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Warning: this is really long and it's a rant.

I was planning a post along these lines, but the board is so hard to keep up with that I haven't really had time.

I find that if I go to a "mainstream" restaurant there is *perhaps* one vegetarian item on the menu and it might not be something I want.

I usually end up putting together a variety of vegetables, but it just doesn't feel like a real meal. There's a NYTimes 2 star restaurant in my neighborhood and one Thanksgiving or Christmas a friend took me there as a Christmas gift -- nothing vegetarian on the price fixe menu so I ended up with shrimp risotto without the shrimp -- boring. (I did have a nice appetizer and nice desert.) As I recall the price was something like $40 each (+tip). (The man who took me is a real carnivore and though he loves me he thinks I eat weird stuff and hopes that this is just a temporary phase -- 12 years now!)

Another trip to the same place -- I ordered a nice appetizer (mushroom tart as I recall - one of their specialties), 4 vegetables and a desert. Remember, this is a fancy restaurant and they served my 4 vegetable in separate little dishes (just like in a cafeteria). I told the waiter to bring me a plate (not very nicely, I'm afraid) and I put each of the 4 veggies on the plate and handed back the 4 dishes. The bill, by the way, was over $100 with no drinks but with a couple of large bottles of Pelligrino(sp?).

I resent being forced to put together whatever I can find from the "real" menu -- like an order of plain pasta and an order of spinach w/ parmesan on the side. Then whoever's paying has to pay a premium for all these side dishes. I've come to hate going out to dinner. (It's fine to go to a vegetarian restaurant if your companions are vegetarians, but that's not always so. And fancy restaurants tend not to be vegetarian.)

Sure there are Italian restaurants, but the non-meat/fish dishes tend to be very high fat so I still end up unhappy.

In spite of all this I do pretty well in New York, but when I travel I have real problems. I end up having a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches (yes, I still eat dairy) and french fries. For dinner I end up with a baked potato, mushrooms and a vegetable (fresh, if I'm lucky) and the cost for my meal is higher than for the meals with meat.

Because I eat so many vegetables, I'm really picky and so often what I get in restaurants just isn't up to "my standards." I don't consider the fast food places an option because I don't want a taco unless there's a large and really good salad to go with it.

There's more, but I really must do laundry. If you got this far with me I'm grateful.

Thanks. I think I feel better. But I could get wound up again without warning (and I probably will)...


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