*UPDATE* FOX News… I mean New York Magazine (I kid, I kid) Food Bloggers had their (inaccurate) fun with this entry. Truth be told, Fiore is a decent, affordable restaurant in my hood – I just wish they had a few more options for conscientious eaters and that they dealt with customer feedback in a more positive way. ‘Nuff said…

I attended a birthday dinner at a new Italian place, Fiore, in Brooklyn. I was shocked to find that thefiore-small.jpg only vegan options were salad, and the spaghetti with tomato sauce entreé. In New York City – especially in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, I expect the restaurants to not only be smart enough to cater to the burgeoning vegan population (if not simply as an intelligent financial decision), but to be sensitive to general customer feedback of informed customers. After my meal of pasta and salad, I kindly suggested to a manager that, “my meal was tasty, and it would be fantastic if you added a few more vegan options to the menu – like a grilled portabello cap, or mushroom ravioli, or pasta primavera.” With all of the amazing vegan sausages and meat alternatives, dairy alternatives and veg-friendliness of traditional Italian food in general, I expected anything but the response I got. Not “thanks for the feedback” or “we value our customers, so we’ll see what we can do”. In a defensive tone, she said: “Portobellos cause cancer”. What? Excuse me? In an establishment serving up tons of conventional, hormone-ridden, pesticide-pumped ribs, beef, chicken, lamb, cheese, and butter – you’re telling me that portobello mushrooms cause cancer? Needless to say, I was so caught off guard that I was at a loss for words.

After a few hours of research, I’ve discovered that this is total nonsense, of course. Not only that, but the Stanford Cancer Center has recipes for portobellos on their website. Go figure. In fact, mushrooms contain selenium, potassium, copper, and B-complex vitamins, and are purported to have anti-cancer properties. Vegans have been shown to have 40% less chance of getting cancer, and meat and dairy products have been shown to cause cancer. There are mushrooms, that if eaten raw, have certain carcinogenic toxins (that cook or wash off). My only explanation for this ridiculous response of hers is that she was so offended by my vegan request that she said the first terrible thing that came to her mind.

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So in the spirit of the slandered portobello, I give you a plethora of mushroom recipes from our friends at Post Punk Kitchen: