Reviews written by Benjamin Kutschied

Image for Benjamin Kutschied
I'm vegan
Registered on Oct 29 09

Organico in Montezuma, Costa Rica
Apr 10 13

rating star

If you have been in Costa Rica long enough to eat a few meals out, you have probably noticed that the vegan options are not exactly abundant. Well, perhaps they are abundant, but they are not very interesting. Organico offers the ethical traveler a much needed break from the casado vegetariano.

The atmosphere here is exactly what a visitor to Montezuma is looking for. The servers are friendly, the outdoor dining area is comfortable, and everyone is extremely chilled out. Thankfully, the staff at Organico is not so tranquilo that they forget to take your order or bring the check. Every time I visited, I was immediately greeted and given a pitcher of water. The servers checked in to ask us how we were enjoying the meal and took pleasure in telling us about their abundant vegan options.

The food here is delicious, nutritious and well presented. I highly recommend the tropical French toast for breakfast. It is worth it for the homemade syrup alone! The tofu scramble was gorgeous and came with a generous side of whole grain bread and homemade pineapple jam. While it was not the best scramble I have ever had, it was good and being able to order this dish in Costa Rica made my whole day. (By the way, there is a tofu scramble offered down the street as well. I recommend sticking with Organico.)

The lunch/dinner menu is even more vegan friendly than the breakfast menu. Their spicy Thai and falafel burgers (with vegan cucumber yogurt sauce!) are to die for. I could feel the nutrition rushing back into my body while eating the whole grain bun. I was less excited about the dragon noodle bowl. It was flavorful, but I felt that it could have used just one substantial ingredient like a mock meat or even a side of their delicious breads.

There are a variety of delicious vegan desserts and smoothies/juices to choose from as well. The Turkish delight smoothie was made with real dates and a careful blend cardamom, cinnamon and other flavors. The brownie was dark, rich, gooey and perfect.

My only real beef with this restaurant is the prices. This place is way too expensive for most backpackers that are coming to visit this hippie influenced town. Many of the meals cost more than they would at a similar restaurant in the States. That having been said, for the vegan who can't handle another plantain, bean or grain of rice, Organico might be the most interesting option in the country.

Ground Control in Chicago, Illinois
Sep 24

rating star

Hells to the yeah! This place is seriously brilliant. It's has the atmosphere of an intimate punk bar, shockingly friendly service, a huge beer list, and a completely vegan menu of incredible sandwiches.

The Carolina BBQ Sandwich was off the chain. Tangy BBQ seitan topped with what appeared to be house-made kraut. One of the best sandwiches I've ever had. The Bahn Mi was really great as well! The fries are awesome, and the portions are huge.

Disclaimer: Hipsters. Hipsters everywhere.

Karyn's on Green in Chicago, Illinois
Sep 13 10

rating star

I enjoyed my recent visit to Karyn's on Green. The atmosphere is classy with upscale decor, a full bar with an excellent wine selection, nicely dressed servers, etc... Had the place not been mostly empty, I would have felt silly dining in my flip flops and t-shirt. Karyn's motto is "making vegan sexy." For the most part, it looks like they are doing a decent job.

They fall a little short of this goal in a few areas. First and most importantly, *nothing* in the world is *less* sexy than a Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich. After taking in the atmosphere and being greeted by our server, I didn't expect to be handed a menu full of sandwiches and pizza. To be fair, I was there for lunch, and it looks like the dinner menu is much more sophisticated. Another thing that wasn't incredibly sexy was the weird dude who kept filling my water glass every time I took a sip. He stopped by our table about 30 different times (not an exaggeration). It was really obnoxious. Finally, videos of gators eating birds should maybe not be screened in your vegan restaurant. I realize that most wild animals aren't strict vegans, but I don't need to watch them kill and eat each other while I'm dining.

We had the Portobello Burger and the Buffalo Chicken Sandwich. They were both very good. We also had the raw ice cream plate for dessert. This was excellent! Very creative, classy, and well-presented. Seemed like I was eating dessert at a different restaurant. I plan to come back to Karyn's on Green for the dinner menu next time I am in Chicago. I'll have to update my review then and hopefully add a star or two.

Soul Vegetarian East in Chicago, Illinois
Jan 27 10

rating star

Soul Veg rocked my world. I just ate there for the first time and had a great experience.

An employee told us that the entire menu was vegan although that was not indicated anywhere on the menu itself. We ordered the onion rings for an appetizer (totally unnecessary with Soul's generous portions). These were my first onion rings in many years and were totally worth the wait. The gyro was okay, but I was a little put off by whatever ingredient was giving it that unusually sweet taste. The steak stir fry was excellent. Unlike similar rice dishes I have had at other restaurants, Soul's steak stir fry did not skimp on the "meat" and veggies! I am a hot sauce fiend and would normally douse a plate of rice and veggies before even trying it. I'm glad there wasn't any within arm's reach because I wouldn't dream of putting anything else on this perfectly seasoned dish. Along with the onion rings, my partner and I made two full meals out of the visit.

The service was not bad, but it could have been better. The first employee we spoke to was extremely enthusiastic and wanted to talk to us about the type of food they specialize in. The woman who actually served us, however, was indifferent. While eating we witnessed her blow off questions another customer had about vegan food and ignore someone waiting at the counter until he had to yell into the kitchen to get some service.

Really, the only disappointing thing about my visit to Soul Veg was knowing that (as a Minnesotan) it will probably be a while before I am able to sample more of their menu.

Good Foods Market & Cafe in Lexington, Kentucky
Sep 6

rating star

Great vegan selection at the hot bar including biscuits and gravy, soy chorizo hash, cinnamon rolls, greens, and more! Better selection of prepared vegan foods than any of the Minneapolis co-ops.

Great Grains Market & Cafe in Albert Lea, Minnesota
Aug 6 10

rating star

How on earth did a 100% vegan cafe open somewhere other than the Twin Cities?! Ah, well.

I enjoyed my lunch at Great Grains. The service was fantastic and we had a good time chatting with one of the folks who runs the place. I had their special of the day, Jamaican rice and beans with pico de gallo. Not bad, but nothing to write home (or reviews) about. My partner had the avocado sandwich, which was pretty awesome for an avocado sandwich. I guess I'm just not terribly impressed with the menu. I can get a veggie burger and a baked potato anywhere. Also, if their mission is to support the health of the local community, they could probably come up with some more health-focused dishes.

In short, Great Grains is good, but they will need to exercise a little more imagination before I can call it great.

* Keep an eye out if you are shopping. A few items in their store are not vegan.

At Sara's Table/Chester Creek Cafe in Duluth, Minnesota
Nov 14 14

rating star

I'm a little bummed that my experience wasn't any better than "good." This place has all the makings of an awesome vegan-friendly cafe. Unfortunately, I think our menu choices weren't the best.

We had the Hippie Breakfast (or whatever it was called) and the Veggie Burger. The former was labeled as being vegan upon request, but the server seemed unsure about whether it could be made vegan. We were, of course, hoping for some sort of tofu scramble in place of the eggs. The dish was mostly fruit and really good roasted veggies with a couple pieces of un/barely-seasoned tofu. For the price, it was a little disappointing. The veggie burger was made with quinoa and good, but nothing terribly exceptional.

The service was friendly, the atmosphere was relaxed, and the coffee was great. I'll go back the next time I'm in Duluth and try something different from the menu.

Duluth Grill in Duluth, Minnesota
Aug 22 14

rating star

The Duluth Grill was surprisingly vegan-friendly for a mom and pop place in northern Minnesota. There are several interesting vegan options, all of which are clearly labeled. The servers are knowledgable about what goes into the food and happy to answer any questions.

I had the Vegan Omelette and Red Flannel Hash. The hash was pretty standard and my two-year-old loved it. The omelette was really creative. It was filled with a variety of vegetables and beans and topped with some of the best guacamole and salsa verde I've ever had. The garbanzo flour omelette itself was flavorful, but a little dry. I'm looking forward to trying more of their vegan menu items.

The environment is what you'd expect from a typical up north diner with a splash of fun art on the walls. It has a small town feel to it, and the tables are arranged in such a way that we ended up striking up a conversation with the woman sitting next to us.

The owners are committed to sustainability. The coffee is rainforest certified, they grow a lot of their own veggies (check out the garden!), and they give food leftover at the end of the day to needy folks in the area.

Little Angie's Cantina and Grill in Duluth, Minnesota
Nov 14 14

rating star

I ate at Little Angie's Cantina and Grill when my family was visiting and staying in the Canal Park neighborhood. This place isn't any more vegan-friendly than most Tex-Mex joints, but they do have options. The servers are all really outstanding and were happy to help me find vegan options both times I visited.

The Portabello Fajitas and Veggie Fajitas can both be prepared vegan. Just ask for the black beans (refried beans contain lard) and hold the cheese and sour cream. They even compensated for the missing ingredients by giving me some extra guac. The Angie's Bean Burrito is completely vegan if you choose the black beans!

The outdoor seating area is really nice, and I actually dig the weird cowboy atmosphere indoors. It would be great if they tried a little harder to cater to vegans, but c'est la vie.

Pizza Luce in Duluth, Minnesota
Aug 22 14

rating star

I haven't noticed much of a difference between this Luce and the locations in the Twin Cities, but I wasn't really expecting it to be different. They do have a really great bar (these guys know how to pour a drink) and a nice stage for live music that sets it apart. The staff is very friendly and I've always had great service.

Clearly labeled vegan pizza with mock meats and two different "cheeses" options. What's not to like?! Also, the weekend brunch here is awesome.

My only wish is that the Luce locations would always have a vegan slice available and maybe one more interesting vegan meat substitute like a tempeh bacon, Beyond Meat chicken, or something.

Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth, Minnesota
Aug 22 14

rating star

Duluth's co-op carries all of the typical stuff you find at the co-ops in Minneapolis. It's a little smaller, but there's a very good variety of vegan cheeses, meat substitutes, and such.

When I've been there, the deli has always had a vegan option or two on their hot bar. They also usually have a cold salad or sandwich ready to go in the cooler. I ordered a falafel sandwich from the deli counter recently and was not impressed. I waited a really long time considering there was only one order ahead of mine. I asked to substitute hummus or tahini for the yogurt sauce it usually comes with and was charged extra, which I always find annoying. The sandwich itself wasn't very good either. The falafel was more of a garbanzo paste than what you would get at most falafel places.

I'm happy to have a good co-op to shop at while I'm here, but I think I'll avoid the deli from now on.

Bravo! Cafe and Bakery in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 2 13

rating star

I've enjoyed most of the dishes I've had at Bravo. They might be a little less impressive than similar plates at Evergreen (15 minutes away in MPLS), but they are also half the price ($5.50 - $6.50!). That, the quick and friendly service, the healthy balance of veggies to proteins, and the option of brown rice earns Bravo 5 stars in my book.

I enjoy eating in right on Grand Ave, but the experience could be drastically improved if they would just use actual silverware rather than plastic forks...

Camdi in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 4 10

rating star

I really wish I enjoyed eating at Camdi. The owner is extremely friendly and tries very hard to cater to vegans. He has a separate 100% vegan menu (you don't even have to ask for it) and uses separate woks when cooking vegan food. Also, this is the only place I know of where you can get mock cream cheese wontons.

Sadly, I have eaten here a few times and have not been impressed with the food itself. This most recent time, I was unable to finish my kung pao mock pork because the texture was so revolting. I felt like I was eating huge chunks of fat. The wontons were okay, but actually tasted more like cheese curds to me.

I want to support Camdi, so I will probably visit again and order a dish with tofu or mock duck. I get excited when restaurants offer something fun like mock pork or chicken, so ordering tofu when there are other options is disappointing. If you are looking for creative mock meats, I suggest visiting Evergreen Chinese on Nicollet.

Crave in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Feb 26 13

rating star

The Mall of America doesn't have an abundance of vegan options outside of the food court, so Crave is the best place I've found to sit down and have a vegan meal with table service.

There aren't many options for vegans, but the waitstaff is very accommodating and has obviously been trained to respond politely and thoroughly to vegan customers. I had their whole grain veggie burger for lunch. It was very good and didn't suffer from the consistency issues that some egg-free patties suffer from. It was served with picked cucumbers and carrots and a side of fries. I didn't get a complete list of their vegan offerings, but I know they also have cucumber/avocado sushi and a Mediterranean plate that are both vegan. Most of their salads can be made vegan as well.

The best part was how great they were with my daughter. They brought her a plate of fruit right away, and her meal (avocado sushi) was free! I think this only applies on Tuesday afternoons, but it was pretty great. I had a beer, but if I had been in a wine mood, there was an outstanding selection.

I'd give it a higher rating if they labeled vegan items on the menu and offered one or two more vegan entrees.

Dancing Ganesha in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Apr 10 13

rating star

I'm surprised by all of the low ratings for Dancing Ganesha. I've always had good (but inconsistent and slightly overpriced) food and excellent service. The gobi manchurian appetizer is probably my favorite appetizer in the Twin Cities at the moment. Vegetarian food is labeled, and the servers are very knowledgeable about which dishes are vegan. One big improvement they could make for vegans would be labeling vegan items and adding at least one vegan bread to the menu.

Evergreen Chinese Restaurant in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Feb 26 13

rating star

Since there hasn't been a review in quite some time I just was to assure everyone that Evergreen is still awesome. This might be my favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities.

The atmosphere is lacking as Evergreen is located in a weird basement space with rather sterile decoration. Frank, the owner, is a man of few words. Still, this place is worth a visit, especially if you love mock meats.

I've been to similar restaurants elsewhere, and none of them do vegan Chinese food as well as this place. The first time I ate there, I almost sent my meal back because I thought the mock meat was actual meat. The dishes are that convincing! If you're a fan of mock meats, do yourself a favor and make a trip to Evergreen. In addition to tofu and mock duck, they carry mock pork, chicken, beef, and seafood. My favorite menu items include the thai basil eggplant, lemongrass mock beef, and pepper fried mock pork.

They are closed on Tuesdays, the saddest day of the week.

Freeziac Live Culture in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Feb 26 13

rating star

Vegan yogurt at the Mall! They day I was there they only had one vegan option (strawberry), and it seemed like that was the norm. It was labeled as "non-dairy," and tasted more like ice cream than yogurt to me...

The best part is the huge toppings bar! You can pile on fresh fruit and other toppings, but keep in mind that pricing is determined by weight.

Hard Times Cafe in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Dec 17 09

rating star

If I had written this review six months ago, Hard Times would have received a much lower rating. Much lower. All it took was a barista with a good attitude to make my visit a great experience.

The food is good. I would even go so far as to call the Vegan Biscuit Breakfast with Gravy great. The service, however, has always been terrible. I don't expect any sort of royal treatment when I visit a cafe, but a customer shouldn't be made to feel like she or he is ruining an employee's day by placing an order.

I am happy to report that I have received excellent service the last few times I have eaten at Hard Times! The barista this morning was actually smiling. I ordered and paid for my food without him rolling his eyes at me once. The cook even acknowledged my presence when I thanked him for the food. Let's hope they keep this up!

Jasmine 26 in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 8 10

rating star

Jasmine 26 is one of my favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities. The food and service are excellent, the atmosphere and location are ideal, and they are fantastic at serving vegans. A knowledgeable server will be happy to recommend the best vegan menu items. On Chinese New Year, I stopped in to discover that they were serving a 7 course vegan meal and doing a traditional dragon dance right in the dining area!

Order the salt and pepper tofu. If you have a friend who is skeptical about tofu, this is the dish to have them try! I am also a huge fan of the vegetarian pho, the tofu and mock duck crepe and the basil noodles (just ask them to leave out the egg).

If they labeled their vegan food, I would give Jasmine 26 five stars.

Little Szechuan in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 4 10

rating star

I visited Little Szechuan with a large group and had the opportunity to try several of their dishes. This is a great place to go with several people. The service is quick and friendly and the large, circular tables with a lazy susan in the middle work perfectly for sharing dishes.

I highly recommend the szechuan spicy tofu, kung pao tofu, green beans and the stir fried pea tips. The only dish I wasn't a huge fan of was the ma po tofu. The flavor was excellent, but the tofu was much softer than I care for.

I will definitely be back just as soon as I recover from this tofu hangover. Clearly labeled vegan options and a couple of vegan dishes that aren't almost entirely tofu (vegetables or other mock meats) would easily earn Little Szechuan five stars!

Ping's Szechuan Bar & Grill in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 2 13

rating star

I'm surprised that Ping's has gone this long without being added to VegGuide. I believe it's been in the same location since the 80's. The restaurant is in such close proximity to Evergreen that I never gave it a shot until recently when I was working just down the street and heard that you could get take-out quickly.

Sure enough, I've ordered food to go about a dozen times and I've never waited more than 10 minutes. Eating in is an interesting experience as the decor is stuck in the 80's. Everything is very... pink. Otherwise, the table service and service at the bar is friendly.

So far every dish I've ordered from the vegetarian section has been vegan and pretty good. The sauces are rather sugary and Americanized (sometimes that's what I'm looking for), but the texture of the tofu and eggplant dishes is consistently perfect. Like most Chinese places, I wish they would add more vegetables to their tofu dishes.

Rare Steak and Sushi in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Dec 28 12

rating star

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to order a vegan meal at this steak and sushi restaurant. The server knew exactly what I was talking about and could immediately tell me whether the dishes were vegan or able to be made vegan.

There is a vegetarian section on the sushi menu with four options. The roasted veggie roll is delicious and visually interesting. The seaweed salad was simple, but I liked it enough to eat two orders. There are a handful of other vegan appetizers and sides, but no entrees.

The food and atmosphere are very upscale, and some of the entree prices reflect this. Sushi, appetizers, and sides were reasonably priced, and there were some excellent drink specials.

All in all, a great dining experience when you're going somewhere fancy with a non-veg group. I'd give them a higher rating if there was even one vegan entree.

Republic in Twin Cities, Minnesota
May 31 14

rating star

Republic doesn't have many vegan options, but what they do have is excellent. The wait staff are friendly and happy to help their vegan customers.

I think there are a few other dishes that can be prepared vegan, but so far I've tried the Mock Duck Tacos and the Open Faced Veggie Sandwich. The tacos are a delicious mess of mock duck, slaw, and Korean BBQ sauce. I used to frequent the Chipotle next door, but those days are probably over now. The veggie sandwich is not your usual, boring hummus wrap with iceberg lettuce. The pesto doesn't have cheese, but you do have to ask them to hold the mozzarella if you want it vegan.

The best part about Republic is eating at their huge, outdoor patio in the summer. It's a fun, lively place to dine alone or with a large group. The selection of alcoholic beverages is impressive, the beer menu is always changing, and the bartenders are a blast. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that they don't label their vegan options, making it awkward for some of us shy Minnesotans who don't like asking questions...

Singapore Restaurant in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Feb 9 10

rating star

I just moved to the Nokomis area and am unimpressed with the local veg offerings. I was happy to hear that there was a restaurant in my area that catered to vegans. I visited Singapore for the first time last week and enjoyed a very veg-friendly dining experience.

We waited at least 15 minutes before being greeted by the owner (who appeared to be the only person working). She was extremely friendly and more than happy to let us know that almost everything on the menu could be prepared vegan.

The food was pretty good. I actually enjoyed the standard tofu curry more than the captain's curry. The flavor was excellent and the veggies were cooked thoroughly, but the tofu was soft and mushy. I would have enjoyed the curry more if I could have ordered it with mock duck or deep-fried tofu instead.

I hate to say this, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat at Singapore. I am, however, happy to have a place like this in my otherwise non-veg neighborhood.

Tip: Singapore doesn't sell alcohol, but they will let you bring a bottle of wine from the liquor store. They'll even open it for you!

Pi Pizzeria in Saint Louis, Missouri
Apr 30 10

rating star

Word on the street is that St. Louis does Chicago pizza better than Chicago. I'm skeptical, but this is what Barack Obama says about the deep dish served at Pi Pizzeria. According to Pi employees, this is our Chicago-raised President's favorite pizza joint.

I ordered the Delmar, but was told that it had to go on thin crust in order to be made vegan. Despite this one unfortunate flaw, Pi Pizzeria is very vegan-friendly. The employees know what vegan means (our server was a vegan herself) and will cheerfully explain your options. They offered a few different meat substitutes and even carried Daiya cheese! If you haven't tried Daiya yet, I recommend that you stop what you are doing and go eat some Pi pizza immediately. This stuff melts, stretches and tastes deliciously greasy and salty just like real cheese!

I might not order 140 Pi pizzas to be made at my home like our President, however, I will definitely make sure to stop at Pi again the next time I am passing through St. Louis.

Elements Real Food in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 24

rating star

Elements Real Food is committed to serving food that is actually made out of food. The atmosphere is clean, spacious, and zen. Located down the block from a yoga studio, they are clearly catering to the healthy crowd.

I was a little surprised when I ordered the Reuben and received a piping hot sandwich served on bread. The place (accidentally?) gives the impression of being a raw cafe. In reality, they don't have a lot of raw items. The living foods they do offer are not clearly marked on the menu and don't look terribly interesting. That having been said, my reuben was great. Shiitake mushrooms replaces the traditional corned beef, and the kraut was top notch.

I'll be back for a smoothie the next time I'm in town. I'd probably come back for the food if this was a fully raw kitchen with more interesting raw options. At the moment, it doesn't do much to stand out from the other healthy/veggie places in Asheville.

Green Sage Café in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 8

rating star

Green Sage is a good place with a great mission. They serve healthy food and do their best to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their business. The service is very friendly, and vegan options are clearly labeled on the menu.

We went for breakfast, and I was underwhelmed. The vegan Green Sage Plate was mediocre. The biscuits were dry, the gravy was thin, and the tofu scramble was mushy and poorly seasoned. The kale and root hash that came with the dish were both delightful. The Breakfast Burrito was better, but still a little bland.

Not a great breakfast joint, but I'd still like to go back and try a lunch or dinner item.

Laughing Seed in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 8

rating star

This place is excellent. The food is outstanding, and the servers are the best in town by a long shot. Vegan options are abundant and clearly labeled. The space itself is casual, open, and vibrant.

We ate here twice. We had a three vegan cheese appetizer that was their daily special. The cheeses were interesting and I think they would taste familiar even to folks who eat cheese. The Bahn Mi didn't taste like a traditional Bahn mi, but it was a very good wrap. The Low Country Rollups had a smart combination of flavors including some sort of tahini dressing that I'd be happy drinking a glass of. The Omega Hempnut Burger was one of the best veggie burgers I've ever had, and they even make the buns themselves.

Can you guys open a location in Minneapolis, please?

Over Easy Cafe in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 24

rating star

This place had great service, and there was a line of people waiting to be seated the whole time we were there. Over Easy Cafe must be popular for a reason, but I don't recommend it to vegans.

The vegan options were limited and not clearly marked. I had the Maple Tempeh plate (or whatever it was called). It was clearly trying to be some sort of bacon substitute, but the tempeh was underdone and I wasn't a fan of the marinade. My wife had some *huge, vegan pancake. I understand that it's trendy in Asheville right now, but gluten free pancakes should be outlawed. I didn't love the breakfast at the Green Sage, but I'd recommend it over the Over Easy Cafe.

*Like really huge. Just order one.

Plant in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 24

rating star

If you're looking for 100% vegan fine dining, this is the best place I've ever visited. We ate outside, but the atmosphere inside appeared romantic if a little cramped. Our server was friendly, knowledgeable, and clearly loved the place.

The food is excellent. The Friend Plantains appetizer was cooked to perfection. They are served with a sour cream and smoky hot sauce - a combination I'll be mimicking from now on when I prepare plantains at home. The Mushroom & Noodle appetizer came with locally harvested, wild chicken of the woods mushrooms. It was the best thing I ate during our week or so in Asheville. We also had the Applewood Smoked Porto'house. The polenta was seared by a wizard and the v-1 steak sauce was clearly stolen from the gods. They even had a clever cocktail list.

Prices are a little high with entrees costing $18 - $20, but it was totally worth it. I'm looking forward to my next visit!

Rosetta's Kitchen in Asheville, North Carolina
Sep 7

rating star

Rosetta's has great food and a fun, casual, hippie vibe. Fitting for a veg-friendly cafe in Asheville. Most items can easily be made vegan, and the menu includes instructions for doing so. The staff was friendly, and I enjoyed sitting on their porch. The Ruben was great, although I thought the kraut was more flavorful the last time I was in town. The queso dip was not as good as some similar dips I've had elsewhere. There were some local beers and a kombucha on tap. I'll be back next time I'm in town!

Veg Out in London, Ontario
Sep 13 10

rating star

Veg Out opened about a year and a half ago, and it seems like they are in London for good. We went for a late lunch on a Tuesday after a holiday weekend, and there were several other customers dining in, getting take-out, and yes... getting food delivered via bicycle.

The atmosphere is kinda hippy dippy, but tidy and clean. I would have sat on their huge outdoor patio, but it was a little too chilly when we visited. Local art is hung inside along with a chalkboard listing all of the ingredients that are currently organic. The servers are a bit hippy dippy as well, but they are friendly and attentive.

We started with the Tempeh Wings. They are battered and fried, and absolutely delicious. For our main dishes we ordered the World Famous Fish and Chips and the Lemon Poppy Seed Grilled Tempeh. The Fish and Chips was one of the best vegan dishes that I have ever had. Everything at Veg Out is made from scratch. The 'fish' patty was tempeh (maybe thrown in a food processor with something else?) wrapped in nori, beer battered, fried, and served with tartar sauce. The Lemon Poppy Seed Grilled Tempeh was not my favorite (lacking some sort of tangy or sweet flavor maybe), but the wild rice and veggies it was served on were incredible. We even took a slice of their chocolate cake to go.

I'm looking forward to stopping here again the next time I am passing through London.

Raja Fine Indian Cuisine in Stratford, Ontario
Sep 13 10

rating star

During my recent visit to Stratford, I was amazed that very few servers in town were familiar with vegan diets. At one location, right after explaining that I did not eat animal products, a server asked me if I wanted cheese on my veggie burger and gravy for my fries.

Although vegan food could be found at some other Stratford restaurants, Raja Fine Indian Cuisine was the only place I visited that I would call vegan-friendly. The menu actually has the word 'vegan' printed on it, and the servers know exactly what it means. There is a vegetable specialties section, and most of these dishes in this section can be made vegan. They are not listed individually, so you will have to ask which ones can be prepared sans animal products.

We ordered the chana masala and the bharta, both of which were excellent. Gently seasoned, not cooked to death, and not oily. The atmosphere is upscale, but don't feel like you have to wear your Sunday finest. There will be a lot of tourists in t-shirts and flip flops in the seats.

Tip well! These servers work their butts off!

Busboys and Poets in District of Columbia, USA
Apr 12

rating star

I went to Busyboys and Poets with a large group today for lunch. We were seated rather quickly as this location (haven't visited the others yet) has a spacious layout with dozens of tables. The atmosphere was hip, casual, and busy. I had two noisy kids with me, and no one in the crowded dining room seemed to notice. There is a small alternative bookstore and a stage where I'm told there are poetry readings and other performances.

There are several interesting vegan items on the menu, all of which are clearly labeled as such. I tried the tempeh sandwich and the vegan tuna sandwich. Both were excellent. The tempeh sandwich was grilled panini-style and reminded me of a BLT. The tuna was delicious, but calling it mock tuna is a little misleading. It tasted more like an egg salad sandwich to me.

It's a great spot, and I'm looking forward to trying some other menu items!

Alexandria Cupcake in Alexandria, Virginia
Apr 16

rating star

I had a great cupcake from this place. I'm not sure what the flavor was as someone picked it up for me, and it doesn't seem to be any that are listed on the online menu. No special order was needed. It sounds like they always have a vegan option available.

Asian Wok Cafe in Alexandria, Virginia
Apr 16

rating star

I got delivery from Asian Wok Cafe while visiting Alexandria, but I've never been to the physical location. Ordering was easy, and the employees were very knowledgable about vegan food. Delivery was a solid 15 minutes later than expected, and I'm told that is standard. I'm also told there are better places to get Chinese food around here.

The best thing we had was the Vegie Pepper Steak. The texture of the "steak" was perfect, but the sauce was a little more sugary than I care for with that sort of dish. I had some random tofu dish, and they cook their tofu very well. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The mock chicken's texture was pretty good as well. I wasn't a fan of the Kung Pao Mock Shrimp. To be fair, I never like mock shrimp anywhere, but the dish itself was rather bland and nothing like any Kung Pao dish I've ever had. They also had vegan spring rolls and dumplings that were okay.

Vegan dining doesn't seem to have caught on yet in Alexandria. Having a variety of interesting mock meats, well over a dozen clearly labeled vegan dishes, and employees who know their stuff gives this place five starts in my book.

Mai Thai in Alexandria, Virginia
Apr 16

rating star

I went here a long time ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy... I tried the spicy noodles and the pad thai, and they were both very good. Loved the texture of the tofu. The atmosphere was lively, and the service (we had a huge group) was great. It's nice to have options in Old Town! Adding another vegan menu item or two and labeling them would easily give this place five stars.

The Green Owl Cafe in Madison, Wisconsin
Sep 10 13

rating star

My wife and I took a detour through Madison recently and enjoyed a great dining experience at The Green Owl Cafe.

The atmosphere was unique with owl kitsch scattered about and a couple of different art installations including one with pictures of animals from an animal sanctuary. The dining room is a long hallway that opens up at the back of the restaurant with tables scrunched together rather... intimately. The friendly and casual staff did a great job chatting everyone up and making customers feel comfortable in close quarters.

The food was outstanding. The vegan chipotle remoulade (on the Crabby Cakes appetizer)
alone was worth the trip. I regret not asking whether I could purchase a jar to take home with me. We had two sandwiches for our main course: BBQ Jackfruit and Vegetarian Italian Beef. Jackfruit was a great "meaty" choice for a vegetable-based BBQ sandwich. The Italian Beef was one of the most impressive veganized meat dishes I've ever had. It brought me back fifteen years to eating at Johnny's in Chicago. I'm not sure whether they have it available daily, but the Chai Cake was great as well. Although I was in a Madison beer mood that night, they also have house-made kombucha available.

The Green Owl has a great staff, 100% vegetarian menu, clearly marked vegan options, and some of the best food around.

Ian's Pizza in Madison, Wisconsin
May 2 14

rating star

Ian's Pizza specializes in orders by the slice, and had at least a dozen different options ready at the counter the day we went. I would've tried more than one kind, but they didn't have any vegan slices ready the day we went. The person working the counter told us that they do occasionally have vegan options available by the slice.

Some of the pizzas could be made vegan, and the menu suggested two in particular. We ordered the Lasagna Marinara, which was great. It had a marinara sauce, lasagna noodles, Daiya Mozzarella, a mock parmesan, and fresh herbs. The other vegan suggestions was the Mac n' Cheese.

They didn't serve alcohol, but the atmosphere reminded me of a college bar where they are worried about patrons trashing the place. There was a comic book theme that started in one corner then gave way to a huge piece of ugly and half-destroyed modern art. The layout was awkward as well forcing customers to simultaneously hover over a table and be in the way of the soda fountain while waiting for their orders.

Our pizza was creative and really good, and offering Daiya scores points with me. Better atmosphere, and a mock meat or tofu option is all it would take to make this an excellent place for vegetarians.

Update: Ian's has tofu! It's probably good, but I wouldn't know as they sort of gave us one option and tried to get rid of us quickly. They told us to come on Mondays when it's vegan night... Apparently, they don't put much effort into catering to vegans the rest of the week.

Ratings Without Reviews