Vegetarian in the City: An Ongoing Journey

The most common question I get asked as a vegetarian is, “so, what do you eat?” Umm, really? What do you eat? Food, I presume. Okay, so that is the smart ass in me more so than anything, but seriously there are a lot of options out there for vegetarians. No, I do not eat salad for every meal, nor do I only consume macaroni and cheese or pizza (although that does sound extremely tempting).

So back to the point, there are so many fabulous restaurants around Cleveland that cater to vegetarians. In fact, many restaurants have a separate vegetarian/vegan menu that is available if you ask (i.e. Blue Point Grille, Pier W, and Clifton Wine Bar). I don’t understand why you have to ask for it specially, as everyone would benefit from some vegetarian eating a few times a week.

Now, I’ve been a vegetarian my entire life, and up until the last ten years or so, it hasn’t always been so easy. Meat substitutes were not readily available, and frankly, many people were far less educated on the issue. People are much more concerned with their health nowadays, especially as more information comes out as to what exactly is going on with our food. I’ve mentioned more than once that Cleveland is a fabulous city with great food, which includes vegetarian and vegan friendly meals!

Two of my favorite places to get a fabulous, vegetarian meal in Cleveland are located almost right next door. If you haven’t been to The Flaming Ice Cube in Public Square, you need to add that to your must visit lists. Regardless of whether or not you eat meat, the food there is delicious. And if you aren’t feeling adventurous, you can always opt for one of their decadent smoothies. My personal favorite is the Buffalo Panini ($7.45). They use a spicy buffalo chick’n spread, fresh spinach, tomato and onion pressed in ciabatta bread – it’s so amazing! Once I’m done inhaling the panini, I always have to order some of their vegan chocolate chip cookies. They are some of the best cookies I’ve ever had!

The other restaurant I referenced above is Pura Vida. Also located in Public Square, Pura Vida has a very modern and sophisticated vibe. Although they serve plenty of non-vegetarian items, they have an entire menu devoted to non-meat options. The Smoked Portobello Gyro ($11) is a delicious combination of flavors, while the the Simple Salad with Mackenzie goat cheese, shaved onion, dried cherries and mustard-sherry vinaigrette ($9) is completely satisfying.

Now, if you venture slightly south to Tremont, you’ll find another one of my favorites – Ty Fun Thai Bistro. My fiance loves this particular restaurant, so we frequent there quite regularly. Luckily I alwayshave a slew of choices, as they serve more than ten vegetarian meals. The Tofu Lad Nar ($12) is one my favorites, made with pan-fried flat rice noodle and egg (which is optional) topped with baby corn, Chinese broccoli, carrot, cauliflower and crispy or steamed tofu in a light garlic brown sauce. Their traditional Pad Thai is also incredible.

More to come, as there are so many great options available in our culinary metropolis known as Cleveland.

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