Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Thanks to one of our readers we recently found out about a new vegetarian Mexican place in Logan Square called Quesadilla, La Reyna del Sur (2235 N. Western, Chicago, IL 773-235-8807), so of course we had to go check the place out right away. According to our reader, Quesadilla used to be on the south side a few years ago before they disappeared. Now they’re back with a menu filled with food which can be veganized, since their soy-based meats are TVP and they offer both dairy cheese and non-dairy cheese (Follow Your Heart), all at taqueria prices!

When we first walked in we went up to the counter to check out the menu and ask questions. When it was established that we were eating in, the friendly woman behind the counter gave us menus and asked us to take a seat at a table. She brought out chips and two types of salsa, both of which were delicious, though she warned us that the chunkier of the two was pretty hot and it was. We munched on chips while we checked out the menu and I was a bit disappointed because the chips were greasy and not very good, but bad chips don’t necessarily mean bad food.

Of course we couldn’t write a good review unless we sampled a little bit of everything, so we did. We ordered a Huarache de Rajas, which is a large piece of fried corn dough topped with beans, lettuce, roasted Poblano pepper strips, tomato, cilantro and in our case Follow Your Heart mozzarella. I used to eat huaraches on a weekly basis at a market after school when I was a kid in Mexico and this one was just as large and delicious as those. Unlike the chips, it wasn’t super greasy and all the toppings were fresh, plus who can beat it at $4.75?


We also ordered two tacos, 1 chorizo and 1 Al Pastor ($2 each). When they brought out the tacos they both looked exactly the same, so I wasn’t sure which was which and after taking a bite of both I still couldn’t distinguish between the two, which was unfortunate, because I love tacos Al Pastor (so far El Faro is the only restaurant I’ve tried that’s been able to make the perfect vegan Al Pastor taco). However, both tacos were good despite their uniformity. They had a chorizo-like flavor and were slightly spicy. They were served with onion, cilantro, lettuce and tomato and two small tortillas, just like they serve them in Mexico.

Finally, we also ordered a Veggie Cubana torta ($5.75) which was filled with soy-sausage, bacon and chicken, as well as beans, avocado, tomato and lettuce. Normally they also top them with mayo they make themselves from almonds, but they were out of mayo last night. Even though the huarache was delicious, this was our favorite item. Nothing beats a warm bolillo filled with delicious food.

On top of huaraches, tortas and tacos, Quesadilla also offers quesadillas, of course, as well as, a wide variety of fruit and vegetable juices. The woman I spoke with there knew what was up when it came to veganism (she marked our ticket – no butter, soy cheese and no sour cream – for the cook, even though we’d forgotten to ask about butter). She said they’ve only been in their new location for two weeks, but that they’ve been well received. So be sure to pay them a visit soon. They’re located on the corner of Lyndale and Western and are currently open from 10am-10pm Sun-Fri.

They’re so close to Second City Vegan headquarters I’ve got a feeling we’ll be getting take-out from them on a regular basis!

*Special thanks to David S. for giving us the heads up on this place. As always, if any of you know of any hidden vegan/vegan friendly gems within the city we don’t have listed on our restaurant page, or of any new places opening up, let us know so we can spread the word.


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Last night Revolution Brewing Company opened it’s doors in Logan Square. Revolution is owned by one of the owner’s of Handlebar in Wicker Park and a quick glance at the menu indicates they offer some vegan options, though not nearly as many as Handlebar, but something is always better than nothing!

Here are the details:
Revolution Brewing Co.
2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL
Hours: 11am-2am

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Looking for something to do with that special vegan/vegetarian in your life on Valentine’s Day? Check out one of these local events.

Mercy for Animals’ 5th Annual Vegetarian Valentine’s Party
MFA will be hosting it’s annual Valentine’s Party on Saturday, February 13, 2010 from 8pm-11pm at the Black Walnut Gallery (220 N. Aberdeen St, Chicago). Tickets are $35 in advance. The event is open to all ages and will feature vegan treats, sweets and spirits, as well as, music and dancing. For more info. and/or to buy your tickets go here.

Valentine’s Supper
Delicious Cafe and Ste. Martaens are teaming up to host a Valentine’s Supper at Delicious Cafe (3827 N. Lincoln) on February 14, 2010 at 6pm. The meal is $40 per person and guests must RSVP by February 10, 2010. Space is limited so call Chelsea at 773-477-9840 or e-mail Laviyah at laviyah[at]stemartaen.com to reserve your seat today! To check out the menu go here.

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I posted this over on my other blog a couple of months ago. It’s pretty heavy on the garlic, so non-garlic lovers beware. I recently saw pesto made from cilantro at Whole Foods, so I may substitute that for the basil next time I make this. I’ll let you all know how that goes.

Vegan Pesto Campanelles with Broccoli

1 box campanelles or pasta of your choice
2 heads of broccoli


2 cups fresh basil, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cups shelled walnuts
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cup water

Toast the walnuts at 350 F for 10 minutes on a baking sheet turning once. Combine walnuts, basil, garlic and salt in a blender (I used the “shred” setting for this step). Then add olive oil and lemon juice and puree. If you’re making a pasta sauce add water and blend, however if you want a thicker paste for pesto pizza or whatnot skip this step.

In the meantime prepare your noodles as indicated on their package. Wash and chop your heads of broccoli into florets and steam them. Then put it all together and you have a quick, easy, delicious meal.

For a little variety you can also add some mushrooms, red peppers or tomatoes.

Makes enough for: 4

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So I’ve been sitting here adding links as they come to me and I guess I’ve decided I have to establish a few guidelines in order not to have a blogroll that’s a mile long. So here are the criteria for those of you who might be curious:

Get Active: This area is pretty much for local events only,  therefore I will only post links to groups/organizations which are active in the Chicago area, with the exception of Vegan Outreach because I think they have a lot of valuable information to offer, especially under the nutrition section.

Restaurants: These are all restaurants within the city limits which have a sizable portion of their menu devoted to vegan options.  I do visit restaurants within the suburbs from time to time, as well as restaurants which might only have a couple of vegan options and I’ll probably review a few of them on here. When I do, I’ll include links in the post in which they are mentioned (if there are any).

Vegan Products: While Chicago is home to a lot of good vegan food companies, as far as I know our city lacks 100% cruelty free clothing stores like New York’s Moo Shoes, so I’ve included the places I like to visit online when I can’t find what I’m looking for at local stores.

If there are any places I’ve missed which you think should absolutely be included under any of these categories please post them in the comments section.


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My friend Rose gave me this recipe years ago. It’s a cake her mom made for her family when she was a kid. I’ve made a few adjustments and every time I make this people ask for more regardless of whether they’re vegan or not.

Vegan Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 F

3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoon regular vinegar
2 teaspoons Vanilla flavor*
2 cups cold water

Put all your dry ingredients in a bowl and sift them. Add in all of your wet ingredients and whisk everything together. Pour into ungreased pan** and bake for 35-40 min at 350 F. Let cool and frost.***

*I don’t use vanilla extract due to the fact it contains alcohol and I abstain from alcohol for personal and political reasons. You can get non-alcoholic vanilla at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s or if you want to use vanilla extract that works, too.

**I use a 9X12.75″ pan, though a smaller pan will work the cake will just rise higher.

***Lately I’ve been lazy, so I’ve been using Pillsbury’s Chocolate Fudge frosting rather than making my own. It’s vegan and it’s delicious. Not all of their frostings are vegan though so if you decide to go this route, check the label.

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A blog is born

After nearly 5 years of being a vegetarian and hemming and hawing over whether or not to take the next step and become vegan I’ve finally decided to take the plunge.

I live in Chicago,  home of great vegan companies like Chicago Soy Dairy and Upton’s Naturals , as well as restaurants like Soul Vegetarian East. I’m always looking for new vegan friendly restaurants or recipes to try out, as well as for local vegan/vegetarian events. I always feel like I have to go to 10 different places to find these things though, so I’ve decided to simplify things and compile as much of this stuff here as I can. If you’re from the Chicago area and would like to contribute local restaurant reviews, book reviews, recipes, etc. please contact me at secondcityvegan[at]gmail.com. Otherwise, enjoy!

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