Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Craving Karyn's Cooked

Several times in the last couple weeks, my friend, Loretta, and I have had the same conversation about where to go out for dinner.  Our small twin college towns have a lot to offer and many restaurants have vegan options, but we are missing a nice all-vegan or even vegetarian restaurant.  Yes, we have The Red Herring and I love it for what it is, but being only open during the school year and for lunch leaves a lot to be desired. Our search for a nice place to eat good quality vegan food, made me crave Karyn's Cooked.
The family took the train to Chicago a couple weekends ago to visit friends, attend a Michael Franti (my favorite vegan artist) concert, and Vegan Mania.  While we were in the Windy City, we took advantage of a few of the fabulous veg restaurants the city has to offer.  Rob and even the kids have eaten at Karyn's several times since it is close to our friends' Todd and Katherine's place and it is really excellent food.  This was my first chance to partake and I will definitely be back again.
Parker patiently waiting for me to take a picture so he can enjoy his Potato Soup and Cornbread.
Karyn's is not what most people would consider kid-friendly.  It takes a while to be served and there isn't a lot of seating so even a family of five is a little cramped, let alone going with a couple families (which we tried before and gave up).  It is worth the wait, though.  Parker shared some of his soup and cornbread since his sibs were obviously dying of starvation.  He is a soup guy and gave this two thumbs way up.
Artistic shot of Dema and his Homestyle Meat Loaf with Mashed Potatoes and Shiitake Gravy and Steamed Broccoli.  Dema and Josie fought over the broccoli, which was steamed to perfection.  Dema devoured the mashed potatoes, but even though it was his idea to order the meat loaf, he was a little weirded out by it.  We don't do loafs often, I can't remember ever making one.  He ate a few bites, but I think he was pretty full...just look at that plate full of food!  No worries, Rob and I took care of the leftovers after the Michael Franti concert.  Delish!
We ordered an appetizer Vegan Pizza for Josie and this is what they brought out.  Don't you hate it when restaurants have tiny appetizers and you can barely share them with the family?  Not so with this pizza.  We could have just ordered this and been satisfied.  Okay, this bit was a tad confusing.  We took a piece of this pizza and the server came over and apologized for giving us the wrong one.  She whisked the remaining pizza away and brought back this.
I am still trying to figure out which menu item is which.  They have listed Vegan Pizza (everything is vegan at Karyn's) and Jerry's Pizza.  I tried both since we had already taken a slice of the first.  They were both very good, but this second one was by far my favorite.  I am drooling just thinking about it.  As you can see, it is piled high with veggies and drizzled with a cheese sauce.  I am not usually a paper thin crust fan, but it is a perfect appetizer pizza crust.
Rob ordered the Reuben Sandwich.  Reubens are one of those things I don't think I ever ate as an omni, but I love as a vegan.  I have to say, we were little disappointed with the Reuben which also carries over to the Steak Sandwich below.  The tofu/seitan steak tasted on the burnt side.  We don't eat a lot of steakish tofu/seitan so maybe they were trying to satisfy meat eaters on this one, which I understand.  We just aren't fans of the charred taste.
Parker ordered the Steak Sandwich.  He was pretty full from the soup, but still made a big dent in his sandwich.  Parker's tofu/seitan steak didn't taste quite as charred as Rob's, but it was still there.  Parker enjoyed his sandwich, but said he would probably order something else next time.
I saved the best for last.  I would marry this Classic Lasagna, if I wasn't already married to the best vegan guy on the planet, of course...oh and if it were legal to marry food, which is isn't.  The point is, this lasagna is completely awesome.  I grew up hating lasagna, too many foods touching each other at the same time, ew!  Going vegan opened up my still pretty young palate to the lusciousness which is lasagna.   I swore I could live on Food for Thought vegan lasagna when we lived in DC.  I would probably give one of my children (just for a couple days) for the Food for Thought vegan lasagna recipe, but sadly FFT is no more, but I hear you can still get the lasagna at Black Cat for people lucky enough to live in the area.  I now love lasagna, just saying.  This lasagna is nothing like FFT's, but my post-three children and now thirty-something body is happy about the differences.  Karyn's lasagna is just the right balance of filling and light.  I felt like I could go on eating it forever and never get that uncomfortable stuffed feeling, but I was completely satisfied after eating one serving.  It was lick your plate good, but I didn't.

We left Karyn's with our to-go bag full, knowing we would be back soon.  Karyn's seems like a great place to take omni friends when you have some time to spend savoring the atmosphere and the cuisine.  I would love to go on a date night with Rob to Karyn's in the near future.  Loretta and I need to do a girls' weekend in Chitown so she can try out Karyn's.

1 comment:

Loretta said...

Yum! All of the food looks so delicious. I agree, we do need to go for a girls' weekend. When's good for you?