Last week, I got together with three of my wonderful girlfriends for a farewell lunch for one of them who is moving on to a new job; the four of us are all past and current staff at the same theatre in town.

I was browsing the menu and saw something called a beet salad that sounded good. The short blurb – which isn’t usually an exhaustive list of ingredients – mentioned beets, arugula, and feta cheese, so I asked our server if I could get it without the feta because I don’t eat dairy.

“Sure,” she responded, without any additional comment.

Okay, great. Sounds good. I ordered the large size, because I was hungry.

I don’t think I could have ever anticipated what would be put down in front of me about 10 minutes later.

It was a GIANT plate…teeming with beets.

Almost exactly like this, but bigger, and with more beets.
Almost exactly like this, but bigger, and with more beets.

There were a couple very small shreds of lettuce buried somewhere under the appalling amount of beets. A couple. And that was it. No onions, no other vegetables, just boiled beets. I think there was supposed to be some sort of vinaigrette on the whole thing, but the beets sort of overpowered that.

The server might as well have just thrown some beets at me and said, “Enjoy!”

I would have added more dressing, but you get the point.
I would have personally added more dressing, but you get the point.

“Wow,” exclaimed my friends, “that’s a lot of beets.”

I think I was in shock, and also I’m a Canadian pushover, so I didn’t return the salad.*

SIDENOTE: And also, I’m gonna be honest, a big part of me was seriously amused by the ridiculous plate in front of me to the point that I sort of had to go through with eating it. (And also, as soon as I saw that stupid plate of beets, I thought, “I’m gonna blog about this,” because who feeds a person a plate with nothing but beets on it?!)

I ate as many forkfuls of beets as I could manage and then I took the rest home to mix into a REAL salad.

Here’s the thing: I get that we “weirdo” vegans and vegetarians sometimes order strange things at restaurants, but as a server – especially at a place that already has lots of veg options – should you not be prepared to at least warn people like, “Just so you’re aware, there isn’t much else on that salad,” or offer additions, like extra veggies, extra dressing, or something? It’s 2013!

Lessons learned:

  1. I need to stop being a pushover.
  2. I need to be a little more precious when I’m ordering food.**
  3. I’m off beets for a while. I learned that my beet limit, while higher than I thought, is well surpassed for the next…oh, month or two. Or six or seven.***

You’d think after being veg/vegan for 23 years, I’d have this ordering food thing down to a science. But sometimes, you still get surprised.


P.S. My friends’ meals all looked like pretty nice, normal meals, so I’ll give the restaurant that much.

*I should have. Those damn beets cost me $12.

**No server would bring Angelina Jolie a plate of beets. (I don’t know what that has to do with me, but it felt like something relevant to say.)

***Kind of like when I was starving throughout a lot of my trip to Ireland and I learned to subsist on bananas and cashews from convenience stores. When I got home, I didn’t eat either for almost two years.