Frugal Friday — The Cinnamon Snail

Today brings us the first installment of “Frugal Friday”, featuring inexpensive vegetarian fare around New York City (and elsewhere).  To kick things off, I visited “The Cinnamon Snail“, the vegan food truck (you can find them on twitter — @VeganLunchTruck — and on Facebook) on one of its first visits to Manhattan.

I’ll preface this by saying that the good folks at The Cinnamon Snail underestimated demand on this early trip to the city (I think I might have caught them on one of their first trips to midtown), and I think this was the root of several issues.  I won’t hold that against them, unless this becomes a persistent problem.  I got to the food truck around 1:30 or so, which, unfortunately, was peak lunch time for the midtown office set.  I waited almost half an hour in line (the things I do for my readers!) before my order was taken.  This did give me quite a bit of time to think about what I should order.   (Check out the menu.)  I got a creme brulee donut — apparently a speciality — and the ancho chili seitan burger.  I thought this would be a good choice, because I generally like seitan and spicy foods.

There was a long wait for the food — about another thirty or forty minutes — so I had the donut while I waited.  I thought it was pretty good, for a vegan dessert.  The best donuts are soft but not dense, and this unfortunately was a little on the dense side.  I’m not sure how or if this is avoidable.  The creme brulee filling was nice, but a little too sweet — I wondered if they were going overboard on “sweet” to compensate for “vegan”.  I’ve read some reviews of this donut that absolutely rave about it, so I wonder if I just caught them at a bad time.  As you can see, the dessert selection was pretty well cleared out by the time I got there:

My “burger” was supposed to be served on focaccia, but they had run out of focaccia, so I got it on a baguette instead.  The baguette was actually quite good, which I found a little surprising (I would have guessed that they might “skimp out” on the bread, to focus instead on the main part of the meal.)

The seitan burger was pretty good, but I wasn’t blown away.  I found it chewy and a little nutty, which was unusual, at least in my experience with seitan.  The various condiments (garlic, pepper sauce, horseradish cream) added some good flavor, but the seitan was quite heavy.  I went out to dinner this same night around 8 pm and I still felt full from lunch.  At least no one can say vegan food isn’t filling!

So overall, I think Cinnamon Snail is promising, and for about ten bucks it’s a pretty good vegan/vegetarian lunch.  But I’ll be interested to go back in a while, hopefully after they’ve worked out some of their earlier kinks, and see if they’ve hit stride.  No star ratings on the Frugal Friday restaurants, but at least for now, the vegan lunch truck Cinnamon Snail is worth a second visit.

PS:  If you want to find out where the lunch truck is going to be on a given day, check out their twitter page, or look them up on http://tweat.it, a nifty guide to NYC-area lunch trucks.

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Check out The Cinnamon Snail’s menu (click to enlarge). (Return to the body of the post.)

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