*cues spooky music*
And NOW! Let me tell you a tale so mysterious, it has mystified the unmystifiable. Behold!
THE HIDDEN VEGAN ITEM.
I'm talking about the ones on menus.
Ok let's get to it. I understand supporting restaurants that support us (vegans) and offer a menu with several vegan items to choose from. I REALLY DO, believe me. But there's something (mysteriously) awesome about a chef that's willing to step up to the plate (hee) to create something vegan off of the top of the noggin because there's nothing vegan offered on the regular menu.
Meritage in St Paul did it for me once and granted it was a vegetable dish, IT WAS FUCKING AMAZING. You could tell this chef took his sweet time making sure that the dish was something I'd be more than satisfied with. He made me a salad of baby greens with a tomato reduction, seasoned to perfection and topped with tender morels that had also been sauteed in delicious oils and seasonings. That, of course, was a couple of years ago, but FEAR NOT! I shall not leave you with an empty stomach.
Jacks Cafe in south Minneapolis is a great example of this. I was going in there with some good friends to see if we could get some good vino in our systems and we discovered, once sitting down that we were also pretty damn hungry. Well, we were able to ask questions about two of the dishes and boy, am I glad we did. The top picture is Ryan's veggie quesadilla. It was filled with tender veggies and came with a side of really deliciously-seasoned fries. I got the portabella black bean burger, shown below Ryan's dish. IT was INSANE (read: chewy and beany and delicious). I would definitely go back. The only thing I will say is to order any sandwich you get there on focaccia because it is vegan. Woop!
Ryan and I ended up also going shopping a couple of days later and we wanted to vino it up again, preferably someplace that served vegan food if we so needed it. The first place was a bust (Victoria's in uptown). Bleh-they serve veal. I definitely would never give my dollar to a place that supports that kind of cruelty, but that's just me.
We ended up at Barbette (right across the street) which had two! Count em, two dishes that could be made vegan. We shared this delicious dill rice dish and some slices of warm, soft baguette. Magnifique!
The point of this post is that we should be encouraging places to offer at least a couple of vegan items that people like us could choose from. I'm very glad that the two restaurants in this post did! It's really great when it's labeled too-much more convenient. And if you're almost certain that something could be made vegan on request, be inquisitive. Ask if there's any way that they could prepare it as such and don't be shy-any good restaurant would likely rise to the occasion.
Welp, au revoir!