Reviews written by fauxpas
Registered on Aug 3 06
This is a well-stocked co-op with many vegan staples. I went here looking for vegan snacks, after being left only mildly satisfied by the fare at Cafe Cornucopia. I was pleased to find yummy $0.99 vegan chocolate-chip cookies (which seemed to be made locally), along with other snacks and interesting items. There were also plenty of refrigerated and frozen items.
There is a sign on the side of AZ-80 directing you toward the store, so it is pretty easy to find. It's south of Old Bisbee and just north of the roundabout.
This is definitely vegetarian-friendly: you'll be able to enjoy some salads, sandwiches, smoothies, and desserts. When I went there the soup of the day was not vegetarian, but perhaps there are days when it is.
Vegans will have a harder time. I ordered a vegetarian sandwich without cheese or mayo on sourdough bread, which seemed to be vegan. The workers did know what "vegan" meant and were very helpful. I also had tangerine lemonade, which was quite delicious. None of the desserts was vegan, but the waitress did inform us that there <I>used</I> to be a bakery down the street that made a vegan cookie!
I was slightly perturbed that I paid $20 in cash for two veggie sandwiches and some lemonade. It tasted good, but it wasn't too filling and seemed overpriced. Considering what a small town Bisbee is, though, I consider it a success that I found anything substantive at all, and in a restaurant where the workers knew about veganism.
I wasn't in town during Cafe Roka's very limited hours of operation, but an employee told me that the chef there is happy to adapt his menu for vegans.
Also, it is apparently recommended to make reservations.
This is a great restaurant with a warm atmosphere and good food. Vegan pastries are clearly marked and vary in quality -- I was most impressed by the danish.
The gyro was just wonderful. It was made with seitan and served on pita. The first time I had it, the hummus served on the side was awful, but the next day it was better, so I guess that varies day to day.
The chai was great, but I'd have to recommend that you don't get it with ice, as you'll pay the same amount of money for less chai (since they fill the cup to the brim with ice).
My only complaint is that it's cash-only. The last time I ate there, I was just passing through town on my way home from a road trip, and I was completely out of cash. I went on a wild-goose chase through Flagstaff looking for an ATM, which managed to slam me with fees on both ends. So I ended up paying about $5 in fees on top of my bill.
There was a deli section with vegan food and bakery items. It saved me from going hungry when I was looking for dinner but the Macy's kitchen was closed.
This is one of those restaurants that is slightly intimidating to newcomers, because you can't figure out where the menus are, or where napkins are, or how you get water ...
Turns out the menu was a tiny little green pamphlet up front by the cash register. So unless you know where it is or already know what you want, you can't figure out what you want while you're waiting in line.
I ended up getting a "tsoynami" and veggie burger, and my companion got a "chicken" parm. Both were served with a side of thyme fries. The tsoynami was supposed to be like a Dairy Queen blizzard, and it was one of those things that is labeled as vegan but you definitely have your doubts when you get it! Mine had Cocoa Puffs in it, or some kind of vegan equivalent. To me the veganicity was dubious, but I decided to take them at their word and eat it. If you miss Dairy Queen, this is definitely a wonderful analog.
My veggie burger was OK. It was VERY splooshy and did not hold its shape; by the time I was halfway through it was a very thin paste between two pieces of bread, with chunks falling out from between the buns. The taste was decent; oddly spicy though.
My companion and I both thought the chicken parm looked incredibly unappetizing; however, he said it tasted really good. We both enjoyed the thyme fries.
If this weren't an all-vegan restaurant I'd probably give it a lower rating. The produce wasn't fresh and the preparation was on the sloppy side. The food was good but didn't blow me away, and it definitely was not health food! I know things can be prepared a little healthier and still taste great. However, not using fresh produce or making their own bread surely keeps the costs down, and I did appreciate how inexpensive the food was.
When I visited last year, the waitress was very knowledgeable about veganism and the dishes' ingredients. There were some interesting and unique entrees. I had a spinach "burger," and was expecting a sandwich but instead was served a spinach patty and some rice. Despite the unexpected form my food took, it was absolutely delicious.
There were many vegan dessert options as well. I had a fantastic chocolate cheesecake. My companion had a slice of pumpkin pie, which was also quite good.
Walking through the door, it didn't look too promising as a vegan eatery, but I found myself pleased with my order. I had a grilled veggie sandwich, which was very good but a little too greasy for my tastes. I sampled my companion's falafel, which was even better.
The waiter was incredibly friendly, and seemed very knowledgeable when I asked him questions about ingredients.
The hummus was pretty good but I'm still on my search for the Best Hummus In Tucson.
There is a neat little market in the back where you can get specialty items such as pomegranate molasses, rose water, and vegetable ghee.
NB: The lentil soup is made with chicken broth!
Pretty much all the food I've had here has been incredibly bland -- and I've tried a lot of it. If you have a reason to be here you will at least be able to eat. There are so many better nearby options, though.
They have been misleading about vegan items in the past -- for instance, their tofu pie with honey has been mislabeled as vegan. This makes me suspicious of the ostensibly vegan bread used for their veggie burger and sandwiches, which I would otherwise recommend. I am constantly receiving conflicting information about the breads' ingredients, so as of now I just don't trust them enough to eat their "vegan" sandwich. I wish they were as vegan-conscious as they advertise themselves to be, but they are not.
Vegan options that seem safe include the hummus plate (decent), bean-and-rice burrito (bland), and various soups of the day. I would go for the soup -- I've only had one, and it was almost tasteless, but maybe they have some good soup recipes up their sleeves.
Lacto-ovo vegetarians will have many more options. I'm glad there are at least options for vegans, but I wish I could trust their labeling. The owners are also very supportive of progressive causes, which is a plus.
The only vegan sandwich is Annie's Addiction, which is a hummus sandwich. I don't much care for the bread it's served on -- the crust is kind of hard on the old teeth. You can probably substitute a softer bread if you want, and they list all bread ingredients so you can tell which is vegan.
The hummus sandwich is good and everything, but I can't really remember the last time I thought to myself, "Wow, I'd really love a hummus sandwich right about now." Even if I was in Eastside when I got hungry, I think I'd rather drive across town to a restaurant with more vegan options. It's a fine place, but there are better vegan eats elsewhere. Maybe ovo-lacto vegetarians would appreciate it more, and I'm glad that they do at least take vegan customers into consideration.
I still like Zemam's better, but the vegetarian items are all vegan, there is a "vegan dinner for three" option that might save you money (it fed four people just fine), and the decor is much more stylish than at Zemam's.
But man, Zemam's split peas are out of this world!
I really like this place. It can seem a little overpriced when you consider the humble ingredients that make up the meals, but the food is always good and the produce is incredible.
Some have commented on poor service. It's true that the place seems to be run with a laid-back hippie attitude. This means that service can be very slow at times, but if you try to adopt that laid-back attitude and have some patience, you'll be fine. Bring a book if you're alone, or enjoy a conversation with friends during the wait.
I love all the food but am most impressed by the fajitas. The vegetables and protein (your choice of tofu, seitan, or tempeh) are grilled in a wonderful raspberry-chipotle sauce, and it is served to you with a couple of whole-wheat tortillas (or one huge tortilla, depending on what's on hand). Also impressive are the black beans and the Mediterranean platter.
There are almost always vegan desserts available, usually cakes. They vary in quality depending on freshness. The cakes are wonderfully moist when fresh, but sometimes they'll be more than a day old and kind of dried out.
I was not impressed by their chai tea (bland) or vegan milkshake (way too thick to drink through a straw).
The person who took our order was very knowledgeable about ingredients. There is a whole page of vegetable entrees that can be made vegetarian/vegan upon request (default preparation usually involves fish sauce). I had a vegetarian pad Thai without egg, and my dining companion had a curry that was absolutely amazing.
Spicy dishes are marked as such on the menu, but you can specify mild, medium, or hot. My companion requested a mild curry and that's what he got -- so if you usually shy away from spicy dishes, you might be able to handle them here if you request mild preparation.
Vegan items were clearly marked as such, which was fantastic. Unfortunately, my companion and I both ordered items that we requested to be prepared "mild," but were served dishes that were mind-blowingly hot. It seems like the point of offering mild to hot preparation is to give diners a choice about where on the spectrum they want their food to be, so all palates can be accommodated. Unfortunately that was not the case here.
However, I did order some kind of yellow lentil dish on the side, and it wasn't overloaded with heat and tasted quite nice, though a bit on the bland side. I could tell that the overly hot dishes would have tasted very nice if they weren't overpowered by the heat, so it's a shame!
I used to go here quite often before I gave up caffeine. They had a peanut-butter "blended" ice drink that I quite enjoyed.
They have plenty of vegan baked goods, which change on a daily basis. The scones were often very good. I remember an orange/cranberry/chocolate scone with some fondness; unfortunately they only offered it one time that I was there.
They have several vegetarian sandwiches, but unfortunately the only vegan option is a hummus sandwich served on a hard baguette. It's kind of a bummer -- the only vegan sandwich at Beyond Bread is also a hummus sandwich. I've found at a lot of sandwich places, a hummus sandwich is often the token vegan item. I also wish they had softer vegan bread. But on the other hand, at least they're conscious of their vegan customers.
They have other vegetarian and vegan items as well, all of which are clearly marked.
There is fantastic produce here, possibly the best in town. I bought some locally grown strawberries here last October that I used to decorate a chocolate cake. I remember dipping the leftover strawberries in the leftover frosting, and those strawberries were more delicious than the cake itself. Wow! It's also a good place to shop when you're going to prepare something veggie-intensive, like gazpacho or minestrone.
The bulk herb/spice section is also very comprehensive; the only time I couldn't find what I was looking for was when I was making an Indian dish and had to go to an Indian grocery for onion seeds.
It can be a little pricey, so I try only to buy other items when they're on sale.
I've been here for dinner a few times, and have always been satisfied but not completely impressed.
There is an entire page in the menu devoted to vegetarian dishes, and other pages had vegetarian options as well. The servers seem to have a general knowledge of veganism and the dishes' ingredients. Alas, neither the naan nor the desserts are vegan. Roti can be ordered in place of naan, and it's on par with the roti at other local Indian restaurants. Many of the dishes contain dairy, but they seem to have some flexibility in preparing them without it.
My favorite Indian restaurant in Tucson is still India Oven. But I felt like I got more for my money at Gandhi: the prices were a bit lower, and each meal included appetizers and side dishes (all of which were vegan except for the raita). Instead of having to pay extra for rice, for example, it was included with our meal.
But despite the value, I found the food to be incredibly bland. The chickpeas and potatoes, for example, hardly seemed to have any seasoning at all. A similar dish at India Oven packs a lot more flavor. Ditto with the dal and the veggie samosas. I've also had the fried okra here, which seemed to be on par with India Oven's counterpart.
When you get right down to it, Gandhi is pretty overrated. I don't understand why it consistently gets accolades from the Tucson Weekly and enjoys the level of popularity it does when there are far superior and more flavorful Indian restaurants just a few miles away.
I went there for lunch (before they changed management, so who even knows how relevant my experience is now) and was able to have a veggie burger and a chocolate-chip cookie. Other than that, my vegan options were kind of limited. But at least the waiter was knowledgeable, and at least there were vegan options.
The food wasn't bad, but I never went back again because there are so many other places in town that offer better vegan food.
I visited Govinda's on "vegan day," but not everything was vegan (though dairy items were at least clearly marked). It was supposed to be a buffet, but they'd charge you extra for certain items. I ended up paying a lot of money but not being able to eat very much of what was offered.
I wish I could talk about the food, but it was pretty forgettable. I wish I liked it since it's one of Tucson's few all-vegetarian establishments, but it was just kind of ... boring.
This is certainly a unique restaurant, and there are some interesting dishes available. My favorite is the sweet and sour chicken, which is like orange chicken made with breaded and deep-fried mock meat. The moo shu veggies are also very good. I've tried most of the items on the vegan menu, but haven't been impressed with too many of the other offerings.
After eating here a number of times I quickly became very bored with the food. Also, while the lunch special is a good value for your money, vegans will be limited in their side-dish options. They can have the sweet-and-sour soup (which is awful, in my opinion) and steamed rice. They won't be able to have the egg roll that their ovo-vegetarian counterparts can enjoy.
One complaint is that not all vegan items are clearly marked. There are three separate menus: an omnivore menu, a vegetarian menu, and a "vegan meat" menu. The latter only includes mock-meat items. Some items on the vegetarian menu are vegan, but they are not clearly marked. Servers are not always able to give accurate information on which vegetarian items are vegan and which ones aren't. So I generally limit myself to the "vegan meat" menu, which sort of bums me out as I'd like to feel more confident about vegan possibilities on the vegetarian menu.
EDITED TO ADD: Apparently their "vegan" drumsticks, ham, and shrimp have whey in them. The other mock meats should indeed be vegan. But this information has further lowered my already low level of enthusiasm about this place.
Original review, Oct 21 08: I'm not an Indian-food connoisseur, but having said that, this is my favorite Indian restaurant that I've been to. I've heard others complain of rude service, but I've always enjoyed my interactions with the staff.
The Bombay Aloo is wonderful, the potatoes seasoned to perfection, and the black-lentil dish is incredible (specify dairy-free), but my favorite is the chana masala. The channa aloo is equally good if you're in the mood for potatoes as well. Speaking of potatoes, the potato chat (salad) is an outstanding (though VERY hot) appetizer that can be shared by at least two people, easily more.
Unfortunately, the naan is not vegan, but the roti makes a good substitute (specify that you want the roti served with oil -- or nothing -- and not butter). Chana masala wrapped in torn-off pieces of roti has become one of my favorite meals in Tucson.
The veggie samosas are divine (especially with the tamarind chutney!), and the ingredients are vegan, but unfortunately they are fried in the same oil as meat items. So it depends where you draw the line between vegetarianism and meat-eating.
Updated review: Food is still great, but the more vegan-friendly servers don't seem to work there anymore. Last time I went there, the server didn't seem to care/understand that I ordered my dish without dairy. She didn't write it down, didn't tell the cook when she shouted my order into the kitchen, and ... I'm pretty sure I ate dairy for the first time in a million years. If I go back I'll have to order something like the channa masala, which is non-dairy by default.
A little difficult to locate, but the people were so friendly, the space was so pleasant (I'm looking forward to dining outdoors when the weather is nicer), and the meal was great. I got smoked tofu tacos, which were delicious, and am looking forward to trying more items off the menu. Although it's not a vegetarian restaurant, there were several vegan dishes and many of them looked appetizing. I also enjoyed the chocolate tofu pie -- the same one that Bentley's carries.
This is probably the easiest place to get vegan Mexican food in Tucson. Most waiters will know what you mean when you request vegan preparation, but to be on the safe side you might want to say "no cheese" instead of "vegan."
All vegetarian items are clearly marked, and most of them can be made vegan by omitting cheese. The cooking style seems to be Tarasco/O'odham fusion, so it straddles both sides of the border, creating unique dishes that you won't be able to find anywhere else.
My personal favorites are the spinach enchiladas and the potato taco. The latter includes some kind of sugar vinegar, which imparts such a fantastic flavor to the whole thing. It's a little greasy, though.
My only complaint: No vegan dessert! Not even a humble bunuelo. Oh well.
Original review, Dec 10 07: The first time I came here, shortly after it opened, I was incredibly unimpressed and didn't think I'd ever come back again. It turns out that my companion and I just ordered the wrong items -- a veggie burger and a turkey sandwich. I was served a Gardenburger and he was served a Tofurky sandwich. We both felt very cheated, as these were items we could have bought at the store and prepared ourselves at home. (NB: They have recently ditched the Gardenburger and come up with their own soy burger recipe, which is much better.)
However, reviews in the Weekly finally convinced me to give it a second chance, and I'm really glad I did. I've tried a variety of the soups, all of which were packed with flavor. All of the pasta dishes are great except they have a tendency not to drain the pasta adequately. The chicken Parmesan, which is occasionally a dinner special, is probably my favorite of the pastas.
My favorite meal to get here is classic comfort food -- the homemade adzuki burger is the best veggie burger in town. It pairs nicely with a chocolate shake, which is probably the best vegan shake I've ever had. Skip the french fries, though -- they aren't seasoned. I had to take them home, add my own seasonings, and throw them in the toaster oven for a while before they were to my liking.
Lastly, there is a good selection of vegan desserts. The cakes are good when fresh (though the frosting is overly sweet) and the cheesecake, danishes, and muffins are wonderful. However, the ice cream sundae isn't a very good value for your money, and the brownies are really hard.
My only major complaint is that the food isn't always as fresh as I'd like it to be. Plus I have a suspicion that the mashed potatoes are powdered.
Updated review: This place has really gone downhill in recent years, I hate to say. The adzuki burger used to be my favorite, now it's bland. The soy burger also used to be quite impressive but several years back something about it changed. The breading to "chicken" ratio in their fried chicken has changed and is now too bready, also usually overcooked. They use ice in their chocolate shakes. They sell DVDs that advance dubious, anti-medicine conspiracy theories about cancer treatments. The dishes that used to be my favorite aren't good anymore, and I haven't found anything to replace them. The people there are so nice but I wish there were vegan competition in town to keep them on their toes! (And get rid of the woo and pseudo-science, seriously!)
I had a no-cheese pizza with red peppers, mushrooms, and garlic (if I recall correctly). It was good but didn't overly impress me. My companion, a pizza connoisseur, was impressed however, and maybe his opinion is more valuable than mine.
I was told the whole-wheat crust was vegan, but made with refined sugar, so if that bothers you this probably isn't going to be your regular pizza joint.
This is maybe the fourth time I've tried to patronize this new business during their posted hours of operation, and today, for the first time, they were actually open. They seemed to be low on items such as silverware and plates, and clearly are still working out a lot of kinks.
Having said that, I really enjoyed the food. Everything is vegetarian and most things can be prepared vegan upon request. I had a tofu burger and my companion had a Philly cheesesteak. For dessert we had a piece of vegan cheesecake. My tofu burger was made in-house and was very tasty -- although it did taste like a big patty version of those Fantastic Foods tofu gyros (maybe it was!). The cheesesteak was bursting at the seams with fake meat and great fillings, and the cheesecake was very firm and nicely done. I was really impressed with the quality of the food and the low prices.
In addition to several styles of burgers and subs, they have veggie dogs (including a Sonoran-style hotdog -- I'll have to try that someday), pita sandwiches, salads, and soups.
It is run by Seventh Day Adventists and there is some free religious literature. There is also a small selection of retail items, like canned vegan franks and other oddities. They also sell their own brand of mock meats.
I've been here twice and wasn't too impressed on either visit.
I really liked the ambiance inside the restaurant. There was a page of vegetarian entrees, many of which looked very appetizing. Unfortunately, our server was very young and not really able to answer our questions about vegan dishes. I ended up ordering dal makhani and roti, which she was "pretty sure" did not contain dairy. I was relatively confident that the dal was a safe bet (and it was delicious, though quite soupy), but the roti came brushed with some kind of glistening substance. I'm not sure if it was ghee or oil -- I'm hoping the server mentioned to the cooks that we had requested non-dairy preparation. It didn't seem like she had written it down.
Out of the four local Indian restaurants I've visited, New Delhi Palace's roti was definitely the best. It was thick and layered, with a slightly chewy texture. Vegans should probably specify that they want it brushed with oil (or nothing), just in case that is not the default preparation.
My companion had the Madras vegetables, and we both agreed that it was pretty bland. It was, however, very filling. On a later visit, I had the channa masala, which was pretty good but too tomato-heavy for my tastes.
The second time I came here, I had a similar experience. Another teenage waiter who was unable to answer questions about ingredients. For vegetarians this won't be a problem -- just order off the vegetarian menu. Vegans might prefer to go to Indian restaurants whose waiters actually know about Indian food.
I have a feeling that I would rate this place higher if the servers had been more knowledgeable about the food. As it was, the servers we had made me a little nervous with their lack of knowledge about the dishes' ingredients.
If there are items you can't find elsewhere it might be worth it to stop by here and check, but most of the things New Life Health Center carries are carried by places like Sunflower with much better prices. The markup here is just huge -- they even make Whole Foods seem reasonable!
Good atmosphere and friendly service (sometimes ridiculously friendly). Not a very good vegan selection. They have a pita sandwich and a veggie sandwich, but I've always been suspicious that neither the pita nor the bread was vegan. I was <I>told</I> they were vegan, but they had also been billing a BLT as vegan when the soy bacon had egg in it.
If you're not a picky vegan like me, this place is definitely worth a stop. I always root for LGBT establishments that aren't centered around alcohol.
This cafe only opened a week ago, so they're still finding their footing. For now they're cash-only and their baked goods aren't vegan, but they're working on rectifying both situations.
A large portion of the menu is vegetarian, and much of it is vegan or veganizable. Their mock-turkey sandwich is fantastic and the service is incredibly friendly.
There were 20 vegetarian entrees on the menu; most of them seemed vegan or veganizable. There were a few items that I hadn't seen anywhere else, such as pumpkin curry. The server was knowledgeable about ingredients and anticipated our requests that items be prepared without dairy.
My companion and I ordered roti, rice, dal, and cauliflower/potatoes, and everything was delicious. On another visit I had the channa masala, which was also fantastic. The veggie samosas are pretty good too, but I don't know if they're fried in the same oil as meat.
If you're a wimp like me you might find the food to be too hot, even when you specify you want your order prepared mild. But everything was so wonderful I didn't mind my runny nose.
My only complaint: No vegan desserts. But I don't think any of Tucson's Indian restaurants have vegan desserts.
I still like India Oven better though!
I went here for lunch at about 3:30 on a Saturday to avoid parking problems. A good strategy -- my companion and I found a spot on University just a few doors down from Geronimo Plaza, where Sinbad's is located.
A good portion of the menu was devoted to vegetarian entrees, and judging from the descriptions all or most of them might have been vegan.
I had a cup of lentil soup, which was pureed and reminded me of split-pea soup. It came with lemon wedges, which allowed me to control the amount of juice that I stirred into the soup. It was delicious.
For my entree I chose the hummos plate, which was exactly what it sounds like -- a plate with hummos spread on top of it, with a circular reservoir for ample olive oil. It was garnished with paprika, fresh parsley, and a few whole chickpeas. There was plenty of pita bread to scoop up the hummos.
I don't know what else I was expecting from this dish, but I was a little disappointed that the appetizer and entree left me still quite hungry. I wished that it had come with a salad or some veggies to dip into the hummos.
My companion ordered a falafel salad. I sampled some of the falafel with my hummos and pita, and it might have been the best falafel I'd ever had.
Our three items together cost about $15. Maybe that's not so bad, but we did feel like the portions were too small to justify the price. There was also a <I>lot</I> of oil -- my hummos had a ridiculous amount of olive oil poured on top of it, and my companion's salad bowl had oil about a centimeter deep when he was done with it.
Overall, I feel positive about this place. It seems like there are quite a few vegan items to choose from, and the food itself was delicious. Next time I visit, I'll have to keep in mind how small the portions are, and I'll also request that they cut down on the oil.
Over the holiday season ('07-'08) they redid their bulk section, which used to be the best in town. Now it mostly seems to focus on granola, candies, and other things. Almost NOTHING that I used to get here is carried anymore, which means that Sunflower is no longer the one-stop grocery store it used to be for me. Almost every time I go there I discover a new item in the bulk section that is no longer carried, and now I must go to awful places like Whole Foods to get seemingly common things such as soy beans.
I guess there is more demand for the stuff they carry now rather than the "weird" stuff I used to get. Still, for me it is profoundly disappointing. I'm only slowly letting go of the bitterness!
On the plus side: This store carries pretty much all of the vegan staples, and at much lower prices than competitors like Whole Foods. The clientele is a little less annoyingly froufrou as well. If you do a lot of bulk shopping you may have to look elsewhere -- I recommend Whole Foods (which is a mere two miles away) or the co-op (on 4th Avenue).
Vegan-friendly, and the staff knows what you mean when you ask about vegan preparation. The soya verde burrito was fantastic. The vegan chorizo was OK, but it would have been improved with the addition of beans and tofu or beans and potatoes.
The menu was very confusing! I hope in the future they will rewrite it so that it is consistent and organized by food type, with veg*n options clearly marked.
Two vegan tamales (the Berkeley and the Austin). The Berkeley, with fresh corn and black beans, is my favorite. The masa is tasty and lard-free, the sides are very good, and the staff is knowledgeable about vegan and vegetarian options.
They only recently opened, so I'm hoping to see some improvements down the line. Specifically, they need silverware and glassware! When I visited they only had styrofoam cups and plastic forks -- and no knives, plastic or otherwise, which made the eating of the tamales a bit tricky. It was difficult to cut and spear bites of the tamales with just a flimsy plastic fork. Maybe order takeout, or bring your own silverware with you.
This is a great place to find organic, non-GMO, natural food items, and pretty much any vegan staple you could ask for.
Having said that, the items are incredibly overpriced and the store is bursting at the seams with yuppies who suffer from an undeserved sense of entitlement. Expect to deal with people who will take up vast acres of space in the aisles and ignore you as you try to squeeze by. Expect to wait in line behind people who waste time with last-minute decisions that should have been made prior to queuing up. Expect to be mowed down by huge SUVs in the parking lot.
Better prices can be found at Sunflower and Trader Joe's. A more humane environment can be found at the Food Conspiracy Co-op. But Wild Oats might be the kind of place you'll want to avoid at all costs, given the many alternatives you have in Tucson.
Apparently this is one of the most popular places with the other users of this website, but I didn't really go crazy for it. The service was friendly and the ambiance was unique, and vegan items were clearly marked on the menu.
However, there really didn't seem to be too many vegan items, and the only one that sounded appetizing to me was the ginger tofu. It was pretty good but I can make something at home that's even better. I just wasn't very impressed.
I am very obviously in the minority, so my opinion probably isn't worth much -- check it out and decide for yourself.
Vegetarian friendly, and even some options for vegans. I had the fava beans, which were unfortunately very bland, and my companion had the veggie plater that contained hummus and falafel. The hummus was pretty good but the falafel was possibly the best I've had. Based on my sampling of the hummus and falafel I can say with confidence that the falafel sandwich must be amazing, and at less than $4 is one of the best deals in town.
Original review, Feb 3 07: First of all, Zemam's is deserving of a much higher rating than the 7.6 it has now. If you look at the five ratings it was given, it's all nines and tens -- except for someone who registered under the name "Anonymous" and rated Zemam's a one. I wish people who gave low ratings would write reviews to explain what's so wrong.
I went here tonight for the second time. There is a good variety of vegetarian/vegan dishes to choose from, and everything is excellent. Some things are extremely spicy, though, such as the chickpeas and spinach/potato dish. You should probably ask your server which dishes to avoid if your palate can't quite handle the heat.
My favorites are the cabbage, lentils, and split peas. All mildly spiced, flavorful dishes.
My only complaint is that the "sampler" is priced with the assumption that you'll be ordering higher-priced meat items. You're not getting as much value if you order all vegetarian dishes. I sort of wish they had a separate price for vegetarian samplers.
Updated review: This is currently my favorite restaurant in Tucson. For two people, I like to get a vegetarian sampler (which is now a menu option that is lower in price than a meat sampler) and a full, heaping serving of the split peas. I don't know how they make those split peas so good, but I could eat them every day. It's also possible that I've trained my palate in recent years, but these days the spicier items haven't been bugging me. I love the cabbage/carrot/potato and red lentils, too.
Stopped here just east of Yuma, since my usual Yuma vegan pit stop Nature's Express closed down. I had a sandwich that was loaded with veggies and vegan cheese (probably Daiya). It was nice to stop somewhere that really was vegan-conscious, though the sandwich itself was difficult to eat as it was so overloaded with fillings. I think the pizza probably would have been better, but I don't think I could have packed away an entire pizza on my own!
Based on my two visits, I would have to say that the food is fantastic but the service is hit-or-miss.
The people who work here, while nice, seem to have short-term memory problems. Both times I was here, I asked for water and never received it. I had to go back up to the front and ask again. The second time I was here, I ordered the chilled soup of the day, and instead received the hot soup of the day. It was 110 degrees outside and I was really looking forward to cold soup. Lastly, they offered a free sample of some bread, which I was looking forward to trying, but they completely forgot about it.
I also thought it was weird that, when I ordered an ice-cream cone, they brought it out at the same time as the rest of my food, forcing me to eat my dessert first. It seems that if they don't ask you when you want your dessert, they should default to bringing it out after you're done with the rest of your food. Speaking of that, the ice-cream cone seemed a bit stale, but maybe that's how waffle cones are (I hadn't had one since I was a kid!). And there were chocolate chips on top, and I must agree with a previous reviewer that they were not of the best quality. They had a plastic-like texture, so I can see why someone else thought they lent a "waterproofy" feeling to the shake.
All in all, though, I like this place. I've had a soup and a couple of sandwiches, and they were fantastic. The bread they use is great. The date shake was delicious. The place is clean and the people are friendly. You can get a lot of food for $20 or less. I hope that the next time I'm traveling on Interstate 8 the employees can do a better job remembering the customers' orders -- or, at the very least, that someone can reprogram the cash register so that it can print out more specific orders (e.g. "COLD soup of the day," "water," "free sample - bread").
Coming as I do from a border town, I was incredibly frustrated with the terrible quality of Mexican food in the Berkeley area. La Burrita was a joke and Mario's used lard in most of their items.
I found the most acceptable vegetarian Mexican food at this cafe, although it still wasn't very special and I definitely don't miss it now that I'm back near the border.
This is a nice place with great decor. The vegetarian menu was extensive, but unfortunately the vegan items are not marked, so you have to ask your waiter which items are vegan and which ones aren't. I was disappointed to learn that the lemon chicken was not suitable for a vegan, for instance.
The fake chicken is some of the best I've had. They have other mock meats as well but I haven't tried them.
This was my favorite place to go for lunch when I went to school in Berkeley. A short jaunt away from campus, it was affordable and vegan-friendly.
I loved the tofu sandwich, but the veggie burger was also good. I found that it tasted a lot better when I brought it home and added some grated vegan cheese, however. I wish they had had vegan cheese available so I could have eaten it inside the restaurant.
Their fries are probably my favorite in the world. People's opinions of the fries seem to be divided. Those who don't care for them characterize them as "soggy," while those who like them say they're "moist." They are not crispy, so if you love crispy fries they may not be your cup of tea, but I sorely miss them now that I no longer live in the area.
It is pretty well-established that their "vegan" chicken actually contains egg whites. I ate there once, under the impression that it was vegan, and was thoroughly unimpressed. The food was incredibly bland, and I've had much better mock chicken that actually WAS vegan.
They wouldn't have such a low rating if they just told the truth about the chicken. Lacto-ovo vegetarians could come here without being suspicious about any other ingredients they might be lying about, and vegans would just say, "Well, I can't eat the chicken, bummer."
I had to knock off a few points for poor service. I've only been here once, so maybe it was a fluke, but my waiter was the absolute worst I've ever had. We had snagged a primo parking spot outside, and we could have freed it up more than an hour earlier if this guy hadn't ignored us for huge stretches of time. It took me 45 minutes to catch his attention to order dessert -- something I normally would have skipped due to poor service, but the whole reason I visited in the first place was because of a dessert recommendation.
Basically, it was the first time in my life I have ever contemplated either (1) perpetrating a dine and dash or (2) completely stiffing the waiter on a tip. That says a lot, as I believe both acts to be pure evil. I did end up leaving a tip, and I meant for it to be measly, but in my nervousness I think I might have miscalculated. I will always live with a mild regret for that possibility!
The food was very good, but if I'm ever back in LA there are just too many places I'd rather go that have equally good food but far superior service.
I've been here several times whenever I had the misfortune of being in Los Angeles, and it is my favorite restaurant in the area. I keep ordering the lemon chicken, which is served on a bed of shredded lettuce that adds a nice contrasting texture. It's so delicious that it tastes like dinner and dessert all in one.
Even though I always order the same thing, my companion has ordered different items, all of which I've sampled and been very impressed by.
Service is friendly and the parking situation isn't as horrendous as it can be in more centrally located restaurants.
There is a small cafe inside the store where I enjoyed a nice vegan meal. The person who took my order was very knowledgeable about what was vegan and what was not. I had a chocolate/peanut-butter/mocha smoothie, which was very good.
The menu includes a peanut butter sandwich, which I always thought was very amusing.
This is a great place to eat while in Laguna Beach. The town itself has a very laid-back '70s feel, and this restaurant definitely specializes in '70s-style vegetarian food, before it became all gourmet and fancy (cf Real Food Daily). The items here are simple, healthy, and very tasty.
My favorite item was the hummus sandwich. All it is is hummus, avocado, bread, lettuce, and tomato, but somehow it tastes more amazing than you'd ever expect.
The only disappointment were the waffles -- I was expecting homemade but instead was presented with something store-bought from a toaster. However, the fruit that was served on top was outstanding, some of the most flavorful fruit I have ever had.
I was visiting friends in San Jose. They didn't know where we could get vegan food, but found this place on an online restaurant guide. So, blindly, we went. Out of four people, I was the only veg*n, though one of them was an ex-lacto/ovo. Everyone was super-impressed, and the San Jose natives returned many times on their own.
The proprietor was very friendly, and we all sampled each other's food and found it to be packed with flavor and nicely prepared. For dessert she gave me a free mung-bean cake, and I shared it with everyone on the way home; it was a big hit.
The lemon-chicken sandwich I had here really made an impression on me! I still think about it sometimes, and if I'm ever back in San Jose I'll definitely be back for more. Everything was so delicious.
Some of the appetizers and shakes are very good. I loved the spring rolls and the carob-mint shake. The thai salad was very good and stood as a meal on its own.
As far as the entrees go, you'll do best to avoid the dishes that try too hard to recreate cooked cuisine. The pizza and veggie burger were terrible. Try to order items that are vegetable-centric and don't try to recreate bread out of almond paste and other strange ingredients.
I've always been very impressed by the desserts. I can't remember what exactly I ordered, but I had a parfait that was just delicious.
I won't go back here, though, because it was just way too incredibly overpriced. I understand that raw food is very preparation-intensive, but since I don't subscribe to the raw-food philosophy, it just never seemed worth it to me.
This was a convenient place to get lunch or dinner back when I was working or taking classes in the area. Unfortunately as a vegan I was usually limited to a boring bean burrito ... though I also branched out into a bean tostada and a potato taco (though I did have suspicions that it had butter in it).
I loved the beans and tortillas, though, and as boring as it sounds I was always happy with a side of corn tortillas (specify no butter) and a side of beans (specify no cheese). For dessert I'd have an apple burrito -- very tasty, but I admit I never had the guts to ask if it was fried in the same oil as the meat dishes.
You can get better vegan or vegetarian Mexican food elsewhere, but if this is a convenient location for you, you will be able to find substantial meals.
Surprised by the positive reviews, as I did not have a good experience. Maybe I will have to give it a second chance with some different dishes.
I walked in here expecting some classic comfort food, and ordered a chocolate shake and a cheeseburger. The staff was surly, possibly because they were overworked (dealing with walk-in and drive-through customers simultaneously). While waiting for my order, I sat in a courtyard area, which was not very well maintained. I don't think anyone ever came out to wipe down tables after they had been used.
When I received my order, it was in a paper bag, the burger wrapped in paper, the shake in a disposable cup. I understand that for drive-through and take-out customers, but it's pretty disappointing to see so much needless waste expended on sit-down customers. I wasn't thrilled with eating in a messy environment, surrounded by mounds of paper that I'd later put straight into the garbage. I am not big on fancy dining experiences but even this didn't meet my low standards.
The chocolate shake was very watery, not like a shake at all. After I was halfway through, my dining companion told me he had seen them make it -- by putting ice cubes and some kind of powder into a blender! Seriously, that was it. I was disappointed to hear that, but also not surprised as the shake didn't have the body I would expect from one made with real (vegan) ice cream.
The cheeseburger wasn't anything I couldn't make at home. A Gardein patty and Daiya cheddar, which is what I use to make my own veggie burgers in my kitchen. But the bun tasted like one of those horrid Ezekiel buns -- if that's what floats your boat, great, but I find them to be pretty much inedible. So really, it was worse than what I make at home, because I use buns that taste good to me. My dining companion got a different style of burger, also something we could have made at home.
Apparently they have a homemade black-bean burger, and they also have non-burger stuff like chicken sandwiches, etc. However, if everything is made with those Ezekiel buns I don't see the point in trying anything else. If you don't like Ezekiel bread, try to find out if any of their sandwiches are made with different bread. I would only consider eating there again if I could get a sandwich on good bread. For me, the terrible bun was a deal-breaker -- I couldn't even finish my burger, and I like Gardein and Daiya.
This restaurant would be improved if:
1) the employees weren't overworked
2) the garden area was maintained better
3) the shakes used real (vegan) ice cream
4) customers had a choice between Ezekiel-style bread and nicer-tasting bread
5) sit-down customers were given plates and silverware
Pretty much any vegan staple you could want can be found here, and at prices way more affordable than at Whole Foods and similar specialty stores. When I lived in East County this local chain was a godsend! Without it I would have had to make huge treks to Hillcrest and spend lots of money at Whole Foods.
All the food is great, and this is a favorite with my omnivorous family. My parents both love the "neat loaf," but I can't get enough of the BBQ tofu burger. It's very messy, and you'll have to ask for another napkin, but it's worth all the stickiness. The mashed potatoes are also wonderful.
They usually have vegan desserts available, which vary in quality. There's a chocolate/peanut-butter pie that's wonderful but not always available. The apple pie they make in-house is unimpressive, as is the chocolate mousse pie (I can't get over the horrible couscous "crust"). There are non-vegan desserts, which my family seems impressed by, but I can't personally vouch for them.
The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful and quiet. When I worked in the area, I loved coming here alone for lunch. It was a great way to wind down for an hour before going back to my dreaded job.
Update: I went back there last week and the BBQ tofu burger is no longer on the menu! Heart-breaking! I had the BBQ mock duck instead, served on a bun instead of bread, in an attempt to replicate my favorite item. Taste-wise it was almost as satisfying, but it was the messiest thing I've eaten in most all of my life. The BBQ tofu burger was pretty messy too, though. (There is a picture of the messy mock duck above, along with the non-vegan items my companions ordered: a BLT and the neatloaf sandwich.)
Unfortunately I'll have to change my rating of 9 to an 8 due to the deletion of the BBQ tofu burger from the menu and the lackluster vegan desserts made in-house.
Contrary to other reviewers, I never had a bad experience with the service here. Often they have gone above and beyond for me -- for instance, once a waiter noticed that my take-out order had cheese on it, which I wouldn't have noticed until I got back to work. Maybe it was because I was an incredibly frequent customer, but I was impressed that he remembered I was vegan and had an eye out for me.
Also, since the waiters work exclusively for tips and the food is so cheap, I've always tipped pretty heavily -- 20% minimum and usually more -- so maybe that's another reason why I haven't had bad experiences.
Vegan items are plentiful and clearly marked. The waiters will know exactly what you're talking about when you ask about vegan items. My personal favorite is the bean and vegan chorrizo (sic). The sauce they serve it with is amazing, and I wish they bottled it. They also have a great cabbage side salad.
If only they had desserts.
Their menu is huge with vegetarian and vegan items clearly marked, along with a knowledgeable waitstaff.
Pretty much everything I've tried was outstanding, with the exception of the tofu enchiladas. My favorite dish used to be the black-bean enchiladas, until I discovered the tofu torta. It's a sandwich with shredded lettuce for texture, along with black beans and marinated tofu. It's incredibly delicious.
They have desserts listed, but they usually are not available. I did luck into the vegan cheesecake once -- I was surprised to learn that it wasn't only vegan, but raw. I'm not normally a fan of raw food, but it was one of the most impressive vegan cheesecakes I've ever had.
They have a market next door that has some great deli items, overpriced raw food, organic produce, and other health food.
Even though vegan possibilities are incredibly limited, I still have to give this a high rating because the veggie fajitas are so good. There's always enough for me to take home leftovers and enjoy them the next day -- even if I split the fajitas with someone else!
The tortillas are vegan -- though once I remember asking the proprietor about the ingredients, and he said there was "bacon powder" in them. It turns out that, through his accent, I actually misunderstood the phrase "baking powder." I always felt guilty for the way I reacted when I thought he said "bacon powder."
For dessert there is an apple burrito; vegans will have to specify no ice cream and no whipped cream (or on the side if a companion wants to eat it). I admit, though, that I never had the guts to ask if the apple burrito was fried in the same oil as items containing meat.
This was a great nearby place to visit when I lived in the suburban nightmare that was El Cajon.
After already arranging to eat here with family members, I read the previous review that states the mock chicken has egg in it. I was incredibly disappointed to learn this, as their chicken dishes are the best (especially the orange chicken). Since plans had already been made, I came here anyway and scanned the menu for some intriguing non-chicken item. I tried a "beef" dish (chow mein) and just didn't like it. Supposedly it is one of their more popular dishes; I didn't like the texture of the mock beef and was sort of bored by the rest of the bowl's contents. Perhaps there are better things I could have ordered.
I'm very disappointed as I've had bona fide VEGAN mock chicken before and know it CAN be obtained! I'm also very put off that a vegetarian establishment that openly courts vegan customers would lie about ingredients. As I ate my appetizer and meal, I wondered if the ingredients really were vegan as promised; this suspicion made me not want to come back anymore. On top of it all, the people who work there are so nice, which makes me feel bad about being mad!
They have some interesting desserts. Stay away from the cakes unless they are fresh; otherwise they are dried-out and stale.
Updated Review: When I visited in May of 2010, there seemed to be new owners. In any case, the wonderful strudel of yore is no more. Instead they had flat pieces of "strudel" that consisted of filo dough folded over meager fillings. It was absolutely pathetic, both in appearance and in taste. (In fact, my black-forest strudel tasted as if it had been contaminated with fillings from one of the savory strudels.) You'll hear people raving about the strudel here, but unless they go back to the truly special strudels they used to make, no longer will Stephanie's be sung the praises they used to so dearly deserve.
Previous Review (Jan 2 08): I am addicted to the black-forest strudel. I've been impressed by the other strudels as well, but as a chocoholic I always come back to the black-forest.
The sandwiches are OK if you're on the go -- I've had the veggie and lunchmeat (probably Tofurky) sandwiches, and they were good but a little too oily for my tastes.
Service is very friendly.
I had better luck here as a vegan than other people apparently have had.
I loved the BBQ tofu burger. It's very messy, and you'll have to ask for another napkin, but it's worth all the stickiness. My only complaint is that the bun was a store-bought variety that I was familiar with, and I knew that it contained honey. This was back in 2001, and maybe they have changed by now. However, at the time I was more flexible in the bee arena. If I were to go back, I would request that it be served on different bread.
They usually have vegan desserts available, which vary in quality. I remember buying a huge cookie there and happily eating it as I walked down the street to a concert venue.
The atmosphere is incredibly peaceful and quiet.
I ate here once when I was passing through Santa Fe. The food my companion and I chose was packed with flavor and the service was incredibly friendly. For dessert we had a raw carrot cake, which was surprisingly wonderful (not a big raw-food fan here).
It seemed really overpriced, but then again so did everything else in Santa Fe.
Ratings Without Reviews
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