Soylent Green is……

In food on 01/14/2009 at 9:45 pm

The arguments vegans make for not eating meat goes out both ears for us. In fact, I think people give up meat because they don’t know what good food laced liberally with meat is. Take, for example, one half of jeju, who once declared vegetarianism to prevent the parental gavaging of hamsteak down the throat as a child. After three long years (1,095 days or 1,576,800 minutes) of meatlessness, the smell of grilled bratwurst at a summer BBQ broke the dam, and the the meat-filled waters of real food reigned once again.

My point for vegans is, why are you guys always trying to make your grassy granola taste like meat, or replicating the texture of meat through soy and friends? I was happy to see the demise of Zen Palate in Union Square recently when I was strolling by and saw the boarded up windows. I usually don’t remember places where the food was bad, but when I ate there, it was packed, with a prime location, and I was served the slimiest ‘chicken’ with bland broccoli I’d ever had in my whole life. It was worse than the greasiest bad Chinese take-out in the heart of Americana.

The only thing I will concede is that I have had decent vegetarian in the mecca of pork heaven, Flushing; the place, Happy Buddha, is not to be confused with Happy Buddha Condominiums, which is owned by the same people who happen to be enthusiastic members of a Buddhist cult. These were the days before the renovation and addition of the condo complex on top of the restaurant though. Sidenote: Why is it the good joints always go bad when they get a makeover? We were in Chelsea this past weekend and made a beeline for my cubano place, nearly fainting from the memories of garlic-soaked awesomeness, but were rudely awakened by the sub-par stringy post-renovation cardboard incarnation. Sigh.

So this Buddhist cult used to feed me free veggie goodies when they were trying to brainwash me. I recall having the best ‘fish’ soup and noodles there back when I lived in a basement on Prince St, when Happy Buddha was still laminate tables and chairs in one room with flickering fluorescent lighting. When we went back last month for a reunion, the space was triple the size, the altar where they burned my name to the goddess was gone, and we sat around a table big enough for a lazy susan. There was one amazing fried mushroom dish, but the rest were mere shadows of the imitations of wedding banquet cuisine, and the dim sum offerings? They were all barely comparable to the real thing.

You know, if soylent green really were people, it probably would taste really good. Hufu or not, I’ll take my fatty marbling over nuts and berries any day.

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