Myth: All vegetarians eat are vegetables.
Truth: You wouldn’t believe the variety in my diet.
Lately I feel like people think it’s just dandy to just serve me grilled, roasted or sauteed vegetables and that’s it! It even happened recently at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants, Marea (at Columbus Circle). I usually just order a salad and a pasta dish there, but my husband was getting the prix fixe (four courses). All the main courses are fish or meat. So I asked if they did a vegetarian main course and the waiter said they would put together a great vegetarian meal for me. I trusted him and ordered it, but then this came out as my main course:
Is it pretty to look at? Sure. Is it a main course? No. It was merely an over-salted side dish of vegetables. Worth the $91 prix fixe price? Not even close. I was so disappointed. I emailed the restaurant and was told they notified Chef Michael White. I truly hope he takes my feedback seriously. Those of us avoiding meat are a growing part of the population. I still like other dishes at Marea, so I’ll be back. Next time though I’d like to see a little more creativity and variety when it comes to the meat-free options.
What prompted this post though wasn’t even my visit to Marea. Instead it was the culmination of a summer full of grilled veggies. This past week I was at a lunch where my only option was a grilled vegetable sandwich. Not much of a choice. Plus I don’t think grilled veggies make a good sandwich. They are good like this, on a shish kabob.
Other than grilled onions (which I love) and mushrooms I just don’t like the idea of a grilled veggie sandwich. I mean who thinks squash and zucchini are good between two slices of bread? Plus where’s the protein? The bigger point, though, is that this is the easy way out for restaurants and in this case sandwich shops. Sandwich joints know they have to have one veggie option. Rather than think of something new and creative a lot of them just throw a grilled veggie sandwich on the menu.
So what are the options for sandwich places? How about a Tempeh Reuben, Seitan Philly Cheesesteak or Black bean/avocado sandwich? If you are making it at home use one of my favorite Lightlife products and the sky is the limit! Trust me the possibilities are endless if you just take a minute to think outside the box.
I truly hope restaurant owners and managers will read my post and ponder this: if you were eating vegetarian what kind of sandwich would you like? Also think if you ate vegetarian everyday, would you still want that sandwich? I mean a grilled vegetable sandwich is just so BORING!
Take a page out of Cafe Fiorello’s book. The Italian Upper West Side staple recently added lots of vegetarian and vegan options to their menu. The variety can’t hurt.
I now visit more frequently knowing I can dig into the Seitan Parmesan there or a vegan pizza if I wish. I know other vegetarians feel the same way. Just cater to us even a little and it will go a longgggg way.