Vegan food is delicious: two new reasons why

Put aside your bias against fake meat—Kitchen 17 and Upton's Breakroom are making seitan dishes worth skipping a cheeseburger for.

Seitan-maker Upton's Naturals has added Breakroom, a vegan caf� on site.

Seitan-maker Upton's Naturals has added Breakroom, a vegan caf� on site. Photograph: Martha Williams

Why do non-vegans hate on vegan food? It seems like I can’t open Twitter or read about a new vegan restaurant without seeing someone snarking on veganism, and I’m irritated.

Aside from a six-month stint as a vegetarian during college, spurred by dubious meat consumed while I was studying abroad in the United Kingdom, I’ve been an omnivore my whole life. Considering how often I go out to dinner for this job, and how much meat and cheese I consume during these meals, I attempt to make my meals at home or workday lunches as meat-free as possible to balance my diet.

It’s not just for health reasons that I try to eat meatless meals on occasion—vegetables are delicious, and they’re often a great showcase of what chefs can do with simple ingredients. Salads have been among the best dishes I’ve had at dinners out lately, and anyone not ordering fresh vegetable dishes during the summer is missing out. Grains are also delicious, as is fruit. Next even did a vegan menu, and while I couldn’t get tickets, I was heartened. Maybe someone will give us a high-end vegan restaurant or more restaurants will start adding really thoughtful, creative vegan dishes to their menus.

While I can almost understand the argument against fake meat—a seitan Italian beef cannot, by its very definition, taste like the Italian beef you’re used to—it’s time to banish that line of thinking. The meat substitutes I had at two new vegan restaurants are very, very good, and anyone avoiding them because they think they don’t like vegan food is making a mistake. If you’re not a vegan for ethical or health reasons, you should dabble in veganism just because the food can be so darn good.

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