ABQ Vegan Chef Challenge: July 1 & 2
Not that it is a competition, but after just the first two days, I have already hit 5 places on the Albuquerque Vegan Chef Challenge list (plus a bonus).
Acai Bowl. My OBSESSION with acai bowls is well documented. They do a build your own. Not sure if they had a special for this month, but I don’t care it is Aloha Friday Acai Bowl Time! Only slight downside is that they don’t do peanut butter. I get it, but next time, I need to remember to BYOPB. Oh, and I totally tried to make friends with the awesome human who took my order.
Vegan Cinnamon Pecan Crumble Coffee Cake. This reminds me SO MUCH of a favorite (non-vegan) childhood treat, the Cinnamon Swirl from Harry & David. They look totally different but the flavor and crunch texture totally hit the spot.
Also, shout out to Sawmill Market for being RAD. Hanging out on your patio made working on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend actually enjoyable. Thanks for the Wifi. Don’t tell my boss.
Vegan Chicken Taquitos. WOWZA. This place was not even remotely on my radar, so I totally owe it to the Vegan Chef Challenge and the ABQ Vegan for making this connection for me. We are staying Los Ranchos, so driving up to Corrales to Casa Vieja Brewery sounded like a lovely Friday evening, since we’d never been to either.
The brewery was so groovy. The drinks were good, the staff were cool, the music was good, and there were friendly dogs on the patio. The food from my new BFFs Manuela & Raul was amazeballs. I didn’t take the best photo of my food, but not only is it the most colorful taquitos I’ve ever seen, they were so dang flavorful. Every bite was so good. Don’t miss this one, people!
Hummus King & Lady Falafel
I first visited the Downtown ABQ Growers Market when we were here on our first visit to NM for an epic round-the-state roadtrip. I fell in love with it then, and it is still one of my favorites, even after traveling all across the US for the last two years.
So, now that we are back, I was excited to go and happy to check out The Hummus King and Lady Falafel for a delicious Hummus and Falafel platter with pita. The falafel was crispy and the hummus was luscious. I should have gotten pita chips though, and next time I will try to get there early enough for the red chile hummus.
I sat in this spot specifically as an excuse to pet the dogs in the background.
Have you ever used toast as sandwich ingredient? Don’t deny until you try…Having soft bread on the outside protects the roof of your mouth from getting torn up by toast, and then you still get the crunch and warm flavors from the piece of toast on the inside. And for the record, you can make a toast sandwich with nothing more than 3 pieces of bread, a way to toast, and your favorite spread.
I am counting this as a Vegan Chef Challenge hit for Mata G’s, but I am still going to make a point of getting over to their Nob Hill location for the July special Ukrainian Borscht. I saw this Tofu Salad in the grab and go at La Montañita Co-op on Friday before I’d seen the special, so I grabbed it and some local Fano Bread sourdough to make a sandwich.
Outside: Fano sourdough with vegan butter.
Inside: Tofu Salad, red onion, black olives, romaine lettuce, lots of fresh cracked pepper, sea salt, and a TOASTED piece of sourdough.
This brewery is fairly new to Albuquerque and although they are not officially on the AQB Vegan Chef Challenge, I am including them as a bonus, because they have some great vegan options. We stumbled across them while looking for a place with a patio where we could take a break from house hunting, relax, have a beer and get a bite to eat.
We saw photos of an awesome looking patio, tacos, and the mention of the word vegan online, and navigated straight there. When we pulled into the parking lot, we thought that we’d been duped. I said, “there’s no way this place has a patio that looks like that photo.” Boy, was I wrong! It is tucked into the back, and is huge and covered, surrounded by grassy areas like a veritable oasis.
We shared the chips with salsa and guacamole. I was very surprised when they came out looking like this. So fancy! I think I prefer my chips without the toppings, because they did get a bit soggy towards the end, but the flavors were delicious. They actually have three guacamole flavor options and we chose the tequila lime and then the habanero salsa.
I tried three of their meatless taco options, prepared vegan. I chose the battered squash blossom, the BBQ Jackfruit, and the grilled artichoke. The server assured me that they would remove anything with eggs or dairy. They were perfectly tiny little bites and quite fresh and flavorful. Unfortunately, one of those flavors was cilantro (I know, I know, but I’m one of those people. It’s genetic and I can’t help it), so next time I will have to see if I can get some of those fresh crunchy veggies without my arch nemesis.
I’d love to see them pop up the street to Sprouts and grab some vegan cheese. The vegan feta from VioLife makes a great queso fresco sub in my opinion and just a little sprinkle would make a big impact. A creamy vegan sauce would add a lot of punch, too and would also work on the tortas. Chipotle mayo, green chile ranch, vegan sour cream, something to add more of a creamy and tangy factor would push the vegan options here all the way into fully awesome.
They had some of the most delicious and uniquely flavored ciders and beers that I have seen anywhere and I can’t wait to go back. I loved the sangria cider and the cucumber cream ale.
If you are going to be in Albuquerque during the month of July, consider stopping at one of these places. And if you happen to read this after July of 2022, still check them out because one of the purposes of the Vegan Chef Challenge is to encourage restaurants to have vegan options on their menus all year long.
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Vegan Chef Challenge:
- Lucky Goose ✅ (Went 2x right before July, I’m counting it)
- RubyReds Vegan
- Tia Mom’s Cocina
- Rush Of Prana ✅ (Acai Bowl)
- El Veganito
- The Acre
- Mata G ✅ (Grab & go on 7/1 before they posted their specials)
- Trail Rider Pizza ✅ (Went right before the challenge)
- Holmes Pizza & Arcade ✅ (Went right before the challenge)
- M’tucci’s Bar Roma
- Leona Banh Mi
- El Cotorro
- ClownDog Hotdogs Parlor
- Kickstand Cafe
- Hollow Spirits Distillery
- Burrito Baby
- El Mariachi Authentic Mexican
- Soo Bak Seoul Bowl
- Hummus King & Lady Falafel ✅ (Hummus, Falafel, and Babaganouj plate)
- Blue Door Patisserie ✅ (Cinnamon Pecan Coffee Cake)
- El Káahal Nuestro ✅ (Chicken Taquitos)
- DDs Babycakes
- ABQ Coffee
- Zia Bros Pizza
- Tokyo Bankok
- La Posada Dining Hall at UNM
Bonus Places Not On the List
- B2B Garden Brewing