Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Long Way from Baked Potato and a Salad

I became a vegetarian more than 25 years ago. In a way, it was a gradual transition in that the idea percolated in my head and heart for a few years, but once I made the decision I went “cold turkey” as they say. In those days, eating out in restaurants (or even at other people’s homes) as a vegetarian was an often boring and frustrating endeavor. I often had to make due with a baked potato and a salad—not much diversity or protein there. I guess I was lucky if I got to go to a Chinese restaurant that had tofu but then I had to make sure there was no pork mixed into the dish. Life got exciting when vegetarian restaurants started opening up, and I often made the rounds. The problem was that in many cases they all served the same “hippie” food as the next guy and even more often they soon went out of business.

Fast forward 20 years and there are now many exciting vegetarian dining options available in all different price ranges (just Google “vegetarian restaurants” in the location you’re interested in). This past summer my husband and I were in Philadelphia visiting friends and we all went to an awesome, upscale vegan restaurant called Horizons. Now, I was always jealous of the places I’ve seen featured on the Food Network—I wanted to go to a restaurant where delicious food is plated in beautiful towers with delectable sauces. Horizons was this and more. There were so many interesting selections on the menu that it was hard to choose. Luckily our friends like to order a wide variety of dishes when they dine out so between us I think we were able to taste seven or eight dishes including Jamaican BBQ Seitan with j√≠cama slaw, smoked chile dip, Vietnamese Tacos–crispy lemongrass tempeh, sriracha mayo, daikon, cilantro, carrot, & chile, and Grilled Seitan with yukon mash, grilled spinach, horseradish cream and roasted red pepper tapenade. Now, those of you who are not vegetarian might not appreciate the excitement these upscale dishes bring to our taste buds, but let me tell you that we were talking about that meal for weeks. I really think that any omnivore would be more than satisfied with any of the dishes on that menu. In fact, I invite you to give this place or any other vegetarian restaurant in your area a try—you’ll probably be very pleasantly surprised. You can visit Horizons website at


1 comment:

  1. What a great blog, Leslie, it's a joy reading about people's memories evoked by some wonderful dish they shared with loved ones. As a vegetarian for over 30 years, I'm amazed at the variety and delicious veggie ingredients, recipes and meals available today. Thank you for sharing your story!