I was away for a week! Yay for exhausting, sweaty, and crazy vacations!
Where did I go for this restful week away from the world? Like any normal, God-fearing, law-abiding, gun-toting American citizen, I went to Tennessee! Home of the… country music and fried everything.
This doesn’t sound like a promising start, now, does it? Well, better slap yo mama and run home, ’cause I sure did have a nice time! I was in DC for the weekend, then bussed over to Knoxville, and then on to Nashville. The banjos were hot, and the homeless people were hotter!
Believe it or not, I found a vegan-friendly restaurant at each stop. One. Exactly one in each city, but one is more than none, ya see? There were vegan options elsewhere, too, but I went to the places with the most options, and the prettiest options.
Hip City Veg in Washington DC! I found this spot because I wanted to go to Chinatown, actually. I figured I could get a vegetable dish in a Chinese restaurant. This was harder than one might expect. Instead, I realized that DC Chinatown was just normal town with some Chinese written in the names of places.
See? There’s just some Chinese language written next to the super not-Asian name, at a restaurant with no Asian food. It’s genius, it’s stupid, it’s Washington DC!
However, I had a nice meal here. I mean, I must have been walking around DC about 6 hours before I found this place, so anything would have tasted good. However, I genuinely think I had a pretty okay salad! A bit too much dressing, but I know “the people” like that.
Check out that biodegradable box! Apparently, everything they use can be recycled; including the staff! Meaning… they’re dispensable? Maybe. The salad definitely could be re-used, if one so desired.
Sprouts, arugula, carrot, cabbage, daikon, scallions, peanuts, & Chinese black bean dressing
So, I got the side salad for two reasons: I am cheap, and because I wanted room for dessert. Dessert is a priority, of course. The dessert options weren’t bad, I was pleased. They had cookies and brownies and about three cupcake options. Although the cupcakes were tempting, the cashier said the brownies were just baked and were particularly fluffy today. He probably says that everyday. I am sure the Brownie Man pays him off. Still, I wanted a fluffy brownie, so I chose the fluffy brownie.
It was a really good brownie! I didn’t feel like asking what their recipe was, as I usually would, but I was so full of chocolatey goodness. I think there were nuts in there? Or clumps of batter? Maybe bugs? No matter! I was very happy, and it wasn’t super tiny, which made me even happier.
But, the world keeps turning, and I had to move on to the next city. Goodbye, brownie! Goodbye, salad! Buh-bye, DC!
Knoxville. Oh, Knoxville. What a place. I mean, there was stuff to do. There were building and bridges and people… things are in Knoxville! And I don’t just mean cows! There was a huge farmer’s market in Market Square (coincidental name, ammirite!?) There was also The Tomato Head! A vegetarian restaurant alongside a bunch of other funky shops and bars and cafes. The Tomato Head won me over quickly because the entire front counter was desserts. Before you even got to the hostess! By the way, take note that Hip City Veg was sort of fast food style- you went to the counter and ordered your food. I don’t love this method, but it works for some people. The Tomato Head is a sit-down restaurant. It does get pretty busy at meal times, and there may be a wait time if you’re not a single person.
Although there were a few places along the way that had vegan options, The Tomato Head was vegetarian, rather than just being veg-friendly. Not vegan, but they had lots of vegan options, too! Tofu and whatnot. So, I ended up going there twice!
The first time I went, it was in honour of my birthday, so I went a little wild. Okay- I went ALL out! Soy cheese pizza slice, beer, and cupcake! Now, the beer and pizza weren’t too expensive. The beer was a local brewery called Yazoo… or YooHoo? I think it was Yazoo. Local beers are cheaper, I guess? It was a little bitter for my taste. The pizza slice was also cheap, but that’s because it was pretty small and didn’t have much on it. I had to add 2 lbs of hot pepper.
Then, when we got to the cupcake… oh, my! I did like that cupcake. They only had one option, sadly, though. Each day they had a different cupcake option. They also had vegan cookies, but those are usually a letdown, and not too interesting. The cupcake really blew my mind, though. This time I did ask the recipe. Or, more so, what they used to replace the egg. Oddly, there was nothing special in there. Baking powder and soymilk and whatnot. The usual. So, I don’t know their secret, but it was a big and soft cupcake with the most amazing passion fruit/cranberry icing ever. Now, to be fair, I’d never had passion fruit/cranberry frosting before, but the texture and taste was just mind blowing. Unfortunately, this deliciousness came with the steep price of $5. Thank goodness it was my birthday! Good timing, too, since the next time I went, the cupcake was mocha something. I don’t like mocha.
I also tried a small vegan sandwich the second time I went. I chose whole wheat bread and blue corn chips (instead of regular chips….) This was a success. Nothing amazing, but it was okay. Not a bad sized meal, and it came with a pickle. Eright. I can dig. The bread was pretty soft, and the beansprouts, tofu, and spinach were okay. However, the tomato was a little depressed that day. Just pulled apart in a sad and droopy way. It was like having a depressed waitress; I just didn’t need the tomato’s drama in my life. Especially not at a place called “The Tomato Head”! Get your tomato game on, guys!
Final stop was Nashville! Where they claim not to only play country music, but… they only play country music. YeeeeeeHoooo! Yazoo? Yoohaw? I am confused.
I’ll make my review for WildCow quick. Not because it was bad or anything, but because I’ve written so much already. My hands are hurting. WildCow was also more like your typical vegan restaurant. Although, I think they consider themselves Vegetarian. I don’t recall seeing anything dairy, but I could be wrong. I went here for a quick meal with my host. He only had a beer, and I was just desperate for something that wasn’t fried or carbs… or fried carbs.
What I liked about WildCow was that they had mini pies for sale. They were pricey, of course, but I liked looking at them. This aside, I took a picture of the pies, and I had the great joy of titling this picture “WildCow pies” …. So, yep.
Nothing wonderful here, nothing terrible. I went with the buffalo tempeh strips. As I’ve said before, tempeh isn’t my favourite. Mostly because of the texture, but also because there’s a little aftertaste. But, I ordered these because it came with celery, carrots, and vegan ranch dressing. I also asked for extra buffalo sauce, hoping it would cover the tempeh taste.
They weren’t bad, and after only a couple strips, I was filled up. I just wish I could afford a sweet potato pie…. Sigh….
Also in Nashville there’s a bagel place in East Nashville where one can get sweet potato bagels. It’s called Bagel Face! Now, they sell these bagels with cream cheese (vegan options, hummus, and peanut butter) for about $3.50. You can ALSO purchase six day-old bagels for only $3. The trick is, though, that apparently, then they charge about $4 for a side of Tofutti cream cheese. This made me sad and mad. Not to mention, the cashier woman lady had NO interest in talking to me. She was talking to her friends who came in for 3 hours and made it impossible for me to get a plate or napkins. Thus, I had to eat off my hand using a coffee stirrer as a knife. This kinda ruined the experience for me. This would have all been forgivable if the bagels were, like… good. However, they were “eh”. They were Southern bagels with a light, light taste of sweetness. I was fed, but I was bummed and homesick.
Fortunately, I had a surprisingly successful vegan-experience during my time down South. It took a little research and walking around, but I was fed! I am very proud of all of us.
Check out things you’re not eating right now:
HipCityVeg: 8.5/10 unicorn hugs
The Tomato Head: 10/10 unicorn hugs
The Wild Cow: 8/10 unicorn hugs
Bagel Face: 4/10 unicorn hugs
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