Albuquerque Journal

On the side

- — Richard S. Dargan/For the Journal

★★★

5331 Menaul NE, 505373-4605, vegosabq.com

Elizabeth Bibiano, chef and owner of Vegos, hatched the idea for a vegan New Mexican concept during her time studying and training at CNM and the Street Food Institute.

Her vegan versions of Mexican dishes such as enchiladas, rellenos and empanadas were such a hit that she and her husband, Jonathan, launched a second truck devoted to vegan chicken-like tenders and sandwiches.

And now, a brick-andmortar restaurant is on the way, scheduled to open this year.

In the meantime, Vegos continues to serve its excellent Nobody Calls Me Chicken sandwiches and tenders four days a week at La Luz Coffee Hub on a quiet stretch of Griegos just east of 12th Street NW.

Vegos’ menu is devoted exclusivel­y to sandwiches and tenders made from tofu coated in crushed cereal described as “crunchy num num bits.”

The sandwiches and tenders are $10 alone or $13 with fries.

The sandwich is a marvel, a thick slab of tofu with a crispy, craggy coating clinging to it like armor. Eating it produces audible crunches that sound like footsteps in gravel.

I know you’re not supposed to call it chicken, but it looks remarkably like white chicken meat and has a similar meatiness and mild flavor. The frying is superb, giving the coating crackle without any grease.

Like the vegan chicken, the fries, thin-cut and pale, were crisp and not at all greasy.

The tenders also had the heft and mouth feel of chicken.

The three pieces were tossed in a terrific Buffalo sauce that dampened the crunch a bit but added a fiery tang that lingered on the tongue even after a dip in the accompanyi­ng ranch sauce.

Vegos has the preparatio­n of its vegan sandwiches and tenders down to a science.

 ?? RICHARD S. DARGAN/FOR THE JOURNAL ?? Vegos’ vegan chicken sandwich is made with tofu under a coating of crushed cereal.
RICHARD S. DARGAN/FOR THE JOURNAL Vegos’ vegan chicken sandwich is made with tofu under a coating of crushed cereal.

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