I recently decided to do some reading about the most "veg-friendly" cities in the United States. Every article cited D.C., Portland, and NYC as some of the top picks. I was surprised to find that my current city, Phoenix, did not make any of the lists. I have to say that in my opinion, if you are vegetarian or vegan, or thinking about making the switch, Phoenix is a great place to be. I have been doing the vegan thing out here for two years and there's a variety of options for grocery shopping and for veg-friendly dining. Here's why I think Phoenix makes the cut:
Sprouts Farmers Market
This place carries everything a vegan heart could desire. There is a huge selection of fresh produce, and it's reasonably priced. My favorite section is the scoop-your-own nuts, fruits, trail mixes, and more. They also have all of the good frozen vegan goodies.
Love this place. They carry their own vegan cookies and ice creams, which are my favorites out of any brand. There's also a fantastic assortment of nuts and trail mixes.
Phoenix Public Market
If you haven't figured it out by now, I love the Open Air Market. There is also the Urban Grocery and Wine Bar.
You can find me at the downtown location on plenty a Friday night. The menu is quite extensive and includes a variety of vegan options. The website even includes a Vegan Chart, which lists each menu item and whether or not it is vegan. Love love love the grilled vegetable salad.
"Where no one has to feel like the 'freak at the table.'" I've been here a few times and everything I tried was delicious. The menu has a key to distinguish which items are vegan, vegetarian, lactose free, and so on, which I certainly appreciate. This is a place where everyone can find a healthy and satisfying meal, regardless of their dietary choices or restrictions. They have a bunch of really good desserts, too. I probably shouldn't have read through the whole menu right before dinner.
Persian Garden Cafe
This place is a bit fancier than the previous two. There are also options for everyone on the menu and the desserts are amazing.
Green New American Vegetarian
Green just opened at a second location in Phoenix, and Nami is housed right next door! The menu involves a lot more tofu and fake meats and cheeses.
True Food Kitchen
I am kind of obsessed with True Food, because everything is just so good. Everyone that I have brought here has felt the same. There are not many places where I can say almost all of the vegan options sound delightful to me, but this is one of them. I enjoy the hummus appetizer and the Teriyaki Brown Rice Bowl, which includes lots of avocado. So yummy.
Scramble: A Breakfast Joint
Vegan French Toast. Enough said.
There are plenty more options, but these are my favorites. I really feel the difference when I'm back on Long Island and I have to drive 25 minutes to find the nearest Wild By Nature market and there's only one vegetarian friendly restaurant in relatively close proximity. I recently spoke to a friend in Massachusetts who lamented that there were no health food stores available at all-- evil of evils! Phoenix might not be known for being liberal, but the west coast vibe can definitely be felt in some ways.
Blogger's Soundtrack: Taylor Swift - "Eyes Wide Open"
If you haven't read The Hunger Games trilogy or seen the movie, I highly recommend it. My class is currently on a Hunger Games kick.