We are headed straight to the end of the year and as such will come the New Year's Resolutions. I have been reading a lot lately how the vegan food movement has been growing in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years and that delights me completely. Whatever reasons you start to eat less meat there is one factor that can also be good: Your diet will get healthier and more adventurous.
That said it can be hard to know where to go and what to order. A lot of places these days do have clearly marked menus but I have done three previous posts about how to order vegan if you don't have a clearly marked menu. You can start with this information here if you like and there will be links to the next two posts as well.
If you are considering cutting back on meat consumption or doing away with it all together, allow me to share with you some places to try out to see what kinds of things you might enjoy. There are some well-known favorite places as well as some lesser known establishments.
Let's start with a bit of brunch.
Pizza Luce is famous for it's great vegan pizza but they also serve breakfast. It is only on the weekends and for a while they only served it in Duluth and St. Paul. They have expanded and I recently went and had one of my favorites: Vegan Quinoa Pancakes with warm apple compote. They also have a tofu scramble I love.
When you're looking for a veg lunch and you want it to be quick, look no further than Reverie Cafe. They serve all vegan food and when I was there, my companion and I tried the TLT and Berbere BBQ sandwich, both were great. Tasty and not too heavy. It's funny to me that I like veggie versions of BLT sandwiches, I used to really dislike them. But the veggie version here and at The Depot Tavern are super yummy.
The one person working by themselves that afternoon was totally great and friendly despite being relatively busy.
If you're looking for something a bit healthier head down to The Wedge Table. The Co-Op has expanded into a new space that has sit-in dining and more importantly: vegan cupcakes. They have a handful of options each time I have been that are vegan but my favorite is the Mayan Grains Bowl. Quinoa with black beans, sweet potatoes, kale, avocado slices, onions and avocado dressing. I add the grilled seitan as well. It's simple ingredients mixed together in a flavorful way.
I am going to share three places I think make great dinner stops. Though of course, you can eat there whenever you like! The first is a fully interactive experience. I have done this twice now and it's so fun and the more people you invite the more fun it can be. Little Szechuan in St. Paul offers Hotpot. Now if you've never had this before it can be a bit daunting. You sit at a table with a burner with a pot on top (and you can pick a completely vegetarian oil). Then you choose from a menu all the things you'd like to fry in the oil. Everything from lotus root to mushrooms to tofu in all forms. You then head over to the "bar" where you can create your own mixture of flavor oils, salts, powders and spice to dip these things in after they are cooked.
You take turns cooking things up and mixing and so you kind of never exactly know what you're going to get. I love this and I also love that it can be super spicy. But that's my preference. You definitely don't have to go spicy.
Added bonus: each pot is split in two so you can keep your side gluten free if you need to.
Never have I ever been in a place that smells as good as Everest on Grand. Located in St. Paul and in a cute neighborhood, this is one of my favorite places to eat in the Twin Cities. I usually go here for dinner but I am told they also have a vegan friendly lunch buffet. Everything I have tried on the menu I have liked. From lentil soup to momos to curry. They have an extensive veg menu and it is actually to me, a super great place to eat in winter. There is something very warming about the food. Some of the more decadent things include Tofu Pakoras and Momos (I once saw a little girl about 7-8 years old eat 20 veggie momos when I was there). For curry I really enjoy the Matar Curry and Kabuli Chana. They do sometimes additionally have one with asparagus that is beyond yummy. And again, you can get some real spice here.
In a similar vein, here in Minneapolis you can eat at a long time great place and favorite stop of mine: Gorkha Palace. Active in the community, kind people and just really good food. I've written about them before and they will likely always be on my favorites list. You can also have their momos with tomato chutney at the Mill City Farmer's Market in the summer time. I love sitting by the river and enjoying them.
Yes, I love momos. And Chana. Though my favorite and it can be ass-kickingly hot is Channa Saag. The veggies pakoras are quite good and come in a large quantity. The leftovers of food from here heat back up quite well.
Last but certainly not least is dessert. My new favorite ice cream comes from Milk Jam Creamery.
I love, love, love dark chocolate and none is better in ice cream form than the Black ice cream at Milkjam. It's usually busy and well worth the wait. However, I am a tiny bit miffed that you can't get one of the ice cream sandwiches made with Glam Doll donuts since they don't have vegan ones. I know, I know, champagne problems.
Speaking of which, Milkjam also has Champagne floats.
So go forth and conquer! I will have more for you at the end of the year. ENJOY!