Tofutti hard cheese is the most widely-available vegan cheese in the country. If you look at the label, you won’t see any trans-fat count — just that the second top ingredient is partially hydrogenated soybean oil, the most popular source of man-made trans-fats the NYC law seeks to ban.
“If you create a proper vegan recipe, it won’t include trans-fats,” says Cliff Preefer, the chef at Sacred Chow. Not only proper according to Cliff, but lawful according to the City of New York: as of July 2008, restaurants are banned from using trans-fats in any of their foods. And unlike with their cream cheese, Tofutti doesn’t offer a non-hydrogenated version. But out of the six restaurants I contacted, Foodswings is the only one using Tofutti — and the only one without a plan for change.
This is part two of SuperVegan’s “No more trans-fats? But how will I go on?” series on the ban as it affects vegans in New York City. You can read part one here. After the jump, a brief run-down of some of the top vegan-cheesy restauranteurs in the city. (P.S. Get your act together, Kate’s.)
Fortunately, most places aren’t in for big changes — because fortunately they didn’t use Tofutti cheeses in the first place. The V-Spot uses the SoyCo soy and casein-free Rice American Cheese slices, as well as Vegan Gourmet’s Follow Your Heart Mozzarella, which is also the vegan cheese of choice at Slice pizza on the Upper East Side. The Cafe Viva pizzeria on the Upper West Side uses a casein-free mozzarella distributed by Natural Farms.
Sacred Chow uses vegan Vegi-Kaas cheese — casein-free, unlike their non-vegan Soya-Kaas brethren. Now, Foodswings: that venerable source of vegan fast-food as greasy as the noisepiece on a Williamsburg hipster’s aviator sunglasses. Granted, they, too, use Vegi-Kaas on pizzas and quesadillas (mozzarella and cheddar, respectively), but their sandwiches are loaded with Tofutti slices. When I called to ask if they were planning a switch, the woman I spoke with paused and stammered, “That’s a good question.”
So are Foodswings sandwiches in for a change? I’ll let you know if Freedom ever calls me back.