Review: Reverie Cafe and Bar Breakfast

Reverie Cafe polenta rancheros } Kale and Ale

Polenta rancheros at Reverie Cafe and Bar in Minneapolis

Reverie Cafe and Bar, a casual vegan restaurant in Minneapolis, recently started serving breakfast. As I’ve been meaning to go back since I had a delicious Cuban sandwich for dinner last year, I decided now is the time to return.

Since I knew Aaron and I would be out and about, looking for something to stick with us for a while, I suggested checking out Reverie’s breakfast offerings. We got there about 9:40 on Sunday—perfect timing to grab one of the few off-street spots they have. We beat the rush by about 10 minutes, which means we had a pick of tables and got to the front for food.

I knew I wanted the Benedict, as it looked amazing and because I could never stomach a non-vegan version. It wasn’t meant to be, as they were out of shiitake bacon. I was momentarily disappointed and stumped as to what to order, but the employees assured me everything was good. They pointed me to a section of the menu with more savory dishes. I choose the polenta rancheros and Aaron had the biscuits and gravy.

Reverie Cafe breakfast | Kale and Ale

Polenta rancheros and biscuits and gravy at Reverie Cafe and Bar in Minneapolis

Both were amazing choices, savory depth of flavor. We shared a bit of each and I couldn’t decide which I liked better.  I don’t know what’s in it or how they did it, but the beans in my dish had such a good flavor that I couldn’t exactly place. This was disappointing in the fact that I can’t even try to replicate it at home. The fillings were very large portions; I didn’t finish mine and I was full almost until dinner. I would go back again for either of these or to hopefully get the Benedict in a heartbeat.

Restaurant Review: The Tomato Vine

Note: I was provided the food in this review at no charge from the Tomato Vine restaurant. All opinions are my own.

salad The Tomato Vine | Kale and Ale

The peanut dressing on this tofu and grain salad is amazing.

When the restaurant/catering/take-and-heat business The Tomato Vine contacted me about reviewing its food, I jumped at the chance. Having spent last summer looking at healthy, local and fresh catering options for my wedding, this would have fallen into that category.

The Tomato Vine focuses on seasonally, from-scratch meals, and has a lot of options that are clearly marked for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free meals. All ingredients are labeled, so you know exactly what’s in the food. (See the menu here.) Where possible they source local food. In short, they reached out to me because they prepare food the way I prepare food. I really respect that, for as much as I love cooking, sometimes I just want a break from cooking but I don’t want to sacrifice quality or my beliefs.

Food Options

In addition to the Tomatoes Vine’s set menu, there are weekly specials, and it’s clearly marked what can be modified for dietary needs.

Eating options include delivery or pickup (with heating instructions for later, served in nice Pyrex or disposable containers), a lunch cafe and catering. They focus on catering for corporate and private events.

Lunch options are a few hot choices, salads, sandwiches, sides, snacks and desserts.

My Review

The Tomato Vine | Kale and Ale

I tried a variety of food, all clearly marked with ingredients and cooking instructions.

As I already mentioned, ingredients and heating instructions are on the label for each meal (which I love, easy to find and see what is in it or to do). I tried a variety of foods:

  • Tarragon grain cakes with apricot chutney
  • Spicy peanut tofu salad
  • Veggie fried rice
  • Red pepper hummus with veggies and chips
  • Maple apple cobbler
veggie cake The Tomato Vine | Kale and Ale

Tarragon cakes full of grains and tofu.

That night I ate the cakes, and my first impression really was that it is something I would make: Simple with good flavor from real food. I loved that the ingredients it included were easy to taste, and it didn’t include extra ingredients or flavors. The tofu and grain mix that is the base of the cakes was really good, it was also in the salad.

Speaking of the salad, the dressing was my favorite thing I had. I took the salad as a work lunch the day after getting the food, since it was on a plastic container. I tried to figure out (with no luck) how to recreate that dressing. Topped with fresh veggies, it was a hearty, filling and flavorful salad.

I make and eat a lot of hummus and the thing that can make or break it is texture. It had a nice consistancy, smooth yet it wasn’t overly processed, so I loved that the texture was a little chunky, the way I like guacamole or salsa. I’ll have to remember to leave it like that the next time I make hummus.

I’m not a big dessert person, as readers of this blog and anyone close to me knows, but this dessert hit the spot. The sweetness is derived from the maple syrup and cooked apples, and the topping was browned and crunchy, contrasting the soft cobbler underneath.

If I’m looking to cater, I would consider and recommend The Tomato Vine, as they are knowledgeable and accommodating on diet, while using seasonal, wholesome foods.

The Tomato Vine

7134 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 55344

Phone: 952-941-1699

Website: www.thetomatovine.com

Facebook: facebook.com/TheTomatoVine

Three-Day Cleanse: Lessons Learned

three-day cleanse tips | kale and aleI just finished a three-day cleanse as part of my January reset (read about why I picked reset as my word of the month and what it means to me). I cringe at the word cleanse, as I feel it has negative connotations. The one I did was based on foods that are considered detoxifying and superfoods (like carrots, turmeric, garlic and greens), meant to give your body a chance to balance out. It had a smoothie and nuts for breakfast, snacks and full meals through the day. Water and tea were OK. Exactly what I was looking for.

I went on the cleanse because I was feeling bloated from the holidays and travel, and I was trying to have a refresh. I am planning a longer trip with plenty of food and drink in the late summer, and could see this cleanse coming in handy upon my return; I would do it again to get back on track and refresh my digestive system.

Tips For a Cleanse

I’ve gone a full day back after the cleanse, and I learned a few things for when I or you go on one:

  • Make meals simple, wholesome and filling when feeling like a mini-reset is needed
  • Eat less at night after dinner (no late-night nachos) and have more mindful snacking overall. The snacks were flavorful and filling: roasted chickpeas; raw vegetables and hummus; and cucumbers with cayenne, salt, lemon and olive oil.
  • Incorporate more smoothies into the mix. I found this great list of detox smoothies I went off, and plan to make a different one for breakfast every so often.
  • Continue to drink tea in the afternoon when I want to reach for coffee
  • Make more marinades, sauces and dressings myself. They’re easy, quick, flavorful and earlier than bottled, store-bought condiments.

Have you been on a cleanse? What did you think or do you have any tips you learned?

Restaurant review: Reverie Cafe + Bar, Minneapolis

Reverie menu | Kale and Ale

Reverie counter and menu

I recently visited Reverie Cafe + Bar in Minneapolis,  a casual all-day café with a coffee shop vibe. It’s an all-vegan establishment except for milk for coffee, and the newest kid on the block for veg food, located at the intersection of Franklin and Nicollet. The cafe opens at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 8 on weekends, closing when the show that night is over, 1 a.m. at the latest.

While the menu isn’t large, it’s flavorful and touches the basics. The menu evolves, focusing on flavorful and filling soups, salads, sandwiches and appetizers.

Reverie Jackfruit Cubano | Kale and Ale

Reverie Jackfruit Cubano

I was excited to try the jackfruit Cuban, which was very good, but Aaron’s seitan BBQ had a nice zingy kick that made me slightly question my meal choice, but neither would steer you wrong. The fact that the menu is changing and expanding is great, as it’s a reason to go back and try more. And the local beer options are plentiful, so it was great picking new beers to wash down the delicious food.

Fellow blogger and vegan Laura at 1 Girl 2 Cities recently posted a dessert from there that looked a-mazing!

Reverie has #vegan chocolate peanut butter truffles OMG

A post shared by Laura VZ (@1girl2cities) on

 

If you have been to Reverie, please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to know what you got and thought. I can’t wait to go back!

Just Hampton Creek | Review and Recipe

Note: Hampton Creek provided food for review, but my opinions in this and all posts are my own.

Just Cookie Dough | Kale and AleWith a quick search of my dessert recipe archive, it’s apparent I’m not heavy on end-of-meal treats here. It’s partly because I’m not often one for sweets, favoring the salty taste of popcorn or nachos, and partly because I’m better with the winging-it style of cooking over the exact science of baking. But I’ve been known to crave a dark chocolate bite or sugary, chewy food. For those times, I look to keep it vegan and easy, and I know “just” the place to get my sweet tooth fix.

When I heard that Hampton Creek—best known for Just Mayo—was expanding beyond the sandwich and salad spread, and starting with cookies, I wanted to try it out. Hampton Creek gave me some coupons to test new products, and the cookie dough jumped out, since I wouldn’t make it myself. Using the search to see what was where, I was surprised to find not only the chocolate chip cookie dough I was expecting but also the peanut butter dough that wasn’t mentioned in the store finder, so I grabbed each (in the name of a fair review, right?).

Once I got home I opened the tub of chocolate chip cookies and tried a simple right away. Since Hampton Creek cookie dough is vegan, eating from the tub is safe, if not encouraged. Although the tub looks small, it makes 16 regular sized cookies that are quick to bake, making them quick to enjoy. They aren’t too soft or too crisp, and have even flavor throughout.

Recipe: Pretzel and chocolate peanut butter cookies

Hampton Creek Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel recipe | Kale and Ale

Peanut Butter Chocolate Pretzel cookies

While that’s all well and good and the sweets lover will enjoy these, I’m not into sweets enough. So I gave the peanut butter cookies the Val treatment, giving them a sweet and salty addition. Once I cooked the tub of cookies according to the directions, I topped it with 1/2 cup melted chocolate chips and 1 cup crushed pretzels and let cool. These are a great sweet-salty combo that will appeal to a lot of tastes. All in all. Hampton Creek is a solid choice for when I am looking for a sugar fix.

Have you tried any of the “Just” products? What do you think of them?