Saturday, August 23, 2008

Throw a vegan a fry

Two conflicting culinary drives live within me. I love to try new restaurants, get a different view, soak up their unique ambiance. But, being vegan, the suggestion to do so is most often met with "we can't eat anything there." Far from a crabby-pants, J is just realistic. My counter-argument is usually, "well, if nothing else we can get fries." Considering we have both confirmed that life on a desert island with just fries would be okay, this is a somewhat compelling argument. Last night that argument painfully crashed and burned at the illustrious South Philly Tap Room.

I am perpetually begging J to accompany me to the SPTR, which is a bit of a hike for us. The two times I've been there, their on-tap beer selection has been amazing. When the age-old argument reared it's ugly head, this time I was ready. I called to mind an article concerning their acquisition of a new chef that is very vegan friendly. I swear there was such an article. I was wrong.

Even the things on their menu that appeared vegan were apparently not. Hummus platter? "The pita has egg in it" (since when does pita have egg!? it's a flatbread, for goodness sake!) Veggie burger with no cheese? "The bread has a butter coating" and so on. Fine, whatever, we're used to limited selection, and the beer was quite good. "We'll just have an order of fries." Here's where the wind was forcibly knocked out of me.

Fries come for an additional $2 with the order of any sandwich. so the only way we could get them would be to buy a (non-vegan) sandwich (or at least pay for one - all about $10) and then pay the $2 for fries. What!?! I can handle "gastro-pub"s with random unnecessary meat, ridiculously fancy entree names, and less than ideal veg/vegan selections, but this is too much! not even allowing us a plate of fries. I was ready to sacrifice the good beer and walk.

J, ever the picture of calm (despite being hungry enough to eat a seitan horse), suggested we finish our beers (which *were* outstanding, by the way) and catch a cab to our oh-so-vegan-friendly standard dinner destination. But before we could, our waitress came to say that the chef would like to prepare us a former menu item, tofu stir-fry. We agreed but rolled our eyes a little after she left, with visions of soggy bland tofu and sad looking greasy vegetables in our head.

Boy were we wrong! This was hands down the best stir-fry I've ever had and puts many vegetarian restaurants in the city to shame. The tofu was well-fried, firm and tasty. The veggies included crispy bok choy and (swoon) brussels sprouts. The flavor was deep and intense, nothing bland about it. A-mazing. (I think there may be a fight for the substantial left-overs.)

So in the end, i was glad we went. The beers (Slyfox Saison, Dock Street Champagne Wit and Blue Harbor Blueberry) were awesome, the waitress was uber-helpful and friendly and (just maybe) we helped encourage this particular chef to rethink returning the tofu stir-fry to the menu. oh, and you're damn right we got a "side" of fries with that stir-fry!


Blogger Mikaela said...

So... the chef just happened to have a block of tofu in the kitchen?

4:45 PM  
Blogger onkelo said...

ha! you're right, he probably didn't cook it at all! I bet he ordered it from Horizon's and had someone go pick it up:)

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WHO CARES? You got fries with that shit!

8:11 AM  
Blogger mikaela d. said...

I just figured, that if you're going to go through the hassle of keeping fresh tofu in the kitchen, then put it ON THE MENU. Mmmmm... fries...

7:50 AM  

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