Sunday, July 10, 2016

Vegan Eats at the Stem & Spoon Cafe

I grew up in Jonesboro, Arkansas, a small college town that honestly didn't have much to offer in the way of vegetarian food when I was growing up. I went vegetarian there in 1994, and I pretty much lived off of mac & cheese, cheese pizza, veggie burgers, and my mom's meat-free versions of her homemade meals. But there were no vegetarian restaurants, and later, when I went vegan in 2004, there certainly weren't any vegan restaurants. I was living in Memphis by then, but my parents were still there, and dining options were few when I visited.

But slowly, things have been changing. More and more vegan options are popping up on menus. There's a place with vegan cheese pizza. There are Asian places with tofu dishes and veggie sushi. And the Tropical Smoothie Cafe has Beyond Meat. And by some miracle, a few months back, an independent health food store opened, and there's a vegan-friendly cafe inside!

The store is called The Truck Patch, and it's the kind of place where the lovely aroma of fresh green juice and patchouli hits you as you walk in. It smells like a hippie, and it's amazing. The Truck Patch has all sorts of vegan products I can't get in Memphis (we only have Whole Foods and Sprouts in Memphis — no indie stores here). And there's a little cafe called The Stem & Spoon Cafe. My mom and I ate there this weekend.

The cafe offers two vegan sandwiches, or you can build your own (and they have Field Roast Chao cheese!). My mom and I both ordered the Foxtail Sandwich — roasted zucchini, tomato, onion, bell pepper, avocado, chao cheese, and pesto vegan mayo. It's served on vegan sprouted grain bread. This sandwich doesn't photograph well, but I promise it was delicious. The pesto mayo and avocado really give this sandwich creamy flavor, and the chao is a nice touch. My non-vegan mom loved it, and now she wants to buy chao cheese (which the store was actually sold out of that day).

On the side, you can get chips, a fruit cup, or a side salad from the salad bar. So of course we chose salad bar!

They have an AMAZING salad bar! We loaded up our tiny salad plates with almost everything on the bar — mixed greens, seasoned baked tofu, black beans, corn, peas, rainbow carrots, red onion, sunflower seeds, cauliflower, red cabbage, dried cranberries, and wasabi peas. I went with the Asian ginger vinaigrette.

This is such a big deal for Jonesboro! After dinner, I stocked up on some hard-to-find-in-Memphis items (like Tofurky hot pockets and Justin's nut butter pretzel snack packs). I can't wait to go back and visit my parents so I can try the other vegan sandwich (it has sweet potato and avocado!).


foodfeud said...

That sandwich sounds really good. I like the chao cheese a lot, I just have yet to get it to melt.

Sarah said...

It's so cool to hear how you are getting more vegan options! That cafe looks really cute and the food looks delicious. That salad bar looks amazing, a nice variety of fresh ingredients!

Susan said...

I love seeing vegan options popping up all over the place. That sandwich sounds great, and great also that they are offering lots of vegan products for sale!