Don’t Play Cards With Seitan
Did anyone here know that when I was as a senior in college I had a radio show? Can’t say it was very popular, but I did get to explore some strange and wonderful music with my friend SK. One song that particularly sticks out in my mind from that era is this master work from Daniel Johnston, which provides some context for today’s title.
Never forget that much of this blog is written purely for my own amusement.
While the focus of the song is Satan, today’s food story begins with seitan. I don’t have a lot of experience with fake meat. The first time I recall ever eating the stuff I was at a fundraiser for Everglades Earth First at some weird vegetarian cafe somewhere in Miami listening to a local folk singer rail against the non-indigenous Melaleuca tree. True story. In my defense, there was a girl involved.
But this time was different. This time I went in search of seitan on purpose. I was even looking forward to it. And while I didn’t know it at the time, there would once again be a girl involved. Actually, more than one.
So you know I’ve got this new diet. I’m making good progress on taking off the weight from Chanukah and Paris, but I figure while I’m at it I should also tackle my cholesterol. There will be a specific diet post later this week.
One of my favorite cholesterol-fighting diet foods ever was the Michael Milken Reuben. But it’s not an exaggeration to say that it took me over two days to make it. It was great, but not two days great. And making it myself wasn’t particularly cheap either.
Enter All Good Bakers.
I’ve had my eye on one of their menu items for a long time now. They call it the Noob’s Roob. And it’s fairly similar to the Milken Reuben. Pretty much I’ve learned that if you grill rye bread, and stuff it with sauerkraut, something sweet resembling Russian dressing, something fatty like cheese and something substantial and savory like meat, it’s going to be delicious.
AGB substitutes avocado for the cheese and Three Smiles Kitchen seitan for the corned beef. For the record, Reubens have corned beef. If you want pastrami, that’s a Rachel (just make sure they still use sauerkraut and don’t substitute coleslaw).
At $7.50 it’s not exactly cheap, but it’s a bargain when compared to the time investment required to make the Milken version. And it’s totally delicious, not to mention entirely virtuous.
So, there I was eating my sandwich and minding my own business. I had a good book. But I couldn’t help but overhear that the woman sitting next to me was from NOFY-NY. So I leaned over and introduced myself. She was traveling from Brooklyn out to the NY Agricultural Society’s annual meeting in Syracuse, and stopped in Albany specifically to check out All Good Bakers and The Cheese Traveler.
Anyhow, we had a fascinating talk about local food, farms and the state of food in the Capital Region in particular.
The funny thing is that this kind of impromptu meeting of food lovers isn’t the exception, but rather seems to be the norm at All Good Bakers. While I was there, I also happened to see a woman I bumped into at the Schenectady Greenmarket just a few days before. On a prior visit I met Jessica Galasso of Mildred’s Meadows, and I’ve engaged in food topics with other patrons in the past.
It kind of feels like a salon for those who care deeply about food to gather from all corners of the Capital Region. You know, like a blog, but in real life and with delicious things to eat.
And even more than their seitan Reuben, that is really special.