oops, I missed posting before midnight, but I'm still up so it still counts as Wednesday! So instead of getting that 2nd trip to Cha-Ya since I couldn't wait for them to open at 5:30 without really rushing my meal (last trip's bowl of curry udon before heading for BART was enough of a lesson), I headed over a couple blocks in the other direction to Herbivore (did I mention how stoked I am to now have 3 veg restaurants within 2 blocks of the store! Funny how they're also all in Berkeley as well). My dad unexpectedly had time to hang out after flying in from Boston, so we got the rare opportunity to share a meal before going out to the airport.
My dad was going to order an asian salad, but I advised him against it as, let's face it, anything asian that Herbivore is going to make is not going to satisfy someone who lives and travels in Asia, or even an Asian American for that matter. So he told me to pick for him. My safe bet is always a sandwich--even though I want to be adventurous, the food is too hit and miss and at least they can't mess that up too much--but I have a hard time deciding which one to get. I used to always get grilled vegetables, but thought I should go for the grilled seitan as I don't make that at home. My dad is a pretty big meat eater who I never think of as liking western food, although reflecting on it now, he did take us to McDonalds and Reuben's and Burger King when we were kids (though it was probably more for us than for him). He asked me what tempeh and seitan were and though I wasn't sure he'd like them, it seemed like a good chance to have him try them. It's not often you get to introduce two new foods to a worldly 64-year old. So we ordered the grilled sandwiches with garlic aioli to swap halves and I hoped my dad would at least eat some of his meal.
We tried the tempeh sandwich first and he didn't seem too impressed. I didn't blame him as the tempeh hadn't been seasoned much and it was kind of bland. The rest of the sandwich added taste, but the tempeh just mushed in the mix. I liked it, but it probably wasn't the best way to introduce him to it. We both tucked into our salads and seasoned potatoes in the meantime (both were in very good form) and tackled our seitan sandwich last. I was pretty full by that point, but kept eating as I didn't have room to take leftovers with me to the airport.
The seitan did not disappoint! It was well seasoned and tasty and my dad actually liked it. The seasoning helped, but he also liked the more substantial texture. We both ended up finishing our entire plate and my dad gave the whole meal a positive review. I was impressed with my dad for keeping an open mind about food and I look forward to the next time we can partake in a vegan meal together.