Road Food: Sluggo’s in Pensacola, Fla.

Cajun carrot cakes with soy remoulade at Sluggo’s in Pensacola, Fla.

Since I perpetually find myself en route from Point A to Point B, I’m always on the lookout for great places to stop for a bite to eat while I’m on the road. As a persnickety consumer of meat, the top spots on my list tend to have a knack for meatless dishes.

There’s Soccer Taco, a sports-themed Mexican bar and grill in Knoxville, Tenn., that serves a near-perfect plate of veggie fajitas. Kavarna Coffeehouse in Green Bay, Wis., which I can always count on for a spot-on latte and a top-notch walnut burger. And Good Dog in Chattanooga, Tenn., where I can get a vegan Chicago-style hot dog that’s truly better than the real thing.

On a recent drive from Tallahassee to New Orleans with The Professor, I discovered my new favorite place for road food, thanks to a suggestion from a very cool vegan couple we know. Sluggo’s, a café in downtown Pensacola that doubles as an all-ages music venue, possesses that rough-and-tumble, punk-kids-threw-this-together vibe that never fails to charm me, but the dishes we ordered revealed just how much thought has gone into the all-vegetarian menu.

We plowed through a notably hearty vegan chili with cornbread, sides of collard greens and mashed potatoes topped with the best mushroom gravy I’ve ever eaten, and a plate of excellent pot stickers with three sauces. Then we turned our attention to the dish I still can’t stop thinking about, something I’d never encountered before.

The grilled Cajun carrot cakes were sprinkled with candied pecans and accompanied by a soy remoulade, which all together on my fork created the ideal balance of spicy, sweet and creamy. I need to figure out how to recreate that unforgettable dish in my own kitchen, or just concoct an excuse to drive through Pensacola again soon.

Just the facts
Sluggo’s
101 S. Jefferson St., Pensacola, Fla.
(850) 791-6501

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