There’s nothing worse than getting to a hot, new restaurant and discovering that your menu options are severely limited. Unfortunately, that’s the case for many vegans and vegetarians, who often find themselves choosing from two or 3 food choices that, in many situations, aren’t what the restaurant’s head chef prides themselves on.
The good news is that there are ways to limit the extent of vegan disappointment and create romance for your vegetarian Valentine. By taking these few simple steps, it can be happily-ever-after for your vegetarian or vegan date…
1. Happy Cow
Imagine you’re a businessperson staying in a city you’re not familiar with. Now imagine you’re a vegan. How do you know the restaurants that will cater to your needs?
Happy Cow is a website resource that all vegans and vegetarians should know about. Using it is simple: visit happycow.net and just enter the name of the town or city you’re visiting and it will give you a list of vegan-friendly restaurants. The site provides reviews and ratings for any and all restaurants that apply.
2. Visit a Restaurant’s Website
It used to be that you couldn’t possibly know what a restaurant offered on it’s menu until after you’d walked through the front door. But that’s a thing of the past. Today, most restaurants, and especially major restaurant chains, have websites that showcase their current (and even upcoming) menus.
So, before leaving your home, visit a restaurant’s home on the web. Many restaurants post their full menus and also have a “Contact us” section with an email address. The best eateries, or those most likely to cater to vegan concerns, will respond to you promptly.
3. Call the Restaurant
Don’t be shy, it’s better to be safe than sorry. When calling, introduce yourself and politely discuss your (or your dinner date’s) dietary restrictions. Try to be specific. Explain the type of food you like to eat and see if they can make changes, if necessary. Ask if the restaurant will accommodate a vegan or if they have vegetarian options.
Chances are they’ll enthusiastically encourage you to come by for a meal. That being said, if you detect any trepidation on their part, you may want to think twice about visiting that particular establishment.
4. Ask for a Vegetarian Menu
Many people with dietary restrictions don’t realize that most restaurants actually have separate menus for vegans, vegetarians, and people with various food allergy issues. There’s no guarantee your favorite restaurant will have this kind of menu, but it’s worth asking ahead of time (through phone call or email) or when you arrive at the restaurant.
If the restaurant doesn’t have a separate menu for vegans, don’t hesitate to encourage the manager or owner to put together such a document. After all, it can only be good for business!
5. Dine At Home
This isn’t the most popular strategy, but if you’re really worried about the options that will be available to you at the restaurant for your date, consider preparing a romantic meal at home. That way your date won’t feel deprived at the restaurant, leaving the mood a little less sexy than you’d imagined.
Plus, preparing a meal for your Valentine’s Day date at home will display effort and earn you extra brownie points. Use the web as a resource to find sizzling V-day recipes for your vegan or vegetarian lover. Almost any meal can be prepared without animal ingredients.
6. Consider Going Ethnic
Unfortunately, many Western-oriented restaurants still struggle to accommodate vegans and vegetarians. It just isn’t that easy to get a meat-free meal at a diner, steakhouse, or pub.
However, the good news is that many ethnic restaurants have a wide variety of vegan and vegetarian options that will have your date’s taste buds swooning. So before you book your romantic Valentine’s Day brunch, lunch, or dinner consider taking your date to Indian, Mexican, Vietnamese, or Thai cuisine. You’ll get lucky with the impressive number of vegan and vegetarian menu options.