Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Indian Summer! (another cheat, I feel so dirty)

In the past few months, I have grown quite find of Indian cuisine. Actually in the several months prior to veganizing, I discovered that I truly loved Englands national dish (Chicken Tikka Masala?).  At least that is what I heard it was.  There is a particularly lovely Indian place in Cincinnati called Ambar India.  I started going there mostly because one of my new friends (the lady that sold me my house) was fond of Indian cuisine, and we went out to lunch quite a bit.  I figured I would go along and see what it was all about.  It didn't take me long to fall in love with the menu.  I even turned a few others on to this place as well, so there has never been a shortage of reasons to visit.

However, since my veganification (its my new word), I omitted the obvious offending dishes.  Anything with meat or cheese was clearly off limits, but I really tried hard to ignore the wonderfully buttery sauces that accompanied most of the dishes.  OK, I tried, but barely (meaning I didn't really try).  I asked them about any vegan friendly dishes, and the waiter kindly shook his head and said, "no".  I didn't press on much, I just tried to order responsibly, and let the naan fall where they may.

I'll admit, I've never been one to discuss the ingredients, or preparation techniques with waiters or waitresses, so I'm not used to having a dialog with them about what goes into the meal.  I know its just something I need to "get over" and deal with, but in my many years of carnivorian bliss, I've been a model customer.  Rarely do I complain, nor do I ever special order. I (almost) always enjoy the meal.  I'm pretty easy, and consider myself "off the rack" with respect to ordering things as they were intended.  I've dined with many colleagues and friends that specified things to the Nth degree, and I always crossed my fingers that the chef didnt accidentally spit on my plate when he/she prepared the meal.  Needless to say, "special ordering" has come new to me, and particularly when I'm with coworkers.  I get enough grief about this, so I try to minimize it when I'm out with them.

Yeah I hear ya, get over it.  Why sacrifice your morales out of laziness, or peer pressure?  I'm with you entirely, and I promise you that I am figuring it out, or trying to.  I will say that when I go back to Ambar, and even if the same big strapping Indian waiter comes back to me, I will try not to cower to peer pressure, and I will clarify that I do not want butter or "ghee".  Thanks to my new twitter friend @isitvegan for help on that one.

More likely, I will go to Vaishali's wonderful blog, and "beg" my wife to make something for dinner.


  1. Brian, nice blog! I'll look forward to reading more about your vegan experiences in Cincinnati.
    One thought I had reading about the waiter who told you they don't have vegan dishes-- is it possible he didn't understand the term? Veganism is not a familiar concept in the Indian community. I usually find it easier to just run down the list-- butter, ghee, milk, cream, paneer?

  2. Thanks for the comment Vaishali! You make a good point, I will try that next time I am there.