Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Reluctant Vegan

I'm not a vegan. I'm not even a vegetarian. I don't aspire to either of those healthy states, either. But when the opening of a vegan restaurant in my little town coincides with an invitation to lunch from blogger pal Anna of Anna's Cool Finds, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

Anna's not a vegan, either, but she is a vegetarian and was willing to forego her usual eggs-dairy-fish possibilities to try out Symphonie with me, so we made plans and met there just before noon one day last week.

Symphonie is in the site that used to be the Point Orient for many years before it was Szujhou - you East Bay veterans may recognize the location. Anna and I conferred over the menu and made our selections; I chose "pork" fried rice. If you are curious about Anna's choices and want to see more pictures, click here - we're coordinating our posts.

Symphonie's chef offers a wide variety of vegan possibilities - the menu included Italian, Thai, Mexican, Chinese, Aulac and Indian offerings. I chose to go with Chinese as a salute to the now-departed Point Orient and Szujhou restaurants.

In addition to a really nice lentil soup, my meal came with a small salad similar to cole slaw but with a piquant, yellow-orange dressing that, obviously, didn't contain mayonnaise. We ordered a plate of spring rolls to share and they were generous, if lacking in pizzazz; the two dipping sauces sparked them up a bit.

My fried rice had a vegan alternative barbecued pork that, while in no way convincing me that it came from any part of a pig, was tasty and a little chewy. The rest of the ingredients, rice and chopped veggies, were nicely cooked, freshly made and went down easily. I forgot my camera so Anna kindly photographed my colorful meal and emailed the picture to me. It was such a generous plate that I had to ask for a box to take some home with me.

By far the best part of the meal was getting to know a bit more about Anna. She has led a most interesting life for one so young, full of adventure in other countries, bold career shifts and long friendships. I hope we can repeat the fun on future get-togethers, although she has taken pity on me, the Reluctant Vegan, and says we can meet in a "regular restaurant" next time.

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6 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

Looks way too healthy to me.;)

Sunday, July 05, 2009  
Blogger cookiecrumb said...

I'm sure the restaurant means well... But if you want to be wowed by upscale vegan food, you have to go to Millennium in SF.

Sunday, July 05, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Greg, oddly, it actually gave me heartburn. Anna explained to me later that sometimes, if you aren't used to it, the soy or gluten protein they use can upset your stomach.

Cookiecrumb, I have been to Millennium (it used to be right next to where I worked) and it was certainly a cut above Symphonie but it didn't tempt me to go vegan, either. I prefer Greens, which I think is one of the very best restaurants in SF. Long live Greens!

Monday, July 06, 2009  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

My post it up! I love Greens too! The one I miss most is in my native Seattle, Cafe Flora. I wasn't even vegetarian then at all, but I LOVED it. And since I indulge in fish and seafood, I'm not really a true vegetarian either.

Monday, July 06, 2009  
Blogger Zoomie said...

Anna, okay, let's go to Greens next time! :-)

Monday, July 06, 2009  
Blogger Anna Haight said...

oh, now that's a great idea! Greens it is!

Monday, July 06, 2009  

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