I like to consider myself an unofficial sandwich savant, one skilled in the art of of gluing foodstuffs of varying textures and flavors and into a cozy blanket of carb-y gluten. Yet when the (not so) laborious effort of baking tofu surpasses my midday meal motivation, Sugar Plum Vegan Cafe thankfully offers a disparate menu of plant-based sandwiches in an idyllic atmosphere.
While PeTA may possess an audacious talent to pique the sane vegan community, you have to hope they wouldn’t bequeath a “Top 5 Vegan Sandwiches” award willy nilly.
Although I have no desire to defame the oft-revered Tempeh Reuben, I myself do not count this sandwich as a culinary paramour. While countless North American vegans extol the combination of rye bread, sauerkraut, pickles, choice of protein (overwhelmingly tempeh), and thousand island dressing as the paradigm of the perfect sandwich, I cautiously rank it high on the scale of mediocrity. The above version was characteristically pungent in caraway, fennel, and other spices with tellingly full jars in my spice rack. The marinated tempeh was pleasingly moist, complementing the ever-tangy fermented onions and standard ketchup-based spread. For the sake of succinctness: if you brand yourself a Reuben minion, you are in luck with this sammie.
I would have gleefully abnegated my Tempeh Reuben for my mother’s tantalizing Midtown Club, detailed per online menu as “Homemade Gluten-Free Tempeh Bacon, Romaine, Tomato, Avocado, Clover Sprouts and Vegenaise on Multi-Grain Bread.” Despite my Yank-ish, punctilious nature to correct the lack of Oxford comma and profusion of German-inspired capitalization, the description is sound. Each component meshed effortlessly to produce a sum greater than its oh-so-great parts. When my mother offered me the leftover half in a gesture of motherly amity, I accepted with grateful alacrity.
After a failed attempt to order a fresh young coconut, I hastily switched my request to a house-made kombucha. With empathetic face held low the contrite cashier bemoaned the depletion of their stock of kombucha and graciously offered the remaining amount gratis. Serendipitous outcome? A near 16 ounces of free berry-flavored fermented tea speckled with lilliputian morsels of unknown matter. These possible berries were forthwith rapidly straw-vacuumed while my mother looked on in parental amusement.
Yesterday I venerated Sugar Plum’s front patio while today’s lionized locus is the back patio. There is very little to prevent at least an ambivalent attachment towards the place. Purring felines supinely stretch hind legs across couch cushions, modern art peeks behind corners, and stretching cords of twinkle lights adorned with Chinese latterns purvey all. The acoustics discourage a cacophony of conversational echo while diffusing the atypical noises of Midtown bustle. Alternatively, those prone to introspection can take advantage of the tranquility to wallow in the ebb and flow of vivacious rumination.
Conclusion: next time I sandwich at Sugar Plum’s back patio, I’m committed to an order of the award-winning Jackfruit Tuna Melt. That is, unless a nice homemade tempeh, cuke, and hummus doesn’t call my name from the wondrous depths of the icebox.
Sugar Plum Vegan *Check out their page for a “Free Sweet with $20 purchase” coupon*
2315 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95816