The Beer Plant

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Hello!  It’s like we haven’t spoken in a year.  Just when you thought we were done…here we are with a brand spanking new review!  Yes we have been busy and I took on yet another job but those are just excuses.  The truth is that we just haven’t made time for writing lately.  We did eat a lot though in the meantime.

This review in fact was a surprise.  Thanksgiving week is typically not my favorite holiday due to its carnivorous nature but since the carnivore included me in his plans I participated.  Thus I was excited on the Friday after to meet my friend at a favorite vegan restaurant of mine – The Beer Plant!  We were to meet at one in the afternoon and just 15 minutes prior I get a text from her with the dismal news that The Beer Plant did not open until three that day.  Sadly we ate elsewhere and even more sadly did I recount this disappointment to my favorite carnivore.

I must have seemed pretty sad as he surprised me on Saturday afternoon with the suggestion that we eat there for our evening meal.  I warned him that this was an ALL VEGAN establishment but he already knew and was ready to give it a go.  I immediately started to anticipate excitedly.

Upon arrival we requested a seat at the bar.  We like to sit at the bar to see the action and also maybe snuggle a bit.  Our waiter Rory greeted us and brought us drinks.  Another bartender Austin checked in with us and Larry requested his assistance in ordering.  I’m sure he will share that exchange in his portion.  I, on the other hand, pored over the menu eagerly, changed my mind around 400 times and ultimately made a game time decision.

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For an appetizer we chose one of our favorites – Brussels sprouts.  Larry tends to shy away from the spicy particularly after a sunny day of golf with a bit of wind burn on the lips; therefore we requested the sriracha on the side.  We likely needn’t have made this request as we both dipped nearly each and every perfectly cooked sprout into the well-balanced, spicy, tangy sauce.

Next our entrees arrived.  I had finally chosen the Hill Country ‘Chicken’ & Gravy which consisted of chicken-fried seitan, rosemary mashed potatoes with a crimini mushroom gravy and broccoli.  Now if I were to choose the perfect vegan thanksgiving dinner, this is what I would choose.  Hearty, crunchy, stick-to-your-ribs seitan satisfied all my comfort food and protein needs.  The mashed potatoes and gravy melted in my mouth and the broccoli helped lighten the dish, albeit only slightly.  I couldn’t finish my plate but gave it a valiant effort.  Also, the best part of an all-vegan eating establishment is that I got to sample the carnivore’s choice – ‘Chicken’ Pot Pie.  He will tell you more but all I can say is YUM!

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Overall I give this establishment five rutabagas.  I may have given fewer had the carnivore been less enthusiastic but alas, I have zero complaints.  My only wish is that I had a bigger stomach to try more.  Wait, scratch that – my jeans are too tight already!  While this wasn’t my first visit it also won’t be my last.  I’m hoping the carnivore is true to his word that we will be back!

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Greetings Everyone!  Please allow me to start with a Mea Culpa, of sorts.  Our extended hiatus is a direct result of my being too busy and/or lazy to post regularly about the vegan’s and my culinary adventures.  While we haven’t been posting prolifically of late, our readers are forever present in our discussions and plans, inasmuch as we are perpetually remarking that ”we really should blog about this place”.  It is this very fact that has me sitting in front of a computer screen on a Sunday evening, instead of watching the Green Bay Packers game.

Last night I surprised the Vegan with a random suggestion that we try a local vegan eatery cleverly named THE BEER PLANT.  (I’m ashamed to say that I just recognized the play on words with regard to PLANT in the name of the ALL VEGAN establishment.)  Kellie has eaten at the restaurant a few times, and has commented to me that she thought I would like it; however, I just recently realized that I had been too closed minded to accompany her.  It was this realization that led me to suggest that we try it last night.

We arrived at the restaurant at about 6:30 and took two seats at the bar, as is our preference.  We were greeted by a bartender/server named Austin.  A really friendly guy who shared with us that he recently was converted to veganism.  He did his best to make me feel welcome and at ease, despite the fact that I was a bit out of my element.  As we got comfortable and familiarized ourselves with the menu, I quickly noticed a few things.  1) The restaurant is higher end, as it is in the Tarrytown area of Austin.  2) The beer selection and full bar are on par with some of the better places in town. 3) If not for the absence of meat dishes on the menu, there were no outward signs that this was an all vegan establishment .  I know the Vegan will bristle when she reads the 3rd point but no one can deny the fact that vegan establishments often have a very different “feel” from restaurants that specialize in meat based dining.  Forgive me for recognizing that I felt very comfortable and not at all self-conscious of my carnivorous preferences.

So. . . . . . . We’ve already established that I felt welcome and comfortable at THE BEER PLANT .  Lets get on with the critique of the meal!  We started with a Sriracha Glazed Brussels Sprout plate off the SHARE PLATES section of the menu.   Both the Vegan and I enjoy Brussels Sprouts, so this was right up our alley.  The dish was fantastic!  In fact, I would wager that they were the best Brussels Sprouts that I have had in Austin.  The only negative critique would be that suggesting that the dish should be shared is wrong.  Next time, I’m ordering my own plate.  If the Vegan wants her own, that is her prerogative but I aint sharing!

My entrée selection was suggested by a fellow carnivore who was seated at the bar with his vegan date.  The couple heard our conversation and recommended the “Chicken” Pot Pie in lieu of the Eggplant Parmesan that I was leaning toward initially.  I decided to take him at his word and heed his recommendation.  I’m glad I did!!!  The “Chicken” Pot Pie was INCREDIBLE.  If it was vegan, I couldn’t tell.  Really, I think nothing else needs to be said on the topic.  It was so good that I cleaned the plate and would have eaten another serving if I wasn’t already full.  I can honestly say that I would order it again without any regard to the ingredients and whether or not cream might actually be used in the preparation.  Honestly, I’m not entirely convinced that it was vegan.  Did I say it was good?  It was AWESOME.

Its an interesting turn of the table inasmuch as I normally close a post by remarking how well (or poorly) an establishment did at making the Vegan feel welcome.  In this instance it is more about how well a vegan establishment did to make the Carnivore feel welcome AND sated by the end of the meal.  I am happy to report that THE BEER PLANT knocked the cover off the ball on this one.  This Carnivore gives THE BEER PLANT the highest possible mark of 5 cow faces.  I cannot wait to go back and try another vegan meal.

Postscript –  I sincerely hope that one of our carnivorous readers views this post and decides to make his or her vegan friend/partner/sibling/coworker feel special by accommodating their preferences for plant based dining.  The experience will be one that neither party will regret.  GUARANTEED!