Thursday, October 23, 2008

VeganMoFo: More Vegan Food in St. Louis


These pretty carrot cake cupcakes are from Local Harvest Grocery on Morganford near Arsenal in St. Louis City. I had popped in to pick up some coffee, mainly, and Maddie mentioned that the cupcakes in the baked goods display were vegan! Well all righty then. These were moist and delicious, full of carrot flecks and an occasional dark chocolate chip. The frosting had the tangy taste that typical cream cheese frosting has. If you're vegan, let Maddie know the next time you shop there, and she'll keep you posted about the vegan options when you stop by. She can place special orders even for products they don't stock such as tempeh bacon. The store carries vegan products such as Desert Essence face wash as well. Truly, the store is an asset to the City.

But the St. Louis surprises don't end there. I recently noted that I knew of only two local restaurants that use the word "vegan" on their menus. I'll gladly eat my words now, with a side of marinated tofu please. Thanks to Ruby Red Vegan, I found OR Juice and Smoothie. This non-vegan establishment uses the word vegan 16 times on the menu. Not to mention that they have a sign beside the cash register that encourages, "If you are vegan, tell us before you order." How accommodating is that?



OR Juice and Smoothie is located in Richmond Heights in the mall with the Schnucks grocery store, right beside a Pub and Grill. The furnishings are pretty basic, so to me this is a place for carry out. In fact, they encourage calling your order in ahead, so you can pick it up quickly and conveniently. And the vegan options are plentiful! I can't recall seeing tempeh on a menu since The Sunshine Inn was in business! Okay, I'm rambling a little from excitement. Let me try to pull myself together. In the vegan wrap category, options are the tofu, portobello, or tempeh wrap. As for rolls, you may choose from vegan spring rolls, nori rolls, and sushi. There are three vegan salad options and three vegan sandwich options. Wait, there's more. There's a vegan rice bowl and vegan pizza. Vegan soups, count them, three.

I ordered the marinated tofu wrap and lentil and squash soup to go. Ruby Red Vegan had raved about the vegan burger. That sounded really good, but I'd had several recently, plus I had a little drive to get home and thought that a tofu wrap might keep better. So while I'm waiting for my order, what does a friendly customer advise me to try next time? The vegan burger. And she's not even vegan. So next time, this is a must.

My wrap was delicious. The tofu was crispy on the outside as if it had been fried as well as marinated, but what do I know. The wrap was stuffed with a reddish brown rice, tomato, lettuce, onion, hummus, and, I think, vinaigrette. I considered saving half for later, but quickly decided that was foolishness and finished it off. Excellent!

The pureed soup was a little sweet and savory too with minced fresh ginger. It had that pretty golden color that's so perfect for soup in October. This has been a great week for vegan discoveries in St. Louis. I'm taking tomorrow off to prep for our Halloween party, so I'll be back on Monday for more VeganMoFo!

17 comments:

  1. Any non-vegan restaurant that uses the word 'vegan' that many times on their menu MUST be pretty freakin' cool!

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  2. what a beautiful soup - and those cuppies look mighty tasty! i would be excited about all those vegan options popping up around you, too! glad the wrap was awesome, and that next time you've got the vegan burger to try! have fun prepping for your party! and take lots of photos to share with us! wahoooooooo! :)

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  3. A grocery store that sells vegan cupcakes sounds like heaven. And the are beautiful too!

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  4. Dark chocolate chips inside a carrot muffin sounds incredible!

    Congrats on your vegan finds around St. Louis!

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  5. I loveee carrot cake so those cupcakes look sooo good night now! What awesome places you are coming across!

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  6. Wow, I just want to thank you for your recommendation! I will have to check out Local Harvest.

    The marinated tofu wrap is next on my list to try at OR. I haven't had it yet, but I am glad to hear it is yummy! I still need to stop at Shangri-La again in hopes of encountering seitan gyros...mmm!

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  7. mm--your meal sounds great!!

    the cupcakes are lovely too :D

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  8. YAY for more vegan foods! Those cupcakes look so good, and so does that colorful soup! Have a super fantabulous Halloween Party!!

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  9. I love when places specify "vegan", even if they serve meat. It's so nice to be noticed & have tasty vegan options.

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  10. I'm still dreaming of the day when I'll be able to order a vegan cupcake somewhere!

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  11. carrot cake is my favorite cake ever. those are some beautiful cupcakes! i'm jealous you have a place that sells vegan cupcakes. last week, i went to this cupcake shop called Dozen and i was all pumped to get a vegan cupcake. of course, they don't have vegan cupcakes on sundays. i guess vegans don't like cupcakes on sundays? haha

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  12. I want to be able to not bake something and have it magically appear onto my plate anyway. major craving for the cupcake, by golly.

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  13. I am really loving all this knowledge sharing! I went to the Local Harvest Grocery and the cafe too with a friend this morning. The grocery is adorable, though expensive, and they didn't have any vegan baked goods today... I was incredibly impressed with the cafe. I don't know if you're an espresso person, but their Goshen Coffee is out of this world! I had the best soy latte there. They also have bagels (which I didn't try or inquire about veganness yet) and you can choose from a number of fun spreads: vegan Azeefa lentil dip, hummus, or vegan cream cheese. Yay! They said they normal have vegan pastry choices very frequently, just not today.

    Thanks again for the suggestions!

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  14. Wow! I haven't been to Local Harvest Grocery since near the time it opened, and I had no idea they had vegan baked goods! And I've never even heard of OR Juice and Smoothie. Crazy!

    Lisa--can you e-mail me at mail AT stephanieernst DOT com? I have a question/favor to ask you.

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  15. ahhh! if only i were in st. louis right now! i am coming back in january and you can bet i will be visiting these vegan-friendly places many many times! thank you for this post! :)

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