Month: March 2013

Chowpatti

I have been wanting to try Chowpatti vegetarian restaurant for years. H and I finally made it over there. Maybe the build up was too much, but I was a bit underwhelmed. It was tasty enough and it satisfied my craving for Indian without the heaviness that the Schaumburg Indian restaurants offer. It took me forever to decide what to order; the menu is enormous. I finally settled on the combination platter: Aloo Mutter, Chole Channa, Tardka Dal, Paratha and Steamed Vegetable Biryani. You aren’t allowed to change the spiciness level on the combo platter, so I ordered some spicy chutney on the side for a little kick.

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This mango drink, not impressive. It tasted like mango-flavored sugar water; that’s probably what it was.

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Montarra

Montarra is a fancy restaurant in Algonquin, which likens itself to a downtown Chicago restaurant (minus the drive). I was skeptical. We’ve been to some other “nice” restaurants in the ‘burbs and they are a joke. There is nothing vegan on the menu, but if it’s really a “downtown Chicago restaurant,” the chef can come up with something creative, right?

When our server came to take our order, I informed him that I was vegan. I didn’t even get to finish my sentence (“is there something that the chef can put together?”) before the server responded with “you want the vegan plate?” As if that was something on the menu. Yes, that is exactly what I wanted. I patiently waited, hoping for more than a plate of soggy vegetables with some minute rice.

Instead of the typical grilled vegetable plate, this was put before me:

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Tempura asparagus with corn, arugula, and a tomato sauce. The waiter confirmed with the chef that the tempura did not contain eggs and I dove right in. It was delicious. I have no problem with Montarra calling itself a downtown Chicago restaurant. We will definitely visit again.

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The ambiance and service are nice. There was a gorgeous chandelier hanging above our heads. The cocktail list looked good, but I was driving, so I didn’t try anything.

The Lucky Monk

You’d think with the word “monk” in the name it would have more cruelty-free options. But no, this monk didn’t take an oath of kindness. The Lucky Monk is just your typical omnivore pub.

My dinner: Vegetable Tacos sans cheese with added avocado. No rice. Side of veggies.

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The Mexican rice contains chicken broth, but they are willing to cook the vegetables in olive oil rather than butter. The refried black beans are vegan, as are the tacos if you order without cheese.

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Both buns they serve contain milk ingredients. Obviously the brioche buns aren’t vegan, but unfortunately the sesame buns aren’t either. I really wanted “the Saint” (a portabella mushroom sandwich with hummus, lettuce and tomato) and fries, but my only entree option was the tacos. H got a sandwich with fries, and the fries weren’t very good, so I was a little happier with my choice. I’m not a huge fan of chipotle sauce; it’s too sweet. Otherwise, my meal was fine.

We also order the hummus appetizer, but H was so hungry he ate it before I could take a photo. The hummus was good; better than the tacos.  This was a little out of the way for us, so I doubt we will ever go back. Our server was nice and answered all my dairy questions, so I will give them that, but I am not eating those tacos again.  If you do go, make a reservation (they are on Open Table). We went super early to make a movie and even with our 5:15 reservation we had to wait.

Chicago Diner – Logan Square

Chicago Diner opened a new location in Logan Square, which is much easier for us to get to than the original location. We tried it out yesterday during a little day trip to the big city. It has a slightly more upscale feel, except for the servers, which have the same hipster look as the Halsted restaurant.

H had the Reuben with a side of Mac & Teese

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I had Gyros with Sweet Potato Fries

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You cannot go to Chicago Diner without ordering a milkshake. Chicago Vegan Food’s Temptation ice cream is incredible. We shared a Devil’s Food Cake Milkshake: Chocolate ice cream and cake crumbs, ganache sauce, vegan Dandies Marshmallows & whipped cræam. So good!

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It was a Chicago Vegan Foods kind of day. After Mac & Teese, and a Temptation milkshake, we went to the Farewell to Winter Hot Chocolate Party, hosted by Chicago Vegan Foods with proceeds going to Mercy for Animals. We drank vegan hot chocolate with Dandies marshmallows and it was delicious. There was a table full of vegan treats, including Eat Pastry cookies and rice krispies treats. My only complaint is that winter is still here even though we said good-bye yesterday. She is definitely outstaying her welcome.

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Eat Pastry cookie dough is incredible. In fact, it’s so good that I’ve never eaten an Eat Pastry cookie until last night; I just ate the dough from the container. I had the peanut butter chocolate chip and that ended a fun and sugar-filled day.

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