the veggie substitution blog

June 11, 2007

Sugar Cane Restaurant

Filed under: chinese, massachusetts, vietnamese — rchains @ 3:39 pm

Good restaurants serving Chinese, Vietnamese, or Thai usually have delightful vegetarian options. This is the case at Sugar Cane Restaurant in Peabody, Massachusetts, where delicious vegetarian menu items include fresh vegetarian summer rolls (with tofu and avocado, yum!), mixed vegetables, eggplant, spicy string beans, stir-fried pea pod stems, and bok choy.

(For some reason, these aren’t listed on the online menu, but I dine there often and know that these items are available–and that they’re generally very good.)

Oddly, none of these vegetarian entrees include tofu; only the summer rolls do. So I recently began asking them to add tofu to my entree orders, and they have done so happily. In fact, they are so generous with the tofu addition that I always expect them to charge a little extra, but they never do.

They are also willing to make their regular menu items vegetarian whenever possible. For example, I recently asked them to make a vegetarian version of their pad thai for me, and they did so, substituting tofu and extra vegetables for their animal-based ingredients.

Rating: Wonderful service! This small business is willing to please. Try them out!

June 6, 2007

Bugaboo Creek Steak House

Filed under: massachusetts, steak house — rchains @ 3:13 pm

Every now and then, the sociable vegetarian winds up at a steak house, where the only vegetarian options are likely to be the side dishes. French fries and mixed vegetables–um, yummy.

When I found myself at a Bugaboo Creek Steak House in eastern Massachusetts for a special occasion recently, I was determined to cobble something together. I knew that working from the menu would be difficult at best, so I asked the waitress what she thought would be a good non-dairy vegetarian option.

She thought for a moment and offered to have the chef concoct a pasta dish as a substitution for their Trapper Pete’s Chicken Pasta (linguine pasta sautéed with tender chicken, Alfredo sauce and fresh broccoli, garnished with Parmesan cheese and chopped parsley; ~$10.00). After listing many vegetables used in the restaurant’s other dishes, she asked me which I’d like included in my dish.

Soon afterwards, I enjoyed a nicely presented dish of linguine with sauteed vegetables and marinara.

Rating: Accommodating and delicious, despite very limited options.

May 29, 2007

Mesa Fresh Mexican Grill

Filed under: mexican, pennsylvania — rchains @ 9:16 am

At Mesa Fresh Mexican Grill in eastern Pennsylvania, the menu offers several vegetarian options, but very few vegan meals. I’ve only been there two or three times, and I learned quickly that if one opts to hold the dairy products, most entrees have little flavor left. So one has to get creative.

On my last visit, looking for a healthy, flavorful salad, I found myself wishing that their Mango Tango Salad (fresh greens, grilled chicken, fresh diced mango, almonds, and cilantro mango dressing; $7.79) were vegetarian.

So I asked the manager if it would be possible to order their Tuuana Tostada Salad (fresh greens, black or pinto beans, ranch dressing, pico de gallo, jack and cheddar cheeses, fresh guacamole and sour cream; $5.79) with no dairy, substituting some mango instead. He said he could, but he’d have to charge me a couple dollars extra to do so, because mango is not inexpensive.

So I asked whether he could instead prepare me a vegetarian version of their Mango Tango Salad, but at a lower price to reflect the lack of chicken. He gave me a look and said, “What?”

I explained, “Well, I see on your menu that some salads and burritos cost $4.99 more if you add chicken, steak, or other items–just like you were saying it would cost a couple of dollars extra to add mango. Can’t you do the reverse, too?”

He balked. “This is a restaurant, not an auction!”

Riiiiiight. Er, my mistake.

Rating: Poor service.

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