Nashvegan

A not-very-definitive guide to eating (and living) as a vegan in Nashville.

Zumi Sushi January 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:24 pm
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Vegan Soba Bowl

Zumi Sushi is one of those restaurants that I kept meaning to go to and always forgetting about.  I’m glad that I finally made it, because it’s good.

Zumi Sushi is relatively new to town (opened in May 2009) and is located across from the Belcourt in what’s becoming a seriously interesting strip of restaurants.  The food is affordable and very tasty, and it’s also beautifully prepared.  The restaurant also features great happy hour specials that you should seriously consider enjoying on their enormous front and back patios once it warms up.

House Salad

I began my meal with the House Salad, which is basically just romaine lettuce and shredded carrots, but it’s topped with house-made carrot-ginger dressing.  A version of this salad is served at pretty much every pan-Asian restaurant, and this one holds its own.  The dressing is really flavorful, and I liked it a lot, but it’s still just a bowl of lettuce and carrots.

For my entree I (obviously) ordered the Vegan Soba Bowl, pictured above.  I mean, come on, how could I not order the one menu item with “Vegan” in the name?  The Vegan Soba Bowl is a bowl of buckwheat soba noodles cooked with tofu, veggies (broccoli, bell peppers, and snow peas make an appearance) in a vegan dashi broth.  This bowl basically punched me in the face with flavor.  It was surprisingly spicy, with a lot of crushed red pepper.  The soba noodles really hold up well with the veggies and tofu.  The portion size was generous but not enormous – basically, it was the Goldilocks of noodle bowls.  The grilled lemons on top were an awesome addition.

On a separate visit (sans camera, sorry, blog fail) I knew I wanted to try the sushi.  The Green Sesame roll was calling her sweet siren song of deliciousness, and I succumbed.  The Green Sesame roll features asparagus, carrots, cucumber, kanpyo, inari tofu, and peanuts, all rolled in thin strips of avocado.  It sounds good, right?  It is good.  And it’s eight pieces.  For $5.50.  OH YEAH.

I will absolutely be back to Zumi Sushi.  There are more things on the menu I want to try!  Can you believe I haven’t had the garlic-soy edamame?  Me neither.  I will leave you with this photo that shows how mature I am:

Zumi Sushi Japanese Kitchen

2119 Belcourt Avenue

Nashville, TN 37212

615.383.5770

Website

 

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Woodlands December 14, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 11:38 am
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Assorted Appetizer

Why is  it that, in every city I go to, the vegetarian Indian restaurant is named Woodlands?  A mystery for another time, my friends.  Because now is the time to talk about delicious Indian food.

I went to Woodlands with two highly skeptical non-vegetarian friends, only one of whom was actually familiar with Indian food.  We decided the Assorted Appetizer would be a good start, so we could try a bit of everything.  The sampler featured Idly (a steamed lentil and rice cake), Vegetable Samosas (pastry stuffed with potatoes and peas), Vegetable Cutlets (breaded and fried potato and vegetable patties), Vada (a fried lentil doughnut), and Vegetable Pakora (battered and fried potatoes, onion, and eggplant) served with a variety of dipping sauces.  Everything on this plate was amazing.  Seriously.  All three of us loved everything we ate, and at this point we were skeptical about having room for our entrees.  As we should have been.

Woodlands Special Rava Masala Dosa

Since Woodlands specializes in Dosas, I decided to order one of those.  In case you don’t know, a dosa is a thin rice crepe stuffed with the filling of your choice served with sauce (at Woodlands, sambar and coconut chutney).  The Woodlands menu features 16 different varieties of dosas.  I selected the Woodlands Special, which is typically served with paneer (cheese), but is easily made vegan by leaving that off.  The Woodlands Special comes stuffed with coconut, chili, onion, potatoes, and spices.  Guess what adjective I’m going to use to describe this dish?  That’s right, amazing.  The crepe itself was perfectly seasoned and had a melt-in-your-mouth texture that was truly divine, and that was before I even got to the savory, fluffy filling.  My non-Indian-loving friend ordered the same thing (keeping the paneer) and she loved hers as well.

Also, in case you can’t tell from the photo, the thing is huge.  It was bigger than my head.  After filling up on delicious appetizers, I couldn’t even get halfway through this dish.  Thankfully, it was still good the next day, even though the crepe lost some of its delicate texture after hanging out in my refrigerator.

One of the best thing about Woodlands is the staff.  They are super-helpful and very knowledgeable about what’s vegan and what isn’t.  So if you aren’t familiar with Indian food and are hesitant, don’t be, because your friendly server can help you navigate the menu.  If you’ve never had Indian food before, what is the matter with you?  Get off your butt and go  to Woodlands right now.  You can thank me later.

Woodlands

3415 West End Avenue

Nashville, TN 37203

615.463.3005

Website

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Taco Mamacita December 12, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 7:08 pm
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Hold onto your panties, kids, because I’m back and this is an update.  There’s no good reason for my absence as of late, so let’s not dwell on it and get to the food, okay?  It’s freezing right now and snowing a lot, so what could be better than TACOS?

Have you been to Taco Mamacita in Edgehill Village yet?  No?  Well, you should go.  Granted, it’s kind of more awesome in the summer when it’s not too cold to enjoy the spacious patio, but any time of the year is a good time for tacos.  The best feature of Taco Mamacita is their completely separate vegan menu, which will be placed in your hungry little  hands upon your request.  It’s pretty damn comprehensive.  This is no “refried beans in corn tortillas topped with red sauce and that’s it” establishment (seriously, that just happened to me at Fiesta Mexicana on 4th).  No, my friends, this is a place with a little something called “options.”

 

Salsa Sampler

My meal began with the Salsa Sampler to share, obvi.  Small dishes of three different salsas–mango jalapeno, salsa verde, and roasted tomato–were surrounded by crispy tortilla chips.  The mango jalapeno was my favorite, with the salsa verde coming in as a close second.  The roasted tomato was mediocre, but it had its place in rounding out the trio.  All in all, solid performance by the salsas, though the roasted tomato was lacking a certain something.

 

Freakin’ Vegan Taco, Vegan Jerk Taco, and Sweet Potato Fries

Wanting the full Taco Mamacita experience, I ordered the platter for my  entree: any two tacos and a side.  Out of the three vegan tacos on the menu, I bypassed the Avocado Taco in favor of the Freakin’ Vegan Taco and the Vegan Jerk Taco, because these tacos contained more “stuff” (that’s a technical term for food bloggers).  The Freakin’ Vegan Taco is basically a vegan version of your standard taco but fancier, filled with cilantro spinach rice, red beans, lettuce, pico de gallo, escabeche (a kind of pickled jalapeno slaw/relish), and guacamole.  The Vegan Jerk taco sounded particularly appealing to me, as I would probably eat woodchips if they were jerked, and contained cabbage, mango salsa, jerked and sauteed plantains, and red beans.  Both tacos were awesome, but the jerk taco really blew my mind.  All the flavors came together in perfect harmony to create a delicious party in my mouth, to which all were invited.  On my next visit, I’ll probably just get two of these.  Also, I really recommend the Sweet Potato Fries.  They got cold quickly, but were really great when they first came out.  Plus sweet potatoes are hella good for you.

Verdict?  I will absolutely be back.  Lots.  The food is awesome, there are a ton of vegan options, and there are great drink specials.  It gets super crowded on Wednesdays, because margaritas are two for one from 4:00 – 8:oo.  Also, Sangria is half price all day on Sundays.  So put on a coat, get off your sofa, and get some tacos.

Taco Mamacita

1200 Villa Place

Nashville, TN 37212

Website

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Fido March 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 2:01 pm
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Veggie Scramble with Tofu

Who doesn’t love brunch?  I know I do.  But aren’t you tired of going out to a brunch spot with your friends and choosing from oatmeal (if that), dry toast (if that), and fresh fruit?  I have the solution to your woes and it’s Fido.  If you haven’t been to Fido yet, you’re missing out.  This post is going to focus on brunch, but it’s awesome any time of day–their veggie burger is one of the best in town, I’m serious.  They also have an awesome vegan cookies and muffins, as well as stellar coffee.  Plus, they serve breakfast all day, so you can get your tofu scramble on anytime.

As you can see above, I had the Veggie Scramble with Tofu, sans cheese.  Tofu can be exchanged for eggs in all of the brunch dishes, so a lot of them are easily vegan-ized.  The Veggie Scramble includes tofu, baby spinach, tomatoes, and roasted onions, and man is it delicious!  Seriously, it’s some of the best food I’ve ever had.  It comes with hashbrowns (which are more like home fries than traditional hashbrowns) and toast with jam.  There’s also a cup of salsa on the side, for making everything even more amazing.  The veggie sausage is, unfortunately, not vegan, so don’t add a side of that to your meal.  While not pictured, my dining companions and I also enjoyed some mimosas, which you make yourself–they give you the sparkling wine and orange juice and you combine away!

Soy Latte and Vegan Pumpkin Oat Cookie

I’m kind of a coffee snob.  I mean, I’ll drink Starbucks because it’s, well, everywhere, but I don’t think it’s all that good.  That being said, Bongo Java coffee is A-MAZ-ING.  The only place I’ve ever had better is in Portland, OR.  My favorite variety is Hair of the Dog, which smells better than any other coffee I have ever had the pleasure of enjoying.  Also, the Vegan Pumpkin Oat Cookie: YOU MUST EAT ONE.  Like, right now.  I cannot get enough of these things.  They’re soft almost like cake, and so moist and flavorful.  They also have an amazing vegan hot chocolate cookie that’s spicy.  And there are muffins, and other vegan baked goods.

Bottom line: if you haven’t been to Fido before, you’re doing a poor job of being a vegan in Nashville.  Go there immediately and get a tofu scramble, or a black bean burger, or some hummus, or a cookie, or a coffee, or all of those things.  Do it now.

Fido

1812 21st Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37212

615.777.FIDO

Website

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Germantown Cafe February 24, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:42 am
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House Salad

I went to Germantown Cafe during Nashville Originals Restaurant Week.  During Restaurant Week, Nashville Originals member restaurants offer specially priced prix fixe menus and, typically, specialty menu items.  Germantown Cafe (and Allium for that matter) simply offered their regular menus at a fixed price that included a salad, entree, and dessert.

I began my meal with the house salad topped with either Raspberry or Balsamic Vinaigrette, I can’t recall.  I should really start carrying a notepad.  Anyway, I do remember that the salad was pretty good as far as house salads go.  It was just greens, red cabbage, and carrots, but the dressing was really tasty and everything tasted really fresh.  I also had the house Pinot Grigio which I liked, but I’m no wine expert so who knows.  I liked it and that’s what counts, right? Also, they brought out a bread dish but the bread wasn’t vegan so I didn’t get to partake.

Green Plate

For my entree I ordered the Green Plate, veganized.  Normally, everything on this plate is coated in a fine layer of butter.  Gross, right?  So, that was nixed.  Next, they subbed out the Butternut Squash Gratin for brown rice–downgrade.  So what was on my green plate, you ask?  Garlic-marinated portobello mushroom, steamed spinach, steamed asparagus, brown rice, and that little side dish of sauce.  The spinach was bland, period.  It seemed that it was completely unseasoned.  I absolutely love asparagus so I was pleased, but at the same time it could have been seasoned in some way, or at least roasted to bring out the flavors.  The rice (which you can’t see because it’s underneath the asparagus) tasted like rice–also unseasoned.  The mushroom was AMAZING.  Seriously, I ate every last bite.  It was so very very delicious.  The texture and flavor were perfect.  Also, I don’t know what that little sauce was, but it really blew me away.  It was kind of overwhelming on the spinach, but it really took the asparagus and mushroom to the next level.  I want to have a bottle of it in my fridge at all times.

Fruit Bowl

For dessert I had … this bowl of fruit.  Not that there’s anything wrong with a bowl of fruit.  The fruit was good and all.  And it’s not like I was expecting this restaurant to have some kind of phenomenal vegan dessert, especially since I didn’t request one in advance.  It’s just, you know, fruit.

The verdict?  I don’t know that I will be back at Germantown Cafe unless their menu changes.  My salad was good but standard.  My green plate was mostly flavorless except for the mushroom cap and sauce, and the substitute of plain brown rice for butternut squash was kind of a disappointment.  My dessert was fruit.  Worst of all, I was still kind of hungry when I was done with all this food.  There was no solid protein source in the meal.  Germantown Cafe has a really creative menu, and my dining companion was thrilled with an order of New Orleans Shrimp.  The restaurant has a lot of vegan potential, it just needs to be more fully realized–the chefs are clearly skilled.  Also, I don’t think I saved any money by going during Restaurant Week–I think I would have actually spent less if I ordered my items a la carte.

The best thing about Germantown Cafe was not my food but the decor, view, and ambiance.  The place is really beautifully designed, and we got a table by the window with a fantastic view of the downtown skyline.  It really is a good date spot.  Just don’t expect your dish to wow you.

Germantown Cafe

1200 Fifth Avenue North

Nashville, TN 37208

615.242.3226

Website

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Get Sconed February 22, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:29 am
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This is a special guest post from Kenny Torrella of Murfreesboro. Kenny is head of MTSU student organization Raiders Against Animal Cruelty and an all-around cool dude. So, take it away Kenny!

Who says veganism has to be a sacrifice? When I heard that there was a bakery in town that was interested in offering vegan options, I gave them a few vegan cookbooks, ran over the basics of vegan baking, and set up a taste-test meeting for a week later.

I brought the best vegan baker I knew, a vegetarian food-lover, and our non-vegetarian friend nicknamed “Cupcake. They had already set up a mountain of vegan donuts and desserts for us to test–glazed, jelly-filled, apple fritters, raspberry glazed brownies, and more. They nailed it! Everything tasted perfect–the donuts were just how I remember them and the non-vegans couldn’t believe they were eating vegan donuts that tasted just like regular donuts.

In only 3 weeks they went from having no vegan options, to having a huge vegan menu. Here’s what they have that’s vegan: glazed donuts, chocolate glazed donuts, jelly-filled donuts, donut holes, apple fritter donuts, cinnamon twist donuts, raspberry glaze brownies, chocolate glaze and peanut-topped brownies, coffee w/soymilk, hummus + pita plate, tomato soup, a grilled vegan-cheese sandwich … and they’re still experimenting to expand their vegan menu! Some days they don’t have certain donuts but they’re open to requests and suggestions.

My review: like I said, all of the vegan donuts taste just like regular donuts. It’s magic. The brownies are great, too. The hummus is made from scratch and is really good. The grilled vegan-cheese sandwich is really good–it’s hard to get vegan cheese to taste like dairy cheese so it’s not the best thing I’ve ever had, but I’d order it again. I don’t like the tomato soup, but tomato soup just isn’t my thing anyways. I’m also not a coffee drinker but my friends like it (it’s roasted in Nashville).

If you’re planning on making the trip to Murfreesboro, make sure to call in advance to see if they have some vegan goodies left (sometimes they sell out before the day ends). Though, they will hold them for you if you ask!

Get Sconed Bakery
1875 Memorial Blvd.
Murfreesboro, TN 37130
615.410.3528

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Vegan Drinks TONIGHT February 2, 2010

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Nashville’s very first Vegan Drinks is taking place tonight (Feb. 2 2010) at Bound’ry!  Vegan Drinks meetups take place all over the country, and tonight the lovely Traveling Vegetarian is hosting this amazing event here in our fair city.  Since this quote says it perfectly, here’s the description of the meetup from the national Vegan Drinks website:

“Vegan Drinks is a monthly social networking event for people interested in promoting veganism and advocating for animal rights. Vegan Drinks’ mission is to bring together a diverse group of people—from cupcake aficionados to animal lawyers to veg*ns of all stripes in between—to build new coalitions and promote the sharing of resources. Vegan Drinks is for newbies and oldies. All we expect is an interest in animal rights, veganism and the pursuit of after-work fun. Show up and introduce yourself, pass around business cards (if you’ve got ‘em) and embarrass yourself at least once an hour.”

Tonight’s Vegan Drinks will be at Bound’ry from 7:00 – 9:00, so be sure to DVR/TiVo the LOST premiere and head on out.  I would say that you will be seeing me there, but unfortunately I seem to have caught some kind of super-death-cold and I am practically bed-ridden.  Seriously, go to this.  Bound’ry is really vegan-friendly, and I actually chose it for my birthday dinner last year.  You will not regret it; it will be amazing.

Bound’ry – 911 20th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212

Vegan Drinks Nashville facebook page

2/2 Vegan Drinks facebook event – feel free to RSVP!

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