Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ask for Vegan Menu Options

Lunching with a friend, especially when they sneak off to the bathroom and pay for it before you know what is happening, is so nice. She surprised me with an early birthday present too. I felt spoiled with kindness, and admired the forethought. My generous friend suggested Zookers because we always get good meals there. The absolute best soup I've tasted in a while is pictured below. We ordered it after the waitress agreed to bring us a taste. My lunch date needed to be sure this dish wasn't polluted with unnecessary butter or cream. Wow. Fresh and bright, like a tomato soup except minus the acid. Ginger compliments the pureed carrots so perfectly. Zookers, located in Carpinteria, has a few vegan offerings. Their hummus or portabello burgers are my favorites on vegan days. 

Carrot ginger soup ordered at Zookers.
Since I've been committed to eating vegan at least one day every week, I habitually scour restaurant menus for vegan fare. Easy to do, once you understand what vegans eat. No animals or any products harvested or taken from them, as in milk, eggs, or honey. The devil is dairy! Man, it's in everything, so ask if you are not sure. Eggs hide in baked goods, some noodles, and Asian wraps. Cheese is liberally added to salads and vegetables as if no one would bother eating them if they stood alone!  

I call the fall and early winter birthday season. Between August and December most of my friends and half of my family celebrate theirs. At the end of October I had three dear girlfriends to congratulate. They have been in my life for a long time. I treasure their friendships, but somehow their birthdays came and went without any acknowledgement from me. Am I so easily distracted? Or is my reliance on procrastination as a coping skill really not working for me (to paraphrase Dr. Phill). It's so much harder to catch up with a person after the fact. Reminding me that every paper I stayed up all night long writing in college, was turned in after the deadline. My family gives we some leeway due to the fact my birth date was two weeks late. My mom said she had given up all hope of my arrival, by the time her lower back pain clued her in to her impending labor. So contrast my early birthday surprise lunch with the nine day late-birthday dinner night out for my high school buddy.

Pictured below is the only vegan offering at Santa Barbara Brewing Co, black bean tacos. No I didn't buy the entire meal for everybody, but I did give a nice gift. I shared the side of french fries with my husband...too bad they showered them with Parmesan cheese! Oops. Pay attention when ordering innocent looking vegetables! Brew Houses and Grills might not be a good place to find vegan food. I know that Joe's Crab Shack in Ventura had not one menu item without fish, crustaceans, or mollusks. Obviously most of my people are not vegan, so these are the places they go. However, there are many restaurants that cater to vegetarians scattered all over the central coast of California that I need to try. That means more dates, goody!   
Vegan tacos served at SB Brewing Co.

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