Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Not Too Many Vegetarians at Hilton Head

Peter and I stopped at Hilton Head Island in South Carolina during the first leg of our Florida trip. The next day we got up pretty late, tired out from all that driving, and headed out to lunch. It was about 2:30pm, and luckily, most places stop serving lunch at 3pm. We were in the mood for Mexican, so we picked out a place called Aunt Chiladas and made ourselves comfortable.

We figured, "Hey, it's Mexican. There's beans and rice, spinach burritos, cheese quesadillas -- there's tons to eat!"

Wrong, wrong, WRONG.

There wasn't a thing on the menu that you could serve a vegetarian. Also, I don't know when Fish & Chips became a staple of Mexican cuisine. When the waitress stopped by our table, we had already gotten up to leave.

"I'm sorry, but he's vegetarian," I told the waitress.

"Yeah," Peter said. "There's nothing for me here."

At the next table, a woman eating a healthy serving of ribs looked up at Peter in horror. Like, "Eeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwww. He's a vegetarian. I'm glad we don't have one of THOSE in the family."

The next half-hour was a mad dash through every strip mall on Hilton Head Island. That was like this:

"Oh look! An Italian restaurant! Pastas are vegetarian!"


"Hey! There's a sandwich shop!"


"Let's check out this restaurant menu!"


Finally, at our fourth strip mall location, we find a little shop that actually has (gasp!) a vegetarian menu!!!!

The place was called Market Street Cafe and the food was really good. This was a huge sigh of relief because when Peter doesn't get to eat, his crankiness meter goes way up into the region of NOT TOLERABLE BY ANYONE WHO CAN SEE OR HEAR HIM.

It was nice to sit down and finally relax. Then Peter said he felt badly that I had to deal with this vegetarian thing. The vegetarian thing is nothing. It's the Grumpy Grumperson persona that pops out when he's not fed that is the real problem. But you can make it up to me by learning how to juggle.

The rest of the day was wonderful, like movie-poster wonderful. We took the dogs out for a walk on the beach, which was right in front of our hotel. I was smart and wore my ugly hot-pink imitation Crocs. Peter had his leather shoes on. I told him to go back to the hotel room and change into his sandals, but he decided to walk barefoot. As soon as he set his feet onto the sand, he realized that I was right because walking on the beach in January is like walking on ice, which, according to Peter, "It isn't so bad, but when you lift up your feet, there's nowhere to put it down but on more ice."

So yes, AFTER he went and got his sandals, we took a long walk with the dogs on the beach as the sun was setting. It was a gorgeous day, 60 degrees in January.

For dinner, I was smart about it and picked the one restaurant in the Hilton Head Island magazine with an ad which emphasized that they serve vegetarian items. The place is called Tapas Restaurant and the meal we had was one of the best I have ever enjoyed in my entire life.

I think God loves vegetarians.


running42k said...

Funny how difficult it would be to find any vegetarian items. Even a one. The fish and chips in the Mexican makes some sense, as not everyone likes Mexican, but that same reasoning will also put a vegetarian selection on the menu.

plue said...

Once we were at a Japanese restaurant in Greenwich, CT and they didn't serve even one vegetarian meal. (Japanese cuisine is mostly vegetarian, that that was odd)

Brooke said...

The Mellow Mushroom in Hilton Head has lots of (casual) vegetarian items (pizza, subs, sandwiches). Hikoni serves some vegetarian sushi and tempura, and Just Pasta, Il Carpaccio, and Michael Anthony's all have a few Italian vegetarian dishes. There's always the Panera on the island too, which serves a number of vegetarian dishes. We enjoyed Tapas on our trip as well. Thanks for sharing the info about The Market Street Cafe, we'll try that this summer.

Anonymous said...

I'm so grateful for this info. My parents retired to near HHI and my veggie husband and I (also veggie) visit at least once a year. We always wind up at Ruan Thai (it's good, and they do offer a tofu option, the chef will ensure veg'n if you tell her). There's a little place called French Bistro in the Pinelands Station. It's got veg quiches, sandwiches and unreal French pastries and breads. Not vegan by any stretch, but the owner will help with veg options. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Roastfish and Cornbread has wonderful food and a large vegetarian menu!