Hey y'all, since I travel so much and my main priority when doing so is eating food at vegan restaurants, I figured it would be fun to start compiling an end of year 10 top meals list. The following are meals that were consumed at restaurants. Stay tuned for meals cooked at home and a separate desserts countdown. There were a lot of great meals eaten in 2014 and I can’t remember them all, so only ones that made it to my instagram are being included. This unfortunately leaves out some fancier meals had at restaurants with dim lighting. Without further ado, I present the top 10 meals I ate in 2014.
10. - Quiche Lorraine from Darbster (West Palm Beach, FL) -: with béarnaise, tempeh bacon, caramelized onion, spinch and a side salad. This place is wonderful. They even allow dogs inside and will give them a bowl of water and a bandana.
9. General Tso Tofu from 888 (Austin, TX). Probably one of my most eaten dishes across the country is General Tso Tofu. As a broke touring band, chinese food lunch specials were one of our go to meals and I always ordered The General. Unfortunately so many places just flat out don’t know how to do it well. 888, however, has totally nailed it with these perfectly cripsy chunks of tofu in a sauce that has just the right amount of sweet and spice.
8. Fried Tofu Po Boy from Seed (New Orleans, LA). New Orleans has been a relatively barren wasteland as far as fun vegan options go, but in the past year or so things have started to really look up (honorable mention to Breads on Oak). Everything I tried at Seed was excellent but this po boy really stood out. Seed was able to transform tofu into something truly special.
7. Red Beans and Rice Pizza from Mid City Pizza (New Orleans, LA). Further proving that NOLA is really changing for the better is this amazing slice of pizza (Just barely beating out a few amazing slices from Sizzle Pie in Portland). This pizza is only available on Monday nights, call ahead because it sells out quickly. The crust is thin and crispy and the bean and rice mixture is perfectly seasoned while some added onions, peppers and whole garlic cloves really bring the whole thing together.
6. Combo plate from Woodlands Vegan Bistro (Washington DC). Featuring fried chicken, mac n cheese and collards. Pretty much everything this place does is unfuckwithable. Their mac n cheese is legendary, the portions are huge, the staff is super friendly and helpful. Anytime I visit Woodlands I leave with another two meals to go.
5. The Eastern Bowl from The Bye & Bye (Portland, OR). Nutritional yeast breaded tofu with broccoli, brown rice and a spicy peanut sauce, topped with sesame seeds. Basically the quickest way to my heart is to incorporate nooch into the dish. This was the first time I had ever seen it used to bread tofu and thus my heart was won. Bye and Bye has a ton of great meals, but I opt for this every time.
4. The Eugenewich from Cornbread Cafe (Eugene, OR). Southern-fried Surata tofu patty topped with melted Daiya cheddar, deep-fried carrot slices, hand-breaded onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and a smoky sauce on a grilled bun. The Cornbread Cafe is a true gem. They do comfort food so well it blows most other places out of the water. In addition to this ridiculously delicious sandwich make sure to get the mashed potatoes with cashew gravy on the side, you won’t be let down.
3. The Breakfast Sandwich from Bouldin Creek Cafe (Austin, TX). If I'm visiting Austin, chances are I will eat at this place at least twice. While I find that most restaurants produce a really mediocre scramble compared to what I could make at home, their scramble is truly unique. Super heavy on the nooch, it is a much drier scramble than I’m used to, but boy is it tasty! I always get this on wheat toast and add tofu bacon on top.
2. Brown Stew Tofu from Reggae Shack (Gainesville, FL).
Honestly, it was incredibly hard to choose which of these last two meals should be number one. Both are easily my favorite meals to eat in the country but since this picture isn’t nearly as good, it’s going to sit at #2. Reggae Shack is incredible. I’ve gone out of my way to eat here many times. All of the plates come with a hefty serving of rice and peas as well as the most delicious cabbage I’ve ever had. Big portions, the price is right, the staff is incredible and the flavor is huge.
1. Tempeh Ribs Combo Plate from Homegrown Smoker (Portland, OR). This 100% vegan bbq cart located in Portland can do no wrong. In addition to the incredible ribs, their mac n cheese is probably the best in the country. Add to that a side of greens and a few of their expertly fried “shut the fuck up puppies” and you have a perfect meal.
Honorable mentions - Sweet Pea Cafe (Tallahassee, FL), Casa De Luz (Austin, TX), Life Alive (Cambridge, MA), Sage Bistro (Salt Lake City, UT), Miya’s Sushi (New Haven, CT), Shandall’s (Bridgeport, CT), Watercourse (Denver, CO).
See all of my food postings by following @CompassionCo on Instagram.