What’s a vegetarian to do?

Jueves a la Mesa

Jueves a la Mesa dinner guests

Living in meat country can be hard for a vegetarian like me. Argentina doesn’t exactly offer a plethora of variety when it comes to food. We’re not talking well-balanced meals here.

That’s why whenever a great vegetarian restaurant is presented to me I make a reservation. I love to support anything that celebrates the herbivore. Especially in Buenos Aires, where people like myself are few and far between.

Enter Jueves a la Mesa, a weekly dinner cooked and served by American expat Meghan Lewis at her home in the San Telmo barrio of Buenos Aires. It’s a 100% vegetarian three course meal. Each month includes two originally inspired menus, served two weeks in a row in the event that you miss it or want to come back for more. Last night’s theme was oriental flavours in recognition of Chinese New Year.

The menu

The menu

The food was delicious but the best part is that Meghan shares her recipes with her dinner guests. She is committed to spreading the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Her roommates help her cook and serve the meals and they do so with charm and flare.

Jueves a la Mesa operates like a closed-door restaurant: Reservations to join an intimate group of ten guests is required, and payment is accepted in cash only.


The starter

Main course

The main course -- there was a rice concoction that came with this... I forgot to take a photo of it!


Dessert, Meghan makes her own chocolate and it's delicious

Flower decoration

Beautiful flower decorations

The company included Porteños, visitors, and expats like myself. I had a great time speaking with a visiting couple from Australia who were enjoying their last day in Buenos Aires before flying off to a wedding back home in Melbourne. I also met a lovely Argentine woman who now lives in Colombia who entertained me by talking about — wait for it — the weather.

Probably the most interesting was a young lady from Edmonton, Canada with a very large personality who has been living in Buenos Aires for one year. I was on the floor laughing when she reminisced about her first unfortunate experience at a Buenos Aires hair salon. Sufficed to say she ended up with a traditional Argentine mullet.

The bar

After dinner we headed to a bar in San Telmo for some beer. Wait, where's the beer?

However I have two criticisms about the evening. The first was the acoustics in Meghan’s apartment made it almost impossible to have a decent conversation. The room was small and voices became louder and louder until it was practically vibrating. The other was that most of the guests seemed to know each other and were friends with Meghan. When the guests have already formed exclusive cliques it makes it difficult for someone — on the outside — like myself to wedge their way in. Perhaps altering the table set-up so that people are forced to interact with individuals they don’t know would help make newcomers feel more comfortable and included.

Other than that I recommend that you make a reservation and check it out. It’s a lovely experience.

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