The Unvegan

Recent Posts

10 Years of Unvegan
A Quick Bite at Burrito Express
Serendipity at Northern Waters Smokehaus
Twerks and Burritos at Casa Amigos

‘Meatballs’

Minnesota State Fair 2018

Yes, please.

State Fairs are often an afterthought. A relic of times past when most of us lived in rural areas and guessing the weight of a pumpkin was the best entertainment of the month. They offer variations on the same rides, foods and entertainment that you find at your local Memorial Day Carnival or County Fair and, I mean, how many people even go to those? But the Minnesota State Fair is so far from an afterthought that it seems to be on the minds of Minnesotans for the 50 weeks of the year in which it is not in operation. Plans are made, new foods are devised and longed after; then, just like that, it’s over again. This year, however, the Unvegan paid a visit to see how it would all stack up.

Three Balls at the Sicilian Butcher

Such cream.

The Sicilian Butcher is hardly the first restaurant to make a variety of meatballs its centerpiece. Yet, it most likely is the best-decorated of any such restaurants. It treats meatballs much as a build your own burger treats…well…burgers. You pick a meat, you pick a sauce and you pick what the Sicilian Butcher calls a bottom. You can order the meatballs bottomless, but this is highly misleading as they come without a base as opposed to being unlimited. After much consideration, I opted for a bottom.

Masters of Taste 2017

Slightly different angle than the one I had for the 2004 Rose Bowl Game…

Ah, the fabled Rose Bowl. Host of UCLA football games, THE Rose Bowl, a monthly flea market and now the annual Masters of Taste. As a blogger extraordinaire, I was invited to cover the event, which took place on May 7th and I found it a much easier way to set foot on the Rose Bowl field than winning the Big Ten Championship (and some might say it was much harder than winning the Pac-12 Championship, huzzah!). Food and drink vendors appeared from all over┬áLA to help bring in money for Union Station Homeless Services. It’s a good cause, and surely the now two-year old event is doing a much better job of drawing in money than the annual gala did before it. But enough, let’s talk food.

Semi-South at Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern

Oh so shiny.

A short time ago, Jimmy’s Famous American Tavern opened up a location in Santa Monica. On it’s own, this can be seen as a good thing, but an even better thing is that I was invited out to check the place out and give it a review. I happily accepted and set off for the place where the land meets the sea (well almost, Jimmy’s is a few blocks inland).

Tender is the Night at Via Veneto

Succulent balls of meat.
Succulent balls of meat.

It’s not often that a fancy restaurant like Via Veneto invites you to check them out as a blogger. But alas, I found myself a few tables away from Zach Galifianakis ready to take down some of the fanciest Italian food in Santa Monica. It began with a couple of glasses of champagne from the Champagne Oddbins online range and then we moved on to the real deal.

Back in the Pie Life Again

The name says it all...
The name says it all…

I will be the first to admit that I had a West Side bias when I made the move to Pasadena. I figured I would spend a whole lot of time on that side of town for meals out, but over and over again Pasadena has impressed me. Perhaps most impressive of all is the pizza scene, with The Luggage Room and Pizza of Venice already tackled by yours truly, I finally set my sights on Pie Life Pizza.

A Late Slice at Baker’s Pizza

Great late-night choices.
Great late-night choices.

After a long evening of drinking in New York City, the only reasonable thing to do is grab at least one slice of pizza. Such is what I did in the East Village when I essentially stumbled into Baker’s Pizza. As fate would have it, I ran into my drunk friend on his way out (he had left the bar five minutes before), which convinced me that I was in the right place. Just like all pizza by the slice places in New York, there was a display case showcasing the available pies and my eyes wandered to the one topped with meatballs and ricotta.

Palestinian Eats at Conflict Kitchen (REBRANDED)

Such conflict.
Such conflict.

EDIT: As Conflict Kitchen is always changing, it is no longer Palestinian, but it may be again some day.

Conflict Kitchen in Oakland has a pretty cool concept: shine some light on countries the US has conflict with by dishing out food from that country. The menu changes here and there and in the past has featured the likes of Venezuela and North Korea, but the current version has caused more controversy than any previous iterations. Of course, this might have been expected when you start serving Palestinian food.

Balls of Glory at Sienna Mercato’s Emporio

Sometimes you just need some balls.
Sometimes you just need some balls.

Over in Downtown Pittsburgh is a pretty cool spot called Sienna Mercato. Instead of relegating itself to being just one restaurant, it’s instead divided into 3 floors, with the bottom one called Emporio and dedicated to the art of meatballs. As a lover of meat, this clearly sounded great to me so we paid a visit to the bottom floor.