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But If You Dig on Vegan Food - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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August 15th, 2007


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10:35 am - 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.
Current Mood: hungryhungry
Current Music: M.I.A. - Sunshowers

(38 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:pidgehuss
Date:August 15th, 2007 05:40 pm (UTC)
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As a vegetarian, I applaud you for giving soy a chance. A lot of people can't wrap their heads around the point of tofu and other soy products, which is basically (and I'm generalizing, for sure) that it absorbs the flavors of everything it's cooked with and gives a different texture to them. Preparing tofu is tough, because if you don't do it correctly, you get silken, mushy lumps of tasteless protein. But if you do it right, it can be creamy, firm, chewy, spongey, crumbly or a bunch of other textures. And it picks up everything so herbs especially get a chance to shine.

Glad you liked it!
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From:janeanger
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:02 pm (UTC)
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Yesssssss! Now I want to be your friend.
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From:punzerel
Date:August 15th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC)
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I actually really enjoy vegetarian food (I've been contemplating/dabbling in semi-ish-vegetarianism for the past couple of years) - my boyfriend always buys these soy breakfast sausages which are so yummy. :D Tofu is really all in the preparation, like the person up there mentioned. It's kind of fun to experiment with. I hate the soft and squishy kind, though.
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From:janeanger
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
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I love it when meat eaters have these kind of epiphanies.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
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I've had garden burgers, which are okay, and veggie hot dogs are kinda weird and passable, and I've had some tofu and tempeh stuff before, but I've never had anything this amazingly good.
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From:jennythen
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC)
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I am definitely faking that sandwich soon. It sounds so good.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
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So so so good. I don't know how they did it!
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From:noradeirdre
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
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As a pretty upfront meat eater, I've discovered that chicken breast is so freaking bland and chewy that I'd happily substitute well prepared tofu for it in most situations. (dark meat on the other hand... yum!) We've cooked bar-b-fu on our grill a bunch of times as well as using it in stirfries (mmm... soy and sesame flavoring!). As long as you squeeze out the moisture that's it's stored in, there's serious potential in them curds. (also, an excellent substitution for paneer in curries!)

we're working on weaning ourselves off giant farm factory meat, so we eat vegetarian more days than not. (it's the only way we can afford the meat from farmers whose practices we DO support!)
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From:maka2000
Date:August 15th, 2007 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I once had a vegan egg nog. It mostly tasted like cinnamon-y bourbon.
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From:sterope
Date:August 15th, 2007 07:03 pm (UTC)
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I had a vegan hamburger a while ago, and it really didn't taste anything like meat, but it was really really good.
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From:sinca
Date:August 15th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
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When briasoleil was here, I had so many amazing vegan meals. I was new to it too, so I know how you feel.
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From:briasoleil
Date:August 15th, 2007 11:33 pm (UTC)
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You were so wonderfully accommodating! I'm so happy that your vegan dining experiences were of the good, as opposed to the bad. Cause that would really suck.

But yes, I wish Real Food Daily and Madeleine Bistro were within an hour's drive of where I live. That would be ace.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:August 15th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC)
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"Well come over to my work, I'll have them cook you something that you'll really love, 'Cause I like you, Yeah I like you, And I'm feeling so bohemian like you..."
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From:modlin
Date:August 15th, 2007 09:46 pm (UTC)
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Aw, yay!

A couple of months ago I accidentally ate chicken for the first time in about 15 years. It was weird. The stuff has NO TASTE.
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From:mutinousmuse
Date:August 15th, 2007 10:04 pm (UTC)
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Vegetarians FTW!!!

*\o/*
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From:dragon_gem
Date:August 15th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
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If I ever truly went vegetarian, I think I'd starve. Not because I'm just that tied to meat (which... yeah, maybe) but because I just dislike the vast majority of the vegetable family. Amusingly enough, I do like tofu in most situations. But my sandwiches, for instance, consist of meat and bread (occasionally a slice of cheese or some mustard, but that's the extent of my dabbling). So while I am tentatively on board with the french bread-and-soy idea, the rest of me is wondering why you'd mess up the sandwich with vegetables, BBQ sauce, and mayonnaise. =)
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From:briasoleil
Date:August 15th, 2007 11:36 pm (UTC)
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When you're in LA next, make it a point to go to either Real Food Daily or Madeleine Bistro. Or both. They're amazing vegan restaurants.

Vegan food can easily be as good as meat-based dishes. Plus, they're vegan! What's not to love?
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From:prophetkristy
Date:August 16th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
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Here in Eugene, OR is a bakery that makes the most fantastic chocolate cake ever and it's 100% vegan. I don't know how they do it, but since moving here I've discovered that depite my meatatarian...ness, vegan/veggietarian food can be brilliant if it's done right.

(also, after that long litany of yours, I really really want to visit SF again. pout.)
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From:soleta_nf
Date:August 16th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
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I LOOOOOOOOOVE tofu. You really have to try deep-fried tofu. Mmmmmmm. And yes, tofu tastes like nothing until you pair it with something, so it can taste like crap if you cook crap with it. A lot of people make that mistake and assume tofu sucks.
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From:aprilbegins
Date:August 16th, 2007 07:59 am (UTC)
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A lot of people make that mistake and assume tofu sucks.

Precisely.

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