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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, May 24

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Restaurant Sun Mar 30 2008

Spa Cafe: More Vegan in the Loop

The serenity of Spa Cafe's decor has long been a neighbor to diners with meat and marinated tofu alike, but the new chef Daniel Asher has taken the vegan friendliness up a level. There's one more menu in front of the ordering counter, one that drops the word vegan. It lists a jumbo (vegan) beer brat, a chik'n sandwich, a Devilburger made of seitan, and a burger of sunflower seeds, brown rice, and veggies. Make sure to ask for no honey mustard if you don't want honey; they'll substitute Vegenaise, if you'd like. I took the beer brat, with crisscut fries instead of chips and salsa. Daniel opened a rotating case to get the fries, soft and slightly crisp on the outside. The brat felt tender and tasted nicely seasoned, with grilled onions and tomato. Maybe they had just fired up the grill for lunch service as I rolled in about 11 a.m., but my order took significantly longer than my friend's non-grill wrap. As I waited, Daniel told me they had vegan, gluten-free cheese for the fries. From the original menu, their marinated organic tofu wrap is quite tender and savory, just add a soup like the sweet potato chipotle to fill up. They carry Alternative Baking Company's vegan cookies in packages at the counter. I'm a big fan of the lemon poppyseed and Explosive Espresso Chip. You can also find the cookies at Kramer's and the DePaul Center Barnes and Noble Café, two other explicitly vegan friendly spots in the Loop, with various seitan-based entrees and fake cheese lasagna in their coolers, Barnes and Noble's coming from the famed Soul Veg. (Disclosure: I casually know the chef at Spa, and I think he knows I write for Gapers Block, just in case this made for any difference.)

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
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