today’s quick bite comes to us from friend and quarrygirl reader patricia, who is also a bad-ass vegan certified massage therapist and yoga instructor (check her out!).
there has been a lot of talk in the vegan community about the new availability of gardein (an awesome vegan meat substitute) at yard house (our favorite chain of beer bars). here patricia addresses our concerns about cross-contamination, and explains why yard house doesn’t specifically classify any of their menu items as “vegan”. check it:
do you guys remember a while back when yard house was testing gardein in their restaurants? well, unlike Chipotle, it is now offered on their printed menu under a separate “vegetarian” section. i’ve been to yard house a lot and i always order the same amazing “chop salad” (without bacon) at the pasadena location. the salad has no lettuce but it’s a bunch of chopped delicious veggies: avocado, celery, corn, onions cucumber, and tomato. last night no one felt like driving so we took the metro to the downtown location which is about a four block walk from the 7th street station. the place was especially packed thanks to the clipper game that was happening literally next door. so i contribute the busyness, in part, to why i ended up with my usual chopped salad accidentally served with a few scraps of bacon. we were sitting at the bar and just so happens when i got the bartender’s attention to show him my salad the manager was standing right next to him. they were both very apologetic and i asked if i could order something different. i didn’t want to spend my time picking through plate of vegetables looking for bacon bits.
so round two brought me the “veggie fried chicken strips” served with fries and i asked for it without the (non-vegan) sauce. here’s where the veganocity of yard house gets questionable. the manager explained to me that the fries are cooked in a separate fryer and although the “chicken” strips’ ingredients were vegan that they are fried in the same oil as chicken. well, clearly i’d prefer everything cooked separately but this time i just said “fuck it”…Tags: gardein, quick bites
any reader of this blog knows that we are huge fans of gardein. we live off their vegan protein creations—both the packaged goods and commercial products are part of our daily lives. we are avid beer drinkers as well, so naturally when we heard that gardein had made its way onto the menu at the irvine yard house location (a restaurant that brags they have the word’s largest selection of draft beer), we were beyond excited.
we found the irvine yard house menu online, and discovered that a whopping 25 menu items could be modified to include gardein. while that’s impressive and definitely a coup for the vegetarian world, we couldn’t help but notice that almost all the items contained dairy…bearnaise sliders, chicken caeser, spicy thai chicken pizza, etc. some of the items did look veganizable, though, so we were determined to make it work. we didn’t want a repeat of the chipotle situation (which was later resolved), so we decided to contact yard house in advance and see just how much they were willing to accommodate vegans.Tags: gardein, irvine, orange county
UPDATE 06/07/10: this post is waaaay out of date. not all this stuff is even on the menu anymore! there is good news though, yard house is adding gardein to the menu. read about it here.
UPDATE 06/02/09: the ‘vegan’ lettuce wraps at yardhouse, which the staff told me were vegan as did the veganxpress iphone application, turned out to be almost entirely vegan, but with a sheen of oyster sauce sprayed on them to preserve them. special thanks to commenter kate, who alerted me to this. they use non-vegan fish sauce in their lettuce/tofu/mushroom wraps. i don’t trust anything at this place now, except the beer. the food can go fuck itself.
it’s always interesting to see what vegan options can be found at large chain restaurants, and it turns out the yard house has some pretty good selections. i usually visit yard house not to eat, but to drink vast quantities of alcohol. the place claims to have the largest selection of draft beer in the world, and serves the drinks in your choice of a standard pint glass, a huge half yard glass, or an enormous glass that’s a yard long and almost impossible to drink. after too many pints of strong beer on our recent visit, my husband and i decided we should order some food to help soak up the booze. i pulled out my iphone and launched the veganxpress application, a $1.99 app that lists vegan options at chain and fast food restaurants. thankfully, the yard house was one of the restaurants covered in the application, so we went about ordering up what was vegan on the menu.
we started with the edamame which was obviously vegan, and it was pretty tasty. not much to really say about it, but all of it was fresh and i really enjoyed the kosher salt. we also ordered the lettuce wraps with the mushroom option, and they were surprisingly good. these were actually some of the best lettuce wraps i’ve ever had, with lightly fried smoked tofu and 2 kinds of mushrooms. the chunky pine nuts also added a great texture, and the green onion a delicious but subtle flavor. i highly recommend these. be sure to specify you want the mushroom option though, because these also come with the choice of shrimp or chicken. blech.
for our main course, we shared the portobella burger which was made vegan by omitting the cheese and mayo. i also told them to leave off the bell peppers, which left us with a huge mushroom, a slice of eggplant and tomato, and some basil. this thing was pretty dry and boring, but we livened it up with some hot sauce and were good to go. it definitely hit the spot, but i don’t think i’d ever order it again. my advice would be to stick to the lettuce wraps.
so next time you are at the yard house getting your drink on with some omnivores, rest assured, they have food for you too. and if you have an iphone, you may wanna drop $1.99 on the veganxpress app. i have used it a few times, and in my mind, it has already paid for itself.Tags: bars, chain dining, edamame, long beach, portabello, veganxpress