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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's Vegan at... TGI Fridays

In short: not much.

My cousin and her family happened to be in Orlando this week. On a night that worked out for all of us, we met up for dinner at a TGI Fridays near Disney, where they were all staying.

Naturally, this would not be my first choice, but I cared more about visiting my badass cousin than eating anything fancy. However, it was my cousin who chose it (in a rush), and she has a list of food allergies. We were in for a treat!

As soon as we were seated, my cousin asked for the gluten-free menu. The server handed her an allergen menu, which was handy for me, too. This menu listed everything that was in everything: dairy, eggs, shellfish, wheat, soy, etc. I should have taken a picture of this menu. Each allergen was listed as a symbol, and hot damn, almost every menu item had multiple symbols next to them. Even their hummus platter (which you would assume would be vegan minus the dollop of bullsh*t yogurt sauce on top) contained shellfish! My cousin and I wondered if TGI Fridays was just covering their arse extra, to be safe (even all of their fries were listed as containing wheat, dairy, eggs, shellfish, etc.), but we had an inattentive server, plus it was pretty busy, so we didn't pull out our food detective badges and magnifying glasses.

What did I get? Not a naked salad. And let me tell you something about their dressings: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM CONTAINS DAIRY. Even the balsamic vinaigrette. Most of them also contain eggs. And no, they don't offer oil and vinegar on the side. You either get the nasty secretion-filled dressings, or you get nada. Which is what happened to my cousin.

I was surprised to see that their vegetable sides were vegan as-is, so I ordered them both, specifying no butter or cheese, etc. just to be on the safe side. The two veggie sides are "steamed broccoli," and "sauteed vegetable medley." (Broccoli had no allergen symbols, and the "vegetable medley" only contained soy.) I received...

a small plate with 4 large pieces of broccoli, and another small plate with about 6 pieces of zucchini.

Don't get too excited now.

Like I said, I cared more about spending time with my cousin than feasting on some gorgeous platter of food, so it was no big deal. Plus, she and I bonded over our dietary no-nos.

SO, if you find yourself at TGI Fridays, or any other similar chain restaurant, ask for the allergen menu and marvel at the nothingness!


  1. They made me once a bruschetta without cheese and butter and a watermelon smoothie :P

  2. NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have to go there Saturday!