Artichoke Red Vegan Market in Orlando

Artichoke Red Vegan MarketOf course no vacation to Florida would be complete without a trip to the beach.  Reaping the benefit of unusually high January temperatures, I was eager to don my new swimsuit, grab an oversized beach towel, and head for the water.  Just about an hour from Orlando is Smyrna Beach, where no parking fees are required, as you can drive your car directly onto the beach with food and drinks packed in the cooler for easy access.  Before heading to the sandy shores, we stopped by Artichoke Red Vegan Market for provisions.

interior artichoke redArtichoke Red Vegan Market is a small store in Orlando with all kinds of vegan specialty products – plant based meats and cheeses, cruelty-free cleaners and soaps, sauces, snacks, soups, and supplements.  On the weekends they get deliveries of freshly baked bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company, which is the bread maker nearby Ethos Vegan Kitchen also uses for their sandwiches.

The woman working the counter was incredibly friendly and eager to share information about the products and told us about some of her favorite places/items to eat locally.  (We went back again before flew out of town, and there was a man working at the store who was also super helpful and outgoing.  He offered some tips on shopping areas that we shouldn’t miss before we left.)

dillos vegan twinkiesAt the front counter they have a case displaying Dillos, vegan Twinkies, that are over-nighted from Salt Lake City, Utah.  They come in a variety of flavors including chocolate, vanilla, Mexican chocolate, Chai, red velvet, and raspberry.  We honed in on two to take to the beach with us for dessert – the original vanilla and red velvet.  They were incredibly fresh and moist with a delightfully creamy center.  I’ve tasted my fair share of vegan Twinkies, and these were easily the best.  They’re also leaps and bounds better than the chemical goo Twinkies of yore since these are made with ingredients like unbleached wheat flour, sugar from sugar beets, organic soy milk, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda…  You know, the kinds of things you’d actually see in a kitchen, not a science lab.

I also picked up a couple of locally made hot sauces, because that’s the kind of thing I enjoy taking home as a souvenir.  It’s fun to bring some of the flavor of a place back with you, and it’s something that can be used without creating clutter.

refrigerator artichoke redFor our seaside lunch we grabbed a loaf of bread that had just been delivered and a pack of Field Roast slices.  They don’t offer produce at Artichoke Red, but as luck would have it there are a couple of farmers markets within easy reach of Smyrna Beach, and we picked up some produce there (local oranges, grapefruit, kale) for a sweet end of the day steal.

sandwich fixins

field roast sandwichWith the warm sun beating down on us in the most welcome way you can imagine, we realized we didn’t have any knives on hand.  So we tore the bread in half and made two very rustic sandwiches with a side of citrus and finished up with a dessert of Dillos.  A very sweet day indeed…

smyrna beach

33 thoughts on “Artichoke Red Vegan Market in Orlando

  1. what fun! we sometimes fly into Orlando when we go to visit my husband’s family (in Vero Beach), so we’ve been to Ethos and also to a vegan bakery right near Ethos. This looks like a fun spot to know about too!

    • Oh, lucky you! It’s definitely an area I’d enjoy visiting often! We didn’t make it to the vegan bakery, Raphsodic, this trip. We’d already had our share of indulgences (like the Dillos in this post), but we’ll check it out on a future visit!

  2. OMG! Perfect timing! A friend of mine is moving to Orlando in a few weeks, and she’s already offered me her couch whenever I want to visit! I know where I’ll be shopping! Also, I LOVE those Dillos! I tried one from Food Fight. OMG!

    • Excellent! How fun for you! You’ve got to love an all-vegan market! Yes, the Dillos are crazy good. If they were sold in my area, it would be tempting to work my way through all of the flavors.

  3. What a cute sounding store. I love hodge-podge kind of meals thrown together like yr beachy picnic. Never was a big fan of Twinkies and I haven’t tried a vegan version but I like the new flavors of the Dillos. I’d probably get a chocolate one :)

  4. What a cool store! Better watch out for items with sugar beets, because sugar beets are one of the crops that are allowed to be genetically modified (GMO).

  5. i love cute vegan stores! and vegan twinkies:)
    that sandwich looks so well put together and doesnt look like it was torn:) the sun the sun.. you are killing me with pictures of the beach and the sun!

    • You and me both! What I wouldn’t give to be back soaking up some of it now. Every once in a while when I want to torture myself, I check to see what the temperature is there… You don’t want to know. :)

  6. You always find the best places to eat out. Those vegan twinkies look supreme! Chai for me please! And yes – hot sauce make the best souvenirs. I still long for the stuff they sell in Honduras…

    • Vegan Twinkies are irresistible for sure! I’m curious about that chai flavor as well. It’s probably for the best that I don’t live in the area! ;)

      • I do live in the area and I have to say that the Chai are AMAZING! I was never a fan of Twinkies but these are really awesome. I’ve also enjoyed the lime coconut (which, by the look of the case they were out of that day)

  7. I have yet to try a vegan twinkie! I’ve been saving myself for the ones at Source in SF, but heavens, these ones look killer! Red Velvet twinkles? Yes, please!

    Some of my favorite meals on vacations have been picnic style meals where we grab a bunch of stuff and make our own. Even better if it’s eaten while at a beach. :-)

    You sure are making Florida look awfully appealing right about now!

    • I know! I’m crazy about red velvet. I read a food critic recently who said that she hopes that the red velvet trend will vanish in 2013. That woman and I have very different dreams… ;)

      I thought Southern California had great weather, but the Florida weather is just insanely gorgeous. I’ll be visiting again for sure!

  8. Checking out random pro-vegan stores in other cities is one of my favorite things to do! I always find so many things that we can’t get in my city. I can’t believe they’ve got so many flavors of vegan twinkies, I would have succumbed and bought one of each. You obviously have a tad more self control then I do :)

    • I love finding new vegan stores and restaurants when I travel too! It’s just amazing what is out there.

      One of each flavor? I’ve found my new travel buddy! :D

  9. I went through a brief Twinkie phase as an adolescent. Now I can only remember them tasting like vanilla and sugar. Mostly sugar. :-)

    I live in sugar beet country, and am sad to say that VeganBurbank is right about the genetic modification. I just learned today that many cocoa beans are GM, too. Is nothing sacred?? (Fortunately, we’ve only bought organic, fair trade certified cocoa powder for years, but still…)

    Love that you went rustic and tore the bread. We’ve had to do that on more than one occasion during travels!

    I absolutely LOVE that last photo of the pigeon on the beach! He looks pretty pleased with himself, and doesn’t even care that he doesn’t blend in with the crowd. You’ve got to admire his style. :-)

    • I went through a Twinkie phase too, but mine was in college. My freshman year daily breakfast was a Twinkie or two and a can of Pepsi. Yikes!

      That’s sad but good to know about the sugar beets. I had no idea.

      Isn’t that pigeon cute? He puts me to the mind of that Sesame Street song, “One of these kids is doin’ his own thing…”

  10. I went through a Twinkie phase too, but mine was in college. My freshman year daily breakfast was a Twinkie or two and a can of Pepsi. Yikes!

    You have come a loooooong way!! :-) I can’t even imagine you ingesting such substances. (Can’t imagine me ingesting the crapola I used to, either! That was in a different life altogether, wasn’t it?)

    Perfect song for the pigeon! :-)

    • Lucky you! It would be great to have bike access to a market like that. While in Florida I visited Ethos, Dandelion Communitea, Nile Ethiopian, and the Magic Kingdom. I wrote about all of them here: http://cadryskitchen.com/travel/florida/ We also visited the Spice & Tea Exchange and Austin Coffee & Film.

      Winter Park was my favorite area, and we found ourselves driving there every day for one reason or another. I don’t know if they have a lot of hotels in that part of town, but that’s where I’d like to stay next time.

      Is there anything else that shouldn’t be missed the next time I visit?

      • Sounds like you hit the best vegan places! There’s only one more that I would recommend. Very close to Dandelion on Mills Ave is a vegan bakery called Rhapsodic. (at least I hope it’s still there!) I love the experience at Dandelion, it’s so charming and cozy but I like the food at Ethos the best. Ethos has changed! They didn’t have a bar when I lived there, they really upgraded the place.

        There is a very charming boutique hotel on Park Ave among the shops and restaurants in Winter Park. I don’t know how much it is, (probably expensive) but it might be worth it if you want to stay in the middle of it all. Another option might be down the street on Mills, the Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn. The draw there- inside there’s a place called the Red Fox Lounge where you can catch Mark and Lorna. They are an old style Vegas-like lounge singing act. It’s kind of a fun secret experience that mostly only locals know about.

        Stardust might be a worthwhile place to check out. It used to be a coffee shop/independent video rental place but then they transformed into more of a bar and counter service restaurant. They have a night time farmer’s market with live music, a tarot card reader and other fun things. (I forgot which night) Often Veg CF (an Orlando vegan group) has a booth there holding bake sales for local farm sanctuaries. The restaurant has vegan items too.

        I should probably stop there, this made me miss home!

        • I was so tempted by Rhapsodic! The only reason we didn’t go was because we’d already had a number of treats while we were there like the above Twinkies. Next time!

          I believe Ethos is in a new, expanded location now. It’s a really big space, and I like the option of just visiting the bar if you only want drinks and appetizers or you’re dining alone.

          Thanks for the tips on hotel options! I’ll check into them the next time I’m planning a trip to the area!

  11. I am lucky enough to live here and Artichoke Red is one of my favorite places to shop. If your looking for something and he doesn’t have it he will go out of his way to find it for you. He always makes you feel welcomed. You have to keep going back because he always has new things. The only problem I have is that I always end up with more than I went for, but it is always put to good use.

    There is an increasing number of vegan or vegan friendly places in Orlando. You mentioned several of my favorite places in your prior replies. When you return you should try Cafe 118 (a little pricey, but well worth it) in Winter Park, Infusion Tea in College Park, and if you like Coffee you need to go to Drunken Monkey in Orlando.

    Ps: They do not have a lot of hotels in Winter Park and you need to be very careful when choosing one because some are in areas that are not very safe.

    • “The only problem I have is that I always end up with more than I went for, but it is always put to good use.” That’s a good problem to have! What a great resource for the area that he will go out of his way to find certain products for you.

      I’m glad to hear that you are a fan of Cafe 118 and that it’s worth the price. I am crazy about raw cuisine, but I’d read mixed reviews on Cafe 118. I’ll have to check it out next time for sure!

      Thanks for the heads up about the safety considerations regarding hotels! I’ll keep that in mind!

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