Order Up: Darbster
Like the chicken wings, most of the mock meat and dairy dishes at Darbster are based off products that Quinlan, a lifelong vegetarian, and Gould, a vegan since 2004, have experimented with at home. What that translates to is Daiya, a vegan "cheese" made from tapioca, which, stuffed into a creamy quesadilla ($7) or a side of macaroni and cheese ($4), melts almost as convincingly as the real thing. Then, of course, there's the Gardein, which composes most of the fake meat items Darbster makes, including "steak" sliders, "chicken" kebabs, and "beef" burritos. A mixture of soy, wheat, and grain proteins, Gardein's bouncy texture and mimicked musculature is so realistic that national restaurant chains like Chipotle and Yard House have taken to serving it on their menus. One bite of a trio of chicken kebabs ($8) fashioned with the stuff and I can see why: The fleshy, sesame-studded hunks are char-grilled with onions, peppers, and pineapple. They make the dry veggie burgers of my past look like Soylent Green.Check out the full review on Darbster, online now.