Nashvegan

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

The Wild Cow GRAND OPENING December 12, 2009

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Tonight (December 12, 2009) is the grand opening of Nashville’s newest all-vegetarian restaurant: The Wild Cow.  I feel like I have been waiting for this day forever and I can’t believe it’s finally here!!  The Wild Cow is located in East Nashville, across from Rosepepper Cantina.  Tonight’s grand opening will feature all-you-can-eat samples of a lot of their menu items and a glass of wine or hard cider, for those of the legal age to imbibe.  A $10 cover charge gets you in for the festivities, with 75% of the proceeds going to support East C.A.N., an East Nashville non-profit that benefits humans and non-human animals.

The party starts at 6:30 and goes until 9:00.  I know I’ll be there–will you?

The Wild Cow

1896 Eastland Avenue

Nashville, TN 37206

(615) 262-2717

Website

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Beyond the Edge October 13, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 11:37 am
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Behold, the beer selection

Behold, the beer selection

Beyond the Edge has a fantastic beer selection.  They also have a fantastic buy-one-get-one happy hour special.  And they have fantastic vegan food.  I’ve written about this East Nashville gem before here and I will likely write about it again.  It’s good, and it’s one of those places that keeps me coming back with varied menu options and, frankly, an awesome beer selection.  Look at all those taps!  And they have four kinds of Yazoo!  It’s the only place in town of which I am aware where you can sample Yazoo’s A Beer Named Sue, which is a mysterious dark confection, and can potentially attribute the gravel in its guts and the spit in its eye to that name.

Custom Wrap with Fries

Custom Wrap with Fries

A commenter on my last Beyond the Edge post informed me that the buns the restaurant uses are not vegan.  I’m not sure if they are or not (as when I asked I was told they were) but to be safe, I opted for a bun-less meal this time.  What you see in the photo is not on the menu.  It’s kind of a cross between the veggie wrap and the veggie burger pizza wrap.  Kudos to Beyond the Edge for (1) accepting a custom order; (2) not messing up a custom order; and (3) adding stuff to a custom order to make it even more awesome.  I basically asked for the veggie burger pizza wrap but with more of a Tex-Mex twist.  Since the veggie burger is a black bean patty, I thought it would be complemented nicely by avocado and salsa (instead of the cheese and marinara that came with the pizza wrap).  The cook really went above and beyond, filling the wrap with lettuce, tomato, onion, carrots, and red cabbage.  I dipped it in the little cup of salsa that came on the side.  It was AWESOME.  The blend of flavors was really fantastic – spicy burger and salsa, cool avocado and veggies.  The carrots gave it a nice crunch factor.  Plus, Beyond the Edge has my favorite fries in town.  Look how delicious they are!  This was one of the better lunches I’ve had in a while.  I’d love to see it on the menu permanently … so you should go there and ask for it.

Beyond the Edge

112 South 11th Street

Nashville, TN 37206

615.226.EDGE

Website – be careful, it plays music.

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Italia October 11, 2009

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Drag It Through the Garden with Teese

Drag It Through the Garden with Teese

A reader contacted me to tell me there is a pizza restaurant in East Nashville that serves vegan cheese.  I don’t know how this escaped my notice, but you better believe I was excited to check it out for myself.  Italia serves Teese, a vegan cheese substitute.  Up until this particular pizza, I had never tried Teese before as the local stores don’t carry it.  I personally like vegan cheese substitutes for the most part, although I didn’t like them much when I first went vegan.  I like nutritional yeast-based faux cheese sauces, and I like a nice tofu ricotta, which is super easy to make.  Cheeses like Teese, or Follow Your Heart, are actually my least favorite of the fake cheese forms, but they have their place.  And pizzas are one of those places.

This pizza was GOOD.  Seriously.  It was almost like having a pizza with real cheese.  The crust was just the right thickness.  The vegetable toppings were awesome: I had the “Drag it Through the Garden” which comes topped with mushrooms, green peppers, onions, artichokes, broccoli, tomatoes, and basil.  It also came with a garlic dipping sauce (not pictured) that was vegan, just like the kind you get from Papa John’s.  It was awesome and you should go eat some immediately.

Italia did not look the way I expected on the inside.  I was kind of picturing a place where you would get a server, and that’s not the vibe here at all.  You order at the counter and seat yourself among the red-and-white-checkered tables.  While we were waiting on our pizza, a lot of people came in to pick up takeout orders.  They don’t serve any alcohol at Italia, but while I was eating a fellow came in and sat down with his own six-pack, so I guess it’s BYOB–don’t hold me to that, though.  It reminded me of pizza places I used to frequent in my hometown, but with a more veg-friendly atmosphere.  In addition to pizza, Italia also serves up standard Mediterranean fare like hummus, falafel, and grape leaves.  Still, if you’re going to Italia, it seems like you should get the pizza.

I will definitely be heading back here for more awesome vegan pizza.  A small is perfect for two people, or for one if you want leftovers.  You should know that the Teese doesn’t really reheat that well in the microwave (I learned this), and you might want to heat up your leftover pizza in the oven.  I’m just so excited that there’s a place in town serving faux cheese.  I can’t believe I didn’t know about it until now.

Italia Pizza & Pasta

1600 Woodland St.

Nashville, TN 37206

615.262.5001

Website

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Rosepepper Cantina September 29, 2009

Who doesn't love neon?

Who doesn't love neon?

I feel like I go to a lot of birthday dinners.  It seems like all my friends have their birthdays in rapid succession, and they all want to have dinner.  My own is quickly approaching, in October.  For this latest birthday dinner I visited Rosepepper Cantina in East Nashville.  This place was adorable.  The decor was absolutely gorgeous, and I wish I could have taken more photos of the restaurant interior but because of the lighting they didn’t come out well.  You’ll have to be satisfied with this gorgeous neon sign, which is over the door from the dining room to the patio.  And what a patio it is!  We dined inside due to the size of our party, but the next time I visit Rosepepper I’ll definitely be eating al fresco.  The patio is enormous, and now that the weather had turned I bet it will be a really awesome experience to sit out there.

We had to wait a while for a table since there were a lot of us and we didn’t have a reservation and it was a Saturday, so we hung around the bar.  I decided to order a pina colada, for funsies.  If you decide to order a pina colada, you should know that it comes topped with a dollop of whipped cream.  My bartender was kind enough to spoon it out for me.  It is otherwise vegan, and you would be surprised how many wines and beers may not meet your personal definition of veganism (most hard liquor is fine).  There’s a link in my sidebar to a site called Barnivore and they have a fantastic, well-researched guide to all kinds of beer, liquor, and wine.  Information is power, people.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and Salsa

I eat a lot of chips and salsa in my journeys.  Seems like every restaurant I go to serves chips and salsa.  So far, my favorite salsa in town is from Cafe Coco, followed very closely by Moe’s, but I’ve loved the Moe’s salsa for years and it’s not unique to Nashville.  Other excellent salsas are available at Lime and Past Perfect.  That being said, this salsa was great.  It does not rival my top two, but it was still awesome.  There was a mild one, a spicier one, and a green one.  The green one was my favorite, followed by the spicier one.  The mild one was so-so.  I ate a lot of the green one.

Fajita Fresca Salad and Rice

Fajita Fresca Salad and Rice

Rosepepper is decidedly vegan-friendly.  There is a vegan burrito on the menu–named simply “Vegan”–and if you want a simple meal, I would recommend that.  But I didn’t feel like eating a burrito, I wanted a salad.  I talked with my waitress about being vegan and how to veganize the Fajita Fresca salad.  The waitress seemed knowledgeable about a vegan diet and helped me figure out how to change the salad.  We left out the meat (obviously), the cheese, and the sour cream, subbed steamed veggies for the grilled, and added fresh avocado slices.  It was pretty fantastic, except for the fact that it wasn’t really blended/tossed in any way and it was hard to get multiple things in one bite.  I really had to dig for the beans and at first I thought they weren’t in there.  I also had a rice, which my server assured me was vegan, but looking at the website further I’m not sure if that’s right.  The “Veggie” burrito has rice but the “Vegan” burrito does not, which is what rouses my suspicion.  If you are thinking about getting rice, be sure to ask if it contains any dairy or egg.

I will definitely go back to Rosepepper Cantina.  I hear their margaritas are amazing, but I wasn’t in the mood that particular evening.  Everything was fresh and tasty and there were lots of vegetables.  And I definitely want to eat on that patio!

Rosepepper Cantina

1907 Eastland Avenue

Nashville, TN 37206

615.227.4777

Website – menu, photos, drinks, and more

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Beyond the Edge September 26, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 3:09 pm
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My happy hour beer and the vegetarian menu

My happy hour beer and the vegetarian menu

Beyond the Edge is a really neat little sports bar in East Nashville.  I really dig this place.  They have a fantastic beer selection, great happy hour specials, and a substantial vegetarian menu.  Plus there’s a patio.  I love hanging out on the patio when the weather is nice, enjoying drinks and foods with my East Nasty pals.  While their menu is available on their website, I included this photo of it for your convenience.  Note that “Albacore Tuna Melt” is listed as a vegetarian sandwich, and “Albacore Tuna Wrap” is listed as a vegetarian wrap.  I will forgive them this mistake since I like the place so much, but it’s still annoying.

Chips & Salsa

Chips & Salsa

Had chips and salsa to start.  It was pretty standard.  A very watery but quite flavorful salsa with thicker-than-average chips.  There’s not really much more to say about it.

Black Bean Burger with Chips and Fruit

Black Bean Burger with Chips and Fruit

Beyond the Edge serves the Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle patty, which is always delicious.  The bun was soft and yummy, and toasted to a nice golden brown.  There are cucumbers underneath the patty, and lettuce and tomato on the top half of the bun.  Now, I asked for avocado to top the burger, and was informed they did not have avocado.  This was confusing to me because avocado is listed as the first ingredient in the Veggie Wrap.  I also asked if they had pico de gallo, and when my server said yes I asked for a side of that to top the burger.  As you can see from the photo, what I actually received was a cup of chopped tomato.  Disappointing.  I just spooned some salsa on my burger, but it wasn’t what I wanted.  I declined the french fries (which are quite good – seasoned curly fries) in favor of potato chips and a fruit cup.  Those Sweet Maui Onion chips are effing amazing.  The fruit cup was not very good.  I was expecting fresh fruit, like cantaloupe and honeydew and grapes or something, but what I got seemed like it came from a can and there was a lot of liquid in the cup.  Not impressive.

Will I be going back to Beyond the Edge?  Absolutely.  I really love the vibe, and the beer selection, and the patio, and the veggie burger.  And next time, I’ll be passing on the chips and salsa and fruit cup and I’ll stick with the fries.

Dig in!

Dig in!

Beyond the Edge

112 11th St

Nashville, TN 37206

(615) 226-EDGE

Website – a word of warning, it plays music.

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ETA: A commenter noted that the bun is not vegan.  On my visit, I asked if the bun was vegan and my server told me that it was, but it’s possible my server was incorrect.  If you’re dining at Beyond the Edge, I would recommend you ask about the bun and make your own assessment.  Also, apparently they can sub out a different kind of bread, and you could also probably request to have the patty in a wrap.