Vegan at TGI Friday

Those of you that follow me on facebook may have seen the picture I posted recently from an allergen menu. The menu was from TGI Friday, and it is cray-cray. You would think the menu is showing all the different ingredients each dish may have possibly come into contact with, and it seems like that’s the case, but it actually says…

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
These items contain the following. If that is true, it’s mind-blowing. Let’s take a look…

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
I do think it’s great they have an allergen menu to begin with, it makes it easier to order even if it’s difficult to find something that is both vegan and also somewhat satisfying.

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
So, on the first page, vegans cannot have:
Soups & More
Salads (unless you omit the meat and cheese and eat it with NO dressing)
everything on the Taste & Share Menu

But that’s only the first page.

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
You are in for a treat because on page two there are ALL KINDS of vegan options. And by all kinds, I mean there are two things. Skip over all the main dishes,

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
and you can have a side of fresh broccoli or ginger lime slaw. But if you have a sympathetic server,

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
she might let you order a double portion from the kid’s menu, even though it’s technically only for those 12 and under. Here we have the possibility of pasta with marinara (maybe you could add a side of that fresh broccoli from the grownups menu!), a fruit cup, or mandarin oranges. My little nephews did seem to enjoy the fruit cup.

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
The prices aren’t bad, either.

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
While my family enjoyed their appetizers, I had a tiny side of ginger lime slaw. I couldn’t taste any ginger or lime, but with a little salt it wasn’t bad. I was thinking of doing the pasta and broccoli for my dinner,

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
but then I saw this and figured I could just have chips & salsa with guacamole. The chips came out warm like they were freshly fried, but they didn’t have any of the greasiness of just-fried food, so I dunno…if they were fried I’m sure it was in a shared fryer, but the server didn’t mention it.

Vegan Menu TGI Friday
Not much to get excited about here. The guacamole wasn’t bad, just needed a little salt (doesn’t everything?). The server brought me out another little side of guac with about half the amount as the first – I think she felt sorry for me.

I think it’s kind of sad they obviously are aware there are people who need to avoid all these things, but then they don’t even bother to add at least a couple suitable menu items, or at least make it clear which items “may contain traces of” which some people wouldn’t find too objectionable. What’s the deal, Fridays?

Although the service was good, I would definitely recommend vegans avoid this place if at all possible. It’s just too hard to order. When we finished hanging out with the family, my brother and I headed over to Stella’s where I happily ordered vegan onion rings with vegan ranch dressing, and vegan Poor Man’s Potato Wings along with MORE vegan ranch dressing! I hope Fridays gets with it.

UPDATE: The Fridays in downtown Grand Rapids, MI is closing. Bet they would have gotten a ton more business if they were more vegan-friendly like so many other restaurants in our lovely city :p

UPDATE #2: Vegan @ TGI Fridays UK
I didn’t know Fridays is an international chain. I just looked at their UK menu and was surprised to see at the bottom of the page they have symbols for “suitable for vegetarian” and “suitable for vegan”. Now, if they have a “suitable for vegan” symbol you’d expect to see it next to a few vegan options, right? Well, sorry to disappoint. They have a vegan symbol, but no vegan options! I couldn’t the symbol actually used anywhere on the menu. Is this a joke???

salsitas & short’s brew…spicy tortilla chips & beer pancake brunch

2012118 pancakes6

Last Saturday I decided to experiment with some random ingredients I had around the house…a little snack size bag of Salsitas – spicy, salsa flavored tortilla chips – and Short’s Brew Soft Parade, a fruity summer beer that’s been sitting around far too long. I keep saying I’m going to make my pancakes from scratch, but I also have a box of Bisquick to use up. So here goes…

The ingredients: minced onion & green pepper, Salsitas, Short’s Brew (or any beer you like) and Bisquick.

Use the amount of Bisquick recommended on the box. Add your minced veggies, use the beer to replace the milk in the recipe. I also added 2 Tbsp of vegetable oil to offset the heart healthiness of the “Heart Healthy” version of the mix I was using. I used a whisk to mix everything together, but things kept getting stuck in it. Suggestion: Use a spoon. Either way, be careful not to over mix.
Get your pan ready so it will be hot and ready to use as soon as you’ve mixed your chips in, so the chips won’t get soggy.

You know those chips I just mentioned? Crush them to bits while the bag is still sealed. Then open the bag. Then dump the crushed chips into the batter. Then stir just enough to incorporate.

I like to make small pancakes, but you can do whatever size you’d like. Just cook them according to the instructions on the Bisquick box, although they might take a little longer with the added ingredients.

Let them get nice and brown on each side.

These had a great color. The chips already have a great flavor, but the added onions and green pepper really make it pop. The beer did two things: the pancakes really puffed up! And. They were slightly on the bitter side. Don’t worry, I found a solution…

Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. This what quite a brunch for me, I don’t usually have hot sauce or a beer with my first meal of the day. I kind of liked it.
Oh, I almost forgot. For my last pancake (the big one) I sprinkled French fried onions on it. I don’t think you can ever have too many onions, and it makes me think maybe next time caramelized onions would be a good addition.