EATING OUT ANIMAL-FREE
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DISCLAIMER. Before going to a restaurant that doesn’t advertise vegan items on the menu or items that can be made vegan, call the restaurant. Talk to the manager or the chef and ask if they serve anything that does not contain animal products. Explain that that includes butter, chicken – beef – fish stock, mayonnaise, cream, milk etc. – not just meat, eggs and cheese.
Whenever I eat out animal-free I am assured that every item I order contains no animal products whatsoever. In some cases I am assured by wait staff claiming to be vegan. That does not necessarily mean that the meal was vegan just because they were vegan and vouched for it, or that it will be vegan the next time you go to the same restaurant.
Many times wait staff will tell you what they think you want to hear, so you’ll stay and they get a tip. Other times, what used to be animal-free, becomes animal-based, when the person ordering for the kitchen goes for the cheaper animal-based margarine, rather than the animal-free margarine. One time the marinara will contain only tomatoes, garlic and olive oil, next time, the next cook puts beef broth in it.
Even in restaurants that serve vegan items on a regular basis, you can never be totally sure that the manager or chef didn’t try to help their bottom line by ordering the cheaper animal-based product, thinking you’ll never know.
You already know the foods to steer clear of – anything that looks creamy probably contains some milk component (soups, salad dressings, sauces, mashed anything, gravies, anything with a battered or breaded coating, just about all desserts, including fruit pies that have a crust usually made from part butter or even lard, etc.).
If a restaurant carries a vegan burger, make sure it’s vegan. Lots of places offer a vegetarian burger and call it vegan/vegetarian, rather than offer a vegan burger and call it vegan/vegetarian. It makes no logical sense, but it’s a common practice.
Not many wait staff would know if the oil in the deep fryer is animal-free, but the chef should. Again, the bartender or waiter doesn’t want to lose you as a potential customer who’s going to leave a tip, so they may claim to know when they don’t.
It’s a risk you take if you eat out. You just really never know for sure what you’ll be getting. Know in advance, that if you’ve done your homework and you’re assured by those who should know, that you will be indeed eating animal-free when you dine at their restaurant, don’t blame yourself when you get duped by someone with no integrity within that establishment. You can only do the best you can do. That’s on them not on you.
Happy Animal-Free Dining To You and Yours!