Tag Archives: Sandwiches

The Oozy, Greasy Grilled American Cheese Sandwich, Vegan Style

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Before becoming Vegan, I was never a really big cheese fan. I loved nice melty mozzarella, like on a pizza or in parmesan dishes, and parmesan topped onto dishes like stuffed bell peppers. I liked cottage cheese, and lasagna with these other cheeses and ricotta, but not too much else. Follow Your Heart American Cheese Style Cheese AlternativeAny stronger cheese, like jack, cheddar, feta, goat, blue etc., literally made me sick. But, what I liked most of all, was plain, bland to most, basically processed, American cheese, and I loved nothing more than a greasy, oozy, crisp on top and soft in the middle, Grilled American Cheese sandwich.

Vegan cheeses have been problematic for me. For my first few years, most I found possessing all of the bad elements of “real” cheese, and none of the good. But lately, Vegan cheeses have gotten much better, and there is a place near home that has really good Vegan “mozzarella” on their pizza, and Gardein has an excellent pepperoni pizza pocket with their version of mozzarella as well.

But, the very best I’ve found so far, is Follow Your Heart American Cheese Style Cheese Alternative, which looks and tastes EXACTLY like American cheese slices. Continue reading

The Jackfruit Experience

JackfruitAfter much apprehension, I finally tried jackfruit, and the experience was amazing. More about all that later on, but first a bit about this amazing piece of vegetation.

Native to eastern Asia, it is immensely popular in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malaysia and elsewhere in the region, but not in India, where it is believed to have originated but also where it is considered a food of the poor and lower class, and thus disdained by the upper class mucky-mucks. Learning this, I immediately thought of the potato, as I recently wrote an article about its storied history (“Potatoes: History, Descriptions and Uses“) including about how its popularity was stifled for years, in large part due to the similar belief that the inexpensive spud was beneath the dignity of Europe’s aristocracy. Continue reading

Dining at Seattle’s Wayward Vegan Cafe

On our trip to Seattle, we had two meals at the Wayward Vegan Cafe – and they were two of the best vegan meals we’ve had, anywhere. The Wayward is located in what I’ve previously described as the Vegan Center of Seattle, on University Way at 52d St, and its been there a few years. On prior trips to Seattle, while eating vegan with our daughter and son-on-law, we ate at many vegan restaurants, but somehow, never Wayward.

Wayward Vegan Cafe Club Sandwich

Wayward Vegan Cafe Club Sandwich

I had been warned that Wayward can be really crowed, so for our first meal there, lunch, we went in the late afternoon, and were able to get in without a wait, and enjoy a leisurely meal. I had their Club Sandwich, a delight combining vegan bacon, turkey and ham, on three slices of French bread, with lettuce, tomato, vegan mayo, and to which I also added mustard, and served with French fries. It was exceptional, and probably the best vegan sandwich I’ve eaten. The fries were great, also. MrsHound thoroughly enjoyed her faux pulled pork sandwich, the “Pull No Pork”, composed of shredded grilled seitan and a great barbecue sauce, on a bun.
Wayward Vegan Cafe Monte Cristo Sandwich

Wayward Vegan Cafe Monte Cristo Sandwich

Our son-in-law had the Monte Cristo, which was very good as well. At a later point on our trip, I was able to sample a piece of leftover Monte Cristo, and wow, it WAS great. It combined grilled faux turkey and ham on French toast, and when, before we left Seattle, we retuned to Wayward early in the morning (we actually got there before they opened and waited patiently outside in the brisk but dry Seattle air) for breakfast, I had to have a full order of the French toast, which I had with a side order of hash browns.

Wayward Vegan Cafe Pull No Pork Sandwich

Wayward Vegan Cafe Pull No Pork Sandwich

MrsHound had pancakes, and she loved them. An order of two was gigantic, and she enjoyed her leftovers for several days, including on the plane on the way home. Our son-in-law had an omelette, full of vegan meats and covered in faux cheese, and our daughter had her regular breakfast, a bowl of oatmeal with hot sauce. No comment there. I think we all had the excellent coffee served at Wayward. The place filled up quickly, and we were glad we had gotten there so early.

We’ve been to quite a few vegan restaurants now, and it seems that even the best are somewhat spotty – some dishes excellent, but other, not so much. Of four people each having two meals there, everything seemed to be equally good, and all were dishes I would not hesitate to order again or to recommend thoroughly. The breads and buns were all fresh and substantial, not fluffed up with the main ingredient of air. The vegan meats were all tasty and chewable, unlike many that defy being able to be bite into, and the vegetation was all fresh and crisp.

The service was efficient and friendly – you order at a counter and they bring the food to your table, but you get your own coffee and water.

All in all, on future trips to Seattle, a meal at Wayward is an absolute must.

Tofurky Beer Brats – The BEST Vegan Hot Dog

In the past, I’ve sampled a few different attempts to create a meatless hot dog-like substance. Most failed miserably.

Tofurky, however, makes vegan sausages that come pretty close to the real thing. I’ve tried a couple of their varieties, and by far the best are their Beer Brats, but be careful how you cook them.

When I used to eat real hot dogs, my favorite way to cook them was to boil them. So, when I first tried a Tofurky Beer Brat, I looked at the cooking instructions, and low and behold, one of the described methods was to boil them. Big Mistake.

Tofurky Beer Brat and Beans

Tofurky Beer Brat and Beans

One thing that I have quickly discovered in cooking various meatless vegan commercial products is that they need to be cooked and cooked and cooked. And then cooked some more. Rare does not do it. Boiled Tofurky Beer Brats are terrible.

I did not give up, though, and needing a hot dog fix, I tried again, and this time I looked further on the instructions, and saw the part about heating in an oiled pan. Ah Ha!! So, I got out my pan, heated it with my vegan-foods-oil-of-choice, safflower oil, and placed in a couple of Beer Brats. I cooked them as evenly as possible on all sides, and being aware of the packages’ stern warnings about NOT OVERCOOKING, I took them out when they reached a golden brown.

The improvement was startling: So much better, but not yet perfect.

As I’ve mentioned, what I have found is that such vegan meat-like products need to be cooked within an inch of their vegetable-life. So, the next time I had the hot dog urge, I did it the same way, but cooked them on all sides not to golden brown, but to practically charcoal black. Success – cooked that much, they were great, and MrsHound and I have had them several times since, and we have several packages in the wings for future endeavors.

The photo shows my Beer Brat on a bun with lots of mustard and relish, and my favorite prepared canned beans, which thankfully are vegan – Bush’s Grillin’ Beans, Steakhouse Recipe. Careful, though, some of their other flavors besides the Steakhouse Recipe are NOT vegan!

This meal rates an 8 of 10 on the Hound scale.

Vegan “McRib” Sandwich

In the old days – Pre June 10, 2012 – I would have a McRib or two per year, and usually enjoyed them, thought I was never a big fan of McDonald’s. Any more than a couple per year, and the novelty quickly wore off. The idea of a vegan “McRib” was intriguing, and finding Gardein’s slow-cooked, meatless barbeque riblets was all I needed.

Vegan McRib

Vegan McRib

This product is super easy to prepare, just take it out of its baggie and put it in a covered microwave dish and heat for two minutes. I had also purchased some nice, fresh, soft oblong rolls, that were the perfect size. Add a couple of McRib condiments, and voila’, a vegan McRib is born.

This product is truly amazing. Honestly, most meatless products trying to masquerade as beef do not taste like or have the consistency of real beef. Gardein does a great job on both counts, creating a meat-like consistency, and, in most instances, a real meat-like taste. The riblet may be their absolute best job on the taste side. I dare someone, if they did not know, to say this is not meat.

In my newly-veganated mind, this is one of the best vegan dishes I’ve put together, requires no actual cooking, can be made in less than three minutes, and has a great taste. Clearly, an 8.5 of 10 on the Hound scale.