I have to start by saying that the Chicago Diner was hopping on Thursday night! We had to wait 45 minutes for a table, and loads of people came in as we waited. I love it when veg restaurants are packed! Once we were finally seated, we faced the daunting task of deciding what to order. I had already decided on the Rueben, since they are well known for it, and it did not disappoint! It was incredibly messy, and incredibly delicious, possibly the best and most authentic vegan Rueben I have tried. Ana ordered the "chicken fried steak," which was also delicious, mostly because of the amazing gravy it was smothered in. Laura ordered the lentil loaf, which was okay, but not overly flavorful - she went the healthy route of the three of us! But she did have the salted caramel shake, which was decadent and yummy. I thought about ordering a mint chocolate chip shake, but they were out of vanilla ice cream, and honestly, I was too full to drink one anyway. I guess I'll just have to go back to Chicago to try one some other time!
We decided to stop in Madison on our way to Minneapolis. I had been there once before and loved it, so I was excited to go back. We were hoping to find the Ladonia Cafe, which I guess is actually a vegan food truck. But we walked up and down State Street and could not find it. On the upside, we got to see all of the street vendors and were able to get a walk in on a long day in the car. On the downside, we did not find the vegan truck. However, there were plenty of vegan options available. I went with a salad with Korean BBQ tofu and Laura had a Middle Eastern plate with falafel and grilled eggplant. For dessert, we split the raw tiramisu that Ana had brought for us the night before. It was a perfect way to end a lunch by the lake!
After checking into our hotel, we went in search of Ecopolitan, a raw restaurant in Minneapolis. It took us a little while to find it, as it is tucked into a larger building. But I am glad we did - it was amazing! We started with the guacamole and salsa with raw "chips" (more like crackers, really) for dipping. Our waitress had warned us that they would be spicy, but neither of us found them to be spicy at all, just full of great taste. I ordered the tostadas, which were covered in lentil taco "meat," contained more guacamole (I can't get enough!), and drizzled with sour cream. They were amazing! Laura ordered the casserole, which was creamy and delicious. I ended the meal with a small coconut date roll, which was good, but not as delicious as the rest of the meal.
And now we are in Wall, SD. There is not much going on here, other than Wall Drug, which was advertised for about 200 miles as we drove across South Dakota. I went for a run this morning, and after about half a mile, I was in complete desolation. So that gives you an idea of Wall. Needless to say, it is not the most vegan friendly place in the world. We went to a Mexican restaurant last night (that also serves pizza and pasta) and asked for veggie fajitas - it was like we were speaking a foreign language. But it worked out in the end. We ate chips and guac (yes, again!) and the fajitas weren't half bad. Mine were served with refried beans (not Laura's though, weird!), which I did not touch, as they often have meat in them. But the veggies were cooked well and had good flavor. Plus, I added hot sauce (of course!), so that always makes meals better.
We are off to Montana tomorrow! Rapid City has some vegan options, so I think we might pick up something for lunch on the way. And Billings looks promising in terms of having some food we can eat. We just need to get through one more dinner in Wall...