Sunday, April 10, 2011

Look ma, I'm a neurosurgeon or anyone can spell vegan in Laguna, CA

I'm out in Laguna Woods on a family visit.  It happens that it's also my birthday and restaurant chosen for the birthday dinner is Twisted Noodles.

Asian = Ethnic = Vegan Possibilities

I got to peruse a copy of the menu before we went.  Everyone was all excited for me because they had "vegan" options.  I was even excited about it.  It was like everyone found a place that could treat a rare disease and finally I'd be saved.

Possibilities go to reality as "Entries (sic) can be made vegetarian or vegan..."  

I'm looking at the menu thinking this might actually be a great meal.  They know vegan, they have tofu, they are calling my name.  It's what got them a table of 7 people.

Part sushi bar, part sports bar.  See that TV.  When we walked in it had the RODEO on.  In a place that wants vegan business.  They haven't made the connection.  My wife, on my behalf, asked that the channel be changed.

I walked up to the bar and pulled up and started searching for the beers.  I looked at the waiter and figured I'd save a few minutes so asked him if he knew which beers were vegan.  He basically said, it's beer, there's no animal products in beer.  Uh oh.  I'm getting a little bit of a bad feeling here.

I order the

A3. Tofu Delight (8) Deep-fried tofu served with sweet chili sauce
A4. Vegan Delight (8) Combination of fried tofu and butternut squash served with sweet chili sauce

and I'm just thrilled to see "vegan" on the menu.  They must surely speak my language.

Someone put that used dish of chili sauce on the plate as this was from the second order and they, well, forgot to put a new one on.

The vegan delight was a combination of chunks of butternut squash and tofu, deep fried.  As you know I love anything deep fried.  I thought the coating was a bit softer than I'd have liked and the tofu held a bit more liquid than it would have had it been pressed.  Still, fried stuff dipped in sweet chili dipping sauce, who could say "no"?

That sure is a huge mound of white rice!

CT11. Phrik Khing Red chili paste sautéed with green bean, carrot & kaffir leave and a choice of protein $6.95

I ordered the Phrik Khing and it looks fantastic.  This thick sauce is just crying deliciousness.  I take a bite of the salad which is iceburg lettuce, purple cabbage and carrots.  I dig into the entree and it's great.  The tofu batons are just the right consistency and the veggies are cooked perfectly, just a nice crunch left.  But I look in my plate and see this:

Hmm, what's that white sauce?

I sort of stop in mid bite.  Oh waiter?  Here's the way it goes:

"Hi, uhm, what's in the salad dressing?"
"Uhm," (searching for the word), "in English its ma ... may .... "
"Ah yes, mayonnaise."
"Mayonnaise isn't vegan, it's made with eggs."
"Oh, then not mayonnaise.
"Can you send the chef out."
"I could but no English."
"What language does he speak?"
"What language do you speak?"
"Can you go ask him what is in the dressing?"

Wait one minute.

"He says the dressing is vegan."
"But it has mayonnaise?"
"Yes, mayonnaise."

I'm done eating.  Plate full of food, fork down, done.  Anyone can put the word vegan on a menu.  If you cant follow through and deliver then don't invite me in.  Whatever the dietary restriction is, you had better deliver.  Don't say gluten free and serve wheat.  Don't say sugar free and put in fructose.  Don't write checks you can't cash.  And don't FUCKING lie to me about what's in the food!!!

That's outrageous.

But as a wonderful surprise a cake from Babycakes was ordered.  Mmmm, that was delicious ... AND VEGAN!

In a last ditch attempt to grab some dinner I drove to Irvine Center and made a mad dash to Veggie Grill.  Alas, the picture was all I got to drool over as they close at 10 and we got there around 10:30.  Some chips and salsa in Dave and Busters was the majority of my dinner meal.  Vegan for sure today though.

Like looking through prison bars at the free world.


JL goes Vegan said...


But....Happy Birthday!!

Marty said...

Thanks JL!

Eric said...

nothing fun about that at all, id be pissed off too... but happy birthday!

as for the vegan beer thing, ive learned that no one will ever know if a beer is vegan other than if you email before hand/barnivore or if your at the brewery and an actual brewer is there. its not even worth your time to ask unless you want to educate. alot of "vegan" restaurants dont even know about vegan beer/wine/alcohol so its really up to you.

Marty said...

Hi Eric,
Thanks. It was more exasperated. I've had this lack of trust in the answers I've received before. I'm not sure if it's a lack of caring or just lazy and easier to say what they think I want to hear. Certainly easier than actually MAKING something vegan.

As far as the beer thing, It's not the highest thing on my priority list but I did look them up on barnivore before ordering. Asahi was vegan. Singh wasn't listed. I just asked to ask and see what the answer was. It's a little gage to vegan understanding. I've been told about honey before but it's not the area I really really expect them to know about especially since this was not a vegan restaurant.

Thanks for stopping by.


Marty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.