Long (and Happy?) Life

This Chinese hole-in-the-wall must be cursed, because even though it’s in a prime location on University Avenue, I can walk by hundreds of times without realizing its existence. It looks like a greasy fast-food joint, but the menu actually boasts a long list of vegetarian and vegan dishes, including various mock meats. J has been recommending it for months and today I was finally able to try it out! We were seven minutes too late to take advantage of the lunch special, which lasts until 5 (that is so stretching the definition of “lunch” but no complaints here).

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Before dinner J graciously made a huge batch of vegan pumpkin pancakes because I've been craving them for months now. They were the perfect pillowy, crisp, and slightly sweet dessert disguised as breakfast to precede our real dinner. I obviously pre-party hard. The pancakes were so good I'm going to run out to get some flour and baking powder so I can make my own. Since I didn't want to overeat (hahahahah) I chose the hot and sour soup (4.5) to split. The bowl was big enough to fill six of these little cups. The weather was perfect to dive into this extremely spicy and comforting soup - I used to get it every single time I went out as a kid. Most of the time they taste the same anywhere, but sadly this did not measure up. It lived up to its namesake, but there was flavor lacking, and I don't want to believe that it's because all the animal components (pork and egg) were left out. Wouldn't want to face that harsh fact. But I'd probably still get this nowadays over the tradition version. It lacked depth of flavor and cornstarch to thicken. But fine for what it was.

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J suggested the mock beef and tofu with vegetable (6.5) dish, and I had no objections. I didn't really enjoy the beef consistency, which was like a tough beancurd. The tofu was much nicer but it wasn't of the utmost freshness, which really makes or breaks tofu for me. That was a huge letdown. The sauce had a bean paste undertone, but I thought it also lacked some flavor. The rice costs extra, and the waitress initially asked if we wanted two bowls. Since we were already half-full, we chose one, and thank god we did. What would anyone do with two of those bowls of rice? We barely ate half of it. Couldn't finish the beef either.

Walked out stuffed. I knew there would be leftover beef so I focused on finishing the soup so we wouldn’t have to bring it home. I seem to forget that life is too short to waste stomach real estate on mediocre food. Long Life Vegi House was kind of a miss on this visit, but I’d go back to try the lunch special, which includes soup, egg roll, rice, any dish for 4.50. There are lots of dishes that sounded promising.

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Leaving you with this photo of a drink I had a few days ago at a Malaysian place right next to my house.

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S had the "es cincau" with grass jelly in syrup and coconut milk, while I had the"es teler" with avocado, coconut meat, jackfruit, tapioca jelly, and coconut milk (both 3.5). A little too sweet for me, but it hit the spot.

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