After interviewing Eric Ng, the mastermind behind the World Premiere of the Veggie Donair for a Vue article, I was more curious than ever about the event. I bought an advance ticket at Listen Records, and headed for the Hydeaway (10209 100 Ave) on Wednesday evening.
While I’m not sure what the most appropriate venue for a world premiere of a vegetarian food item would be, the very casual, pub-like space of the Hydeaway suited Eric’s “do it yourself” mentality, I thought. Shortly after 7pm (the event’s start time as listed on the tickets), employees were still shifting around furniture and setting up the stage, as attendees began trickling in.
Around 7:30pm, Leif Oleson-Cormack (an old friend of mine from high school), did his best to entertain the hungry crowd, as Eric headed to the kitchen to begin assembling the donairs. Leif’s set was about 20 minutes in length, after which we got up from the table to wait in a line that snaked halfway around the space.
By this point, I realized I should have had something to eat prior to the event, as the wait was painful. For a food-focused event, an hour and a half to get to the “meat”, so to speak, was unacceptable. At the same time, I had to feel for Eric and the rest of his helpers – a peek inside the kitchen saw four busy hands, and the one waitress had trouble delivering orders to a shifting crowd of patrons. A number system would have helped, but it seemed organization wasn’t the evening’s strong point.
As for the donair itself – while I am not the best judge of donairs (I can’t remember the last time I had one), I liked the crispy, toasted pita shell, and the combination of the tomatoes, onions, sauce, and meat replacement. The consensus at our table, however, was that we wished that the gluten/tofu slab had been sliced a little thinner – it was a tad too thick served as it was (and with a chewy texture very similar to some of the vegan dishes I had at Padmanadi). I did attempt to take a few photos, but as our table and the surrounding area had no overhead lights, the pictures turned out much too blurry to post, unfortunately.
Eric said the turnout of just over 60 was perfect, as he ended up running out of supplies. Overall, it was a fun night and an interesting experience – I hope more food item world premieres are in Edmonton’s future!
5 thoughts on “Veggie Donair World Premiere”
thanks again for coming out
indeed it was a bit of a zoo in the kitchen, rather incredible in fact that Bo & I cranked out as many dones as we did
as for thinner slices, YES, i figured out how to make that happen the morning afterwards. you can check out the photos here:
a friend of mine was also telling me if i wanted to save some time i could bring it to a deli to get it sliced on a machine…but it’s difficult to say how vegetarians would feel about that.
anyhow, the thinner slices made a monumental difference, basically fixing the two problem areas i’ve had all along- textually it was closer to the real thing, and also it soaked up more fat in the process, making it more “gross”
i’ve invited Liane Faulder to a possible taste test comparison against its meaty counterpart in the future, maybe you’d be interested in joining us? i’ll let you know what comes of it.
Eric – thanks for the comment! I’m glad you solved the thickness problem! And you’re right, vegetarians might not be too happy about the use of a deli slicer.
Sure, I’d be up for a taste test!
Who wouldn’t be up for a test like that! I would, and if not able to eat, be really excited to see these in person as I was traveling at the time.
On a totally random note; my friends and I used to indulge in the donair goodness so much, I had a hat made at one of those mall kiosks that just says, Donair.