Weekend Challenges – Eating OutPosted: January 18, 2011
The first big challenge for me came on the first weekend after I became a vegetarian. Accommodating my diet during the week is fairly easy because I can cook at home and I can control what food I keep in the house, however, the weekends are a different story. I eat quite often on the weekends especially when I go out with friends and sometimes restaurants have little to no vegetarian offerings.
The first test of my will to be a vegetarian came when I was celebrating Christmas with some friends after the New Year. It was a Friday night and everyone at the gathering wanted to go out to eat. But where? We tossed around a few suggestions until finally settling on Chili’s. While I don’t normally eat at chain restaurants, the crowd I was with has a sort of limited range of places they will eat, and in my attempt to not be completely insufferable, I went along with it.
I was optimistic at when we first arrived. I kept telling myself that they’d at least have a few things on the menu without meat. When I looked at the menu, however, I noticed that only one dish was available without meat – some sort of tropical salad. Not one to eat fruit for dinner, I was dismayed. I continued to look for something, anything that might suffice. I then thought maybe I’d get the nachos without beef – but I wasn’t exactly thrilled about the option.
As I continued to look through the menu, attempting to will a vegetarian dish onto it, I noticed a little disclaimer at the bottom of the burgers section, “Black bean burger substitute available upon request”. Eureka! I’d found just the thing that would expand my dining options for the evening. I finally decided on a BBQ burger that was topped with fried onions and a copious amount of BBQ sauce. The burger ended up tasting great and overall I was impressed that Chili’s had pulled through for me – not only with a vegetarian option, but a tasty one at that.
I passed my first real test as a vegetarian and was quite pleased with myself. I had gone out to dinner and had not had to sacrifice taste for my new lifestyle. Armed with the confidence from that meal, I pressed forward, knowing that if I could pass that test, the rest would be easy.