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Special Diets: Eating Out

raw foods

Lunch Date!

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friend Sarah.

I’m often asked by people on special diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc.) for advice on going out to eat with others who don’t follow any specific diet. As far as being a vegetarian or vegan, it’s actually pretty east once you get the hang of it! Below are a few ideas that work for me as a vegan; hopefully some of the tips will be useful for those of you who follow any sort of special diet:

Eating out on a Special Diet

  • If you get to choose the restaurant, ethnic places are usually a safe bet. Ethiopian, Indian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Thai… these establishments tend to be more vegetarian-friendly than your average burger joint, so you don’t even have to do a special order.
  • If it’s not up to you to pick the place… In my eight years as a vegan, I’ve learned that the best way to ensure you’ll get some vegan food, hassle-free, is to call ahead. This is a good strategy for three reasons: One, you don’t have to call attention to yourself or seem “high maintenance” when the waiter is taking orders. Two, if they can’t accommodate your diet, you have time to make different arrangements. Three, it’s courteous to give the chef a heads-up so he/she can be better prepared. Plus, you’ll probably end up with something yummier if the chef knows in advance about your diet and is therefore able to brainstorm a meal for you. Often, my meal turns out to be the best thing at the table, since it’s prepared by the head chef, him/herself.
  • Get creative: combine side dishes, breakfast items, or even parts of different dishes to make a meal. For instance, if a restaurant offers broccoli pizza, you know they have broccoli.
  • If you end up at a fast-food place, or any laid-back establishment, you can always pack something from home and eat it when everyone else’s meal arrives so you’re not left out.
  • And on the rare occasion that you do end up at a place where there is absolutely nothing you can eat, sit back and enjoy the company of your dining companions. There is more to life than food, and you can always eat later.

Thankfully, restaurants are becoming increasingly more aware of dietary restrictions as more and more people adopt special diets. I’ve gotten some great meals by eating out.

If interested, you can see more here: My Restaurant Reviews

Of course, sometimes you’re lucky enough to have an adventurous friend who wishes to tag along with you to a place that only serves your “special” food. In my case, that special food would be vegan food. And the adventurous eater is my friend Sarah, who’s been a vegetarian for almost a year now (“All your fault,” she tells me). I took her to Bliss Café for the first time, and she loved it! Below, her coconut curry soup before she licked the bowl clean:

raw coconut soup

Sarah’s photo, too. She was very proud of it Smile.

raw lasagna

I went with a tried-and-true favorite: Raw Lasagna

Question of the Day:

Do you eat out often?

Or do you prefer to cook your own meals? I don’t really eat out very often, simply because the restaurants around me offer things I can easily (and more cheaply) make at home.

But I might eat out every day if they open a Dallas branch of this place.

Tomorrow: How about a chocolate recipe?

Published on March 28, 2012

Meet Katie

Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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ABC's 5 O’Clock News. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating dessert every single day.

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  1. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats says

    I rarely eat out because of cost, but it’s pretty rough for me. I found out about 5 months ago that I can’t have gluten or soy, which makes things difficult since both can be hidden in things! I end up eating a lot of salads with olive oil and vinegar… But luckily gluten free dining is becoming more popular so there are some great places popping up that accommodate my needs!

  2. AikoVenus says

    I rarely eat out, honestly, so I don’t have to worry about what to eat. Since I make a lot of yummy food I do have to worry about others eating mine though! ^^

  3. Yellow Haired Girl says

    One of my really good friends and I have made a habit of trying a new restaurant every Friday. I know, I know. That seems like I go out a lot – but I make a point of allowing room for it in my budget, and we try to only go to places that are locally owned (no chains!). It’s been a great opportunity to try new cuisines – I’ve had Korean, Guatemalan, and Afghanistan in the last couple of months!

  4. Darlene says

    A hint about eating out from the restaurant staff’s perspective…
    I’m still a server as my second job. It’s common for people to change up orders and especially nowadays for people to request vegetarian, vegan and gluten free. Noone changes up and order like a server ordering his/her own food so don’t worry about it. We don’t need 50 excuses about why you eat your way. Also, don’t treat your server like and idiot and repeat your order 15 times and reiterate your allergies while everyone else is ordering. We heard you the first time. Being annoying just makes us hope the kitchen gets it wrong. It’s fine to ask questions and ask for suggestions..we’re happy to help as long as you are respectful. 🙂

    • Stella says

      To be honest, maybe people repeat their order/allergies 15 times because they had bad experiences. You can’t tell if your waiter understands that ordering a dish without xxxx is because you’re highly allergic to it and not just because you don’t like the taste and want to be on the safe side, so you pretend to have an allergy. I’ve ordered stuff without nuts in the past and could tell at first glance that they, in fact, did include nuts in my meal. After something like that (plus your comment about hoping the kitchen gets it wrong), you get paranoid for a reason…

      • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

        Yes, I’ve had this happen numerous times. Cheese in a veggie burger, cream in soup, yogurt in the sauce of a stir fry… all claimed by the server to have been dairy-free :(. I’m lucky in that my not eating dairy is a choice. But what if I’d been allergic?

        The cream soup example actually took place at WHOLE FOODS! Of all places, right?! There was no cream listed in their tomato soup recipe, but when I tasted it I knew it couldn’t just include the ingredients listed. I insisted the employee go back and check with the chef who’d made the soup, and it turned out to be an error in labeling. They were very nonchalant about the whole thing, which made me so angry! What if others who were allergic to dairy had believed the label, eaten the soup, and were now sick because of it?

        Unfortunately, I think if you are highly allergic to a certain food, the best thing to do is bring your own meal so that you can enjoy the company of your friends but not risk your life :(.

  5. alyssa booko says

    i was so excited to read that you are a fellow Vegan. I became vegan 6 weeks ago and I LOVE IT!!! want to share recipes!!!!!! i have a few really yummy yummy yummy recipes. i am assuming you do NO animal products whatsoever right? so is that tofu on the raw lasagna? although Trader Joes has 2 really yummy soy cheeses. AND they are way cheaper than real cheese too. are your vegan recipes listed somewhere? so are all your sinful deserts vegan? sorry to bombard you with so many questions. here is my email…
    God Bless

  6. A. Cook says

    Being married to a non-vegan has made me a total expert on finding things to eat at non-veg places! My favorite tip is one you mentioned–looking at the menu to figure out what veggies they definitely have, then asking for something incorporating those. I’ve had some delightful pasta dishes made this way (“pasta, red sauce, and every vegetable on your menu, please!”)

  7. Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table says

    I’ve been eating vegan for the past 2 months and have been shocked at the foods I can have when dining out. Calling ahead has been a great help to me – I have to echo that often my meal is the best thing a the table. Plus, how often can you say that a Food & Wine Best New Chef nominee created a dish especially for you?! (Thank you, Empire State South.)

    Another great resource in a pinch: the Whole Foods hot bar!

  8. Erin says

    As a college student, I don’t eat out very much! I definitely prefer cooking on my own–it’s allows me to make it healthy. 🙂 I would LOVE a chocolate recipe tomorrow!

  9. Jamie says

    My favorite place to eat out is probably Spiral Diner (especially now that I live 6 minutes away); I love not having to worry about dairy being in anything, and they are really good about substitutions for soy and gluten free options, too. (I’m not allergic, but I try not to eat either…except for their ranch, which does have soy, but is out of this world.) I tried V Spot not too long ago, and while also completely vegan, seems to be less health conscious. They do have a small raw menu, however, (they are owned by the same people as Bliss, I believe) and the raw enchiladas might be the best I’ve ever had.

    When I visit my sister in Austin I always make it a point to go to Mother’s Cafe at least once…it’s vegan and vegetarian and home to the best veggie burger I’ve ever had in my life. I really wish they would open one here, or at least agree to start air mailing me veggie burgers. 🙂

      • Jamie says

        Did you know that Mother’s actually sells that dressing at the whole foods here?? In the refrigerated dressing section! I do wish it wasn’t so heavy on the canola oil, though, because it’s probably my favorite after vegan ranch 🙂

  10. Emma says

    I love Bliss Cafe! And Spiral Diner- which fortunately they have one out here in Fort Worth amongst all the BBQ 🙂

  11. Miss M says

    I never, ever, ever eat out. Partly because of the cost, and partly because my allergies are SO SEVERE and there are SO MANY of them that it just isn’t feasible.

    But I don’t feel like I’m missing anything 🙂 Except maybe stomach cramps, hives, vomiting and/or shock (sorry, probably TMI).

  12. Sabrina @ Nutritiously Sweet says

    This was a great post seeing that I’m transitioning to vegetarian. I don’t like to eat out often because of cost and too much sodium. I feel so bloated after even though it tasted good 🙁 I just prefer to re-make my restaurant favs at home 🙂

    • Samantha says

      I am totally with you on the sodium…honestly, we are better educated nutritionally at this point. It is amazing that restaurants often don’t make just the basic adjustments that would be better for everyone – regardless of diet!

  13. Laura says

    I didn’t realize you were vegan- I thought maybe allergies to dairy. I am definitely NOT vegan, but have liked some of your recipes. 🙂 The chocolate covered part is what drew me in. Lol I just change it to dairy stuff for my liking. 🙂 I hope to try more when I get a good food processor!

  14. Kristin says

    I’m not vegan or vegetarian, but I’ve learned that eating out too often is an unfortunate way to gain weight. I prefer to cook at home because it’s cheaper and I can eat more. I’ve worked at a restaurant and I see how much butter and oil they use! Even when going out for breakfast, I’m likely to just get an omelet or oatmeal (these are the two things that always taste better at a restaurant!).

  15. Sneaker Teacher says

    I love your tips for eating out with special dietary needs. I have a little dinner group that meets once a month and one of our member needs to eat Gluten free and dairy free. We always try to accommodate her needs when we pick the restaurant, but her tactic is usually just to say she can’t eat this and can’t eat that rather than trying some of the things you suggested. She even chose a place herself and then complained that she couldn’t eat anything off the menu. I do find that many restaurants are not catering more to Gluten free customers so we have more options that we used to, but our friend still avoids Mexican and many other types of restaurants saying she can’t eat anything there. Maybe I should send her a link to your post ;0)

  16. KC says

    Awwww man!!! I should have walked over there for lunch yesterday! It’s right by my work! (The Berkshire Bldg) It would have been AWSM to meet you! And I LOVE their yellow curry too! You’re such and inspiration, I’m still working on just being vegetarian!

  17. Samantha says

    I used to eat out far more (I have been vegan for about 15 years and got very good at figuring out how to order). I have to travel to Seattle for more vegan only restaurants although a few more are showing up on the Eastside. I WISH there was a Bliss Cafe in the area. You aren’t the only blog I have heard of it on.

    Anyway, now I eat at home mostly. Money is a big issue and honestly even when you modify something vegan, if it isn’t a salad, it can still be shockingly unhealthy. It is easier to make a good meal the way I want. When I do go out I tend to stick to thai (sigh, I love thai food) and mexican if not going to a vegan focused restaurant.

    Have a great day! 🙂

  18. the surfer says

    Hi Katie,

    I am glad you are helping others become aware of the fact that healthy eating at restaurants can be found just about anywhere! I tell my friends and family this all of the time.

    On another subject, I am thinking about buying either a blendtec or a vitamix (or maybe another blender that works similar to these).
    I have seemed to collect every appliance possible: a jack lelanne deluxe juicer, a kitchen aid food processor, a krups ice cream maker, and a osterizer blender. I use all of these frequently and with the tiny dorm space I have (and little time to clean up) I am unnecessarily overloading myself with appliances. I want to sell my appliances and use the money I make from them to buy a more expensive blender. So, I am coming to you about the vitamix! I have heard and read that this appliance juices, blends, and processes. Compared to other highpowered blenders, what do you like about the Vitamix and what don’t you like?

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Hi Surfer,

      Unfortunately, I haven’t ever tried another high-powered blender like a Blend-tech, so I can’t tell you my opinion. I’ve heard it’s pretty comparable to the Vita, though.

      If you don’t have a high-powered food processor, I’d highly recommend that… mine does almost as much as a blender, and there is so much it can do that a blender (even a Vita) can’t.

  19. Janae says

    I eat out only when I can get a babysitter and go out with my husband. I’ve been wanting to try Ethiopian food for years (I hear they make some killer food), but no places like that around here. Since I’m gluten-free, I find authentic Chinese to be just right for me, since they are mostly gluten-free and super easy to get vegan. Last time I went to my fave place, I ordered some crazy mushroom and cabbage dish in a spicy sauce w/ a side of veggie sushi. Loved it!

    • Samantha says

      I have had Ethiopian food once in the Seattle area and was stunned how much I liked it. Very easy to ask for vegan too. At least the restaurant I went to knew exactly what dishes were and weren’t or they were very obviously meat.

      I don’t even know how to describe the food, but it was good.

  20. Emilia says

    Thanks for the great advice Katie!
    I’m a vegetarian and although I don’t usually have a hard time finding meals out, I do generally make sure to check menus ahead of time. That always helps to ease any tensions about dining out. I prefer to eat at home though, that way I can have whatever I want. 🙂

  21. Janice says

    I dont like to eat out too much. I can always taste the difference between restraunt cooked foods, which is eh sometimes, and homemade. With homemade meals, its made with love… Lol. Thats what makes it yummy! Though, when we do eat out, its usually a time when want to just have some fun together so I dont stress about it. My mother knows I can be picky with my foods and she eats anything -no really, she does- so she lets me pick the meal for us to share since we never eat the whole thing. Heh… And whats Ethiopian??? :S

  22. Emily @ Glitz Glam Granola says

    Sounds like you had a great meal with your friend! I think these tips are relevant for anyone with health concerns or special diets! I always check out the menu of the place I’m going to beforehand, that way I can have an idea about what will work for me! And sometimes I’ll call ahead and find out that they don’t even mention special things on the menu… like they can make all their pancakes GF! That was an amazing discovery!

  23. Sara Dane says

    I’ve lived in Texas (Houston) for about four years but have yet to find a reason to visit Dallas until now…Bliss Cafe!

    I love LOVE eating out…even if I can’t find anything to “eat”. I enjoy the time with my husband and our friends and I love being waited on (after years of being a waitress)

    Like the other waitress, I want to reiterate that it’s not a big deal to order off the menu. Lots of chicks do this vegan or just picky! Just make sure you leave a good tip to show you appreciate it 😉 Bad tipping gives groups a bad rap and Vegans get enough criticism as it is!

  24. Jenny D says

    I agree, I have such a hard time eating out because I can make it at home so much tastier, with better ingredients and cheaper! I save eating out for a girls thing or a great Thai meal I can’t seem to duplicate (that darn tasty pumpkin curry!) or a fun Hibachi grill…you get the idea. I can easily go over a month without eating out and not missing it!

  25. Guest says

    Those are nice tips, very helpful! To the question of the day; I hate going out to eat (the last time that I went out and actually ate restaurant food was at the end of July last year for my birthday), heh. Since I’m very particular about the type/quality of the foods I consume, I just can’t stand not making something myself or at the very least being present when my food is being made so I can see exactly what goes into the dish, and how much.

  26. Michelle says

    I have a 4 yo so not eating out so much… however living in Southern California there is no shortage of vegan restaurants or restaurants that have a vegan menu. Native Foods tends to be my favorite.. she is branching out to Chicago and Portland now… I could eat there every week …lol
    You look so cute in the picture above…but you usually do….

    YES the chocolate recipe tomorrow sound GREAT =)

  27. Raquel @ Ovenmitts Vegan Blog says

    I went to a steakhouse the other night with some friends and had to order a Steak salad – minus the steak! It was the only edible thing on the menu, but I love the company so much that it’s totally worth it!

  28. LittlePuma says

    My town is pretty much all fast food, so I’ve learned to hate eating out. I prefer just to make my own meals at home and eat alone where other’s can’t poke fun at you for being vegan.

  29. Karen says

    I have to recommend VSPOT Cafe! It’s Bliss’s sister restaurant (not all raw). I had my birthday dinner there & brought 18 NON-VEGANS! LOL. All but 2 said that they either really liked it, or LOVED it. I’ve even had a couple of them ask me when we can go again. I’d recommend making a reservation for a weekend night- it’s a tiny, but wonderful place!

  30. Kat says

    I hate eating out because of my dietary concerns. It’s hard to find something that is gluten free, lower calories, and healthy, not too expensive, and is not a special order salad I have to ask them to leave the croutons off and mix in a separate bowl (And even then they still mess it up half the time).
    There are a few restaurants that I really enjoy, but unfortunately my friends don’t enjoy going to those places very often. so most of the time I’m stuck bringing snack food in my purse and not having a real meal. It’s so frustrating.

  31. Hungry Heather says

    As always, your wisdom and common sense have impressed me, Katie! Restaurants have become much more accommodating. I ate out at Red Robin last week and asked for a burger with no bun. The waitress asked me if i would like my burger in a lettuce wrap as if it was the most natural thing ever. I replied yes, and then it was on to the next person’s order. Loved it.

  32. Emma @ Bake Sew Grow says

    I love eating out when I can, but the restaurants in my town are mainly a bit blah. There aren’t that many. I’d love to move to London one day, then I’d probably eat out all the time! 🙂

  33. Rebecka says

    I have an all-vegan, really cheap cafe just in my neighbourhood and it’s my fav place to get a coffee and hang out. I don’t do caffeine and that’s also one of few places here that has de-caf coffee (thank you Straight Edge community!) And a bit further away there’s a vegan restaurant too. Last, but NOT least: Falafel! Yummiest fastfood around

  34. Brittney W says

    I live in Austin so luckily most of the restaurants around here are vegetarian/vegan friendly. I am just recently trying to transition to a vegan diet from a normal diet. The meat part was pretty easy but I’m still working on the dairy/eggs. It’s so much easier to just eat at home but I LOVE going out to eat! I really appreciate the tips! I’ve been a little nervous to do it with large groups of friends since I don’t want to stick out as the one with the weird food! I’ll definitely use your advice! 🙂

  35. Caron says

    Your raw lasagna links to banana pancakes for one. Delicious, but I’ll bet not exactly what you were going for…

  36. Amber K says

    I would love to dine out more often, but there just aren’t many places that fully understand how to be gluten-free. They may have gluten-free options, but then they contaminate them without thinking about it. It’s a huge bummer to be in extreme pain after a meal!

  37. Debbie says

    The raw lasagna looks delicious.
    I am surrounded by fast food, so I very rarely eat out. I like to cook and experiment in the kitchen. I would much rather cook for my friends than eat out, but if we had vegan restraunts close I would try them.

  38. Rachel says

    One of my favorite things in life is eating out at “special” restaurants! 🙂 I eat out probably once a week with friends, sometimes less, sometimes more, but mostly do my own cooking. I loooooove a good vegan or ethnic place. Dining out excites me a little too much!

  39. Lauren says

    Hi Katie,
    I obsessively check your website everyday for new vegan desserts to make. I adore how simple and delicious the recipes are, so I guess I wanted to say thank you for being that amazing person to give me an excuse to eat dessert everyday! I was wondering what exactly you say when you call a restaurant? Do you ask first if they have vegan options? If they don’t how exactly to go about politely asking if they can make an entree for you? I was thinking you could look at an online menu and ask for a vegan variation, but that sounds less exciting than a whole new dish cooked by the head chef! I always feel bad about saying, “I can’t go” when my friends invite me out. Or even worse, making them feel restricted from going to new restaurants they wanted to try out! Thank you again!

    • Samantha says

      I often actually avoid the word vegan altogether. It is getting better, but when I first was vegan a lot of restaurants really didn’t even know what I was talking about.

      Usually I look at the menu and start with the obvious vegetarian or ones that could easily become vegetarian and then just ask if there is dairy or any other animal products.

      You get really good at reading between the lines on how things are prepped and knowing if you can eat it or not.

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      I’d look at the menu first, to see if anything was–or could be–vegan. Usually, there is, so there’s no need to call at all. I’ve only called a restaurant a handful of times (usually when I’m going to a fancy restaurant that has a set menu or very small menu). I called once for my sister’s birthday at a swanky place in Dallas, because they didn’t offer anything vegetarian… I explained that I was a vegan and asked if there was anything they could make me. I ended up with a REALLY amazing meal!

  40. Aja says

    Those are great tips! I always hate going out because I hang out with people that are total carnivores. I prefer to cook for myself but if I can’t, I always suggest Chinese food. You can’t go wrong with Chinese food.

  41. Catalina Maya says

    Thanks for the helpful tips! We’re doing a cooking unit in my Spanish class, and being the only vegan, I have to unremittingly inquire about the ingredients in each dish – you can imagine how pedantic this is! And while everyone enjoys Tortillas Espanol and Torte de Leche, I’ve only had Gazpacho so far. 🙁
    As for eating out, I tend to stay at home; there’s not much variety here. However, when I was Chicago, I went to this fantastic restaurant called Karyn’s Cooked. Have you ever eaten there, Katie?
    You’re stunning, by the way! 🙂 (Sorry for the extra-long comment…)

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      LOL those are actually MY nails :).
      That’s a recycled photo from the first time I ate at Bliss (the linked post under “Raw Lasagna”). I don’t think I have another photo of just the nails, though.

      They’re actually my real nails, too… my nails grow like weeds!

  42. Justine Duppong @ Life With Cheeseburgers says

    I used to hate going out to eat, because I had an eating disorder and there wasn’t much on my list of “safe” foods to eat. I think it’s really important to be honest with yourself about your eating habits–it’s one thing to avoid certain foods when you have an allergy, religious reasons, etc., but another thing entirely if you’re simply being restrictive. I found that my habits were not only restricting my diet, but also my abilities to really be social and ENJOY the dining experience. My life feels much fuller now that I can go out with family and friends and actually eat and enjoy the food and company without excessively worrying about what’s on the plate in front of me.

    I also really enjoy going to different places now and trying new things–as long as you just practice portion control, you really can try anything!

  43. Jana says

    Thanks for making this post, because I’m a fairly new vegan.
    I used to eat at restaurants ALL the time. Now, I prefer to make my own stuff!

  44. Deb @ wiseupslimdown says

    I think when people first go on a restrictive diet they imagine the worst. I have Celiac and I am vegetarian and I eat mostly organic and low carb. Talk about difficult. But almost any restaurant can make you a salad or has a bowl of soup, right? So that is usually what I get…a delicious bowl of soup and a fantastic salad. I never feel deprived.

  45. C&C Cakery says

    I’m a vegan (bordering on raw vegan) and have always hated eating out. I’m usually stuck with the undressed salad – meaning I would loose a lot of weight when I when on vacation for any amount of time. I actually just found out about the “call ahead” thing, which works in the nicer restaurants. It actually worked really well during my last Parisian trip – You’re right, I seriously had the best meals at the table! (And I’m pretty sure the chef had fun creating my food too 🙂 )

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      So true… chefs get bored creating the same things over and over again. From what I’ve heard, they love a challenge! So people who are worried about bothering a chef with a special order request shouldn’t worry! 🙂

  46. Kit-Kat says

    Such great tips! I’ve been a vegan for a long time, and I can say that I’ve practiced every one of those helpful tips during my span of healthfull eating. I would have said the same thing myself! And the picture of you is so pretty! You are such a beautiful model to those who want to be healthy!

  47. Amy says

    As someone with a LOT of food allergies plus a kiddo with food allergies PLUS I’m a mama who doesn’t want to feed my babies all garbage, I call ahead and check menus online a LOT. I’ve found that many places are willing to work with you if you are willing to give ample notice. While I realize I am spoiled here in laid-back Seattle (you REALLY should come visit, Katie!!!), I think a lot of it has to do with respecting the chef and talking about how much you’re looking forward to their beautiful, creative food. My favorite commentary was, “Please remind us when you’re coming, just in case the manager isn’t here– that you need your food cooked in a separate, well-cleaned skillet, not a communal grill. We want to you be healthy as well as happy here!” How cool is THAT?!

  48. Ashley (Southern Purple Vegan) says

    Since I have moved back to Houston , I haven’t gone to any restaurants that I would think that wouldn’t have any vegan options. I think because I am afraid that something like milk or eggs might be in my food which I happen to be allergic too. So I stick with mostly veggie friendly restaurants, I try to research before I go to insure that there is food.

  49. Sarah S. says

    I eat out all the time! Luckily, there are tons of Lebanese food places around where I live (mmm falafel wraps!) and I love french fries… but I also get the boca burger at Red Robin, The minestrone soup and capellini pomodoro at Olive Garden, and a yummy salad at Ruby Tuesday’s… it’s really not hard anymore to eat vegan at common restaurants! Also, I’m lucky there’s an amazing Veggie restaurant nearby as well called the Inn Season Cafe in Royal Oak, MI.

  50. vogelstar says

    If you ever happen to find yourself around the Toronto area, try to visit a rawfood restaurant called Nzyme. Their flax crackers and fake egg salad are unreal, and you have to finish with the apple pie.
    PS This may be a strange request but have you ever created a Japanese themed dessert? Sakura cupcakes? Matcha muffins 🙂 I’d love to test it out if so.

  51. Amber says

    Hi there! I first must say that I really love your site. The recipes are wonderful and even those who don’t eat veg or vegan like them.

    Perhaps this is obvious or even a different situation for others, but when you order ethnic food…particularly Thai (and Vietnamese) food, you need to be very careful about the sauces. The Thai people (and Vietnamese) love their fish sauce and it is usually in that sweet/tart/salty sauce that is most notably on Som Tum (green papaya salad). I would ask before you order and possibly ask for soy sauce as a sub. There is a mock version of fish sauce (the one I’ve seen actually says “vegetarian”) that you can get, but I rarely see it.

    Take care!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Oh thanks for mentioning that! Yes, that’s definitely true! I always ask them to omit the fish sauce when I go to my favorite Thai place. And for Chinese (or pseudo Chinese), I like PF Changs or Pei Wei and they’re pretty knowledgeable about vegetarianism and what is/isn’t. But you DO have to be careful!

  52. Amanda @ Diary of a Semi-Health Nut says

    This is very interesting to me. I’m not vegetarian or vegan, however I do usually request to alter food items so they are healthier or have less dairy (to ensure no tummy issues). I would have never thought of calling the restaurant beforehand…good thinking!

  53. Allie says

    Hi Katie! I discovered your blog recently, and I love it! I too am a chocolate lover and a vegan. For me, I like eating out but often can’t find good vegan things on menus. So I prefer to cook at home, which is healthier and cheaper. But I absolutely love going to vegan restaurants because I can get anything on the menu!! 🙂

  54. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen says

    I do find it very interesting that “American” restaurants are not nearly as accomodating of special diets as ‘ethnic’ restaurants. You’d think as the ‘melting pot’ of the world we could work in some dairy-free or vegan diets. 🙂

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