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The Guru Within • Most restaurants are starting to get the message...
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Most restaurants are starting to get the message and offer a reasonable vegan alternative.  You have to ask before you eat.  Many Italian restaurants only cook pasta in chicken stock.  “Home Cookin’” restaurants often cook all veggies with butter and some with bacon or chicken broth or stock.  Many Asian restaurants hide fish stock or fish flakes in almost everything.  Many Mexican restaurants cook all their rice in chicken stock, refried beans in animal lard and all other beans with ham, guacamole with mayonnaise (egg) and occasionally cream  and they are blazingly proud of having no vegan alternative. In some restaurants, the management allows the servers and kitchen staff to see vegans as “problem” customers to be rudely treated.  Others are simply uneducated.  For example, a couple of years ago at an Italian restaurant I asked the waiter if they cooked their pasta in chicken stock.  He replied, “How else would you cook it?”  “In salt water.”  I replied.  “Okay, we can do that for you, but don’t blame us if it doesn’t taste as good.”  Too often the best a vegan can expect from these places is “salad” consisting of wilted iceberg lettuce with canola oil and white vinegar.  Sometimes they offer an under-seasoned veggie plate that’s not on the menu.  Its absence on the menu makes a production out of what should be a simple meal out with friends.  You are the customer, you are money out the door, your friends who eat with you are also money out the door.  When you do go out with a party of friends to a vegan unfriendly restaurant don’t accept the flavorless alternative.  Pull your chair slightly back.  Order nothing not even tea or coffee to be polite as the establishment is not being polite to you.  Pull out your cell phone and write a review on Yelp.  In the review, remember to mention that when you eat out with your friends or family again, it won’t be there.  Tell your friends that if the place doesn’t have a vegan alternative for you equal in taste, price and portion then you will sit and watch them eat but you won’t.

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