Hold the Animals! (I'll take the Pickles and Lettuce!): A Guest Post by Steven Smith
Here's another lovely guest-post by my hubby about our latest trip to a little piece of heaven called Foodswings. Enjoy!
For those lifetime veggies, you probably have had a milkshake, a frosty dairy dessert, a Blizzard, or a McFlurry before, even though you've done without the burgers and other menu items. For those lifetime veganauts (did I just coin that? If so, awesome! If not, I praise the person who did...), you've never walked into a McDonalds, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, or KFC and ordered one of the majority of items off of the menu (maybe fries or a soda or a salad though...). Almost everyone else, at some point or another (whether or not you eventually went veg or vegan), has tasted a Whopper, Gordita, McNuggets, or Crispy Chicken.
Now that I know what factory farming is and what the fast food industry is really like, it's difficult to think about my childhood weekend trips to Burger King for a Kids' Meal or my late night trips to McDonalds for a snack when I had a college term paper to write. At that time, I didn't know about the cruel and inhumane treatment of animals (and wasn't really thinking about it). And while I knew about how bad it was for me in my young adult years, the tastiness of it (in all of its fatty, greasy fleshy-ness) trumped any health concerns for me. A big Yuck to that.
Finally dining on cruelty-free disco fries.
We presently live in a world where the knowledge about how bad fast food is for you is everywhere, even on the nutrition facts at your choice of fast food restaurant (even though many sincerely don't know how badly animals are treated on their way to becoming a Big Mac or Baconator, or most people do know and just choose to put it out of their mind). I gave up fast food several years ago after seeing Super Size Me (you probably would too), and I have haven't missed it since.
However, fast food chains are still thriving. Obesity is steadily (or exponentially, I don't know) increasing. New items, such as KFC's Double Down are popping up on menu (here's the website's description of the Double Down: "This one-of-a-kind sandwich features two thick and juicy boneless white meat chicken filets - Original Recipe® or Grilled, two pieces of bacon, two melted slices of Monterey Jack and pepper jack cheese and Colonel's Sauce. This product is so meaty, there’s no room for a bun!"). Heck, even lion's meat is being served now - if you haven't heard this news already, an Arizona restaurant is serving lion's meat burgers to celebrate the World Cup being played (one customer has been reported saying that he "can't even tell the difference." I wonder when the Human Meat Burger is going to make its first appearance.). A quick trip to Wikipedia shows that McDonalds currently serves "nearly 47 million customers daily," which means that it won't be long until that "OVER 99 BILLION SERVED" sign increases to 100 billion or more.
In the midst of the disgusting mess that the fast food industry really is, I can honestly say that there is one fast food joint that is actually doing it the right way - and what should be your way, my way, and the only way. There's fast food. Then there's Foodswings.
Foodswings is a Vegan Fast Food restaurant located in Brooklyn, NY that wows all who venture inside for a bite with its delectable, delicious fast food fare. It features salads, wraps, drumsticks, burgers, hot/cold sandwiches, milkshakes and floats, and plenty of other appetizers and sides (or "Good Random Shite!" as they call it). What's great about Foodswings is that it doesn't pretend to be fast food - it is! But not the fast food of the established animal-based Western diet. No, no, no. This fast food has absolutely no cholesterol and not a single animal was killed to make it. And (ready for this?) it tastes So. Much. Better*. (*This is a proven fact. Because I grew up on McDonalds and Burger King and Taco Bell, etc., and I think Foodswings is better.)
The combination of the fast food, diner, and cafe vibe along with comfort food made with so much love - and fried sooooo good - gets you a world-class fast food experience (which is not something you'd usually say for a fast food outing, am I right?).
Lindsay, myself, and our friends Joe and Molly took a field trip to Foodswings last week, expecting a great meal and leaving with our expectations exceeded. Like little kids in a candy shop, we went through the menu and ordered as much as we could. Here are a few of my favorite things: Nachos, Mozzarella Stix, Potato Skins, Buffalo/BBQ/Sweet Southern Fried BBQ Drumsticks, Mac n Cheese, Disco Fries (smothered in cheese and gravy), "Fish"-N-Chips, Milkshakes (Pistachio Cookie Peanut Butter, Cookie Dough, and Cookies & Cream, to be exact), and...... drumroll please.....the Vegan Double Down (or Vegan Handwich, wrapped just like the "other" fast food sandwich by a similar name). And just as a reminder, no cholesterol in or animals killed for this amazing feast.
A little scared at first to try the Vegan alternative to the hideous KFC Double Down, we were pleasantly surprised to discover an incredibly tasty sandwich. The Mozzarella Stix were a big hit, as was the variety of drumsticks they had to offer. I got very nostalgic of my high school and college years with good ol' fashioned Disco Fries - definitely took it up a notch from those Upper East Side diners at 4 am. Mini fakin' bacon bits in the Daiya cheddar cheese-soaked Potato Skins hit the spot, and, let me tell you, the milkshakes they have... WOW. They sure do rival any shake I've had in the past. Good riddance, DEE-licious.
A lot of people are scared of or skeptical of vegan food because it is not what they are used to. Whether they think about it (I mean, really think about it) or not, when someone eats chicken or pork or beef, that person is eating a chicken or a pig or a cow. It is what it is, and, unfortunately, it is what most people are used to. However, many plant-based restaurants have found an amazing way to create tastes that are incredibly similar to foods that popularize our Western diet. Using soy protein, wheat, vegetables, nuts, and grains, it's possible to eat these foods without the adverse health and environmental effects, and without harming any animals.
I mean, how amazing is that?!?! If you ask people who consume a standard Western diet why they eat meat and dairy, most of them wouldn't say because they like killing and eating chickens and pigs and taking milk from cows. It's just what has become the standard for food - it tastes good, and it's there for people to eat. Wouldn't you say you've hit the jackpot when you can enjoy the tastes you love without harming a single soul? That's good food. And when it comes fast, it's Foodswings.
Let's get back to the feast. We ate almost all of the food (we could have used one more person), and left completely satisfied (the good kind of full). We licked our fingers clean, we slurped the last of our milkshakes through our straws. We definitely plan on going back there, and I highly recommend all of you try it at some point, fast food junkie or not (check out this article to learn more). I look forward to the day when there's a national chain of Foodswings, or at least another like it promoting convenience and compassion. Hey, maybe the sign could even read "OVER 99 BILLION ANIMALS SAVED." Now, there's food for thought...
The video and all photographs above are taken by Lindsay and Steve at Foodswings. Special thanks to Molly Glenn and Joseph Naples for their video cameos. To learn more about Foodswings, visit www.foodswings.net.