Day 18: Cinnamon Snail for lunch and a lesson on Life.
I’d survived my first Meatless Monday with 2 falafel meals and a bag full of fruit, but for round two, I felt the need to bask in luxuriation, so I consulted my tweets, and found the location for GrubSpot #1. I arrived at 21st and 5th to the very whimsical Cinnamon Snail truck, and was greeted by Sean at the window and Chef Adam Sobel in the kitchen. I asked for my usual (you decide!) and received a hefty sandwich of bright and beautifully bold colors. Chef Adam told me it was their new seasonal Gochujang burger deluxe – seitan burger with Korean chili paste, sautéed kimchi, pickled daikon and leeks, black sesame gomasio, sriracha mayo and arugula on grilled focaccia. For you seitan-newbies, it’s basically wheat gluten aka wheat meat. But let me assure you, it tasted worlds better than it sounds.
The foccacia was crisp, airy, and fresh, with that chewy resilient bite its best known for. Toasted and encrusted in a savory sprinkling of herbs, I knew immediately that this sandwich would be all about the details. The Korean chili paste and sriracha mayo gave it a complex sweet and spicy note, and the crisp arugula offered an inherent herb-like pepperiness that paired well with the sautéed kimchi. The pickled daikon and leeks threw in an additional layer of boldness, but together, did little to disturb the natural, earthiness of the seitan patty. At first bite, I’d managed to take it all in, and the well-browned “burger”, with the rest of the supporting cast gave my taste buds and mind an experience I can only describe as ethereal.
It didn’t taste like a traditional burger, but then again, it wasn’t trying to be. I knew back in my mind that I was nomming on veggies, but yet, I felt content, and hugely satiated. As a devout carnivore, I knew I’d have the toughest time with my Meatless Mondays, and throughout my 30-day challenge, I’ve been continuously graced with reader NOMinations for a myriad of vegan and vegetarian restaurants throughout the city, but trucks and carts are few and far between, so I was happy to have found these guys. The side of the Cinnamon Snail truck describes their creations as a call to transform their customers into beings of pure light in order to better serve all living creatures, simultaneously and eternally. I’m not saying that I’m about to abandon my carnivorous ways, but I now see that an entire world of cuisine exists outside of the box that deserves at least a mention, if not for the environmental impact towards our living counterparts, but for it just being so downright delicious. Follow Cinnamon Snail for their most up-to-date tweets, and if you see Sean and Chef Adam- please tell them thanks, for lunch and for making us all just a bit more accountable for our actions as tiny little inhabitants of Planet Earth.