Thursday, October 11, 2012

put a bird on it and call it a restaurant


I've had some interesting experiences in dining and food this week.

First off this week I ate in a very expensive restaurant named after a type of bird. After I got over the name, I marveled at the whimsy of a beef tartare with fried oysters then later, fois gras profiteroles. It didn't offend me. Michael can't stop talking about it, probably to make friends with other needlessly pretentious Portland foodie hipsters.

Later in the week I heard an argument about how to make a menu more vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free. I'm new around here, and I don't want to come off as an asshole before I inevitably do, so I stressed and strained to keep my mouth shut. I suffered though it, discovering that if I don't stop chugging wine, I am less inclined to use my mouth for any other purpose.

So I was having a little meal at my neighborhood spot where I overheard a staff meeting taking place at a nearby table around 3:30 in the afternoon. The meeting was to discuss front-of-house operations, and since servers are often loud-mouthed alcoholics it was easy to eavesdrop. Point is, one of the servers brought up the fact that the menu is "less vegan/gluten-free than it pretends to be." Generally, lists of food you can choose to purchase or not to purchase don't "pretend" to be anything else, but I'll let it slide. She went on to explain "It's Portland standard to show which menu items are vegan/gluten-free." So I don't personally understand why this is a "standard." I've been pretty good at knowing which foods come from animals and which foods come from wheat-germ.

Here's a quick list of things you should avoid if you have a gluten-free diet:

  • Bread
  • Soy sauce
  • Hayrides

And if you are vegan, avoid these foods:

  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Shoe leather

These are explicitly off limits for both diets:

  • Beef Wellington
  • Happiness

Sorry haters. I enjoy a good slice of pepperoni pizza now and then.

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