The Best of 2021 According to the Vegan Experimentalist

To mark the end of another weird year, I'm again curating a 'best of' list with categories chosen by yours truly. It's a way to highlight the best things I ate (all vegan, of course) in 2021. Cheers to a New Year filled with delicious vegan food! Now that I'm located in Chicago, I am looking forward to trying new restaurants in the Midwest! 


(O) omnivore business, but labels vegan

(VG) vegetarian business

(V) vegan business

Best overall meal

Everything I get @ Unit Su Vege (VG) in Philadelphia, PA

Scallion pancake, cashew tofu, green beans, eggplant and tofu, bean sprout spring rolls. I could eat it again and again. And oh, did I.

Best handheld

Build-your-own arepa @ Somos (O) in New Haven, CT

The star is the guasacaca sauce made with avocado and cilantro, it's just so fresh with a little tanginess. I fill the corn arepa high with tofu sofrito, plantains, black beans, and pickled red onion.

Best ice cream

Soft serve @ Vaca's Creamery (V) in Chicago, IL

This wins the best spot on my vegan soft serve countdown. Perfection!

Best spicy dish

Chicharron platter @ Quesadilla La Reina Del Sur (VG) in Chicago, IL

The green sauce, omg, I was hurting for a while after this one. Tasty and oh so fire-y.

Best baked good

Bun @ Mercy Me (O) in Washington, DC

Bliss in a roll. I think they've changed the flavor but at the time I enjoyed it it was coconut, rum icing, and rum raisins. So 'buttery' and flavorful. Nice fluffy texture with a healthy dose of the icing.

Best saucy dish

Chorizo burrito @ Jajaja (V) in New York, NY

Not just Instagrammable...but delicious. The burrito lived up to the hype.

Best tofu dish

Khao yum tofu @ Laos in Town (O) in Washington, DC

This was beautiful in its simplicity: just tofu, rice powder, scallion, red onion, cilantro, chili powder. Straight umami. 

Best breakfast

Veggie Galaxy (VG) in Boston, MA

This diner has an interesting take on tofu scramble, plus a side of vegan gravy WILL win me over anytime.

Most eaten restaurant

Pataka (VG) in New Haven, CT

This fast casual restaurant made me actually CRAVE salad. The tamarind jaggery vinaigrette is a sweet and sour dream. The tofu is so delicately fried. Plus, I would eat the plain dosa and sambar soup far too often.