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

‘Pork’

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.

The Girl and the Goat and the Unvegan

Hey giant bagel!

There are girls. There are goats. Then, there is The Girl and the Goat. It isn’t just some restaurant, but is a restaurant that still requires booking two months in advance even though it’s been around for the better part of a decade. Of course, it also happens to be in Chicago, which has a lot of people who like food. It probably doesn’t hurt that the founder and Executive Chef, Stephanie Izard, won Top Chef, went to the University of Michigan and honed her skills at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute.

Ramen Hood’s Grand Opening

Nommin’ on some ramen.

When I left LA to move to Phoenix I had one major concern. No, it wasn’t the heat in the summer, it was the lack of ramen. You see, LA spoils you with a lot of Asian food, but ramen is easily one of the best of them. People go through life only knowing ramen from a dry cup and I feel terrible for those people, but is it better to have ramen and lost it than to never have had ramen at all? Lost or not, ramen has returned to my life in the form of Ramen Hood in Scottsdale. I headed out for the grand opening to see if it would fulfill my needs.

Meat Piles at Porkopolis

But why the pickles?

Some BBQ places have a reputation that precedes them. Others, you just kind of drive by a bunch and decide it’s time to pay a visit. Porkopolis in Scottsdale is the latter, and I finally decided to pay that visit. I was greeted by possibly the friendliest waiter a BBQ restaurant has ever seen and the scent of smoke and meat juices.

This Land is Mi Tierra

Tex meh

Tex-Mex is its own category of food. It seems weird because it gives the impression that Texans just somehow bastardized real Mexican food and had the audacity to put Tex before the Mex, but when you remember that Texas was once a part of Mexico, it begins to lose its weirdness. There is probably no place in the state of Texas where the former Mexican history is at the forefront of thought than in San Antonio, home of the Alamo (remember it). And in San Antonio is Mi Tierra, an old school Tex-Mex place with a full on panaderia to boot.

Sandakan Central Market’s Kueh Teow Stall

Sign of good times.

While Malaysia is a majority Muslim country, it’s a very mixed country as well. Thus, finding pork is not a problem and, in fact, it is one of the highlights of Sandakan. And that’s because Sandakan has a strong┬áhistory with a fried pork noodle stall dating back to 1940. Of course, basically the entire city was burned down in World War II so the stall physical stall itself is a bit newer. That, however, doesn’t seem to stop the locals from coming by.

Noodling at Mian

Ugh green stuff.
Ugh green stuff.

It’s a good thing most people in LA don’t realize that the word “mian” simply means “noodle(s)” in Mandarin, or else they might just write off the restaurant Mian in San Gabriel as some sort of Noodle World or Noodle and Company knockoff. Fortunately, Mian is anything but. Like Chengdu Taste before it, Mian represents the Sichuan (or Szechuan or Szechwan) region of Chinese cuisine.