Thursday, January 12, 2012

BREAKING: Former New York Resident Discovers Mysterious Area Outside New York City Has Fewer Dining Options

lardI've never lived anywhere but one of the coasts, with most of that time being in the Northeast, but even my coastal elite self finds this New York Times article about a NYC transplant to Kansas City having difficulty finding a vegetarian meal in the Midwest to be both condescending and nauseating:
But after the first three dinners in my new hometown, where I moved from New York to cover the Midwest for this newspaper, even this veteran vegetarian was flagging.

This city, after all, is celebrated as a Mecca of meat. And any newcomer should expect to start with a tour of the most venerable purveyors of cows, pigs and chickens in what I’ve been told are their most delicious forms.

So, yes, I’ve “eaten” at some of these famous restaurants. There was the meal at the Golden Ox steakhouse (baked potato), Stroud’s fried chicken (rolls) and Arthur Bryant’s barbecue, where, searching for vegetarian options on the menu, skipping over the lard-bathed French fries, pausing to consider the coleslaw, I ordered the safest option (a mug of Budweiser).

After three days of this, starving, I went alone to the nearest Chinese restaurant I could find, where I feasted on a steaming plate of meatless mapo tofu.
Ohnoes! Mapo tofu!? The indignity! What a man wouldn't give for a little Venezuelan or, dare to dream, some Ethiopian. I wonder how a visitor to a new town is ever to find such restaurants!? (Hint)

Maybe it's just me, but it seems problematic to expect a great vegetarian meal at either a steakhouse, a fried chicken joint, or a barbecue place. Granted, Anna does well making a vegetarian meal out of (non-lard or chicken broth cooked) sides up here at Redbones... and yes, as great as I think "bacon butter" is, I really don't think there is any real reason to cook veggies in it. However, newsflash to the ex-New Yorker, these are the issues every vegetarian who lives outside a major metropolitan area faces... even on the East Coast. In fact, that's kind of what makes it a "lifestyle choice"... and something well beyond wanting your dressing on the side or not liking cilantro. The world would be a better place if more places took vegetarians into account, but it's hard to deny that this has been improving pretty steadily in the past 5-15 years... and no matter how much better I hope it gets, you're still going to be an idiot if you're expecting a creative tofu preparation at a steakhouse.

I really have no sympathy for this guy, as there is apparently a vegan who has been blogging about veggie friendly Kansas City dining options for years. Yes, it's harder than being an omnivore... it takes research and/or calling ahead... but it's not impossible and presumably you made this choice because it was important to you? So maybe it's worth a little extra effort? Possibly?

Oh, and learn how to cook buddy. Just because an NYC vegetarian can subsist on takeout alone doesn't mean it's a great way to go.