Day four of my Memphis Vegan Challenge, and I’m feeling pretty great about it. My body feels good. My mind feels good. It’s been completely manageable in Memphis, TN to order vegan food without sounding like a complete jerk. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about:
Vegan Customer: “Excuse me, but I’m vegan. What can I order?”
Server: “Well, there are several things on the menu that have no meat. Is egg or dairy okay?”
Vegan Customer: “Absolutely not! That’s what vegan means… no animal products. Jeeze. Get it straight if you’re going to work in food services.”
Server: “Well, I didn’t want to assume. You are wearing leather shoes.”
Annoying, right? I’d like to not come off as a total ass, so I’ve been either looking online, calling ahead, or asking informed questions to the servers that don’t include, “I’M VEGAN. LOOK AT MEEEEEE! BOW BEFORE MY SELFLESSNESS AND ASPIRE TO MY SPIRITUAL ELEVATION!”
Now, not being an idiot to servers is easy when you’re going somewhere like Paradise Cafe in Memphis. Just ask for no cheese or mayo on the sandwich, and make sure the veggie gazpoucho doesn’t include meat or meat stock. Nicely asking informed questions isn’t hard or annoying, especially when it’s done with a smile and in a timely manner. Paradise Cafe is a small place in East Memphis that focuses on healthy choices for lunch. They’ve been around since I was little, and I remember going to get fruit and yogurt plates there with my mother.
veggie sandwich and gazpacho from Paradise Cafe
Then again, trying to not come across as weird at somewhere like the Cracker Barrel would perhaps prove to not be so effortless.
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store AKA Vegan Hell.