Archive for September, 2009

A Vegetarian in a Steakhouse!

September 23, 2009

What happens when a vegetarian finds herself in a steakhouse?

Her choices are probably going to be one of the following –       

a) She starves

b) She eats just the salad

c) She succumbs to her hunger and eats meat (Impossible, right?)

d) She doesn’t go in the first place (spoilt sport!)

You probably might have guessed by now that I am a vegetarian. Before I go any further, I just want to clarify one thing because I get this all the time (eyes rolling!). I am only a vegetarian, not a vegan. A Vegan eats neither the meat nor dairy while vegetarians do eat dairy, just not the meat, although, I sneak in eggs in my diet much to the chagrin of my fellow vegetarians.

Couple of weeks ago, I had to attend a business dinner at a steakhouse, not just any steakhouse but a Brazilian steakhouse, Fogo de Chao.

Fogo de Chao

One of my colleagues who had been to this restaurant before, gave me a heads up saying that they don’t just serve steak but they carry it around on skewers and they go around continuously bringing 15 different kinds of meats or until you are done and flip a sign card at your table to show red. My colleague is not a vegetarian but she warned that the sight is a bit overwhelming and that the restaurant reeks of meat.

Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse

Hmm! Trepidation and anxiety almost set in but at the same time I consoled myself with the thought that an upscale restaurant in Scottsdale Arizona, cannot smell like a fish market. You don’t want to ruin your favorite Prada jacket!

I am not a faint-hearted vegetarian and I love to try the different cuisines of the world as long as the dishes have no meat in them. It may be difficult to fathom for some but I really have discovered some great tasting food wherever I have gone. In fact, I could easily host a vegetarian food sojourn on Travel Channel.

Another fact is I am married to a wonderful man who loves to eat meat. But this was never a moot point as long as I don’t have to eat it or cook it. No, wait, sorry, sometimes it is when I get a whiff of seafood.

Okay, so I arrived at Fogo de Chao. I did get a faint barbecue smoke smell but it was not intense and suffocating. In fact, you don’t even realize it after a while. And, dinner was awesome and enough for me! They have a huge salad spread with not just greens and vegetables but also different kinds of cheese including fresh mozzarella, polenta, breads and garlic mashed potato. I know it’s not a lot of variety but I had room to eat dessert for once without feeling full. Their Crème Brule is to die for and so also their molten chocolate cake.

Chocolate Molten Cake


So, if you are a vegetarian and are fine with the sights and smells of meat, try out the steakhouses too. You never know the treat that might await you!

Trip with my parents

September 7, 2009

My parents visited us last summer from India. This was their second trip to Phoenix and they usually stay for 3 months. On their first visit, we took them to see the Grand Canyon. Of course! So, this time I was debating between Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas.  All these cities are within 6 hours from Phoenix by road which is a decent drive given their age and diet. We unanimously decided on Las Vegas.

Although my parents were okay with it initially, our relatives in India were a bit taken aback with this choice because after all Las Vegas is marketed as a “Sin City”. People in there seventies go on pilgrimages to absolve their sins in India and here I am, taking my parents to the Sin City! Go figure!

The thing that is most striking about Las Vegas to us is not so much about gambling. My husband and I do not gamble even though we are generations apart from my parents. Somehow I cannot envision myself losing my hard earned money in such a frivolous way (maybe 10 bucks, LOL!). But I love the Strip for its nightlong gaiety and have been awestruck with the resorts built on a theme. If the Strip had just skyscrapers like Manhattan, I don’t think it would be as intriguing. So, off we went to Las Vegas. We started off with New York New York Resort and ended with The Venetian.

Las Vegas Strip


  • My mom has arthritis but she kept up with our zest and forgot her pain!
  • My father can never keep his eyes open past 10pm and he was awake both the nights that we were there until midnight. It could have been the neon lights or tStatue of Liberty at New York New York - Las Vegashe swarm of people all around us!luxor  


Being a civil engineer by profession with a passion for buildings and architecture, he was impressed with each of the themed resorts. From the pyramid shaped Luxor to the recreated Statue of Liberty. From the Eiffel Tower to the interiors of the resorts like the Venetian and Caesar’s Palace that captured the flavor of that country or the city.

Eiffel Tower at Paris Paris - Las Vegas 

My dad marveled at the great minds that planned and executed all this right from concept to commissioning. Wish the same concept had continued even today because there are still so many more wonderful places in the world that they can replicate and resurrect on the Strip. But the need for fast turnover and a quick ROI, all the new construction is nothing but a modern concrete mass making it an eye sore on the Strip.

Did you know that 19 of the world’s 25 largest hotels by room count are on the Las Vegas strip.

On the way back from Las Vegas, we made a short stop at the Hoover Dam. My father’s initial work after getting his engineering degree was with the Bhakra Nangal Dam project in India. This Dam was built on similar lines as Hoover Dam (highest gravity dam) with expertise from USA. It made it more special for him to see the Hoover Dam.

To sum it up, there was no “sin” involved in seeing this man-made attraction. I guess it’s the perception created for Las Vegas that makes people jump into conclusions that this city is only for gamblers and partygoers. Of course it is, but it offers much more too.

Sorry friends, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” did not apply here. But I have gone many times to Vegas and trust me, I don’t remember a thing about those trips! 🙂