Yesterday my two friends and I took the day off from our respective work environments to venture to Destiny USA in Syracuse, NY. The mall is quite honestly the largest one in Upstate NY and one of the biggest I’ve ever been to. I think the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania is bigger, but it also has more store that I should not even go into (the prices make my wallet cry).
Destiny USA has a good mix of high end and low end stores for all ages. I will go into a bigger recap of the mall at some later point because today I want to talk about eating vegan at restaurants.
You all know I do not go out to eat very often for the simple fact that it is not economical. I get a lot of my food from where I work and not eating that is wasteful. The food is also delicious so I am completely blessed and taken care of in the food department (Now I need to find a benefactor to pay for my apartment…) On the rare occasion the opportunity to eat at a fancier restaurant presents itself and a new set of
challenges opportunities is readily available. Eating vegan in a restaurant has been easy for me because I am flexible. If there isn’t anything on the actual menu, I am perfectly satisfied ordering a large plate of whatever fried vegetable is the specialty. I find that the people who invite me to the restaurants are usually more worried about finding something I can eat that I am.
It really about perspective. I am not a health-food vegan. I do love vegetables and try to eat plant-based as much as I can, but that is not the motivation for my ethical choice to eat vegan. Being flexible means eating the pasta if the salad has chicken, cheese or bacon on it even if gluten has shown negative effects for gut health or carbohydrates may make my blood sugar spike (both of these things I am aware of and do not hold much weight for me…I digress).
Being flexible also means that I read the description of the dish, make a decision about it; is it vegan or not, and trust the restaurant staff. I am not perfect but I try. I cannot help it if animal products get into my food and I don’t know. When I say I eat vegan, being an advocate in that way is much more important than being the vegan who freaks out at a staff member. Pointless.
So onto my journey! We decided to eat at the Cheesecake Factory. The name doesn’t exactly sing vegan-friendly but I have always wanted to try the restaurant. Much to my satisfaction, there were various options I could choose from and they were not all different versions of a potato!
For an [unpictured] appetizer, we got battered Portobello mushroom, zucchini and avocado fries. The veggies were not too battered so you could actually tell the veggies apart. They also came with two different dipping sauces, one chipotle mayo and another ranch type aioli. They were really delicious and definitely got us excited to try the meals we ordered.
I ordered the avocado, sun-dried tomato and onion egg rolls. They were absolutely TO DIE for! Buttery avocado paired with the tart sundried tomatoes and sweet onions all wrapped up in a fried pocket. They were served with a tamarind-cashew dipping sauce which was sweet and paired nicely with the rich, savory egg rolls. I would most certainly order them again!
My friends ordered crab wontons
and the veggie burger with fries.
The veggies burger was my second choice of what to get. I had a couple bites of my friend’s and it was really tasty. It had a depth of flavor that was something I’ve not had in a veggie patty. My only complaint about it was that if fell apart when he bit into it…which gave me more reason to try the parts that fell off.
Would I go back? YES! There were some other interesting sounding meals like corn tamales, penne pasta and sweet potato fries that I would love to try.
Eating vegan isn’t that hard. It’s about being flexible, not perfect.
Have you ever been to the cheesecake factory?
Do you have any dietary restrictions that you manage while eating out?