Thursday, January 21, 2010

Vegan Cocktails: Gin Face & PAWS Punch

Cantina Dos was packed out for Vegan Cocktails last night. On a mild Wednesday in Northern Liberties, that is not unheard of.

It is very unlikely, however, to find a drinks menu with something called a Natalie Portman Pout, even if sucking one down I find that there is inadequate gin. Never underestimate the lighter-weighted.

There is an even lesser chance of facing a specials board that is predominantly veggified. On a daily basis, you can have your pick of seitan, tvp, and tempeh Mex plates from the very same board. But Vegan Cocktails goes all out.

I missed the initial outing at Royal Tavern, but managed to swing by later that week for a seitan sandwich. I heard that securing a table was painful. Cantina Dos is bigger and more crowd-friendly.

What makes this different from Vegan Drinks Philly, a monthly meetup that came before Cocktails and is hosted by Ed Coffin? Not too much, except that there's always room for another vegan-focused event. You should go to both if it's your interest.

After my gin failed to deliver, I ordered a tequila-based cocktail with Licor 43, papaya, and soy milk. I knew it would be too sweet, but it wasn't a bad drink. Among the specials we chose from: sweet potato sopes, smoked black bean burger with yuca fries, and stuffed eggplant with portabellas and soy cheese. Typically, there isn't a whole lot that's not fried to be had here, so we hit our food block early on. One mushroom, spinach, and vegan creamed sope out of three was enough to satiate me, as the flavors were pretty elementary. My tall-drink-of-water fiance got 3 bites into the one-note burger before he gave up and pushed his yuca fries away.

It was a swell night out, with proceeds benefiting the Philly PAWS organization. It does frustrate me sometimes that a lot of vegan food has to be so starch-heavy and food coma-inducing. But every time someone comes up with some soy cheese crap thing, I still think it's wonderful that something so ridiculous will exist. Shouldn't food make you feel good after you eat it? Not sleazy?

Along those same lines of sleaze, I couldn't help but notice that our vegan turnout was reasonably attractive.

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