Nashvegan

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

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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Bound’ry November 3, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 2:16 pm
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I love Bound’ry, even though this was only my second-ever full meal there.  I hang out at the bar every now and then, and they can always scrounge up some kind of vegan appetizer for me.  Plus, the bar has this awesome chilled section that you can set your drink on so it will never get warm.  I like to leave my handprint in the frost, but I digress.  I love the creativity of the menu, the willingness of the kitchen staff to make me special food that’s not even on the menu, the kindness of the servers and bartenders, and the awesome decor.  I’ve never had a bad experience at Bound’ry.

My birthday was a couple of weeks ago and I decided to have my birthday dinner at Bound’ry, partially because that’s where I had it last year (while still lacto/ovo) and partially due to The Traveling Vegetarian’s encouraging post about how vegan-friendly they can be. I made my reservation a week in advance and indicating that I was vegan. They assured me I could be accommodated, and boy was I ever accommodated.

Bound'ry - salad

Bound'ry Salad

My server, who had celiac’s, and whose business partner was vegan, was awesome.  He offered to whip me up a vegan appetizer but I declined since my dining companions were not getting any.  I did take him up on ordering a salad, seen above.  The Bound’ry Salad consists of Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, crispy black eyed peas, and usually ham–remove the ham and it’s vegan.  I chose balsamic vinaigrette as my dressing.  This salad was great for being so simple.  The dressing was just right (not too thick but not too runny/oily), and the crispy black eyed peas were an awesome addition.  There was also an elaborate bread arrangement that I forgot to photograph, all of which was vegan.  It was served with several different butters, but my server brought me out a dish of olive oil for dipping.

Bound'ry - entree

My Tofu Entree

My entree was not on the menu.  In fact, there was nothing with tofu on the menu.  When my server took my order for the entree, I told him I thought I would be having the Bound’ry Falafel since it was the only vegan thing on the menu.  He stopped me and told me I could have basically whatever I wanted.  This was too much choice for me, and while I stared at him dumbstruck, he asked if I would like something with tofu.  I told him that would be perfect and off he went.  I had absolutely no idea what would come out, and one of my dining companions expressed worry based on his experiences with chefs who do not know how to work with tofu properly.  Was he ever proven wrong!

This dish was AMAZING.  Seriously.  It blew me away.  I’m not really sure what it was served with, beyond being able to identify the tofu (obviously), black eyed peas (not crispy this time), carrots, and what I think were summer squash and zucchini.  I have no idea what that orange sauce was but it was delicious.  Everything was incredibly flavorful, and that orange sauce really tied it all together.  The tofu was the perfect texture–nice and firm on the outside and slightly softer on the inside.  This dish was so filling that I could not even eat it all, which is saying something, because I can eat a lot.  It also reheated well a few days later.

Bound'ry - falafel

Bound'ry Falafel

One of my dining companions ordered the Bound’ry Falafel, so I had him snap a photo.  It’s totally vegan and served with hummus, tabouli, naan, cherry tomatoes, and yummy roasted baby eggplant.  This is your vegan standby on the Bound’ry menu and the most affordable entree.  I didn’t eat any of this (too full from my own food) but I’ve had the hummus at the bar several times and can testify to its awesomeness.  Honestly, I’ve never had any food at Bound’ry that was less than stellar and I’m sure this was no exception, and my friend who was eating it said it was great.

Bound'ry - dessert

Dessert

Unfortunately, I was not able to snap a stellar photo of the dessert, but it was my birthday, get off my back.  Bound’ry does not typically offer vegan dessert.  I made my reservation a week in advance and spoke with Natalie, a manager, who told me she would discuss my vegan dessert request with the pastry chef and get back to me.  She called me back a couple of days later saying they could accommodate me and asking if I liked pumpkin.  I responded in the affirmative and that was it.

My dessert came out with candles.  I don’t really know what it was, but it was some kind of pumpkin custard-like substance.  It tasted a lot like pumpkin pie filling, and it had nuts (pecans?) in it.  There were also these little scone-like biscuit things, and fresh strawberries, and little chocolate sticks.  I was so excited to have a vegan dessert, because this is the first real vegan dessert I’ve had in this city (I don’t count cookies as dessert–cookies are not a dessert, they are a snack).

In sum, I love Bound’ry.  They have an awesome beer selection and cocktail menu, the food is phenomenal, and the service is impeccable.  It’s pricey, but totally worth it for that special occasion.  They definitely made my birthday memorable.  And I bet I’ll be back next year!

Bound’ry

911 20th Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37212

615.321.3043

Website

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Qdoba October 7, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:15 pm
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Chips & Guacamole, Black Bean Taco, and Tortilla Soup

Chips & Guacamole, Black Bean Taco, and Tortilla Soup

I will just come right out and say it: I hate Qdoba.  Not because the food is bad, but because when I was an undergraduate, Qdoba replaced Baja Burrito Kitchen in my Student Union.  Baja Burrito had the best queso (now irrelevant, for obvious reasons).  They had an epic salsa bar.  Their vegetarian options were unmatched elsewhere on campus.  And Qdoba stamped them out!  At Qdoba, your meal does not come with free chips and salsa.  This is basically blasphemy as far as I’m concerned.  I mean, seriously, doesn’t all Mexican food come with complimentary chips and salsa?  What is the world coming to?

So why, with all my vitriol towards Qdoba, did I dine there on this particular day?  Well, my friends, Qdoba has a rewards card program and I got an email with a coupon for free chips and queso.  Since I am totally a sucker for coupons, especially coupons that provide me with things that are free, I moseyed on over to The Dobe (let’s make that name stick) for my free food.  Obviously, as a vegan, I do not dine on queso.  The staff was kind enough to let me have complimentary guacamole instead.

The guacamole was average.  Nothing to write home about, but it’s not like it was bad.  I decided on a taco-and-soup combo to go with my chips.  Above you see a black bean taco.  With pico.  And that’s it.  The line was moving so quickly, the person asked me if I wanted pico and I said “yes” and then he pushed my food on along and no one offered me anything else.  Since I don’t really know what all the strange Qdoba condiments are, as I do not dine there often, I just let them all pass me by.  There’s something with corn in it that looks pretty good, and it probably would have gone great with my little taco.  The most fantastic thing you can order at Qdoba is the Tortilla Soup.  Yes, it’s vegan.  Order it EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GO or you are missing out.  I’m not kidding.  I could eat this stuff by the gallon.  It’s especially amazing now that the weather is changing.

Will I be back to Qdoba?  It’s almost a certainty.  Do I miss Baja Burrito Kitchen?  Yes.  Would I rather have Moe’s, with its tofu and complimentary chips and best salsa ever?  Yes.  But I can walk to Qdoba, and that soup is awesome.  Furthermore, Qdoba is super vegan friendly.  You can basically eat anything except the meat and the cheese and the sour cream.  I recommend you refer to this list of vegan offerings before you visit.  And get the soup.  For real.

Qdoba

2019 West End Avenue

Nashville, TN 37203

615.340.2822

Website

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Blackstone Brewery October 4, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 9:43 am
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French Fries

French Fries

Blackstone … not good for vegans.  Seriously, don’t waste your time.  The only reason I came here was because it was the restaurant of choice of the birthday boy.  I feel like this is always happening to me: I have to go to a seriously non-vegan-friendly restaurant for someone’s birthday.  I usually manage to ask some questions about the menu and get some kind of custom thing that is pretty good.  That was not the case here.  First, I had french fries.  French fries are part of my three basic vegan-eating-out food groups: french fries, chips and salsa, and hummus.  If I see this items on a menu, I order them without fear.  I did not ask any questions about these fries (for instance: animal-based natural flavorings, shared cooking oil) and if those issues are important to you, you should ask about them before ordering these fries.  They were actually pretty good, though certainly not the best I’ve had in town, as that honor belongs to Beyond the Edge.

Black Beans and Rice

Black Beans and Rice

Here it is: the only food of any real filling substance you can order as a vegan at Blackstone.  Black beans and rice is a side dish costing $3.00 on the dinner menu.  It’s on the lunch menu for $6.50 with extra toppings and what I assume is a larger portion, but this plate was enormous.  The dish really wasn’t half bad.  The beans were spicy and the rice was flavorful, and long-grain with veggies.  I was pleasantly surprised.  If memory serves, I think the dish came out with cheese on top and I had to send it back, even though my server and I had a pretty extensive conversation about veganism and what it is so I could be sure the dish was vegan.

I will probably never go back to Blackstone again unless friends are really insistent on it.  It wasn’t that the food that I had was bad, it was just unimpressive and there are not a lot of choices.  They have some salads that could probably be veganized, there’s a nacho appetizer that could be veganized (or just ordered as chips and salsa), they have pizzas that may be vegan (I didn’t ask about the crust while I was there), and there are a couple other sides like asparagus and apple sauce that may be vegan.  There are lots of other restaurants in town with more and better vegan options.  The best thing about Blackstone is the beer: they brew it on-site and even have a hand drawn ale.  If you find yourself here, grab a hand drawn Nut Brown Ale and a big bowl of black beans and rice and you’ll be just fine.

Blackstone Brewery

1918 West End Avenue

Nashville, TN 37203

615.327.9969

Website

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Lime September 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 1:34 pm
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Mojitos

Mojitos

My trip to Lime was a mixed experience.  In the interest of full disclosure, I was skeptical before I arrived (partially due to mixed online reviews and partially due to the lack of basically any information about the place on their website), but I like to think that I didn’t let some preconceived notions I may have had taint my visit.

Let me begin by discussing the portions of my experience that had nothing to do with the food.  I met my dining companion at Lime at 6:00 on a weeknight.  When I got up to the bar, the bartender told me that happy hour did not end at 7:00 anymore, but in fact ended at 6:00.  Had I known this, I would have gone earlier.  Also, since when does any happy hour end at 6:00?  That’s not very happy.  That was a minor annoyance, and I wasn’t going to let it ruin my time with my friend.  But it didn’t stop there.  We had a misunderstanding with our hostess.  She told us that “dinner” was served inside and on the side patio, but we could sit on the front patio.  We thought that this meant if we stayed inside or sat on the side patio that we would have to order dinner, which we were not sure we wanted to do, so we headed out to the front patio.  When our server finally arrived, he told us (and not too politely I might add) that we were not permitted to order anything off the dinner menu out front.  We could basically only order from the left side of the menu, and the right side was off limits.  So we were further annoyed, but didn’t want to switch tables and servers, especially as we already had the mojitos you see above, which were fantastic.  It was just kind of an annoying experience.  No one was really rude to us or anything, and on a subsequent visit for a friend’s birthday (I only had drinks that time) both the hostess and our server were really accommodating.

Salsa Duo and Fries with Guava Ketchup

Salsa Duo and Fries with Guava Ketchup

My dining companion and I decided to order the dip trio.  The reason you only see two dips here is because she is omni and we compromised that one dip would be cheese.  Actually, it was cheese and lobster and bacon.  And for some reason, if you wanted “avocado” as a dip (which I assume meant guacamole and not simply sliced or smashed avocado) you had to add $3.  Which seems a little ridiculous seeing as how you could select a dip containing lobster for no additional cost, but I digress.  The dip on the left is a mango salsa (I forget the exact name) and the dip on the right is Salsa Rojo.  The mango one was really really good.  We definitely ate all of it.  The salsa rojo was standard, and could have used a bit more of a bite, but if you like your salsa mild and tomato-y I would recommend it.  The fries and guava ketchup were really outstanding, as far as fries go.  That ketchup is great.  I just wish the portion was larger.  Also, it was listed as a side dish on the right side of the menu, which was supposed to be forbidden, but our server let us order it.  I liked the presentation as the fries were served wrapped in a square of the Nashville Scene.

Would I go to Lime again?  Yes, if someone else wanted to go there, but it would not be on the top of my list if someone asked me where I wanted to eat/grab drinks.  The decor in the restaurant is beautiful and they have some really creative dishes.  There were some entrees that seemed vegan-friendly, but I did not ask about them since I was not permitted to order an entree on the front patio.  If you’re planning a visit, keep in mind that happy hour ends at 6:00 so you can try to save your pennies.  Oh, and get the fries with guava ketchup.  Because that ketchup is awesome.

Lime

1904 Broadway

Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 340-0762

Website – there is no info here besides the address and phone number, but I figure it will be updated eventually.

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Mellow Mushroom September 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 3:18 pm
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Mmmmmmmmm

Mmmmmmmmm, cardboard

My first post about Mellow Mushroom did not include pizza.  That is basically blasphemy, but I’m remedying it now.  Mellow Mushroom makes the best cheese-less pizza I have ever had.  It’s better than pizza I make myself at home with fake cheese.  It’s WAY better than anything Pizza Hut will deliver to your house, with their paltry amount of toppings.  Just writing this post is driving me crazy and I really think I will need to go to the ‘shroom immediately upon its completion.  Plus, they have spring water dough, says the adorable mushroom on the box, and I don’t think he would lie to me.

Behold, my custom creation

Behold, my custom creation

This is my masterpiece.  I recommend you build your own pizza at the ‘shroom to ensure maximum deliciousity.  First, be sure to tell your server that you do not want butter or parmesan on the crust.  Usually, when you say “no butter or parmesan on the crust,” the server will say something like “make it vegan, got it.”  And then I always feel warm and fuzzy inside.  Your results may vary.  Next, you have to choose a base.  Here is the magic rule to have the best pizza ever: DO NOT order red sauce.  You may be clutching your chest or falling out of your chair in shock, but trust me on this.  The reason you don’t want to order red sauce is because when they bake the pizza, the crust and sauce will get dry.  It won’t be as good as it could be.  If you have your heart set on marinara-y goodness, ask them to put the sauce on the pizza after it is baked (it will still be warm because that’s how they store it) or just get a dish of it on the side for dipping/pouring purposes.  So what do you get on your pizza if you don’t get red sauce?  You get olive oil & garlic.  It’s vegan.  And it’s heaven.  A little bit of heaven in a (pizza) pie.

After that, go nuts with the toppings.  The pizza above includes green peppers, mushrooms (duh), onions, roma tomatoes, spinach, and BBQ tofu.  Yes, BBQ tofu.  They also have regular tofu (but why get that when there’s BBQ?) and tempeh, for those of you who prefer your protein fermented.  I highly recommend this particular combination and being amazing, but the pizzas are practically infinitely customizable.

The other thing about Mellow Mushroom that is amazing?  The beer club.  This is a relatively new facet to the ‘shroom experience, and of course I am a member.  They give you this little plastic card, and if you drink 60 different beers, you will get a special 20 oz. mug that will be yours forevermore (they store it at the bar, no taking it home) so from then on you get larger drafts.  Larger drafts, my friends!  You also get your name on a plaque and a t-shirt.  And we all need clothes, right?  They also have a truly fantastic selection, and since they change out the taps pretty often, you can try a lot of different brews.  My current favorite: Yazoo Sly Rye Porter.  Drink it; you can thank me later.  Oh, and happy hour is from 3 – 8 Monday through Thursday and all day Sunday, and you get half off all drafts, which makes their already reasonable beer prices a total steal.  Genius!

Bringing joy to my life one slice at a time

Bringing joy to my life one slice at a time

Mellow Mushroom

212 21st Ave S

Nashville, TN 37203

Website – there’s a special discount code available here, good for 10% off food until October 1, so hurry!

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ETA: On a recent visit, when I ordered BBQ Tofu as a topping, my server mentioned she did not think it was vegan.  She went into the kitchen to check and, alas, the BBQ sauce contains dairy.  I hate it when this kind of thing happens.  Seriously.

 

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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