Vegan-friendly Chi-town

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I’ll be heading to Chicago in May with my wife for a certain somebody‘s wedding, and as with any visit to a new town, I like to plan ahead. One of the most enjoyable parts of planning a trip is looking at what restaurants are available and regular people’s opinions on them. Today, via , I stumbled upon Vegan in Chicago which covers not only strictly vegetarian restaurants in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, but eateries that serve very good vegan dishes as part of a “regular” menu. It looks to be nice and thorough and I can’t wait to try some of these places out.

Any favorites among Chicago-based readers that you can share?

Update: Marla of Vegan Street pointed me towards their Vegan Dining in Chicago feature, whichis chock full of reviews of veggie-only restaurants. Thanks, Marla!

Messy Mikes

Trying another entry from Vegan Vittles last night, I cooked up the simple Messy Mikes, vegan Sloppy Joes. I followed the recipe as listed in the previous link, but instead of tempeh, I rehydrated textured vegetable protein (pour 7/8 cup of boiling water over 1 cup of TVP and let it sit for 10 minutes, then follow the recipe as listed, replacing the tempeh with the TVP), as the variation in the cookbook suggested. It was easy, tasty, and quite filling. Not exactly healthy eating, but it hit the spot as a quick late-night dinner.

As I mentioned before, I haven’t had much time to cook recently. I hope to start changing that this week, as I’ve picked out a number of new recipes to try out. I will, of course, report on how they turn out.

Soul Vegetarian

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Friday night, Alex took me to a vegan restaurant I had read about before, but had never visited: Soul Vegetarian on Georgia Ave in DC (not far from Howard University). With 17 locations around the world (including Israel, Ghana, St. Croix, and England), Soul Vegetarian is the largest vegetarian restaurant chain in the world and is based on the diet of the African Hebrew Israelites of Jerusalem.

The menu offers a variety of meat-substitute dishes, vegetables, soy shakes, and desserts. I had the steak and cheese (wheat protein with sauteed peppers, onions, and soy cheese on a pita), sides of collard greens and broccoli with a peanut butter soy shake. The peanut butter shake may have been a mistake, but the sandwich and sides made up for it. I was totally filled, which is kind of a shame because I would have liked to try one of their desserts. Alex is a big fan of their macaroni and cheese and their gyro, which comes complete with vegan tzatziki sauce.

Other locations in the United States include Cleveland Heights, Chicago, and Atlanta.

Chuckwagon Stew

I haven’t had nearly as much time to cook recently as I did a year ago. I used to be able to claim that I cooked dinner 3-4 times a week, with the remaining days being split between a quick convenience food and leftovers. These days, I feel like I’m making dinner less and less frequently, but when I do, I appreciate the results of my efforts that much more.

Last night, I tried the Chuckwagon Stew recipe from Vegan Vittles, a book put out by the Farm Sanctuary. I haven’t tried too many of the recipes from there, but I think I’ll give a few more a shot in the near future. The stew was easy to make and I had everything on hand. It was nice and thick (especially after adding the whole wheat pastry flour) and was hot and filling. If you’re not a fan of tempeh, another meat-like substitute work probably work as well, or just add more potatoes.

Free beef (or tofu) with tire purchase

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Another odd Obscure Store story from Eugene, OR: Customers never tire of free beef, tofu.

For the past 40 years, the Les Schwab tire store chain has given away beef with the purchase of tires. As a spoof, a nearby bicycle store has been running ads for the last ten years offering a pound of tofu with the purchase of bike tires. Oddly, Les Schwab never even realized there was a spoof campaign and, to top it off, didn’t know what tofu was.