The other day I went to lunch with my boss and coworker. My boss is always gracious and asks where I would like to eat, as I am the non-meat eater of the bunch. I rarely have trouble finding places to eat, as most anywhere you can order a garden burger or a vegetable soup of some sort, so selecting a restaurant usually isn't an issue. I suggested a place that one of my RA's had pointed out to me, and my boss said, "Hmmm, that is a meat eater's haven." So, I ran in, paroosed the menu to make sure I'd be able to eat something, and spotted a "build your own panini" special--perf! I thought. I'll just take off the meat, and we'll be all set! RESTAURANT APPROVED.
Now, perhaps because I come from a land that very lovingly embraces vegetarians with all their might, and non-meat eaters are a dime a dozen so I typically don't feel out of place, I thought that my request for no meat would not be so frowned upon. However, I oftentimes forget that my current surroundings meat is a staple and necessity for a meal, and sometimes East Coasters seem to think that "vegetarian" means "still eats chicken" (yup, Gramma asked me if I still ate chicken as a vegetarian). So anywho, there we were at lunch, and the menu looked something like this:
BUILD YOUR OWN PANINI:
Step 1: Choose your meat (turkey, ham, chicken, beef)
Step 2: Select cheese (provolone, cheddar, swiss)
Step 3: Choose your vegetable (tomato, spinach, lettuce)
Step 4: Choose a special (sauteed mushrooms, sauteed onions, etc)
My conversation with my waitress:
Me: "Hello, I would like the build your own panini with the swiss, spinach--"
Waitress: "Wait! You need to pick a meat."
Me: "Oh, no meat please. Swiss, spinach--"
Waitress: "No meat? You need to pick a meat. You skipped step 1!"
Me: "Yes, no meat please. Can you still make the sandwich with no meat?"
Waitress: (as if this has NEVER been done before in the history of paninis): "Uhhhh (glances back towards the kitchen as if she is going to have to go ask for such a weird request)...I mean I guess, but...(as if a sandwich without meat is going to be the vilest thing that a human being could possibly consume)
My boss: "She's a vegetarian."
Waitress: "(sigh) OK, well yeah."
What I wanted to say: "I'm sorry, were you eating this sandwich? Were you paying for my meal? Is this OK with you?"
What I actually said, while smiling graciously: "OK, I'll have the swiss cheese, spinach, tomatoes, and sauteed onions please. Thank you!"
My boss: "Did I not warn you this was a meat eater's haven?"
Touche. Toooouche. This sort of reminded me of this scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding:"
I think in retaliation the waitress told me there were no more cookies for the pazookie...I'm skeptical. Who EVER runs out of chocolate chip cookies at 1 PM?! Who ever runs out of chocolate chip cookies PERIOD? YEAH RIGHT.