Thursday, May 14, 2015

Food Trucks 2015


Vegan and Vegetarian Options at Huntsville Food Truck Rallies



Navigating a food truck event can be very difficult for a vegan or plantbased dieter - in some cases even a vegetarian -  so I've tried to eliminate that problem. I've contacted all the food trucks listed as attending the rally. I'm listing all places that answered me with options. I will be updating this post as I get more info.





Angel's Island Coffee


While they aren't carrying their food options outside of their brick-and-mortar cafe, they will have full service non-dairy milks for their coffee drinks. This includes almond and soy milk, and they will be testing out a new coconut milk option. Let them know if you would like them to continue carrying it. 

They have more than coffee drinks, too. Angel's Island serves up fresh fruit smoothies (which don't contain dairy) of any combination of mango, pineapple, banana, strawberry, and blueberry. 


Belly Food Truck


A great truck to hit up if you are vegetarian! One or more of these options are always available, depending upon the day:

- Eggplant tikka masala
- Falafel balls on pita wrap with Tahini sauce topped w/ cucumber/tomato salsa
- Guacamole toast with or without basted egg on top
- Boat, no meat: egg roll stuffed with mushroom, potato, and cheese topped with a citrusy cabbage, cilantro, apple slaw
- Veggie Wafflini: waffled sandwich with spinach, sun-dried tomato pesto, and mozzarella
- 3 Cheese Wafflini: waffled sandwich with mozzarella, cheddar, and parmesan
- Classic Greek salad: tomato, cucumber, Feta cheese, and Kalamata olives

No vegan foods yet, although they may be open to carrying some soon.

Earth and Stone Woodfired Pizza


Earth and Stone hasn't gotten back to me about any new options this year, but here's the info from last year.

Generally pizza places have vegetarian options but it looks like they have some vegan options, too. Of course a real Italian pizza has very little (if any) cheese so you can always order a cheeseless pizza with the veggies packed on. They tell me their crust is entirely vegan.

They also have hummus. In my strange world that means you you put hummus on the crust and you have a sort of a pita pizza that sounds like a great foodtruck meal to me. Their crust looks absolutely delicious!


Fire and Spice


Fire and Spice serves up delicious food quick. They have several options for vegetarians and a couple of vegan options now.

Mediterranean Tortilla Melt
The pictured tortilla melt contains a house made hummus with a great blend of seasonings on a grilled flour tortilla with a complement of VERY fresh veggies like onions, spinach, peppers, and mushrooms.  

They also offer vegan tacos (by request, but also available during the breakfast gatherings) and now Horchata, a sweet Mexican rice drink that is somewhat similar to a flavored rice milk.


Photo courtesy of Food Fighters

Food Fighters Bustaurant


Food Fighters sent me info about an amazing looking vegetarian option this year. They call it a skinny Italian taco. A meatless pickled veggie mix, queso, bus sauce, and thai sweet chili sauce, with optional sriracha sauce. They can also make a nacho version of this.

If you're hoping you can veganize this, it's cheese heavy with honey and mayo based sauces. But vegetarians, enjoy!


Frosty Halls Ice Cream


Unfortunately, they tell me none of their current products are vegan friendly. However, they did seem interested in carrying options in the future. If you would buy from them if they offered a vegan frozen dessert, please let them know.

Rocket City Expresso


These folks went above and beyond with their answer, providing us with a detailed list of milks, syrups, and smoothie mixes they offer that are dairy free and fully vegan. Very helpful and nice!
Besides coffee, they have various types of teas, or their mango or strawberry smoothies can also be made vegan. When it comes to coffee drinks, they have the basics that can be ordered with either Soy or Almond milk. Unfortunately, mocha, caramel, white chocolate mocha all contain dairy. But the following flavors are available:
Espresso
Espresso Macchiato
Cappuccino
Cafe Latte
Cafe Americano
Chai Tea Latte
Syrup flavors that are safe:
Almond
Coconut
Creme de Menthe
Peppermint
Raspberry
Sugar Free Vanilla
Vanilla

Suzy's Pops

Suzy always has several dairy free ice pops available. And boy are they great! They keep a large menu board with the flavors categorized by ingredients, so it will be easy to find good choices. She expects the vegan-friendly menu for Friday to look something like this: Peach Basil,Blackberry Pinot Noir, Straight up Strawberry, Tuscan Strawberry with Balsamic Vinegar, Pear Riesling, Orange Campari, Pina Colada and Raspberry Hibiscus.

Whats Popp'n


As a popcorn place, it's pretty vegetarian friendly. Unfortunately all of the flavors of popcorn do have dairy. However, they also have cotton candy and the cinnamon glazed nuts are vegan friendly.

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See your foodtruck on this list? Don't? Want more details about your business for this Friday (and beyond)? Let me know and I'll update this post. If you aren't sure about anything vegan or vegetarian related on your menu, check out this post and please feel free to ask questions and you will get nonpreachy, factual answers. Comment here or get in touch with me on social media or email vegouthsv@gmail.com

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Juice Bar Huntsville

This place is so plant-based diet friendly, the place might explode from greeness! 

It can also be easily gluten-free and vegan friendly. About the only thing you have to watch out for here as a vegan is honey. And if you have a gluten-intolerance you have, not only a wide selection of juices and smoothies to choose from, but Mason-Dixon Bakery muffin treats and soup -- all vegan!

Of course, they have juices! Click on the photo to enlarge the current juice menu. Next time I visit I'm going to try a round of Power Shots.






They brag that their soup is always vegan and gluten-free. I enjoyed the black bean soup that was available when I visited. $4.95 for the 12oz cup I got. A little over-pureed for my taste, but the low sodium content was very nice. Yay! No burning of the mouth!


   

The Sweet Greens Muffin, made especially for Juice Bar by Mason Dixon Bakery is a great banana bread way to sneak kale into your diet. Enjoyed these muffins a lot!

The Blue Chocolatta

 
The first smoothie I tried was freakin' fantastic! The Blue Chocolatta. Cacao powder, almond butter, blueberries, banana, and coconut milk make one delish drink. $6.50 for 16oz, $8.50 for 24oz.

And of course there are many more types to try, which, if this guy is any indication, are also amazing.

    


 Other assorted goodies line the store. A vegan need only to watch out for honey, and a plant-based dieter can just grab anything here. Fantastic!

Find more information about Juice Bar Huntsville:
Website
Facebook
Instagram: @ilovejuicebar
Twitter: @JuiceBarHSV





Sunday, January 25, 2015

Dinner At Mason Dixon Bistro

As followers of my Instagram account may have noted, I had dinner last week at the newly opened Mason Dixon Bistro, the latest addition to the locally owned gluten-free bakery. The Huntsville Vegans had their Friday meetup and so I joined them.

The place was pretty enough, and I was pleasantly surprised that there were two choices on the dinner menu for vegan entrees, and they had also a vegan appetizer, a soup, and an attempted salad. Disappointingly, they still don't understand that honey is an animal product and honey is in the salad dressing (and the snicker doodles are still marked vegan). Some of the Huntsville Vegans were disappointed in the menu and left without ordering. Honestly, there are hardly any places in Huntsville where you have more than two choices as a vegan, and many where you have zero choices. Mason Dixon's main focus is gluten-free, followed by paleo dieting, so I was pleased to see any options.

Two hours later I was less pleased, as we still had not gotten our food. Some more Huntsville Vegans had left, and I couldn't blame them at this point. The owner came back to ask how our food was, and we stared at him and said, well, we haven't gotten any yet. He looked startled and ran back to the kitchen. After bringing out free salad for everyone, he said our food would be right out.

After eating, I went up to the counter to talk to the server, who went to get the owner. I told him it had been a full two hours before we were served food. I know because I had been posting pictures since I had first sat down. He explained that the computer system had gone amiss and the order had never gone to the kitchen. That might explain an extra 15 minutes wait, but it doesn't explain why the server didn't notice that we hadn't gotten our food for two hours. As a former server, I can say confidently that I would have noticed in a rather short time that my order hadn't come out. In the end, the owner gave me my meal for free, which was nice of him.

I have since been to dinner another time and had better success. The food does take a long time (but not two hours). It's a small kitchen and items are being prepared individually, not pre-cooked, just don't go there anytime if you are in a hurry. The service is still a little quirky. I had to remind the server that I had ordered a drink, for example. Hopefully, they will get these problems sorted out soon as they hire more experienced servers.

There was a big disconnect between what I thought of the food and what many of the Huntsville Vegans thought of the food. After having my family try some of my left overs, and having others join me for my second meal there, I think I understand why. I have a low sodium diet and live in a gluten-free household. Anyone who is eating gluten-free has been forced into a lower salt diet due to the fact that there is hardly any prepared food that you can have. You can't have Campbell's 1000mg of sodium soup; it has wheat in it. Vegans often consume a lot of fake meat products, which are also really high in salt (but note most of these contain gluten). The less salt you eat, the more you taste your food. At first everything tastes like cardboard, but then there's that magical day when you start to notice that even plain vegetables have multiple layers of flavor you've never tasted before.

The point of this salt rant is simply that I, and others with a low salt diet (including most gluten intolerant people), find the food at Mason Dixon Bistro to be fairly tasty, while many of the Huntsville Vegans found it bland. You might, too, depending on your salt intake.

Another complaint is about the prices. It's higher than I would normally pay for a meal, but fairly regular for any place called a "bistro". This is upscale dining, and upscale dining also has smaller portions because you are expected to order an appetizer, soup or salad, main course, and dessert in order to get full. Expect to pay $30 to $40 a vegan, more if you are with omnis.

I don't consider myself a food critic, I don't judge food since everyone has different tastes. I just like to present new food options. You can take them or leave them and make an informed choice. First off take a look at your salt intake, next up decide how much a evening's food pleasure is worth to you.

Note: Mason Dixon Bistro has a completely different menu for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. The dinner menu is what follows.

The Appetizer


Stuffed Mushrooms $8

  • Quinoa, roasted tomatoes, cucumbers, and balsamic vinegar
  • At over 2 bucks a mushroom, the price makes my eye twitch
  • Nicely round vinegary flavor
  • Adorable presentation










 

Soups & Salads

Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup $6

  • Drizzled with a swirl of coconut milk
  • Surprisingly spicy
  • A nice large bowl
  • Warms the soul while waiting for your main course


House Salad $8

  • Not actually vegan with honey in the dressing
  • A nice mix of greens and purples make for a tasty and pretty salad
  • Needs dressing!
  • The candied pecans are great, but I was concerned they contained honey too 








Entrees

 

Falafel "Meat"balls $16



  • The noodles are covered with pistou - an Italian sauce made with olive oil, garlic, and basil
  • Don't think this is like pesto, it's far more subtle
  • My favorite of the two entrees, but very Mediterranean and I'm sure many would consider it bland
  • The falafel will throw you for a loop since it's not the traditional falafel you've had
  • Falafel is fresh chickpeas smushed up and fried - reminded me of hummus at first, but it grew on me







 Quinoa Tabouleh $16


  • Very similar to the appetizer in spices - a little too similar
  • The portebello mushrooms are the star of this show, seasoned with balsamic vinegar
  • No, there's no way they could beat Chef Will's portebellos (why would you even think that?), but they are good enough and made gluten-intolerant friendly
  • I've never been a huge fan of tomatoes, but the cherry tomatoes in this are pretty delish







The Dessert

 

Six Layer Chocolate Raspberry Cake $7

  •  At first I thought this looked really small until I started to dig in, then the layers got deeper and deeper
  • Fantastic raspberry cream!
  • Cake may seem heavy if you are a gluten eater, but trust me, this is gluten-free heaven!











Cupcakes - 

Several of the bakery's cupcakes are vegan, including my favorite: the Cookie Monster. These are the same amazing guys from Mason Dixon Bakery (old location) and the farmer's markets.