I’m sure many of you were worried about me seeing as how I haven’t updated in a couple of weeks. My apologies, I have been doing some weekend traveling to test out restaurants for you. You’re welcome. Before I get into restaurant reviews, I wanted to share some tips and tools that I have found helpful when traveling as a veg.
1) Smartphone apps
There are some great apps for your smartphone that will help find restaurants nearby. I personally like to use Places on my android. The app tracks your location using a GPS system, and then displays restaurants in your surrounding area from closest to furthest. It also includes links to the restaurant website where I can view their menu. Happy cow also has a similar app you can download.
Oh gawd, for some reason my old professor’s voice popped into my head exclaiming that “we are all cyborgs” for being too reliant on technology.
2) If you learn one word in a new language, make it “vegetarian,”
or vegan, whatever you’re dietary needs are. You can simply use Google Translate before you travel to a region that speaks another language. The least you can do is say that one word while giving your most polite smile. Let your server point things out for you, and trust that they know what they are talking about.
If possible, bring your own stash of food. Pack some granola bars, nuts, or dried fruit in your bag in case you are really stuck.
4) Hit up the local farmers market or grocery store
Visiting local markets is a great way to get to know a new place, and will allow you to find fresh fruits and vegetables. Use this as an opportunity to stock up on some vitamin-rich foods and snacks.
5) Customize existing food items
It’s just rude to walk into a ma and pa shop and start demanding they make you something vegan. Instead, take an existing menu item and ask them to modify it. I do this with pastas and salads by politely asking if “ it is possible to replace the chicken with more peppers?”
6) Take cooking classes
Cooking classes are all the rage for tourists! You can pretty much find classes anywhere. This will make a great opportunity to ask your instructor to identify foods and common ingredients in the case you find yourself in an unfamiliar country, like let’s say Italy. This way you won’t just assume Prosciutto is a spice, like an idiot! *looks around nervously*
7) Do your research
It’s so simple. Just take a moment to look up popular restaurants and their menus. Here are some great sites to find vegan and vegetarian-friendly places.
HappyCow, VegDining, VegGuide or you can look up the ‘ol UrbanSpoon and Yelp, and check their menus.