Monthly Archives: May 2012

Treehouse Bakery’s Vegan “Pop Tarts” – the New Cupcake?

Some people may think cupcakes are “all that” – but I’d like to propose a new pretender to the hand-held, single-serving treat throne: the glorious toaster pastry, aka the Pop Tart. The potential for inspired variations and flavor combinations is limitless. It’s time for Pop Tarts to go viral!

When I became a vegan eight years ago, I thought pizza would be the hardest thing to give up. I was wrong. There’s plenty of excellent vegan pizza out there to keep me happy. However, two vegan taste sensations have eluded me over the years: frosted Pop Tarts and Cheese Doodles. But now, thanks to Treehouse Bakery I’m happy to say the splendor of frosted toaster pastry is back in my life.

I had been looking for an excuse to visit the recently opened Treehouse Bakery storefront at the intersection of 15th Ave, W. Roosevelt and Grand Ave. So when proprietor and vegan baker extraordinaire Corianne Sizemore posted pictures of freshly baked strawberry “Pop Tarts” on her Facebook page, I was out the door and headed her way.

The storefront is easy to find when traveling westbound on Roosevelt, and there’s plenty of parking. It’s light and clean inside, with the fresh-out-of-the-oven treats in cases or cooling on a rack.

Treehouse vegan bakery counter

Of course since I was there already, I had to survey everything on offer and make some tough decisions.

Treehouse vegan bakery treat display

I’ve tried Treehouse’s vegan cupcakes plenty of times before (see previous review here) so I wanted to experiment a bit. I ended up with the strawberry “pop tarts” of course, plus a chocolate chip cookie and a snicker doodle.

Treehouse's vegan strawberry "pop tarts"

The pop tarts were amazing. We toasted them to give them the “fresh out of the box” taste. The crust was flaky and slightly salty, and the strawberry jam was at just the right thickness. It isn’t a Pop Tart without frosting, and Treehouse’s were frosted to perfection. And of course, the rainbow sprinkles were the essential finishing touch. I want more. Now.

Next up were the vegan cookies. Corianne apologized for the cookies being a little “flat” but they were just like I like them – soft, bendy and tasty. I couldn’t say which I liked better – they were both perfect.

I also splurged a bit since it was a long weekend and picked up a blueberry pie.

Treehouse's vegan blueberry pie

Corianne admitted up front that it hadn’t quite set (which is why I opted to buy the whole pie and not just a slice). It was pretty soupy, even after sitting in the fridge for a day, but the crust held up well. I’m afraid I’ll have to try a few more of her pies before posting a fair assessment of the Treehouse pie options.

Now if only someone could come up with a good vegan Cheese Doodle, I’d be all set.



Filed under Obsessions, vegan food, vegan Phoenix

The Yard House Serves Gardein!

During the Phoenix Coyotes’ great 2012 playoff run (as of right now they’re down 3-1 against the Kings, but regardless of how the conference finals end – we’re still proud of you), we found someplace else to eat other than our usual hummus sandwich at Which Wich. It turns out Yard House, right outside the arena, has a complete Gardein menu! Who knew?

They don’t specify what is vegan and what is just vegetarian, and I appreciate the disclaimer on their site that they are not a vegan environment, but it’s far better than my usual “just give me some fries and a beer” when at a bar. During our visit they were way too slammed with playoff fans for me to be fussy and ask about each ingredient, but it was pretty easy to make educated guesses on what was “fairly safe” for vegans or not, based on the descriptions.

We arrived at Yard House about four hours before puck drop in an attempt to watch the New York Rangers playoff game on one of their tons of TVs before going in for the Coyotes game, to avoid an inevitable spoiler from the Jumbotron scoreboard. We asked to be seated by a TV showing the Rangers and they accommodated us, even when we threw a fit that someone else tried to change the channel. We felt bad taking a table for that long, but oh well. We killed time by getting an appetizer of the Gardein Boneless Wings.

Yard House Gardein buffalo wings

We went with buffalo style, and they were plenty hot and a very generous portion. They are served with ranch dressing, so just put that aside if you’re vegan. I liked them quite a bit but my husband turned his nose up after eating a few. They were deep fried, fairly thick and coated in sauce, but once they cooled off they got too spongy, so there were a few left on the plate at the end. They don’t come close to how great Green’s or That’s a Wrap’s buffalo-style items are, but for veggie bar food, they were just fine.

About two hours later, we ordered our meal (yes, we tipped very well). I got a Spicy House Salad, but had them hold the Asian slaw because it sounded too vague and I didn’t want to ask.

Yard House Spicy Salad

It was fine – nothing to call home about but certainly palatable and healthier than the wings! I’d probably go for the mixed greens next time though as the dressing was a little too meh – kind of fake spicy and sugary with questionable contents.

The highlight of the meal by far and above was the Gardein Burger (and fries). I failed to get a photo because we ate it so fast. It was cooked well, and the fries were really great. You can substitute a Gardein burger for any of the burger options on the menu, but for vegans the only option was “just the burger and veggies please” – everything else looked non-vegan. We also avoided the roasted garlic aioli that comes with it since we didn’t want to ask questions. The sliders might also be an option, without the cheese and probably not the “special sauce.” I wouldn’t be surprised if the bun had egg in it, but there’s no indication on the menu/on their site.

While I won’t be bailing on Which Wich any time soon, it’s nice to know there’s another dining option near the arena when we are able to get to games early either in the finals or next season and want to hang out for awhile. Of course, that’s making a double assumption there will be a “next season” in Phoenix, given the ownership situation and the pending NHL CBA talks! Let’s Go Coyotes! And of course, Let’s Go Rangers! As of today, my dream of a NYR vs. PHX final is still alive!

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Filed under Obsessions, vegan Phoenix