ROAD TRIP: Vegan Comfort Food in Albuquerque

Albuquerque is a surprisingly huge city in the middle of New Mexico.  It is home to a large university, so I would imagine that some of those students are vegan.  Therefore, it would make sense that across the street from the University of New Mexico is Mint Tulip – and all vegan cafe with a focus on diner-type food.  I was seriously in love with their decor.  I think I might paint a room in my future house this minty color.

Mint Tulip

Mint Tulip

The minty color also inspired me to order a Mint Cookie Shake ($4).  My mom went with the humble Chocolate Shake ($4).  They make their shakes with their vanilla soft serve and are insanely good!  They had many more flavor combinations that I wished I had room in my belly to try.

Mint Tulip Mint Cookie and Chocolate Shakes

Mint Cookie and Chocolate Shakes

The food at Mint Tulip focuses on sandwiches/wraps and salads.  They also come with a side that you get to choose from a whole list of options.  Our first food item was a Buffalo Ranch Wrap with a Pasta Salad side ($9).  I took one bite of the wrap and immediately went into panic mode.  It was so spicy that I couldn’t even eat the rest of it.  If you can handle the heat, go for this item – apparently it is one of the more popular dishes.  The pasta salad I could handle.  It was so light and refreshing. I could eat a whole plate of this as a nice dinner.

Mint Tulip Buffalo Ranch Wrap

Buffalo Ranch Wrap

The Grilled Cheese with a side of Fruit ($6) was the star of the entrees.  This tasted like childhood.  The bread was so crispy and the cheese was so melty (wouldn’t have guessed it was Tofutti American slices).  A shake and a grilled cheese is a winning combination in my book.

Mint Tulip Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese

The Reuben with a side of Slaw ($9) was the second favorite.  Made with the perfect proportions of Tofurky slices, sauerkraut, and thousand island dressing.  They certainly know how to grill a sandwich at Mint Tulip.

Mint Tulip Reuben

Rueben

They also make a Burger ($9) with housemade patty, tomato, onion, pickle, spinach, and Vegenaise.  We ordered this with a side of Potato Salad.  I liked this burger well enough, but if I had to get one thing here, it would be the grilled cheese.

Veggie Burger

And we couldn’t leave without trying their unadulterated Soft Serve.  My mom and I both agreed that we liked it better in a shake.  On its own, it kind of had a gummy texture to it – something we couldn’t detect blended up.

Mint Tulip Soft Serve

Soft Serve

You can see their full menu here.  This place might have been the favorite meal of the trip and would almost be worth living in Albuquerque… almost.

Mint Tulip
2110 Central Ave SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
505-242-1320

Monday – Thursday, Saturday 10am – 4pm
Friday 10am – 9pm

 

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ROAD TRIP: LA Vegan Thai-style Eatery comes to Albuquerque

Los Angeles is home to a number of vegan Thai places that have the same crazy menu of thai food and burgers/wraps.  I guess the owner of Thai Vegan in Albuquerque (a native of Thailand) came to the desert via the City of Angels, because the menu here has that same crazy menu.  There are a few items I haven’t seen in LA, but, in general, it’s the same thing.  I love vegan thai food and I might have even thought that Thai Vegan in Albuquerque was slightly better than some of the places in LA.

My mom got the Miso Soup ($2.95).  What can I say? – it was miso soup and very tasty.

Thai Vegan Miso Soup

Miso Soup

We also got an appetizer of the Chicken Satay ($6.95): charbroiled marinated soy chicken on skewers, served with peanut sauce and fresh cucumber salad.  Peanut sauce is one of my favorite sauces.  This whole plate was delicious!

Thai Vegan Chicken Satay

Chicken Satay

One dish I’m not so sure if I’ve seen very often was the Chu Chee ($9.95):  soy shrimp sauteed in our chef’s special coconut puree, topped with daffir lime leaves and bell pepper.  This had quite a few bell peppers and onions, which I didn’t eat, so I mainly got a lot of soy shrimp.  I really loved the sauce it was in.  It tasted like a coconut curry

Thai Vegan Chu Chee

Chu Chee

Because we love that peanut sauce so much, we got the Praram’s Plate ($9.95): marinated soy chicken pan-fried with peanut sauce on a bed of steamed spinach.  Peanut sauce and spinach?!  I think this was the favorite item of the evening.  It was so flavorful – and we got your greens, too!

Thai Vegan Praram's Plate

Praram’s Plate

In addition to peanut sauce, I love glass noodles.  Something about that tiny noodles just tastes so good!  This dish isn’t on their online menu, but is on the paper one in the restaurant.  I forget what this is called, but is the only glass noodle dish at the place.  It was packed with flavor.  We didn’t eat all of this dish, so I took it with me to eat for breakfast the next day.  Who knew glass noodles could be so good for breakfast?

Thai Vegan Glass Noodles

Glass Noodles

They also have a few dessert items.  We each decided to wash everything down with some ice cream.  My mom got the Coconut and I got the Green Tea Ice Cream ($3.25 each).  Both were tasty, but the texture was a bit off.  It was kind of grainy – not too appetizing for an ice cream.

Thai Vegan Coconut and Green Tea Ice Creams

Coconut and Green Tea Ice Creams

I know we have a ton of these type places in LA, but if you happen to be passing through Albuquerque, Thai Vegan is worth the stop.

5505 Osuna RD NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
(505) 884-4610

Monday – Saturday 11am – 9pm
Sunday 5pm – 9pm

ROAD TRIP: Mu Du Noodles in Santa Fe

Our last meal in Santa Fe before my mom and I continued on our journey to Oklahoma City was at Mu Du Noodles.  This was the best meal in Santa Fe.  The staff was super nice here – even giving us free food!  And the food was delicious!

We ordered the Spring Rolls [four pieces of fresh and uncooked rolls served with nuoc cham and peanut-hoisin sauce] for an appetizer.  The roll was your standard spring roll with a yummy peanut sauce.  It was nice that they had the hot sauce on the side so the customer can choose their own level of spiciness.

Mu Du Noodles Spring Rolls

Spring Rolls

We didn’t order the Green Beans, but out waiter said it was one of his favorites and brought it out to us.  How nice!!  And I’m glad he did.  This isn’t on the menu and I forget what was on it, but they were very flavorful.

Mu Du Green Beans

Green Beans

The items on the menu are marked if they can be prepared vegan.  There were a few dishes we wanted to try, but settled on the Emerald Sautee [pan seared tofu sautéed in garlic oil with Green Tea noodles, fresh spinach, shiitake mushrooms local and seasonal vegetables, garnished  with crispy shallots] and a Pesto Noodle dish.  This was so good!  It wasn’t your typical Asian style noodle dish, but so much more.  The garlic made it taste sort of Italian and the green tea noodles and shiitake mushrooms brought out the Asian flare.

Mu Du Emerald Sautee

Emerald Sautee

Our second choice of entree was a Pesto Noodle dish that isn’t on their online menu, so I can’t tell you exactly what was in it.  I just remember it had pesto, lemon, sesame seeds, vegetables, and tofu.  I don’t know which noodle dish I liked better – they were both so good.  This one also had that Italian/Asian vibe going on.  I would certainly recommend this.

Mu Du Noodles Pesto Noodles

Pesto Noodles

Our waiter asked if we wanted dessert and said the only vegan option was a coconut sorbet.  We were full and I wasn’t really feeling sorbet, so we declined.  But that didn’t stop our waiter from bringing out the Coconut Sorbet anyway!  This guy knew what was up.  I am so glad he brought out another wonderful dish for us.  The sorbet was so creamy and fantastic!

Mu Du Coconut Sorbet

Coconut Sorbet

You’ve got to go to Mu Du Noodles if you are ever in Santa Fe.

1494 Cerrillos Road
Santa Fe, New Mexico
505-983-1411

Tuesday – Saturday 5:30pm – 9pm

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TOMORROW, FIND OUT WHAT A VEGAN GAL CAN EAT IN AMARILLO, TX.

ROAD TRIP: Vegan Eats in Santa Fe

Santa Fe, NM is a pretty artsy-fartsy town, so one would think they’d be the open minded kind of people to have some good vegan food.  I found a few good spots, but not a whole lot.  One of these spots was a small chocolate shop that offers some vegan varieties.  Kakawa Chocolate House may not label anything as vegan, but most of the dark chocolate truffles are vegan.  We asked the chocolatier and she was very helpful to point out what we should get.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House

From their selection we got four different vegan chocolates.  The Pomegranate Truffle (chocolate, agave, pomegranate, vanilla) was my least favorite – the most bitter.  The Rose Truffle (chocolate, agave, rose water) and the Dark Chocolate Truffle (chocolate, agave, oatmilk, mexican vanilla) were both very creamy and less bitter than the pomegranate.  My favorite was the Dark Chocolate Pistachio Clusters – the creaminess and saltiness of the nuts cuts the strong bitterness of the chocolate.  Each truffle is around $3-3.50 and is worth the stop to this very cute store.

Kakawa Chocolate House

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cluster, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Rose Truffle, Pomegranate Truffle

Because my mom and I were on a road trip, we didn’t have many meal opportunities to eat in Santa Fe.  We wanted to spend dinner at a vegan friendly restaurant (Body Cafe), but got there at 8:28pm.  Apparently the kitchen closes at 8:30pm and the whole place closes at 9pm.  WTF?  We made the deadline and they turned us away.  Not cool!  So we stopped at a Whole Foods on the way back to the hotel and got a bunch of vegan food.

The Couscous Salad and the Red and Black Quinoa Taboule from the deli case weren’t that great, but the Sonoma Wrap (Gardein chicken salad wrapped with grapes in a tortilla) was delicious!  They even had some vegan donuts!

Santa Fe Whole Foods Goodies

Whole Foods Goodies: Couscous Salad, Red and Black Quinoa Taboule, Vegan Sonoma Wrap, Donuts

The donuts were displayed from MIGHT-O.  I thought it must be a typo, but what were Mighty-O donuts doing in Santa Fe?  When we got back to the hotel and I tasted them and I knew they were from Mighty-O.  I didn’t like them when I had them in Seattle, and I still didn’t like them.  They have this sort of chemical leavening flavor.  Not my cup of tea, but very exciting that vegan donuts exists in Santa Fe.

Mighty O Donuts at Whole Foods

Mighty O Donuts

When we finally made it to Body Cafe, my mom and I shared two vegan-friendly dishes.  Body Cafe didn’t have a whole lot of vegan dishes to choose from.  A few dishes are raw and they have many juices/smoothies.  One thing that really irked me (besides being turned away before they closed the night before) was their statement on their menu.  Describing vegan, Body Cafe states it “does not contain any animal products including eggs, dairy. We often use honey in our vegan recipes.”  So your vegan stuff isn’t actually vegan if it contains honey (yes, I know some vegans eat honey).  Knowing I now have to ask if their vegan food is actually vegan, I discovered that the Caesar Salad ($11.95) [romaine hearts, jicama, sunflower croutons, capers, house caesar dressing] is totally vegan.  Maybe it was my annoyance at Body Cafe, but I just wasn’t too thrilled with the food.  My mom enjoyed it, though.

Body Cafe Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

And the Green Chile Burrito ($9.95) [tofu, pine nut cheese, green chile, potato, garlic, tomatoes, cilantro, salsa fresca, onion, spelt tortilla] just wasn’t that good, either.

Body Cafe Green Chile Burrito

Green Chile Burrito

Body Cafe
333 Cordova Rd.
Santa Fe, NM 87505
505-986-0362

Monday-Friday 7 am – 9 pm
Saturday 7 am – 9 pm
Sunday 7 am – 9 pm

Kakawa Chocolate House
1050 E Paseo de Peralta
Santa Fe, NM
505-982-0388

Monday – Saturday 10-6
Sunday 12-6