Hunting and gathering in Atlanta’s vegetarian restaurants
By Debbie Michaud
June 6, 2007
Some carnivores are under the impression that meat eating is imbedded into the human genetic code, and that vegetarians are missing out on the thrill of the hunt. As a vegetarian going on two years now, I beg to differ. I’m constantly on the prowl, searching for something suitable to eat.
I’ll spare you the animal-rights soapbox. I made the decision for myself as both a naturalistic attempt to help get some health issues under control and to right a guilty conscience. The ends simply no longer justified the means for me when it came to eating animals.
And I’ll admit, it’s not always so easy. Some broccoli-and-onion soups are made with chicken broth; french fries are often cooked in the same oil as chicken fingers; and lard is usually a key ingredient in refried beans. So here in Atlanta – the land of biscuits and gravy, collard greens and fried chicken – where can a vegetarian go and feel like a hunter rather than a scavenger?
About eight years ago, my mom took me to what she called “a funky little place” named Café Sunflower (5975 Roswell Road, 404-256-1675). Located in the back corner of a Sandy Springs shopping center (I have yet to visit the Buckhead location), the restaurant has been serving outlandishly tasty vegetarian and vegan fare since 1994. From the herbal iced teas and the light and crispy Sandy Spring rolls to the woodsy Tuscan sandwich made with goat cheese and portobello mushrooms, Café Sunflower pretty much has it all. My only complaint: the macro stir-fry’s cardboardlike tempeh. But honestly, avoiding the tempeh just left me with more room for the billowing dairy-free chocolate raspberry mousse cake.