Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Giovanni's Italian Restaurant
In this, the season of holiday parties and other festive get togethers, vegans sometimes get left out in the cold (hopefully not literally). I've found it gets better as the years go by, but I still expect to find myself attending at least one lunch/dinner/party/whatever where I spend the whole time crankily snacking on baby carrots and staring at cookies I can't eat.
I wasn't really thinking about what I would eat when Milo and I set off for a lunch in honour of some of my coworkers retiring that also served as my office Christmas gathering. I was mostly excited to see my colleagues again and they were super excited to see me. Ha! Just kidding! They wanted to see the baby.
It wasn't until we actually sat down at our table in the surprisingly glamourous Giovanni's restaurant (the website sings to you, be warned) that I thought, uh oh, this is a traditional Italian restaurant. I've never had much luck finding interesting vegan dishes in these kinds of places.
When the waiter came by I asked him about soup. Our conversation went like this:
Me: "Is your fagioli vegetarian?"
Him: "Sadly, no."
Me: "What about the minestrone?"
Him: "No, sorry."
Me: "Are any of your soups vegetarian?"
Him: "Well... no. Our chef's idea of making a soup vegetarian is to only add one veal bone to the stock."
Gross. But I appreciated his honesty and he was very friendly and did not act annoyed by my questions.
I ordered brushetta (minus cheese) where the soup would have been, and got my hopes up high about a beet salad that the menu described as "roasted yellow beets, red endive, avocado, truffle vinegrette." I was right to get excited. It was vegan without me having to ask for any substitutions. And when it arrived it looked beautiful.
And holy, it was delicious. The flavours were perfect together and the beets were somewhat magical. Some of my colleagues tasted them and agreed that they were delicious. And not a veal bone in sight.
I have no idea what the dinner menu would be like for vegans, but I would certainly recommend Giovanni's for lunch if you are with a group of omnivores and don't want to feel short changed. Unless you're in the mood for soup.