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Vegan Friendly in MSP?

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After two weeks of eating like we would never see food again on a very delicious trip to india, my girlfriend and I have decided to start 2009 off with a period of abstention from animal products.

Cooking at home has been challengeing but rather rewarding, but i would like to be able to go out every once in a while. Looking for your recommendations for places that can more than accomodate vegans, and specific ideas for what you would order. Ive never been to ecopolitan but it seems a bit too crunchy (i know, right, now im getting absurd, i want vegan friendly but not crazy hippy). Cafe Agri's menu seems pretty blah (the meat and dairy free items all leaned toward the unappealing crunchy) and generaly like things i could cook at home, but dont because they just dont entice.

Anywhere with good food, bruch/lunch included, even if its just a menu item or two, would be appreciated. Id also be curious to hear from people who have had experiences working with servers/cooks in places that can cater to, but dont generally serve, vegans.

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  1. so.jealous.of.india.trip :)

    wedge deli
    spoonriver/cafe brenda
    most places in uptown-- really! & places like bryant lake bowl and french meadow. . .
    birchwood
    restaurant alma (call in advance)

    i'm sure that more will come to me. . .

    1. Soupkitten mentioned most of the ones that I thought of at first. Pizza Luce and Galactic Pizza both make vegan pizza. I have never had the vegan versions of either of these, but I think they both make decent non-vegan pizza.

      1 Reply
      1. re: LauraB

        I pulled the annoying vegan card earlier this week at a group gathering which involved pizza luce. We got an athena minus the cheese with their Rinotta - nut-base cheese substitute. It was tasty, if very garlicky.

      2. Have you tried Hard Times Cafe?  If you don't mind the whole punk rock grunge atmosphere...... I have a hard time eating when the Ramones are busting out my eardrums BUT the food  was pretty good and they serve breakfast all day.
        Also you can try Little Tel Aviv.  They have some vegan friendly food. 

        -----
        Little Tel Aviv
        3238 West Lake Street, Minneapolis, MN 55416

        Hard Times Cafe
        1821 Riverside Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55454

        1. I heartily second soupkitten's suggestion of French Meadow. I was vegan for a while, and I wish I had known about this place. All the vegan menu items are clearly marked - no need to guess or ask detailed and possibly annoying questions about every dish. Now I eat dairy, eggs, seafood, and even chicken, but I always get something vegan at French Meadow because I want to support the fact that they have so many wonderful options - even desserts. It got really old just having to order pasta primavera or whatever at a lot of places.

          I also recommend Evergreen on Nicollet. They have a meat substitute for every kind of meat on their menu. I haven't tried all of them, but I thought the fake beef was pretty good. Even better than that is the three-cup tofu - tons of flavor. They definitely understand what vegan means, and all the vegan dishes are clearly marked on the menu.

          I think Birchwood might be on the "crunchy" side, but I like them too.

          By the way, another great resource for this kind of question is vegguide.org.

          1. Don't forget the Triple Rock Cafe!! Some good sandwiches and creative brunch items -- nearly everything on the menu can be prepared vegan.

            Just schedule your visit to avoid the temptation of the free bacon happy hour on Wednesdays... :)

            1. They had delicious looking vegan chocolate raspberry cupcakes at Salty Tart in Midtown Global Market today.

              1. Can I be my boring old self? Bravo Bakery. Yep, I used to say it all the time, and haven't been there for a while, but give it a whirl, it's cheap, fresh, and tasty... small little shop you feel good about supporting. http://bravobakery.net/vegetarianfood...

                1. I am going to sneakily rec the Birchwood so my post doesn't get relegated to the home cooking board.

                  BUT you should check out a cookbook we love: Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian. It's really really great. Most, but not all recipes are vegan-compatible (there are some recipes for things like paneer, egg curries, etc. too).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: diesel

                    word. that's a fantastic book that's often overlooked, because it's an older title (can't remember now when it was first published, tho). also love the veganomicon by isa moskowitz.

                    i can't *believe* i forgot about hard times & triple rock. *duh*

                    for veg indian, there is "the vegetarian" on central (not totally vegan, but has vegan options). the owner will happily chat about veg eating with all comers.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Easily one of my favorites...

                      1. re: rozz01

                        We ate at Nala Pak, up the street from the vegetarian, for diwali this year. I enjoyed it quite a bit.

                        What items do people recommend at The Vegetarian? after the india trip i thought id be fine without indian food for a bit but a craving hit me over the weekend. Anyone willing to vouch for a good Onion Rava Dosa?

                  2. Im bumping my own thread here with one report and one additional request.

                    first, Luce's (st paul) vegan brunch options were pretty decent when we stopped by this weekend. I thought the vegan breakfast burrito was good, but somewhat dominated by excessive jalapenos. My gf's tofu scrambe was fine, she liked it more than i did - i like broccoli and tomatoes, a lot even, but it was missing something to give it more depth.

                    next time ill probably skip the brunch menu and run straight to the mock sausage or muffaletta.

                    also - other than luce and bravo! are there places (obvious or not) that i should look into on the st paul side of the river? Anyone have any veggie friendly experiences to report at any of the University ave favorites? (i would guess ngon would be receptive/capable of handling a vegan request, but how about some of the less upmarket spots?)

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: tex.s.toast

                      The problem with most of the University Ave South-East Asian favs is that they are likely going to use fish sauce in everything.

                      Maybe some of the vegetarian options at Fakisa if you can confirm that they aren't putting butter in it.

                      Coffee News Cafe (on Grand, West of Snelling) might be able to work with you. They certain have vegetarian options. (I know they have a few vegan baked goods on hand...)

                      Another vegetarian-friendly place would be Everest on Grand.

                      Khyber Pass on Grand (at Snelling) is pretty vegetarian friendly, but their menu isn't that extensive and they use a lot of yogurt.

                      Sorry, I know this isn't exactly what you asked for, but it might give you (or someone else reading along) some ideas!

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: tex.s.toast

                        thought of one-- try shish

                        -----
                        Shish Mediterranean Grill
                        1668 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105

                        1. re: soupkitten

                          Also, maybe Cat Man Do across the street from Shish & Coffee News. But, I've not been there, so I don't know if the food's any good.

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            i havent been there so this is techincally chow hearsay, but ive heard less than awesome things about Cat Man Do, and with the relative infrequency with which i eat out i dont know if its worth the risk of a potential dud.

                            1. re: tex.s.toast

                              I think we've only had one report here on CH re: Cat Man Do and my recollection is that the person's impression was pretty much the same as your hearsay impression. I've read one critical review, and it was slightly more favorable.

                              ~TDQ

                        2. re: tex.s.toast

                          You might enjoy Trotter's Cafe for breakfast and lunch. It's just around the corner from Izzy's (Marshall Ave., St. Paul).

                        3. I would recommend St. Martin's Table (not in St. Paul, but just over the river in Cedar-Riverside). It's a volunteer-run operation connected to a little bookstore. The menu is pretty limited (2 soups, some salads, desserts, and a selection of bread "spreads" that all change daily), and it's only open for lunch. I know it's definitely all vegetarian and some (if not all) vegan. I'm a big meat eater, but I LOVE this place. The bread is to die for, and I enjoy getting the 3 spreads sampler. The cooks and waitstaff are all volunteers and donate their tips to a charity (different charity each month). So it's a fun place to tip big, knowing your chowing is also helping people.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: midwaygirl

                            I will vouch for St. Martin's table. Solid!

                          2. Himalayan Restaurant on Franklin Ave in Minneapolis is another good bet for tasty vegan dishes. The section of the menu that is vegan/vegetarian is longer than the meat section.

                            I also like St Martin's Table...I would eat their honey whole wheat bread every day if I could.

                            1. Cafe Brenda:

                              http://www.cafebrenda.com/