A Break Away from the Ordinary at Pizza Luce in Minneapolis

The Rustler - Pizza Luce MinneapolisAs I mentioned in the last post on my Doctor Who-themed lunch, in addition to the 50th anniversary episode being shown on television, movie theatres all over the globe were simulcasting it as it played in England.  The closest theatres to us showing it on Saturday were in Chicago and Minneapolis.  The tickets sold out in just about ten minutes, but luckily, we snagged two for a showing in Minneapolis!

So on Friday we drove north for a very quick, 24 hour-style trip.  (That’s why there was no Friday Mail Day post last week!  If you have any questions you’d like me to cover for this week, send them my way!)  We got into the city in the late afternoon, did a requisite walk around the Mall of America, and then went to our hotel to check in.

Considering the balmy weather that night in the 20’s and below, in retrospect we should have ordered Pizza Luce for delivery to our hotel room.  We never get pizza (or anything else) delivered where we live, because the vegan delivery options are pretty lackluster.  So it would have been a rare treat to have someone bring us a pizza, topped with cashew-based cheese brought right to our room.  However, it seemed like we should venture out a bit while we were there, and we headed to the downtown location, which I wrote about a few years ago.

There must have been an event going on that night, because there was no street parking to be found.  Not wanting to walk forever in the bitter cold, we ventured off to the Uptown location, which doesn’t have the same cool ambience as the downtown location but has the bonus of a parking lot.  I didn’t get pictures of the interior, because they were hopping that night.  (I felt a bit awkward about the idea of pulling out my camera and saying to the packed restaurant, “Say cashew cheese, everybody!”)  In fact, there was about a 20-30 minute wait.  So we grabbed a couple of glasses of wine at the cramped by-the-slice area while we waited for our table to open up.

Pizza Luce offers lots of clearly marked appetizers, sandwiches, and salads that are vegan as-is or can be prepared vegan.  With their salads, cheese can be replaced with lemon pepper tofu.  For the pizzas, they make their own “rinotta” cheese made with tofu and cashews.  They also make one of my all-time favorite pizzas, the Athena.   That night I felt like ordering something a little different, though.  The server said that a small size (10 inches) was good for one, and so David and I each ordered our own.

The Rustler - Pizza Luce MinneapolisI went with The Rustler.  This vegetarian pizza can be made vegan with their housemade rinotta (my preferred option) or Daiya.  It’s topped with mock duck, pineapple, banana peppers, red onion, and a barbecue/red sauce.   It reminded me of the barbecue pizzas that were popular at California Pizza Kitchen when I’d go in my pre-vegan days.  It was a really unique pizza with the tangy, smoky, sweet barbecue sauce combining with pops of pineapple and savory, chewy mock duck.  I’d never actually had mock duck before, and it didn’t have loads of noticeable flavor.

We could have easily split the small and had a comfortable amount for each of us, but no complaints from me!  With the frigid temperatures, we were able to just leave the leftover pizza in the trunk, where it stayed plenty cool.  Then I had it for breakfast for two days.  It was a meal that kept on giving!

Curry Pizza - Pizza Luce MinneapolisDavid ordered one of their seasonal specials, the Curried Coconut Butternut Squash Pizza.  The butternut squash was blended with curry and coconut milk and topped with red bell peppers, red onions, pineapple, and fresh cilantro.  Adding rinotta instead of the typical dairy-based cheeses it comes with was an additional topping charge.  It was a really unique Thai-inspired pizza, unlike any pizza I’ve ever had.  The topping was velvety smooth and creamy.

I wouldn’t say that either of these pizzas would beat out the Athena overall on my favorites list, but sometimes it’s fun to try something really unusual that you can’t find at every pizza joint.

Tomorrow I’ll be back with more Minneapolis eats & treats!


  1. jaredlaughs says

    Both pizzas sound truly inventive. I had mock duck at a Thai restaurant last year and didn’t enjoy it — then again, I’m not much of a chewy seitan person to begin with. I do really enjoy Thai flavors on pizza, though. A chewy crust is an awesome vehicle for those flavors!

    • says

      Yes, it’s fun to have the option of getting a pizza outside of the bell pepper & mushroom norm sometimes. Oftentimes, specialty pizzas are out of bounds for vegans at a non-vegan restaurant. I think this was my first time experiencing a Thai-flavored pizza, but I’d enjoy doing it again! :)

  2. says

    Both of those pizzas look fantastic! Vegan pizza delivery sounds so great! We have Fresh Brothers, but we’re not fans of their vegan pizza. I think I may have to investigate further- it has been ages since we’ve had any food delivered! :-)

    • says

      When we lived in LA, we used to order Garlic Jim’s pizza (cheeseless). Their gluten free crust is vegan or at least it was then. (I just looked at their website, and their Burbank location isn’t open anymore, but they still have one in Redondo Beach.)

      It had been so long since we’d had pizza in one of those cardboard pizza boxes. We took our Pizza Luce leftovers home in one, and it felt so old and familiar pulling out slices from it. It’s funny how time passes, and then you do something that used to be mundane, and you think, “Wow, how long has it been since I’ve experienced that?” It’s like when I get into someone’s car who has fast food bags on the floor. It takes me by surprise that people are still doing that, since it’s been so long since I’ve had the typical fast food or gone through a fast food drive-thru.

          • says

            Surprised, though it was hinted at throughout the episode. I’m not quite clear on the regeneration process and how the Doctors are related to each other.

            • says

              All of the doctors are supposed to be the same person, just in different packaging. They started the concept when the first actor to play the Doctor was getting older and having difficulty with the rigorous schedule and memorization. The show was popular, and they wanted to replace him while keeping their fan base. They decided that since he was an alien, they could make an excuse that instead of dying, Timelords can regenerate. Their exteriors are replaced with new bodies and mannerisms, but their memories stay the same.

              I was taken by surprise when Christopher Eccelston was replaced with David Tennant too. Although David (my husband) knew it was going to happen, he didn’t tell me and let it be a surprise. When the new series started airing, it was only shown in England. It didn’t start airing for another year in the States. Luckily, at that time David had a friend in England who mailed us CD’s of the episodes after they aired, and so we saw them not too long after they aired in England. We were always so excited when those packages arrived in the mail!

              I hope that you will be able to avoid spoilers and will keep being surprised! :)

  3. says

    I love that you ate the leftover pizza for breakfast. I do the same thing! Both pizzas look great, and the curried coconut butternut squash sounds really interesting. Might give that a try once I get over my butternut squash overload. :)

    • says

      I prefer a savory breakfast, and so I often gravitate towards leftovers for breakfast. Plus, they’re so fast and easy! And actually, the pizza was even better reheated. The crust was extra crisp that way. I’d love to see your take on a butternut squash pizza. I hope you do it!

    • says

      Banana peppers are terrific on a pizza! That used to be one of my favorite toppings, but now I always put cold jalapeño pepper slices on my pizzas at home. It was fun to revisit my old favorite. Plus, it went really well with the pineapple.

  4. says

    The Athena is my absolute fave! Can’t wait to hear about more of your Minneapolis treats! And when you’re in town for longer let me know so we can get together!

  5. says

    Such an eco friendly and smart thing to do, using your trunk as a “fridge”. I love eating pizza for breakfast. Totally related to my love for finger/hand foods for breakfast.

    Those pizzas sound and look so delicious, not to mention unique. Curried coconut butternut squash? Yes please.

    I am totally with you about whipping the camera out in front of a bunch of people. I’ve gotten better about it but it still intimidates me.

    • says

      Yes, we actually had a refrigerator in our hotel room, but it hardly seemed necessary to carry the box up to the room when we had an icebox in the car! :)

    • says

      You’re lucky to have such a terrific pizza place where you live! The cold started so early this year. I can only imagine what January is going to be like!

  6. says

    how did you rate the Doctor Who episode? I thought it was great, but fear I may be in the minority! I would have liked to have enjoyed some of that pizza with it though – I go mad for a good cashew cheese slice.

    • says

      I really liked it! It wasn’t as dark as I imagined it was going to be from the cliffhanger. John Hurt was more crotchety than looming, which I thought he might be considering what he was about to do. However, I loved seeing David Tennant and Rose again, and I thought they did a really good job of incorporating the original series along with the reboot. I especially loved the last bit in the gallery.

      I really wish Christopher Eccelston would have come back, even for just a shot of him regenerating, and I wish they would have incorporated the other living doctors (Davison, McCoy, McGann & Colin Baker).

      Have you watched The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot? I hope so! It is absolutely hilarious and filled in any emotional gaps from not incorporating those Doctors into the anniversary episode. David and I went to the Doctor Who convention in Chicago last weekend, and Davison, McGann & Colin Baker were there and spoke. We were able to see The Five(ish) Doctors, while Davison watched and gave commentary live onstage. It was a terrifically good time.

    • says

      Yes, I was able to visit it while we were there! I’d been once before, but it was even better than I remembered. So many tempting things there! How lucky for you to have access to it. I’ve been to lots of vegan stores, and I think Ethique Nouveau is one of the best.

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