Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Blog Begins

I should admit first that I'm not really a vegetarian. What business do I have writing about vegetarian options in Brussels? This business:

I moved to Brussels, Belgium on New Years Eve, 2004. My husband (then boyfriend), Gidon, and I keep a kosher diet, which means that we're restricted to vegetarian food and certain kinds of fish in restaurants. And I'm not much of a fish eater. I used to live in Boston and went to Wesleyan University before that, which was lefty-liberal enough that I never needed to warn hosts about my vegetarian preferences - every meal featured vegetarian, vegan, lactose-intolerant, and nut-allergy alternatives, and of course a special cinnamon-free serving for our friend Leiran, because eating it makes his eyebrow twitch.

In Brussels?

Me: "You said the salad was vegetarian."
Waiter: "It is vegetarian."
Me: "It has bacon on it."
Waiter: [blank stare]

Or better yet (for the real vegetarian geeks among you):

Gidon (at a cheese shop): "Which of these cheeses are vegetarian?"
Shopkeeper: [pause] "All cheese is vegetarian; cows don't eat meat."

(Gidon is the kind of person who wants to know where his rennet - the enzyme that makes milk into cheese - comes from. Traditionally it comes from the gut of a cow.)

Gidon and I quickly worked our way through the restaurants that bill themselves as 'vegetarian' - nearly all of which serve fish, but still, gift horses and all. We also worked our way through a fair number of restaurants that were not vegetarian, where, on a good night, we had 2 menu options that we could eat.

And we've found a decent number of restaurants that you would never in a million years call 'vegetarian', but where we had half a dozen or so menu items and where a vegetarian could comfortably eat. But finding these restaurants is hard. After my umpteenth Google search looking for a website that would list not only vegetarian but vegetarian-friendly restaurants, it seemed it was time to take matters into my own hands.

So welcome to my blog where I'll attempt to give you a few extra options and a better culinary impression (as well as my own impressions) of the Capital of Europe. It may not all be strictly vegetarian - fish is bound to make a few cameo appearances, and a fair-share of non-vegetarian-rennet cheese - but hopefully you can learn a thing or two about our experiences, or at least enjoy reading about them.

1 comment:

Simon said...

"Cows don't eat meat" - that's priceless.