Nashvegan

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

Noodles & Company February 24, 2013

Noodles!

Noodles!

Full disclosure: Noodles & Company was kind enough to send me some coupons for free noodles so that I could check them out.  The free-ness of these noodles in no way influenced my opinion regarding their deliciousness.

Noodles & Company is one of those magical and rare chain restaurants that actually caters to vegans.  It’s like looking at horses off the side of the highway and spotting a unicorn.  For one thing, you can add organic tofu to any dish at Noodles & Company.  And I’m not talking about sad, flavorless, little white cubes.  I’m talking about well-seasoned cubes that are cooked juuuuust right in a way I can never seem to replicate at home.  Also, since all dishes are made to order, a lot of things that seem like they wouldn’t be vegan (say, a dish with a combo red-and-cream sauce) can be altered on the spot (omitting the cream and just using red sauce).  And the vegetables!  Such a bounty!  Let’s take a look at what I ordered on this trip.

The Noodles & Company menu is divided into geographical regions: American, Asian, and Mediterranean.  The American section of the menu is not your friend, but between the other two sections there are seven vegan entrees along with two sides.  How do I know what’s vegan, you ask.  Because they freaking tell you.  The list of vegan dishes can be found here, on the bottom right.  The only thing better than an all-vegan restaurant is a restaurant that just straight up tells you what’s vegan.  No asking confused/uninformed waitstaff, no having to check with the kitchen, no worrying about undisclosed animal ingredients … just the simplicity of ordering food.  Love it.

Japanese Pan Noodles

Japanese Pan Noodles

I got one Asian dish, Japanese Pan Noodles with tofu, and one Mediterranean dish, Pasta Fresca.  The Japanese Pan Noodles feature caramelized udon noodles in a sweet soy sauce with broccoli, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms, topped with bean sprouts, black sesame seeds, and cilantro.  When they say “caramelized udon noodles” they aren’t kidding.  These noodles were absolute perfection.  I think we should caramelize more things.  The veggies were super fresh and well-prepared – just the right amount of crispness.  I raved about the tofu above but let me reiterate: delicious.  As an added bonus, bottles of the wonder sauce sriracha are scattered about the dining room.  For those of you who, like me, have considered bringing your own personal bottle of the rooster with you everywhere, there’s no need at Noodles & Company.

Pasta Fresca

Moving on to the Mediterranean section of the menu, I didn’t have particularly high expectations for Pasta Fresca.  A simple dish of penne with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, white wine, roasted garlic, red onion, and spinach, I thought it would be tasty but nothing to rave over.  I was wrong.  This dish is FULL of flavor, mostly thanks to the balsamic vinegar.  I basically couldn’t stop shoving this into my mouth.  My only complaint is that I wish there had been a bit more spinach.

The takeaway?  I love Noodles & Company.  The Green Hills location is close to my work and their online ordering system is my new best friend.  Did you know that when you order online you can add as many vegetables to your dish as you want?  The food here is delicious, filling, and infinitely customizable.  One of my favorite dishes here (not pictured) is the Cucumber Tomato Salad, and now I never eat here without getting a side of it.  Oh and they have one of those freestyle Coke machines.  At Noodles & Company, get exactly what you want, and none of what you don’t.

Noodles & Company

Multiple locations – Green Hills, Cool Springs

Website

 

Sloco November 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 4:03 pm
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Shaved Seitan Sub & Housemade Pickle

I’m kind of obsessed with Sloco.  My only complaint about this 12 South eatery is that they aren’t open longer (they close at 4:00 each day).  The vibe in the small sandwich shop is warm and welcoming, and the food is incredibly delicious and super affordable.  Sloco’s commitment to using local ingredients is laudable and their Declaration of Food Independence is reason enough to support them.  Their website will tell you exactly how many miles the ingredients in your sandwich have traveled to get to your belly.

The menu at Sloco is ever-changing based on what’s in season, and the sandwich featured in the above photo has already vanished from their online menu, presumably to make way for more fresh goodness.  What you see above is a Shaved Seitan Sub with a Housemade Pickle.  Mouthwatering marinated seitan is topped with crispy chickpeas, fresh locally-grown squash, and a divine sesame dressing.  The pickles on this particular visit were made from cucumbers but they are made from whatever’s fresh at the moment.  This sandwich was absolutely amazing.  The seitan was incredibly juicy and flavorful, the crunch of the chickpeas was a great addition (I would totally eat them by themselves), and the freshness of the veggies was evident.  One of my dining companions ordered the Vegan Meatball Sub (the meatballs are made from quinoa) and it was also great but I preferred my sandwich.  I’ve heard great things about the new vegan BLT as well, but haven’t tried it for myself yet.  I’m so excited about this awesome addition to our local food scene.  Go out and try it.

Sloco

2905 12th Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37204

615.499.4793

Website

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Burger Up – UPDATED July 20, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 5:13 pm
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Marathon Burger and Heirloom Tomato Salad

There used to be a review here.  Now there’s not.  The Marathon Burger is not vegan. It’s not even vegetarian. The patty contains the house ketchup that is made with Worcestershire sauce, which contains anchovy paste. I have been informed by multiple servers that this patty was vegan. I can’t even tell you how disappointed I am to hear this, and how upset I am that after multiple inquiries I was assured that the patty was vegan. I will not be returning to Burger Up and I suggest you don’t either. A special thank you to my friend Lacey for discovering this fact after my emails to Burger Up went unanswered.  If you have dined at Burger Up, like me, and have been misled, like me, I encourage you to contact them about your experience.  Their information is below.

Burger Up

2901 12th Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37204

615.279.3767

Website

UPDATE: As of December 2012, the Marathon patty is completely vegan.  The house ketchup, however, is not, so keep that in mind when thinking about dipping your fries.  Thanks everyone for contacting Burger Up with your concerns.  Community action, it’s super effective!

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Flyte February 6, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 10:56 am
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Amuse Bouche

A friend and I visited Flyte World Dining and Wine during Restaurant Week.  Last September.  Hey, sometimes it takes me a long time to write about things.  We specifically chose Flyte because their Restaurant Week menu said “vegan options available.”  Vegan options available?!  Sign me up!

Besides having great food, Flyte is a beautiful restaurant space.  The lighting is not so dim that you can’t see but not so bright that it doesn’t feel cozy.  Exposed beams and pipes lend an industrial feel, and striking artwork adorns the walls.  Breaks in the warmly hued walls reveal bare bricks.  Seriously, this place is lovely.

After being seated, we informed our server that we were both vegan.  The server was very knowledgeable and knew exactly which menu items were appropriate for us.  We were both surprised when, after ordering, we received the amuse bouche pictured above.  I mean, really, vegan amuse bouche?  Clearly, this place was class all the way.

Salad

What you see here is a simple but very delicious salad.  Mixed baby greens and tomatoes are served on top of a pile of pesto.  Vegan pesto.  Pesto sans cheese.  I could hardly believe my good fortune.  A few pine nuts are hanging out on the margins for good measure.  Also, in the top right?  Yeah, I have three glasses of wine.  That’s because Flyte is known for its flights (get it? get it?).  You can choose from all sorts of flights of three, like French whites, Spanish reds … you get the idea.  I’m a sucker for any kind of “sampler” so I was sold on the idea.

Fried Stuffed Poblano Pepper
Baked Stuffed Poblano Pepper

My dining companion and I ordered exactly the same thing for all courses.  Up until this point, our food had been identical.  When our entrees came out, they were slightly different.  Our server informed us that the chef had prepared our entrees differently so we would have some variety.  We both had the stuffed poblano pepper, but one was baked and one was fried.  They don’t look so different in the photos, but they certainly had different flavors and textures.  I was presented with the baked version and my friend was presented with the fried version, but we ended up swapping.

What we have here is a giant poblano pepper stuffed with tasty things that you can’t really see (corn, beans, spices, goodness) served atop a grain whose name I cannot recall, delicious sauce, and a vegetable medley of zucchini, squash, and bell pepper.  This is an entree that was creative, bursting with flavor, and more than filling.  This is an entree that features vegetables as the main event and not just a side.  This, my faithful readers, is the gold standard in vegan fine dining.

Sorbet “Flyte”

Dessert was, appropriately, a “Flyte” of three refreshing sorbets.  Berry, blood orange, and lemon sorbets brought a refreshing end to the meal.  The blood orange was my favorite.

As soon as money starts growing on trees, I’ll be back to Flyte.  I’m exaggerating a bit about the price–it’s not exorbitantly expensive, but it’s a little out of my grad-student I-eat-a-lot-of-peanut-butter price range.  The next time Restaurant Week rolls around, you should absolutely make reservations for a $30.11 prix fixe world of awesome.  And, you know, think about treating your favorite vegan blogger.

Flyte World Dining and Wine

718 Division Street

Nashville, TN 37203

615.255.6200

Website

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Jackson’s Bar & Bistro February 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 10:00 am
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House Salad

A quick glance at the Jackson’s menu doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of vegan option.  Never fear, though!  There are treasures within, and you will be fed.

When I sat down here I was skeptical, so I ordered the shot of the day as a starter.  It was tasty, and I was ready to grill my server about the vegan-ness of various menu items.  Thankfully, my server was pretty knowledgeable, though he did have to go back to the kitchen and ask the chefs a few questions.

Taking a look at their menu online today, I’m not sure that they still serve the exact salad pictured above, which is a shame, because it was really good. Lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, and chickpeas topped with champagne vinaigrette?  I’m on board!  Their menu now features a “shredded salad” instead which doesn’t sound as exciting: chopped cabbage, carrots, and red onion with the same dressing.  Boring, right?  Yeah.  And it doesn’t have any protein.  Bummer.  Maybe if we all ask nicely we can get the delicious chickpea salad back.

Rosso Marinara

That’s right, it’s a bowl of penne with marinara sauce.  Is it fancy?  No.  Does it hit the spot, especially after all those shots of the day?  Yes.  This is actually really really good for basically just being wheat and tomatoes.  The sauce is surprisingly sweet (in a good way), and it’s very flavorful.  I would absolutely order this again.  Be sure to tell your server you don’t want any cheese on top.  Plus, the hunk of bread that comes with it is vegan, which surprised me.  This portion is a lot larger than it looks, because the bowl is deep–I had leftovers, which meant I had the pleasure of eating this twice.

The Jackson’s menu is pretty inspired if you’re not a vegan.  We vegans have few choices at Jackson’s; there is only one other menu item other than what I’ve described above, the Capri vegetable wrap sans cheese, that’s suitable for people like us.  Still, I’ll probably be back to Jackson’s, if only for the great happy hour specials, and I’m sure I’ll find myself digging into a bowl of Russo Marinara again soon.

 

Jackson’s Bar & Bistro

1800 21st Avenue South

Nashville, TN 37212

615.385.9968

Website

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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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