View Full Version : Vegan / business lunches

Nov 29th, 2004, 08:13 PM
How do you all handle the "business lunch." I'm typically not faced with this but just got an email back from a woman at the local Hospice. She wants me to write a series on a new program they are offering which is great. However she wants to get together and discuss it over lunch!!! There really are no vegan restaurants in the area. Whole food and organic are hard to find as well. But it is also a problem because I really prefer to do business in an office and to have social times with friends and keep the two seperate. As an aside, I'm trying to learn to have social times which don't include food.

Nov 29th, 2004, 08:30 PM
Hmm maybe you could explain to her you'd feel more comfortable doing the meeting in your office, that way all your "material" will be there and you don't have to worry about getting food on your papers....

I've never been in a situation like this before, so I don't know..

Nov 29th, 2004, 08:37 PM
I've done the lunch/conference thingy a few times. There is almost always a salad, usually horrible iceberg lettuce, tasteless tomatoes and some cuke so I'll pick at that or some fruit salad and just have lunch later. I find the whole thing very uncomfortable anyway, maybe you could try Tigerlily's suggestion.

Nov 29th, 2004, 09:19 PM
Even though I don't have the business lunch dilemma, it's happened before where the boss will insist on "us" going out together. They always act as if you are fussy and hard to get on with.

Just eating lunch around here is almost impossible. There is nothing reachable in downtown Columbus for an authentic vegan lunch. Just a salad. Maybe. I'm bringing my own food. Started last week. What a pain.

The guy at Subway told me that the veggie patty there contains eggs. Can't get any protein without cheese or eggs. No natural food or whole grain anywhere.

Chinese fried rice is white rice and they use chicken broth.

I give up. I'll have to carry.

Nov 30th, 2004, 05:58 AM
Business lunches are not in my environment, but today I met with 9 other women to have lunch at a community hall. We each brought a dish of something either savoury or sweet. Of course there was nothing at all that I could eat of their dishes (such as pork, mince, etc, or the desserts which were richly creamed). However, I took a tofu dish - cut the block into little cubes, marinated them in soysauce and olive oil overnight, then just before leaving home I put them under the grill. Everyone loved them, and tofu became a talking point at the table. I'm sure they won't be rushing down to buy any at the supermarket, except one woman, Hildred, who quietly asked me for the recipe, and I'm sure she will be a tofu fan. Hildred is fairly fussy about her food as she is allergic to dairy. It was pleasing that I hadn't wasted my time.:D

Nov 30th, 2004, 07:35 AM
Do what I do, take some vegan marg, in a tub and hummus and order a jacket potato and salad. If she queries it be truthful and say you are vegan.

Nov 30th, 2004, 09:51 AM
It's probably not quite as difficult to find somewhere reasonably vegan-friendly here in London, but in the past I have sometimes suggested meeting for coffee as an alternative to a business lunch. I find it pretty impractical to take notes etc while eating anyway.

Nov 30th, 2004, 01:10 PM
Andie, all you need do, is choose a geographically suitable restaurant, ring them up, tell them you are vegan and can they prepare you something as you will be bringing a client to lunch. Simple meals like baked potatoes with dressings and vegetable soup starters or penne pasta with a simple tomatoe sauce are a doddle for a chef to prepare.

Ask(in advance) you you will recieve!

Nov 30th, 2004, 05:15 PM
Good suggestions. Thanks all.
I like the idea of bringing my own topping for a potato. Or I may call the Mexican restaurant and see if the beans are lard-free. I try to avoid fat but I may have to compromise and have some veggie oil.
I panicked yesterday at the thought of lunch but now I'm getting okay with it. I was really sleepy yesterday.

Nov 30th, 2004, 06:29 PM
Most indian restaurants cater widely for vegans.

Dec 2nd, 2004, 02:29 AM
Most indian restaurants cater widely for vegans.

In my dreams! I just went to eat at an Indian with my manager and a bunch of co-workers (three Indians in all). Turns out, there was only one thing available in the restaurant that I could have. I forget what it was, but it wasn't very good. Everything else was made with ghee or butter or cream or milk. Nan bread is made with milk, and mostly, also with eggs.
I find that many (but not all) Chinese restaurants will have something edible. Thai can also be successful. However, Thai food often contains a fish-sauce that they use instead of soy sauce, and noone there will realise that would qualify as "animal product" :mad: Chinese dishes will often contain Oyster sauce. Now you know, you can ask for what is available without those things. But you really really need to be very specific about what you do not eat, i.e. "no eggs, no dairy, no milk, no cream, no butter, no meat, no fish, no oyster, no honey...".

I recently went on some job interviews which were partly conducted over lunch, and I was always very insistent that I be in control of where to go, and that it satisfy my needs. It may seem hard, but when you remember your convictions, it suddenly becomes very easy.

So I guess you need to find out what local options there are for you, and then tell this lady where to meet you. Or simply go with your suggestion of doing business in the office. Alternatively, you could maybe meet in a coffee shop where you know they have soy milk.

Either way - good luck!

Dec 2nd, 2004, 06:47 AM
I was going to say that about Indian restaurants. They cook everything in butter. If you ask "Does this have any dairy?" they will say "No," but meanwhile it was fried in butter.

Dec 2nd, 2004, 07:06 AM
Sorry to hear of your bad experience with Indian Food - sounds like it was a very westernised version of Indian Food.

The nan bread I buy is vegan and the Indian restaurants around here, cook with oil and have plenty of vegan curries.

I hope you have another opportunity to try another Indian restaurant sometime, which caters to vegans as much as omnis.

Dec 2nd, 2004, 07:40 AM
That may be the case, or perhaps it's being on "the Left coast" where the idea of being non-dairy isn't quite so foreign. There's a couple of Indian restaurants in Seattle that I frequent because they use only vegetable oil, and their food is good to boot. The one closest to me doesn't even bat an eye when you ask for a sauce without yogurt.
I would suspect the further you get from the coasts, into "the Heartland" that's where you see more adamant support for the local diary industries, and the expectation that one cannot make anything good without butter. I'm so glad I'm out of Ohio--I've done my time there: 8 years in Dayton, 6 years in Columbus, and 2 years in Cleveland.

Dec 2nd, 2004, 10:46 AM
Hi Guys

I notice that a few of you disagree with me about the vegan indian restaurant thing. I also notice you are in the States.

Well, I can only take from that, that over there your restaurants are heavy on milk and cream etc. (Isnt that a big problem in general with a North American diet?)

But I know that in the UK & Ireland, most indian restaurants would be aware of the needs of vegans through religion etc and many of their dishes have no animal product ingredients at all.

Even many of the traditional chip shops in Glasgow that I know of in the multi-cultural areas use two fryers for their chips (lard and vegetable oil) to cater for diverse needs.

Maybe the US needs to catch up.

Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:25 PM
I just can't bring myself to eat anywhere except a Vegan restaurant, or my house - we do very good three course meals here for under a fiver!!

Dec 2nd, 2004, 02:00 PM
I was going to say that about Indian restaurants. They cook everything in butter. If you ask "Does this have any dairy?" they will say "No," but meanwhile it was fried in butter.

I have no problem getting vegan Indian around where I work (Plainfield). I've been to several restaurants, explained no ghee, milk, cream etc. and they will use vegetable oil instead. Of course, this is the Little India region of NJ so I guess the restaurants know that competition is stiff.

Dec 4th, 2004, 10:10 PM
The Indian restaurant I go to is run by Indians. They're from northern India, and allegedly do northern Indian food very well. They are very careful to know exactly what can be eaten by Hindus and what by Jains. One of my friends that I went with is Jain, but Jains, of course, consume dairy without any problems. Root vegetables, not so readily (pulling them up can harm earth-dwelling creatures). They have a lot of dishes that they can make without any dairy, but they cook it all with butter to prevent it sticking to the pan. I would love to find an Indian that makes vegan food, as Indian is my favourite cuisine.

negavert - I was recently in Seattle, and was very pleased with how very vegan-friendly that beautiful city is! I went to a Chinese restaurant on Roy street (Bamboo Garden) that serve ONLY vegan food (although their fortune cookies contain eggs). I was blown away by this - I could order anything on the menu without having to ask what it contains or asking for things to be changed for me! That was awesome!
I also went to a Mediterranean (looked Turkish) place called Mediterranean Kitchen a coupla houses down on Roy street, which had a menu section that was entirely vegan. And a good-sized section, at that.

Where I live, in Brevard County, Florida (67% Bush, 33% Kerry), when you say you're vegan in a restaurant people look at you funny and comment how well you speak English, given that you're from another country. Vega, was it? Where is that again?

Now I just need to find someone to pay to move me to Seattle, and then pay me enough to be able to afford living there... *sigh*

Dec 9th, 2004, 04:11 AM
I have no problem getting vegan Indian around where I work (Plainfield). I've been to several restaurants, explained no ghee, milk, cream etc. and they will use vegetable oil instead. Of course, this is the Little India region of NJ so I guess the restaurants know that competition is stiff.
I have not had a problem either. There is one I used to eat at before I became Vegan. They had a menu dedicated to Vegan cuisine. Their food was fantastic. They relocated. I have not been back since becoming vegan. I love Indian food. :p I make it a lot at home.

Aug 22nd, 2005, 06:18 PM
Hello Everyone!!!!

When I'm home every food I may want or crave is either in a cabinet, the fridge or a drive away but when I go out with friends or co-workers to eat I feel like an alien.. I went to Olive Garden the other day and wanted some non-buttered breadsticks but luckily before I even grabbed one the waitress stated they had whey in them, SALAD it is!... I also had a lovely experience at Hooter's where they didn't have baked potatoes, pastas or salads that contained romaine lettuce..

Do you guys have any suggestions for me? As much as I would prefer to be going to a movie or playing a board game everyone else in my life prefers to socialize over a meal... Thanks in advance for all those who respond..


Aug 22nd, 2005, 07:43 PM
Tricky, isn't it?

Summer is good, cos you can take your own food to barbecues (how good that is depends on whether you are prepared to cook your food next to theirs or not).
You get strange looks as you mix up your burger mix - but their dry, burnt burger won't be a patch on a juicy (no danger of undercooking) vegeburger and vegetable kebab.

Chinese and Indian restaurants are good bets to find vegan foods - might be worth phoning round the area and seeing which ones are most accommodating of vegans.

Having people round to yours for drinks and buffet, or vice versa. They can bring meat dishes to yours and you can take vegan dishes to theirs. Quite a lot of vegan buffet food is popular (although non-vegans might get pointlessly non-vegan varieties) - eg bhajis, samosas, spring rolls, tortillas, salsa.

Aug 22nd, 2005, 10:27 PM
Sometimes I just have to eat before going out and then have a salad or grilled vegetables, etc. Goodness knows there aren't any beans, tofu or whole grains at most restaurants! I also bring vegan bars in my purse or car just in case.

Aug 22nd, 2005, 10:45 PM
If I haven't been somewhere before, I sometimes call them first to check if they are able to prepare something for me. Generally I have found most places to be really helpful and very accomodating. This biggest problems I find are with "country pubs" who serve meat or meat with cheese/cream or meat with meat!