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Monday, April 29, 2013

The Great Paradis Dis-bate

When G was guest posting, he made it a point to show you Paradis (which I've also talked about before many a time) and said that they have a vegan option every day.  He then proceeded to eat a sandwich with cheese in it, but whatever, that's his deal.
What I took issue with was the "vegan option every day" because I feel like I've gone in there and ordered a supposed vegan meal to find that it had one random piece of cheese in there - and they are usually pretty thorough with listing the ingredients on their daily menu, or seen perfectly delicious meals dairy-fied and thereby RUINED by a small sprinkling of cheese.
Anyway, I made a bet with G that over the course of one week, there would be at least one day in which there was not a vegan option. And, **although there is one iffy day in which I saw a supposed vegan item on the menu, but didn't see it in the case and it was too busy for me to get a better look,** I GUESS I lost the bet, WHATEVER I'm not mad. So the other day I bought G and I both lunch from "vegan-friendly" Paradis. And it was tasty.
 I got roasted broccoli, lime scented black beans with sweet potato salata. There was a bit of cumin and carmelized onions as well. Kind of a repeat dish, but delicious as ever.


And here's G's roasted vegetable sandwich with butternut squash and cheese.


A repeat for him too; I guess there's a reason for that. It looked good.
He also got a brownie, which wasn't vegan but is very pretty.


Just because I do not go softly into any good night, I will restate that using cheese as a garnish is really stupid. I'd almost rather they make an entirely non-vegan dish. Pretty sure salads are still delicious without Parmesan on top. Secondly, I really wish they'd make it more obvious which items are vegan. They usually mark the soups as specifically vegan but patrons have to fend for themselves with the salads. I'm really awkward and shy about asking questions and I'd be a lot more likely to buy something if it was stated vegan. ALSO (and this is just a personal preference) often their vegan option is a pasta salad (orecchiette or orzo with kale or something) and that's not something I usually enjoy so I wish they would branch out a little in that respect.
Also, bring on the vegan baked goods, geez!
That said, when they are on point, they are 110% on point. The employees are friendly, the prices are fair, and I love the variety. I am also pretty sure that the owner/chef sources the food locally. It is always wonderfully seasonal and fresh.
Are you happy now, Greg?

26 comments:

  1. This is a perfectly well-balanced and fair review of the good and the not-so-good about the vegan offerings at Paradis. It could be the basis of a perfect letter to send to the staff, so they know how you (and probably others) feel. I also hate to question restaurant staff about food content, and unless I'm with others who will do that, I tend to avoid restaurants where vegan options aren't clearly noted. I'm sure placing items on a vegan list will probably dissuade some non-vegans from buying them, but it would be so helpful for those wishing to avoid animal products without having to put staff through the third degree.

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    1. I've sort of wanted to send them a letter for a while. I will now and let you all know what happens. I feel like NYers are less dissuaded by a simple vegan marking but maybe this will put that to the test.

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  2. I totally agree that cheese as garnish is pointless and stupid. Every time I go into a place that serves paramesean fries, I get so pissed. Why would you ruin a perfectly good vegan option — fries — with stupid cheese?

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    1. When my gf and I visited France, fries were our ONLY option most of the time. And usually salads were served with cheese. God bless a plain fry.

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    2. "God bless a plain fry." Here here! Although ketchup doesn't hurt...

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  3. I 100% agree with you that using cheese as a garnish is totally unnecessary. It drives me crazy that most restaurants I go to technically have no vegan salads (WTF!?) because they feel the need to add cheese and/or meat. It's really ridiculous that they ruin a perfectly good pile of veggies because they feel the need to add some stupid crap.

    If you've found cheese before you have reason to be wary. Like we have reasons to be wary about ordering anything from a restaurant that's not vegan because we have to be concerned about cheese and butter getting into everything. It's annoying but it is what it is I guess.

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    1. I know! I hate non-vegan salads! Hello! Other people exist. Geez.
      I don't eat out super often and I'm pretty resigned (like you sound) to being disappointed frequently but I love when that doesn't have to be the case.

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  4. I found myself nodding & agreeing with your feelings on restaurants that have these sort of practices. It drives me (and Mike) nuts! We've found bits of animal stuff in meals before & it's very upsetting.

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    1. So upsetting. Other people just don't understand.

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  5. The most upsetting part of this, to me, is when you can order a "vegetarian" version or a "vegan" version of something, and the vegetarian one means they sprinkle parm on for no reason. Do vegetarians feel like they simply MUST consume some cheese all the time, just to, like, set them apart from the vegans for no reason? "This just isn't good without a sprinkling of suffering." In fact, recently I went to a veg event where everything was vegetarian or vegan and it made me pretty upset because most things were not vegan, and all the vegan food ran out quickly, and if you're going to have a veg event, why not just make it all vegan? Will the vegetarians be like, "I don't want this because it has no cheese"? I don't think so. I don't think they'd even notice.

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    1. I totally agree! All vegfests should be vegan. Promote the complete absence of animal suffering, not just partial.

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    2. Agree with both of you that it all goes hand in hand. It's not that much harder to just leave off the cheese. It also kills me that vegan food is usually more expensive. Like...we're leaving OUT ingredients! Shouldn't it be cheaper and easier for you to make things without the unnecessary flavorings?

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    3. It's the vegan tax! You can leave off the cheese/chicken/egg, but if you want to add avocado that will be an extra $2!

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  6. I've started rant posts like these many times. It helps to tell myself that we have to focus on how great it is that (insert business name here, i.e., 'Paradis') even exists today. The majority of restaurant menus still don't offer a single item that isn't derived from animals. People are desensitized/uninformed to what 'cheese' is.

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    1. Ya gotta get a good rant out every once in a while. I agree that we have to focus on the positive (that's what you were getting at, right?) but sometimes it's unbelievably difficult to see past so much BS.

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  7. There are non-vegan places that do vegan up right, but I have lost patience with questionably vegan establishments. But, since you're probably a nicer person than me, I'd say that Andrea is right: perhaps write a letter to Paradis and try to elicit positive change for the good of vegans everywhere!

    As for Greg, can you give him some "ditch dairy" pamphlets?

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    1. I wouldn't say I'm nicer, per se, just weirder. I will write a letter and let you know how it goes. Some of the most pleasurable vegan meals I've had have been from Paradis.
      I won't repeat what Greg said about the pamphlets.

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    2. Greg, for reals. This is your conscience talking. Try Tree Line; it's the bomb!

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  8. They do the same thing in the UK, 'here's your veggie option, cheese!' We went to Pizza Express recently and my mum asked if she could have a butternut squash salad without the feta and the waitress asked her if she'd like chicken instead! hehe, It made us laugh..... but I you had to be there lol. There are so many salads with cheese just chucked in without any thought, then people look at you as if you're mad for requesting it without. My favourite thing recently was at work, everyone was getting pizza as a thanks from the boss and I wasn't bothered at all that I wasn't included, it's my choice to be vegan and I'm happy not to eat pizza. Then some busybody got involved and demanded I have something and came and told me that i would be getting some hummus! It took all of my strength not to tell her to fuck off! Lol, it might sound extreme but whenever they have something at work they always try and give me hummus or fruit instead of whatever it is they're having. It's so unimaginative and it annoys me they don't ask what I would like. I would like for them not to bother! That might sound unappreciative too but I really can't stand the patronising manner in which the prized hummus and/or fruit is given to me! Like they have gone to such great lengths to retrieve these strange and elusive delicacies.....Well, that was an unexpected rant haha. Great post btw!!! :D

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    1. I recently read another rant post about hummus! I understand that it's easy and cheap but let people think outside the box (to use a terrible cliche) every once in a while.

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    2. Definitely! Although I feel I got a bit down on hummus there, forgive me chickpeas! I do love it, just not for every frickin meal :)

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  9. May I echo the above sentiments! Even if veg-friendly territory like Colorado, many places are meat heavy and it makes me not want to go there for fear they prep my meal on the same surface / grill / pan. I agree, pasta salad is a wimpy option. And hummus everything. I love it, but why is it always the vegan option?!

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    1. This is why I am always scared of eating out in general! I have gotten less OCD about contamination only to be misproven in my trust. It's a scary world out there, not to mention that this year we will all be overrun by cicadas and smother to death choking on bugs. That's not vegan either.

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  10. i would just like to reiterate that i feel their addition of cheese to certain dishes is not frivolous, nor is it merely a garnish, and that their adding of cheeses is a testament to their culinary acumen and that these dishes are not "vegan except for the cheese" but the cheese is in fact an integral part of the dish, however minor an ingredient it may seem. I fully support a vegan diet and I would heartily advocate that paradis set aside a portion of such dishes -without cheese- to be sold "as vegan" for those patrons who wish to indulge in a bastardized (vegan) version of the days offering.

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    1. That's what I like about you Greg. Stubborn until the bitter end. I am too - we'll see who wins.

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  11. Sigh, the cheese situation is such a bummer. I hate how "vegetarian" in so many restaurants means "load it up with buckets of cheese!" as if that's a proper meat substitute. I do like the idea of a butternut sandwich though... I may have to try my own rendition someday.

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