Friday, August 12, 2011

Vegan Springfield, IL: Part One

For most people, this may not be too helpful as I'm not sure how much traveling is done to Springfield, IL. If you like Lincoln, this is your place.
Vegetable Mix Sushi
There are quite a number of Asian restaurants which tends to be the best bet for eating veg. Osaka is newer and has a rather extensive menu of Japanese hibachi and traditional entrees, sushi, and Thai food. They also boast a large range of home infused vodka's, whiskey's, sake's, and rum's (which are tasty too). This place has sort of turned into the hip place to go it seems and would be great to take someone out on a date. I usually go with a seaweed salad (their house salad dressing has dairy in it), hibachi soup (the miso soup contains fish stock), edamame, and the vegetable mix sushi (it comes with salad so no salad, just trade out the miso soup for hibachi soup). There are many Thai entree's that can be made vegan including eggplant, trio nuts, mango, etc. Just be sure to ask for tofu and no fish sauce or oyster sauce. The same can be said for the Thai noodle dishes (no egg too). Appetizers that are also good are the fried tofu and the summer rolls (ask for tofu instead of shrimp in them). There are a couple other vegetarian sushi rolls on the menu as well as vegetable teriyaki (check for fish sauce in the teriyaki; I have not had this dish so always best to check). Lastly, Osaka also has vegetable tempura, mini rolls, and gyoza, but again, one would have to double check for dairy/eggs. I had a great experience here with a very knowledgeable waitress who knew what was exactly vegan and not.
Portobello Sandwich

Spring Salad
If you're heading downtown to check out those many Lincoln sites or the Illinois capital stuff, there are a few places with vegan options. I like to go to Cafe Brio where they give you chips and salsa to start and I always get their spring salad. For sandwiches, one is kinda at a loss for a vegan grub, but they have a portobello sandwich which you can have them veganize (no pesto and aioli). This pretty much just leaves you with bread and a mushroom, so get some sandwich veggies and mustard and you're good to go. They have some pretty tasty hand-cut fries and sweet potato chips too. Two other places to also check out downtown are the Garden of Eat'n and Andiamo. The Garden of Eat'n can make vegan wraps, salads, and sometimes they'll have a vegan soup. They also have chips to go along with your wrap or salad. Andiamo has sandwiches as well as pizzas. I've never eaten there, but I do see on their menu they have a vegetarian sandwich and I'm thinking one could ask for no cheese on their mushroom pizza. Doesn't hurt to ask, ;].
Dal Soup

Almond Vegetable
Green Masaala
Another great place for vegetarians is Gateway to India. They have a weekday lunch buffet that is cheap, good, and they let you know what's vegan and what is not. The mint chutney is not vegan, to note! There are a number of vegetarian and vegan options. To start, one could go with vegetable samosa, pakora, salad, or dal soup. For entree's, I like the mango vegetable, green masaala vegetable, almond vegetable, baingan bharta, or the mushroom masaala waala. One can go with roti or garlic naan without butter for a side. They also have a killer fresh mango juice and organic, vegan wine. This is another place to take someone out on a date, I think. It has a lovely atmosphere (but quiet) which would be terribly romantic!

Veggie Samosa
While on the subject of Indian food, there is this great little store hidden away in Springfield called Mini Devon Groceries. One can pick up all sorts of vegan Indian things there such as bulk grains, chutneys, frozen entrees, and produce. Food Fantasies is the local health food store in Springfield and most people know about it to get vegan or green products. But if you are looking for some more traditional Indian or Pakistani food supplies, I recommend checking out Mini Devon (and grab a snow cone when you leave - Ice Deli is just next to it and hey, those are vegan too!).


JL goes Vegan said...

I loved reading this! Years ago (like 11 - 12 years ago), when I lived in Chicago, I was in Springfield very often for work. I wasn't a vegan then, or even vegetarian so it's fun for me to read about Springfield and your vegan eats!

Get Skinny, Go Vegan. said...

OMG. Did NOT know that they had vegan wine! Do you know what brand it was?? Awesome!

Miss Lexy said...

It is Bonterra! Their whites are vegan and organic... the reds are not vegan.

C.A. said...

Most seaweed salads I've seen have bonito (fish flakes) or fish-derived products in them--are you certain that the one here is vegan? Visiting Springfield soon so I'd like to know.

Miss Lexy said...

There is no bonito on it. To my knowledge it is vegan from what I have been told when I asked. Please double check if you are concerned, though. And please let me know your findings! It's so hard at restaurants sometimes if you do not have a knowledgeable wait staff.

Katie said...

I came across your review of Gateway on happy cow and just wanted to let you know, they have always told me that the naan isn't vegan. The roti is the only vegan bread they have. Also, the recently started making vegan mango ice cream, they keep it in the freeze in tiny containers so if one goes in for the lunch buffet, you can ask for it. It comes pretty frozen, but by the time you're done eating it should be soft enough and it's a nice palate cleanser after a spicy meal!

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