Squatters Pub Brewery: vegan surprise in SLC!  »

I did some aeroplane-travel last week and had more than one layover in Salt Lake City, Utah, known mainly for Mormons and, I guess, the Great Salt Lake. So imagine my surprise when, during my famished, jet-lagged stagger through the Delta terminal, I stumbled upon Squatters Pub Brewery, an establishment featuring craft beers and oodles of vegan options! Never mind the beer, I would come here again just for the food!

On the way to my very exotic, secret destination, I ordered the Tofu Scrambler (comes with a bagel!). Although it came in a cardboard tray reminiscent of TV dinners, it tasted amazing, and not just because I was running on two hours of sleep. It featured tomatoes, parsley, and tasty salsa, and it wasn’t too moist or soupy, a common problem I find with restaurant tofu scrambles.

On my return trip, I went with the Fresh Veggie Wrap, which had the tofu scramble as a main ingredient. And again, it was amazing, just what the doctor ordered while recovering from a mad case of Montezuma’s revenge. I also ordered the Brewhouse Hummus with veggies AND chips (yeah, I got style), and that was yummy and healthy-feeling, although a tad heavy on the tahini.

Squatters’ (Ugh, I hate just typing the name, but it’s so worth it) menu has icons showing what can be made vegan and vegetarian as well as into what dishes you can substitute the tofu scramble. The proprietors should really look into vegan cupcakes, though.

So if you’re traveling by air and have to stop, try to make that stop in Salt Lake, and get your surprise vegan nom on!


Vegansaurus NYC: S’nice!  »

After I reviewed the V Spot in Park Slope, all my commenting pals were like, “You got to go to S’nice!” Well pals, I’ve been there like 80 times now! And I’m a big fan. I do love a sandwich. Ohhhh and the banana chocolate chip muffins! S’great. S’wonderful. Let me s’top.

First I was all about the curried cauliflower and chickpea wrap. I don’t love wraps but this one is decent. I love cauliflower! I would marry cauliflower! I would make sweet love to cauliflower right in front of broccoli’s face! But I will have to get my cauliflower from somewhere else because now my thing is the vegan panini. It’s super! It has tofu slices, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto! On ciabatta! Now to be completely honest—I can be honest, can’t I?—the tofu is on the bland side. It’s trying to look like mozzarella but it just tastes like flavorless cooked tofu. But the pesto! Oh, the pesto! And sun-dried tomato! And ciabatta! It’s delicious.

To do a thorough review, I had to try the vegan Philly cheesesteak, as you know I’m the expert. I give it 3 out of 5 Veganstaurs on the cheesesteak scale. It’s not that authentic, though it’s definitely as greasy as a cheesesteak. It comes with fried onions and peppers so they’ve got that right. The bread is not really the same as a Philly cheesesteak, but it’s good nonetheless. The main discrepancy is that the “meat” is chopped kind of thick—wrong, wrong, wrong! However the cheese is gooey and yummy.

Other things of note: there’s like a million vegan cookies but I haven’t tried any of them yet. I prefer my cookies in dough form, you see. Oh, I’ve also tried the breakfast burrito; it’s decent. It’s good for, I don’t know, breakfast. They make an excellent Arnold Palmer! Like, perfect. I hate complaining about lines but the line kind of always takes a while. I can’t tell if it’s just because they are so darn popular or if the service is just slow. It’s not the worst though. All the tables have these signs that say, “no computers at this table between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” or something like that. I don’t want to work on my computer there anyway but the signs annoy me. Nobody tells Megan Rascal what to do! You can sit outside, which is nice, but it looks like you have to keep your dog tied up on the other side of the gate: LAME! Though I’m sure if they met the notorious F.I.G., they’d make an exception, considering he’s THE MAN.

I went to the Manhattan location once. It was alright. It was on the crowded side and our waiter was just plain mean. I took my omnivore friend Kevin and, boy, what a baby! He ordered the Cuban sandwich which is like fake ham, pickles and swiss cheese on bread. Fake ham, pickles and cheese. Surprise! It was gross! Alert the media! Protect the children! Crazy omnivores. It’s sad though because now he’ll never go there with me again. Boys are goddamn babies, I swear.

In summary, S’nice is nice for sweets, sandwiches and Arnold Palmers!


Review: Blue Front Cafe!  »

Blue Front isn’t just in the Haight, it’s on Haight Street, so all the food is a little pricier than you’d like. The wraps are chock-full of deliciousness, however, and the texture and tang of the hummus is incomparable. I mean, for serious. I hear the gyros are good, but not being a meat-eater, I can’t vouch for them.

The vegetarian selections are bountiful and tasty. The avocado has always been buttery and perfectly ripe—no one likes a hard avocado, after all—and that spicy orange-colored sauce is delightful. The garden salad is huge and a good price. Get falafel in a pita with some dolmas to go and stop off at the New Lite Market for a six-pack, and there’s your night.

When I lived in the Haight, a trip to Blue Front and back took me maybe 15 minutes round trip, and this was before I learned to call ahead to avoid waiting inside. I don’t know that I ever properly appreciated having such a quality “Mediterranean for the undiscerning Occidental” cafĂ© so close to my front door, but, hindsight. The owners are Greek Orthodox dudes from Jerusalem, and you must love them for adapting their cuisine to your international palate. Or at least, the palate your parents created when they gave two-year-old you a bunch of food in a plastic plate with inch-high sides and let you mix it all up and eat it as a huge mush of flavors. You see? They know and love you; that’s why you can get a wrap with hummus, avocado, falafel, lettuce, tomato, and dolmas.

I advise getting any of their vegetarian wraps except the one with cheese, which I have never tried and do not advocate on account of its not being vegan. Make liberal use of the orange sauce; it will help you forget that you are paying $1 to $2 more for your food than you would were you not on Haight Street, but sometimes figurative costs do have literal translations, and this is one of them.

[photo via yelp]

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