Nashvegan

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

Cafe Coco January 17, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 11:31 am
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Hummus Plate and Chips & Salsa

What could be better than an independently owned neighborhood cafe that is open 24 hours a day with clearly marked vegan menu options and raw vegan chocolate cake in the cooler?  Nothing, that’s what.  Cafe Coco is one of my all-time favorite restaurants in Nashville and I’m really surprised that I haven’t featured it yet.  There is nothing not to love about this place, from the decor featuring local artists to the friendly vibe to the helpful staff to the fabulous food.  The patio is amazing when the weather is nice (which it wasn’t on this visit).  If you haven’t been there yet, go right now.  Don’t even finish reading this post, just go.  You can thank me later.

Pictured above are the appetizers of champions: hummus plate and chips & salsa.  Cafe Coco has my favorite salsa in the city, hands down.  It is so good.  If you’re thinking about getting a side of it with your meal, stop.  You need more salsa than that.  Get the appetizer so your salsa needs can be fully met.  The hummus is nothing to sneeze at though I could hardly say it’s the best in town.  Still, it’s really thick and the plates shown above can make a substantial meal by themselves–but why stop there?

Three Bean Vegan Chili and Raw Vegan Chocolate Cake

It seems that Cafe Coco’s “soup of the day” is always Three Bean Vegan Chili … but I’m not complaining!  This stuff is good.  It is just spicy enough to warm you up when it’s cold without being so spicy that you don’t want to eat it.  I recognize kidney beans and black beans, not really sure what the third bean is but I don’t really care because it’s delicious.  It is a little more watery than I like my chili, but for whatever reason it works.  I recommend crumbling up those multi-grain crackers and adding them directly to the chili for maximum chili enjoyment.

The cake is a new addition.  Cafe Coco has long had tempting-looking (dairy-laden) desserts in a cooler case near the register.  Imagine my surprise to peer into this case and view RAW VEGAN CAKE.  I wish I had written down the name of the woman who makes the desserts, but I didn’t, so if you go there check on that for me and let me know what it is so I can update this post.  I was speaking with my cashier about the addition of vegan cake and she told me the dessert woman recently took a raw foods cooking class and is now really into making raw desserts.  Kudos to her because this cake is A-MAZ-ING.  It was so rich I almost couldn’t eat it (note I said “almost.”)  It took a couple days to eat the whole slice.  The next time you’re there, grab a slice.  Don’t think about it, just do it.

If you haven’t been to Cafe Coco before you’re missing out.  In addition to the above foods, I also really like “The Skinny” which is a hummus and vegetable wrap–just omit the cheese and pesto.  Plus, it’s open 24 hours a day!  And there’s free delivery at lunch time!  WOW!

Cafe Coco

210 Louise Avenue

Nashville, TN 37203

615.321.2626

Website

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Pita Pit September 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 1:32 pm
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Falafel Pita

Falafel Pita

Did you know that it is basically impossible to take a decent picture of a pita?  I took two photos of it when I got it, but there were boring, because it was just sort of laying on that Pita Pit paper and you couldn’t see anything except the wrap.  So I at some of it and took this picture, which came out a bit blurry.  It’s hard to take a picture of something you can only hold so far away from yourself.  And you still can’t really tell what’s inside it.  Pitas are not photogenic.

I’m a big Pita Pit fan.  There are four in the greater Orlando area, so I was always able to get my pita fix.  Aside from Ali Baba, it’s the only downtown vegan-friendly eatery open for late night dining, as far as I’m aware.  And when you get done belting your heart out at Lonnie’s, and all your omni friends are munching down on nasty hot dogs from the guy on the street corner, you can head over to Pita Pit for some veg-a-licious awesomeness in a wrap, and your friends will be jealous.

I pretty much always get the falafel pita with hummus.  Falafel is good.  Pita Pit has pretty good falafel.  Eat it.  Then I add whatever veggies suit my fancy on that particular day and some secret sauce, which is the only vegan condiment that seems to be any good on this particular combination of things (mustard? I don’t think so).  The people working in Pita Pit are always super nice, but there’s not a lot of dining space.  There are but a few tiny tables, and it can get crowded after last call.  If you’re enjoying a pita during your lunch hour, you might very well be one of the only people in the place, which is fine by me.

I will definitely be back to Pita Pit.  I’ve been eating there for years, and they continue to be a reliable standby in my mental library of vegan eateries.  And every pita is a little different if you change your veggies and toppings, so it’s not like eating the same thing every time you go.  An added bonus: delivery!!

Pita Pit

121 2nd Avenue North

Nashville, TN 37201

615.251.9151

Website

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Ali Baba September 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 4:54 pm
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Falafel "Sandwich"

Falafel "Sandwich"

Ali Baba is a relatively new restaurant.  It opened in July.  The coolest thing about Ali Baba is that it is open until 3:00 AM on Fridays and Saturdays.  It’s basically your only late-night downtown alternative to Pita Pit.  The pitas at Pita Pit are bigger and full of more veggies, but sometimes you don’t want a wrap that’s bigger than your face, and they don’t have grape leaves.  The restaurant is kind of hiding, tucked away in a storefront after Big River Brewery: if you weren’t specifically looking for it, you would never notice it.  The interior features some booths and tables with cool stuff hanging from the ceilings, and there are a few plastic tables outside.

On this occasion, I popped into Ali Baba for lunch.  This is the falafel “sandwich.”  It’s more of a wrap than a sandwich, and it’s on more of a tortilla than a pita, but whatever.  It’s still pretty delicious.  It’s not the best falafel I’ve ever had in Nashville–that honor goes to Fattoush–but it definitely hits the spot.  The staff is super friendly as well.  The wrap comes with falafel and hummus and some veggies (lettuce and tomato, etc.) along with some pretty good tahini.  I would prefer it if the falafel was crispier and not as mushy, but overall it’s good.  I will definitely be back.

Ali Baba

105 Broadway

Nashville, TN 37201

(615) 255-5522

Ali Baba doesn’t have a website, but here is a little blurb from the Nashville Scene.

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Bruegger’s Bagels August 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 1:51 pm
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Leonardo da Veggie & Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Leonardo da Veggie & Fire Roasted Tomato Soup

Bagels are often a vegan-friendly treat, and bagel shops usually have great stuff for vegans.  Bruegger’s is one of my favorite quick-service lunch spots in midtown.  Almost all of Bruegger’s bagels are vegan.  They have a really informative website with full ingredient lists for all of their food, which is a lifesaver for vegans.  If you don’t have the chance to check the site before you go, the staff (at this location at least) is extremely knowledgable about product ingredients…. or so I thought.  Upon further research, it turns out that even though I was told that the tomato soup did not contain any dairy, according to the Bruegger’s website, it does.  I suppose it’s possible that this particular location’s soup did not contain dairy, but I doubt that.  This is just one of those things about being vegan that happens sometimes: you do the best you can, you ask the right questions, and you still end up with dairy in your food.  I try not to feel too horribly about these things for two reasons: (1) I requested a dairy-free meal and it’s not my fault the staff thought the soup was free of milk; and (2) veganism is not about perfection, it’s about reducing suffering.  The moral of this story is to avoid all soups at Bruegger’s.

Don’t let my experience with the soup scare you away from Bruegger’s because it’s still a great place to grab breakfast/lunch/a snack, and the sandwich in that picture was totally awesome!  It is a variation on the Leonardo da Veggie sandwich.  The Leonardo da Veggie is supposed to come on an asiago softwich (clearly not vegan) and be topped with herb garlic cream cheese (also not vegan) and Muenster (definitely not vegan).  I had them swap out the asiago softwich for an everything softwich (totally vegan) and leave off all the cheese in favor of hummus (mmmmmmm).  The final sandwich contained hummus, roasted red peppers, lettuce, tomato, and red onion.  Everyone at the table was impressed with my sandwich while they chomped away on roast beef.  I’ll definitely be going to Bruegger’s again soon.

Bruegger’s Bagels

Multiple Locations – Midtown, Harding Pike, Brentwood

I went to this one:

422 21st Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37203

615.327.0055

Website with full ingredient list for all menu items

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Mellow Mushroom August 21, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:56 pm
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Salad and Hummus

Salad and Hummus

I might as well tell you now that I go to Mellow Mushroom a lot.  And I mean A LOT.  So expect to see multiple Mellow Mushroom posts.  I wasn’t very hungry on this trip to the ‘shroom, so I didn’t have much, but usually I enjoy a hearty vegan feast.  They have all kinds of vegan food, and you have the ability to customize stuff to your heart’s content, so everyone can really enjoy eating here.  If you order a pizza, make sure to ask for no butter or parmesan on the crust.  The dough is otherwise vegan.  Avoid the pesto and the portobello mushrooms (they’re basted in garlic butter; I learned this the hard way).  For salad dressing, stick to the balsamic or herb vinaigrettes.  All you have left to do is enjoy!  They have tofu, barbecue tofu, and tempeh, which is just totally awesome.  Also, happy hour is from 3:00 – 8:00 Monday through Thursday, and all day Sunday.  They have half-price drafts, and the beer selection is seriously awesome.  They even have Yazoo Hop Project and Sly Rye Porter, two extremely excellent choices.  They’re apparently starting a beer club, where you can get your name on a plaque for drinking all the different beers.  Mellow Mushroom is awesome.

Hummus

Hummus

Some of my friends are really picky about hummus.  Not me!  I think this hummus is awesome, but my friend Claire makes her own at home and has lived in Egypt and would probably look down upon the lowly Mellow Mushroom hummus, but I find it delicious (P.S. I love you Claire!).  That being said, I get hummus almost every single time I go to the ‘shroom.  What I really love about their hummus is the pita: it is always warm and soft and fantastic.  I need to figure out how to make the pita I eat at home have the same texture as this.  Seriously.  It is good.  Put it in your mouth.

Lil Tossed Salad

Lil Tossed Salad

The Lil Tossed Salad is just what it sounds like . . . a small garden salad.  They have fancier salads, but I wanted something simple.  The best part of this particular salad was the tomatoes–they tasted super fresh and really hit the spot.  I had balsamic vinaigrette dressing.  My only complaint about Mellow Mushroom salads is the limited vegan dressing selection.  Seriously, I get bored with eating balsamic vinaigrette all the time.  My favorite salad to get here is a make-my-own with my favorite veggies and grilled tofu.  YUM!

Mellow Mushroom remains one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville, and I will continue to eat there practically constantly.  It’s really getting out of control as one of the waiters actually recognizes me every time I come in.  Expect to see more posts with other food from here.  And beer!  Hooray beer!

Mellow Mushroom

212 21st Ave S

Nashville, TN 37203

615.342.0044

Website

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