UPDATE: Sad news, The Vegan Spot has closed :( – read on to see what you missed!
I was never big into giant meaty sandwiches even when I still ate flesh. There’s just something about a bunch of thinly sliced, dripping pink meat smothered in oil and onions that’s always been repulsive to me. Pastrami sandwiches, Reubens, Roast Beef and Philly Cheesesteaks were just never the stuff my foodie dreams were made off… not the real versions of them anyway.
Now, we’ve already discussed just how much I love me a good faux Reuben sandwich, but how about some other variety of previously disgusting cuisine made lovable? That’s where The Vegan Spot in Silver Lake comes to the rescue with their remarkable all-vegan Philly Cheesesteak.
I’d previously read some good reviews of this place over at the Your Vegan Mom and Quarrygirl blogs and I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself. The Vegan Spot was started by one of the women who also opened Flore right up the street, so I figured it had to be good. And good it was!
Alright, so I’ve never had a real Philly Cheesesteak and the one time I visited Philidelphia I got dumped and had a miserable time. What I can tell you about this sandwich though, without having anything to compare it to, was that it was fantastic! They make their own meaty stuffing and cheese sauce there, and while I have no idea what they’re doing back there in that kitchen, it’s nothing short of pure vegan genius. The meat I believe is some sort of seitan concoction, thinly sliced and to me reminiscent in flavor and texture to a Greek style gyro. It tastes and feels incredibly realistic… real enough to fool my meat-loving dad into thinking it’s the real thing, and real enough to probably freak-out the vegetarians out there who can’t hang with faux-meats. Me, I love the faux… so I say bring it.
The cheese sauce was some of the best pretend cheese I’ve had anywhere. It was supposed to be like cheddar, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t have that sharp note to it that cheddar is known for. I could tell it had mustard in it, and most likely (totally guessing here) it had nutritional yeast as well. Amazing how they got the flavor and texture so close. Would a bonafide real-cheese eating connoisseur think it was real cheddar cheese? No, mostly likely not, but they probably wouldn’t consider that crap that’s kept in heated buckets at the local 7-11 for nachos to be real cheese either, and apparently it is. Unless someone went in there with a “I’m going to hate everything vegan just because it’s vegan” stick up their butt (you know the type), they’d be hard pressed not to admit this stuff is the bomb.
Here’s a close-up so that those of you out in the middle of nowhere can partake in the fantasy, imagining yourselves about to bite into this miracle of decadent indulgence smothered in cruelty-free melted delight…
The sandwich came served on a thick and fresh French roll along with an equally fresh side salad. It would normally also come with grilled onions, but… ewwwwww.
I absolutely loved this beast of a meal and can’t wait to go back and try everything else on The Vegan Spot menu. Los Angeles has been all abuzz about the vegan Twinkies that they serve as well, created by the lovely JennShaggy. The only problem is that they are so good and so popular that they’re selling out faster than the poor girl can bake them! Every time I’ve been there in search of a Twinkie they were out, but I sure hope the stars will align for me one of these days so that I’ll end up there at the right time and get to try one.
They don’t seem to have a website yet so I have no choice but to point you to the very mixed reviews over at Yelp:
The reviews range from those who fanatically love the place to those who judge it based on the fact that they don’t like being served by hipsters and/or hippies or who’d rather complain about the murals on the walls than talk about the actual food. Whatever… don’t go into the heart of the most hipsterfied neighborhood in town if you’ve got a problem with “hip” people serving you, problem solved. The food was awesome, the place was clean and the people working there were all friendly and helpful… what more do you need? Try the place out and make up your own mind, I’m willing to bet you’ll leave happy and stuffed. If you do manage to snag a couple of Twinkies while you’re there, please save one for me!
- The Vegan Spot: Follow-Up Edition
- Vegan Reuben sandwich at Follow Your Heart
- Foodeater Does Vegan Portland, V.8: Veganopolis
- I like big buns and I cannot lie.
- Vegetarian club sandwich