Thursday, July 11, 2013

Happy Vegan Birthday to Me

I had the nicest birthday dinner with Rick and a few friends earlier this week, at one of the best restaurants in Taos. Getting a good vegan meal in a restaurant in New Mexico is no easy thing, but with a little planning it all worked out beautifully. There's a trick to dining out that vegans need to get comfortable with, and that's simply calling ahead and asking for what you want. More often than not a restaurant with a good chef will be more than willing to either modify an existing dish for you, or come up with something new. And the more we ask for vegan fare, the more restaurants will realize there are lots of us out here, hungry and looking for someplace to spend our money. The smart ones will feed us!

Lambert's of Taos is a well established local favorite, recently moved into a larger space once occupied by the Apple Tree. When I checked to see if the chef might possibly consider making something vegan for Rick and me, the instant answer was yes. I should admit here that my daughter used to work for the owners in a different restaurant, so we sort of had an "in" with the kitchen. But I'm fairly sure they would be just as happy to accommodate other vegans who drop in for lunch or dinner. It's that kind of place.

We reserved a table on the patio, and were treated to a beautiful warm Taos evening, free of the blustering thunderstorms that are common here this time of year. We settled in with good friends, tasty beverages, and pleasant and helpful servers.

Basically we ordered off the menu, with only small modifications. The beet salad was excellent, and leaving off the goat cheese wasn't a problem at all. Rick had a green salad that only needed the cheese left off too, so again, we didn't cause too much of a kitchen fuss.

We both ordered the risotto, and they were ready to make it vegan style for us because we'd called ahead. It was rich and creamy and wonderful with vegetable broth, fresh vegetables, and of course no butter or cheese. I wouldn't have changed a thing, and couldn't have asked for a better birthday feast.

The moral of the story: Don't think that because there are no vegan restaurants in reach you can't go out to eat. Be brave. Make a phone call. Ask for vegan food, and expect a yes because you're likely to get it. I know for sure you'll be well fed in Taos if you find your way to Lambert's.


Peggy Wilkins said...

Thanks for the calling-ahead tip, I haven't tried that yet. I am usually OK when I ask them to leave the cheese or dressing off a salad or dish when I order. The other trick is to avoid chain restaurants that mostly pre-assemble the dishes for speed and cost. My bday was also this week, but luckily we have great options here in NYC, and my non-vegan teens were very happy with their options at Cafe Blossom here!

Jean said...

That is a lovely story--Happy Birthday to you, Kim!
xox jean

Kim Miles said...

Thanks Jean! And Peggy - I have total restaurant envy! Happy Birthday!