the meat on the street

Do you eat meat? Why?

It is rare to get asked that but when you don’t eat meat, people ask all the time.

Why? Don’t you miss bacon?

I stopped eating meat over ten years ago – mostly as a personal dare. I was surrounded by family and friends who were vegetarian and I wanted to see if I could do it. In all honesty, it hasn’t been hard. Sure, boxing day sucks but I’m happy to throw a veggie burger on the barbecue and hand over my diner breakfast bacon to Mike. #luckyguy

Once I got in the groove, the thought of eating chickens, pigs and cows grossed me out. Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with others eating meat – and at times, I think I maybe should too (weak + the shakes + tiredness + frequent blood donor reject + carboholic + lazy with legumes) – but I am just not willing to go back.

To be clear… I am a lazy-half-ass vegetarian. Could I go vegan? Hell no! Eggs and cheese are my favourite. I went back to eating occasional seafood when I was pregnant with David (low blood pressure and iron + an emergency trip to the hospital can shake you up). I figure it is better for the economy to eat seafood in Nova Scotia so I do – just don’t make me boil a lobster. I wear leather but I make a conscious effort to buy products that are not tested on animals. I respect the local movement but shop online. I occasionally eat poutine and don’t question the gravy. I love gummies (are they still made with gelatine?). I don’t buy lard or meat stock but if meat lands on my plate, I happily push it aside and move on.

When my mom was in her twenties she was a vegetarian. It was the seventies and she was down with the cause. She has said many times it was much harder back then and I totally get it… we are spoiled with countless online resources and cookbooks, not to mention FAUX MEAT everything. If you dare.

So as easy as life as a vegetarian is in 2016, I can’t help but notice a new trend in Halifax Restaurants: Less meatless options than before and bacon everything!

To prove it, I thought it’d be fun to share a few menus I have found and make comments on why I’m tired of doubling up the appys.

La-Frasca-Menu

Above: LaFrasca Cibi and Vini – only one pasta, one pizza and two appetizers (none being salads) and no main dishes. Ordering ravioli always makes me nervous – sometimes you only get 4! Try rationing four ravioli squares over an hour long dinner. It’s just sad. BlackSheepAbove: Black Sheep – Brunch all day. Cocktails and small plates at night. I’ll try the Veggie Hash please but what I really want to know is WHERE IS THE VEGETARIAN EGGS BENNY!?!Field GuideAbove: Field Guide – A small restaurant in the North End of Halifax, Field Guide is dedicated to bridging the gap between diners and their food through an open concept kitchen and passionate service. Placing a big focus on supporting local farmers and producers, featuring NS craft beers and serving up some of the best cocktails around, Field Guide is a place to gather. $10 for cheese on toast! I actually got this one time and shared it with my friend. Suckers. I must admit, I have usually ended up at Field Guide for the drinks, not the food so I am eager to go and try the Gnocchi. Quail eggs freak me out.
batteryparkAbove: Battery Park Beer Bar and Eatery – Craft beers and small plates, designed for sharing. My friends (3 vegetarians) went here and had the nuts… This menu does not lure me to the Dark Side.

LotsixAbove: Lot 6 Bar and Restaurant – Small plates, big flavour. I went here with 7 others – they all ordered from the large plates and I had two appetizers and was cranky.Studio EastAbove: Studio East Food and Drink – Casual, global cuisine, local ingredient, sustainability. I plan to try the curry. TempleAbove: Temple Bar Cocktails & Kitchen – I’ve gone twice. As you can see, there are zero warm plates for vegetarians… I’ve had the cheese plate twice… The drinks are great.

* * *

Do you eat meat? Are you loving the current bacon obsession?

I asked a few of my friends and family why they were/are vegetarian and now I’d love to hear from you.

“A very long time ago (too many to think about), I stopped eating meat and fish for about a two year period. I’d like to think my decision was for good reasons such as animal welfare and health, but truthfully, although that may have been part of it, I believe it was mainly because I was a very poor university student living with a friend who by that time had been (and still is) vegetarian for a number of years. My first professional job with NS Environment involved a lot of travel and a lot of eating out. At that time there were essentially no “vegetarian items” on menus so you simply ordered whatever without the meat or fish. Grilled cheese sandwiches (in fact most) were were made with processed cheese – you get the picture. Anyway after several months started to crave meats and one day, I just gave in – am very supportive of the vegetarian diet and always conscious of restaurant menus. I agree that the food industry seems to be more focussed on gluten-free choices – somewhat unfortunate in my opinion…” – Theresa (my mom)

11696562_10155815206835111_9115141172801894658_oMy mom and older sister Erin

“This sounds lame but I always knew I would be a vegetarian. I didn’t, however, make much of an effort to switch to a vegetarian diet until university. The meats served at the dining hall started to gross me out. I’ve been vegetarian for almost 20 years now. Since I enjoy cooking it’s not hard to eat at home but eating out is still a challenge. I don’t think it’s just Halifax – almost every restaurant I go to has such limited vegetarian choices. More times than none its not even a choice – it’s only one meal. It vexes me that restaurants are more willing to provide lots of gluten free options but not vegetarian options. Although I’ve been raising Sam and Margaret vegetarian I’m thinking of introducing meat into their diets because of the challenge of eating out when there are so few vegetarian options” – Erin (my sister)

” I became a vegetarian because I felt it wasn’t right that something died so I could eat – especially as I didn’t need meat to survive and could do just as well on alternative sources of protein…Vegetarianism is on the increase in the UK – as is flexitarianism (cutting right back on meat and having meat free periods). Maybe it’s not the same trend in Canada?” – Rachel (my sister-in-law)

“I temporarily became vegetarian after I paid for and watched a goat be slaughtered whilst on a camel trek in India. The next day i had serious bathroom issues. Two years later, I got drunk, smelled hot dogs and sausages on the bbq, and had an amazing meal. I love vegetarian options, making vegetarian meals, and making fun of vegetarians….but I love my medium rare steak more!” – Jill (my sister)

“I became a vegetarian for a boy a long time ago. I didn’t eat well and carb loaded like crazy and was always on the hunt for fake meat products to enjoy. While I was pregnant with my first, I day dreamed of roast chicken a lot. After she was born the thought remained and I had some and haven’t looked back. Restaurant menus in Halifax have definitely changed but I must admit that I got sick of vegetable penne and portobello mushroom everything a long time ago. The small plate sharing thing is lovely but I must say some cheeses and nut packed salads would be good too” – Sarah (my friend)

“Like Erin, I always kind of thought it inevitable that I’d become a vegetarian. Luckily the whole family went vegetarian while Erica and I were still teenagers so the switch was pretty easy since our mom was doing all the real work. Twenty years in I’d say my primary motivation is environmental with my health and animal welfare as happy secondary benefits. As for finding meat-free options in Halifax as we have discussed I think the new crop of restaurants has really dropped the ball (2 Doors Down being an exception). And my number one pet peeve is salads with meat in them – so unnecessary!” – Amanda (my friend)

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Bon appetite!

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*I went back to eating occasional seafood when I was pregnant with David (low blood pressure and iron + an emergency trip to the hospital can shake you up). I figure it is better for the economy to eat seafood in Nova Scotia so I do – just don’t make me boil a lobster.

 

meanwhile, elsewhere

Friday’s online finds: Inspirational, educational or just silly. Here is what I found this week…

meanwhile_5 meanwhile_6 meanwhile_3 meanwhile_8 meanwhile_7 meanwhile_4 meanwhile_1 meanwhile_9 meanwhile_2

  • Have I mentioned Serial? Here are some other similar podcasts to listen to while you wait for the next episode
  • I am pretty sure this will taste awesome
  • … and serve it with this
  • If Our Bodies Could Talk … He’s adorable, hilarious and a doctor that does these 4 minute videos on subjects like “Wine Is Healthy—Isn’t It? It Is—No?”, “CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side”, “Things Not to Say to a Pregnant Woman” and “Never Tell People How Old They Look”. Hilarious
  • Trailer for Le Petit Prince!
  • Chew on this
  • Meet Marsala: Pantone’s Colour of the Year
  • This is great… probably because I watched every one of these shows. No shame.
  • Staying vegetarian: The most tempting day of the year for me is boxing day = hot turkey sandwich, I’m eying you

Have a lovely weekend! I am not here. And by here, I mean Halifax. Crashing the office party in Montreal.

BTW: New festive hashtag time #nschristmas. Use it.

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg

no animals were harmed

So I get a text from my sister (the non vegetarian one) asking if I want to attend a vegan protein cooking class at a restaurant in Halifax. Sure, why not?

No judging, but I am what you’d call a don’t-ask-don’t-tell-vegetarian, meaning, I don’t purposely eat meat. I do eat fish but I rarely cook fish. I will eat poutine unless you straight out tell me there is meat in the gravy (and I may still eat it). If you flip your meaty burger then flip my veggie burger with the same spatula I don’t really care. If we are out for breakfast, I will order the bacon and happily transfer it to your plate. I do my best to purchase only products not tested on animals but I wear leather because my thought is it lasts longer than pleather, which is good for the environment. Get it?

So, back to the class. It was on a Monday night and you are suppose to come with an empty stomach. No joke. It was over 2 hours long and they hammered out an appetizer, 3 main courses and a two tier dessert (and you get to eat it all!) plus showed us a few techniques and gave us the low down on vegan protein. No worries, it was not preachy. Yes, of course they promoted veganism but they also emphasized that you don’t need to be a full-time vegan, just consider it as a healthy option. And I must say, the food was delicious! I was a little nervous because I am not totally on board with ditching dairy. I can not imagine a life without cheese and milk chocolate. Say what you want, but dark chocolate is not the same. Plus, what about chocolate milk!

Anyway… the other cool thing about the class is we received a 16 page PDF the day before that had all of the recipes plus more and literature on vegan protein. The class however was not Junior High Home Economics in the way that we were doing it ourselves but there was a nifty ceiling mirror to see the action from above. We sat back, drank our purified chilled water and took notes. Ate a bit then ate a lot.

If you are looking for a nice night out in Halifax, I’d totally recommend this. My only suggestion was they’d serve a glass of wine … or allow you to bring your own (local organic of course). Maybe you can? I didn’t think about it.

I will tell you what we ate but first I MUST tell you about the spiralizer (Paderno World Cuisine Spiral Vegetable Slicer). I have not tried it at home, but I am convinced it will make a lover out of any vegetable hater. It basically turns raw veg into glorious spirals in seconds! It will look like a plate of pasta but healthier. I think we all need this.

As for being a vegan… I get it – I know the benefits. My only problem (besides the cheese and chocolate milk) is it seems complicated. There is a lot of prep and process. Whatching her make almond milk was exhausing. Cutting, chopping, squeezing, processing, baking, oh my! I feel like you’d need to commit a Sunday to cooking and maybe vegan or not, people do this. Maybe I should do this? I was told a great resource is Oh She Glows, a crazy-popular vegan blog. As respect to my fellow bloggers, I will follow her and attempt to try a few things. If not for myself, but for anyone who dares to come over for dinner.

How about you? Have you gone vegan and won’t look back? Any must try recipes? Would you eat a vegan donair? Would you eat a donair? Do you even know what a donair is?

And finally, here is what we ate… of course, I took some pics for my peeps but sorry, I forgot to snap a picture of the dessert. To be honest, it was my least favourite thing.

Appetizer:
Chipotle Black Bean Dip with Crostini (which contained the homemade salsa she made) photo 1

Main Courses:
Seitan Donair (which contained the homemade donair spice and sauce… with a homemade almond aioli in it) photo 3
Lentil Shepherd’s Pie photo 5
Soba Noodle Salad (but spiralized veg instead of soba noodles) with Crispy Tofu and Sweet and Sour Plum Sauce photo 4

Dessert:
Chocolate Protein Bar and Raspberry Chia Seed Layered Pudding photo 2 Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 11.03.48 AM

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