Thursday, October 20, 2011

MOFO - Day 20 - Chicago Diner!!!

I know I am still breaking from my theme, but I do hope you will forgive me when I share yet another great dining out experience.

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!!!




19 comments:

vegan.in.brighton said...

Everything looks so awesome especially those burgers & the hunk of tofu. I've still never tried a Reuben, I need to get on that next time I'm in the US.

Beth said...

Oh god, I've heard SO much about Chicago Diner! They sound awesome... I've always had a thing for retro styles, so I love diners. They have a cafe 50's out here in LA that's pretty cute. Oh, and Johnny Rockets has a veggie burger- yay!

radioactivegan said...

I've been to Chicago Diner a few times. It's so great! I love the milkshakes, and the Rueben is awesome :)

Kate said...

I've never gotten to eat at a vegan diner, but I love veggie burgers, fries, and shakes. Also, pancakes, hashbrowns and tofu scramble, yum! I want to try that Reuben so bad!

Space.Clown said...

My favorite diner food is french fries! :) Thanks for the contest.

vijita said...

I'm so jealous of you guys! I'm dying to try the Chicago Diner one day.

My two favourite vegan "diner" experiences are 1) Julie Hasson's book Vegan Diner, and 2) Saturn Cafe in the Bay Area.

Kenike said...

I love french fries or anything that resembles a vegan bacon cheeseburger (with onion rings, preferably). mmmm!

This place is on my must-try list for when I make it to Chicago.

Em said...

I haven't really visited a Diner but keep hearing about the Chicago Diner. I'd opt for a classic burger and fries!

Kim said...

Wow, that all looks amazing! I love vegan diner food. Thanks for having such a great giveaway!

jd said...

OOPs! I didn't even see the contest at the end of this post - I was too busy drooling over the pictures :)

My fav diner experience actually took place at the Chicago Diner! I ate there once before becoming vegan and hated it (I don't think I could fully appreciate its greatness at the time). Then, for ages, I was absolutely convinced that it was a terrible restaurant.

Luckily, shortly before moving from Chicago to NYC, I decided to give it another chance, and, lo and behold, I fell in love. Seriously. Chicago Diner became the one veggie place that I loved/trusted enough to take all of my non-veg family members/friends to, which was super-cool...

Now, I walk around slapping my forehead, thinking about how many times I could have eaten at Chicago Diner while I still lived there - if only I'd given it another try sooner! *sigh*

peanuttyprincess said...

I can't remember ever having been to a diner, but my favorite diner food would have to be a big ol' plate of burger and fries on the side. And a milkshake to wash all that down. Yup.

moonsword said...

My favorite memories come from when I first was getting to know my partner. Because of our schedules we did our laundry together around 2 am at the local all-night laundromat. We would wait next door at the diner and load up on our favorites tater tots or pancakes and just people watch, read, dream about the future.
We still love those tots and stacks. ;)

Fanny said...

Wow, that Reuben looks awesome! I mean, that bread alone is a star.

Art You Dream About said...

I've been wanting to go to the Chicago Diner! Too bad I live hours away.

I love a milkshake with a burger and fries! So healthy, I know... but at least since it's vegan, there's no cholesterol?

Erinwiko said...

I'm still kicking myself for not going to Chicago Diner when I had 24 hours in Chicago last year! I need to get back there ASAP- but maybe the book could tide me over!

I'm not sure that Foodswings in New York counts as a diner, but I still dream about the cookies and cream milkshake that I had there (and milkshakes are diner food, right?). Julie Hasson's Vegan Diner is also my favourite cookbook this year, the seitan sliders were a total winner.

(And I'm following you via Google Reader!)

Maggie Muggins said...

You're killing me with your post, I can only dream of going to Chicago Diner someday.
I haven't had any vegan diner experiances yet but the first chance I get I'd be ordering a big ol' burger with onion rings and a strawberry or blueberry shake, ahhhh yeaaahh.

Jenny said...

I love, love Chicago Diner. I've been there a few times, and I've had the reuben before. (Would love to try that blackened tofu!)My favorite diner foods: chocolate milkshakes or chili cheese fries. I also love vegan diner breakfasts. The cookbook would be fun to have!

Courtney said...

I can't believe no one got a milksake! They have THE BEST peanut butter and chocloate milkshake- I get it every time I go there. I think they use Soy Dream Ice Cream for it. The Chicago Diner is hands down my favorite place to eat. If only the patio was still open you guys would have had a great time eating outside (where there is more room). Also, one of my favorite things there are the buffalo wings-soooo good. I've got Karen's cookbook but I haven't tried making anything from it yet...that shall be next.

Veg-In-Training said...

I totally wanted a shake, but we had dinner reservations at Karyn's on Green. I had to save some room.