We were recently in Afendi’s having lunch, when we started chatting with a couple from Marin County. They had decided to come up to Petaluma for lunch with the caveat that the meal had to be vegan. Like vegetarians, vegans eat no meat, fish or chicken. However, unlike vegetarians, vegan diets also exclude all animal products, including dairy, eggs and honey.
Challenging? Well, it used to be. However, nowadays, being able to find vegetarian and vegan food is no longer a problem. There are plenty of options, even in the fast food world, and we visited several of our Plaza North restaurants to find out what’s possible.
Our first stop was Mongolian BBQ, where we found a wide range of ingredients just waiting to be put together and cooked into a delicious, healthy colorful bowl. Tofu, broccoli, bean sprouts, carrots, onions, are just a few of the possibilities. Mixed up with some noodles or rice, flavored with a savory sauce of your choosing and then quick grilled, Mongolian BBQ is a vegan feast. Lunch is $10 and dinner is $13. Mongolian BBQ is located at 255 N. McDowell (between Trader Joe’s and Kmart). Phone (707) 778-8600.
Adjacent to Mongolian BBQ is Fuji Japanese Restaurant. Fuji has a both a dinner and lunch menu for vegetarians and includes sushi, entrees, and a lunchtime vegetarian bento box. Fuji is also located at 255 N. McDowell (between Trader Joe’s and Kmart) Phone: (707) 778-8600
Afendi’s Turkish Grill also has a full menu of delicious middle eastern items that are vegetarian and vegan friendly. Our favorite is the Mediterranean Mezza – a great combo of different, delicious salads and middle eastern treats, from savory to spicy including eggplant, humus, dolmas and whatever else is on Chef Joe’s mind that day. Afendi’s is located at 299 N. McDowell (by CVS). Phone (707) 763-1998.
Even our fast food restaurants, Burger King and Subway, offer options for vegetarian and vegan dining. We enjoy the vegetable sandwich at Subway, substituting avocado for cheese for a delicious, crunchy, satisfying sandwich. Subway Sandwiches also offers a full ingredient list of all of their food products – which is a great go-to guide if you are not entirely sure what to order.
Burger King offers a full nutritional, allergen and ingredient list for their foods. Print it up and check it out before your next meal out. Burger King is located at 211 N. McDowell. Phone (707) 778-6671
Starbucks also offers vegetarian and vegan options for customers. We like the hot chocolates and the smoothies with soy milk, for starters! If you are looking for lunch, try the veggie bistro box or check out the other veggie ideas. Like Subway and Burger King, Starbucks also has an online ingredient list for doublechecking before dining. Starbucks is located at 205 N. McDowell. Phone (707) 763-2741.
Remember – when in doubt, ask your server or the chef! They will be happy to help you pick out the best option, no matter what your dietary needs are.That’s what we did at Don Pancho’s. The delicious vegetable fajita was “off-menu” but they had it on our table in no time. The verdict? Delicious!