By now you may have figured out from my last post that we are driving the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway through Virginia and North Carolina.
With any luck, by the time you are reading this post we will have driven over 500 miles, tasted over 25 beers, and hiked some of the most beautiful vistas along the Virginia stretch of the Blue Ridge Parkway. At the time of posting I should be in Asheville, NC which is our final destination for this trip.
We chose Asheville for our spring vacation because we had read that it is a very vegetarian-fiendly city. GoVeg.com named it American’s Best Vegetarian-Friendly Small City and Vegetarian Times magazine chose Asheville among “the 20 greenest spots in the country.” Kyle and I are thrilled to visit for our 5-year anniversary and his 26th birthday.
One of the downsides of traveling as a vegetarian is that it can be difficult to find a restaurant that serves a healthy and satisfying meal that accommodates your dietary restrictions. We are hoping that Asheville will offer plenty of vegetarian dining options, so that we can count on a vacation that requires a little less planning and fewer stressful encounters with meat-filled menus. Although we chose this destination based on a desire to be effortlessly meatless, my vegetarianism has never held me back from traveling to the places that I like to visit. With a little planning, you can find a veg-friendly meal anywhere.
Here are some of my tips for traveling as a vegetarian.
1. Check out chowhound.com. Chances are someone else has been in your destination city looking for vegetarian options before. I have found tons of useful information by searching chowhound for old Q&A’s like “what are some vegetarian options in Boone, NC?” and “where should I go for vegetarian food at nyc restaurant week?”
2. Google those same questions to find more information about veggie options when you are traveling. A little planning ahead of time goes a long way towards making sure you don’t silently suffer over a plate of fries in a steakhouse or BBQ joint while you are supposed to be enjoying your vacation.
3. If you find yourself in a restaurant that has no vegetarian entrees, look at the salad and appetizer menu. Usually you can put together a few smaller plates to make a satisfying meal. I’ve had dozens of chicken cobb salads “with no bacon, no chicken” as well as side salads plus kids menu fare (sometimes if you offer to pay an extra $2, they’ll overlook the fact that you are over the age of twelve). Get creative with it and you might surprise yourself with a delicious meal.
4. Look for restaurants near universities. I have found that there are more vegetarian and vegan friendly restaurants near college campuses (for whatever reason). Try your luck at a particularly crunchy coffee shop because they tend to be rather accommodating of the meat-free crowd.
5. If you are an adventurous eater, seek out ethnic options. I can usually find a good vegetarian meal at a Mexican, Indian, Italian or Thai place (hold the fish sauce). These restaurants tend to have a wider variety of meatless entrees.
Whether you are vegetarian or not, I hope these suggestions help you out on your next adventure. Sometimes it can be good to know what to look for when you are dining with vegetarian friends, even if you are an omnivore yourself. If you have other tips to share, please leave them in the comments.