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Asiadog is a fantastic little hot dog shop on the Soho-Little Italy border serving up Asian fusion on a bun. And they have veggie options, as most Asian cuisines do! Veggie dogs topped with some delicious goodies honoring the diversity of New York City’s Asian cuisines… Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Yes, Asian on hot dogs–it’s Asian fusion-fusion. FYI, Asiadog started as a pop-up and continues to hit Brooklyn Flea culinary hot spots (Williamsburg, Brooklyn’s Saturday foodie fair Smorgasburg and DUMBO’s Flea Food) as well as the Summerstage in Central Park.

The helpful counter-person confirmed the veg dogs were vegan and then clarified which of the toppings were v-bomb friendly. Little did he know I had been reading their store menu in advance… drooling. I chose 2 dogs (for $8): The Vihn, their Vietnamese dog topped like a traditional banh mi–a ton of pickled daikon and carrot, cucumber, jalapeno and lots of fresh cilantro. The bun was smeared with veggie pate. And Mash with sweet and spicy ketchup, jalapeno mustard and CRUSHED POTATO CHIPS. Sorry, I had to yell that. Both dogs were so, so good. Clearly Asiadog uses super fresh ingredients. They transform a relatively unexciting hot dog into something unique and absolutely scrumptious.

I barely had a second to take pictures as I devoured these so quickly. I wanted to capture that crushed potato chip on the Mash, so I managed to put it down for 3 seconds. I miss it dearly.

Other vegan options include the Ito, a dog topped with Japanese curry and kimchi apples. That’ll be my next one. I will be back, Asiadog!

My first Mets game of the season and I chowed down on two loaded veggie dogs. I may have gotten a bit over-zealous with the fixin’s stand.

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In the early days of my veganism, veggie hot dogs were bright orange, the size of my index finger and quite rubbery. And packaged vegan sausages were grey and resembled commercial-grade meat. I suppose they were satisfying in their historical context, yes, but lacked a satisfying texture and rich flavor delivery. Today, packaged vegan links are surpassing those early concoctions tenfold, most note-worthily: Seattle’s own grain meat Field Roast and Oregon’s own Turtle Island Foods and their wonderful Tofurky products. Both companies know how vital wheat gluten is to texture and shy away from over-processed texturized hydrolyzed super soy science meat. 

I am a huge fan of Tofurky‘s products. Besides tasting damn good, they clearly label that they use only non-genetically modified ingredients, they clearly label that they are vegan, they are not affiliated to packaged food superfreaks like ConAgra (oh my LightLife rants have no end), and they are easy to find and reliable… and the perfect thing to grab for grilling… and another sublime vehicle for fixings. And, and…. 

I hit Willie’s Dawgs in Park Slope recently in search of a quick fixing-laden bite. I had planned to try their “phoney baloney dawg” but opted instead for the “Italian tofu sausage” on a fresh rye roll. Yep, it was Tofurky sausages again! This time, wrapped in foil and sopped in wet grilled onion and yellow mustard (gasp!) I much prefer grillmaster Electrician‘s smokey grill flavor but this was  a great quick bite. The owner (I think?) also overheard my dropping the v-bomb and ran over to clarify which of his buns were vegan. 

Ah, all of this talk of sausage remins me of an old Kids In The Hall sketch. I miss these guys.

Ah, the emergence of the mainstream health-conscious movement, helping to increase the demand for veg-friendly food amongst the meat-heavy American fare of sports venues, I thank you. Your reasons are far more socially-acceptable… yes, the size of our behinds truly is more important than the the welfare of millions of animals. But allow my veganism to reap the benefits of your movement. Allow me, also, to partake in overpriced stadium grub this baseball season! Yes, veggie options are sweeping the nation.

Many don’t realize that plenty of ballparks across the country offer veggie food. Most impressive is Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies, which offers vegan “crab” cakes and vegan Philly cheesesteaks along with veggie hot dogs and burgers, and AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, which offers dogs, burgers, portobello sandwiches, sushi and dumplings. Both of these stadiums aced PETA’s top-10 list of veggie-friendly ballparks along with the Houston, Detroit, Colorado, Atlanta, San Diego, Los Angeles Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland. And vegans can find much more beyond these cities too…. but veg-option turnover is a big problem. After all, demand is low; let’s be honest. After traveling to Nationals Park on a lead last season I was disappointed to learn that they no longer stocked veggie dogs or burgers (hear me whine here) while my visit to Fenway during the 2008 season (here) was a bit too soon, as they now are reported to have both veggie dogs and franks. Luckily Soyhappy, a consumer advocacy group that fights for veggie options in mainstream menus, has compiled thorough up-to-date research on all 30 Major League ballparks, including gate locations, important dietary notes on buns and condiments, as well as links to the emails of concession managers. On the back of their great body of research, I add my own two cents:

Vegan at Citi Field 2010.

In 2009, when Citi Field was brand-spanking new, vegan pickings were slimmer. (My first vegan report was a bit of a stretch.) But 2010 marked a leap forward. Citi Field, the home of The Mets, now offers veggie burgers and veggie hot dogs! I had been pining to make my first trip of the season since I learned the news. 40 days from the date of the press release, I was there to report on these options… and to see them beat the Florida Marlins. I arrived early and eager, sweating already from the unseasonable temps. I moved swiftly, following the gate locations Soyhappy listed on their website, ready for disappointment and confused concession services works. Then I saw it… “Light Options”… the Yves Veggie Cuisine logo… “VEGGIE”!! A word, to me, that illuminates on its own.

I did some research before my trip to Citi Field and felt confidant that the “Spicy Veggie Hot Dog” was Yves Veggie’s Hot & Spicy Chili Dog (a product listed on their Canadian website and not their American) and that they left off the “chili” so as to not skew the expectations of consumers who’d expect a dog topped with chili. This product is listed as vegan on their website. So let’s start there. I ordered the dog, loading up the frank with the traditional complimentary fixings, sweet relish, ketchup, mustard and warm sauerkraut, and waited eagerly for us to find and settle into our seats. From the looks of it, the veggie hot dog was not grilled or boiled, but likely nuked? The skin was dry, which I’d much prefer to the grease of a omnivorous grill. The concession stand man confirmed that these veggie options are cooked separately. But biting a hot dog from a Nathan’s cardboard box once finally in my seat, I panicked a little. But vegan it was, and scrumptious. 

Now, the burger. Though Soyhappy reported it was confirmed vegan, my 17 years of veggie burger eating told me otherwise. It looked suspect, so I didn’t eat it. I tried to find the burger’s ingredients beforehand, like I had done with the veggie hot dog. Again, no such product as the “Harvest Veggie Burger” on their American site. But Yves Veggie’s ingredient list for their Harvest Bistro Burger, on their Canadian site, contained egg albumen. Visiting the site again, upon my return home, I was sure it was the same burger and not vegan. But here it is below nonetheless.

Both the veggie dog and burgers are available in “Dogs & Burgers” concession stands throughout the park. The concessions stands at gates 112, 123, 406, 423 and 435 I was able to verify firsthand. Soyhappy also lists them to be available at 303, 312, 325, 337 and 414 but I didn’t have access to these gates. Other options are also abound! Let’s look at them…

A large fry to share from Box Frites has become a tradition of sorts. Fries are easy. Vegetable oil is the industry standard now and the non-vegan condiments are pre-packed in their own little wasteful plastic containers. These “fancy” fries are $8, 50 cents more than last season, although significantly smaller. They’re delicious, yes, as any French fry is. Compared to the other stadium fries they’re fried evenly and with a great, consistent texture and are doused heavily in salt. For $3 cheaper you can get Nathan’s famous French fries, which I’ve found are often cooked in cross-contaminated oil… i.e. they kind of taste like chicken wings. I’ll stick to Box Frites for that peace of mind but… I’ll skip the chipotle ketchup.

Citi Field’s World Fare Market has some Asian cuisine, prepared salads, fruits and nuts within that are clearly vegan… none of which looks very appetizing. But on this little stand outside the World’s Fare entrance had some nice-looking fruit and some fresh-cut fruit salads. Look on the bottom of the display there… those 7 fruits salads… those were all there were a good hour before first pitch. So I’m sure they go quick. I had to pick one up just for the sheer variety: blackberries, blueberries, mango, pineapple, grapes, watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew. What a combo!

What was more shocking then the spread inside the fruit salad was its price. $3.50. In a stadium where a bottle of water is $4, a beef hot dog is $6 and a beer is $7, we have this amazing fruit salad for $3.50.

An exclusive gluten-free (but non-vegan) stand is also outside of World’s Fare with the works. What a treat for one with no tolerance for gluten! And not having to worry about cross-contamination makes a big difference to some Celiacs. Let’s Go Mets!

Now, like on the road, a Subway, proponents of the mainstream health-conscious and its rise to power, is always at the next rest area. And they offer their vegetarian Veggiemax patty as well as their Veggie Delite. As always, the Italian bread is vegan and the honey wheat and the cheese-top breads are not. Kudos to Subway for listing pertinent ingredients in their website’s FAQ. It’s pretty special when an eatery can confirm their stearoyl-2-lactylate and the mono- and diglycerides preservatives to be of plant origin. And kudos to the vegans who made this question a frequent one, prompting it to be one of several vegan questions on the FAQ.

Other vegan fare I saw at Citi Field: soft pretzels, peanuts, crackerjacks, kettle corn (most likely) and fried dough (most likely). I am sure I’ll be back to report further on these and other vegan items. Citi is also lax about stadium-goers bringing in food. So vegan accompaniments, dips and spreads can truly liven up sides and up the foodie factor on the cheap. A big thanks to Citi Field to yielding to the diverse eating habits of Mets fans. Now, play ball!