The Real Deal

Mick Ridgway

Mick Ridgway

Early this week, the NPR show On Point did an episode called Hold The Meat, about veganism. They made the point that most vegan food producers are either scientists, creating meat facsimiles in a lab, or chefs, developing innovative meatless recipes. So when I talked to Mick Ridgway, proprietor of the Fauxmaha vegan hot dog cart and this week's Dandelion chef, the first thing I asked him was to which camp he belonged.

"Neither," he laughed. "Vegan food is just big in my life and I wanted to pass that on to other people."

Mick worked with Modern Love, Isa Moskowitz's decidedly chef-y vegan restaurant that opened first in Omaha and now also has a location in Brooklyn, to develop his house hot dog recipe, which has quickly become a local favorite. "I like to have the old school hot dog toppings like onions and relish, but then I also try to do some fun ones to get some different flavor combinations out there. I’m confined to just the cart space, so I can't do too much more than that."

That's all going to change tomorrow at Dandelion, where the extra kitchen space will allow him to branch out into the world of seitan phillies with cashew cheese and barbecue tofu sandwiches with coleslaw, pickles and oyster mushrooms.

"I definitely have my usual downtown crowd, and I hope they will be there.  But I'm also excited because Dandelion popup has its own crowd, and people know that if they go there for lunch, there’s going to be something good on the menu. I'm hoping it will introduce a few new people to some vegan food they might not have tried before."

Kick off your three-day weekend by catching Mick's Dandelion popup, or find him most Thursdays from 11-2.30 at Modern Love, most Fridays, same hours, at That Dog Wash on 14th and Jackson, and at lots of one-off events around town during the summer.