Midwest Vegan, Day 1
Home very briefly, it was time already to head back into these United States… by way of Chicago. But first, a scenic overlook in which we gaze upon the isle of Manhattan, New York City’s shining man-child and it’s pleasingly sharp rectangular Central Park.
We’d arrive in Chicago hungry, ready for a quick bite at Upton’s Breakroom, the vegan seitan sausage king of Chicago’s counter spot. We had the delicious vegan McMuffin-like Breakfast Sandwich for a 5-spot and a Stumptown Cold Brew for a 4-spot.
Next: Fritz Pastry, for one of their mega-sized vegan donuts with the lil’ donut hole on top.
I got the Birthday Cake donut, their donut based with vanilla glaze and rainbow sprinkles. Donut was yummy but really big. But I am so content to eat vegan donuts that I can’t complain about them being too big. But know that you and a friend would be just fine with splitting one! Also at Fritz on the weekend, some vegan brunch options… maybe if we hadn’t already eaten breakfast.
Next we headed to the Logan Square Farmers Market. Here, there are more sweet vegan options–Bot Bakery, creative vegan baked goods from the styling Ms. Betty Bot. I got a vegan macaron… because I have to try all vegan French macarons. Firstly, it looked like a French macaron, with the smooth cap cookie with those characteristic “feet.” Then, a light texture in my mouth. This ain’t no cookie, it’s a macaron. Well done, Bot!
We headed north towards our final destination (Milwaukee), taking a moment to hit a brewpub near Rockford, Illinois on my list for their soy curl BBQ sammy. It was the vegan option I liked best when perusing Pig Minds Brewery‘s menu back home. But the place was full of vegan options–it was all-vegan! Excited, we order the Macho Nachos, homemade corn chips, homemade chili, homemade cashew cheese, and fresh veggies. Yes, homemade being the most important word above. No packages opened! We also had to try a couple of the brewery’s beers. In adorable 5 oz. glasses.
Then there was the fantastic Buffalo Porky BBQ: House-Smoked Beer Marinated Soy Curls, tossed in our homemade buffalo sauce topped with a homemade slaw on a lightly toasted hoagie bun. Unbelievably good! This was a killer vegan sandwich in an all-vegan brewpub in an unlikely place. Bravo, Pig Minds!
Finally dinner in Milwaukee. It was onward to County Clare, an Irish inn and restaurant with a full vegetarian menu and labeled vegan options! And I quote from their menu, “Meat and potatoes are our trade; Now let’s try some greens and potatoes.” How fantastic is that! I love an omni place like this.
I got the Vegan Corned Beef Deluxe Vegan, homemade seitan on marble rye with (a ton of sinus-clearing, tear-inspiring) horseradish and whole grain mustard, sauerkraut, red onion and thick tomato slices. I was so thankful for a hearty vegan option in land of meat and potatoes in Dairyland.