Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vegetarian Restaurant Hack: Boston Pizza

My kid is the pickiest eater imaginable.  This is a child for whom the default position on any new food is “I hate it", and who refuses to try just about anything.  Except for when he was a baby, he has never eaten a strawberry.  A peach.  Pie of any kind.  I know, all kids go through a picky stage, but my kid is seriously in a category all by himself.  I blame the dental problems he’s suffered – at the age of 3, he had to have a tooth pulled, 2 crowns, and about 8 fillings.  I wish I were exaggerating, but I shit you not.  He’s so reluctant to try anything new that he was 5 years old before he ever tried peanut butter.  PEANUT BUTTER FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.  The only reason he tried that was because he saw me making icing and asked to lick the beaters, but didn’t realize that it was peanut butter icing.  After tasting it, he asked “what is this?” I told him “peanut butter,” and he replied “THIS is what peanut butter tastes like???”  So I had discovered the key to getting Liam to try new foods – just make icing out of it.

As you might imagine, eating out with him is a bit of a challenge, as it’s hard to find things on restaurant menus that he’ll be willing to put in his mouth.  He’s only recently begun to accept a Grilled Cheese Happy Meal from McDonald’s.  Srsly.  So when the family is going out for a meal, our restaurant choices are largely  determined by the presence of something on the menu for the kid that also has something decent for us to eat as well.  And Boston Pizza is where we end up about 90% of the time, because it has both.

Liam eats one thing, and one thing only at Boston Pizza:  “Bugs & Cheese,” insect-shaped pasta in an alfredo cheese sauce.

Strictly speaking, there’s really no need for a vegetarian hack at Boston Pizza.  It’s a pizza joint for Pete’s sake, you can put anything you want on a pizza; plus there are several pasta dishes, a stromboli, a few appetizers you could order as an entree.  But in a sense, the fact of having so many obvious vegetarian options sometimes blinds one to the possibilities beyond the listed veggie items.  This is such an instance.

Under “BP Originals” on their menu they list the “Spicy Perogy Pizza”, which uses sour cream instead of tomato sauce, and is topped with spicy thin-cut potatoes, bacon, and mozzarella; after baking it is garnished with a dollop of sour cream, scallions, and a sprinkling of cheddar.  I simply order this with no bacon, and it is a really great meal that is not your usual run-of-the-mill veggie pizza or pasta dish. 

In fact, I think this pizza is actually better as a vegetarian dish.  Full disclosure: last time I ordered it, I was kind of distracted and I forgot to ask the server for no bacon.  When they brought it out to me, I debated with myself about whether to send it back (which I usually do when I’ve requested no meat and the kitchen screwed it up – which I always do with mixed feelings, because I know it’s just going to go in the garbage, and how does that help anything?  A future post will deliberate on this question).  In this case though, when it was clearly my fault, I decided to pick off most of the bacon that I could and eat it anyways.  I’m not completely puritanical in my vegetarianism (another future post).  And honestly?  I like it better with no bacon.

Not only do I recommend the Spicy Perogy Pizza with No Bacon when you’re eating at Boston Pizza as a specific restaurant ‘hack,’ I recommend the strategy involved here more generally as well – that is, don’t necessarily limit your menu browsing to the vegetarian items listed!  Have a look at everything and see if there is something that strikes your fancy that could be made without the meat!

1 comment:

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