August 15th, 2007

Iroh slurpy noodles

But If You Dig on Vegan Food

After unexpectedly wrangling Dan (incidentist), meeting enshanam's friend Christian and his girlfriend Kim, looking at creepy things in Paxton Gate (which Dan deemed "the Harry Potter store," as it would fit in well on Diagon Alley), playing around in the pirate store (826 Valencia), eating very good chicken mole and soyrizo burritos at Papalote, riding the St. Francis elevator to the thirty-first floor, stopping for a scone with strawberry-rhubarb jam, attempting to appreciate the art in the MOMA, rescuing a plastic bag from a fountain, having way too much fun with the Reactrix in the Metreon, perusing the anime shelves at Kamikaze Pop, and discovering that Cafe Gratitude was randomly closed for some staff workshop or something, but before consuming yummy mint chip/chocolate ice cream at the Bi-Rite Creamery, we had dinner at Herbivore, my first vegan restaurant experience.

On the recommendations of both enshanam and the waitress, I got the BBQ soy "chicken" sandwich on a French roll.

And it was amazing.

I did not realize lack-of-meat could taste so good. enshanam said the soy was basically a vehicle for BBQ sauce, and that made sense. And there was something about the spongy consistency that made this combination seem more successful than a hypothetical "real" chicken counterpart. Because it doesn't offer much resistance to your teeth, it allows the flavor to mix with everything in the sandwich, so that the focus isn't on the taste of the protein vehicle but the taste of everything else, from the bread to the vegetables to the light spread (mayonnaise? vegennaise? aioli?). The French bread, too, was key, because what kind of a crazy person puts a BBQ sandwich on French bread? The slight crispness balances out the texture of the soy "chicken" in a way that a regular bun wouldn't. It was the best sandwich I'd had in ages.

Perhaps there's more to vegan/vegetarian cuisine than meets the pie.