And I get it; after all, trading chorizo for a soy-based substitute is kind of like trading cigarettes for nicotine patches or Budweiser for O'Doul's. In other words, what's the fucking point? Why settle for a weak-ass imitation of the original?
|the mothefucking reuben sandwich, bitches|
But here's the deal: oftentimes, vegetarians aren't against the consumption of meat; they are against the corporate farms that mistreat the animals from whom the meat comes. For example, I really love the taste of pork chops, but I cannot abide allowing hormone-pumped pigs to wallow in their own feces in cramped quarters for the sake of penny-pinching mass production, especially because pigs are likely more intelligent than my cats (sorry Lee and Fifi).
I also love, love, love a good reuben sandwich. I've enjoyed reubens in my mom's kitchen (with my grandmother's homemade sour kraut), at Browne's Irish Marketplace down the street from my apartment, and most notoriously at Katz Deli in New York City, where the sandwich was literally the size of my head.
And because I quit eating meat in March, I was excited to discover a vegan version of the reuben at a bar in Seattle when I visited in August. And I must say -- goddamn, it was pretty fucking good. Though I'm sure it didn't hurt that the consumption of the sandwich was preceded by a shot of habanero tequila, but whatever.
Despite the occasional bacon cravings, vegetarianism has worked out quite well for me. Granted, I still eat fish, eggs and cheese, drink milk, and enjoy the crap out of the pasture-raised beef my parents get from their neighbors. I doubt I will ever be able to take the next step and embrace veganism.
But I understand what would drive one to abandon all animal-based food sources, and when the all-vegan restaurant Fud (pretend there's an umlaut over the "u") opened in KC this summer, I was excited to try it.
Unfortunately I must confess that though it's down the street from my boyfriend's apartment, I still haven't been there. This week, however, I did go to the new Nature's Own Health Market that replaced Wild Oats on 43rd and Main, and in their cooler I randomly discovered delicious-sounding vegan sandwiches constructed by Fud, including -- what else -- my beloved reuben.
I snatched it up, reluctantly paid the $8 that would prohibit these sandwiches from becoming a realistic daily or even weekly lunch option and banish them to "special treat or when you're really hungover" land, and went home to scarf it down.
Almost immediately I became privy to a weird fact: Fud's "corned beef" (ingredients printed prominently on the label) is remarkably similar in texture, appearance and taste to the real deal. It was, surprisingly, fucking delicious. And though I suspect some serious food science was involved with the color, texture and taste, as long as it was ethically and healthfully done, I'm cool with that.
But (and with fake "meat," there's always a "but") it will never compare to the insane orgasmic mouth party of the mound of juicy corned beef I chowed down over a year ago in NYC. But then again, does that really matter?