Sexy Feast: Veggie Grill Flashes Some Fake Ones

Vegan power has come to Seattle in the form of Veggie Grill, a restaurant chain headquartered in southern California. Invited to a preview lunch at the new South Lake Union location (University Village opens soon), this carnivore was reluctant to attend, but fell sway to rave reviews from meat eaters and non-meat eaters alike.

There’s no doubt that this restaurant will do booming business. I got to sample soup to sweets–the whole menu is 100-percent plant-based food–and the dishes were decent, with the vegetarians and vegans in the room giving good marks. One of the more interesting items is the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich, with lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado, and spicy vegan mayo served on a wheat bun. (Note: The bun is different than what’s pictured, and you can also get your Chickin’ on a wheat tortilla or “kale style” on a bed of kale.) Slice it in half, and at first glance it seems like you’re about to eat real breast meat.

So what does Veggie Grill’s Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich teach us about sex?

It’s all about the pros and cons of going fake.

Veggie Grill’s Chickin’ and Veggie-Steak are specially seasoned and marinated vegetable proteins made with soy, wheat and pea protein. Veggie Grill uses them to make the likes of Buffalo wings, carne asada, and the Santa Fe Crispy Chickin’ sandwich that was placed before me. The sandwich made me do a double-take, to the point of almost ogling it. I liked what I saw, and couldn’t resist grabbing it with both hands and taking a bite.

On the plus side, the “meat” was moist, with decent texture. It was initially compelling, but on the down side (as would be the case with the Buffalo wings), I inevitably missed the meatiness I desire, noting that this was not the natural thing.

I’ve always wondered why so much vegetarian fare tries to mimic meat dishes. Vegetables are great as they are! Why go fake? Why augment them?

It’s the same for breasts.

Oh, I understand there are pros and cons of breast implants. On the plus side, augmentation can lead to renewed youthfulness, confidence, and sexiness. Done right, there’s instant and dramatic impact which can draw lots of attention. And hopefully there’s no droopage (if there’s no leakage).

On the down side, breast implantation costs money. They’re not natural. And, it’s surgery, with all the risks associated with going under the knife: anesthesia, potential infection and rupturing, and the resulting challenge of detecting tumors and abnormalities during mammography tests.

So, if faced with a decision about going fake, you have to weigh the pros and cons. Like so much related to sex, it’s different strokes for different folks.

Breast implants, like Veggie Grill’s sandwich, will certainly be alluring to many. To me, the fake is amusing and somewhat satisfying, but at the end of the day I prefer to go natural. Food-wise, that means something like the Fried Chicken Sammy at Skillet–with kale a perfect counter to the real meat on the sandwich.

First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on September 6, 2012.

(For more on my meal, including photos of nine other dishes, check here.)



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