Another one of our favorite vegan sandwiches in Ann Arbor is the Falafel from Jerusalem Garden. We get it a few times a month as a midweek carryout dinner on those days that I’m too busy to cook. My daughter, Olivia, always orders it for us (the folks working there know us as Olivia’s dad and Olivia’s mom). She specifies the falafel with pickled turnips and thom sauce, which is a garlic paste and vegan as opposed to the garlic yogurt sauce. Oh goodness, it’s so delicious!
I was so hungry and excited to eat my sandwich that I neglected to take a picture of it. Imagine a hand made wrap stuffed with falafel, tomato, lettuce, hummus, pickled turnips (which are pink) and oozy garlic sauce 6 inches long and 3-4 inches wide that feels like it weighs a ton. Well, maybe a half a pound. I’m not sure but it’s weighty and so satisfying.
Jerusalem Garden is on Liberty in the old Seva location. They will be adding on a new deck for outdoor dining for this summer season in the spring. Inside it is open and airy and spacious. It’s not all vegan however so don’t expect many options.
I sure wish Ann Arbor would increase it’s vegan dining options!!
I was walking around downtown Ann Arbor last week on my assignment from VegMichigan to help update their website of Ann Arbor Restaurants with vegan fare. I passed by the Jolly Pumpkin and was delighted to notice several vegan options on their menu including a vegan chocolate cake! So, of course, I invited my dear husband out to dinner last Saturday night, our long-standing date night. We hadn’t been to the Jolly Pumpkin for many months and only a handful of times since their opening in September of 2009. It was hopping busy at 8:30 when we arrived so we hovered near the bar hoping for a couple of bar stools to open up. About 15 minutes later we had prime seats and were happy to see the television sets at the bar tuned to the MSU vs Wisconsin game. I don’t follow football much but my husband let me know these were two of the best teams to watch. If you missed this game, try to find the highlights. It was amazing!
Anyway, back to the food! I was feeling like a sandwich so after my husband ordered the Truffled French Fries for his appetizer, I ordered the Red Thai Tofu sandwich. I subbed out the fries for a nice green salad instead. It was all so delicious! The grilled bread was a bit too oily but otherwise I loved the flavors and texture of this sandwich. It also came with a pickled zucchini wedge that was a surprise treat. Forgive the picture above as it does the fabulous taste an injustice. I also had a Oro de Calabaza, the Belgian-style ale the New York Times had voted their number one favorite in February 2010. It was yummy and refreshing with a luscious citrus taste.
Other options on the menu for vegans included an appetizer of Grilled flatbread with Three Spreads. They also had a Smoked Tofu Salad and an Asian Layered Salad. Several of the items seem like they could be easily veganized by leaving off the cheese, including the pizzas. I was too full to try the Vegan Chocolate Cake, which it turns out seems to be provided by Avalon International Bakery in Detroit. I will definitely be back again soon and be sure to save some room in my belly! Check out the Jolly Pumpkin’s menu here.
Every time we go to Seva for dinner, my family finds it irresistible to pass up the yam fries appetizer. They are served with a mildly spicy dipping sauce that we all want to lick right out of the bowl. I asked the server what was in it and wouldn’t you know, mayonnaise(of course) and Clancy’s Fancy Sauce, made right here in Ann Arbor. Unfortunately, even though Seva is a vegetarian restaurant with many vegan options, they don’t offer a vegan option for this particular dip. When I asked for a vegan dip, they gave me salsa! Definitely not the same!
So, of course, now I make these at home, with the dip veganized using Veganaise (my favorite vegan mayo). These are a family favorite! Everyone loves them and there are never any left over. Just by themselves they are delicious but with the dipping sauce, they are over the top for us.
While writing this post, I went to the company’s website and found that the sauce contains honey! I didn’t know that, I hadn’t read the ingredients because I assumed it was vegan. (You know what they say about assuming!) I then found myself wondering about why honey is not vegan. It’s something I’ve wondered about and had never gotten around to researching.
So, I mistakenly used a non-vegan ingredient last night, but now I know. I’d love to create a sauce like Clancy’s Fancy that uses agave instead of honey. Either that, or I will look for a substitute sweet and spicy vegan sauce to mix with my Vegenaise!
What do vegans eat? Plants, not animals. That’s how simple it is. Veggies, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, grains. There is no shortage of ideas, recipes or creativity involved in crafting vegan fare. I send out a huge appreciation to all the wonderful vegan cookbook writers, bloggers and chefs who have reignited my passion for cooking. I am sparked daily to prepare delicious vegan food and share it with my family and friends.
So, where does an Ann Arbor vegan start? At Ann Arbor’s Farmer’s Market, of course! We have a busy market, fortunately, as many folks here want to support local farmers. I head straight to the organic farm booths: Tantre Farms, Frog Holler Farms, Garden Works Farm and Renaissance Acres Farm. The bounty is overflowing! Collard greens, napa cabbage, kale, spinach, arugula, eggplant, kabocha squash, tomatoes, butternut squash, garlic, green beans, mint, sage, dill and salad greens! Oh, and beeeauutiful dahlias!
The only question now is what do we feel like having for dinner tonight?
My daughter and I went to Jazzy Veggie on Main Street to check out Ann Arbor’s first truly all vegan fare restaurant. These Crab Cakes were our favorites. They tasted just like crab and were crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. I used to eat real crab cakes before I went vegan in November 2009 and these little vegan gems were genuinely satisfying. I will definitely be back to try them another time.
I’ve never made vegan crab cakes at home, have you? I found this recipe for Chesapeake Tempeh Cakes at the Post Punk Kitchen. In the short time I’ve been cooking vegan, I haven’t gone wrong with any food I’ve made that comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz‘s cookbooks, including the fabulous Veganomicon and Appetite for Reduction. This particular recipe is from Vegan Brunch. Apparently, you make everything the day before and then cook it up to serve. I think it’s time for a party!
Here’s the full menu from Jazzy Veggie to entice you. As an added plus, it looks like they also deliver!
Hope you are enjoying the Vegan Month of Food!
Ann Arbor is better than many small cities in its vegan offerings but I am hoping more of our talented chefs take on the challenge of adding delectable vegan food to their offerings. And of course, you can always ask for modifications wherever you go! If you are interested in checking out the vegan restaurant fare that Ann Arbor has to offer, here’s a short list. Of course, the best vegan food is what we make at home! But there are nights that going out and having someone else cook for you is delightful.
Please let me know any restaurants you know that should be added.
Jerusalem Garden-delicious falafel
Cafe Verde/People’s Food Co-op – check out the menu for the food bar for October
Pilar’s Tamales-Try the vegan eggplant tamales!
Seva – yam fries, Thai salad, spinach salad and on and on….
The Lunch Room – barbecued Tofu Sandwich, Aloo Yoop Stew, molasses cookies, EVERYTHING!
Jazzy Veggie-vegan crab cakes (I’ve yet to try anything else)
Chia Shiang-Soybean skinrolls with broccoli
Hut-k Chaat – It’s all a “party in my mouth”!
Blue Nile– Vegetarian Feast (I believe it’s all vegan)