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Restaurant Sat Apr 21 2007
Usually, I like to advocate for bicycling or CTAing there. But this time, my pal Erin took me on a South Side drive from Wicker Park. Veggie Bite at 3031 West 111th Street near Kedzie was our destination. Vegans like this spot for greasy vegan versions of classic fast food; it's all vegan. "Buffalo on Rye" reminds me of a fish sandwich. It's battered and fried tofu - one side generously given thousand-island-style sauce and the other a tangy ketchup (like French dressing as Erin pointed out). Gyros come filled with a messy combination of white-colored, greasy seitan, lettuce, tomato chunks and a cheesy sauce. The cheese fries have the same sauce. Its pungent taste comes from nutritional yeast, which adds a bit of chalkiness - and lets some people claim it tastes like cheese. This implementation is thick, suggestive of tahini, and tasting of hints of paprika. But it's not stringy or gooey. It tastes good - just don't expect cheese. Nutritional yeast fake cheeses often take a thick liquid form that thickens as they cool. But they're about to cheese what carob is to chocolate: not the same but something I've told myself is good enough (instead of cheese, but not chocolate). Veggie Bite's German chocolate cake was tender and moist, but not rich; and the frosting was more fluff than flavor. Some people can't seem to wait for Veggie Bite's anticipated North Side location to open. I'm excited for them. If the person I overheard working there is to be any indication, they seem quite moved to make food that's respectful of our animal friends. I think that helps us be a little more compassionate. And that's good for everyone.