Dear Restaurants

An open letter to restaurants everywhere.

Why do so many restaurants think that the answer to satisfying vegetarian customers lies in the use of mushrooms?

Mushroom are fine and even great in some cases. There's nothing wrong with a mushroom based meal for vegetarian fare. But it is not the only. Not necessarily the best choice.

And vegetarian burgers. Ugh. Some of us want something without egg. We don't all eat eggs. As if it's impossible to make a decent veg burger without egg. C'mon. Put in a little effort.

What vegetarians want most of all in their meals are beans, starch, nuts and of course vegetables. In that order. Not that I can speak for all veggies, but I know what fills me up and what tastes good. Beans are where it's at for vegetarian. Mushrooms are fine flavor enhancers, but they are not always a great main ingredient.

Please. Please. Please. Won't some restaurant somewhere make a bean sandwich. Or Bean puree sandwch. Or Pasta with beans. Or rice with beans. Grilled cheese with beans. Salad with beans. Anything. Why always with the mushrooms? Please do a little reading and learn about the staples of a vegetarian diet. Please. I beg of you.

I'm talking to you: Applebee's, Cheeburger, Friday's, Atlanta Bread Company!

Beans. The beans are where it's at. Cheese is good too. Vegetarian cheese. None of that stuff with animal rennet in it thank you.

For that I have to commend Domino's Pizza. They offer totally vegetarian pizza and totally vegan pizza too. Their regular hand-tossed is vegetarian (contains milk - no eggs and their mozzarella is vegetarian). Their thin crust pizza is vegan provided you go sans cheese. They also have a nice array of veggie topping choices. The spinach is really good. Oh and the roasted red peppers are spectacular!

Sadly even Domino's doesn't offer beans on their pizza, pasta or sandwiches. Wow, it would be great if they did. Especially black beans. But I give them credit because they are willing to testify their mozzarella is vegetarian and that amount of cheese is more than enough protein. If you get their thin crust without cheese, it does need more. You're going to want to add your own beans or nutritional yeast.

So far they are the only major chain I have found that actually makes tasty, hearty food to fit these lifestyles. And thankfully, the mushrooms are optional.

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