One of the most common questions non-animal eaters get asked is what food they miss the most. (Of course, the other common question is “Where do you get your protein?”). I don’t miss anything…except for turkey skin. Weird and gross.
I am 100% positive that I miss it because my Grandpa Jack used to feed me bits and pieces of the skin as he carved the turkey. Here he is, with pants that only he could pull off, giving me a nibble when I was less than a year old:
Memories of my grandpa are all that I have of him since he left us on Thanksgiving Day over ten years ago, but they are such strong, beautiful memories that he is with me every single day. I won’t ever eat turkey skin again, and I won’t ever see my grandpa again, but thinking about both of them makes me incredibly happy. Turkey skin is the epitome of comfort food for me. I don’t think it will ever be made animal-free, but luckily my other favorite foods can be.
Veggie Grill is a West Coast vegan chain that specializes in comfort food and it finally opened in San Diego a few months ago. About a week after it opened my co-workers and I went there for lunch. The service was not great (it had just opened and was packed, so we understood), but the food was so, so yummy. I had the crispy chickin’ plate, which is basically veganized KFC. Fried chickin'(they use Gardein), cauli-mashed potatoes, gravy and steamed kale. Of course, I also got a side of the mac and cheese. The food satisfies any cravings you could possibly have for KFC.
I went again the other day and ordered all of this…
I ate almost all of it by myself. The nachos have chili, cheez, salsa, guac, soy cream, and jalapenos on them – all of the essential ingredients. (As a sidenote: I feel like a dork taking pictures of my food at a restaurant, but I always appreciate people’s food pictures. So I need to get over it.) This is the kind of meal I would never make at home, and I would never eat on a regular basis – I loved every bite of it. Vegan junk food at it’s finest.
Veggie Grill actually has a lot of healthy options. They are famous for the All Hail Kale Salad, however I can’t bring myself to order a kale salad when I go out to eat. They are inexpensive and easy to make (juice of 1 lemon, 1TB olive oil, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp Braggs Amino Acid, salt, pepper, 1 head of shredded kale – massage together for 2 minutes – add nutritional yeast – done!) and I eat them ALL the time at home. In fact, the leftover buffalo wings were added to a kale salad for dinner that night. The two downsides to the Veggie Grill location in San Diego: It is in a mall (UTC in La Jolla) and it is not close to my house. The good news is that is close to work, which means that the next time I am having a stressful day, I’ll be heading over there for some serious comfort food.