I’m a vegetable farmer, an avid cook and a longtime vegan, and I love to eat out when my budget allows. However, I’m frustrated at your mediocre coverage of plant-based menu options in the Portland dining scene.

Every Dine Out Maine review I’ve ever read has stated in the sidebar that “some dishes” at any given restaurant are “vegetarian.”

From my experience, though, there is a wide range of what “some” actually means: It could be one simple salad, a cheese-laden entree or many selections that are clearly marked “vegan” or “vegetarian.” Also, some chefs may be willing to create a customized set of courses for a vegan patron.

In the July 19 review of Bandaloop, the fact that their menu always includes delicious vegan items is sadly omitted, while – as seems to be the custom with the paper’s reviews – the meat and dairy dishes are given full attention.

This is a shame when many restaurants put great effort and aplomb into creating plant-based offerings. Furthermore, Maine-grown vegetables are currently at their peak, and many wonderful dishes are created around this abundance.

There is a misconception that when vegans find themselves in restaurants, they must settle for something on the menu that suits their diet, regardless of whether it appeals to them. That is not true.

Before choosing where I will eat, I read reviews, get friends’ recommendations and scour the Internet. I’ve found that when a group of people of varied diets goes out to eat, the vegans determine the destination. And when a party made up entirely of vegans goes out to eat, well, that is one lucky restaurant.

Suggestions for future reviews: Visit more vegan-friendly restaurants; review plant-based dishes – good or bad; and use more descriptive language in the sidebar where the words “Vegetarian: Some dishes” have settled all too comfortably on the page.

Flora Brown