It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about Blend, but I did warn you it would be a long time before I stopped, right?
Although there was plenty of planned time together, including many meals and fitness activities, one of the most fun parts of Blend was the opportunity to simply explore Boulder a little bit, and enjoy the “Colorado vibe.”*
*I really believe it can only be described as a vibe.Thus, on Saturday evening, Maria, Jen, and I found ourselves at Mountain Sun Pub & Brewery, which I immediately wanted to go to upon hearing Ashley say it was “inexpensive” with a “variety of foods” and “very Colorado.” [Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!]
Since I had spent the day becoming a (faux) fitness guru–with boot camp, followed by mountain climbing, followed by yoga–a salad just wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, my eyes were drawn with a force I couldn’t resist to the words “Tempeh Reuben.”
The sandwich was amazing. (And I know Heather agrees.) I ordered it without cheese, but the dressing oozed out over the incredibly tasty beer-baked tempeh on absolutely phenomenal fresh, thick rye bread.
Oh my goll, y’all. Yes. It was as good as it looks.
You see, I don’t really eat a lot of sandwiches. Therefore, I don’t really eat a lot of bread. So, although I do love a good slice when I get it (especially of sourdough and rye), I didn’t want to invest in a loaf of bread that I would then feel financially (and morally–hate waste…hate it!) obligated to consume.
But before I could take on this “vegan protein powerhouse,”* I had to assemble the other key reuben components.
*That this package bears this label only makes me love Trader Joe (and yes, I do mean the imaginary man behind the store) even more. The sauerkraut was easy. In the process of moving I realized I still had a can of my absolute favorite sauerkraut–which I have not been able to find outside of Texas–
hoarded stashed away for just the right time.
The Vegan 1,000 Island was a little bit trickier to tackle. I could have taken the obvious route and simply subbed the mayo in the traditional dressing for a vegan mayo. But when do I ever do anything obvious? Instead I figured, “Why not put soy on soy?” and took advantage of the tofu I had bought a long while back and never used.I combined 1/4 block of tofu with 1 1/2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon dill relish, 1 tbsp. finely chopped onion, and a half-teaspoon (or so) of tamari (instead of the standard not-always-vegan-friendly Worchestershire).Yeah, be skeptical. If I didn’t love pickles and ketchup so much, I would be, too. But whirred together in the food processor with some water or tofu soaking liquid creates something rather magically delicious.*
*Although I would NOT suggest pairing with Lucky Charms.For the tempeh, I didn’t feel the need to attempt to recreate the “beer baked” aspect of the original. Instead I just quickly cooked them in a fairly dry pan with a good glug or two of tamari.Since I’d left out the rye bread, I figured a sprinkling of caraway seeds would do the trick. (And they did. They made it, I think.)
But then again, neither is the inevitable drizzling of 1,000 Island and sauerkraut down your chin when you bite into a really good Reuben sandwich. (At least, it’s inevitable for me…)