Southern Westchester to restaurants that can accommodate them — and perhaps encourage restaurants to offer more vegan options. Food for thought…

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  • http://theravegan.wordpress.com/ The RA Vegan

    I, too, am getting better at determining how to order a vegan meal at non-vegan restaurants.  Particularly since there aren’t really any places that bill themselves as particularly vegan friendly around here.  I love to see what other people order so I can have more ideas!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Me too! Some of my favorite blog posts written by other vegans is how they fared at a steak house or a seafood joint. It’s really helpful! I’m glad you found this helpful, too!

  • eva @5fruitsNveggies

    since turning vegan about 5 months ago, i so look forward to the fun of looking for vegan foods at restaurants, or asking them for a vegan meal…in CA it’s not too hard—i’ve learned i just gotta ask….most restaurants are positive about my request….once i was looked at like i was ‘weird’….all the food you took pics of look amazing

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Yes, I too have found that when I travel in California I do pretty well. Fresh produce year round helps, right! :)

  • http://www.forthehealth.com Faith

    Hi! I just found your blog and I’m so inspired by your approach to veganism! I actually eat *mainly* vegan, although I do go for a bit of cheese or butter here and there. It’s something that I’d really like to reduce as much as possible, though, because not only do I feel my best on a plant-based diet, but I don’t agree with the ethical side of the dairy industry.

    Finding vegan options isn’t always easy, but all of your choices look awesome – especially that veggie burger and guac! I can’t wait to read more of your blog – thanks for sharing your ideas and opinions!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Welcome, Faith! I’m so happy you found the blog! I’m with you, once I removed dairy from my diet I felt tremendous! Please continue to jump in and join the conversation!

  • http://www.thedomesticvegan.com Jess – The Domestic Vegan

    OMG, these pictures are making my stomach growl!!!  I thought “I want that!” as I looked at every picture, especially those sushi rolls.

    I think it definitely gets easier over time to order vegan food in a non-vegan restaurant.  I rarely ever have a problem; I think you just have to know what questions to ask & be a little flexible on what you order vs. what you might be in the mood for, you know?  I have had lots of amazing meals in not very veg-friendly restaurants, but there have also been times where I’ve had to settle for something that might not be the BEST MEAL EVER – but it works okay & fills me up for the time being.

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Totally hear you. I’ve had far more “better than nothing” meals which is why I just had to post some really great experiences. Those rolls were ridiculous and so were those beets. YUM!

  • http://twitter.com/therawproject Christine

    Great eats, especially the lentils and burger. I’ve gotten a lot better at ordering vegan at not-so-vegan-friendly restaurants too since going vegan and have even ordered completely off the menu at times since there was nothing vegan on the menu. But most nice restaurants seem to be more than happy to accommodate. Occasionally, and usually at chains, I’ll run into someone who does not know what vegan is and bring me something topped with cheese. :-P

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Yes, or topped with cream sauce! LOL It does get easier, thank goodness!

  • http://bittsblog.blogspot.com bitt

    the summer of fries!!!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      You have NO idea! ;)

  • http://eathikesleeprepeat.blogspot.com Eat Hike Sleep Repeat

    Thanks for publicly admitting you’re not a saint : ) I love fries too. My partner always jokes about the “vegan fries”. Vegan yes, healthy no, darn tasty – absolutely!

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Fries are my weakness. :)

  • http://www.peaceofmindlifecoaching.com Dana

    Hi there!  I’m in Ann Arbor Michigan and I’ve been thinking of the same thing.  Inspiring more restaurants to offer vegan options that is.  I’m not quite sure how to go about this.  You mentioned polling restaurants to ask them to share vegan options on their menu.  How would you do this?  

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Hi Dana! I was thinking of developing a simple questionnaire, in a word document, and try first to email it to as many restaurants as I can, that have contact email addresses. Then snail mail it to the rest. I thought I would start with the two villages in the community I live in, and, if manageable, branch out. Of course, this bright idea came about the same week I launch a second blog. So, I’m not sure when I’ll get around to this! LOL But it’s high on my list of priorities. If you want to work on the questionnaire together, joint effort, let me know. Between the two of us we could probably come up with good questions! Email me, if you’re interested jl AT jlgoesvegan DOT com

  • http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com Kelly

    Oooo you make Vegan look soo good!  What a great, helpful post! :)

    • http://jlgoesvegan.com JL

      Well thank you, Kelly! Such a nice thing to say!

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