Adventures in Vegan Dining

I almost never have trouble finding something to eat in Grand Rapids, and it’s been years since I had a waiter that didn’t know what vegans do and do not eat. But lately I’ve hit a string of them. I figured most of you can relate. It’s kind of funny, kind of…not.

Kramer

Restaurant #1
Me: Is this pasta vegan?
Her: Sure, I’ll just make sure they leave off the Parmesan.
Me: [thinking she gets it] Great, thanks!
Her: And would you like to add salmon or chicken?
Me: Umm…no thanks, I’d just like to have a vegan meal.
[pasta comes out plated with two big pieces of garlic bread I really wanted to eat]
Me: Oh, is this garlic bread made with oil?
Her: [looking very pleased] No, it’s made with REAL butter!

Restaurant #2
Me: Are the veggie tacos vegan?
Him: Um, I don’t think so because they usually use chicken broth to cook the rice.
Me: [noticing the big green V, indicating vegetarian, next to the tacos] Wait, sooo if it’s marked vegetarian it might still have meat stuff in it?
Him: Vegetarian is different than vegan.
Me: Yeah, but…vegetarians don’t eat meat, either.
Him: [long pause] I don’t know.

Kind of makes me nervous about trying new restaurants, but it’s worth it for the times I end up with great food. Do you still have this issue when you dine out, or do you find most people actually know what “vegan” means?

Vegan-Friendly at Curry Kitchen

Okay, I have to go way back and tell you about a wonderful Indian restaurant where Amanda and I enjoyed dinner a few weeks ago. For my birthday, she very sweetly gave me a handmade coupon for dinner at Little Africa. We made plans to meet up on a certain night when the restaurant is supposed to be open, at a certain time when the restaurant is supposed to be open. It was not open. We were hungry. We looked across the street and saw Curry Kitchen.

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Like I said, we were hungry. We ordered three entrees to share and there was WAY more than enough for the two of us, hungry as we were! Our waitress told us what items were already vegan, and which ones could be made vegan.

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And…well, I can’t remember what they are called. In the upper-left corner is a dish with cauliflower and peas. On the right, an eggplant dish. The one right in your face at the bottom is made with lentils.

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I think we went with level 5 on everything, and it was not too spicy at all. The flavors were great. Everything was well-seasoned, but you could still taste the individual veggies.

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We split the leftovers and I had enough for a huge lunch the next day. I ate it cold and it was still great!

I have to say, the service was excellent. The food came quickly. Our waitress seemed so happy, she was really friendly, just kind of bouncing around and always smiling, so much so that it made us smile, too. So: friendly staff, great service, delicious food, plenty of vegan options – yeah, pretty sure I’ll be back. Thank you, Curry Kitchen, for a filling a void! And thanks for dinner, Amanda!!

oh she eats: vegan food around GR

So, I have mentioned this once or twice. In the very near future I will be joining my brother for a 2 week Grecian Adventure! I haven’t been to the beach in almost 8 years, and I definitely do Not have a beach body. I’ve been trying to be good with my eating habits, and exercise, and…I have mostly failed. A lot. This last week in particular I have gone out to eat 3 times so far (I say “so far” because I’m going out again tomorrow). Even though I feel somewhat ashamed of myself, I now can present to you: Vegan Food Around Grand Rapids! Of course this is just the tip of the vegan Grandrapidian iceberg.

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Wednesday A invited me to join her and her best guy friend at Stella’s. She and I both got the Full Monte vegan nachos, with a sunflower seed cheese.

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I also got onion rings and Poor Man’s Potato Wings. I did share, though!! But we were talking and laughing so much, I forgot to take more pictures. I don’t usually go out on a Wednesday night, I think it was just what I needed.

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Thursday afternoon Fr. R & Z and I (and two short people) went to Erb Thai for lunch.

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I hate ordering salads at a restaurant, but if you cover it in rice wrappers suddenly I love it.

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I had the basil curry with cashews, it was wonderful – and so pretty!

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Then Thursday night my dad took me and Tete out to Pietro’s. This is Pietro.

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This is where stuff gets made.

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This is the very vintage tile floor, and Tete’s shoes.

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…maybe this is Pietro’s cousin. Anyway. There’s not a ton of vegan stuff on the menu, but I found a couple things.

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Like this bruschetta with a rich, heavy balsamic vinegar, and lots of garlic.

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And a veggie pizza that is not on the menu, but is made, apparently, especially for vegans.

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Onions, tomato, green peppers, black olives & mushrooms.

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It was pretty good stuff. I have to say I never find vegan pizza around here that’s REALLY good, unless I go somewhere that specializes in vegan stuff. But I really appreciated that they had the option. They also do a gluten free crust, and some gluten free pastas.

Hopefully after tomorrow I won’t be going out again before I leave, I’ll try to stock up on scheduled posts while I’m away! Or…who knows…maybe I’ll even get a chance to update from Greece.

**Went back to Pietro’s. The waitress we had this most recent time told us the bread used for the bruschetta has milk in it.