David and I spent the last few days up in Phoenix. He was busy with continuing education courses all day, so I decided to visit with my sons, hike in the gorgeous Phoenix Mountain Preserve and check out the vegan eats. I did a little advance research (thanks happycow.net) and we had some great meals. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to be vegan in Phoenix.
We were staying at the Hyatt Regency downtown which has its own Einstein Bagels. Bagels with peanut butter and soy lattes for breakfast. Okay so it was a little white flour/sugar-laden but we were just glad that we didn’t have to wander out at 6 am to find something to eat. Never mind, it was delish.
When I lived in Scottsdale, downtown Phoenix was in a bit of a sorry state foodwise. In recent years though, ASU has moved several of its schools to the downtown campus and restaurants are opening all over the place. There was a totally different vibe. I met David for lunch on the first day at a casual salad place called “Bowl of Greens”:
As you might expect, a place like this has lots of vegan options as well as a juice bar. We ordered up some green juice (to offset the bagel and Jif breakfast), and I had a falafel wrap and David had a mediterranean platter with the usual assortment of falafel, hummus and baba ganoush. Tasty and filling. Their website is here.
For dinner we scoped out a tapas place on the “waterfront” (canal actually) near Old Town Scottsdale called “Tapas Papa Frita”, (website here) and Michael met us there. I checked out the menu in advance and was pretty sure we could piece together enough small plates for dinner. It was a gorgeous evening and we sat out on the lovely patio:
Michael chose a few non-veg items, but we all shared chipotle hummus with toast, mushrooms in sherry sauce, eggplant, pepper and tomato over toast, chickpea and spinach dip and veggie paella. Except for the noise of the flamenco dancers inside (what a racket!) it was really delightful. Our two bottles of Malbec made for a pricey dinner but the food was good and the company was great. I would recommend it.
On day two, I headed out to hike with Sam and Deacon (the granddog). We had a great time, and the mountain preserve was in full bloom and gorgeous. After the hike, with dog in tow, we headed over to Chipotle (is that ever not a good idea when you’re vegan?) and I chowed down on my favorite, the Sofritas (spicy braised tofu) salad. Yum.
For dinner, David and I returned to an entirely vegan place called “Green”:
I love when I am able to order anything on a menu ( The vegan folks out there definitely know what I mean!). We started with hummus and spring rolls. David had a Kung Pao bowl and I had a tofu peanut salad. This place is very casual and the food is tasty. You can take at look at their menu here.
But our favorite vegan find of the weekend had to be the “Pomegranate Cafe”. This fantastic vegan restaurant was conveniently located on our drive home to Tucson, right off the I-10. The drive from Phoenix to Tucson is pretty much a vegan wasteland (i.e. have those Lara Bars handy) so we were thrilled to discover this restaurant just 20 minutes south of downtown Phoenix. Pomegranate Cafe is located in a strip mall (like most things in Phoenix) and here’s a photo of the outside:
This cafe has a huge menu of juices, smoothies, sandwiches, wraps, bowls and salads. The place was hopping, and there was a really diverse crowd. We sat inside and opted for waiter service (you can order at the counter). We started with green juice, then I ordered the “Athena bowl” (kale, hummus, falafel and other crisp veggies) and David tried the jackfruit sliders which were delicious. We had been meaning to try jackfruit which is a common ingredient in vegan shredded barbecue sandwiches. I’m definitely going to track down some cans of jackfruit and try making this dish myself.
We travel frequently from Tucson to Phoenix, and I’m thrilled that we found this fantastic eatery en route. If you want to read more about the Pomegranate Cafe you can check out their website here.
Unlike our last trip to Las Vegas, this visit to Phoenix was full of good times and good vegan eating. Another reason to love Arizona :)