Reviews written by Michelle Lewis
Registered on Jan 1 11
While I appreciate the green mission of this restaurant and love the organic composting, I would not consider it to be "vegan friendly" by any stretch of the imagination. If I do go there with a friend, usually all I can get is coffee and a bagel, which is the same with any restaurant. One time we noticed that not only was a mozzarella salad in the deli case marked as vegan, but a staff person actually promoted it as vegan, and bickered with us a little bit about it. It also seems to me that the very meat-centered menu impacts the restaurant's environmental message, since meat is not an environmentally friendly product.
I love this store! I did most of my Christmas shopping here this year, and picked up a book and some perfume for myself as well. There are lots of cute products, and it's so great to not have to pore over the labels when you're shopping, and to know that the profits are going to help animals.
I have several vegan favorites at Hard Times: the seitan gyro, which is awesome and juicy and fresh, the tofu scramble served on brown rice (this tends to be a little heavy on the tofu for my taste, so I make a special request to up the veggies and go easy on the tofu, and the cooks are obliging), vegan tacos, vegan sloppy joe. The great thing about Hard Times is that the cooks always do each dish a little differently, according to their creative flair. I like the fact that the staff is independent and creative! The coffee is super fresh, made in a french press, and if there are a few little coffee grounds floating on the surface, it just makes it all seem a little more raw :)
They have this wonderful black-eyed pea soup that is just outrageously fresh, subtle, and delicious. I always get a bowl of this soup and a side of rice, which I put in the soup, and that is a wonderful meal.
The Seward Cafe is a treasure. I've sampled several of their breakfast options, but nowadays always come back to one of two breakfast options, which I will gladly travel across town for: (a) organic rice & beans (which comes with sprouts & scallions) plus a side order of spinach and a side of tomato. Make sure they throw the spinach & tomato on the grill, since different cooks sometimes do this differently. I get the pinto beans, which are a little hot--I like them so much, i haven't ever tried the black beans; (b) side of tofu + side of spinach + side of tomato. Add a little nutritional yeast & tamari from the condiment bar, and there you have some breakfast perfection. In the summer, sitting out on the back patio is bliss.
I'm especially impressed with their labeling of local produce, and their P-6 campaign to promote locally produced goods. Honestly, as far as grocery shopping goes, the main advantage it has over the Wedge is the wider aisles, which, especially on the weekends, makes shopping a little less of a roller-derby. But what I love about Seward is the hot deli, which ALWAYS has enough vegan selections to put together a balanced meal. I appreciate that the deli choices are thoughtful in that way--whoever plans the deli menu obviously has real vegans in mind. Also, I love the seating area, which has quickly become an appealing, active, and diverse community gathering place. The staff are super helpful, knowledgeable, and friendly.
Tao foods is literally my favorite place to eat in the Twin Cities. Every time I visit Tao Foods, I tell myself that I will order something other than the avocado rice plate with a side of black beans, but I love it so much that I order it every single time. It's a little crazy, since I make a version of this at home, but the brown rice is always perfect, the black beans are always perfect, and the sliced avocado, tomato, and red onions are always perfect.
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