I seriously went to post several times in the past few days, but was too tired and brain dead to do it. That’s what no sleep and traipsing all over a new city will do to you. So where did I leave off? Handlebar, delicious buffalo ‘chicken’ wrap, got it. The next day, the shows actually started. I wanted to make it into the city fairly early so we could have lunch, explore, and then have dinner before the first band played that evening. Instead, we missed the train and I got to eat fries and a soda for lunch at some hole in the wall by the train station.
We did get to have dinner at the Chicago Diner that evening, and it was so worth the wait.
I knew before I ever even decided to go to Chicago that if I ever went, I’d be getting a reuben at this fine establishment. I’ve never had a meaty reuben, but I’ve made my own tempeh reubens before and loved them. But they don’t even compare to the amazingness of this beast.
Our server suggested the mac n cheese as my side and it was fantastic. A little too heavy to accompany this sandwich, but I don’t even care. It tasted like boxed mac n cheese from my nonvegan days, which is good, believe me. The sandwich was a total, beautiful mess. Salty and sour kraut, creamy vegan cheese, and lots and lots of that wonderful seitan corned beef on a toasty bed of marbled rye. I would eat this every day if I could.
The boyfriend got this bbq bacon burger, which he loved. I’m not a huge bbq fan, but it was still really good! The sweet potato fries were spot on. I got a mint chocolate milkshake to go. It was a little too sweet for my tastes, but it was still cool to be slurping on a vegan milkshake as I walked down the street!
The next day we made sure the hit Native Foods, which I had seen from the window of the bus on our way to someplace else. It was different, much more of a casual, cafe environment. Their menu had lots of variety, but I went for another meal full of fake meat. I imagine that you guys must think I’m crazy for the fake meat! It’s just that I can’t get anything like that around here and I eat plenty of tofu and veggies at home, so it’s fun to try something different. If I lived there, once I got sick of it all, I would totally just be ordering the bowls with grains and greens and whatnot. But until then!
Meatball hoagie! Gosh this was good. The pesto was bangin’, the caramelized onions added a punch of sweetness, the meatballs were spicy, and whatever that white stuff is was cool and lovely. All atop a crusty bun. Be still my heart.
The boyfriend and I shared these chili cheese fries. I didn’t love them, but he thought they were good. For me, the chili was a little bland and there wasn’t enough of the cheese.
The rest of the day, we pretty much just drank beer, but when we left the shows, the vendors were trying to get rid of their extra products, so both Saturday and Sunday nights we got buy one get one free falafel wraps! Yay!
At Riot Fest they also offered vegan burgers and sausages. We opted for the burgers, and they were surprisingly delicious. Filled with veggies and tasting mightily of garlic, the boyfriend like them so much that he ate three of them in one day!
The next day, we rested. Our friend took us for Indian food and this odd little place called OMango that served some of the best curry I’ve ever had. I forgot to take a picture, but we got it again the day we left, so here’s a photo of that.
That’s spinach with tofu, vindaloo with veggies, and some type of dal with kidney beans and black lentils. You got the option of brown rice (awesome!) and regular or garlic naan (garlic, yo). It says on the menu that they don’t use any butter or cream, and all vegan options were clearly marked. So rad. It must have been good, or we wouldn’t have eaten there twice!
That evening, the boyfriend wanted deep dish pizza, but we didn’t want to travel into the city because there was a Cubs game (craziness!), so our friends took us to their favorite pizza place in the ‘burbs. I was able to get a personal pizza with no cheese and they assured me that there was no dairy in the crust either.
It was okay. The crust was good, but I could tell that they are the kind of place that really relies on cheese for their seasoning. The whole thing lacked salt. But, I figure that since I dragged him all over Chicago to eat wherever I wanted, I could live through one cheeseless pizza for him. However, next time, I’m going to hit up Dimo’s. Because their vegan options look awesome.
The very last thing we did was go to the Chicago Diner again to get food to take on the train!
Whoa. So creamy, a little spicy, the seitan was fabulous, even the black bean and corn salad that was served with it was amazing. I couldn’t have had a better last meal from the big city of Chicago. Oh wait. Then there was this:
Chocolate chip cheesecake, whaaaaat! I haven’t had vegan cheesecake in about six years, but this was better than I remember it. In fact, it tasted just like I remember dairy cheesecake tasting. It even had that little sour aftertaste that dairy cheesecake has. The boyfriend and I demolished this in about thirty seconds flat. Perfect end to a near perfect trip.
If anyone is interested, I’ll make another post with all my other pictures, which are mostly just of me drinking different beers around the city. For now, I am majorly tired. Sleeping on a train is not real sleep, and I’ve had a helluva long day. Goodnight, and safe travels!