Oct 23, 2012

joe's crab shack make over

Joe's Crab Shack (warning: the link is decidedly UN-appetizing). Not a place any vegan in their right mind would head to. Although my husband, poor dear, had a business meeting at just this place a month or so ago. He ate leafy greens and talked a lot to mask the emptiness in his stomach. Joe's hasn't heard of the restaurant rule that states that given a group of people, the vegan chooses the restaurant. That is, unless it is a business meeting and the boss chooses the joint so he can write it off as a business expense.

While crabs are about as easy to make vegan as eggs are, given that they are the entire animal on a plate (truly, how horrifying that is!), crab cakes are absolutely doable. Joe's signature dish is a huge crab cake, either served as an appetizer, dinner plate or a sandwich. Either way, they are served with a Sriracha Remoulade. Any good vegan will pounce on the word "Sriracha" and beg the question why it is being muddied by being served with animal parts. 
Let's change that.

This Crabby-Cake is made with a seaweed (don't leave!) infused shredded tofu. Shredding the tofu allows the marinade to permeate the tofu more effectively, thus giving it a hint of sea-flavor - in a really good way. It is formed into a cake, breaded and sauteed.
They serve their sandwich on a brioche bun, so if you want to go authentic, you can have it all by making the brioche recipe in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! (and return later this week to check out this leg of the blog tour). 

The cake does fall a part a bit while being eaten as a sandwich, but my hubby, a pre-vegan Joe's customer, informs me that even ones made with crab fall apart; it's just the way it goes. Grab a napkin and dig in, because this really is good enough to put up with a little mess. Even my youngest, who hates with a passion messy food, has resigned herself to the fact that one tends to equal the other.
Make sure to enter the cookbook giveaway for Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day!
Cost Breakdown:

tofu: $2
seaweed, vegenaise, spices: $2
mustard, breadcrumbs: $.75
buns, lettuce, tomato: $4
sauce: $.75
fries: $3
Total to make 4 sandwiches:

Their Cost per Order, with fries: $11.00
Make Over Cost per sandwich and fries: $3.15

Pin it!

Oct 20, 2012

chi chi's make over

Chi Chi's Mexican restaurants has a sordid past. It is an understatement to say that they are no longer the warm and inviting casual dining experience we have come to know this MoFo. In fact, they are no longer even an operational restaurant in the U.S.,  having been relegated to the grocery store aisles of salsa. The brand is now owned by Hormel, making a line of salsas, microwave meals and chips. That is a long way from operating 210 restaurants internationally.

Chi Chi's (whose name is equivalent to "Hooters," yes, it is named for breasts) was plagued by a string of bankruptcies, spanning from 1993 through 2003, when they filed for their final Chapter 11. As if that wasn't enough to put them under, a mere month after this, they were hit by the biggest, most devastating Hepatitis A outbreak in the U.S. One of the restaurants was found responsible for contaminating food, via green onions, and sickening over 600 people, including 4 deaths. After a few months, Chi Chi's settled with the victims and by 2004 had sold their remaining few stores to Outback and eventually closed all their US locations.


Let's get into the food.

Chi Chi's was popular (or was it?) for making Mexican food with an unusual twist. Take for instance the dish below. It is a Twice Grilled Barbecue Burrito. Twice grilled because the beef is grilled and then the burrito is grilled. Before being served, it is brushed with barbecue sauce. Believe it or not, this is really good! The barbecue sauce really adds a great flavor to the burrito. It is filled with grilled seitan, grilled peppers and onions and cheese. You can easily omit the seitan and make it all fajita vegetables, even adding the avocado into the burrito itself before grilling it. But if you bake it, I would add the avocado on top, as in the picture. 

There is no cost comparison for this meal, since there is none possible.

Cost Breakdown

tortilla, lime, oil: $1.25
cheese, avocado: $3
peppers, onions, garlic: $3
BBQ sauce: $.75
seitan: $2
Total to make 4 burritos: