I’ve decided to adhere to a vegetarian diet and abstain from alcohol for the month of January. Now because this is my personal blog it makes sense to share that but much to my dismay I realized the other day that I was acting like one of those annoying people who let you know of their dietary restrictions and preferences within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. You know the type, the ones who lead with how they are currently nourishing themselves as if anyone frickin cares as much as they do. It’s almost like this badge of honor to be on something. “Oh yeah, I’m on keto and I have so much energy and can you believe it, I don’t even miss bread?” mmmmk, I didn’t ask you all that but high-five to you! ” I’m on the Whole 30 and I feel like, so connected man” Um, cool, I guess.
I was having a meeting with someone over coffee and I managed to slide in that I was abstaining from meat and alcohol for a month. It had nothing to do with anything really. We were talking about lots of interesting things and I had to be that person. I think that both the diet and the seemingly less sinister health and wellness industry has really done a number on us. It’s like nobody just eats food anymore, everybody is adhering to something – low sugar, keto, paleo , vegan ,vegetarian, gluten free, pescatarian, raw foods, the list goes on. It’s not just that most of us are adhering to some particular way of eating it’s that most of us feel it necessary for others to know. If we are going out to dinner I get it, we need to be aware of others dietary restrictions and preferences but you know that you can simply just order the vegan dish without announcing you are vegan or just decline the bread basket without announcing that you are now in full ketosis right? There are t-shirts with messages slogans like “Powered by Plants”, “Body by Keto”, “Bacon,Butter & Coffee”, “Vegan Pussy tastes Better” and “I Didn’t Choose the Gluten Free Life, It Chose Me”. Get over yourselves people.
I had to check myself after proudly revealing my personal dietary goals apropos of nothing to someone I didn’t really know that well. I refuse to be that girl. IDGAF about what people who aren’t sharing bodily fluids with me are eating and I damn sure have more interesting things to talk about than the way I choose to nourish my body.
I’m a passionate food lover who loves fine dining. There’s not much I love more than a five star meal and top-notch service. The problem is sometimes that level of quality comes with a bit of pretentiousness and snobbery. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I feel grandiose and high falutin’. Every now and then I like white-gloved service and the crumbs scraped from my table. I enjoy listening as the sommelier explains that the nose of the wine I’ve selected screams black currants, opening up to a taste of grilled cherries and has the nice earthy tones of melted licorice. I may give a side eye but I still enjoy the description. But seriously, while it can be fun to get into being bad and boujee , that’s not the experience I’m looking to have 90% of the time I choose to eat at a restaurant.
I’m all about the food and none of the ‘tude. Fortunately for me Austin being the laid back city that it is , I’ve been able to have that experience pretty often. For me ambience and vibe, both of the staff and of the other people dining play a role in whether or not I choose to return for another dining experience. Don’t frown up at me when I ask for hot sauce on an already “heavily spiced” dish, we all have our own heat index. Don’t try to up sell my date by saying “I’m sure the lady would like______”, it’s sexist and you don’t know me like that. And please do not look appalled when I ask you to refill the bread basket, we’re not ALL carb-phobic Sharon!
Here are a few of the places where I’ve had a fancy meal sans pretentiousness.
- Uchi I never get a weird look when I just point to what I want on the menu rather than butcher the Japanese pronunciation, in fact I’ve gotten help with proper pronunciation from the wait staff. There is always a chill vibe even when you show up without reservations and have to wait an hour for a table and the food is top-notch.
- Hudson’s Hill Country – The food is delectable and the menu is creative with a focus on wild game. Chicken fried antelope or Wild Boar lollipops anyone? There is plenty to choose from for less adventurous eaters and the vibe is rustic and mellow.
- Cafe`Josie– All you can eat chef’s tasting menu. That’s all I’m sayin’. $25 for brunch and $45 for dinner allows you to experience the chefs finely curated selection of small plates. The vibe is relaxed and elegant and the service is friendly.
- Odd Duck– My personal favorite. The menu changes often, the food is always incredibly fresh and the dishes are unique. The wait staff has a great knowledge of the menu and can be trusted to make recommendations. The food always leaves my taste buds joyful and the experience is pleasant every time.