It’s time for another What Vegans Eat post. In this series, I share what I ate on a single day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In all of my previous WVE posts, I’ve stuck solely with home-cooked meals. But in today’s post, I also venture out to a new pizza place with arcade.
After a couple of busy weekends in a row, David and I had a very relaxed weekend. We slept in on Sunday and had bagels with coffee for breakfast.
We are a house divided when it comes to bagels. I’m all about the bagel sandwich. David likes everything separate. Mine consisted of an onion bagel, eggy tofu, a slice of Follow Your Heart pepperjack, and Upton’s Naturals seitan bacon. On the side, slices of blood orange. Got to love that color!
David topped his sesame seed bagel with non-dairy cream cheese. On the side, seitan bacon and tofu that was seasoned with Slap Ya Mama seasoning salt*.
*No mamas were harmed in the making of this tofu.
I have really been craving Brussels sprouts lately. So for lunch, I made bowls with roasted sprouts and Great Northern beans on top of creamy polenta.
To make the beans, I sautéed some garlic and onions, added the drained beans, dried rosemary, salt, and pepper. It was really easy to prepare, because while the sprouts roasted, I had plenty of time to make the beans and polenta. The whole thing was ready in about 25 minutes.
(You can read more about how I make creamy polenta in my What Vegans Eat post from October.)
For dinner, we ventured out to a new restaurant. The Quarter Barrel is a barcade (a bar and arcade combo) that opened a few months ago in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. It’s a non-vegan restaurant, but I’d heard that they had good vegan options.
The large space includes a bar and lots of old school arcade games and pinball machines (my personal favorite). I asked our waiter about possible vegan options, and he went back to get the chef to speak with us.
The chef was very helpful and laid out the many possibilities. He said that the owners are a husband and wife team, and that the husband is vegetarian. So they made sure to include some interesting plant-based options. (I was hoping he’d say that the donut holes on the menu were vegan, but sadly, no luck.)
We ordered the onion rings to start. When I saw the generous pile of them, I thought there was no way we’d finish them with only two people. However, that was totally not a problem. Crisis averted. The beer-brined shoestring onion rings typically come with ranch dressing, but we subbed ketchup for a vegan option. They were perfectly crisp with a fresh basil garnish.
For other vegan starters, they also have a hummus appetizer that is vegan by default, and a house salad that is vegan if ordered with either of their vinaigrettes.
For the main event, we ordered the roasted fennel and sausage pizza without cheese and substituting seitan sausage. Currently, they are using Upton’s Italian sausage; however, the chef said they’re planning to make their own house-made seitan sometime in the future.
It was topped with cumin garlic oil, chickpeas, and red onion. Then there was a fresh layer of arugula tossed in a blood orange vinaigrette and crisp strips of apple. I’m often not a fan of arugula, but it worked well here tossed with the sweet vinaigrette and apple to mute some of arugula’s inherent bitterness. The roasted fennel added something special, and I liked that there was also crushed fennel seed on the pizza to amp up the sausage flavor.
The pizza was fantastically good, and I found myself dipping the crust in the remnants of cumin garlic oil left on the pan. We ordered one pizza for two of us, and including the appetizer, that was more than enough.
For other pizza options, these pies ordered without cheese are also vegan:
- Margherita – topped with garlic oil, smoked salt, fresh basil, and a balsamic reduction
- Sa-squash – topped with butternut squash puree, beer caramelized onions, pumpkin seeds, arugula & shallots in a citrus vinaigrette
- Blueberry BBQ – topped with roasted red peppers, beer marinated shoe-string onions, carrot ribbons, blueberry BBQ sauce & greens tossed in citrus vinaigrette
I love seeing interesting vegan options in restaurants, especially in the middle of the country where that’s not as prevalent. As a customer, it makes me feel welcome, and it makes me more inclined to dine out. I look forward to going back and trying more from their menu.