I've often said I have the palate of a 10-year-old, so I'm never been one to try out lots of new restaurants. I like what I like, and go to the same handful of places, and order the same things at each place.
I've had to branch out a bit more lately, both in self-imposed goals, and because of the influence and expectations of others in my life. Abe is definitely one who loves exploring new restaurants and flavors. His mom is also that way, but not only does she enjoy seeking out new restaurants, but she's very much into seeking out upscale restaurants.
Personally, even aside from the main issue I'm about to bring up, I don't think these fancy restaurants are worth the price. I guess the plates look pretty, and the food tastes good, but it doesn't taste proportionally better than food at lower price points. It doesn't have a value I would consider worth spending extra cash on. But, her money, if she wants to spend it at ritzy places and invite us along, that's her choice.
However, these upscale restaurants - even in a liberal hub like Portland - tend to have extremely limited vegetarian, much less vegan, options. There are some upscale veg restaurants (and especially as I think I'm going to set a goal for 2015 to try new vegan restaurants each month, I'll probably do what I can to push the group consensus in such directions as much as possible), but ultimately when it's her treat it's her decision, and it's often also influenced by location (e.g., when we're going out to dinner before a show).
There's been at least one place that literally had nothing vegetarian on the menu. Sure, since they're so fancy, you can just ask the chef to make something for you, or they'll willingly adapt something on the menu to make it vegetarian, but it still makes me uncomfortable that they don't think our patronage is important enough to deliberately set forth options, that meet their standards, on their menu in the first place.
On the other hand, maybe they simply haven't had enough business by vegetarians to warrant investing in such options, and they need to have customers to ask for that in order for it to become economically feasible.
I'm not saying this isn't a problem at more budget-priced restaurants, but in my experience the more "family restaurant" style a place is, the more likely it actually does have vegetarian option. Something about the fancy places seems to have an ingrained concept that dishes must have meat to have merit.
Which do you think is better economic activism: rewarding restaurants who already provide numerous veg options, or pushing the request at restaurants who don't?