Reviews written by coconut

Registered on Mar 22 09

501 Club in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jun 18 09

rating star

This is a really large bar that also serves a few vegan food options. I tried the roasted veggie sandwich with hummus, which had a nice selection of veggies (bell pepper, eggplant, mushrooms, summer squash) that were well cooked. The sandwich was relatively plain--it was basically just the veggies sandwiched between two slices of wheat toast, and for whatever reason, the hummus was served in a dish on the side. I appreciated that the sandwich came with a side of fruit, which was mostly pineapple and a few strawberries. All in all, the food was tasty but not very remarkable. The music was a little too loud and it made it difficult to talk with friends. It seems like this place could get really busy before/after events at the metrodome. It's good to know that there is a bar in downtown mpls with vegan food options!

Black Sheep Coal Fired Pizza in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jun 15 09

rating star

I went here on Saturday evening and split a 12-inch tomato and oregano pizza with my date. The pizza itself was $6, and we added kalamata olives for an extra $2. I appreciated that this pizza already comes without cheese so I didn't have to bargain with the server for some complicated ingredient swap. I definitely recommend adding at least one topping to this pizza--we received a generous amount of olives on our otherwise very plain pizza, which had a smear of simple tomato sauce and sprinkling of fresh oregano. The crust was exquisitely thin and cracker-like--I don't think I've had anything like it in the twin cities. They had a great selection of beer on tap, including Surly Cynic (edited 6/15/09: unfortunately Surly beer is NOT vegan). They were incredibly busy for 5:30 on a Saturday, and we waited for 45 minutes for our table of two. I noticed that they offer take-out, which may be the way to go when they are extra busy because the atmosphere of the restaurant is not all that interesting. Even with as busy as they were, our pizza arrived quickly, the server was in a great mood, and the owner managed to stop by our table (as well as others) and ask how we enjoyed our meal. This is an incredibly special touch that made up for our otherwise plain pizza. They do offer additional veg toppings, like oyster mushrooms, roasted red peppers, artichokes, etc. However, each additional topping on a 12-inch pizza is $2, regardless of what that topping is ($2 for some garlic on a pizza? come on.).

Bottom line, we had a good time dining here, the owner and staff were friendly, and the pizza was decent. Not exactly veg-oriented, but vegetarians and vegans can find something delicious to eat here if dining out with omnis.

Crema Cafe in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Aug 21 09

rating star

Tried the vegan burger--this was plain and rather bland, served on a white hamburger bun with a leaf of green lettuce and a small spoonful of tomato salsa. The burger could have used some herbs/spices, or additional toppings, like avocado or tomato (maybe a vegan mayo or other spread?). I was charged an extra three dollars to swap the corn chips for a mixed greens salad, which amounted to a small handful of mesclun coated in vinaigrette. My companion enjoyed her portabello-pesto panini sandwich, which is vegetarian but not vegan. This is probably not a place I'd come back to for a meal, but I might return to have sorbet.

Gardens of Salonica in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jun 15 09

rating star

This is one of my favorite restaurants in the Twin Cities. The food is simply prepared, with quality ingredients (often local and organic), and vegan items are clearly marked on the menu. The interior is wonderful--spacious and minimal, with lots of natural woodwork and iron/stone sculptures, all beautifully lit with sunlight through the expansive south-facing windows (if you go during the day). Service has always been friendly and accommodating, although it can be slow when busy. I particularly enjoy ordering the "combination plate" from the appetizer section, which gives you a choice of three different spreads and salads, with an unlimited amount of pita. Their skordalia is particularly good (and garlicky!), as is the fava (a hummus-like spread made from fava beans) and piaz (black-eyed pea salad with lemon). Many of their items can also be purchased at area co-ops in the prepared foods section. They also feature two soups daily, one of which is usually vegan.

They also have a full bar, and offer many Greek wines that I have not seen elsewhere. I especially enjoy the Retsina, which is a white wine infused with the flavor of pine resin--not for everyone, but definitely a unique experience. One disappointment is their tea selection, which is simply bagged Lipton or something of that nature, which was surprising to me given the price they charge for tea.

This restaurant can be difficult to spot, as their sign is not very prominent--look for the iron and stone sculptures on the sidewalk. It is just west of Conga Bistro.

Lotus Vietnamese Restaurant in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Jun 15 09

rating star

This place is really not anything special. I only ended up here because I was in the mood for Vietnamese food but Jasmine Orchid (across the street) was closed.

The spring roll was simply lettuce with rice noodles and tofu (where were all the typical spring roll ingredients, like mint, basil, cilantro, or sprouts??). I did appreciate that they have the option of mock duck or tofu for the spring rolls.

I ordered the curry mock duck, and this was incredibly salty and overwhelmingly brown--not at all appealing to the eyes. It was described as having lemongrass and ginger, but I could not detect these flavors in the sauce. I would have appreciated more vegetables in this dish, but there were only onions.

The interior is equally uninspired. I feel like I'm eating in an interstate truck stop, with all the neon lighting and dingy walls.

I don't think I will ever return to this restaurant. Life is too short to eat such mediocre food! You're better off going to Jasmine Orchid across the street.

Sen Yai Sen Lek in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 26 10

rating star

I came here with a large group of diners go out monthly to visit a restaurant that serves local foods. The menu for our group was fixed so I didn't get to choose what I ate, but the meal lasted several hours and included 3 courses of delicious food! The event itself wasn't vegan, but vegan options were offered for each course. The owner stopped by our table several times to make sure everything was OK, which is such a great touch.

The first course included a vegan rendition of green papaya salad, which I haven't had for a long time since most versions have fish sauce. We were also served sticky rice with a vegan version of Laab Gal, which is a spicy salad with tofu (instead of chicken), toasted rice powder, mint, lime and lemongrass. Both were incredibly good! The toasted rice powder gave a really unique flavor to the salad--I really hope that I can try this dish again soon.

The second course included four dishes: Pad See ew Gai (stir fry of wide rice noodles with sweet soy, marinated tofu and Chinese broccoli). This was my favorite dish of the night. It was simple, not too spicy, and slightly sweet. We also had Ba Mee Naam (I think, I can't remember for sure), which was a curried coconut milk soup with mung bean noodles, tofu, lettuce, fried garlic, bean sprouts and cilantro. Finally, we were served Pad Prik Khing, a really spicy stir fry of mock and long bean with khing curry paste and kaffir lime leaves. The Pad Prik was pretty spicy.

For the final course, we had Gluay Buad Chee, which is warm sticky rice with bananas and sweet coconut milk. So simple, and very delicious. And vegan! They also passed around samples of a dessert that doesn't appear to be on their menu, which involved a slice of winter squash with some sort of green custard in the center. All in all, their desserts are not overly cloying or sweet, which I really appreciate.

It was really great to be able to try an assortment of dishes that are typically off-limits for vegans. I'm not sure whether the owners would be willing to make these substitutions all the time, but it's certainly worth asking because they really do them well. I never felt like something was lacking in terms of flavor because our dishes were veganized which can sometimes happen when you dine at a restaurant where the chefs don't know what they're doing.

Go here! You won't be sorry.

Wally's Falafel and Hummus in Twin Cities, Minnesota
Mar 26 10

rating star

I've been here twice, and both times had great food and incredible service. The staff is so friendly! During one visit, the server stopped by our table to give us some mint tea for free. On the other visit, the owner stopped by to chat for a bit and find out whether I enjoyed the food.

On my most recent visit, I tried the "Sampler Plate" which came with 4 perfectly fried falafel, whole wheat pita (whole wheat!), hummus, tabouli salad, tahini sauce, and french fries. It was supposed to come with baba ganouge as well, but I had told the server that I was vegan and didn't eat dairy or eggs, and she informed me that the baba ganouge has some dairy in it. So, instead she gave me extra hummus and tabouli. The falafel are uniquely spiced, with a hint of cardamom--I've never had anything quite like it before. It was a lot of food for one person--this plate would be good to share with someone else. I really liked the tabouli salad--it tasted very fresh, had a great bulgur:parsley ratio, and the tomatoes were actually red (instead of the pale, sickly pink color you often find in tomatoes at other middle eastern restaurants--Holy Land, I'm looking at you). The tabouli was a tad too salty for my tastes, and was incredibly juicy--the juice from the salad ended up making the pita and fries on the plate a little soggy.

The food here is so affordable, too! I'll definitely be back here more often.

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