Vegetarian in a meat-eating world

So, as you guys know, I’ve been a vegetarian for only a short time – about 2 months or so. I was pescatarian for about 5 years before that, not counting a year where I started to eat chicken again. I don’t know why, but the thought of eating any sort of fish (or chicken) is not that appealing to me anymore, save for sushi, which still looks good.

It’s pretty easy to eat vegetarian in my house. Obviously. But I also find it pretty easy when we go out, especially to more casual, bar-like restaurants. Oddly enough, most of the bars in Atlanta (which are all bar/restaurants) have a pretty decent vegetarian selection. And pretty decent means more than one choice! For example, last night, Jason and I went to Milltown Arms because we had a Scoutmob coupon for it. Side note – if they have Scoutmob in your city and you have an iphone, download the free app now, it’s awesome. On the menu, they had a veggie burger, several salads and several appetizers, all without meat. I wasn’t feeling the veggie burger, so I had some hummus and a side salad. I feel like as long as I’m going to a casual place like that, I don’t have to worry.


My friends and I started this dinner club thing. It’s four couples and we meet once a month. The first couple chooses the restaurant the first month, then the second couple the second and so on. I actually was on my honeymoon last month, the first month, so I didn’t go. But the couple choosing this month’s restaurant put three choices out there, one of which, their top choice, is a meat restaurant. And by a meat restaurant, I mean:

French for “slaughterhouse,” Abattoir is an American chophouse specializing in the use of locally-raised proteins to produce high-quality, affordable food. Offering freshly butchered whole fowl, fish, beef, pork and other game served in a variety of ways, the menu is based around “whole animal cuisine,” a term referring to the use of every functional piece of the animal. Named 2009 Restaurant of the Year by Atlanta Magazine, this “meatcentric” concept furthers the commitment to using local ingredients to create one-of-a-kind culinary experiences.

(taken from the Abbatoir website.)

Of course, I voted for one of the other restaurants. But this is an example of when it’s really hard and even a little bit ostracizing to be a vegetarian. If this is the restaurant that they choose, I don’t want to miss an opportunity to hang out with my friends because of my dietary restrictions. But I also don’t want to sit there and have nothing to eat! Sometimes I think I should just start eating fish again because that way I wouldn’t have to worry about it. But there are reasons that I stopped eating meat and I feel like eating fish because it’s just easier sort of contradicts those reasons.

I guess I could always ask the chef to prepare a vegetarian dish.

Any vegetarians want to weigh in on situations like this? What would you do? And to anyone with any sort of dietary restriction, how do you deal with feeling left out? I guess it’s not as if I have an allergy or anything. Not eating meat is something that I choose to do, but sometimes I wish I could just go to any restaurant and not have to scour the menu first for something that I can eat. It’s a limitation that I set on myself, but it’s still a limitation regardless.


9 responses to “Vegetarian in a meat-eating world

  1. I went vegetarian for a few months at the end of 2008-beginnning of 2009 and found that even at places that serve only meat, I could still find something to eat. If they do end up picking this restaurant, I’m sure you could get a side salad at least and a piece of bread. Of course that is not enough for dinner, so you’ll have to eat a bit more before or after, but don’t let being vegetarian get in the way of your social life. I made that mistake when I was way too restrictive a few years back and have so many regrets. Go have fun and focus on the good time, not the food. 🙂

  2. Just looked up their menu and they have some really yummy looking options under their “snacks” and “local produce” sections.

  3. Great subject. I agree with Em! If you don’t want to miss hanging with friends, you can usually find something to eat and if its lighter than you need, you can eat beforehand or after. The Local Produce section on the menu does look great. Yum. Good luck lady!

  4. There should be at least something you can eat — I usually find a decent soup-and-salad combo on almost any menu. You could also put together some side dishes to make a meal, or see if the chef can make something special. It sucks that your dietary needs (hate calling them restrictions!) aren’t being listened to.

  5. Hi… I read your blog sometimes and thought I’d finally comment. I, too, find it tough to deal with my vegetarianism oftentimes, especially since I am also moderately intolerant to dairy. I also have this sort of “dinner club” with my friends, and sometimes it’s tougher than others, but I think most places nowadays will accommodate what you need.

  6. If I were you, I’d go. I’m sure they have sides that are meat-free, so you can certainly make a meal out of a baked potato and side salad, right?

  7. actually — the menu has a few awesome looking veg things (UM, i love menus. i just had to check!)

    there is a beet salad, a fig salad, and a roasted veg looking salad, and they have eggplant flatbread. that plus wine would probably be a great meal . . . and hey, unlike all the meat-eaters, you might even have room for dessert!

    ps: i wish i was in a restaurant club! maybe i need to start one.

  8. I’m notvegetarian – sorry, I love my meat and fish 🙂 I think if you choose to eat fish again though, you should just do it on your own choice, not because you feel you “should”. …but for the same – I don’t think you should NOT eat it for any reason that may be ‘stubborn’ (?)…if you know what I mean? Do what feels right.

    Now! With that said – go out and enjoy the company and the restaurant!! No restaurant is going to turn away a customer’s desires! Just order a dish – and get it without the meat/fish offering!! …There won’t be much balance or protein probably…but you always pair stuff together -I’m sure there’s legumes and perhaps a bean dish – or pasta without the meat with an olive-oil sauce…phone ahead of time maybe and ask?

    Nice Blog!

  9. This is definitely one that hits me often. I would totally as the chef for something vegetarian. Also, I have learned to really study the menu before hand and see if there are things I can mix together to form a meal. When I go out to Mexican restaurants, I ask if the beans are vegetarian and then I tons of options for making great meals. I have been known to call ahead too and see if there are options. Great point to bring up. I hope you got/get to enjoy wherever is chosen!