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Where the vegetarians roam

By Alex BruvelsStaff Contributor

I am the furthest one could be from a vegetarian. There is nothing I like more than sinking my carnivorous teeth into a cut of rare prime rib or a fatty piece of Brome Lake duck. As of late, however, I have noticed a shift in my appetite.
It started when I was conned into a vegetarian pizza by a hippie friend of mine. It was in a tiny family owned pizzeria in small town New York State last summer. I recall thinking: “Vegetarian pizza? What a crock!” To my surprise and delight I was presented with a delicate blend of several cheese including chevre and fresh mozzarella, fresh cherry tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, aromatic mushrooms and a blend of spices that was enough to tantalize the taste buds of even the most cynical meat lover.
I began to question my previous meatatarian ways. Was it possible that vegetarian food wasn’t all bad? Whenever I ate out at restaurants, I began to sample the vegetarian options on the menu and found that more often than not they were superb.
Heather McGuire, a fourth-year political science student at Dalhousie has been a vegetarian for two and a half years, mainly for health and ethical reasons. Some of her favourite places include Satisfaction, Pete’s Froutique, Sushi Nami and the Wooden Monkey.
When asked how it was finding good vegetarian options at regular restaurants, she said that it was usually pretty easy to find at least one or two entrée options, and salads were usually a safe bet. Many restaurants in an effort to be somewhat vegetarian-friendly incorporate at least one or two options on their menu. The following are a few restaurants in Halifax worth checking out for their vegetarian options.

Chaba Thai (5234 Blowers St.)
Genre: Casual Thai dining.
Dish: Cashew vegetables: stir fried zucchini, peppers, green beans, snow peas, onions, carrots, in a chilli paste sauce garnished with toasted cashews.
Cost: $11

Chives Bistro (1537 Barrington St.)
Genre: Casual, extraordinary dining with an emphasis on seasonal and fresh Nova Scotian ingredients.
Dish: Stuffed portobello mushroom cap with grilled autumn vegetable salad, macaroni and three cheeses, poached garlic and greenhouse cherry tomato salad.
Cost: $19

Coastal Café (2731 Robe St.)
Genre: Café layout but to chalk up the food as anything less than exceptional is an understatement.
Dish: Mexican vegetable, bean, Spanish rice burrito with jack cheese, guacamole and salsa.
Cost: $9.50

The Carleton (1685 Argyle St.)
Genre: Casual, yet understated; a smattering of Canadian pub food and fine dining dishes brought to a more approachable level.
Dish: Grilled vegetable Napoleon: grilled layers of Portobello, zucchini, eggplant, fennel, peppers and onions, with goat cheese and balsamic drizzle. It is also served with house salad.
Cost: $13.75

The Wooden Monkey (1707 Grafton St.)
Genre: Emphasis on organic and locally grown. A strong commitment to health and a strong aversion to deep fryers (they don’t have one). Also a strong presence of vegan and vegetarian options are available.
Dish: Seitan sandwich: sliced seitan, lettuce, tomato, white cheddar, mushrooms, onions and mayo in a thin pita.
Cost: $14

Saege (5883 Spring Garden Rd.)

Genre: Bistro highlighting a wide variety of tantalizing pastas and pizzas in a crisp urban setting.
Dish: Oven roasted manicotti ricotta, goat cheese, seared asparagus, wilted rocket and cauliflower veloute.
Cost: $19

The Greek Village (6253 Quinpool Rd.)
Genre: Tiny and inviting, the food makes you feel like you’re actually back in your mom’s kitchen … if your mom is Greek.
Dish: Spanakopita: phylo pastry stuffed with spinach and feta cheese. It is also served with Greek salad, roasted potatoes and rice.
Cost: $10.45

So as much as it may pain you to tear yourself away from that same medium-rare tenderloin or slightly varying chicken dish you’ve been ordering every time you’ve dined out over the past five years – take a chance. Take a chance on vegetables and you may be pleasantly surprised; at the very least your mom will be happy.

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