Nashvegan

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

Morningstar Farms just PISSED ME OFF October 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Nashvegan @ 8:28 am
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Morningstar Farms Crumbles - NOT VEGAN ANYMORE

Morningstar Farms Crumbles - NOT VEGAN ANYMORE

I was going through my Google Reader this morning when I came across an extremely disturbing post on Erik Marcus’ vegan.com blog about Morningstar Farms unveganizing its products. His initial post was quite short, so I followed a link to Quarry Girl’s blog.  According to that post, Morningstar Farms has done the unspeakable: made previously vegan products no-longer-vegan.  This is AFTER a promise from the company from just last year that Kellogg would reduce the number of eggs used in Morningstar products by 1 million.  And now, without any change to the packaging to indicate the ingredients have changed, Morningstar Crumbles contain skim milk and egg whites.  See for yourself:

Morningstar Farms Crumbles Nutrition Information

Morningstar Farms Crumbles Nutrition Information

Why would they do this?  WHY?????????  Why take a previously vegan product and unveganize it?  There’s a thread over on VegWeb complete with a response from Morningstar Farms, but the response doesn’t really say anything at all.  This is just completely ridiculous.  And now I have a bag of the stuff in my apartment that I will not be eating.  Seriously, if I hadn’t seen that post in my reader this morning, I would have probably just eaten those crumbles.  When you find something that you know is vegan, you stop reading the label on that particular product, am I right?  Because I know I can pick up a bag of “vegan” crumbles, or Spicy Sweet Chili Doritos, or Oreos, or whatever, and not have to worry about it because I already checked.  I guess this goes to show that you can never stop reading labels, because EVEN VEG-FRIENDLY COMPANIES will pull the rug right out from under you.  I think it will be a long time before I buy any Morningstar Farms products again.  This is just insane.  And you better believe I will be giving them a piece of my mind.  At the end of this post I’ve provided a link to contact Morningstar Farms, and I recommend you do so, and let them know how disappointed and angry you are.  And please share this post with all your vegan friends, so people don’t make the same mistake I did and buy the crap.

Contact Morningstar Farms here.

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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.

 

Suzy Wong’s House of Yum September 24, 2009

Don't worry, the drinks are not about to slide off the table.

Don't worry, the drinks are not about to slide off the table.

So I have a backlog of restaurants I need to write about.  I’m a busy student and don’t have the time to update the blog as much as I would like, and I always add restaurants in the order I visit them.  This is an exception to that rule, because this place is SO AMAZING that I need to write about it immediately.  Seriously, this restaurant completes my Nashville vegan trifecta of the BEST vegan food in the city: Suzy Wong’s, Mellow Mushroom, and Fattoush.  You may disagree with me, and that’s cool, but I was blown away by this place.

The first thing that struck me about Suzy Wong’s was the decor and intimate vibe.  My dining companion likened it to restaurants in NYC, because the restaurant is long and narrow.  There is an enormous patio out back which is perfect when the weather is nice.  We dined inside, right in the window.  It was a little strange having people look into the restaurant at us, but whatever.  The space is impeccably furnished, with a variety of table set-ups and seating arrangements.  The lighting was just right – not too dim and not too bright.  And look at that adorable YUM plate!  I want seven.

Our cocktails were both fantastic.  I had the Lychee Cocktail which consists of lychee vodka, lychee liquer, lime juice, and ginger ale.  It even comes with a lychee fruit in the glass, which is totally delicious when you finish your drink.  My companion enjoyed a Blackberry Mojito, which I tasted and also enjoyed.  We determined that my drink complemented the food better than hers did, as it was lighter and crisper.  They also have a pretty substantial wine list, and offer that awesome sparkling white that comes in the purple can with the bendy straw.  I forget what it’s called, but it’s what they give you at Fido when you order a mimosa in the morning.

Vegetable Summer Rolls, Kung Pao Green Beans, Lemongrass Vegetable-Tofu Stir Fry, Vegetable Gyoza Pot Stickers

Vegetable Summer Rolls, Kung Pao Green Beans, Lemongrass Vegetable-Tofu Stir Fry, Vegetable Gyoza Pot Stickers

We ordered two “Yum Bowls” and two “Small Plates” to be sure that we could sample a wide variety of foods.  At the top of the photo is a plate of Vegetable Summer Rolls.  This was the least impressive dish we ate.  I just thought they were kind of flavorless, but my companion thought that might be because everything else on the table was so well-seasoned that they just seemed bland in comparison.  The circular dish on the left contains Kung Pao Green Beans.  When they say “Kung Pao” they’re not kidding – these beans pack some punch.  They were fantastic.  It was just beans and peanuts and what may have been french-fried onions and the sauce, but they were fantastic and I highly recommend you order them.  Next is the Lemongrass Vegetable-Tofu Stir Fry.  The mixture of vegetables in this was great, and they all tasted really fresh.  It included red and green peppers, scallions, broccoli, carrots, green beans, water chestnuts (ew), and perhaps more that I’m forgetting.  The tofu was nice a crispy, but I wish there had been more of it.  Believe me, I saved the best for last: Vegetable Gyoza Pot Stickers.  OH. MY. GOD.  Seriously, it was like there was a party in my mouth and everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, was invited.  My dining companion and I kept saying that we were going to come back over and over and order ten plates of these things.  They are just simply perfect, and so is the sauce you dip them in and the crispy noodles that are served under them (because the crispy noodles stick to the pot stickers and you get a mouthful of different tastes and textures and awesomeness).

Another angle on an amazing dinner

Another angle on an amazing dinner

Another component to my excellent experience at Suzy Wong’s was the service.  My server was awesome and rushed to the kitchen to get answers to all my ingredient questions.  He was also a vegetarian, so he totally felt my pain.  We also got to chatting about veganism and the restaurant and life.  He informed me that they will be updating the menu soon to clearly label all vegetarian and vegan options.  My only complaint about the place comes from when I inquired about dessert.  I wanted to see if there was a vegan dessert option, and it seemed like there almost might be, because they have a dark chocolate fondue served with strawberries and crystallized ginger.  When my server went back to check on the vegan status of the fondue, he reported back that it had half-and-half in it.  They also have a banana tempura thing with ice cream (the tempura batter is vegan), so I asked if I could have that without the ice cream.  I was informed that this was not possible, because the owner is kind of a “soup nazi” and won’t make any changes to menu items.  Disappointing, right?  Well, don’t lose hope, because I told my server if the restaurant would be interested in serving a vegan dessert they would be heads and shoulders above other veg-friendly restaurants in the city.  He seemed quite amenable to the idea and promised to discuss it with the owner.  So, nashvegans, descend upon Suzy Wong’s House of Yum, eat enough pot stickers to make yourself sick, and stand up and demand your vegan dessert!

Suzy Wong’s House of Yum

1515 Church Street

Nashville, TN 37203

(615) 329-2913

Website

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ETA: Suzy Wong’s recently updated their menu with handy symbols indicating which menu items are vegan (and which are gluten-free).  I absolutely love it when restaurants do this, as it makes it easier for me to order food and it shows that vegans have really come a long way.  Unfortunately, the vegetable pot stickers and Kung Pao green beans are not listed as being vegan, even though I was told at the above visit that they were.  Also, the edamame is not listed as vegan–I don’t understand how that’s even possible.  I’m sorry for any misinformation I have provided, but on the visit above my server went to the back to ask the owner about everything I ordered so I thought I was in the clear.  I guess not.  How annoying.

 

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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