Can anyone recommend me where to start with fancy food? Preferably vegetarian and things like desserts would be great.
I just landed a high paying salary job, and most of my life I was really poor. Growing up, family had no money and in college I was scraping by so I'm only used to eating cheap food.
I'm vegetarian so whenever I look up fancy restaurants my options seem limited. My company will be paying for many of my meals since I will be travelling quite a bit and I can spend up to $200 on food (alcohol included) a day so that is my budget.
Just to give you some background, I was mainly eating rice + beans + cheap veggies to stay healthy and complement working out (previous budget was < $4/day on food). Going out only meant pizza or at the most things like Chipotle. The fanciest restaurant I have ever been to was Cheesecake factory but the my future colleagues chuckled when I mentioned that...
>Can anyone recommend me where to start with fancy food?
I don't understand what this means, fancy is relative (see: your cheesecake factory anecdote) and specific choices vary per geography.
> I will be travelling quite a bit
If you are in a global-tier city then you should be in good shape, this is what stuff like michelin guides are for. If you are visiting a lot of flyover shit holes like Chicago or Des Moines, you're fucked because the only nice places there are ruths chris type establishments that cater to obese people, where "vegetarian" is the butt of a joke about liberals.
It's unclear to me whether you are asking about restaurant-only dining, or just overhauling your diet in general.
Mainly restaurant-only dining.
I went to a few fancy (by this I mean upscale) and I didn't like the food too much. They gave really small portions of food that was presented well, but I didn't really like the taste and I was still really hungry even after a several courses.
I want to adjust to this lifestyle so I can get along with my colleagues better so I want to look up what types of food I should eat so I can behave more "acceptable" in these situations since they are so foreign to me.
I will mainly be travelling in the US but my team has international bases in Japan, Korea, and India so I will be traveling there every couple months.
But yeah, I am looking at stuff like the food in my gif or in this pic. How do I go about finding these types of meals, and what should I google? That guide seems to be really useful, Thanks!
Well, if you are referring to the raw vegan place that your picture depicted (Pure Food and Wine off USQ), you probably didn't like the taste because the food sucked, because raw vegan restaurants, generally speaking, serve terrible food because they're constrained by too many ridiculous rules.
Solution is to stop going to places like that. Sounds like you're in the city, so you could try places like ABC Kitchen, Kajitsu, Hangawi, Dirt Candy, or others. That will get you more comfy with a higher end dining atmosphere with a vegetarian menu, so you can get comfy with how courses are served at a nice place, how the staff behaves, etc. If you're looking for familiarity, there's little that can substitute for familiarity.
My parents were very frugal and I myself have never had much money, but when I got a regular job with a regular salary, I started to try to expand my palate a little. A few things that worked for me:
- Various ethnic cuisines. At home, we mostly ate regular cheap Middle American kinds of foods, so I'd never had Ethiopian, sushi/other Japanese foods (I was way too into Japanese pub food for a long time), Indian, Latino food like pupusas and ceviche etc...
- Cheese. Buy all the fucked up weird cheeses you can. They can get expensive, but now's the time to order cheese plates wherever you go. Bonus: there are usually pickles and spreads and stuff that go with the cheese, and that's always interesting.
- Desserts, if you have a sweet tooth. My knowledge of dessert began and ended with cookies, cake, and ice cream, it seemed like. Really well-made pastry/viennoiserie is so exciting.
- Tasting menus. Maybe save this for after you've tried lots of new foods. But it can be a good way to expose yourself to new flavor combinations. (On this same note, get the prix fixe if you go to a restaurant--that is, a particular number of courses for a set price--so you aren't overwhelmed with options.)
Good luck...I had never realized how limited my food choices/tastes were until I moved to a city, got a tiny bit of expendable income, and started trying new things. (Being made fun of by friends and colleagues also helped...at least in terms of motivation...)
Yeah Pure is poopoo, even other vegan restaurants like Candle 79 are better.
Or Kajitsu as you point out, or Dirt Candy, or that new chi-chi veggie burger place...I forget the name...
Thanks! Cheese is a great start. I feel like whenever we have hor d'oeuvres I feel overwhelmed when people talk about the foods. They often have weird cheeses and I have only had mozzarella and cheddar mainly in my life other than stuff like Swiss/Pepperjack. Some of the cheeses have an extremely sharp and pungent taste... kind of hard to imagine people like that flavor!
Desserts is usually my easiest since I just pick whatever sounds different.
That is a lot of money for me since I grew up so poor and could never afford anything nice. To me, this seems like way beyond what I can even spend!
The reasons your coworkers are laughing at you isn't due to the price of the food nor the restaurants you went to, but rather your lack of culture. You simply have not tried a lot of foods outside of shitty American chains.
What I would rec is stop going to vegetarian restaurants exclusively and rather educate yourself about dishes/the components of a meal and learn to have open communication with a waiter.
Discuss the menu with your server. Of course you are probably not used to it with your olive garden-tier history, but in nicer restaurants they tend to need to have complete knowledge of the menu/dishes that are being served. The menus also tend to elaborate on allergy information, whether or not an item is vegetarian/vegan-friendly, etc.
On to prices, most nice meals are going to cost you approximately $15-$20 (alcohol excluded), somewhere around there. Anything higher and the price goes up due to either the EXPERIENCE the restaurant will give you, the POPULARITY of the restaurant, and the RARITY of the food.
Those three reasons are generally why some single person meals might cost ~$30/$40+ Anything priced around that range at a fairly normal-seeming restaurant is NOT a good restaurant, you need to learn that price does NOT equate to quality in the slightest.
What you should do is simply be openminded about your lack of cultural enrichment- don't go into an awkward spiel about how poor you were and how now you have lots of money and want to seem fancy, it's just uncomfortable. Rather, start going to new places and trying things you're unfamiliar with on the menu. When's the last time you had a falafel? When is the last time you had a doner kebab? paella? chorizo? calamari? carbonara? escargot? All of these are very popular foods in different cultures that most people tend to appreciate and enjoy.
Just go to highly-rated restaurants and places that you like and don't worry about the money. All that matters is that wherever you go, you should be able to afford it. Try a new place every night/every other night depending on what kind of food you are craving and within a month you should begin to be able to distinguish not only between GOOD and BAD restaurants but between what you like and don't like.
My recommendation? Order the platters/the menu item that just brings out a smaller portion of tons of shit they have on the menu. With your budget, you can definitely afford it and have money leftover (most tend to be around $40) but this will also give you the ability to take a bite or two of the most popular dishes at a certain restaurant and allow you to see the overall food quality/consistency in taste as well as determine what you like and dislike.
And again with the whole vegetarianism- you should stop excluding yourself from an entire food category and at least be open minded enough to try certain foods. I consider horses to be pet-like creatures and prior to visiting Spain I would've never considered eating one, yet now that I am here, if the opportunity came up, hey, sure, why not? I'll eat a bite. It doesn't mean you have to eat it forever, it just means you will get the experience of trying something previously unheard of.
But again, if you are adamant on not having any products that an animal was harmed from, just walk into restaurants and ask "hey, are there vegetarian-friendly menu items here?" Easy as that, walk out if they say no. If they say yes, ask your server for recs or just simply order every veggie-friendly menu item.
Good luck OP and remember: more expensive doesn't mean tastier. Most of my favorite meals cost around 11 euro, give or take a few, and I eat VERY well in a city.
>I consider horses to be pet-like creatures and prior to visiting Spain I would've never considered eating one, yet now that I am here, if the opportunity came up, hey, sure, why not? I'll eat a bite.
I seriously doubt horse is anything like cat. Cat is probably an even shittier version of rabbit.
In any case I was upboating you because of your bold and intellectually daring challenge to op's sheep-like vegan mindset. I tip my hat to you, good sir, for taking a stand on this issue on an anonymous tuvan throat-singing forum.
When I was in Spain my Grandad took me to the house of an old Spanish friend of his, who gave us raw beef on tomato-soaked bread as a starter, and then rabbit stew.
My bowl of stew had half a rabbit's ribcage in it which freaked me out (I was a sheltered 11yo English boy). What made it worse was when our host left the room and my Grandad told me it was actually cat. I believed him until my Grandma started scolding him.