Ordering vegan at non-vegan restaurants

Today my little cousins were in a dance recital and I had the pleasure of seeing them point, tap, plie, leap and shake their little hearts out. It was fantastic. It was adorable. It was also three and a half hours long. With the stellar combo of my raging ADD and the fact that they were in 5 of the 55 dance numbers (I shit you not) I was about ready to murder someone as soon as the kids took their bows.

I couldn't find a picture that had my cousins in it sadly but the girl in the glasses was def in the recital and is the cutest miniture dancer I have ever seen (other than Laila and Ella of course).

Luckily it was dinner time and because my Uncle was in town to see the girls, dinner was going to be free. Redemmmmmmmptionnnnnnnnnn song. I LOVE spending Saturdays with my family because my cousins Eric and Lisa who own the Yoga Shelter and inspired my vegan lifestyle, and their two girls Ella and Laila, are all vegan (well Laila eats parmesan cheese and ice cream so she’s technically vegetarian but she is also nine). We always go to the most amazing restaurants and we all love food so I was, of course, looking forward to our classic dinner and a movie date night.

Lisa, Eric, Ella and Laila at a yoga training 🙂 Love my cuzzies

However, Cliff, Eric’s dad is very much not a vegan. And since it was his treat it was also his dinner choice. And so we ended up at an Italian restaurant none of us, except Cliff, were particularly thrilled about. Much to my surprise and delight we all ended up finding delicious options that were vegan and all left full and happy. Here’s the info on this super accommodating, very not vegan, Italian eatery.

Farfalla Trattoria

16403 Ventura Blvd.
Suite D
Encino, CA 91436

After we sat at a booth inside, we ordered drinks, and then were served a bread basket that we confirmed was vegan. It came with a roasted red pepper vegetable and olive oil spread, which we again confirmed was vegan.

Assorted bread basket (which I didn't eat cause I don't do gluten but my cousins enjoyed it)

Roasted veg spread - we needed multiple orders, so tasty! On my fork and straight into my mouth.

We let the waiter know we were vegan (again, minus Cliff) and were going to be ordering with some specifications and substitutions. They were very accommodating and understanding to our needs and made sure all of our entrees met our needs.

I ordered a meal sized salad and had them add broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, portobello mushrooms and tomatoes (I wanted it to be filling and since I don’t eat gluten, sadly could not order pizza or pasta). Lisa ordered pasta arrabiata with spinach and broccoli, and Eric ordered a similar spaghetti. My little cousins both had pasta, one with oil and one with marinara.

My very custom salad

My salad was above and beyond delicious! I loved the eggplant and mushrooms in it and it had both red and yellow plum tomatoes, yummmoooo! The dressing was light and lemony and it was perfectly used. I really am like Goldilocks with my dressing needs and it was, just right. It also had these little wontony thingys that were made out of polenta (?) that I didn’t care for but Laila helped me eat them 🙂 I clearly clean plate clubbed that bitch up.

Eric and Lisa also loved their pasta and raved about the homemade sauce. I tasted the remnants of Ella’s marinara and I may or may not have licked the inside of her plate. Whatever.

Lisa's custom pasta arrabiata

Eric's custom spaghetti

Cliff ordered some stuff I don’t even want to talk about.

All and all I was very pleased with our dining experience at Farfalla. Not to say if I had my choice I would come here again, but it goes to show you really can eat vegan anywhere. Always remember to ask your waiter or waitress about the contents of the bread basket, dips, pizza dough etc you plan on ordering, which may mean explaining that means no dairy or eggs in anything, but more times than not restaurants are more than happy to help you enjoy your dining experience and eat according to your preferences and lifestyle. Do not fret, I promise you can always find something vegan that is totally suitable to enjoy at any restaurant. There is always salad and you can always ask for a side of steamed or grilled vegetables. And if you can’t find something on the menu, create your own dish 🙂

Does anyone have a favorite non-vegan restaurant they love for vegan dishes? Let me know! Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend. Have a lovely (vegan) Father’s Day!

xoxo

Your Vegan Girlfriend

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4 thoughts on “Ordering vegan at non-vegan restaurants

  1. Do you not eat gluten because you are allergic or afraid of carbs??
    I just found your website and LOVE your posts! Although I must admit they make me feel a little bad about myself. Im not as strict with fat and calories especially because I’m pretty active(it sounds like you are as well?)
    I just want to say you live once and your should let yourself indulge a little more! (: But I really do like most of your posts a lot! Great job!

    • Hi Nik!
      In response to your question, I do eat gluten when I go out to eat if it’s part of a delic dish but at home I generally avoid it because I am really sensitive to it. I am allergic but not full celliac, so if I decide it’s worth it to suffer the consequences when I am out I do! Moderation is the key and sometimes having some vegan pizza just has to happen. Luckily there are more and more gluten free options at restaurants so I usually have no trouble anyways! I am most definitely NOT afraid of carbs, I love carbs! At home I eat lots of gluten-free whole grains like oatmeal, quinoa, millet, and brown rice, and lots of root veggies like sweet potatoes, yams and winter squash.

      Please do NOT feel bad about yourself for not following the same eating style as I do. We all have different bodies and needs and I just do what’s right for mine. If you are unhappy with your choices however than we can have a dialogue about how to help you change your eating habits so you feel positive and healthy.

      I am very active! I run, work out and do yoga which means I eat a lot! It also means I absolutely indulge. I have something sweet almost every night and when I go out to dinner I always order whatever I want including derert. I just enjoy eating food that happens to be nourishing for my body because that’s what tastes good to me. I try to have some consciousness about calories (not fat I love fat!) for my readers because not everyone has the same needs as I do. I do not count calories myself and usually I will eat 2-3 “Servings” of all the things I make. So happy you asked me some questions, it’s so important to question and think when it comes to anyone giving out health and nutrition advice. Thanks so much for reading!

      xo Arielle

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