Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Doomie's of Hollywood, CA. Excellent Comfort Food. Period.

I eat at a lot of vegan places and I'm a comfort food kind of guy.  I love my fried stuff and my stacked burgers and most of them are above the line of acceptability.  There's usually one or two things on a menu that are good or really good but it's been a long time since I was over the top like I was a Doomie's.

The sign as you are driving down Vine is small and buried among 20 other signs
and I just noticed the "Vegan/Vegetarian" as I went by.  Yup, had to turn around because
you can't see it if you're coming from ... well, LAX like I was.  It's also tucked
away in the corner of the "L" shaped strip mall.

Doomie's makes no bones about not being a healthy kind of place.  It's the last thing on Chef/Owner/musician Phil Doomie's mind.  What is on his mind is giving us vegans something to sink our teeth into and boy does he ever.  What else is there after textures and flavor profiles?

The chicken poppers were given to me gratis by server Tegan, who I must thank for guiding me through some difficult menu choices.  It's tough when you want to eat everything you see.

Instead of repeating myself by saying everything was perfect let me just say that in the whole array of food I glutinously had placed before me the only thing I didn't care for was the bacon bits on top of the mac n cheese.  They were a bit soft and soggy and didn't add the crunch that I think was the intent.  So what?  Big deal?  Everything else was, perfect.

Peppery, chickeny, crunchy on the outside and moist and flavorful inside.

The poppers were incredible.  I haven't had real cheese in years but this is what I remember a popper being.  The outside takes some tooth to break through and then you slide into the gooey interior, hit the resistance of the jalapeƱo and then feel the creaminess and heat invade your mouth.

I was enamored by Quarrygirls review of the Big Mac but Tegan suggested getting the burger Big Mac style.  Good move.  Finally a burger that doesn't squirt out of the back of the bun or need you to sharpen your incisors.  The texture of the burger was just like it should be.  Something to tear apart with your front teeth and still need some grind by your molars.  Taste was nice and beefy and the bun paired so well.  The special sauce on the bun, the onions, pickle, man, it just worked.

I also can't help but order onion rings.  I'm a junkie.  And these were worth the extra buck.  Sweet on the inside and crunchy on the out, just the way a "real" onion ring should be.  I'd order a bowl of these and 2 bottles of ketchup and leave a happy camper.

Why 2 pics?  Well, here you can see the burger better and ...

here the color of the onion rings are better.
A little out of sequence here but the start of the meal was chicken legs.  They weren't from Mai Wah but were of a similar texture and I think nothing special about the chicken but the buffalo sauce was indeed a real buffalo sauce, nice combination of Louisiana hot sauce and fat.  Now the Ranch was another stroke of genius.  If you didn't know ... well, I'm telling you you'd never know.

That's a nice big glop of special sauce on the bun and you can see where how it's grilled in a buttery garlicy shmear to a nice toast.  It really matters when you have that subtle crunch!

Seriously, can't you just feel that in your mouth?
Now the other thing I tried was the pulled pork, mac n cheese, fries, and cole slaw.  From last to first, the slaw was creamy, the fries, which I hadn't held out much interest in were so perfect that I decided to use the word perfect again.  And for fries no less!  Perfectly cooked, crunch outside and cooked potato inside and perfectly salted.  The mac n cheese was ... what can I say, cheesy.  The pasta cooked just right and not too soft or mushy.  And the pork, omg, just sweet enough, just bbq-y enough and texture, although not stringy like pork, (who cares ... really), had some tiny pieces and some medium pieces and some large pieces.  You mouth shmooshed and you you bit and you chewed.  Then if your taste buds needed an acid trip of flavor, you just dump the slaw on top and call it a day.

There is no website so before I forget here's the Facebook link:  http://www.facebook.com/doomieshomecookin 

Great job Phil.

Monday, February 25, 2013

This Is What Vegans Eat

As a vegan charter pilot I have to put a bit more THOUGHT into what and where I'm eating but not really much more effort. Websites like happycow.net and Yelp are helpful in finding vegan restaurants (or veg friendly) in cities where I travel. I even did a few blog posts chronicling my foods for a week on the road.



Marty's Flying Vegan Review


Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Mai Thai but no Mai Tai near Cincinnati.

Staying at the Airport Hilton.  There is nothing vegan around here.  Chains and your standard roadhouse American kind of places.  Last night I went to Karlo's Italian Bistro and got a bowl of (vegan of course), spaghettini with a sun dried tomato, tomatoes, garlic and olive sauce served with a yeast bread and olive oil/balsamic dipping plate.  It was adequate, tasty, (if more broth than I'd have preferred), and filling.  I did have to remind the waiter after querying him that I didn't want butter in my sauce.  They probably don't see many vegans here.

Tonight we opted for Mai Thai.  I tried searching for a place that had brown rice but that's apparently not known in the hinterland of Florence, KY where Cincinnati Airport is.  Our driver couldn't find the place and I had to give him directions from Google maps.  (The driver who picked us up knew exactly where it was).

I was impressed overall.

Appetizer was fried tofu.  It was rather tasteless and came with a dipping sauce, (I was assured had no fish sauce or chickenish products), that was rather sweet as in Sweet and Sour with crushed peanuts on top.  The dish was mediocre but that is as low as the food got.

I asked about the (spiciest) green curry but apparently it's made in advance with the fish sauce and our waitress suggested a stir fry.  I asked for level 5 spice (and still added more chili), and also asked that it come with tofu and vegetables.  The dish was excellent and had a nice depth of flavor, the heat a side show to the taste.  It had a nice earthy base to it.

I ordered veg fried rice with no fish sauce or animal broth.  I repeated this a few times and once, when our waitress asked "what kind of meat?" and I said, "No meat," she did a mental forehead slap and said, "that's right."

The fried rice was also excellent and had a sweeter base but still with a nice heat level.  I loved the basil in it and thought the two dishes went very well together, both spicy, yet flavors playing off each other.

I enjoyed the meal and brought back a bunch of menus for the hotel.  I'd eat here again in a heartbeat.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Vertical Diner at 4000 feet

I was ecstatic when I found out my airline flight back east was put off until afternoon. Now I had my sights on a place I'd been to back in March and couldn't wait to get back to. It has "breakfast" written all over it. And for once, when I got up, I was HUNGRY. The airport Hilton is nice enough but I had to order up a fridge for the room, (as with most full service properties), and there was no guest microwave so my dinner last night was a huge salad somewhere over Nebraska at 38000 feet.

Getting up early in the west means sleeping in back east but then again, I didn't finish work until midnight so sleeping in until 730 wasn't really catching up on sleep
It looks so much better from the front

Green dragon and red lizard hot sauce. I tasted them but this breakfast had so much flavor it didn't really need hot sauce. For the record, green is Jalapeno based and red is Cayenne.

Side of in house nooch cheese sauce on top of the Gravy Train breakfast. Yes I double sauced it. Home fries, tofu scramble, sausage, peppers and onions. Ohhhhh, this defines breakfast. Salty and peppery potatoes cooked just enough to put a little crunch on the outside defines perfection in a cooked potato. The gravy is a tad heavy on the salt but 2 things: one I don't cook with much salt anymore and I may be hypersenstive and 2 gravy should be on the salty side. Just be prepared to grab a bottle of water later in the day. The nooch was just, well, noochy goodness and there was nooch in the scramble as well.

I realized after this was consumed that you really can't see the tofu very well.  Look closely.
The tofu was VERY well mashed and didn't replicate the curds normally found in eggs but that's ok, it was more like a creamy eggy replica. It was also seasoned with more than just your basic salt and pepper and the mix is for sale at Cali's Natural Foods market in Salt Lake. I have to find out if they ship because it's a nice easy no brainer for those of you who are just flummoxed by the concept of a tofu scramble. (www.calisnaturalfoods.com)

I first thought the sausage was a slice of Lightlife but it's not, it's home made and took me by surprise. A delicious mix of brown rice based and seasonings, (sweet with fennel!), just a tad over center on the mush scale but it really didn't detract and we in veganland haven't perfected the consistency competition), and with an amazing mix of spices in the tofu scramble, well, if I lived here I might just give up cooking my own breakfast.

Take Two - Where's the Beef?

I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak for the airline flight back to Atlanta and my mouth is watering.  I got my notch sauce on the side and they did an amazing job wrapping the plates into this leakproof cocoon.  I was so psyched.  Then in Denver I open my lunch and ...

No seitan.  Arrrgh.  Well, the bread was nice and garlicy and the mushrooms, onions and peppers were nice and I smooshed everything in the two containers of sauce but it was sooooo disappointing.  Ah well, next time.

I took a look at the check and it appears that mushrooms are an OPTION as is the seitan steak.  I had one great waiter who actually brought this wrapped sandwich out to me in my car after I got a call to rush to the airport and left it on the table.  He was excellent.  The other guy who took my order, I don't know, but I'd have asked me a lot more questions before I put in an order for a vegetable sandwich.  Just saying.