Last week I was in Asheville, NC. Once again, I was struck by the number and quality of vegetarian restaurants. This is definitely a national trend! Like me, most of the locals I met were not strict vegetarians. They ate at these places for a variety of reasons, the most common of which was the tastiness of the food. Often mentioned, as well, was the fact that people felt good about eating fewer animals, eating more vegetables, and trying something new. The best meals I had (yes, I could not resist eating there twice) were at Plant, a recently-opened vegan restaurant on Merrimon Road. The food there was amazing, especially the grilled tofu topped with a coconut-red-curry sauce and served on a bed of terryaki- glazed broccoli. I also had a (cultured-nut-) cheese plate that I could never have made at home. Asheville even boasts a drive-thru (!) vegetarian restaurant, Veg Heads, that I am hoping will spark copy-cat offerings near me. Veg Heads’ menu (mostly soups and sandwiches) was a little more prosaic than at some of the other places I went, but it was great to have a healthy fast food option. I love the fact that “eating closer to the ground” has become more mainstream. As a confirmed omnivore, even I can appreciate the environmental (and perhaps ethical) need to evolve away from a “meat and potatoes” lifestyle.
I would love to hear about any recommended vegetarian restaurants or catering companies in your area. Is this trend as prevalent as it seems? My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org, or just leave a comment below. Thanks!