I live in a town without vegan restaurants, what should I do when dining out?
This is one of the most frustrating things about being vegan but believe me, it's not limited to vegans in small towns. As I'm sure you already know it is important to ask the servers exactly what you are eating because animal products show up in lots of unexpected places. I know of a restaurant that uses egg whites in their dishes of roasted nuts. Weird.
Anyway, all restaurants will have a salad option. Just make sure they leave out the cheese, then ask for oil and vinegar on the side instead of whatever dressing they are planning to use. Don't order caesar salad since the dressing is loaded with animal products. Also skip croutons because they are often toasted in butter and have parmesan cheese on them.
You can also order pasta with marinara since as a rule marinara is vegan. But ask first. Bread is safe unless they pre-butter it. Some places might also have a steamed vegetable plate.
Just don't get discouraged. Remember that the idea is to go out for a good evening with friends rather than having a perfect meal. Settle for the salad or pasta and make something wonderful the next day to make up for the blandness of your dinner-out menu.