Someone recommended that I visit vegan restaurants in the Miami area and write about them, and I will, but to be honest I don't know if this is actually that helpful. Part of what I want to do with this blog topic is not only to help educate people on health and practicing veganism (or at least eating more plants than before), but how to do it in a practical way. Getting vegan food in a vegan restaurant is easy, getting vegan food in a restaurant where your carnivorous friends want to eat can be a different story! So far I've been to an Italian restaurant (Macchialina-in hindsight, a stupid choice for a gluten-free vegan) and 2 Japanese restaurants (Toni's and Doraku).
If you can't eat pasta, don't waste your time with Macchialina. I went there many months ago, and in my distorted memory they had a few dishes I thought I would be able to eat. Unfortunately, they use chicken broth to cook a lot of the menu items that might otherwise be adaptable, so that took my options down to 3 appetizers. After splitting a bottle of wine with my companion I left $70 poorer and with a practically empty stomach. Don't get me wrong, the items I ate were delicious, I just needed about 4 times more of them.
Toni's was the best so far. We started with edamame (you know, to get my PROTEIN), and I ordered a veggie sushi/sashimi dinner. It came with a veggie roll, and a few pieces of veggie "sashimi": 2 mushroom, wakame, avocado, and asparagus (I think...). The veggie roll could've used more diversity in contents; I only remember cucumber and mushroom being in there. Carrot, avocado, cabbage-anything else would've been nice. The mushrooms were the highlight of the meal for me. I believe they were pickled, they looked dark and purplish, and they had a meaty, chewy texture and sweet, tangy flavor. Delicious! The good side was I wasn't stuffed when I left like I usually am after eating sushi.
I hoped Doraku would have been as easy to find something to eat as Toni's, but unfortunately the vegan options are somewhat limited. I wanted something heartier and was hoping for tofu, but they didn't really have any tofu based dishes. I ended up getting vegetable fried rice with kimchee, which was good but not filling enough for how hungry I was.
The most important thing I've learned so far about ordering in a restaurant is to ask the waiter. They know what goes into the food, or can at least ask the chef, and can find out how they can modify existing items to fit into your dietary needs. You might find that some things that sound okay are actually not. For example, the waiter at Doraku disclosed that they add gluten to their white rice, which appears NOWHERE on the menu and explains why I usually feel so bloated after eating there.
P.S. I got a question about vitamin B12 and I'm doing some research before writing the post. It's coming soon! My research is also bringing up questions for me about folate, so I'll be addressing that soon too.
Enjoy your veggies!