Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Chicago: The Whole Package

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, if your coworkers leave without you for dinner during an out-of-town conference, wander into a nearby supermarket and happen upon vegan dinner entrees from a local restaurant you wanted to try but was too far to go during a work trip.

Yeah, that's right... I stumbled on a great selection of items from Chicago's Soul Vegan at Bockwinkel's grocery. After missing the coworker meet up, I thought I was doomed to a dinner of salad bar and prepackaged hummus. Instead, I had BBQ and macaroni and "cheese" and a brownie (luck of the vegan be with me apparently.)

For the price of a really subpar veggie burger and the most basic of french fries (last night's hotel food), I got to sample two dishes from Soul Vegan and satisfy my sweet tooth with a raw mocha brownie. By far, my favorite was the macaroni and cheese. Sometimes vegan mac and cheese has an earthy or strong pungent taste from the nutritional yeast or mustard that is sometimes added. Not this stuff, I don't know how they took olive oil, soy milk, nutritional yeast and paprika and made this super light, creamy almost souffle like cheese for their mac and cheese. I ate it cold and it still was great.

The BBQ Delights were seitan based with a sweet barbecue sauce. The seitan was toothsome without being rubbery which was nice, but the sauce was too sweet. I like spicy, vinegary barbecue sauce where this sauce was based on pineapple juice and molasses. Don't get me wrong. It was good. Just not as good as the macaroni and cheese. Again, I imagine if you heated this up in the microwave or oven you'd get that sticky crunch that barbecue sauce gets when it cooks, but cold it was still a better option than most would find in a prepackaged foods grocery case.

Thanks Soul Vegan for selling your tasting vegan vittles around town, and kudos to you, Chicago, for having clearly marked vegan options during all my dining excursions during my stay...it makes eating vegan easy!

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