Sorry this post is a day late, but, you know, we all have things to do.
Anyway, even though the post is late, I did do the challenge on time. This week’s tip was to try out a local vegetarian restaurant. Another of our peer eds, Emily, wrote out a great list of places to try. So, based on a personal recommendation, and proximity to my apartment, I decided on Zen Palate. I dragged my sick girlfriend out of bed, told her I’d buy her meal, and we were off to dinner.
I was told it would be crowded, but we walked right in and sat down. The menu is very…zen, for lack of a better word. Everything has names like “Temple of Zen”, or “Celestial Tofu”, and they have healthy tonics and mission statements about the healing effects of food printed on the inside cover of the menu. I admit I’ve never been to a vegetarian restaurant, and I hope they’re not all like that. But the food passing by us looked good, so I was only mildly skeptical. Plus, you can’t go wrong with spring rolls:
Listen, I love all food. I’m not picky, and I will eat almost anything. But I never realized how much I expect meat to be a big part of each meal, or in the very least a big pile of carbs. So it was weird when my “Temple of Zen” arrived (which, by the way, was embarrassing to order) and it was just a big heaping pile of vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, it was totally tasty and completely filled me up, but I just couldn’t shake the feeling that there was more coming. Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered the giant plate of vegetables, but I got all confused by the names, and the zen, and they were out of healthy tonics, and when we ordered the waiter scoffed at my questions. I actually liked my girlfriend’s meal, the “Wheel of Dharma” (tempura portabella mushrooms and mashed sweet potatoes), more than mine. Luckily, she liked mine better too, so we spent most of dinner rudely reaching across the table.
All in all, I liked it. It was fun to try a new restaurant (though this one is on the pricey side), and to explore a different kind of meal experience. I often make vegetarian pastas or salads for dinner, but it’s not the same when it is meat-less by accident. This felt different, maybe not healthier, per se, but a different kind of healthy, and I thought about trying to go vegetarian for about 4 seconds. I’m not going to, but I think I will certainly try to go meat-less on purpose once in a while. And it reminded me, yet again, to keep stocking up on veggies when I go to the store, because I definitely felt sort of superior on my walk home. That might have been because we finished the meal off with a molten chocolate cake. Either way, it was not an evening wasted, and I’m on to next week’s challenge!