First and foremost, I need to mention I miss my Vitamix blender. I considered bringing it with me, and I didn't. I finally found a place called Cosmic Coconut which makes green smoothies. I will of course be telling you all about that shortly.
I love Memphis, especially the Midtown area. We went to the zoo yesterday then drove around today, exploring neighborhoods and doing some casual shopping in some of the quirky little shops in the Midtown area. We also ate, and we ate pretty darn well, might I add. Below, I will tell you about our tasty finds and follies.
R.P. Tracks - Memphis, Tennessee
Bar-B-Q Tofu. You're welcome.
Seriously, this place boasts of its World Famous Bar-B-Q Tofu, and it certainly delivers just that. We ordered the Bar-B-Q Tofu Nachos vegan style. They were INCREDIBLE. They featured amazing black beans, fresh crisp chips,tomato, lettuce, jalapenos and of course juicy hunks of their Bar-B-Q Tofu. I wanted to go back for them today, but we committed to other things. SO effin' good. If you're ever in Memphis, stop in for these. Worth it.
Bosco's Squared - Memphis, Tennessee
Wop wop waaaap. That's the sound of disappointment. We forwarded the list of vegan-friendly options in Memphis to a friend of Sean's to pick for us to dine at, and Bosco's was selected. I'd suggest skipping this place, and here's why. While yes, they hand make a vegan patty, their buns are not vegan. Neither are any of their sides except fruit. We ate the patty on two slices of wheat bread. We were sorely disappointed and ended up going to Whole Foods for some mock chicken salad and fruit to supplement.
Cosmic Coconut - Memphis, Tennessee
After scouring the earth to find a place that would blend together fruits and vegetables in perfect harmony for me to gain more of my life power back, we found this place. Sean ordered a green wheatgrass smoothie and they blended what I asked, but an adorable little dread-locked girl totally hated my face and the price tag was a whopping 25 bucks for two smoothies. So, you decide. I don't really know what to think, honestly.
Imagine Vegan Cafe - Memphis, Tennessee
Yes, we went back, and yes, it was awesome. Sean loved his "mozzarella" sticks, and I had a delightful spinach dip. Sean ordered the French dip for lunch, and he said it was the best thing he's eaten in a while. I ordered the Memphis Barbecue sandwich and it was absolutely killer. I unfortunately didn't save room for all of my sandwich, so I brought home a piece for Bella. We also got a cupcakes for Sean's mom, a slice of Key Lime Coconut cake which was amazeballs, and an oatmeal cream pie. Stay tuned for the review on that one. Once again, I believe you're missing out if you come to Memphis and don't let Kristie cook for you.
PF Chang's - Memphis, Tennessee
Happy Birthday, Mamo! Today was my mother-in-law's birthday. She was given the option for any restaurant in Memphis, and she chose this. Yay for lettuce wraps. I had the tofu lettuce wraps and they were delightful. Bella had the fried rice which was a little bland and Sean seemed to enjoy his coconut curry. But, you can find PF Chang's anywhere, so I'm sure you already knew all about this place.
All in all, I'm grateful for Imagine, Whole Foods, Bar-B-Q Tofu and McAlister's Sweet Tea. Stay tuned, we're checking out some new places tomorrow and a brand-spanking-new place on Saturday!
Well, I am really starting to believe that eating vegan on the road is bound to be an adventure in and of itself. We spent the past two days on the road as we drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Memphis, Tennessee. We expected to drive all day on Monday, but Tuesday's duration was unpleasantly unexpected, as apparently someone decided to take out a whole effin' bridge on the I-40 Eastbound over the White River. But I digress. Here's what we ate on the road, where we were fortunate enough to find some gems.
1. Eat-Rite Health Promotion Center - Amarillo, Texas
The name of this place totally put me off, but we decided to give it a go, as it seemed like it would be the most veg-friendly restaurant in a town that boasts of a free 71 oz. steak if you can eat the entire thing in an hour. We went in and ordered two Hummus Vegan Delight sandwiches and a Peanut Butter and Jelly for Bella. I also ordered a "green smoothie" which I'll talk about in a minute.
So, the whole check came to 36 bucks. I was a little shocked at the price, but I feel like, for road food, the price was worth what we got. The Hummus Vegan Delight sandwiches consisted of two slices of Ezekiel bread with hummus spread on one side and Vegenaise spread on the other. Between the slices were clover sprouts, tomatoes, cucumber and onion. For a nice, simple sandwich, we were thoroughly impressed with the freshness and quality. The sandwiches were served with a bean salad that was a definite miss. I love vinegar-y stuff, but this was too much. There needed to be a little more sweetness and a little bit of salt to balance out the flavors. We just tossed them.
Bella got the Peanut Butter and Jelly, which I was thrilled to see was made on two slices of Ezekiel bread with fresh, house-made peanut butter. It was delicious and she seemed to really enjoy it as well.
Finally, there was the green smoothie. This green smoothie was made with a green smoothie powder, pineapple juice and banana. It was much too sweet. I suggest skipping it. I was impressed that after it was sitting for about two hours it started to brown, which made me feel like it was fresh.
All in all, I suggest making the stop at Eat-Rite. It was a nice change from truck stop food and greasy spoon food.
2. Chili's - Van Buren, Arkansas
We got into Van Buren at about 9:30, and there weren't a lot of food options for us veggie heads. I thought fajitas sounded good and called the Chili's that was right around the corner. Amy seemed pretty knowledgeable and after a few questions, we settled on the Fire-Grilled Corn Guacamole, the Caribbean Salad with oil and vinegar instead of their dressing, and an order of veggie fajitas. All in all it was pretty satisfying in a pinch. This just goes to show that sometimes, when you get someone knowledgeable on the phone, you can make a vegan meal out of almost any menu.
3. Mean Bean Cafe - Conway, Arkansas
This was another example of a restaurant that really wanted to please its customers, even us vegans. They had an insert inside their menu which listed a black bean veggie burger; after double-checking that both the patty and the 7-grain bun were vegan, Sean had that, sans cheese. I ordered the veggie hoagie without cheese, and Bella had the veggie hoagie in a wrap without cheese. Sean absolutely loved his burger, Bella loved my hoagie, and I loved whatever was left. The veggies in the wrap and hoagie consisted of mushrooms, lettuce, black olives, red onions, tomatoes, cucumber, and bell peppers. Chips were served on the side, and there was a delightful pickle spear. It all was fresh and satisfying. I'd gladly go back if I was passing through there during lunch again. The servers were all helpful and super friendly, as well -- Southern hospitality personified.
4. Imagine Vegan Cafe - Memphis, Tennessee
We finally made it to Memphis, after a crazy setback that cost us HOURS! Don't worry; we were safe, just really effin' delayed by a bridge mishap. I was so happy to be in Memphis, and even more so to see that Imagine Vegan Cafe was open! I have been looking forward to eating here for MONTHS! Plus, we were starving, as we got into town well after we expected to.
We parked across the street and walked into this great little restaurant in the Cooper-Young district of Midtown Memphis. We were greeted by owner Adam, and (his 3-year-old daughter) Sierra decided to hop into the open seat at our table for a chat, but not before plopping a nice sized bowl of play noodles in front of Bella. I was very pleased to have her company; she was adorable!
We ordered the potato skins and sweet tea, then settled in to peruse the rest of the 5-page (!) ALL-VEGAN menu. Bella ordered the kids' "chicken" nuggets and macaroni and cheese; I ordered the Philly with a side salad with house made ranch dressing; and Sean ordered the "turkey" cutlets with mashed potatoes and green beans. We also ordered hush puppies and corn casserole for the whole table. Owner Kristie cooked up the food and ran most of it to our table. She was so sweet and awesome! Plus, we were so thrilled to be eating something other than veggie sandwiches. And the food was all VERY good. Adam had mentioned that he too had a tough time eating most vegan cheeses, so I was impressed with their usage of vegan cheese in the potato skins and the Philly. We loved everything we ate, and ended up ordering the Brownie Sundae, which, I exclaimed, was "stupid good!" It really was.
How good is stupid good, you ask? Well, it's good enough that we are going back on Thursday for lunch, so there. You should go too if you're ever in town. Disappointment is definitely NOT on the menu.
All in all, I felt we ate rather well, but I was really grateful to have landed in Memphis, which by all accounts is very vegan friendly. Stay tuned; my next post will outline just how vegan friendly Memphis really is.
Holy eff, this past 36 hours has been INSANE for vegan eating. We've had highs and lows in both elevation and food quality. We had truck stop food and we ate delicious sit down meals, barbecue and microwaved chick'n patties in the hotel room. Below, I'll break it out by meal/ locale.
1. Travel Centers of America, Kingman, Arizona
We didn't have much for dinner the night before, so we were ready for breakfast. We stopped here and got Bella some Cheerios, granola bars for Sean and me, and some Bugles chips. It was fine to hold us over until Flagstaff.
2. Morning Glory Cafe - Flagstaff, Arizona
This place was WONDERFUL! It was about 7 minutes off I-40, and it was worth every second of the detour. We called ahead to see what their menu was like only to be informed that they had a brunch theme for the day. Score! We pulled up to this super cute little downtown area with this cozy little restaurant nestled in. I felt like I was at home. This very casual vegan/ vegetarian restaurant is granola in a very pleasant way. We ordered the breakfast burro for the road and were pleasantly surprised. The owner crammed a ton of flavor into each delicious morsel. There was tofu, zucchini, spinach, corn, potatoes, pico de gallo and enchilada sauce. There was an option for Daiya, but I opted out. Everyone was really nice, the coffee with the silk soy creamer was just what I needed, and Bella really loved the fruit bowl they gave her to eat while we waited. Stop on in there if you're ever passing through. I promise, you will feel like you're having brunch at a friend's house.
3. Socorro, New Mexico
I went to high school in this town, and I have to say, I was very disappointed by how little anyone seemed to know about veganism. I called around desperately looking for a safe place to eat at to no avail. We ended up picking up some Boca chicken patties, buns and barbecue sauce and going back to the hotel room.
4. Manzanares Cafe - Socorro, New Mexico
I really recommend avoiding this spot. They are not vegan friendly at all, despite the fact that they are located in the former spot of Martha's Black Dog, which 14 years ago was THE vegan spot for the college vegan set. Bella ended up eating almonds until we got her to my parents' house for a Boca burger barbecue and an amazing vegan cake my sister baked for her.
5. Thai Vegan - Albuquerque, New Mexico
This was the best Thai food I've ever eaten in my entire life.
This restaurant was the recommendation of my bestie from high school, Casey, whom we met with for dinner and a catch-up. This is an all vegan restaurant that features several different faux-meat options. I let Sean do all the ordering, and he didn't disappoint. He started us off with the chick'n satay skewers. They were quite scrumptious. Then came Bella's chick'n fried rice, and we shared the tofu pad thai and the tofu yellow curry. It all was phenomenal. I cannot impress on you enough, this was THE BEST. We washed it all down with a vegan Thai iced tea and then finished off the whole meal with banana egg rolls that were finished with a chocolate drizzle. To die for. If you ever find yourself in Albuquerque, eat here. You won't regret it.
Stay tuned for the next leg of our amazing race, where we travel through the Texas panhandle, Oklahoma, and into Arkansas.
Hi, I'm Apryl, a sassy artist-type who also happens to be the mommy in this 3-piece band that is our vegan family. My husband, Sean, and I are both foodies with food & beverage backgrounds.