Monthly Archives: July 2013

Vegan delights at Delux

Every now and then, I find a place meant for general consumers (aka omnivores) that actually puts some effort into their vegan options beyond the standard “yay, I can have a salad and fries, or if I’m lucky, hummus.” Delux at 32nd Street and Camelback Road is just such a place. Delux is a trendy spot, known for its menu of high-quality burgers, fries, panini and sushi. However, with some slight adjustments, vegans can dine in style as well!

They have a few decent salads that are great to share as a starter (even in the junior size is huge). For this visit, we had a beet salad, minus the blue cheese and with a balsamic reduction dressing instead of the creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing (which is not vegan).

Delux vegan beet salad

The salad barely needed dressing, because the beets were flavorful enough on their own. Also on the menu is an organic field of greens salad that is vegan if you change the dressing to the balsamic reduction. I haven’t asked if their gazpacho or miso soups are vegan yet, but they might be options. They also have a sliced and toasted hand crafted demi baguette that looks tempting, since it’s served with basil-infused olive oil and the balsamic dressing.

The grilled vegetable panini sandwich can be made vegan if you leave off the mozzarella and pesto mayo. I’ve enjoyed it in the past, but a grilled veggie sandwiches tends to leave me bored.

However, the delux veggie burger is a hearty vegan burger that you can really sink your teeth into!

Delux vegan burger

The burger is big enough to split, and is vegan as long as you set aside the aioli. It holds together fairly well, and is grilled to a nice crisp. The sunflower, cashews and sesame seeds give it a good mouth crunch as well.

It wouldn’t be a trip to Delux without sampling their cute shopping cart of fries.

Delux fries

I always go for the mix (sweet potato and French). Delux is one of the few places that knows how to make crispy sweet potato fries that don’t just taste like grease. Although, on our most recent visit they were a touch soggy, so you may want to ask for them to be extra crispy.

Another area to explore at Delux is their sushi menu. They have a section of vegetarian rolls that might we worth a try. I doubt I’ll stray from the burger any time soon, so if you find some vegan delights on that menu, let me know!

It’s also important to note that the service at Delux is excellent. The restaurant managers are very engaged and friendly, and even though it’s a hip place with late-night hours and a bar scene, it also has the feel of a friendly neighborhood restaurant. Our waiter was willing to get answers to our “is it vegan?” questions without being grumpy, and the service was very quick. It’s the kind of place that can easily be “a regular” whenever the urge for a vegan burger and fries hits you!

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Filed under downtown Phoenix, vegan food, vegan Phoenix

Bragging time for Bragg’s Factory Diner

Vegetarians and vegans in Phoenix have another great option for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Bragg’s Factor Diner has taken root in the old Bragg’s Pie Factory on Grand Avenue and is cooking up healthy food with a unique twist.

Bragg's Factory Diner

I’ve visited Bragg’s three times (twice for breakfast, once for lunch), because I wanted to get a good sense of different menu items. The restaurant is small, but cute, with lots of light. It’s in a classic restored Phoenix building, and the decor of the restaurant also leans toward vintage. The walls are ornamented with photos of “old Phoenix” and  the tables and chairs are great flashbacks.

Bragg's Factory Diner

The menu is fairly limited, but they are adding new items on a regular basis and often offer daily specials. However, I would like it if they would be more blatantly clear about what is vegan vs. vegetarian on the menu. I’ve been spoiled by Green and forgot that sometimes seeing the word “cheese” on a menu does actually mean cheese!

Bragg's Factory Diner menu

My first trip to Bragg’s was during their first week of business. I ordered the Early Birdrito, which was supposed to be a tofu scramble with soyrizo and veggies in a tortilla, but they had run out of tortillas already so it was served on bread. I liked the flavor of the scramble, but it wouldn’t be fair to post a picture of it since it looked a bit sad on bread. I chose hash browns for the side. I liked how thin they were, but made note to order them “extra well done” next time.

My husband loved his order of The Classic, made with tofu, spinach, tomato and pesto.

The Classic at Bragg's

It hit the spot perfectly for him. The rosemary potatoes were well-seasoned but also could have been cooked a bit more. I’m a fan of tofu scrambles with pesto in general, so I hope to try it on a future trip too!

We also sampled a chocolate covered donut.

Bragg's vegan donut

The chocolate frosting was thin (more like a chocolate sauce), and the cake donut was a bit dense, but it had sprinkles so that makes up for the lack of fluffiness all around.

However, my favorite part of the meal was the coffee! I’ve always been a fan of classic diner-style coffee – strong, cheap and bottomless!

Bragg's coffee

Maybe I spent too much time in old Florida and up-state NY diners, but Bragg’s coffee just seemed right!

The second trip was for lunch, since I was very curious about the Beet on the Brat Burger.

Bragg's vegan Beet on the Brat burger

I liked it and would order it again. It had a light beet flavor, and the corn relish provided a nice contrast. It could use a touch of vegan pesto to zest it up a bit though.

My husband ordered the Secret Wonder Bat, but forgot to ask them to leave off the Swiss cheese, so I won’t post a photo of that either (he removed it once we realized the mistake). He liked the combination of the tartness of the mushrooms mixed with the sauer-apple-kraut and Thousand Island dressing.

Visit number three was a chance for us to try the Bwiscuits & Gravy.

Bragg's vegan bwiscuits and gravy

These are not light and fluffy southern-style biscuits. They are corn biscuits, and were very dense. They probably could be half the height and still make a hearty meal. The poblano gravy was a bit sweeter than I was expecting, but it was tasty! And the hash browns were cooked to a perfect crisp this time!

Our real motivation for this trip though was a special they had on their Facebook page — almond & strawberry shortcake with coconut whipped cream!

Bragg's vegan strawberry shortcake

It was awesome! The shortcake was light and full of flavor, and the coconut whipped cream blew me away. I wanted five more orders! I hope they put it on the menu eventually!

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention one of the best aspects of the restaurant: the service.

On each visit, we were greeted warmly, and promptly served. Even when they got busy, they stayed on top of orders and didn’t seem panicked. And I never saw the bottom of my coffee cup. That’s a great achievement for a new restaurant.

We’re adding Bragg’s to our regular restaurant circuit and are glad they are open for dinner now too! Another benefit of frequent visits is that Bragg’s is close to my favorite bakery, Treehouse, so be sure to stop by there to grab a treat for later in the day!

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Filed under downtown Phoenix, vegan food, vegan Phoenix