Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The food post, aka Tofu Overload 2010

Yes, as you’ve guessed, much of Kentucky isn’t exactly veg friendly. We just spent one night there.

Friday night, we went to a favorite restaurant in Cincinnati, Honey, which has a few vegetarian selections and at least one vegan dish. I selected the basil-crusted tofu, which is served in two big hunks (I recently tried that at home) over super-long string beans and some sort of orange “root vegetable” puree, maybe sweet potatoes or carrots or both. The menu is vague, and I didn’t ask, although I should start to get more comfortable with that.


I also like the fries – they mix Yukon, Idaho, and sweet potatoes and the fries are so thin and tasty. I also enjoyed a local brew from Rivertown Brewing Company.

Saturday, we packed up and I brought lots of fruit, nuts, and some Larabars. For lunch, though, we have a favorite restaurant in Louisville, Third Avenue Cafe. We got an appetizer of fried portabella strips, which certainly makes for more food than we needed but they’re just so good, we couldn’t resist, especially since we don’t get out there enough…

Each of the three times we’ve been, Alex has gotten the Reuben. It’s made with tempeh, and he loves it. He convinced his mom to try it, too – this is her plate with a side of (vegan) basil potato salad. It’s so cool that the side choices are vegan, also including a vegan cole slaw and a vegan soup choice every day. This time I noticed they printed new menus and no longer have the typo on potato chips. The first time we were there, Alex ordered potato chops.

2010-08-16101 Top left, the inside of the black bean and tofu burrito; top right, the wheatberry soybean salad and the untouched burrito; bottom left, the veggie Reuben with vegan basil potato salad; bottom left, portabella strips.

I tried a new dish – I’ve gotten the barbecued tofu sandwich, their black bean burger, and this time I went with the black bean and tofu burrito. My side, though, was the star of the show. I chose the wheatberry soybean salad, which was sweet and crunchy with celery and apples along with the soybeans and wheatberry. I can’t quite place the dressing, but it was light and fresh. I can’t wait to try to make this at home.

The burrito was good, and the tofu was spicy. They melted two slices of Tofutti cheese on top. I think I’d prefer that just be omitted, but this was still a good choice. I’m ready to continue my sampling of the whole menu, and I’m confident I’ll find more favorites.

For dinner Saturday, we were deep in central Kentucky. The man at our B&B told us about the nicest restaurant in town and their awesome salad bar. Instead, we opted for Mexican. I got the veggie fajitas. At first, this sizzling pile of veggies looked like a lot of food, but without eating any sides, it was just enough food. I washed it down with a Negra Modelo.

111 Veggie fajitas, including broccoli, yellow squash, onion, tomato, green and red bell peppers, and a few precious mushrooms.

I didn’t get a photo of Sunday’s breakfast. I mentioned we were staying in a B&B, so they provided breakfast. They made me a tomato sandwich along with potatoes and fruit. Yum! I love cooked tomatoes. Other guests were taking photos, though, so I wish I’d brought my camera down for breakfast. I also didn’t get photos of lunch, which was at a Cosi in Lexington. Alex loves Cosi, and back in my pregan days I loved their TBM melt and signature salad. They still have a delicious hummus sandwich stuffed with veggies, and I bet their TBM melt would be delicious minus the Mozzarella. On second thought, that might not be too tasty. Oh well.

Sunday night, we went to Indigo back home in Cincinnati. I chose the roasted red pepper pasta and added portabella mushrooms. This is a heaping helping of pasta, half of which is sitting in my fridge as we speak.


Wonder why there’s a weird red glow across my plate? We sat on the patio and were unfortunately close to the red neon light advertising the restaurant.


Monday morning, we had a leisurely brunch at home including tofu scramble and vegan pancakes. Alex is an expert pancake flipper. I had mine with pecans in the pancake and banana and blueberries on top, along with some maple syrup.


We had a late lunch at Melt before heading to the airport. It felt like we came full circle as Melt is just down the street from Honey. I tried something new and completed my tofu overload with the Rothko (I am a big fan of Mark, but I’m not sure if this is named for him). I chose the “halvsie” and got half sandwich and half white bean soup.


The Rothko was an interesting sandwich, made with tofu, peanut butter, red bell peppers, ginger hoisin dressing, salad greens, and alfalfa sprouts. This was good. The various ingredients intrigued me, and I can’t say that I expected anything other than the extreme tastes I received. This was most like a peanut butter sandwich, and my favorite bites were those with lots of red bell pepper. The pepper was raw, which is among my favorite ways to enjoy bell pepper. Crunchy, sweet, and juicy.

There you have it; a long post of what I ate during my short excursion. I’ve wanted to do at least a day of showing exactly what I eat after I heard a story on the book What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets on NPR. I may still do that at some point, but for now this shall suffice.


  1. Everything looks good, but those portobello strips look *extra* good!
    There used to be a place called Alfalfa's in Lexington. If they are still in business, I bet they have some good vegan options.

  2. Too much deliciousness in one post. My faves -- The Wheatberry/Soybean Salad and The Rothko Sandwich. Both are something new and different. It's nice to know there are people 'out there' (where you least expect them) coming up with such cool vegan foods.

  3. Thanks for the long post and yummy tofu pictures!! I thoroughly enjoyed gawking at all of it. :] I also do not doubt Alex's pancake-flipping expertise 'cause your pancake came out beautifully. And the Rothko sounds really good; I love the taste of PB with a sweet sauce like hoisin!

  4. Wow. For not having alot of options, these looks amazing. I love finding vegan food in restaurants so it looks like you had an awesome time. I'm jealous!

  5. Yummy! I want that black bean/tofu burrito. Something about the melted vegan cheese on top makes it seem extra special to me. I love vegan cheese on anything! And the breakfast plate looks lovely!

  6. Ha, yes, this was a long post, but I'm ready to get back to making my own food. There was really only one dinner I was worried about - the one in rural central KY.

    I'm still developing a taste for vegan cheese. I tried picking up the burrito, but the cheese made it too messy!

  7. Fun - I always like reading about people's trip food. How did you edit your photos in the group of 4? "potato chops" - funny

  8. Jenny, I edit my photos in Picasa and create collages. It's fun for me sometimes.

  9. I actually live in Lexington, KY, and I am pleased to say that Alfalfa is still open and serving delicious vegan options every day. I go there at least once a week!
    Another great veg-friendly place in Lex is Third Street Stuff, which, having been to Melt in Cincinnati, reminds me a little bit of it.
    Doodles, right across the street from Third St., has a fantastic vegetarian chili with TVP.
    One of my favorite places to go in Lexington is Good Foods Coop, which is a health food store that happens to have a brilliant cafe that has vegan sandwiches in addition to a brilliant hot buffet with at least one vegan option every day.
    Maybe I'll see you around next time you're in KY!