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November 15, 2010

Vegan MoFo #12: Karyn's Cooked and Scottie Pippen

Saturday night was a most excellent date night, starting with dinner at one of my favorite vegan restaurants in Chicago, Karyn's Cooked.

Combo basket appetizer
We started with a combo basket of dusted and fried tofu, broccoli, and mushrooms. The veggies are very lightly battered and they use olive oil for frying, the result is very fresh and light tasting. These come with their delicious homemade bbq and ranch-style dipping sauces.

Jerk Tofu Wrap
For my main dish I chose the jerk tofu wrap. This is served with potato wedges and cole slaw. This was my first time eating jerk anything and I was a little bit shocked by the spice! I love extremely spicy things, but this was extremely spicy in a different way than I have ever experienced. The tofu was charred, and the tortilla grilled to the point of being blackened--this was visually pleasing, but it left an unfortunate burnt aftertaste. The hot hot jerk spices and the burnt aftertaste was a bad combination for me. This is the first time I have ever not liked my dish at Karyn's, but it does not make me love the place any less!

Steak Sandwich
Steve ordered the steak sandwich--a whole wheat bun piled high with thinly sliced seitan steak, topped with grilled onions and bell peppers, and dressed with chipotle sauce. I wish you could see better from the picture, but you wouldn't be able to tell this seitan apart from a plate of thinly sliced roast beef, pretty amazing stuff! We both liked this a lot more than my wrap, but for some reason the seitan had been charred in a few places too, so some bites tasted burnt and were extra chewy. We both discovered that the charred flavor is not for us. Aside from that, this sandwich was great.

Pumpkin Pie
Karyn's desserts are amazing! I especially love that they are made without refined sugar. I have a hard time resisting the chocolate silk pie, but pumpkin pie was definitely in order for this visit. This is my first fall season as a vegan and I had yet to try a plain vegan pumpkin pie. Karyn's pumpkin pie did not disappoint, wonderfully spiced with texture perfectly matched to the standard non-vegan version. The only thing that would have made this pie better is a helping of vegan whipped cream on top.

After dinner we headed to the United Center to see the Chicago Bulls play the Washington Wizards. Steve's dad scored first level skybox seats from work for us, so we were pretty close to the action!

I became distracted from the game when I realized that former Chicago Bull and basketball hall-of-famer, Scottie Pippen, was in the next skybox! In the history of the Chicago Bulls, Pippen's fame is second only to Michael Jordan, whom he played side-by-side with in six winning NBA championships in the 1990's. It felt kind of wrong to bug him for a photo in this setting, but I would have kicked myself forever if I hadn't. He is just as tall as you'd imagine a basketball player to be. I am 5'9", and he is slightly bent forward in this photo, so that will give you an idea. Huge! The Bulls ended up winning which was an excellent ending to a perfect date.

Stay tuned as week 3 of Vegan MoFo continues with some delicious new recipes!


  1. Ha! How cool!

    Sorry the sandwich and wrap disappointed a bit...charred flavor is no good :-(

  2. oh neato! i thought he looked familiar. too cool on meeting Scottie! sounds like you two had a fun date night, indeed! sadface on the wrap being so disappointing - and the charred bits on the seitan being not the best either. the basket of yummies looks great though - and pumpkie pie, too! so much awesomeness! yumm-o!

  3. very cool. when i read your post title, i assumed it was some sort of vegan food you called the scottie pippen! (not a bad idea, now that i think about it). i totally did not expect the real scottie to make a cameo on your blog. he was my fave bull from back in the day.

  4. What a good date night. :-) I really miss Chicago even as long as I have been gone. Bulls and Bears games were some of my favorite things to do.

    Too bad you didn't love the food as much as usual. But at least you know what you to avoid and maybe you can ask for it to be cooked less next time.


  5. If a celebrity was sitting next to me I'd be the last person to notice. I am always completely oblivious to those things, lol.


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