Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Vegan Springfield, IL: Part Three

I've made two vegan Springfield, IL posts in the past (part one and part two) and to my surprise, both were very well received. I didn't think people would be that interested in the vegan options down south from Chicago, but then again, a lot of people go to the state capital for work. President Obama used to go down to Springfield and eat the Holy Land Diner occasionally before he was president (so the owner tells me!).

Since I last posted those entries, I have found out that Osaka's hibachi onion soup is not vegan. I've been told several times that it is, but this last time I've asked, they said it has chicken broth in it they think. For safety sake, I'm just not going to order any soups there anymore. That would be my recommendation to readers as well. Cafe Brio has turned over to new ownership, so I'm excited to see what vegan options they may have now (which I will blog about!). Actually, a guy that graduated high school with me is one of the new owners. I've asked him to add more vegan options since the change in ownership! I've also since eaten at Cafe Andiamo downtown. I had the veggie sandwich with salad (both request without cheese). It was a good and filling lunch! I didn't ask if one could remove the cheese from their pizzas to make it vegan, but next time I go I will ask. There are a couple other vegan options on their menu too (hummus and bruschetta without cheese). I would recommend checking out this cafe if you are downtown during lunch hours. Kiku has changed locations to basically across the street to where they were originally, just for FYI.

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
Several new restaurants have opened in Springfield since my last posts. First, there is an awesome microbrewery downtown now. It's called Obed & Issac's and I'm obsessed as well as all my friends who have been! Not only is this microbrewery a hip place to hang out (in a very old, cute building that used to be a funeral home - spooky! [psst, they give tours of the property]), but there are a bunch of vegan and vegetarian options. Their beer is brewed right next door and they have big glass windows you can look into to see the area where they brew. I'm a fan of their Ditzy Blonde beer. There is a really nice outdoor seating area in the front which was fun during the summer with a beer and brunch or dinner. They are also dog friendly! You can bring your pooch and sit outside with them. They sell doggie biscuits made from their spent grains from the brewery. Don't forget you can take home a growler of beer too (and bring back the growler to refill!).

For appetizers, vegan options include the triplet of dips and house-made chips. Other possible vegan options (haven't asked) include the black and tan onion rings and the Bavarian pretzel rolls (without cheese). There are several other vegetarian appetizer options that include cheese too. I've had both the triplet of dips and the house-made chips. Both are to die for! I'd go with either, really, but I really enjoy the hummus in the triplet of dips (hummus, black bean dip, and pico de gallo with fried pita chips). The malt vinegar added to the house-made chips is really tasty too. The salad options include the Asian Chicken Salad (without chicken) and the side salad (no cheese or croutons). 

The veggie burger is vegan (not house-made), just get it without the mayo. I love getting this sandwich with pub fries or the house-made chips and vinegar. Super yummy and goes down great with a Obed & Issac's beer. The pappardelle is another option (dinner only). Be sure to get red sauce and ask for no cheese. I really liked this pasta, though it has kind of a kick to it! Lastly, Obed & Issac's has Sunday brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. My friend and fellow blogger, Emily from Running on Vegan, and I have gone there for brunch and they made us special vegan breakfast plates. Basically, they gave us a portion of potatoes and a veggie scramble of sorts with toast (so no eggs). Not too many places in Springfield will make you something like that for brunch. I can't even think of a place one could go to get a Bloody Mary (though, those aren't vegan) or mimosa and have a vegan brunch other than maybe Cafe Brio. In conclusion, I am thoroughly impressed and in love with Springfield's very own microbrew. Check it out!

Newcomer to Springfield is Donnie's Homespun. They have an original location in Decatur and decided to expand to Springfield taking the home of what was once the Pizza Machine. Donnie's Homespun is located in Vinegar Hill Mall along side Holy Land Diner. It's super hard to choose which to go to on a Saturday night now since Holy Land has their fantastic vegetarian buffet for only $10 on that night. 

Donnie's is very vegan friendly with many appetizers and entree's to choose from. The menu is marked with vegetarian items (which there are a lot more to choose from if you are not a vegan but a vegetarian). To start, one can get the vegan antipasto. I've gotten this twice now. It's a big appetizer, so be prepared to share. It comes with garbanzo beans, olives, giardiniera, tomatoes, garlic, spinach tossed in a pesto vinaigrette served with hummus and pita. Other appetizers include hummus, chips and salsa, and chips and guacamole. 

There are two burgers on the menu, but I have not asked if they are vegan since I normally get pizza here. They include a veggie burger and a black bean burger (get both without mayo and cheese if it's vegan!). Donnie's has a number of wraps too include a hummus wrap, a Indian curry wrap, and a falafel wrap that are vegan. On their lunch menu, they have a BBQ tofu wrap as well. I've had the Indian curry wrap and the falafel wrap. I preferred the falafel to the curry wrap. I kind of was overwhelmed with the curry wrap and felt like I should be eating it with a fork as curry is intended. The flavor was good, though, as was the falafel wrap. 

Instagram Photo (User: veganmiss)
Now, for the exciting part: the pizza. Donnie's has Daiya vegan cheese! Be warned, the red sauce has Parmesan in it, so ask for the vegan pizza sauce. I like to build my own thin crust with a variety of veggies like tomato, spinach, garlic, basil, artichoke, mushroom, onion, etc. I'm not sure if they can make a vegan deep dish. It would be worth asking! Next time I'm in, I'll ask. For dessert, there is a vegan carob brownie!

Aside from the fantastic vegan food at Donnie's, they are a venue for musicians as well. To date, a number of fun bands have played there including Marky Ramone, Reverend Horton Heat, and the Giving Tree Band (also vegans!). Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is set to play there on Friday, March 1st at 9:00 pm as well. Buy tickets here. Go and enjoy some awesome vegan grub and music at Donnie's Homespun!


waterbearerval said...

Love your reviews! I'm from Springfield and I just wanted to add ANOTHER thing I like about Donnie's Homespun is that it is all-age friendly. The variety of food is great to please everyone's tastes and preferances and their entertainment (music, art shows, and I think they may have had some comedy) provides a great opportunity for family fun in addition to dinner. : )

NutriWife said...

Great tips about eating vegan in Springfield. My favorite places to eat vegan are Osaka (avocado and cucumber sushi are my regulars) and Gateway to India. I love that Gateway will practically make anything vegan upon request. I recently tried the almond veggies and mushroom masala wala and both were excellent. I've heard about Donnie's and saw there menu and have been wanting to try it out. I had no idea they were carrying Daiya now so it's a must try now. Thanks for the tips!

Miss Lexy said...

Thanks for the comments! Yes, Donnie's is very family-friendly. My boyfriend and I go almost every Saturday I am in town with his 3 year old son. It's always a good time. We usually just split a pizza. I wish they had more salad dressing options, though! Or maybe a separate kids menu? In time, perhaps.

Gateway to India is great! I love both those dishes (actually, the mushroom masala wala is my favorite). The owners are really friendly too.

The addition of Daiya at Donnie's is very recent - maybe in the last 2-3 weeks. I went practically every Saturday in December because a friend of mine had told me they were getting it. They finally had it about 2 weeks ago!

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