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Mar 12, 2013 11:13 AM

A Return to the Dark Times?

I live in Minneapolis. All sorts of interesting new restaurants have opened up in the Twin Cities in the last couple years. I have not been to one of them. Why? Because every single dish has meat in some form - even the vegetable dishes.

Sure I could call ahead and ask for dishes to be prepared vegetarian, but seriously, I just find it a pain. It's not something I've had to do for the last 15 years.

I am not talking about meat-centric restaurants like steak houses, rather new, 'innovative' restaurants where pancetta, prosciutto or bacon are in every dang dish (especially vegetables and salads) and the fries are cooked in lard or duck fat.

Seriously, some of us like the way vegetables taste. No free roaming Iberian pig parts are needed to make them tasty.

Having been a vegetarian since 1974 I've experienced the vagaries of restaurant trends. This latest trend, with all the cool chefs with pig tattoos preparing porky food for omnivores is, I realize, just the latest. I just wish they'd set aside a couple dishes for vegetarians.

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  1. That is sort of how it is in Quebec, especially where I am. Ethnic food ends up being my best bet if I want to go out with a few vegetarian cafes for lunch options, but all the really nice restaurants downtown aren't vegan-friendly. They seem positive to accomodating me if I want to notify them ahead of time, but I'm just scared I'll get stuck with a dull pasta option instead of a creative meal.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Peaches to Poutine

      The biggest fad in these days Vancouver is vegetarian restaurants.

      Sadly they are run by some of the most affected dolts imaginable-some of the food is fine but the atmosphere generally stultifying.

    2. Y'know, I thought it was just me, but now I see that this is a growing trend. Here, too, in Boston I've noticed this when trying to select a new restaurant to visit. I eat fish occasionally, but even those dishes often have porky presence! I usually just avoid these places or, if part of a group, just ask if they can leave this or that ingredient out. Most nice places are happy to do so, particularly since they would have to if it was an allergen for someone...

      1. I saw that in LA for a while (although fortunately it's still a city with a lot of good vegetarian options). I blame these guys:

        1. Yeah, there is a real, sudden turn toward meat in everything in the last couple of years, especially pig. Seems to be a fad with the new breed of chefs. (Maybe it's Anthony Bourdain's fault.)

          5 Replies
          1. re: comestible

            It's the same here in Toronto. There's a newish restaurant called Rashers, specializing in all things piggy. I shouldn't complain as they do have one vegetarian option on the menu.

            Also nose-to-tail dining is quite popular. SIGH.

            1. re: mrsleny

              Well, I certainly won't advocate meat-eating on a vegetarian board (and detest trollers who do so) but if you are going to consume flesh, you shouldn't waste any part of the animal.

              Here in Montréal, the porky stuff is a bit of a macho chef thing...

              1. re: lagatta

                Right, and I agree. Those parts were relegated (rightly or wrongly), to animal feed or other uses. Every part should be used, and that's fine. See my thoughts on whether or not I'd starve if I had to choose between life and killing an animal to survive...

                That said, I live in a city with many restaurants that have a lot to offer. I suppose I could just "dine" with friends and drink while they eat - or, as I said above, call ahead. Restaurateurs are free to choose their menus as they see fit but to me it feels like a step back to the times of asking for a dinner salad with no bacon, please, and hoping they have bread or rolls I can eat (the 1970's).

                1. re: lagatta

                  I definitely don't advocate food waste. If you are going to consume animal flesh, you eat all of it. I have consumed more than my share of animal parts in my omnivorous. My family was not well off and nothing went to waste.

                  It just seemed to me that nose to tail dining was a trend but hopefully I am wrong.

                  I do understand restaurants can choose and pick what they decide to serve but they could be losing potential customers. I am vegetarian but my husband is not. We love going out to eat and we don't always want to eat at vegetarian restaurants. And he will walk out if there isn't anything on the menu for me.

                  One of our favourite restaurants is a steak and seafood house. They have a grilled vegetable side dish that I can order as an entree size which suits me perfectly.

              2. re: comestible

                I went to a trendy restaurant here in SD by invite of a friend. They had one vegetarian option to eat, the cookies had bacon, and they had taxidermied lion, gazelles and I don't know, didn't want to know, what else.

                I felt like Jim carrey stepping into the "trophy" room in ace Ventura 2.

                Never going back again.

              3. Both pork and quinoa are trending right now. Will not touch the former, still have issues with the latter. (Yep, I just outed myself. Quinoa non- lover= blasphemy.)

                2 Replies
                1. re: sinfromgin

                  Don't feel bad. I really don't like quinoa either. I will FORCE it down if I have to.

                  Some of my favorite restaurants are using it in everything. Life's tough.