I have a serious love/hate relationship with going out to eat. This started long before I became Vegan because I am cheap by nature, but my lifestyle has only further complicated things. To me, cooking at home is such a better, more rewarding experience. That being said, I don’t mind trying out new places every once in awhile and discovering new dishes, ambiance and tastes I might not in my own kitchen. I admit, I have lazy days where I will gladly walk down the street for tacos.
Living in the city, many restaurants and food places I like to or can try, tend to be more expensive. Which is fine, if it’s worth it. Some of my favorite and totally worth it food places in my neighborhood include:
Chinese food and Mexican are probably my favorite foods to eat, for obvious reasons. Also, I noticed the best foods to make at home. I haven’t found, in Milwaukee at least, any restaurants that serve Vegan options that are worth it. I recently made some amazing and super simple spring rolls, that were way cheaper and better than anything I’ve found around. Tacos are my go-to dish and I am surprised I haven’t turned into one yet. Whole Foods has the best Citrus Jackfruit tacos around town and I’m drooling just thinking of them.
When I became Vegan, most of my meals were raw veggies, fruit and nuts. That quickly got old but I was too afraid to eat out. I found this great Vegan pizza recipe and was eating it twice a week. Now, I have a plethora of recipes in my arsenal and have recently gotten comfortable with attempting to eat out again. Recently I remembered why I am such a recluse and enjoy cooking in the confines of my apartment as opposed to handing over my money at the latest trendy spot in town.
Eating out is such a game of roulette! Some of my favorite memories involve eating out somewhere with my friends or family. Mostly, it was the company I was with but there were times when the food and service were so memorable and enjoyable. Not often though, and I am cheap so I expect to be wowed when I leave my kitchen. This may also be in part that Milwaukee isn’t really known for their food, at least anything remotely Vegan.
I enjoy the act of cooking and eating food because to me it is such an intimate experience. Surprisingly, I don’t get those feelings when I go to many of these places I visit. Taking time to find the perfect dish, shopping for all the ingredients and picking out that cooking playlist is just as enjoyable as the eating part! The best part of cooking at home is also knowing exactly how to cater to your tastes and dietary needs. I can annoy my server all day about how to substitute my meal but that’s not how the dish was intended or how I want to eat.
Cooking is an art form to me and an experience that brings people together. It’s what fuels our bodies and gives us the energy to get through our days. If you haven’t watched Chef’s Table on Netflix, I highly recommend it. It made me look and see food in a completely different light. I’ve always struggled with eating and my weight and it’s probably why I kinda, sort dislike eating out. I treated food like something to just keep me going but it is so much more than that. Food can be so delicious and surprising and different, in the best way possible.
This isn’t meant to be a post bashing going out to eat, by any means. I think that there are many great reasons to go out and support local restaurants in your towns. That being said, I think that our society also needs to learn to cook for themselves! I cannot tell you how many people I know that can’t cook for themselves. It’s such an eye opening experience that really shows you exactly what you’re putting into your body, how it affects you and teaches you how to portion your food. We as a society are such over eaters, because of the portion sizes we get when we eat out and that needs to change.
Love food. Enjoy it. Try new things. Be smart about it and always shop and eat local! Find new recipes to try at home and shop your local farmers market or co-op for the freshest ingredients. Don’t be afraid to host pot lucks with friends instead of spending half your paycheck at some trendy tapas place. Your friends will love getting to dress down and help you cook and drink at home rather than dressing up and playing the Menu Roulette game. Let’s make picnics and pot lucks trendy!