Perhaps the most disheartening thing a vegan or vegetarian can hear when trying to order at a restaurant after a long beach day/workout/11-hour workday is, “we have salad.” At many establishments, said salad consists of iceberg lettuce chunks, zombie tomato slices, and random vinegar. Yet many restaurants on Maui are surprisingly veggie-friendly. Some even offer robust stirfries and the option of subbing tofu or portabella mushrooms for meat in certain dishes.
When it comes to burrito joints I am generally skeptical, given the amount of animal products associated with this versatile food item, including lard, which often hides in vats of refritos. When walking in I usually wonder if I’ll have to subsist on Corona while my associates nosh quesadillas and chorizo burritos, not that I wouldn’t be cool with that. Admittedly I find that the toughest thing about my dietary choice is not the lack of availability of dishes that are sans-meat, dairy, eggs, etc., but rather having to be a huge pain in the ass by asking for modifications to menu items. Or, worse yet, making my friends/family worry whether there will be options when we go out to eat. For me, part of the draw of Jawz Tacos is that ordering there doesn’t make me feel like a nitpicky jerk.
I recently spotted the teriyaki tofu burrito on their takeout menu and immediately enlisted Sarah, another vegetable devotee, to sample one post Little Beach one Sunday night. A delightful discovery upon our arrival was the availability of Maui Brewing Co.’s Big Swell IPA, one of my most favored schwilling implements. Bonus: it was half off, given that happy hour is all day Sundays (3-6pm all other days).
While waiting for our order we checked out the salsa bar, which featured unexpected variations on this vital condiment. I dug the tropical pico de gallo most. The bar featured incongruous items like wasabi and soy sauce, presumably for the fish tacos in which Jawz specializes.
Then came the burritos. Admittedly, tofu is one of the most hit-or-miss compounds on the planet. Anyone who’s had it more than once will tell you this. Still, whatever Jawz did to render curdled soybean juice into the otherworldly contents of our burritos warrants a Nobel Prize. MTW