Don't you hate it when people say "I'm a vegetarian, I eat chicken and fish?" Well, the last time I checked, chicken and fish weren't vegetables!!!
It's hard enough eating out when you're vegan, and even harder when you are an oil-free vegan who also shuns sugar and salt. In my new book, UNPROCESSED, I discuss how hard it is to eat out when you are trying avoid "The Evil Trinity" (oil/sugar/salt) and on page 51, I talk about a fast food Mexican restaurant chain called Sharky's. (www.sharkys.com)
I first learned about Sharkey's from Julieanna Hever, the other half of "The Chef and The Dietitian" last summer. I was taking a water aerobics class at Valley College and Sharky's was directly across the street and I would stop there on the way home. I thought the food was amazing. Most of it was organic, the tortillas were whole wheat (instead of white flour) and low-fat, the pinto beans weren't cooked in lard (like at Chipotle) and you could even get tofu and steamed broccoli.
There was only one slight problem. They didn't seem to know what a vegan was. First there was cheese on my burrito, then salmon, then chicken. Each time, I filled out the on-line communication form and within 10 minutes, received a phone call from the CEO, David Goldstein. The first time, he added $20 to my FIN-addict card, the second time, he had new burritos delivered to my home, and just tonight when all 3 veggie burritos were made with chicken, I got a call from the GM stating that they are going to really train their staff to understand what VEGAN is so this won't happen again. He said I may even be able to help him create a separate vegan menu, sort of like what The Original Pizza Cookery in Woodland Hills did (which by the way, is next door to another Sharky's).
In the meantime, to make sure this doesn't happen again, I was told that the Sherman Oaks location (on the southeast corner of Fulton and Burbank) would now carry a Chef AJ burrito. It won't be on the menu, you have to ask for it (sort of like animal style at In and Out). This is a low-fat whole wheat tortilla filled with organic lard-free pinto beans, organic brown rice, steamed broccoli with a touch of guacamole. It is superb!!! The have a salsa bar and I highly recommend the fire roasted salsa or a squeeze of lime.
It is my hope that more restaurants will become like Sharky's, The Original Pizza Cookery and Hugo's, where oil-ftree vegans can dine with the "regular people". If you go to Sherman Oaks Sharky's and get the Chef AJ burrito, let me know what you think. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you order a vegan meal and it comes with chicken, tell them. You may got a burrito named after you
Love & Kale,