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The Downtown Vegan: Yogurt Etc.
Here's the skinny on vegans- just because we think meat sucks doesn't mean we all sit at home pushing a grain of quinoa onto a fork with a wilted kale leaf and talk vehemently about the slaughter of animals in factory farms all the freakin' time.
Because that would probably annoy most of us. Not saying there aren't those types, but damn. Sometimes I just really need some tubesteak. Kidding, I just wanted to say tubesteak.
But there are times when it can't be all lentils and spirulina. There are times I want to say SUPERFOODS BE DAMNED and have some freakin fro-yo.
Obviously frozen yogurt is off limits, as are hot dogs and most chili. HOWEVER, new in downtown Fresno as of May 30th, all of those things are available in vegan form just a few minutes from my desk.
Yogurt Etc serves a wide variety of dogs, but what warmed my little vegan heart was that they have a vegan dog that isn't some puny little frank. It's actually a respectable link-length. As I was gushing and fangirling all over the place one of the co-owners, David Goldberg, told me that they even have dedicated vegan tongs labeled and kep separate to avoid cross contamination.
Let's stop for a second to think about that. A downtown restaurant that gets it- really gets it. Basically, I was putty in his hands. Except that's kind of a creepy visual and his hands were nowhere near me. Then he suggested I make it a chili dog with their veg beans. YES, they have a vegetarian chili. By now the tears were nearly flowing and I was promising my firstborn son to them and plotting out an elaborate parade in their honor.
But then I noticed the labeling on their wall-o-yogurt. Each confection has a label with nutrition facts next to it as well as dairy free or gluten free labels on the yogurt varieties that fit the bill. So first of all, it only feels like junk food, but even the heathen omnivore options can be mindfully chosen to fit into one's dietary needs. But really, all I give a lick about is the fact that they have dairy free SORBET.
I loaded up my chili dog with onions because I don't like having friends and scarfed that down. Then I returned for sorbet. WATERMELON SORBET, WHAT?! There are tons of vegan-friendly toppings too. Fruit, oreos, granola. It can be a rare thing to feel like you have choices when dining out as a veg-head so I got a little crazy.
So if you're vegan and downtown and starving, be sure to drop by and thank them for giving a darn and making sure we're taken care of too. And then seriously, nom the heck out of some not-dogs. Your kale chips won't get jealous, I promise.