I enjoyed the Vegan Shop-Up the last time I went — but recently I realized it was more than two years ago. It was high time for a revisit, so I went both in August and in October to see what was happening. Both times there was a huge line for the Cinnamon Snail Truck, which you may remember from this sandwich or this Vendy Awards. There was no line, however, for Monk’s Meats. I’d seen Monk’s Meats occasionally at food events like Smorgasburg but never eaten there. Monk’s Meats makes their own seitan, an alternative protein made with wheat gluten. On my first trip I got the Jerk Seitan Sandwich, in which the Caribbean-flavored seitan is cooked on a griddle and topped with a spicy pineapple salsa and a cabbage slaw. It was a great mix of salty, spicy, and sweet, and the seitan had a pleasant chewy texture.
It’s not all “fake meat” however. On my second visit they were offering a special based on foraged chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms. They called it the Mushroom Triple Threat: deep-fried chicken-of-the-woods, shiitake mushroom “bacon,” and truffled vegan mayonnaise. It was another great blend of textures and flavors, with fresh tomatoes and lettuce off-setting the crispy-crunchy mushrooms, even if the bacon tasted more “burnt” than “smoky.”