Review: Karyn’s Cooked + SURPRISE!

by Jenn (eating bender) on August 6, 2008

Karyn’s Cooked

Description: A vegetarian- and vegan-friendly restaurant that is “committed to using only whole fresh foods (organic) whenever possible,” according to the site. They serve a variety of hot and cold dishes that do not use dairy products, eggs, refined sugar, salt, or artificial flavors.

Why Karyn’s Cooked: Here’s the big surprise


It was SO.MUCH.FUN. to meet VeggieGirl and another friend when they were visiting Chicago! I knew I wanted to try out a vegan or vegetarian restaurant because I have never been to one before. We reviewed our options and decided that Karyn’s Cooked was the best location for all of us to get to – and dinner was served!! It was a wonderful evening outside of the blogosphere!

What I Ordered:

I started out with an order of Thai Skewers, which was basically seitan with a choice of peanut or barbecue sauce. I decided to get two with peanut and one with barbecue.

For my entree, I got a bowl of the meatless chili, a steaming bowl of spiciness with beans and soy ground “meat.”

The meatless chili was served with a piece of vegan corn bread.

Review: It was my first time trying seitan, and I honestly had no idea what to expect! I actually didn’t particularly care for the skewers. There was something gritty about them that I didn’t like, and they had a strange aftertaste. It’s hard to describe in words, but there was just something off about the whole dish. I only ate two out of the three pictured. VeggieGirl suggested that it may have had to do with the fact that the seitan was sliced so thinly. I’m willing to give it a try in another form, but I don’t think I’ll go with this one again!

The meatless chili was excellent! I honestly couldn’t tell the difference between this bowl of soup and the carnivorous kind. The bowl was huge though, so I only finished about half of it. I asked for a cup, but they gave me a bowl – talk about super-size me!

The cornbread was by far the best part of this meal – I ate and enjoyed every bite! I like cornbread in general, and the vegan recipe tasted just as good as any other recipe I’ve tried. I love the texture – dense, but with a crumbly effect that goes down easy. I need to start making more cornbread at home!

Get Yours: So overall, Karyn’s Cooked had a lot to offer and would be a great place to visit during a trip to Chicago. I’d recommend going there for lunch instead of dinner – based on the stories VeggieGirl told me! But you’ll have to wait for that story when she posts on her blog. Be sure to check it out, though, because there may or may not be a non-food-related picture she has to share πŸ˜‰ That’s my broadcast journalism teaser for the day.

Have a great night :mrgreen:

1 VeggieGirl August 6, 2008 at 9:40 pm

LOVED THIS, LOVED THIS, LOVED THIS!!! Dinner was so fun that night :0)

2 Melissa August 6, 2008 at 10:21 pm

how cool that you got to have dinner w/ veggiegirl!!! that’s so exciting! and i hope that next time you try seitan you like it better! i know what you mean about the grittiness…it has taken me some getting used to…but even then, heh…

glad you had a great time!!! have a great night!

3 Aimee August 7, 2008 at 6:12 am

That is so fun that you too got to meet up!! I actually was thinking last week when VeggieGirl wesaid she was going to Chicago that she should meet up with Jenn :) I’ll be in Hawaii next week, but I don’t read any Blogs based out of Hawaii that I read!

4 Erica August 7, 2008 at 6:43 am

Ah! That is so cool that you two met up! Sounds like a fun and different kind of dinner. I have never eaten at a vegan restaurant but would love to do so!

5 Fit Bottomed Girls August 7, 2008 at 6:48 am

Awww, the blogging world coming together, discovering tasty healthy eats. I’m lovin it. (And not in the McD’s way. hehe.)

6 Erin August 7, 2008 at 7:11 am

That is SO STINKIN’ CUTE that you guys met in person! I’m excited! That cornbread looks good – mmm.

7 Foodie (Fab and Delicious Food) August 7, 2008 at 7:51 am

That’s so cool that you and VeggieGirl got together for some good eats! Glad you guys had fun!

8 fitnessista August 7, 2008 at 7:52 am

that’s so cool you got to meet veggiegirl for a delicious feast!!! how fun!!
enjoy your day:D its almost the weeeeeeekend!!!

9 oatmeal August 7, 2008 at 10:12 am

So awesome that you got to meet VeggieGirl! I love meeting online people in real life πŸ˜€ Looks like a really awesome dinner–the cornbread and chili looks really good!

10 Kristie August 7, 2008 at 10:24 am

Aw that sounds like such a fun dinner and that’s so cool that you got to go out for dinner with VeggieGirl!

The dish looks good, it’s too bad you didn’t really like the seitan! I’ve never tried it either but I’ve wanted to give it a go lately. Glad you enjoyed the rest of your meal though!

11 MizFit August 7, 2008 at 10:53 am


I love merging real life and notreallife :)

12 glidingcalm August 7, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Ha! That is so cool you got to try all those vegan dishes…and even more cool you got to meet VeggieGirl in person! How fun! I hope to someday be able to meet with some of my blogging friends in real life too! Comon skating! Get me some events all over the U.S….I want to start traveling!
Anyways, I hope you have a wonderrrrrrful Thursday JennBear! haha and yes, we need to catch up on sleep this weekend!! You have permission to yell at me! Last night I was up 40 min longer than planned…..all because of blog reading. Uh oh!

13 mi August 7, 2008 at 3:21 pm

sounds fantastic, how great to meet her!! the chilli & cornbread look so delicious and decadent, and yet they are good for you – life is sweet πŸ˜€

14 annaalstondonnelly August 7, 2008 at 3:26 pm

That sounds like so much fun! I feel the same way abotu seitan…def. weird aftertaste.

15 Sarah August 7, 2008 at 5:32 pm

oh fun! i want to come to chicago and go on eating adventures with you too!

that chili looks really good, i’ve randomly been in the mood for chili lately and now I definitely need to make some!

It’s almost Friday!! : )

16 Mark Salinas August 7, 2008 at 6:14 pm

That chili looks phenomenal! Great post…thanks for sharing!

17 Heather August 7, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Oh man, I’ve been wanting to try Karyn’s forever! I live sort of near the raw restaurant but I haven’t tried that one either… I apparently need to branch out in my Chicago dining! What are your favorite restaurants here?

18 Jenn August 8, 2008 at 9:27 pm

VeggieGirl ~ Heck yes it was :) I’m so glad everything worked out (minus the service!)

Melissa ~ I’m going to try to find a new way to prepare it and hope that I will like it more!

Aimee ~ Too bad there aren’t any blogs based out of Hawaii. Now that would be fun! Can’t wait to see your pictures!

Erica ~ It was definitely an entirely different experience for me, and I liked it!

Fit Bottomed Girls ~ Definitely not in the McD’s way πŸ˜‰

Erin ~ Cornbread = amazing!

Foodie ~ Thanks!!

fitnessista ~ Thank goodness the weekend is here NOW!!

Carmen ~ It was great!

Kristie ~ Hopefully the second time around will be better!

MizFit ~ I couldn’t have said it better myself :)

Em ~ So great! I hope you’ll someday be able to come to Chicago for skating – how great would that be?!

mi ~ I love when good for you foods actually TASTE good!

Anna ~ Glad to hear I’m not alone!

Sarah ~ I want to go on a foodie adventure with you!! We must find a way!

Mark ~ Thanks for reading!

Heather ~ Definitely give it a try. One of the other places that I’ve heard is good (especially for your meatless endeavors) is Chicago Diner.

19 VeggieGirl August 30, 2011 at 7:22 am

Ahhhh I can’t believe it’s been 3 years!

20 Jenn (eating bender) August 30, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Aw, I can’t either! Miss you very much – can’t wait to hear your news!

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