To the editor:
I am a thrilled new resident of Lake Placid. This is a vibrant, vital, outdoors- and sports-oriented town.
As such, I've been surprised to discover the almost total lack of vegan menu options at any local restaurants in the sea of "gluten-free everything," especially high-end restaurants.
Here's a news flash for restaurant owners in a clearly prosperous resort town like Lake Placid: Most of your vegan visitors are probably highly affluent, highly successful professionals with sophisticated palates who will bring revenue and word-of-mouth recommendations to your omnivore business if you show consideration for vegans instead of seeming to put out a "You're not welcome here" sign by providing zero vegan options on your menus.
I can't stand boring vegan food. I was brought up in an international gourmet household. Vegan food can be made wonderfully creative very easily, and here's another news flash: Keeping the ingredients in stock for creative vegan fare costs restaurant owners virtually nothing.
So please help make Lake Placid a truly attractive and all-around awesome option for active, healthy, vegan business owners like me: Add vegan items to your menus. I have traveled all over the country and world, and most high-quality restauranteurs realize that having vegan items on menus won't keep the omnivores away. In fact, many now dedicate an entire day - "Meatless Mondays" - to vegetarian and vegan fare, and they have seen their profits skyrocket. I applaud New Moon Cafe in Burlington, Vt., for giving the space to one of their vegan friends to create a simple but delicious vegan menu for every meal, available full-time alongside their regular menus.
And one more tip for restauranteurs: Vegans love breakfast. We do not necessarily love oatmeal. I do not want to order oatmeal at a restaurant. I can make it at home. A vegan non-egg version of eggs Benedict and vegan cornmeal pancakes are what I'm after, and they're spectacularly easy to make.
On the lunch and dinner fronts, we don't automatically love salad. We can also probably make that better at home. And I guarantee most of us never, ever want to see another portabella mushroom again!
As a gourmet food lover who has been cooking delicious vegan food since 1998, I'm happy to give recipe suggestions to any interested Lake Placid restaurant owners or chefs.
I gauge a real chef by whether they think being requested to cook vegan robs them of their tools and artistry, or whether they adventurously rise to the challenge. Real chefs cook vegan ...
My birthday is coming up on Feb. 24. So far, I have no idea of where I could go out for a special gourmet birthday meal in Lake Placid. I don't want to have to go to Burlington or any other town. I live here. Maybe some enterprising Lake Placid chef will make my day, and give me the ultimate birthday and "welcome to Lake Placid" gift of an adventurous gourmet birthday meal that will blow my socks off.