Monday, April 17, 2017

Vegan Five One Eats #1

Since I've been posting food on my Instagram account, I thought it would be a great idea to document my search for great Vegan Restaurant establishments. Also, my endless online research was the inspiration behind this series. Whenever I travel, my first task is to look for nearby restaurants with vegan options. Right now, I reside in the Albany area so my objective was already in full swing. Obviously, I will do more than one and it will focus only on establishments. Any other establishments you can think of, please let me know. I will not limit it just to the Albany area. I figured it would be an excellent opportunity to highlight restaurants that do not get enough attention. Thank you for viewing. If you would like to know more about the vegan eatery, the information is posted below.

Vegan Five One Eats #1: Berben & Wolff's, Lark Street

This establishment was on my list for awhile through word of mouth on social media. Since I was going to a hockey game later that day, this would be a perfect opportunity to check this place out.  It finished second place in the Times Union Best Of 2017: Locally Owned Restaurant category. It is very impressive that a Vegan eatery is getting noticed and tastes are slowly begin to change for the better.

Just after 2 PM on Saturday, the establishment is very quiet and not busy at all. The cashier is taking an order over the phone and the bakery case was almost wiped out. I over hear the cashier telling another customer that it was very busy earlier starting at noon. Berben & Wolff's is open 10 AM-8 PM Tuesday through Saturday and 10 AM- 3PM Sunday. They do not offer a breakfast menu but they make up with a very good sandwich selection and good variety of To Go items. Look out for weekly specials on their Facebook page and their Wing Wednesday promotion.

After looking at the menu for a few minutes, I ask the cashier what he recommends since it is my first trip to their establishment. He begins by telling me that they are out of Jackfruit for their BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sandwich. This does not deter me and he recommends the Wing Burger with Buffalo Sauce. The Wing Burger contains a breaded Seitan patty; shredded carrots; diced celery; and ranch on a sesame seed bun. I knew a sandwich would not be enough so I ordered a couple items from the bakery case: Snicker Doodle cupcake and Chickpea Blondie Brownie. Yes all their ingredients they use are vegan and they have gluten free options available too.

Earlier stated, the bakery case was pretty much empty but it did not deter me from eating elsewhere. I would recommend ordering early so you are guaranteed a better selection. While I was waiting for my sandwich, I ate the Snicker Doodle cupcake which was good, soft, and the frosting was very creamy. I'll have to try their other flavors they have available. After finishing the cupcake, the server brought out my sandwich which I could not wait to take a bite of. The first bite was absolutely delicious and messy. The dressing was running down the side of my hand. The patty was very crispy along with the sauce hits my mouth with a slight kick. The celery and carrots complimented the sandwich perfectly. I got a side of greens with the sandwich, as always. Personally, I avoid the common chips and a pickle option that usually comes included with sandwiches at most establishments. After finishing the sandwich, I decided to order another bakery treat, Chickpea Blondie brownie. I really enjoyed this treat and was absolutely amazed at how chickpeas can be made in desserts. When I use chickpeas, they are for salads and protein-based dishes. Wrapped in plastic, the brownie was still very soft not hard as a rock. After finishing that second treat, I told myself that I need to order that again with my next sandwich.

Clockwise (from top to bottom): The Wing Burger, Chickpea Blondie brownie, and Snicker Doodle cupcake


Despite the limited menu during the time I spent there, I was very pleased with the food altogether and will be making another trip there soon. It is small restaurant with limited seating but I love those type of intimate atmospheres. Next time, I'll make sure to get there a little earlier, especially on a Saturday. One of the line cooks even asked me how my sandwich was as he exited the restaurant. I really appreciate when staff asks customers how their experience was in person, not telling them to fill out a comment card or share on social media. He was very happy to hear that I told him the sandwich was delicious. I can't wait to return to Berben & Wolff's soon. For now, it is on to find the next vegan joint.

Berben & Wolff's Official Website

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-Matt

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