Alternative Lifestyle

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"I am not a complete vegetarian. I eat only animals that have died in their sleep".- George Carlin

Let me be completely honest: I am not a vegetarian or any other combination. I could say that I am quasi-vegan as dairy and I have parted ways. I still like cheese though.

I'm blaming it on my sister's boyfriend who became a vegetarian a few months ago. I was shocked as he was a big carnivore and Cheeburger champion. He's a bit of a zealot now and won't allow his roomies to bring meat back into the house. Yikes. Thank God I don't live with him. As I said, I'm not a vegetarian. I know a few people who are. I respect that and their lifestyle. Just don't push it on to me. 

On occasion, I feel like eating vegetarian. The question is where are the good veggie restaurants? My sister had introduced me one, Sipz Fusion Cafe. Sipz is a vegetarian place (no meat on the premise) that has different types of Asian cuisine on its menu- hence that type of fusion rather than mixing Asian cuisine with something Western. They also love spicy dishes so I had less options. I opted for a rice bowl- walnut "shrimp" and brown rice ($1 extra). The walnut shrimp is a "crispy battered shrimp and walnutz (their spelling, not mine) glazed with a mayonnaise based sauce". This dish is quite common in Chinese restaurants. I suspect that this dish does not exist in China but I could be wrong. 

The dish was wonderful and authentic. I forgot that I was not eating actual shrimp. Not sure what the "shrimp" was made out of- seitan? Tempeh? Doesn't matter. It was excellent. Tip- if you plan on paying with cash, get the mango iced tea. It's free if you pay with cash. Well worth it. 

My second time there I tried the seaweed salad and the crunchy "chicken" chowmein with veggies in a savory brown sauce. The noodles were eggless and delicious. This dish was similar to ones that I have had in Chinatown in San Francisco and LA. The veggies were quite typical of an Asian stir fry: broccoli, baby bok choy, button mushrooms, baby corn, and bamboo shoots. 

My third time there I had the cashew "chicken" rice bowl. It was similar sauce wise to the chowmein- brown sauce and same veggies.

Last weekend, I decided to try another vegetarian place, VegNOut. This place is known for its burgers. I thought it was ironic that it was next door to Lefty's Chicago Pizzeria which was featuring their meaty pizzas. (I will try Lefty's another day.)

I was delighted to see a fairly large menu, burgers, sandwiches, and veggie dogs. It took me a while to decide upon the 30th Street Classic, "meaty patty topped with Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and our homemade Thousand Island dressing". I opted to have the onions grilled (just can't do raw onions) and without pickles. The cashier suggested I get the sweet potato medallions which I did. I got water which was infused with cucumber. Found it light and refreshing. The cucumber flavor was subtle which I enjoyed. 

My burger was huge! The last time I had a veggie burger in a restaurant was probably when I was in high school.They were tiny back then. The bun was wheat and held up pretty well. I enjoyed every last bite although the Thousand Island refused to stay put and ended up migrating onto my hands and the basket. 

The sweet potato medallions were also large but tasty. The server gave me a side of chipotle dipping sauce. I tried the smallest bit. Too hot for my delicate tastebuds.

I will most likely go back there in a couple months. 

It's fun to try something new but don't expect me to give up my carnivore lifestyle anytime soon. If you have ever had the Carne Asada fries at Lolita's Taco Shop or the filet mignon at Carvers, you'll understand. 

Until next time!

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