Monthly Archives: December 2010

The Gift of the Magi: Vegan Urban Cookies

This year I decided to “go local” for client gifts. I ordered 11 dozen cookies from Phoenix-based Urban Cookies because I heard they were good, and kept my fingers crossed that they would be well-received by my clients.

While I was on the phone ordering from co-owner Shaun, I said something about having not tried them since I was vegan. She told me they actually do make vegan cookies, but you have to order them in advance.

I have a few family events coming up and debated ordering some to bring to them, but Shaun said you had to order them in batches of two dozen, which is more than I’d need. And, since I didn’t know if they knew how to “do” a vegan cookie (or if they were an after-thought, since they aren’t on the online menu) I decided to not take the risk.

I picked up the dozens of non-vegan cookies on Thursday and handed them out to my clients, who seemed very happy with the choice after they tried them. I even commented to one of my clients that, “They make vegan ones, but I don’t really need two dozen cookies.”

Low and behold, today I received a box of two dozen vegan Urban Cookies from the same client I talked to about them on Thursday! Apparently she had already ordered them before I gave them to her (but to be fair, she’s the one who told me they were good initially). I sent a note to Shaun at Urban Cookies about the coincidence and she responded, “Funny thing – we were actually afraid you were going to ask for the vegans when you picked up your gifts – we were trying to come up with a creative way to politely tell you ‘no.’”

And now I can confirm – they are AWESOME! Even the omnivores in my office are oohing and ahhing over them. They are perfectly soft, chewy and delicious. Not very many made it home!

Urban Cookies vegan oatmeal chocolate chip

Here are the ingredients (click to enlarge):

Urban Cookies vegan cookie label

And: note to Urban Cookies – please put “vegan options available” on your website!

To top it off, another client sent a box of vegan Sun Flour Baking cookies that were fabulous, my father-in-law made us vegan brownies for a family gathering last Saturday, and we made our own batch of vegan press cookies on Sunday.  I think I’m going to explode!

Normally I’m not given many holiday treats that are vegan, but this year is over the top with sweetness! I hope you have as equally wonderful of a holiday season, full of vegan goodness!

You can find Urban Cookies on 7th St just north of Highland/South of Camelback Rd., on Twitter and on Facebook.

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Filed under downtown Phoenix, vegan food, vegan Phoenix

Where Can Vegans Eat in Downtown Mesa?

There’s one area of greater Phoenix that I still haven’t cracked in terms of finding a decent vegan meal: downtown Mesa. We visit the Mesa Arts Center frequently, in particular for the National Geographic Live! series. The Nat Geo events are on Wednesdays, so we’re always rushing from work to Mesa through traffic, and want to eat close to the venue. But there just aren’t that many places to eat at, especially for vegans!

We’ve tried George’s Gyros (generic falafels and hummus, but not horrible), Inside The Bungalow (has some vegan food, but when we’ve tried going there for dinner they haven’t been serving food – that may have changed though?), Mangos Mexican Café (okay in a pinch, but kind of iffy), and El Charro (classic Mexican food and such a cute place, but no doubt full of lard). There’s also a Subway and a Taco Bell, but that doesn’t count as vegan dining – that’s just emergency food.

During our last trip, we finally made it to a Thai restaurant we’ve had our eye on that looked promising – Nunthaporn’s Thai Cuisine. We arrived about an hour before our event, and every table was full. That was both a good and bad sign – good because a lot of people liked the restaurant. Bad because it seemed like a lot of people were waiting on service. The menu offered tofu as an option for almost every dish, so that also gave us hope.

We started with an order of Crispy Spring Rolls.

Nunthaporn crispy spring rolls

We would normally get the Fresh Rolls, but they had shrimp in them. That should have been a warning to us. The crispy rolls were fine and perfectly vegan, and ultimately the highlight of the meal.

Our next dish was a Papaya salad (Som Tom).

Nunthaporn papaya salad

The menu described it as “Shredded green papaya and carrots, tomatoes, string beans and roasted peanuts tossed in spicy lime juice with chopped garlic and chili.” What the menu neglected to mention was that the dish also included fish sauce. I took one bite and wanted to wretch. I’ve never had a papaya salad with fish sauce in it before, so it was a total shock.

For our main entree, we ordered the Evil Jungle Princess (Pad Ka) with tofu.

Nunthaporn evil jungle princess with tofu

The dish was tofu sautéed in coconut milk with galangal root, lemon grass, lime leaves, mushrooms (which we had them leave out), onions and spicy lime sauce. Despite being named “evil” it was actually quite bland. I had specifically ordered it with no fish sauce, knowing that most Thai restaurants use it by default in entrees (but not salads!). However, it still tasted slightly fishy to me. It could have been the lingering effects of the salad though. The tofu was either too soft or under-cooked, and there were hardly any veggies at all. I ate enough to quell the hunger, but was really bummed as I said “never again” to my husband.

So, scratch that one from the list of options in downtown Mesa as well. Please, someone, tell me where we can eat down there! We still have two National Geographic shows to go to in the next few months! The other place I’ve had my eye on is the Blue Adobe Grille, but the menu online doesn’t give me much hope for vegan options. Has anyone tried it?

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Filed under Two Legs, vegan food, vegan Phoenix