A Lotus Grows in Brooklyn

Chicago Diner
June 15, 2009, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Vegan | Tags: ,

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Chicago is not a city known for its fresh, healthy, veg-friendly cuisine. (Italian beef sausages and deep-dish pepperoni pizza top the list of the city’s fave foods.) On a recent visit I found little to be excited about, but admittedly I was mostly in the financial and tourist-heavy Loop area, which doesn’t bode well for finding ethnic or progressive restaurants.

Luckily, I had a recommendation from a friend to go to the Chicago Diner. So I braved the rain and took the El to the North Halsted Street area (pride flags! I know I’m in my kind of neighborhood). And I’m so glad I did! The Chicago Diner has been “meat free since ’83,” and they know how to please a vegan. I’d been dreaming about their seitan reuben since seeing it on their online menu.

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And it was indeed heavenly. The perfect amount of melty cheese and pastrami-style seitan on soft marble rye with onions, peppers, sauerkraut, and Thousand Island. All vegan! Plus, some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve had. (And I’ve had a ton—they seem to be all the rage now.)

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I also got to share a vegan Monte Cristo sandwich, which was satisfying but a bit too bready and sweet. It did come with a spicy Vegenaise sauce, though, that was wonderful. And it’s the other touches of care that I like about places like this: for example, the beer list was all local, advocating for supporting your local breweries, and the bottle of ketchup on the table was organic.

The Chicago Diner is not exactly a bastion of low-fat dining, but more the kind of place you’d go when it’s raining out and you really want something comforting and cheezy and utterly, utterly delicious. I highly recommend.


4 Comments so far
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I wonder, if someone were to have “straight pride” flags, would that be considered hate speech, like when it is ok to voice pride in your ethnic background as long as you are not white?

I don’t think I have ever had sweet potato fries. Hm.

Comment by Steven Morrisroe

I’ll admit I actually have this feeling myself from time to time, and it’s a reflexive reaction. It’s easy to wonder what’s wrong with being a straight, white male, especially if you yourself have not sense of experiencing societal privilege. But the thing I have to remind myself is that while it’s fine to acknowledge and be proud of who I am, I’m not a minority and haven’t endured any organized or systematic discrimination and that “pride” in the sense I understand it has to do solely with my own sense of self-worth and not with a sense of communal solidarity that is necessary for the advancement of groups in the minority with a history of repression. When you use the term “pride” with regard to a group that’s considered to have default status within the norms of our society, you’re really just reiterating that other groups are still outsiders. At best, you’re being a jerk; at worst, a xenophobe.

Comment by Matt

What are you doing in Shy-town? Are you having a good trip?

Comment by Sunny

So if I am in an area that is overwhelmingly populated by “Hispanics” (which is where I have my business, work six days a week, and sit right now”), and I am a minority all day, is it then ok to promote “white pride”? Why for instance is white pride a negative, but Mexican pride deserving of a parade and celebrations? I don’t care a bit about race, but it is the principle of it. Why the double standard? Since I am the minority, then are all of the people here who display and speak about their ethnic pride (La Raza), “jerks” and “xenophobes”?

When whites are a minority (which they are in many places) the tune of political correctness suddenly changes. It seems to me that you can’t have it both ways. Either it is ok to be proud of your heritage or it is not.

Again, I don’t care a bit where my or anyone else’s ancestors came from, but it it should be ok if I did, white, black, brown, or otherwise.

Thank you and have a good day.

Comment by Steven Morrisroe

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