November 5th is a big day for the Chicago Vegan community. Not only is Vegan Mania that day, but Mercy for Animals will be screening the new documentary, Vegucated, at the Viaduct Theater that evening!
This is Vegan Mania’s 3rd year and once again it’s being held at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse (1419 W Blackhawk, Chicago, IL) from 10am – 5pm and it’s FREE! Parking can be hard to come by, so come early or ride your bike/take public transit.
Some of you may be wondering, “What is Vegan Mania?” It’s a celebration of everything that is vegan – food, community, commerce, fashion, and more! It’s where I discovered St Martaen’s delicious artisan cashew cheeses (long before they had the food truck) and Vaute Couture’s lovely coats (before they left us for New York 🙁 ).
Even though the event is free, you’ll want to bring some cash with you because there will be a food court, which will feature delicious options from Chicago’s vegan restaurants and food companies, like Upton’s Naturals. In the past there have also been a wide variety of vegan goods for sale, like Ethically Engineered soaps, Herbivore Clothing, the aforementioned Vaute Couture coats, and more!
Saturday, November 5th, 2011
3111 N Western Ave., Chicago, IL
Vegucated is a new documentary that follows 3 meat and cheese loving New Yorkers who agree to adopt a vegan diet for 6 weeks. Along the way they discover the cruelty behind the industries they supported and are soon eager to fight back. The film is described as part sociological experiment, part science class and part adventure story.
The film will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Marisa Miller Wolfson.
Yesterday, Chicago Soy Dairy hosted an ice cream social at Logan Hardware, a vegan owned record store/arcade near the corner of Western and Fullerton (2410 W Fullerton), to benefit Mercy for Animals. Five dollars got you all the ice cream you could eat!
It was a perfect weekend for the event what with people being in town for Riot Fest and the gorgeous weather. I was super excited because you could also pre-order pints of Temptation and get Dandies and Teese at a discount, so if course I took advantage and ordered 2 pints of Pumkin Pie, 2 pints of Tripple Threat Chocolate and 2 bags of Dandies. I’m going to be on a sugar high for a week!
Sigh, if only I could still get this stuff from stores. Guess the only way to fix that is to have more vegan ice cream socials! 😉
Last night Nick and I went to check out Drew’s Eatery, one of the four restaurants participating in Mercy for Animals‘ Chicago Vegan Week Campaign. We checked out their menu online before heading over and unlike some of the other restaurants participating, Drew’s has a wide variety of vegan options on their menu and it’s not something they’re just doing for vegan week, it’s something they do year round!
When you’re walking along Montrose you just might miss the small restaurant buried in a row of restaurants and bars across from Welles Park. The signs in the window advertise that they have vegan and vegetarian options, as well as their use of local, organic and sustainable products.
Nick & I were impressed by the detailed information in recycling and biodegradation info they had throughout the establishment.
Drew’s offers items both a la carte and as combos. They also have daily specials posted and all of their vegan items are clearly marked. There were so many vegan options on the menu we had a tough time deciding what we wanted.
I ended up going with Combo #2, which included a hot dog or sandwich, a side and half a bowl of soup. For my combo I chose the Not Dog with the “The Phoney” topping sans cheese, which is basically a chili dog, along with a side of chips and half a bowl of Red Potato and Garlic Soup (the half bowl is the size of a cup). For dessert I got a scoop of Temptation Pumpkin Ice cream (They also had Temptation’s S’Mores, Chocolate and Dreamsicle when we went in)!
I got the Special of the Day, which was also a combo and consisted of the Not Dog, which I got with the “North Sider” topping (celery salt, relish, onions, pickle, tomato and giardiniera peppers), Chips and Pomegranate Lemonade from the Organic Drink Bar. I also got a half bowl of Red Potato and Garlic soup. For dessert I got a chocolate peanut butter shake.
We were served by Drew, himself who made our food as we ordered it. He was very friendly and willing to answer all of our questions about ingredients and even showed us the packaging to the soy milk when Nick asked to see it.
Once we were done paying for our food we were directed to the organic condiment bar for traditional hot dog toppings and we found a small table to sit at and enjoy our food.
I started with the organic Red Potato and Garlic soup and it was so delicious I wish I’d ordered a bowl instead of a cup (which is an option with combo #3). The Not Dog “Phoney” was good, but I was a little disappointed that the chili wasn’t spicy. It had good chili ingredients (tomato, beans, corn and onions) it just needed a little bit of kick to it and it would have been perfect. The chips were standard kettle style chips which I enjoy. But by far the best parts of my meal were the soup and the Pumpkin ice cream (they also were offering Pumpkin Pie Shakes!) I felt the pricing was reasonable considering that they use organic ingredients (our meals combined w/o dessert came to $17).
There were two other groups of people in there while we were there, both women with children, and the children seemed to be enjoying themselves in the “Kids Corner” which they can play in. Drew came out several times to check on everyone to see how the food was, etc. and he even held the door open for one of the women as she was leaving with her children. All in all it was a very pleasant dining experience and I look forward to going back!
It took me a long time to decide what I wanted. There are plenty of vegan options which is awesome, but because they are inserted all over the place in the menu it took a little bit of time to find them all and figure out what I wanted. After darting around and taking it all in I was going to get their Vegan Drew’Talian Sausage sandwich. Looking at the menu I suspected most of their sandwiches used name brand products so I asked if it was Tofurky brand and it was. Eating a whole one of these sausages can give me killer heartburn so I opted for a Northsider Not Dog instead. I got very excited that they used Not Dog brand veggie dogs. I’m originally from Buffalo, NY and Soy Boy, the company that makes Not Dogs, is also based out of Western New York and they are hard to come by in Chicago. A lot of people tend to prefer veggie dogs that try harder to emulate real hot dogs like those made by Yvves or Litelife, but personally, I like Not Dogs better with their unique flavor. I added a half bowl of Red Potato and Garlic soup to my meal and some Pomegranate Lemonade to wash it down.
I went straight for my soup because it looked really good and it was fantastic. I love potatoes and I love garlic so I knew this soup had a good chance of pleasing me and it delivered. The only drawback for me was the value. Lisa insists that the half bowl was a full cup of soup. I insist that it was 3-4 table spoons. For $3.00 it was tiny – especially considering soup is mostly water. I don’t seek out huge portions when trying to get the best value for my food dollar, but I didn’t feel that it was $3.00 worth of soup even if it was incredibly tasty. The Northsider Not Dog was excellent. Yes, its something I can make at home, but I had never had a “Chicago Style” dog and I enjoyed the combination of toppings and the wheat roll that it was on. The Pomegranate Lemonade was the only thing that left me disappointed in terms of taste. We all have different tastes and I felt that as far as lemonade goes, it was extremely watered down. I didn’t even opt for ice thankfully. I had room for dessert, so I got a Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake. It was a good shake, but there is stiff competition as far as shakes go in this city with Earwax, Chicago Diner, Pick Me Up, and Life on Mars all offering shakes using Temptation ice cream. I’d rank this shake above Life on Mars but below the rest.
One of the things that really stood out about Drew’s was Drew himself. He came off as genuine and personable. His restaurant is a form of living activism and though he’s not a vegan himself he opened a place of business that is as organic, local/sustainable, and environmentally conscious as possible. He’s open to new ideas and wants feedback. He was quite open about not knowing much about veganism when he opened the place but people kept requesting items and he’s learned on the go. He answered every question I had with enthusiasm and if I asked a question he had never gotten before he was inquisitive so that he could make sure he hadn’t missed an important detail. This combination of factors just draws willing support from people like me and I’ll gladly return just to continue to support a progressive business and watch it evolve.
Drew’s Eatery will be going entirely vegan for the day on Saturday, October 30th in honor of Chicago Vegan Week. Among items featured that day there will be 12 (!!) flavors of Temptation available. He showed us the list and we were excited about Triple Threat Chocolate and Blueberry, so make sure you pay them a visit on Saturday!
2207 W Montrose