Reviews written by Helen
Registered on Sep 28 07
Down to Earth is the most reliably delicious place for a vegan stuck in Honolulu to eat. There is always something in the buffet that appeals to me, not to mention the premade wraps/sandwiches/salads in the cooler case. I had some mock chicken salad one day that was out of this world. Also, with the constant sales going on at DtoE, the price of groceries approach the non-sale prices on the mainland -- a rarity in Hawaii. I would recommend buying all your specialty/bulk items at DtoE...but don't be fooled into buying the produce. Just go to the local farmer's markets instead (like the one at Diamond Head on Saturdays).
I haven't eaten here yet, but I did exchange emails with the Director of Catering and Sales regarding their menu. Here is his response:
The vegetarian platter is the most vegan friendly item on the menu. There is a little yogurt drizzled on the eggplant, but it can be left off. The breads and buns we use do have egg in them. The dressing in our greek salad and atlas salad are also vegan friendly.
I used to love going to the Depot Tavern because of their many clearly-labeled vegan options. However, I recently noticed a change in their menu - they have started labeling their mayo as "egg-free mayo (contains honey)." Depending on your stance on honey, you may still choose to eat this mayo. I am disappointed in their misunderstanding of the term vegan, but I'm glad they at least disclose that their "vegan" mayo does actually contain an animal product. That being said, their mayo is on most vegan dishes so if you are avoiding honey, you are probably going to have to eliminate the main condiment on whatever you order.
The food here is generally quite good; I recommend getting the falafel king combo ($9 for a ton of food). I emailed Falafel King to find out which items are vegan and here is their response as of 12/30/12:
Falafel, Hummus, Tahini, Baba Ghanoush, and the Pita are all vegan. The rice is also vegan, the red flakes you see are shredded carrots which give a unique touch. The grape leaves are vegan prepared with rice, diced tomato, diced onion, and seasonings. The hot sauce is vegan with no dairy or animal products. As for the spinach pie, this menu item contains feta cheese along with the spinach and diced onions.
I love Jakeeno's (can't beat their twice a day 2-4-1 happy hour), but sadly their "vegan" cheese is not vegan. I've quizzed the staff there a couple times and finally found out that though they buy Lisanatti cheese, which does offer a vegan variety, they use the Soysation Lisanatti cheese which has casein in it. I've strongly suggested that they switch to the vegan cheese (or at least stop advertising it as vegan), but last time I was there they had not done so. Make sure to ask your server which Lisanatti cheese they are using on the vegan pizza.
*I just checked their website - they have stopped referring to it as "vegan" cheese and are now calling it only "soy" cheese. I would say that whenever you go there, ask them to consider switching to the vegan variety that Lisanatti offers, in order to broaden their client base.
Nami has some delicious sushi, but it's not spectacular. The happy hour does not include any of the vegetarian maki (probably because it's fairly cheap to begin with); sadly, I asked our waitress and the wrappers of the veggie gyoza contain egg whites, so they are not vegan. Overall, it was a decent sushi dining experience, but not nearly as good as, say, Midori's. Nami could really benefit by condensing their menu(s) and clearly labeling what's vegetarian/vegan and what's not.