If you're not from Arizona or you haven't been to Tucson, it's about a two hour drive southeast of Phoenix, and just one hour's drive north of the Mexican border at Nogales. Arizona is obviously known for being a "red" state, but there are definitely some very chill areas of Tucson, notably 4th Avenue. Here we found a bunch of people drawing on the side of an authentic hippie van, a homemade candle shop, and my favorite, Antigone Books, which included a shelf of multicultural reads to protest against the recent ban on ethnic studies. 4th Avenue is in the heart of the University of Arizona, and is what Thayer Street is to Providence or Telegraph is to Berkeley. Very counterculture.
While we were in town, we decided to check out Lovin' Spoonfuls, which I had read about before, and has been called one of the best vegan restaurants in the country in some reviews. The menu is quite extensive and I was excited to have the option of choosing anything I wanted without having to make any substitutions or special requests. The restaurant looks like what one would expect from a standard sit-down restaurant, but actually operates more like a fast food restaurant, where one orders food at the counter. I probably would have liked it better had there been table service, rather than having to keep going up to the register. Besides that one issue, I really liked the restaurant. I ordered the Falafel Pocket, which consisted of "warm whole wheat pita bread with spicy chickpea patties, lettuce, tomato, cucumber and a tangy lemon-tahini sauce" along with a side of potato salad. The meal also came with a bag of locally made kettle chips. To start, the potato salad was amazing. It was made from red skin potatoes, and we were all scraping our dishes clean. The Falafel Pocket was also delicious. I opted out of the lemon-tahini sauce, since I have an issue with white dressings on my food, and I still enjoyed the meal a lot. My friends chose the Porta Pita and the Southwest Burger, and both found their meals very enjoyable as well.
The entire time we were eating, I kept eying the dessert case, because there were four or five gigantic cakes, three pies, cookies, cupcakes, and muffins- all vegan! I chose a chocolate cake with raspberry filling and a vanilla frosting. Most of the vegan cakes I have tasted or baked so far tend to be very dense, so that's what I was expecting here. Instead, I found the cake to be possibly the lightest, fluffiest cake I have ever tasted, vegan or not. It was beyond delicious. I really want to know what went into that cake.
I would certainly recommend Lovin' Spoonfuls if you are ever in the Tucson area. Is it the best vegan food I've ever tasted? It definitely ranks at the top of my list.
Blogger's Soundtrack: John Denver - "Leaving on a Jet Plane"
John Denver was the background music the entire time we were at the restaurant. I was surprised, because I grew up listening to him, but rarely hear his music otherwise. Props.