Around New Year’s, I started seeing food wishlists from people. They ranged from vegan food wishlists to greener eating wishlists to coffee flavors wishlists. The magic of google is not allowing me to find any, but you get the idea. I know it’s practically Spring now, but I wanted to share my food wishlist:
1. More non-dairy milk options beyond the grocery store – Don’t get me wrong, I love that even Safeway now carries almond milk. And I love that coffeeshops offer soy milk, but I would especially love more variety for soy-avoiders and soy-allergics, like almond, rice or coconut milk. And I really wish non-dairy milks were in general an easier option, especially with things like oatmeal or granola at brunch places, for example.
2. Brown rice at Chipotle – Chipotle is pretty much the only fast food I eat, and my usual order these days is black beans with the fajita veggies, guacamole and salsa. It is delicious, but I would be all over the brown rice if they had any. I know Chipotle has only added two things to their menu until this year (the bowl concept and then the salad dressing concept), so I know they think about it for a long while. But they are also willing to make changes, like their Gardein bowl above, available at a few select locations, including one in Washington, DC. Gardein is lovely, but it is stuffed with gluten, so gluten-intolerants do not get to benefit, and I know many vegans, aka Gardein’s target market, that do not like meat substitutes. Also, total tangent, but isn’t it amazing how Gardein is not meat, but totally looks like meat (see above). Anyways, I bet everyone would appreciate brown rice as an option at Chipotle. That said, go Chipotle for the Gardein. I hope they roll it out nationally, along with brown rice. And while we are on the subject, vegan gluten-free tortillas and vegan whole-wheat tortillas would be lovely too.
3. More brown rice in general – I really really wish that brown rice was always an alternative to white rice, whether for sushi, Indian food, Thai food – anywhere really.
5. More vegan gluten-free goods – I know from baking gluten-free that skipping eggs and butter makes it more challenging. But it can be done. And there are so many gluten-free foods that would be vegan but-for eggs(I am looking at you, Udi, because I keep hearing Udi makes the most amazing gluten-free pizza crusts and breads). Surely, there must be a substitute suitable for commercial use. In the meantime, I am going to keep baking my own vegan gluten-free items.
6. More balance – There seems to be this belief right now that unless things are doused in butter, wrapped in bacon and braised in cream, they are not rich and decadent. I see it on restaurant menus, on cooking shows, and in magazines. Bunny Bites has touched on this a bit in the context that plant-based foods can be delicious and haute cuisine, and she is right. I also wish that tofu was not automatically deep-fried in so many restaurants, as it often is.
5. No more brands swapping ingredients and compromising quality – an unnamed hummus brand, which used to be my very favorite hummus before I figured out how to make my own, seems to have swapped one of its core ingredients, olive oil. Recently I picked up a container and noticed it had soybean and/or canola oil as the ingredients, and no olive oil to be found. I would have been pretty annoyed to discover the switch if I was still purchasing this as often as I used to.
6. Sugar free decaf chai lattes – Chai lattes used to be my absolute favorite beverage until I had to cut out refined sugars and caffeine. Le Pain Quotidien rocks though, as they do have a decaf sugar-free chai. I wish that could be available at Starbucks and, well, everywhere. (Update April 2010 – while the LPQ decaf sugar-free chai is vegan, it is not gluten-free. Le sad).
7. Better food labeling at restaurants – Eating out when you have food allergies and/or intolerances can be a leap of faith. I love that many restaurants have specific menus showing what items are gluten-free, dairy-free and so forth, but ideally, you want the menu to be allergy friendly and the staff to be knowledgeable.
8. Vegan options – I have mentioned before that I often default to vegan options when eating out, since I avoid non grass-fed meat. As such, I wish there were better labeled vegan options, not to mention more of them.
9. More availability of grass-fed meats and wild caught fish at restaurants – Not to mention better labelling of them! I only trust a few restaurants to tell me the truth about this, plus I tend to default to a vegan selection anyways because I am intolerant to dairy, but it would be nice to have more information for everyone.
10. Vegan macarons – Macarons are small enough that their refined sugar content is less of an issue for me, but I wish they were vegan. Plus, I am a sucker for how pretty macarons are, so being able to eat them again and more frequently would be lovely.
General Disclosures & Disclaimers