My wife and I just got back from Chicago, where we were for Paul and Jeani’s wedding. I was itching to try out some new veggie restaurants in the Windy City, and Huyen indulged me.
One night, we made a trip to the Chicago Diner on North Halstead. I’ve gotta say: if I lived anywhere within driving distance, I’d spend entirely too much time and money there. With some incredible diner-type fare and highly respected vegan desserts, it looks like it’d be hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. The seitan cheesesteak I ordered was quite good, though I would have gone a little lighter on the seitan and a little heavier on the soy cheese (it’s now casein-free soy cheese, though regular dairy cheddar cheese is also offered). Huyen enjoyed her salad, though the baked tofu was a bit bland. Where the Chicago Diner really shines, though, is with their desserts. When Veg Blog visitors and meat-eating friends raved about their vegan cakes, I had to satisfy my own curiosity. The Diner had just sold out of their Cookies and Cream cake, so I settled for my second choice: chocolate chip tofu cheesecake.
Oh. My. God.
Let me tell you: as a big fan of cheescake, I was worried this would be dry and bland like the tofu-based pumpkin pie I tried at another veggie restaurant. That wasn’t the case at all with the Diner’s cheesecake: it was beyond good. It absolutely tasted like the best cheesecake I ever had and had no “funny” taste or dry texture whatsoever. I’m convinced that the most hardcore dairy lover wouldn’t even realize the cheesecake was vegan. The only thing I wish now is that I had sprung for a whole cake rather than just a slice. I’m not sure if their cookbook has a recipe for it, but I’m willing to buy a copy to find out.
Needless to say, next time I make it to Chi-town, the Diner is a guaranteed repeat visit.