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I. Do Your Research
Check the menu beforehand.
You used to know this menu all too well.
You’d order the same thing every time, down to the drink and the appetizer.
But the rules of the game have changed and you can’t eat the same thing you used to eat. Or you need to tweak it a little bit.
So check out the menu online, if available, and see if the items have the ingredients listed. There might be a way to “veganize” something you already like.
Check for new items, too. Look to see if there’s anything that’s already vegetarian (no meat) and sub out any dairy products.
If you’re like me and you hate to be “that vegan”, it makes it easier to take out as much fuss as possible.
It’s your bit of effort for the trouble. Like saying, “I’ve already gone through and figured out what I can’t eat, so here it is. Can you make it happen? Yes? Thank you so much”.
But let’s say the restaurant you’re going to doesn’t have the ingredients listed. What then?
II. Ask PLENTY of questions
Ask, straight up, if they have vegan options.
One of the things I’ve found is that if you’re honest, most establishments are very accommodating.
In fact, I have yet to come across anyone who has treated me less than great when I said I was vegan.
I’ve gotten some confused stares, but no one is impatient or mean.
Which is what we’re most scared of, right? That they’ll react to us like our friends and family did:
Why can’t you eat cheese sometimes?
You’re being difficult.
Oh, that’s right…you’re picky now.
Not what they said verbatim, but I’ve heard any one of those variations at some point.
But no. A restaurant or establishment is not going to do that to you.
For one thing, you’re paying them for a service. They’re getting something out of making sure that you’re satisfied.
You’ll make up for any trouble you might cause with cash or card…
Unless you plan on stiffing them.
In which case, that’s a douchey move. Always pay for your meal and always- ALWAYS- tip your server.
Second, no one is actually that mean. I mean, some people are, but that’s not your problem and your life’ll be a shit ton better if you remember that.
If you’re upfront, honest, and polite about it, they most likely won’t take offense.
After all, LOTS of people have dietary requirements nowadays.
Whether due to allergies, health, or personal reasons, it’s kind of the way of the world now.
Servers and food workers make adjustments all the time. All YOU have to do is be nice about it.
III. TELL THEM YOU ARE VEGAN
Again, be STRAIGHT UP.
Let me give you an example:
Labor Day weekend 2017, my parents and I went on a trip to Ocean City. It’s something we do every year as a family, but it was the first time I was doing it as a vegan.
And I was stoked.
I had been scouring Yelp and Google to find places in the city I could eat at. Found a few places that looked promising, including Real Raw Organics.