Dining Out In The Raw

Last month, I was able to live vicariously through Kristen Suzanne as she lead her readers on a gastronomical tour of Manhattan's raw vegan restaurants, cafes and juice bars. Occasionally, I can do the same à la Gena at Choosing Raw or, on the left coast, Debbie Does Raw. I've enjoyed a virtual dining experience at Pure Food & Wine, Quintessence, Caravan of Dreams, Candle 79, Blossom, Bonobo's, Au Lac, and Cru. Luckily, I have a very vivid imagination, but still, I much prefer an actual dining experience.

Here in my neck of the woods, there aren't any living food restaurants. Does that stop me from enjoying a lunch out with my gal pals or an evening meal with a special someone? Au contraire, mon frère. Although, I'll grant you, the fast food joints have lost a considerable amount of revenue since I stopped visiting their drive-thru windows a year ago.

Actually, it's rather easy to dine out at any of the chains like Applebee's and TGI Friday's, or ethnic eateries – Japanese, Thai, Middle Eastern, Italian – and eat a high-raw vegan meal. You can always order entree-size salads and extra sides of steamed or lightly sautéed veggies. Brown rice is a good standby and if you're not gluten intolerant, you can choose whole wheat pastas and pitas.

But these days, particularly in the summer months when fresh, just-picked produce is so readily available, I gravitate toward raw foods. After 12 months, my body-mind-spirit is happiest when I abstain from cooked food and eat primarily raw, living foods. That's why I came up with this laminated card I can present to restaurant servers:
I got the idea from Victoria Boutenko who mentioned in her book "12 Steps To Raw Food" (note to self: do a review of that book soon) that her friend carries a similar business-card size in his wallet. Since I started using my card – more like a 3x5 size – it's eliminated all the guesswork and lengthy explanations in communicating with the wait staff. The best part? I've had some fabulous meals! And, more often than not, the chef has come out of the kitchen and visited my table to make sure the meal was to my satisfaction.

So, tell me, what do you typically do when eating out to prevent getting derailed from your chosen raw and/or vegan lifestyle?

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