Saturday, October 26, 2013

A great new app for finding vegan meals and a dairy-free guide

Introducing the new PlantEaters app, Mariann Sullivan of Our Hen House says: “The most brilliant ideas are the ones that when you hear about them, you immediately think, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?!?’” I did, as it happens, think of it, a couple of months ago, as my family and friends can attest (my name was the Vegan Menu Project, but PlantEaters is nice, too. :)) So obviously I agree that it’s a brilliant idea.

Here’s their press release from earlier this week:
PlantEaters Makes Finding Vegetarian Meals at Any Restaurant Easy

PlantEaters, a new iPhone app, opens up a world of dining opportunities for vegetarians by helping them find meatless meals at any restaurant, regardless of whether or not the restaurant itself is vegetarian or vegan. Users can rate and share meals that they’ve had when dining out.

New York, NY (PRWEB) October 22, 2013 – PlantEaters is a new iPhone app that helps you find vegetarian meals at restaurants all around you, regardless of whether or not the restaurant itself is vegetarian or vegan. This focus on meals, instead of restaurants, opens up a new world of dining opportunities for vegetarians, vegans, or those just looking to enjoy a meatless meal.

Finding a vegetarian meal at a nearby restaurant can often be a challenge. By leveraging the collective dining experiences of the PlantEaters community, vegetarians can dine out without having to settle for the house salad. Whether it’s a night out in a new city, or dinner with some meat-eating friends, PlantEaters can help make sure that vegetarians and vegans have a great dining experience.

Over time, the majority of meals in PlantEaters will come from the community itself adding and rating meals (including photos). To help get the ball rolling, the database has been pre-populated with thousands of meals covering a number of major metropolitan areas, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago.

Founded by the husband and wife team of David and Tracy Hersh, PlantEaters represents a passion project for the couple, who have been vegan for four years. David is a serial entrepreneur with deep experience in product design, having been a founder at pioneering efforts in the social networking, e-commerce and fantasy sports industries.

“In our hometown of New York City, we are fortunate to have a great selection of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. Even here though, the number of those restaurants pales in comparison to the thousands of other restaurants the city has to offer,” says David. “Increasingly, these restaurants are offering more meatless dining options and Tracy and I were struck by the fact that there was no easy way to find those meals. PlantEaters was created to fill that need.”

“Most of our friends aren’t vegetarians and until PlantEaters it has always been a challenge finding a place everyone would enjoy,” says Tracy. “We used to always sacrifice our dining experience because we didn’t want to inconvenience others, but now we can easily find a place that makes everyone happy.”*
One of the criticisms Sullivan had was that since the app also includes vegetarian meals, vegans would have to sort through them to find the vegan options. But David Hersh explained in a response that it’s easy to limit your search to vegan meals only, and they also posted about this on the PlantEaters blog.

Another useful resource comes from Ashley Capps at the Free from Harm blog. She’s put together a useful guide to dairy-free milks, cheeses, and more. For the products I’ve tried, I agree with her assessments and recommendations. I also can’t wait to get the Non-Dairy Formulary and try out the recipes.

* This framing bothers me, I have to admit.

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