This post is part of Vegan MoFo, the Vegan Month of Food. Enjoy, and visit other MoFo bloggers this month too!
Oh, Seattle. You are such a complicated woman of a city. At once a bastion of liberal hipster music-making vegan love and a hub of wanna-be-swanky-hotel-loving, fancying-myself-a-foodie business travelers.
Remember that lovely spring trip I took to Seattle to see my in-laws, during which I ate the Best Broccoli Ever Made and enjoyed the prettiest little fruit plate? Everywhere I went, I was happy to discover that being in the Northwest (even outside my beloved Portland), I could ask for a vegan option and receive something amazing.
The Seattle I once knew
Yeah, this was not that trip.
Our hotel had a “hidden gem” of a hotel bar, according to Yelp. Every review raved about something–the fries, the Caesar salad, the decor. So, when hunger hit and we had a schedule to follow, I pushed for a quick and easy dinner at the hotel bar. (This is me when I’m hungry: “You guys know we’re leaving in ten minutes for dinner, right?” “Ok, that’s a really interesting tweet, but you know we’re leaving in 7 minutes, right?” “Ok, one more drink you guys, but you know we’re leaving in 3 minutes, right?” It’s not pretty.)
When we finally arrived at the hotel bar (a long journey of one flight of stairs and a wheelchair ramp), it appeared to be everything we’d hoped–a beautiful room with a fireplace and and oak bar, complete with a four-page menu of dinner options. I can totally find something here!
Three pages of meat and cheese later, I was happy to find they served individual pizzas–usually a veggie pizza with no cheese is a safe bet for me. I ordered it that way (even reiterated!), and joked with my friends about the odds the pizza would show up slathered in cheese. I had been very clear with the guy taking our order, though, and I had faith.
Well, unsurprisingly, the story does not end with me getting a vegan pizza. Once the server showed up with my pizza–10 minutes after all the other food had arrived–she held it above eye-level for several seconds, apologizing for the wait and allowing us to move plates around to make room for it. When she finally set it down (to the relief of my friend who was anxiously awaiting the verdict), it was obvious that this “pizza” was basically a cracker-weight vehicle for the pound of melted mozzarella and shaved parmesan on top.
I politely explained that I had ordered it without cheese. She said “you mean without parmesan cheese?” I said “No, without any cheese.” She sighed, looked at me like I was nuts, and started to walk away with it. I stopped her, realizing it would be another 30 minutes before I’d get a pizza I could eat, and said I’d just have a hummus plate: “That should be quick, right?”
I should have realized something funky was going on when my hummus plate took 10 more minutes to arrive. YEAH. What at first appeared to be your average assortment of pita and tomatoes became, upon closer inspection, a running joke for the weekend. The hummus was served to me IN A BOWL MADE OF CHEESE. Seriously.
Now, I’ve eaten a lot of hummus platters in my life, and I’ve never had it served to me in a vessel made of cheese. I wish I had taken a picture of this thing before my friends devoured it (after I ate the hummus, avoiding the cheese–I was hungry). It was the strangest thing, and we were all sure the cook had played a joke to get back at me for sending back the pizza. Wife and my friend insisted we should not have to pay for it, and when the waitress came to take our plates, I asked if the hummus always came in a cheese bowl. Finally, a look of “ohhhhhh” set in on our waitress’s face–it was always served in a cheese bowl, and she didn’t even make the connection.
After questioning me about why I don’t eat cheese (“So you just don’t like it?” was her first question), she finally offered to take my meal off the bill. DUH.
So, peeps–have you had animal products served to you in the most unlikely of dishes? I’m guessing hummus in a cheese bowl is a fairly unusual experience. What are some more common restaurant pitfalls?