Archive for the ‘BBQ’ category

New York City – The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Lunch Truck

July 24th, 2012

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City

People look at me odd when I tell them we vacation for food. It’s true. We always pick a destination based on availability of vegan eats. This is why Denver, Portland and New York City are regularly at the top of our vacation list. Most people head to the beach but I’ll head to the vegan barbecue.

This is not a Nashville post. You can think of it as a wishful thinking Nashville post. Nashville doesn’t have a vegan food truck. In fact, a discussion I had once with a very popular Nashville food truck over adding a single vegan item to their menu was met with a “Why would anyone want to eat that?”  Unfortunately, that pretty much sums up the mentality over vegan food when you mention it to most restauranteurs in this area.  I wonder, why would anyone want to eat decaying animal flesh or pus-filled, molded cow secretions? But I digress. Suffice it to say that food truck will get no attention from me.

On we go to the big city. The land of towering buildings. The streets filled with food and many of them vegan choices!

When I discovered New York City was home to a vegan food truck I was honestly excited. The thrill of the hunt! Would we be in the same area on as The Cinnamon Snail on a given day or would we be hitting the train to search out this animal-free street runner? It didn’t take long to discover via The Cinnamon Snail’s Twitter feed that they would park just 2 blocks from our hotel every Tuesday. Perfect for a quick breakfast bite before hitting the city.

Just around the corner and the kid spotted the graphics-clad truck sitting street side. Now, she’s all about doughnuts. She had that doughnut planned form the time she discovered The Cinnamon Snail served them up in mobile fashion. It didn’t take her long to pick her flavor, raspberry glazed. The doughnuts are not on the small side and definitely not small on flavor. These are not cake doughnuts, they’re the fried type. My favorite, and honestly, the only way to make a doughnut. That doughnut didn’t last long and she was looking for her next morsel form the menu. Mrs. Nashveggie went for a cinnamon roll. of course, she makes her own cinnamon rolls. Her cinnamon rolls are perfect. They have just the right amount of cinnamon sugar stickiness rolled into a soft, yet lightly chewy, dough that comes out of the oven ready to melt in your mouth.  I think she picks cinnamon rolls when she finds them just to compare. We shared the roll and it was very tasty. Not a fluffy dough. This cinnamon roll is denser but still very flavorful. They’re filling and a perfect side to a cup of coffee (which you can also get from The Cinnamon Snail with soy creamer if desired!)

 

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City

The window prominently placed in the front of The Cinnamon Snail displaying the delicious vegan sweets.

 

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City

The sweets window - If raw is your thing, you have choices on the top shelf.

 

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City - Vegan Raspberry Glazed Doughnut

The Kid's Raspberry Glazed Doughnut

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City - Vegan Cinnamon Roll

The Cinnamon Snail cinnamon roll

 

 

The kid, still wanting more, decided to try an apple turnover. Very flaky crust and plenty of filling. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try it so I can only tell you it was good based on how long it lasted. Under 30 seconds and she’s looking for more. That’s a good gauge of great vegan food when it comes to the kid. Her reward for being such a fan of those sweets: A Cinnamon Snail t-shirt from the fine crew of the The Cinnamon Snail. (Thank you guys! That’s was great!)

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City - Vegan Pink Lady Apple Turnover

Pink Lady Apple Turnover

 

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City

Owner/Chef Adam Sobel (Right) and crew. Don't let them freak you out. Always a smile and these guys can whip out some mean vegan vittles!

 

Based on our first visit to The Cinnamon Snail we deemed it necessary to visit again. Not many places will get a second visit from us on vacation but The Cinnamon Snail proved well on our first encounter and sounded good a few days later.  This time we found them to be on Wall Street for the day so we hopped the train for a trip to the Financial District. We walked a few blocks down Wall Street passing other food trucks setup in hopes of grabbing the monetary swingers on their lunch breaks. A person waiting at one, another waiting for customers and most just waiting with no one ordering yet. It wasn’t hard to find The Cinnamon Snail. There was already a good line formed for the vegan eats. In fact, they had the only line out of the other trucks we passed on the way.

This time it was lunch. We needed street-walking sustenance. Looking at the menu we chose what sounded to be delicious, I the Korean BBQ Seitan and Mrs. Nashveggie the Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich. The kid wanted another doughnut which was fine knowing she could share some of our non-sweet vittles.

We found a public area at nearby Deutsche Bank and broke into our boxes. At first sight I was wishing I had went with Mrs. Nashveggie’s choice as my BBQ looked on the small side. I was wrong. Once I took a bite I realized the tortilla was stuffed full and also full of flavor. This thing was delicious. I also tried the Maple Mustard Tempeh and I can understand why it  is one of their most popular menu items. Delicious! The Korean BBQ Seitan was full of seitan chunks. They’re unseasoned when prepared it seems but made so they can take on the flavor of the item the make with them. There was lightly steamed kale in there with a very spicy sauce that didn’t overpower the sandwich.  A great lunch for the three of us and just under $20 including the doughnuts the kid wanted. This is a deal in Manhattan.

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City

The line at The Cinnamon Snail on Wall Street. This is a typical line for The Cinnamon Snail. Vegan eats are popular! (I'm talking to you Nashville Food Truck guy.)

 

After devouring our lunch we thought about a doughnut to-go. To-go being an odd term to use when grabbing one from a food truck. Back to the truck I went and discovered the line was 24 people deep and a bit slow moving. I waited in line for a few minutes. While waiting a few people passed The Cinnamon Snail, took a look in the direction and said “Oh, that’s just sweets.” or “They only have pastries.” This is probably because of the 1. The name. 2. The window beneath the ordering area that displays all of their pastries and doughnuts, the only food display window. 3. The absence of anything announcing anything not sweet anywhere on the truck that would be visible to distant passers-by and “Cinnamon” emblazoned in huge letters, a word most people relate to sweets. Granted, they had a long line so most people are aware they serve savory goods but it seems they could get more with adding perhaps an image of a sandwich somewhere or even a specials board in plain sight on the side of the truck stating something like “TODAY’S VEGAN HOTNESS: MAPLE MUSTARD TEMPEH SANDWICH! SAVORY GOODNESS!” Since the line was very slow to move I decided a doughnut was not going to be had as we had many things on tap for the day and we had to get to the next stop.

 

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City - Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich

Maple Mustard Tempeh Sandwich - There's plenty of delicious tempeh under that.

The Cinnamon Snail Vegan Food Truck - New York City - Korean Barbecue Seitan

Korean Barbeque Seitan - A grilled tortilla stuffed with seitan, greens, kimchi and spicy vegan butter.

 

If you find yourself in New York City and decide to search them out be sure to check their Twitter as they may not be in the same locations we found them. They’ve had some issues with the NYPD and parking lately that appears to be attributed to other trucks trying to tie up the limited space they find. Overcrowding seems to be an issue.

Unfortunately, this would be our last visit to The Cinnamon Snail as New York City boasts many fine vegan food joints and we must get our eats on in variable fashion. However, when we return to New York City, and we will return soon, I’ll be hitting the streets on the hunt for The Cinnamon Snail. I suggest you do the same.

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Butler Soy Curls

January 14th, 2012

Butler Soy Curls

If you’ve been to Portland you’ll find plenty vegan food and you’ll also likely experience a thing called soy curls. They’re found everywhere from Homegrown Smoker to Native Bowl. Nothing more than dried soybean protein they have a chewy texture and, like tofu, Butler Soy Curls can take on the flavor properties of whatever you season them with. So when given a few bags of these versatile goodies I brainstormed on what I should prepare first. The obvious choice was a simple barbecue sandwich.

I’m no fan of meat substitutes and I’ve made that clear before. I do, however, realize that fake meats have their place for transitioning vegetarians and the occasional vegan who likes the chance of getting with some junk food. I’ll indulge in junk food from time to time and sometimes one of those fake meats might be what I choose if it’s new or really doesn’t have exact properties of actual meat.

I chose to make saucy barbecue sandwiches using some of the peach BBQ sauce I made and bottled over the summer. Instead of simply soaking the curls for a few minutes as the directions indicated I simmered them in a mixture of broth, seasonings and a little of the peach BBQ sauce for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid had boiled away leaving the soy curls well-flavored before I added them to a saucepan of peach BBQ sauce. I turned them down on low and simmered them again for about 30 minutes. Fresh baked buns awaited great vegan barbecue sandwich.

Butler Soy Curls

Butler Soy Curls hydrated. At this point they have a slightly chewy texture and are ready for your recipe.

 

Butler Soy Curls BBQ

Butler Soy Curls simmering in homemade Peach BBQ Sauce. Getting ready for a great vegan BBQ sandwich.

 

Butler Soy Curls - Vegan BBQ Sandwich

Vegan BBQ Sandwich with Butler Soy Curls

 

The soy curls are slightly chewy and have no flavor on their own so they can be made to fit into most any dish you choose. They’re great for stir fries, sandwiches, fajitas and could be chopped slightly smaller and used in soups or stews.

Butler Soy Curls are available from their website as well as many online retailers.

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Portland, Oregon: Homegrown Smoker

October 20th, 2011
Homegrown Smoker

Homegrown Smoker Food Cart in Portland, Oregon

Food carts! In Portland they’re everywhere. 6×12 (or somewhere in that general area) portable trailers fitted with small kitchens and setup in empty lots around the city. You’ll find just about any cuisine you’re in the mood for: Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, burgers, pizza, coffee bars and juice bars and plenty of vegan and vegetarian options. One we searched out and really enjoyed was Homegrown Smoker.

You’ll find Homegrown Smoker in a food cart pod at SW 4th and SW Hall at Portland State University. The menu is completely vegan and filled with barbecued and smoky goodness. It was hard to choose from the menu. So many delicious sounding choices. There’s the SloSmoMoFo: BBQ soy curls which are chunks of seitan in a sweet, smoky barbecue sauce, and chipotle slaw on a grilled bun. A Macnocheeto: vegan mac and cheese, baked beans, grilled peppers and onions, BBQ sauce, vegan cheese sauce and a choice of those soy curls or vegan chipotle sausage wrapped in a tortilla. We settled on the Smoked Chili Pie: A bag of Fritos corn chips opened and inside poured smoky chili, cabbage, onions, chipotle aioli, Daiya cheese and the vegan NoCheese sauce. It looks very subdued but that’s one bag of a filling lunch. We also picked the Loafaroni, my favorite of the two. Two thick-cut pieces of smoky vegan meatloaf topped with Mac & NoCheese and covered in BBQ sauce and NoCheese sauce on a grilled bun. That’s right, ON A BUN! It’s a sandwich! How can you possibly go wrong with vegan mac & cheese on a bun? It’s served with one side so spicy baked beans worked perfectly. Did I mention it is ON A BUN?

Everything on the menu at Homegrown Smoker is 100% vegan. When you’re faced with so many vegan choices in a city like Portland, Oregon and then most all of them are 100% vegan you have to pick and choose wisely. Choosing Homegrown Smoker won’t be a bad decision.

Loafaroni

Loafaroni: Smoky Vegan Meatloaf, Vegan Mac & Cheese, BBQ sauce and vegan cheese sauce ON A BUN!

 

Homegrown Smoker - Smoked Chili Pie

Smoked Chili Pie

 

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall Portland, Oregon

Food Cart Pod at SW 4th & Hall

 

Homegrown Smoker Menu

Homegrown Smoker Menu

 

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