Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vegan Buffalo

Legendary Biff's Sandwic
C and I just got back from a week-long trip to visit our BFFs in New York. As always, when we travel, we cut a vicious swath through every vegan food establishment that crosses our paths--and some that don't. While in NYC, of course, we hit our much beloved Foodswings on a few occasions, though we also found time for a few other places. With the exception of one ill-fated night spent at a Hilton in downtown Manhattan, drinking martinis and drunkenly arguing politics with a financial manager named Raoul, I ate really really well. On that latter occasion, I spent the day cavorting--as much as I can ever be accurately described as cavorting--with my lovely sister around Manhattan, and by the time we got around to trying to locate some vegan food in the financial district, we were up to our eyeballs in vodka and oriental snack mix. In any case, while I might tell you a bit more about our fooding adventures in NYC, for now I want to focus on a much-maligned city in the heart of America's Rust Belt (and my former home)--Buffalo.

What you should order for breakfast.
Veggie Wetshoes
I realize that you, dear reader, might not readily imagine Buffalo to be a vibrant locus of delectable, affordable, and easily accessible vegan victuals, and I can totally see how you might feel that way. Nevertheless, stuff has seriously improved in that unassuming and friendly burg. Our favorite place always has been and continues to be Amy's Place. I'd love to give you a link to a page that would capture the bohemian charm of the place, but they are so authentically bohemian that no such page exists. Instead, you just have to go there, order yourself a plate of veggie wetshoes (hold the cheese and sour cream), and say hi to Amanda for me (Hey, Amanda!). They have gotten more vegan friendly over the last few years, culminating (at least according to C and I, but who else would you listen to on this topic?) with the Biff's Sandwich. This barbecued seitan masterpiece is served with thinly sliced onions and tomatoes on a sesame roll with non-dairy garlic spread. I'm drooling a little just thinking about it. C and I always order it with steamed broccoli to replace the usually scattering of potato chips and compensate for the lack of grease and fat (in the chips, anyway) with an order of veggie wetshoes. These are curly fries topped with Amy's signature lentils. If you want to go really crazy you can ask them to add veggies or more seitan to the order. But that's only if you're really really really nuts. In the morning, we get more of the lentils served with veggies, homefries, and toast, along with a side of tofu bacon, which they call sizzle strips. I can't stop them from calling them that.

Finally, though I'll admit to being a little over vegan cupcakes (done and done, people!), the locally owned bakery Dolci makes some fan-freaking-tastic cupcakes. They also had brownies and cookies, which I'm sure are good also, but if you check out the pics of the chocolate peanut butter, chocolate strawberry, and rum-soaked mojito cupcakes, I think you'll see why I chose the way I did. These were all moist, sweet, and flavorful, but not the kinds of sweets one should eat lightly. Half of a chocolate peanut butter cupcake cracked me out, but maybe I'm overly sensitive. In any case, these are thoughtfully made and totally delicious. The chocolate peanut butter is a chocolate cupcake filled with a dense, sweetened peanut butter filling and topped with smooth peanut buttery buttercream and more chocolate. The chocolate strawberry is the same cupcake with smooth, chocolatey filling and strawberry buttercream (and fresh strawberry slices! ftw!). Finally, the mojito is a lime flavored, rum-soaked cupcake topped with a slightly salty lime frosting. There was nothing underwhelming about any of them. Quite impressive. And if the cupcakes aren't reason enough to travel to Buffalo just to stuff them into your face, let me assure you that the service is top-notch. When I went, my good friend Shawnie was working, and he is beyond adorable and totally sweet. If you require more incentive than that, I simply can't help you.

As a side note, I hope to get some more cooking posts up soon. I got a job I really like and am still getting used to the schedule. Bear with me through the transition!