Update, 30 August 2011: Veg-Table is no longer available at veg-table.net, but is still accessible at http://veg-table.wikidot.com/. As far as I know, it isn’t being actively maintained by anyone, but it is still possible to sign up and contribute.
My original post about Veg-Table follows, but much of it is no longer up to date.
Original Post, 24 July 2009:
My lovely wife Sharon launched a new website this week:
It’s a restaurant and travel guide for vegetarians and vegans. It’s not the first one, but it has some interesting innovations.
Many existing vegetarian restaurant guides are limited to a single geographical area. They may provide a lot of information for one city, but can be hard to discover if you’re not a local, and often go for comprehensive coverage of all of the veggie options available, rather than highlighting the best ones. Veg Table was launched as a global site from day one, with a focus on travelers that may only be in town for a few days, as well as long-term residents.
Existing sites also tend to focus exclusively on major cities. Of course, as most vegetarians are well aware, getting food in a big city isn’t usually that tough — it’s the smaller towns and less-cosmopolitan places that you need to worry about. While Veg Table does cover big cities, it also tries to recognize the spaces in between that we often find ourselves in.
My favorite feature is its set of “Airport Survival Guides”, a great idea that I’m surprised nobody’s thought of before. Airports can be one of the worst places to be stuck as a vegan — you can’t really leave, you’re completely unfamiliar with your options, the facility is usually too big to fully explore, and you often only have a short amount of time between flights. Being able to rely on the knowledge of people who have been through the airport before will be a big help.
Finally, many previous attempts at restaurant and travel guides, both for vegetarians and in general, suffer from out-of-date and incomplete information. Often the people in charge of the site simply can’t cover enough area to make it worthwhile. Veg Table, however, is based on a wiki, so any member of the site can contribute information, perhaps about a city that they live in or recently visited, an update to a restaurant listing, or just a brief comment on one of the pages about their experience at a particular place. This removes the bottleneck of having all of the updates have to come from a single person or organization, and will help fill in a lot of areas that have gone neglected on other sites.
So, if you’re vegan, vegetarian, a fan of herbivorous cooking, or just curious, please sign up and feel free to start contributing.