The Meatless Experiment

From the November 8, 2012 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

My favorite food is bacon. My second favorite food is steak. I’m a pretty big meat eater. It’s not Ron Swanson levels, but definitely a major part of my diet.

So I decided to see what it would be like to go vegetarian for a week. Would I get meat withdrawals, the meat shakes? Would I break down and chow on my dad’s famous chicken wings during a football game? As it turned out, none of this happened and being a vegetarian was quite enjoyable.

Finding vegetarian options wasn’t difficult at all. Eating at my favorite spots just meant ordering something other than the usual. Instead of getting a Philly Cheesesteak at Little Palace, I got the Sausage Mushroom pizza, sans sausage obviously. Ordering the eastern portion of a Western omelet — no ham — didn’t mean sacrificing much in the way of taste. Although dining with someone who orders the Chorizo Mac & Cheese at Katalina’s Corner Café did incite a little envy.

Plus, there are some great vegetarian — and vegan— dishes I looked forward to revisiting. The Herb and Guacamole pizza at Whole World Natural Restaurant is one of my all-time favorites, and this was as good excuse as any to hammer the cheese pie topped with guacamole, tomatoes, alfalfa sprouts and sesame seeds.

I also planned to grab a Smoke House BBQ Luna Burger at Hal & Al’s, but owner Jay Cheplowitz recommended the Thursday sushi special. The veggie-only rolls were quite good, and I filled up with a couple pieces left.

Maybe the biggest surprise about going meatless for a week isn’t that I didn’t miss it, but that I really enjoyed the food. I’ve even decided to cut back on my meat intake to be healthier and try new vegetarian dishes. As of writing this — five days past the week-long requirement — I’ve only had one meal with meat. I’ve yet to be disappointed by the vegetarian dishes yet, so why not keep spreading my wings, I mean taste buds? Besides, when you parse your bacon intake, it tastes that much better.