Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Vegan Dining Out @ Raffaele's

A coworker and I met our boss for lunch today and they were kind enough to let me suggest the restaurant since I am the "pickiest" eater. Like I mentioned yesterday, I would have been happy going to Cootie Brown's again, but we've all eaten there the last several times that we went out for lunch together, so I figured I'd better suggest somewhere different at least once. I ended up deciding on a local Italian restaurant called Raffaele's. The family that owns this restaurant owns several other Italian restaurants in the area, the main differences being atmosphere and maybe cost. Raffaele's is kinda' what I consider to be the "middle" of the three types of restaurants that they have. The food is delicious at all three, it just depends on what type of restaurant you would like to eat in and how much you would like to spend.

I started out by ordering a side salad for my lunch. I thought I had myself covered just by asking the server to make sure there was no cheese or bacon bits on my salad, but then she asked me if I wanted croutons. I had forgotten about those, and it seems like a lot of ready made croutons have butter or Parmesan cheese on them, so I told her to leave those off too. Then she asked me if I wanted egg on it. DANG! I'm glad she asked because I wouldn't have been expecting egg on it. Needless to say, I left the off too. That pretty much left me with what you see. Just some iceberg lettuce, onion, tomato and cucumber. Not my favorite salad, but it was fresh.

I almost got burned on the dressing too because when she named off the types of dressing she said that they had a balsamic vinaigrette, and both my boss and coworker thought that would be a good choice for me (they know I'm vegan), and I kinda' did too, but before I could ask, the server said that there was a lot of cheese in that dressing (Parmesan cheese). So she saved me there too. I ended up just getting oil & vinegar. I used the oil very sparingly because I am determined to lose some more weight this week after a couple of weeks of nothing.

For my main course, I ended up ordering some penne pasta with marinara sauce. They have another dish there that I have had before, and that I like a lot, and I almost ordered it. It's just angel hair pasta with olive oil & garlic. It's very delicious, but there's quite a bit of olive oil in that dish and I just couldn't bring myself to order it with me trying to minimize my calories this week as much as possible. So I ended up getting the marinara sauce which was exceptional. I guess it was probably homemade, because it sure tasted like it was. Sorry my picture is so stark, but I was sitting right beside a window.

After lunch, my coworker and I made a quick stop over at the Indian grocery across the road before heading back to work. I was so excited because I FINALLY got some agar agar. Now I can try my hand at making some of those vegan block uncheeses that you can slice and eat on crackers. I just never could bring myself to pay what they were asking for that at the health food store, and at the Indian store I got a HUGE bag of it for something like $1.49. Unbelievable. I picked up some falafel mix there too so I can try it and see if it's any better than the homemade falafel that I mentioned on here a week or so ago. I just love going in those ethnic grocery stores. They are so interesting. Oh yeah, I also found black salt, which is some elusive ingredient I have been looking for so I can make vegan egg salad. I know there are lots of vegan egg salad recipes that don't call for black salt, but apparently it's salt that contains some amount of sulfur, so it makes vegan egg salad taste "eggy". I thought it sounded interesting, and I've been wanting to try it. Now I have the black salt (it was cheap) so I can try it soon.

Believe it or not, I've got to go out and eat again tomorrow. Another one of my coworkers is leaving the company and we're all going out to lunch with her tomorrow. I didn't want to be rude and not go, but this will be my second time eating out this week so I am going to have to try and be extra good tomorrow. I can NOT blow my diet this week.

So there you have it, my little vegan lunchtime excursion. It was really good, and I got some awesome new cooking ingredients at the Indian grocery. Cool!

Thanks for reading the blog today. See you tomorrow!


Cari said...

i know this is really negative and does help your diet at all:

but olive oil + garlic probably would have been a better choice then marinara sauce. one serving of olive oil + garlic is like 44, and the marinara is 72isgh calories.

i'm sorry, i just had to say something. i love your blog!

kennyboy said...

Wow. Thanks for telling me.

I never would have thought that.

I'll remember that next time.


Melanie said...

i was about to ask where the heck that pizza place was, but then you mentioned the Indian grocery so I assume this was in Kpt and not JC. I love that Indian grocery, but have had a problem figuring out what things are since they are labeled kind of odd. the thing with agar is i have yet to find really clear, consistent instructions on using it. i've been playing around (made agar "bunnies" with fresh pureed strawberries and coconut milk last week for my daughter's lunch) but getting the texture just right has been hard.

Cari said...


mollyjade said...

I don't think Cari's math holds up. A tablespoon of olive oil has about 120 calories. A half cup of marinara sauce has anywhere from 50 to 70 calories. And I doubt that angelhair pasta just had one tablespoon of olive oil. And marinara has a lot more nutrients, too.