Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Happy Cow

            As a blog meant for new vegans and vegetarians – not just the old-timers – it would probably be helpful to highlight useful tools at our disposal.  The Happy Cow website is one such tool that my wife and I have used countless times in the past.  I seriously don’t know what we’d do without it.
            For those unfamiliar to the site, it’s basically one giant catalogue of restaurants that serve vegan and/or vegetarian food all over the world.  That’s right – all over the world!  How cool is that?  If you’re a newbie to the vegan world and wondering, “Well, where can I go since Red Lobster is no longer an option?” this is the place to visit!  It’s super easy to use, too.
            The site lets you enter in a location on its main page and from there you can narrow the search.  Not only can you specify your search for vegan or vegetarian restaurants, but you can also list veg-friendly restaurants (omni-restaurants that serve a few vegetarian dishes) and what they call “stores n’ more” (grocery stores, B&Bs, etc.).  The fact that you can list vegetarian B&Bs is pretty sweet.  Since my wife and I try to travel as much as possible, this feature would come in handy if we ever needed to use it.  Then you just list the radius you want to travel and more.  Once you’ve completed all the requirements you want to search for, the results show up on the bottom with a map displaying their locations.
            We’ve not only used it for searching out restaurants in our own area but also for numerous places we’ve been to on vacation.  We’ve been to Hawaii, Canada, Germany, England, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica since going vegan and Happy Cow has listed places for nearly every town we’ve been to.  There have been times when I’ve worried about traveling to a country because I didn’t think there would be anything there for us to eat but every time I’ve been surprised at the amount of results I’ve gotten.  And it doesn’t even seem to matter how remote the town may be, there always seems to be one veg-friendly place for us to stop at.  And on those rare occasions that no restaurant pops up, we make due at some generic fast food place like Subway since it seems every country has one of those.
            Now, there are a few times when a restaurant hasn’t either been there or it’s been closed down or it was vegetarian when it was supposed to be vegan (or vice versa).  It happens (most recently for a vegan soul restaurant, Yah’s Cuisine, in Chicago that was closed down when there was no warning on either Happy Cow or even the main site for Yah’s) but it mostly happens when we visit a place out in the middle of nowhere and that usually only happens in foreign countries.  In the States, Canada, and England, we have had good luck using the site.
            Besides the restaurant listings, the site also has other uses.  You can join the site and give reviews and talk in forums with other vegans/vegetarians (a good way to build support).  They also have their own blog and shop.  They also list a bunch of different sub-topics you can search on their site to help old and new vegetarians (like an ingredients list, animal rights information, travel info, and tips on going vegan).  So, if you haven’t been to the site, I highly suggest bookmarking it and downloading the mobile app.
            Yes, I am on Happy Cow.  However, I haven’t been on the site for very long so I haven’t reviewed many places.  If you want to look me up there, too, then find me under ‘Ben Reilly’.  If you’re a comic book nerd like me, then you know that is a character in the Spider-Man comics.
            For those of you who have used the site before, what have your experiences been like?  Has it been a pretty reliable site for you to use?
            Until next time, keep calm and vegan on!

            You can follow Happy Cow on Twitter at @happycow
            You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and a ton of other places.


  1. and don't forget they have a cook book now too!

    1. Oh, right! I forgot about that. Thanks!