So I went to a Vegan restaurant for dinner last night, yes hell froze over – well not really. Let me kill the suspense, before anyone gets concerned — I’m not turning vegan! If you’ve ever met me you’d know that I’m what Anthony Bordain would call a “serious eater” I will try anything, and I mean that. I’ve eaten calf brain ravioli, and pig’s reproductive organs in soup, and actually enjoyed them. You just never know till you try right? For this exact reason I’ve always been anti-vegan — these people only eat vegetables! there’s so many delicious things that they are missing out on. I love my meat, and I love my vegetables, they are made for each other. I had mentioned to Sheryl Kirby and Greg Clow that Every Monday I make an effort to eat more or only vegetables, aka “Meatless Monday” and Sheryl suggested a Monday dinner at a vegan restaurant; I should be fine right? after about 10 minute of joking that i’d catch on fire upon entry to a vegan restaurant and maybe I should bring emergency pocket bacon we decided to go to “The Hogtown Vegan” there’s even a pig on the sign. I was slightly surprised to see the entire menu is meat analogues! unpulled pork, chicken wings, ribs, biscuits and gravy, burgers, mac and cheese. This was not what I expected. We ordered nachos and chicken wings to start. The vegan cheese in the nachos didn’t suck, it reminded me of the cheese whiz or the kind of nacho cheese that 7-11 has that comes out of those pump machine, lots of avocado and beans on the nachos, and the chips were hot and fresh. I could eat these with a cold beer anytime. The chicken.. well it was marinated battered deep fried tofu. Deep frying almost anything makes it taste better. The sauce was nice and had a strong umami character to it, I suspect that everything is doused in MSG to make it taste like that. Onto the Main dish: “Ribs” with sweet potato and collard greens. The “ribs” were chunks of tempeh that had (*you guessed it) – been deep fried and liberally sauced with a smokey Q sauce. They kind or reminded me of the sauce remnants left behind from ribs that had been wrapped in foil and left to steam out and solidify – they tasted really good! but the texture was terrible, this was my first meat analoge tempeh experience, and I hope it’s my last. If you enjoy the McRib however this is something you might enjoy, even my worst overcooked ribs had better texture. The sweet potato was generic, and the collard greens could were kinda oily, but i did enjoy them as they were the only thing that resembled an actual vegetable on my plate. Sheryl had ordered the mac and cheese, and i had a bite and it was nothing to write home about and the pasta was overcooked, the topping for the mac and cheese however was inspirational it was brewers yeast, tangy and delicious. I’ll be topping my non-vegan mac and cheese with this in the future it’s awesome.
So there it is: poor poor vegans are subjected to these terrible meat analogues because they dont eat meat. We all love fat, sugar and salt – even if you are not getting it from an animal. If you ever had the idea that vegan food was somehow more healthy than meat, eat at the hogtown vegan I promise you’ll change your mind. Now excuse me while I eat my brussel sprouts with a pork chop.