Having been on lovely Cape Cod since late Monday night I thought I would take the opportunity to catch up on my reading and explore my surroundings (and see what sort of Vegan splendors they had around here for a gal like me). Sadly, I found that there were no 100% Vegan restaurants around, some cafes that boasted “vegan friendly” on their websites, but I needed more of a… dinner.
So after much investigation I was thrilled when I found a little Middle Eastern restaurant only a minute away from where I was staying in Hyannis- Ardeo. For an appetizer, I ordered the Middle East Mezza that came with Baba Ghannouj, Hommus, Tabouleh, and a chick pea salad (that normally comes with cucumber yogurt but they were happy to give me the chick peas without the yogurt when I asked). For dinner, I went with a nice big salad called Greens, Fruit and Nuts that was a delicious combination of dried apricots, cranberries, figs and mixed nuts and came with a tasty balsamic dressing (again they were happy to make the salad without the cheese when I inquired). With an extensive specialty drink menu, I have to say that I was very happy with my choice- a Pear Martini to wash it all down!
As for last night, I allowed my internet browsing stumble upon a tapas and martini bar- again right in Hyannis. Embargo had a lovely patio (that was too full to sit on) but I didn’t mind at all. The comfortable seating and the romantic lighting allowed for an easy and fun time! The waiter informed me of how it typically works- that he would leave me a menu and that I could order a little at a time until I was full. Again, for an appetizer I went with the hommus- this time with lemon juice and tabouli salad that was all mixed together. It appeared to be blended with some roasted red pepper which gave it a beautiful color. For my main coarse I had a vegetable sushi that featured a happy meld of carrot, avacado and rice in a seaweed wrap. (I went with the 4 piece instead of the 8 piece and I was happy for it because of how much food it ended up being). And what to drink but the Hot and Dirty Martini! This twist on my regular dirty martini with just a splash of hot sauce really did the trick (and I have a feeling that they will be a staple at my dinner parties from now on).
Overall, both places were wonderful- but it did get me thinking. Is the vegetarian/vegan demographic so small that there are hardly any dinner options on Cape Cod that don’t include fish or meat? I understand that the fishing industry accounts for a huge part of the economy (especially in the small fishing towns that have fishermen that go back for 6 generations or more). But these traditions come at a price even if they are financially stable. Without getting into the gorey details about a trade off between their financial stability and the moral responsibility we have on this planet (not to mention the health benefits of a vegan lifestyle), I still find it mind boggling that I had to search high and low to find only 2 places to eat where I could easily modify their selections to make them vegan.
I searched around the internet for some Vegan Stats- surprisingly difficult to come by. Some of the results that I found were a little useful, although outdated. I also found some numbers put out by the Vegetarian Resource Group in 2011 that found 5% of Americans polled to be vegetarian and about half of that number to be vegan . According to these, by not having vegetarian/vegan options on your menu, you are alienating around 5% of the population right? Wrong.
I can tell you one thing, if I was with a group of people and we were going out to eat- you better believe that part of that decision would be made based on whether or not I would be able to eat at all. So in fact, you are not just losing the business of that 5%, but you are actually losing the business of the omnivores they’re eating with as well- they’ll all simply go someplace else. From a pure business standpoint- it doesn’t make sense.
I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that noted some bakeries are frightened that a vegan proclaimation might even scare away customers. Sales for some of these stores actually increased when they took down vegan labels. Crazy world.
I love beach towns. I love the ocean and the sand- the sun-bleached buildings and the salty air. I would love to live in a place like this (not necessarily the Cape but one of the many beach towns that litter the coast would be nice). However, it’s becoming abundantly clear that I may have to open up a little restaurant so that my closest vegan converts and I can have something to eat while we drink our fancy martinis.