I have been complaining about Burlington’s vegan scene for a while now, with only a few places (like Stone Soup) offering anything substantial.
So when I heard about Pingala in the Chace Mills at Winooski, I was really excited to check them out.
Their location is pretty awesome, right on the banks of the Winooski River at the falls. While the idea of a nice outdoor spot sounded nice, the mercury was hovering around 15 degrees. So we elected to sit inside.
San Diego has a pretty decent vegan scene, and Moncai Vegan is a cornerstone. The nice thing about it, is that it contrasts to the “fast food” nature of other pillars, such as Evolution and Veggie Grill.
Moncai Vegan is more of a take your time and relax kinda place.
While a small space, it is setup very well with about six or seven tables. The ambiance is a bit austere, but the warm service combined with the scent of fresh baked goodies more than makes up for it. They have an awesome display case filled with donuts , cinnamon buns, and other baked goodies.
There is a little village outside Boston (right off the Pike) that should be on all vegans’ travel plans – Allston. Similar to Portland’s vegan mini mall, there is a corner at a major intersection with a vegan chinese food restaurant, vegan ice cream shop, and the newest member – Root.
Root occupies the space that used to feature Peace O’ Pie, one of my staple vegan establishments in Boston. But they occupy it well, offering something new to the scene.
Lunch one day at A.N.D. in Portland and Dinner at Wayward in Seattle!? It’s a vegan race up I-5 in this week’s restaurant review double header!
This was my second visit to Wayward Vegan Cafe, located in Seattle’s vegan mecca of University Way.
When you first pull up, the outside leaves a little to be desired, looking pretty run down and sandwiched between a couple of sketchy bars. And, honestly the inside, while clean, is not much better.
But, once you are over the austere decor, you are in for some truly delicious vegan chow!
Wayward Vegan offers more healthy choices, but each time I go, I find myself opting for a more “junk” food experience. It is also really cool that you can order breakfast or lunch all day.
The first time I visited, I ordered the “Mac Daddy” which is essentially a vegan Big Mac. Their menu describes it as “Two no beef patties, reuben sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun.” It was pretty awesome to eat something so vegan and so bad for you.
I also ordered the peach cobbler which quite honestly was not really that good. The nuclear fuel rod temperature it came out at might have had something to do with it, as it was waaaay over warmed. After letting it cool for a long time, I had a couple of bites and left the rest for the compost.
On my second visit I was starving. I had just raced the clock, trying to make it by 9:00PM (closing time). I asked the person taking my order what their most popular thing was, and ordered it. I waited in eagerness while my food was delivered.
It was a beautiful vegan club sammy!
This puppy was huge. Full of tempeh bacon, ham and turkey, on buttered bread, it was also really filling and probably not that good for me.
The Club was pretty good. The tempeh was not very bacony (which may or may not be a good thing for some) and I found it overall just lacking some flavor. It was still yummy, but surprisingly missing something.
For dessert I ordered the Oreo Cheesecake and it was really good. Not as firm as some of the better cheesecakes I have had, but still tasty and fresh.
The Wayward Vegan Cafe is a good place to stop for some really “good” junk food. I will most likely check it out once a year or so on my visits to Seattle, but not more than that.
As many people know, brunching in Portland is something of an olympic sport. It is part of our heritage, much like good espresso, grey Winter days, and cold craft beer. And, just like never owning an umbrella, people have come to look at standing in a long line as something that actually defines a true Portlander.
So, when you can find an amazing vegan brunchery (not a word until just now) with not much of a wait, it is like the heavens have opened up and a thousand angels are singing.
A.N.D. Cafe rarely has a long line of hungry souls, but that is not due to the food, atmosphere, or service. I tend to think it is due to being “farther out” on Burnside than most fixie riders are willing to go.
Let them have the Screen Doors and Tin Sheds of the World. We’ll fill up the Jeep and barrel her down Burnside for some of the best vegan food Portland has to offer.
A.N.D. Cafe is, by default vegan. However, upon request, vegetarians and omnis can elect to have eggs and dairy cheese subbed.
Let’s talk food.
I cannot recommend enough, anything with their walnut meat loaf. My personal fav is the Meatloaf Benedict, but the sammy is great also. On their menu, the MB is defined as “herb tofu or two poached eggs, walnut meatloaf, hollandaise, toast.”
The Florentine waffle is an amazing choice, with chicken (Beyond Meat), gravy, scrambled tofu, hollandaise, and tomatoes. It also is stuffed with cheese (I’m thinking Daiya) and spinach.
Just today I tried the Buffalo Blue Hoagie, a buffalo chicken (ala Beyond Meat) sandwich with homemade blue cheese and spinach. The soft, velvety bread makes this easy to eat. It is a top contender for possibly being one of my favorite all-time vegan sandwiches. And I don’t just throw that around all willy-nilly.
Melanie ordered their special today, which was a fried tofu cutlet with gravy, kale and cheddar jalapeno corn bread. She liked it, but made the mistake of trying my chicken sammy first. Once she had that, the bar was set too high for the tofu cutlet to keep up.
Service is short, brisk, and very pleasant which is really what you want in a place like this. I don’t have time for clingy waiters and waitresses – get my order right, bring me my food, check on me from time to time, and let me free up that table for the next hungry group.
The people at A.N.D. Cafe are always great.
Let’s talk about the BAD parts of A.N.D. Cafe:
(there are none)
In conclusion, this place is a pillar of the vegan scene in PDX and should never be missed. If you are a vegan in town and have not been here yet, GO THERE. Make it a regular stop. If you have out of town guests, take them here and blow their minds.
Eating vegan was actually pretty easy in China, and I am not just referring to the suitcase full of Clif bars I had in my hotel room.
The ease of eating in the city was made possible by the Happy Cow app on my mobile that lets me pinpoint vegan (or vegan friendly) locations near me, regardless of where I am.
So I decided to browse HC for a lunch meeting with coworkers, and it led me to Fu Hui Ci Yuan.
The air was pretty polluted on the day we decided to walk down Wanfujing Street to find this spot, but it was a relatively short walk. I grew slightly uneasy when we turned down a dirty, narrow hutong, as I hoped this place wasn’t a reflection of the area.
Sure enough, I was greeted by a big restaurant facade of concrete and wood, proudly proclaiming “Vegetarian” on the side. I was comfortable with the veg part, not so much the dirty, gray outside.
But, never judge a book by its cover.
Once inside, we stepped down a few stairs into a large great room surrounded by tea pots and teas for sale. The room was beautifully laid out and was very clean.
We all sat at a large table and began to review the expansive menu.
We decided on the following options:
Fried Rice (aka “Man’s Food”)
Turnip Tofu soup
Mock chicken with Bamboo Shoots
Mashed potatoes (I know, totally random)
An eggplant mock eel
Frozen, mashed yam with blueberry drizzle on sliced yaw berry.
The service was phenomenal (typical for my experiences in China) – prompt and courteous.
The price was also reasonable as seven people had this gourmet lunch for around $30 USD.