Sunday, April 30, 2017

Imagine Vegan Cafe's 6th Anniversary Party!

Imagine Vegan Cafe celebrated six years in business this weekend! Imagine has been my home away from home for those past six years, and I've tried to eat there weekly since opening day in 2011. Sometimes, I fail at that and two weeks may pass before an Imagine visit, but I don't think I've ever gone more than two weeks without eating there. In those past six years, Imagine has occupied three locations, all along the same street, and each one has quickly begun to feel like home to me.

Imagine had an anniversary party buffet dinner tonight, and for $15, you got access to an all-you-can-eat buffet, two glasses of wine, and a slice of Stephanie's amazing chocolate caramel cake. The party started at 6, but I knew it'd be packed so I arrived at 5:20 to secure a table for myself, Shay, Simon, and Jennifer. We were close to the front of the buffet line, and I got a little serving of everything!

There was spinach-artichoke dip and tortilla chips, alfredo pasta with broccoli, mini turkey club sandwiches, BBQ meatballs, hot wings and ranch, BBQ seitan sliders, a mini taco bar, mini chicken and waffles, turkey pinwheels, and our friend Don's homemade vegan tamales. He made several flavors, but I got the black bean and mushroom tamale, and it was just spectacular.

SO MUCH FOOD! And yes, I cleaned my plate. Here's a close-up of my chicken and waffle.

And the turkey club.

Here's Shay and I before digging in.

And Simon and Jennifer, who'd just returned from a weekend camping trip and were grateful to not have to cook dinner after unpacking.

It's a good thing we arrived early because the place was packed! People were fixing plates and then standing outside the door to eat because they had no place to sit. 

We were pretty well first in line for the buffet. I ALWAYS have to be in the beginning of a buffet line or I get incredible anxiety about some dish running out before I make my way to the front. Here are some buffet shots before people dug in — the spinach dip and pasta.

Turkey clubs. These were so cute!

Vegan hot wings. Not pictured — the bowl of Kristie's amazing homemade vegan ranch for dipping.

And the mini taco bar with black beans, guac, Tofutti sour cream, salsa, tomato, lettuce, and hard and soft shells! I went with the soft flour tortilla.

For my two glasses of wine, I opted for a merlot and a red table wine blend. Two-buck chuck, y'all! We don't even have a Trader Joe's here, but they'd stocked up on that good stuff. Nothing beats economy wine and vegan junk food. Winning.

But that's not all! It's not a party without cake! Stephanie — Imagine's awesome baker/my awesome friend — baked a special chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream and caramel glaze. I was pretty full after my savory buffet plate, but this cake put me over the edge. 

Now, it's nearly 10 p.m., and I'm still so stuffed. I'm about to call it a night and sleep off all this food! But I'm so grateful for Imagine. When they first opened in 2011, they were the city's only vegan restaurant. Now we have several, but Imagine holds the number-one place in my heart, always and forever. I've made so many friends there. I've eaten my most memorable meals there. And owners Kristie and Adam do soooooo much to spread the message of veganism. They're truly ethical vegans, and I'm incredibly blessed to have them and Imagine in my life.


Cadry said...

Aw, so much love & good food in this post! Imagine is clearly a really special place. I hope they have many more birthdays!

Tea and Sympatico said...

What a feast! Great to hear of a vegan business doing so well. Hope they are around for many more years. I'm with you on being first in the Buffett line. Behaviour learned from being a mixed buffets where omni's help themselves to the veg stuff too.

vegan peace said...

That looks like an amazing buffet! You know how sometimes there are things you skip over? This looks like a skip nothing buffet. I've always enjoyed seeing your meals from Imagine, and it makes my heart so full to see the crowd and know that they're doing so well!

Unknown said...

I love that they are such a wonderful local restaurant for you and have been going strong for six years! That's impressive for any restaurant, much less a vegan one outside of a large city. I feel like i know this place through your blog and you're so lucky Imagine is your "local" ! Looks like a seriously fantastic meal amd great celebration!

Sarah said...

What a fun celebration!! Everything looks so delicious, I think I need to make some chick'n and waffles at home! It's so great that it is so well loved and I can see why! It's so nice to know that there are great local businesses spreading the vegan message :) Oh and that cake is gorgeous!!