I was lucky enough to get to visit the Chicago Diner for my 3rd Chicago PPK meet-up! This is a threepete for me and the sweet and awesome Kelly Peloza of Seitan Beats Your Meat and author of the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur. I also got to meet two new friends from the PPK: the Harmless Hunter of the Harmless Hunter blog and Pepperpot!!!! It was a great time. They are both super awesome!
The diner is a long narrow room with, well, a very diner-ish atmosphere. Nothing fancy pants here. The server we had was really great. He made sure we were well taken care of without being intrusive. The bathrooms are very clean (always a good sign that the kitchen is clean too).
The Diner has such a kickin' menu, it was really hard to decide what to order. I wanted to try something I hadn't had before, but I really couldn't remember what I had before, so it was a shot in the dark. This time I opted for the Radical Reuben ($10.50). The swirled rye bread was soft and lucious and TDF. As you can see by the pictures the "pastrami" is a very cool pink color and looked very close to actual pastrami. The texture was great: just the right amount of chewy. This sammy was just perfect.
I had an easy time convincing one of my best childhood friends to join me in my vegan culinary adventures in Chicago. To quote her "I'm a big fan of the veggies." (Love you so much by the way!!!) After much deliberation she decided on the Sweet Potato Quesadilla ($10.50). It is stuffed with another fabulous version of seitan, black beans, mashed sweet potatoes, spinach, salsa fresca and a choice of cheddar or mozz Daiya. She chose the mozz. This is a huge portion and stuffed with such tasty goodness. There was no way she could finish it.
Autumn Vegan (Kelly) and Pepperpot (Neicey hope I spelled that right) both got the BBQ "Bacon" Cheezeburger ($9.99) though they opted for different sides. AV got the mashed potatoes and gravy (which I must try next time) and PP got the sweet potato fries, which I know from prior exprerience are delish! I didn't get to try anyone elses stuff (besides the quesadilla) cuz I was blabbing away and totally forgot to ask for bites. Haha. But they both gave the burgers a thumbs up.
Last but certainly not least, Harmless Hunter (Tyler) ordered The Soul Bowl ($12.99). I was tempted to order this myself but I had to get the famous Reuben. I need to try this next time as it looked so incredible! It has spicy grilled tofu. The tofu was beautiful, seriously beautiful. It was a nice thick slice, blackened to perfection. Looking at the pictures makes me long for a bite. It was sreved with greens, sweet potatoes and black beans. Oh and I must not forget the Chimichurri sauce!
Here we all are happy as can be! L to R Pepperpot, Me, my most awesome friend Patrice, Harmless Hunter and Autumn Vegan
Sigh...I miss it already. But you can get in on some Chicago Diner action yourself. I am giving away a copy of the Chicago Diner Cookbook to one of you fabulous followers. All you have to do is be a follower of the Vegan Conversion Challenge and post a comment about your favorite diner food or experience or anything else diner related. Because I posted so late today, I will give everyone until tomorrow at midnight to post. I will draw the winner using Random.org on Saturday. Good luck and good posting!!!
I redrew today (11/13/11) because I haven't heard back from the original winner. The winner is #11 PEANUTTY PRINCESS!!!