Thursday, December 20, 2012

Bluff City Vegan Eats: Balewa's Vegan Gourmet

The best thing that could ever happen to a vegan happened to me! A vegan restaurant opened right across the street from my house. Literally five houses down and across the block! It's called Balewa's Vegan Gourmet and it's a high-raw joint offering all kinds of healthy goodness. But the star of the menu is Balewa's live burger.

Years ago, Balewa operated a food stand out of another cafe called Sean's Cafe. His live vegan burgers gained quite a following, even from diehard omnis. But he closed that shop a couple years back, and he's been looking for a place to settle ever since. And wouldn't you know it? He found a place in Crosstown, right across from my house. I'm probably the luckiest girl in the world.

Balewa has been trying to get his place open for a couple months now, but health inspections and permits take time. He finally opened this week! And I finally got a chance to stop in today.

But wait, let's back up. In early November, before he was officially open, Balewa had a meet-and-greet in the store and he gave out free samples. I stopped in and this is the "sample" bowl I was given. That sample was a full meal!

There's Garlic Quinoa, 14-Karot Gold Salad, Chili Quinoa, and the most amazing cashew-based Chik Salad (that was my favorite!).

And they also gave me a free sample of their Iced Chai Tea:

That all left me clamoring for more! But I had to wait a whole month. Today, I finally got to try lots more from his menu, which has super expanded since he had the old place at Sean's Cafe. Check it out:

My co-worker Hannah ordered Balewa's famous Live Burger. No one knows what's in it cause Balewa won't tell. But we know it's vegan and raw (except for the bun ... he uses Ezekiel bread though) and it has some form of sprouts in it. And probably beets for the color:

She also ordered the Garlic Quinoa. This stuff is soooooo garlicky. If you're not a super garlic lover, don't get this. But I am and so is Hannah. Her breath was kinda funky for awhile later though:

I started with a shot of Mo Beta Karrot juice. It's a creamy combo of carrot juice, fresh ginger, and almond milk, and it may be my new favorite thing ever. He sells this in a full glass size for $4.99, but the shots are just $2:

I also ordered a Seawich. That's his 14-Karot Gold salad (carrot pulp, nori, and spices) on Ezekiel bread. Its served with a fresh sprout salad and blue corn chips:

Here's an inside look:

I also ordered the Ra-Kreem Broccoli Soup. Made in a magic Vitamix, this ultra-creamy soup is made from all sorts of goodness — broccoli, spinach, kale, asparagus, sprouts, garlic, cayenne, and Bragg's:

Wow! I felt so healthy after eating all this food. It made me look forward to my upcoming cleanse. It's nice to finish a meal and not feel guilty, which is what I've been feeling lately with all the holiday cookies and parties loaded with vegan junk food. I'll definitely be hitting up Balewa's throughout my January cleanse and, of course, forever after. Because he's right across the street!! Did I mention that? Right across the street, people. Ahhh ....

Balewa's Vegan Gourmet is located at 394 N. Watkins. Call 901-859-0590.


climbinvegan said...

oh man... that looks so so so good! :)

Allysia said...

ha ha, you're lucky it's a healthy place - that could just be bad news otherwise. :) (It would be for me anyway). And I love the idea of almond milk + carrot/ginger juice! I've added water to juices before, but never milk. I'm envious of your awesome fortune!

Vegaia said...

Yummmmm! Delicious vegan food and drink is one reason why the number of vegans has doubled in less than 3 years. Here are two uplifting videos that will help people understand just some of the implications of this lifestyle: and

Lesley Eats said...

Wow, that's some really impressive food! I'd spend a lot of time there if these guys were down the street from me, too!

Theresa said...

Wow, good for your belly, maybe not so good for your budget, but how lucky having such a great place across the road!

bookwormbethie said...

lucky for your belly, perhaps not so much for your wallet ;)

i don't always leave a comment, but i do check your blog frequently. i ♥ your cookbook and am making the tofu ham for christmas eve!

Thirteen Stitches said...

We're a block away and can't wait to get in there. Being out of work for the past year, we've been having to budget accordingly, so splurging isn't always an option. After seeing all these pictures and your rave review of everything, I'm going to make an excuse to sneak down there.