Tag Archives: Greek

Eating Out with your Vegan- Part 2

Fed your vegan Indian? Good noms. Time to explore other yummy countries.

EVERYTHING ELSE IN ASIA

Don’t assume that other Asian food places will be as vegan or vego friendly. Asian restaurants are as diverse as the huge continent from which they come, so if you’re booking for a party that has a vegan, ask if meals can be made without egg or fish sauce in the least. Your vego friend can figure it out from there. I have to admit, I HATE asking questions about food at restaurants- I want to be a diner, not labelled as “the vego table”. I have happily eaten Chinese, Thai, Korean, Malaysian, Indonesian, Japanese and a whole lot of other cuisines asking minimal questions and knowing the potential pit falls. As a host, you don’t have to know everything that could stop your vegan friend eating, but it helps to know a few.

In Asian cuisine, the most common unveganising factors are:

-egg (many menus don’t mention it in a dish. I just always say “no egg” when ordering, even if it shouldn’t have it).

-fish sauce (laksa and east Asian curries)

-tofu made with egg

-ham in fried rice (obvious but it happens)

-mayo in avocado/vege sushi

-fish and shrimp paste in miso

Don’t worry, your vegan friend can handle themselves, but knowing to ask one or two questions on the phone about removing one or two ingredients from otherwise nommy dishes is super considerate and will make your vegan love you.

OTHER CUISINES

-Ethiopian can be vegan friendly (and very trendy and exotic right now in Brisbane. Try out places on Beaudesert Road in Moorooka).

-Many burger places bind patties with egg, so check if there’s a mushroom burger option

-Pacific Islands eat a lot of seafood and pork, but baked taro in coconut, salads and *sigh* chips will still get you where you need to go.

-Try Buddhist restaurants- you can get amazing mock meats and fresh veggies. A non-Buddhist restaurant chain that is all vegan is The Loving Hut. They’re even in Paris. But they’re also in Mount Gravatt (slightly less exotic).

-Do the call ahead, like, a week. I’ve had beautiful vegetables (admittedly, that’s all they were, but they were great) made up for me at the Lyrebird restaurant at Queensland Performing Arts Centre because my mum called ahead (thanks Mum). Just make sure sides of vegetables are not cooked in butter, or can be flavoured with an alternative.

LESS FRIENDLY CUISINES

-You know, you can totally get vegan friendly Italian, but not normally (in my experience) at the best Italian restaurants. Good fresh pasta has egg. Unless that restaurant is super duper awesome and committed to making a vegan dough, you might be better off going somewhere a little down market where the pasta is dried or packet. Sorry. That, or hope your vegan gets to love cheeseless bruschetta.

-Greek. GREEK! Although I KNOW there are awesome vegan Greek things out there, in restaurants the options are usually vego-only. Because of feta. You magnificent bastard. You could ask for a Greek salad without feta, but it’s probably pre made and will result in fury or picked out cheese- neither so good. Common vego options are: Greek salad (feta), dolmades (cheese sometimes!), spanakopita (cheese), haloumi cheese or vege moussaka (cheese). You can see the trend. Unless you can get cheeseless dolmades, and some gigantes (big baked beans things in a tomato sauce), it’s actually quite a hard cuisine from which to order off the menu. Be nice to your vegan and maybe avoid altogether, or try Turkish (there’s some cuisine overlap but generally less cheese).

-German or Bavarian. Be kind. Don’t book. We don’t want to watch you shovel thousands of calories of spatzel into your mouth while we drink schnapps. There is usually nothing at all on the menu, unless it’s green salad or chips or you’ve called ahead and discovered your chef is from Berlin and therefore kinda cool with vegans. Oh well, at least your vegan will get drunk cheaply.

And you know what? Chances are, that you’re already a pretty neat friend/relative if you’re reading this to help you understand eating out with your vegan, but when in doubt, ask. I’m sure you’re vegan would rather chat about it than eat chips.

Again.

QUESTION: Do you have any tips you can share on eating out with vegos, vegans or other people with dietary needs?

PS- The 14th is my birthday. Happy birthday to me 🙂

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Oh Yes IT’S LADIES NIGHT

So as stated earlier, I went out last night with Ze Girls, which was really nice as one has just returned home from overseas and one is a new mum and hasn’t been really out and about yet. We went to Kapsali in Southbank, which was really nice considering that they had written the wrong booking time down, were crazy busy and still had us seated before anyone else who arrived at the same time. It’s not the best Greek you’ll ever eat, but it was nice. We had a variety of the menu but for us vegos, there were fewer options than most Greek places in Brisbane.

I ordered Spanakopita (which was a side dish) with a side of Greek salad and a piece of haloumi. To their credit, they didn’t muck up the specialised order despite the crowd, but my Greek salad had grated carrot on top and floury tomatoes. The price was good, and three of us (there were 5) ordered a very well priced bottle of wine to share. Since when you buy a bottle of wine from a restaurant for under $30?! I forgot to take photos as we ate very late and fast!

There was also live music, a belly dancer (Greek…?) and some Greek dancing with diners. Was it as veg friendly as some Greek? Probably not, although it did have a pumpkin and spinach ravioli for $25 and a fried ricotta and char grilled vegetables dish for about the same. My vego friend and I were expecting a haloumi dish, or dolmades with salad. There was an antipasto platter with meat that could easily have been edited for vegos and there were lots of vege side dishes that you could piece together, like we did (my friend ordered the haloumi entree and garlic cheese pizza bread).

Some of the girls had to leave, so sweet things were had at Max Brenner. Now, I have nothing at all against Max Brenner chocolate shops… except the lines. I don’t understand why people line up that long and I wouldn’t have except that a) I had suggested it, and b) I was with friends, which makes the line ride a lot more fun than normal.

So we all had sugar overload. No regrets, no excuses. The first picture of chocolatey goodness and addiction shows my mate’s chocolate souffle and my Italian hot chocolate in a hug mug. The novelty is lovely but I freak myself out thinking that everyone who’s had that mug has used the EXACT same spot from which to drink. Luckily, it’s such good hot chocolate, even over-imaginative freak outs can’t stop me from enjoying it. The chocolate souffle was cold, delicious, but cold, which surprised us a little. They all came out at different times, but the staff are really lovely and handle all the crowds with a smile and good professionalism that reminds me that I’m glad I only did waitressing for two years!

You can also see the brownie with ice cream (ever so slightly warmed up), which I had to admit, tempted me for a while when we were standing in line (although the Sensual Chocolate Dome or whatever it was called did NOT call to me through time and space in the same way…).

And then we all felt overly-full and sick, even though we didn’t think we had eaten that much at dinner. Luckily, a waddle down to West End fixed us up a bit and we had cocktails as Sling bar, which had an outdoor area out the back which I never knew was there and the BEST wait staff who a) knew their cocktails and b) all seemed to be English. And here I was thinking the Brits were all about cider and pie.

I took a photo of my espresso martini (not on the Lord of the Rings trilogy length menu but my base line for cocktail excellence) but it was just so ambient and dark, you can’t see it properly. I followed it with a mojito special. One of the girls had a Polish Prince with vodka and apple juice, and the other had something the waiter made up and something I can’t remember now (you must remember, we’d had a long night by now!). One of the girls went home, and my long lost friend and I crossed the road to the Rumpus Room, where she was immediately picked up. Three times. In an hour. Geez. Excellent ego booster, but makes it hard to catch up on serious. life. stuff. Like caravans and English pubs. Finally, after toddling home, Ben was passed out on the couch, unmovable, so I got the bed all to myself. Excellent end to an excellent night.

Cheers.

Kapsali
Kapsali Mediterranean on Urbanspoon
Max Brenner
Max Brenner on Urbanspoon
Sling
Sling Restaurant and Lounge on Urbanspoon

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