Monday, October 13, 2008

Vegan restaurant pizza!

When I was in high school, my friends and I frequented a local pizza place called Waldo Pizza. They’re quite well-known and -loved in the area thanks to their low prices and handmade-but-gourmet pies. Back then, of course, I ate whatever my friends ordered. Over the years, as I drifted toward health, I drifted away from eating out at pizza places. Imagine my delight upon finding out that Waldo Pizza is also the only pizza joint in town to offer vegan cheese. I’d been meaning to try it for several months, and my friends and I finally went there on Saturday.

It was cool to be back at my old hangout. They still have the DIY-style cardboard menus and the cups full of random Trivial Pursuit cards on the tables, and they still serve their pizza on those wire stands you never see anymore. Emily and I ordered a 10-inch whole wheat crust with the vegan mozzarella.

It was quite obvious that it wasn’t cheese on there. What they say about vegan cheese is right—it doesn’t exactly melt. That, however, didn’t bother us a bit. In fact, we each ate our entire halves. The cheese had a taste that I swear I recognize, but can’t quite but my finger on. The closest I can get to describing it is to liken it to the way the cheese in microwave TV dinners for kids tasted when I was little. It was gooey, but not melty. It was soft, but not stringy. Either way, it was a flavor very distinct from real cheese, but enjoyable on its own. It passes as a very acceptable cheese pizza substitute in my mind.

Waldo Pizza also carries soy cheese, gluten-free crust, AND – drumroll – vegan desserts! Emily and I sprung for the vegan lemon macadamia nut cupcake.

The thing glistened. We admired it considerably before bringing ourselves to cut into it. The dissection:

Inside, it was amazingly moist and crumby. And that frosting! It was pure creamy goodness with a hint of lemon zest that positively melted in our mouths. The aftermath:

It was a sweet end to a surprisingly yummy meal, at a restaurant that I’m so pleased to see has grown up with me.

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