Veggie Guy: Park

The guys at Park are awfully proud of their wine list. It is pretty impressive. They even go as far as denoting which wines are organic, produced by women (what's that all about?), and which are vegan. But while they can "get you drunk," as our waitress joked, their vegan food offerings are quite limited.

I spent my Saturday evening at Park with Arnold Jones of the Voice. He and I met to discuss my animal rights organization's entry in this year's Pride parade for a story on his publication. But as things usually go with Arnold, our conversation carried us all over the map...except to the point.

This night, we mostly talked about bees, motor oil, and cougars that actually look like cougars (you might see some at Park). Oh, yeah--and you can't go an entire evening without Arnold bringing up bears and "cou-gays." (I think he's onto something with that word.)

But I digress.

As our waitress came up to our table, I informed her that I'm a vegan. OK, I whispered it to her. It's always a good idea to get that out in the open, but there's no need to make a big scene.

She immediately suggested a salad. No way! I didn't get all gussied-up to hang with the pretty people just to eat a friggin' salad.

So she checked with the chef to see what else I could eat. Veggie Pizza can be made "bee-gan" (contains honey), if ordered without cheese. It's topped with balsamic roasted portobellos, asparagus, tarragon, and yellow tomato sauce. The Meze Platter is vegan and comes with black bean hummus, babaghanoush, tabouleh, olives, grilled flatbread, and papadum. Vegans can also order Grilled Spring Harvest Onions & Romesco, a roasted pepper and almond dipping sauce. For vegans who don't mind paying good money for a plate of greens, sprouts, and seeds, the House Salad is the only real vegan option.

Just make sure to nix the goat cheese.

I'm not a bee-gan, so I ordered the Meze Platter and Grilled Spring Harvest Onions & Romesco. The black bean hummus was not good. It tasted like petrol to me. Arnold disagreed. He thought it tasted more like brake fluid. The babaghanoush was fine, but it wasn't your typical babaghanoush. I'd say it was more like a sweet eggplant purée.

The Grilled Spring Harvest Onions & Romesco were, hands down, the best part of my meal. A little sloppy, but damn good! So as Arnold and I continued eating and drinking our bottle of Domaine du Tariquet Sauvignon Blanc (the only vegan wine selection), we scoped out the scene and made jokes about the many cougars in the crowd, one with particularly feline-esque features (kinda like Amanda Lepore). Yes, the plastics definitely dominate the joint.

Well, they can have it. I'd much rather ride my bike to a real park, take my own bottle of wine, and grill some veggie burgers.

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