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A Truly Vegan Meal

MAY 16, 2012 UPDATE:

<– THIS is what the chefs considered to be “vegan food” last night at the BMI Awards Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Really?

After cocktail hour, we sauntered on over to our seats. Salad course was easily vegan: just remove the mozzarella slice from the tomato salad with basil and balsamic vinegarette. Asdinner was being served, I mentioned to the server that I was vegan. I noticed someone else at our table was also waiting for the vegetarian option. Our meals arrived, and my eyes bulged as I saw her vegetable Wellington-esque entree placed in front of her. And then mine was set in front me and….

And…..?

Are you frakking kidding me? I have never, in my 20 years of being vegetarian and 7+ years of being vegan, ever EVER been insulted with a meal like this. I can hardly call it a meal. It looked more like a handful of everything from the prep station. Well, kudos to the prep cooks there: they have fine knife skills.

But I sent this shit back. I told the server to tell the chef it was “insulting” and couldn’t possibly eat this. He seemed confused. “Isn’t this vegan?” Um… NO!! This isn’t even fit for my imaginary pet rabbit.

I’m sure no one is shocked to find out that I did not receive a replacement dinner.

It is embarrassing, to say the least, to sit at a “black tie optional” dinner with some of the most successful and powerful people in the film & television music industry, with a blank spot on the table in front of me while everyone else is enjoying a fine meal. I had to field questions like “are you a raw foodie?” and “why did they bring you that?”

On a night where I should be sipping wine with my husband, schmoozing with his colleagues, and enjoying a night out, I was highly embarrassed, singled out, and deeply disappointed. Considering how well I was treated last year, this is completely unacceptable on the part of The Beverly Wilshire. I understand that there were probably 500 guests at this dinner, but still. They couldn’t pull it together enough in the kitchen to even make me a salad or a bowl of cold pasta?

I’m recanting my original Sprout rating.

_____________________________________

ORIGINAL POST: MAY 18, 2011

It feels like it’s been a long time since Friand and I have eaten at a new restaurant. We are creatures of habit, who haunt the same places relentlessly – which is great for becoming familiar with the menu, but not so great for the blog.

And so it happened: the evening of Wednesday May 18 we had dinner at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Swanky, right?! ‘Zactly! We were there for an awards dinner/ceremony having to do with what Friand does for a living; dinner was served therefore I feel justified in writing a review.

First stop was the obligatory cocktail hour. The sometimes ridiculous airs of the other guests aside, I had a very well mixed Gin & Tonic – my “go to” drink when I want to tune out my surroundings & enjoy the gentle buzz of gin… But getting drunk is easy even for vegans, so we’ll skip the details of this part & move on to dinner.

There was a moment of panic when I realized that dinner (which was lamb) may not be the most veg*n-friendly experience. I was relieved to see a salad already sitting at every place setting. At least I could fill up on greens & bread! Surprisingly, I found the salad actually quite well made – a couple of roasted beets (red & gold), citrus, and an easily removable chunk of brie, adorned the plates. The servers were coming around with cruets of some sort of creamy dressing, so I said discreetly to our waiter that I was vegan. He quickly responded with “I will bring you some oil & vinegar if that’s what you would prefer.” Of course it is! MMM… that means more oil for my bread, too.

Upon returning with the oil & vinegar, he then told me that the vegetarian option is a plate of roasted vegetables, which he would ask the chef to leave out any cheese or dairy, if that was acceptable to me. Yes! That, right there, was more personal service than I was expecting at a large event like this. With hundreds of guests to feed, the majority of which were eating meat & potatoes, who would want to spend any time focused on the high maintenance vegan? Not only did this guy give me personal attention (I’m so sorry I cannot remember his name… blame the gin) but he also knew the difference between “vegetarian” and “vegan”. I love it when I don’t have to recite the details at every meal.

Regular readers of this blog know that I usually snub my nose at salads and “plates of vegetables”, but this was a very unique situation and I, not being an unfeeling monster, am completely understanding and very honored that even that much was offered to me. It was way more than I was expecting, and therefore left me with a very pleasant feeling.

Dessert looked fantastic: a sampling of fresh berries, creme brulee, chocolate mousse, and scoop of fruity gelato served in a crispy candied “waffle” cup. Me? Well… I just ate the fruit, but they were still a nice sweet finish to what was a surprisingly satisfying meal!!

With 2 gin & tonics, a belly full of salad, veg, and fruit, I was beyond pleased with the evening. I don’t know when we’ll have an opportunity to return to The Beverly Wilshire, but it was a great evening, which I look forward to repeating!

9500 Wilshire Boulevard
Beverly Hills, California 90212
Tel. 1 (310) 275-5200
Fax. 1 (310) 274-2851
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