It was a nice Sunday morning in San Antonio, Texas, but one vegetarian restaurant was about to upset the balance. My wife and I, had began a bathroom remodeling project after breakfast. The project would take an entire day because it required hours of drying time. We coated the shower with epoxy and it needed to set for a few hours before we could apply a second coat.
The entire house was filled with a strong odor even though the door was closed. We could not open the windows because it was already too hot outside. We decided it would be a good idea to get out of the house and go out for lunch. Our dog, Abbey, was outside away from the stench, but we didn’t want to leave her inside while we were out. We needed to find a dog friendly restaurant so she could join us for lunch.
The Pearl in San Antonio
The smell was hardly bearable so we ran out of the house before deciding where to go. Who knows what that kind of odor could do to a dog? Her head could’ve been swimming. As we exited the neighborhood we decided to head for the Pearl. We’ve been to the Pearl many times before and know that it is dog friendly.
The Pearl is a revitalized area just north of downtown San Antonio. It is a popular place for residents, visitors and dogs. My first article was about our experience at the Pearl in San Antonio. We chose Green, which is a vegetarian restaurant on the northwest side of the Pearl. Neither of us are vegetarians, but my wife has food allergies, and I am often considered to be a “health nut”.
As a personal trainer and nutrition coach, I often make healthier food choices than the average person. I don’t have any quarrels with my wife in regards to restaurants because she requires allergy-friendly options, and I enjoy eating foods with nutritional value. It normally works out very well. However, this time should have been the exception.
Arriving at the Vegetarian Restaurant, Green
Green is a dog friendly restaurant with an outdoor patio in the front of the building. There is a small parking area near the building. We often park across the riverwalk in the back, but we used the parking lot next to Green this time. Even though we are in the month of September, the temperature is around 90 degrees. Luckily the patio is well-shaded. I took Abbey to one of the available picnic tables while my wife made someone inside aware of our arrival.
There were several groups of people dining outside, but I only noticed one server. I also noticed a dog friendly sign on the patio, but Abbey was the only dog present at this vegetarian restaurant. As I looked down at the ground I saw berries all over the patio. Looking up, I could see that they were falling from the trees. Doesn’t anyone sweep this patio? Abbey kept trying to put the berries in her mouth and I had to tell her to drop them. A dog friendly restaurant should have a clean patio.
My wife sat down after someone told her we would be waited on shortly. However, it was more than ten minutes before we even received water. In fact, I don’t believe the person who served us water was even a waiter because he also said someone would be right with us. We would have moved on if a server hadn’t come by within a few minutes. Someone else did come over, but later on I would be wishing she hadn’t.
The Vegetarian Menu at Green
The food didn’t appear bad on the menu. Surprisingly, several plates at this vegetarian restaurant are designed to look like something us meat eaters ordinarily consume (such as burgers or chicken fried steak). I’m no vegetarian, but if I was I wouldn’t want my food dressed up like meat. I settled on what they called the, “Big Nasty Burger”. Apparently it contains some type of chickpea and veggie patty, avocado, cheddar cheese, veggies, lettuce, chipotle sauce, fake bacon, and a bun.
While ordering, I inquired about the fake bacon. Our waitress told us it was just tofu. I decided to try it. What could go wrong? I asked for the sauce to be left off the burger, but accepted all the other ingredients. When the burger came out it contained sauce, but did not contain cheese. Whatever. I didn’t want to wait for a new order, or make a big deal about it. I decided to eat it as it was. This was a mistake.
I bit into the Big Nasty Burger, and found it to be quite flavorless. There definitely wasn’t much “good” flavor. I tasted chickpeas mostly, but also the sauce and bread as well. The patty was not burger-like at all. It was somewhat crispy on the outside, and mushy on the inside. How do they make this thing? We’ve eaten at very few vegetarian restaurants, but they don’t serve anything like this. I also had a side of mashed potatoes, which had a better flavor.
A new server came by after we had finished, to see how we were doing. He asked if the food tasted great, but answered his own question before we could produce a word. We received the check which amounted to about $30. The total seemed a bit pricey for what we received, but we were at the Pearl, not a fast-food restaurant. We exited the patio, but I had not yet experienced the worst part of the meal.
The Pain Begins
After finishing our lunch at Green Vegetarian Cuisine, we headed over to the dog park at the Pearl. It’s not much of a park, but it looks better than it did the first time we saw it. There were no other dogs playing in the park so we decided to head back to the car. The shower was going to need a second coat by the time we got back to the house. As we pulled out I noticed the road was blocked near the on-ramp we needed to use.
Instead of turning left and heading toward the house I had to make a right turn, and go through the Pearl. Something else was not feeling right inside. That tofu, or something else, was fighting back in there. I better get home quick. If only that entrance ramp had been open! I made a U-turn at the next block and had to pass through a garage to get to the next street. Cars were backing up because others were also trying to find another way onto the highway.
The Pain Worsens
This is the part when I really began to feel the stabbing inside. I had to continue onward in the drivers seat. I couldn’t get out in the car garage, nor did I want to turn around and go back. The house is only a few miles away. I can make it, right? When I finally got a chance to turn out and get onto the highway, I did so without the slightest hesitation as the pain inside intensified.
Green may be an allergy-friendly and dog friendly restaurant, but it was NOT friendly to my stomach. I struggled to maintain my composure while driving back toward the house on the highway. It’s only a few miles, how can it be taking this long? I had one hand on the steering wheel and the other on my stomach. It was getting worse.
I refused to be that guy driving 20 miles over the speed limit while swerving from lane to lane. However, I felt that the situation warranted it. Whenever I see that type of driving I give the driver the benefit of the doubt. Instead of simply driving like an asshole, I assume they are in a situation like this.
The pressure was terrible inside and it was trying to force its way out. I cursed Green as I drove in agony. There wasn’t even any meat in my meal, nor was there anything to undercook. What the hell could have gone wrong?
My better half offered to take over in the drivers seat, but I refused. Stopping would only make the pain last longer. She also tried to be empathetic by saying that dairy gave her similar agonizing symptoms. I didn’t eat any dairy. What was in that sandwich? I eat chickpeas, bread, avocados, lettuce, and vegetables frequently. Am I allergic to tofu? I don’t have any “known” food allergies.
I groaned in pain like never before. We finally exited the highway and were nearing the house. If I kept going would I explode, or would I make it? I very much hoped for the latter, of course. I rocked back and forth in my seat with one hand clutching my stomach. Abbey anxiously wagged her tail in the back seat and tried to lick me. Sorry girl, it’s not going to work this time. There was only one way to resolve the situation.
A portable toilet was coming up on the right side of the street! It’s over 90 degrees outside. How hot does that make it inside the portable toilet? We passed it before I could come up with an answer. Only a couple more turns to make. Somehow we made it back to our driveway without violating any traffic laws, or crashing into anyone. However, my digestive system was severely violated by that vegetarian restaurant.
I ended up making it into the house while doing Mach 10. I don’t need to provide the rest of the details. Let’s just say it was unpleasant. I guess the point of the story is that you never really know what you are going to get when someone else is handling your food. The tofu monster got the better of me this day. We had a few opportunities to choose other dog friendly restaurants. I really wish I would have taken one of them.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from eating out. I’m simply sharing a terrible experience that I happened to have. We will probably eat out again someday. We may go to a dog friendly restaurant at the Pearl, or along the San Antonio Riverwalk. However, I think it’s safe to say I will not be going to Green, and I will not be consuming any tofu any time soon. It’s just not worth the risk.
After the whole ordeal I wanted to take a nap, but did not. I relaxed for a few minutes, and headed back into the shower to get that second coat finished. Unfortunately, the shower also needed a third coat, so we had to exit the house again for awhile. This time we simply grabbed some snacks of our own and headed to the park. The visit to the park was pain-free. The end.
I’m a certified personal trainer in San Antonio. After adopting Abbey, I created Places for Pups to help you get outside, exercise with your dog and have fun doing it.
We have mastered hiking in Texas Hill Country. Though we emerge from the woods unharmed, we are not responsible for you or your pets. You are solely responsible for trying exercises, or places discussed on this site.
Grab the best hiking gear and go dog friendly. I wish you good fortune on the trails to come.