Get that? Instead of wings: "THINGS." I also almost called this post, "Buffalo Shoe Tongues," because I'm pretty sure you could cover chewy, smelly, shoe parts (borrowed from any hobo) with buffalo sauce, dip them in ranch dressing and serve them with celery and they would be irresistible. This is, however, a very good recipe, despite the fact that it seems anything under that sauce would taste good. (Or, I suppose I could have called them Buffalo'd cauliflower, which is what they are.)
I went to see the bro recently, and he took me to an eatery heretofore unknownst to me: the Veggie Grill. I hear it is growing quickly, springing up new franchises throughout California. Well, it ain't growing quickly enough, because I'm gonna dream about it until I'm in LA again.
The Veggie Grill doesn't use any animal products at all - no dairy, meat or eggs. And while I really enjoyed their "comfort" food or fast-food-style items, they are also maximizing nutrition in a lot of items (not just a straight, "hey, fries are vegan!" approach). The first time we went, two of us ordered the "All Hail Kale" salad, with "Blackened Chickin'." It was DELICIOUS. And the one in front, btw, is a lunch portion! I usually eat my kale cooked, but these dressed greens really inspired me to eat more raw kale.
Oh, and a side of mac and cheese, just because hey, I had a race the next day, so why not?
This first visit is also where I discovered their Buffalo Chickin' Wings. I discovered them on my brother's plate. I discovered most of them, and only left him a few. These really unglued all of us. I've been thinking about them since.
David also had the "All-American Stack," which he said he really liked.
We took home two pieces of the carrot cake, which I discovered was great with a glass of soy milk. I also discovered half of my brother's carrot cake as well. (Seriously, I love that guy.)
I loved this place so much that we went back the next day! This time, I had the "Baja Fiesta" salad. It was great... But I found myself wishing it were made with kale. Believe me, I've never said those words before, either.
This time, I got my own order of the "Buffalo Chickin' Wings." I think I may have shared. No, I'm pretty sure I didn't.
David went full-force, and made an entree out of two orders of the wings. You go, boy!
So, what's the damage? I looked at their newly-posted calorie counts, and sure, some of the dessert or "splurge" items can be up in the 400-500 calorie range (although most of the menu is lower). But seriously? I don't think they compare with the counts at most fast food places, and the nutrition is much denser. For contrast, I took a picture of the calorie counts at the snack bar of a local movie theater we went to:
Wow, movie theater, 1390 calories for nachos? As my husband loves to quote from the movie "Spinal Tap": "Yeah, too MUCH fak-king pehspective."
Anyway, what is a girl to do about this buffalo craving she came home with? I found this recipe from "Food Fanatics" on facebook (partially reprinted), and I made some changes to just about every line, which are reflected in the following places as noted:
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
For the batter:
Dash of Frank’s Buffalo Sauce (originally Original Hot Sauce)
1 c. white rice flour (originally 1/2 cup)
1 c. BEER (originally 1/2 cup water)
For the Buffalo sauce:
1/2 c. - 1 cup Frank’s Buffalo sauce (this is double or triple the original)
1/4-1/2 c. vegan butter, melted (originally 1/4 cup canola oil)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mix together the batter ingredients in a small bowl. Dip the cauliflower in the batter until coated evenly then place on greased baking sheet (I just tossed the cauliflower florets in the batter). Bake for about 15 minutes or until the batter hardens. (I flipped them once, and ended up with about 20 minutes.)
Mix together sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Once the cauliflower are done baking, brush them with the hot sauce mixture (I tossed them in the sauce in a bowl, restaurant-style) and they have you baking again. (I just tossed the baked cauliflower in sauce and got to eating.)
I served these with my very own Vegan Ranch, which I must say is pretty fantastic. The recipe works very well - the cauliflower doesn't stick to the sprayed foil, and it cooks through. Best oven-battered anything I've had, I think!