This is Part II in a multi-part series I’m calling “Vegan Brunch Throwdown,” in which I review each vegan brunch in Connecticut (seven!) then pit them head to head in a no-holds-barred, fight to the death over who has the best tofu scram, pancakes, and tempeh bacon. Fun, right? See Part I here.
Is it just me, or are diners like the hardest place to find something vegan (and satisfying)? We’re usually relegated to french fries, super boring salads, and the fruit cup. Bleh.
And what a bummer, because I absolutely love diners. It might be the classic Americana feel, the tacky interior design, 17-page menus, display cases full of desserts that will stop your heart, or the waitresses that have been working there for 40 years and call you “hun”… I love diners.
Shoreline Diner (and it’s sister spot, Georgie’s Diner in West Haven – same menu) is an oasis in the un-veg-friendly world of diners – all of the qualities of a great, classic diner… and vegan options. And I mean REAL vegan options. We’re talking an entire half-page of specialties – including tempeh “fish” cakes, chili, lasagna, linguini with lentil meatballs (!), tofu picatta, and a tempeh reuben (!!). It’s enough to make a vegan diner-lover shed a tear.
But, I was there for brunch.
Shoreline Diner’s vegan breakfast menu is pretty small, which is a little odd, given that breakfast seems like a pretty significant portion of diner business, and vegan breakfast is pretty simple to whip up – pancake batter and waffle batter are fairly similar, and it’s would be really easy to offer tofu scram instead of eggs for any of the regular egg dishes – so a few more choices would be awesome, but I’m not complaining. Choices are tofu frittata, buckwheat pancakes with optional add-ins of blueberries, chocolate chips, and bananas, hot oatmeal, and grits.
The blueberry pancakes were, in a word, indulgent. Perfectly cooked, crisp outside and tender inside, with loads of fresh wild blueberries throughout. The pancakes themselves were barely sweet and a touch savory, which was a nice contrast to the juicy bites of blueberries and my drizzle of maple syrup – I like being able to
pour on buckets of add a little syrup and not get punched in the face with sweetness. I ordered the short stack (2) and it was more than enough, as these pancakes are rich and filling. Yum.
Random side note: these pancakes came served with butter packets, which I thought was a little silly.
There was a lot to like about this frittata… it was chock-full of big chunks of fresh sauteed peppers, onions and mushrooms, and the flavor was very nice – savory and very egg-like. And of course, topping it with a ton of fresh, creamy avocado is a huge plus. Unfortunately, the texture in this dish was off – it seemed like the frittata was made with a silken tofu batter that did not set up, so the result was fairly mushy. I ate all the veggies out of it, and the avocado of course, but I felt that this could be much improved just by using firm tofu and making it a scramble.
In all, Shoreline’s pancakes were a hit, and for the hardcore brunchers, the vegan lunch menu is also available all day – I will definitely be back to try that tempeh reuben and the the fish cakes! The diner also offers a full gluten-free menu, though none of those options were specifically indicated as also being vegan. This is a great spot for a large group of folks with varying dietary preferences… there’s truly something for everyone.
345 Boston Post Road, Guilford