Fellow Foodie

A friend is vegan due to health reasons. As I am prone to do, I scope menus when I dine out, hoping to find places that can accommodate his needs with something more substantial than a potato and whatever vegetable du jour they may be serving. We planned to get together for dinner last week and when I asked where we would dine, he had no idea and told me to choose. In his words, I was the only other person he knew who would scope out a menu and pick up on why he couldn't eat something.

Thankfully, I was able to compile a list of six Lakeland restaurants and links to most of the menus, with the eventual dining spot being Cafe Roti. Indian, which is a cuisine he was only familiar with because of all the Amy's frozen entrees. I was able to explain enough about the preparation and options he had, plus the Cafe Roti menu is pretty expansive. It was a great meal for conversation and laughter and finding another person who enjoyed the subtle thermonuclear heat bombs set off by the food. Next time, we have to plan the meal for Ed's night off, as Cafe Roti is one of his favorites.

I'd also recently introduced this friend to Bosphorus, and that was deemed a hit. So much of a hit that he took another friend there tonight. His first venture into their menu left him very curious about Turkish food as a whole. It's just really cool that when we hang out, two favorites are now among his go-to choices, too. However, that said, there are other places he needs to try around town that he hasn't yet. Places like Shingetsu, which is some of the best sushi around, but it is Japanese and has several vegetarian dishes. Spice Thai also has several vegan options and is a new favorite for me, Ed, and Chef. One I put on the list that I haven't tried yet, but have heard raves from others I trust, is Burger 21. They've got a veg out burger. When I suggested it, my friend said he'd been there and loved the burger, but wasn't in a burger mood.

It's rare that we find another person who is as psyched about trying new cuisines and restaurants. It must be frustrating to want to try these amazing things and be limited in what you can choose. It seems like a good match when you pair a cook with someone who has a dietary need. Now to find more vegan choices in the county...

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