Foodswings: Vegan Food Can Be Comfort Food

It seems that everyone loves Foodswings, one of the most classic vegan staples in Williamsburg. Bikers, hipsters, everyone in between flock there to indulge in serious comfort food: milkshakes, burgers, heroes, caesar salad, mac ‘n’ cheese, donuts- they’ve truly got it all. In fact, they have so much that it’s easy to have too much in one sitting…which is, I believe, the mark of a true comfort food joint, am I right? I advise sharing- bring the family (or, as most do on weekends, a rowdy, hungry group of droopy-drunk friends). Whether you are a full-on devoted vegan, a sometimes vegan-veggie person, or *absolutely* not this place is made for everyone who likes classic American fare.

As Jeff, co-owner of Foodswings, explained it “I am the only heavy metal vegan biker that I know of and my friends who come in are very much meat eaters…they come even when I’m not here!” Many people perceive vegan food as health food, and while this can be true -and certainly is of salads and even the milkshakes at Foodswings- you have to consider what you are comparing it to. Of course “cheese,” “meat,” and bread all equal a filling meal, with super-calories to boot. Your still being a hardcore eater -a lover of the foodie kind- without much, if any, of the cholesterol and fat that exists naturally in your average serving of the favorite American comfort foods.

Foodswings might owe a good amount of it’s popularity to the fact that it makes people feel better about their indulgences, and rightly so. Go ahead! Have a Foodswings burger: it is absolutely not a salad, but there isn’t a heart-attack waiting for you on the other end of your bun. You can feel badass without feeling unhealthy. The chefs are vegan, and love to experiment with recipes, for your palate and their fun. Chef Michael Knight explained that the specials are often vegan takes on old treats- how far can they push the traditional recipes? They also like to make newer vegan options, like homemade seitan, available to all who enter. After all, the owners and the guys in the kitchen are all vegan foodies- living the life and eating the food: they want their diners to say “wow, vegan food is great!”  And whether they say it or not, the place is buzzing all day, everyday (with lines out the door until 1-2am on Fridays and Saturdays).

The chick’n caesar salad is super green and a shareable size, and topped with fried (or grilled) mock chicken, veggies, and a tangy bleu “cheese” dressing (served on the side). Foodswings’s drumsticks are super tasty and the variety will suit those who like it spicy, sweet n sour, just battered and fried, or buffalo style- breaded, fried, dipped in buffalo sauce, and served with bleu cheese sauce. The chick’n parmigiana sandwich is -in my book- huge: a satisfying blend of the usual cheese/tomato/beaded-herbed meat on Italian bread, but without the actual meat, and of course the texture of the cheese is not as rubbery as that which comes from cow’s milk.

Mac ‘n’ cheese is a different kind of adventure for non-vegans, as cheese does not get crispy when it’s vegan cheese. Difference, but delicious, Foodswings does it super-creamy. It is, in fact, a favorite for many regulars- and note that in its 6 years of existence, Foodswings has attracted and held onto a large following of proud omnivores. Take a look at the Yelp page- it’s a solid lump of praise from non-converts from the meat loving world. Call it solidarity without conformity or something sweeter, like peaceful co-mingling in the free world.

In terms of what’s sweet, if you have room after the chick’n, the Daiya cheesiness, the creamy sauces, and crispy veggies…please, please, please get a milkshake. it was hard to choose between the My Little Pony (strawberry ice cream, orange juice), Trainwreck (strawberry ice cream, peanut butter, cookies), and cookie dough (obviously). It was so hard that I didn’t choose any of them- went with the cookies n’ cream, and hey- did you know that Oreo’s are vegan? Truth. Boy was that good. And then I had this donut, and I don’t remember anything else about the night…

*Joking. It’s always great to be in Williamsburg and it is doubly great to visit places where you’re greeted with a smile (shout out to the lovely gate-keeper, Tanya) and served-up treats made of things that you don’t see on every other menu in town. Thanks Foodswings, for being you.

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