Thursday, May 21, 2015

Memphis Vegan Drinks Crosstown Takeover!

We had our Memphis Vegan Drinks meetup at Midtown Crossing Grill tonight, and it was the biggest one ever! I counted 27 people! We've been doing this event — monthly happy hour meetups at vegan-friendly places — for a couple years now. We've had big events with 15 or so folks, and we've had meetings where only four people showed up.

But tonight took the cake — literally. Because Midtown Crossing is the home of Cassi's vegan Pink Diva Cupcakery, we had lots of cupcakes with our beers, pizza, and banh mi sandwiches! We were greeted outside by this sign! Yay!

Yep, that's a reference to the Bianca Banh Mi, the vegan Vietnamese sandwich named after me! Also, outside was Cassi's Pink Diva delivery vehicle. She delivers cakes on this adorable scooter!

Here's most of the crowd, but we had a few more people off on a side table because they wouldn't all fit.

We typically only go to bars with full bars so that those who don't drink beer can order whatever they want. Midtown Crossing only serves beer though. I love beer, so I went with a locally brewed Ghost River Riverbank Red. Later, I switched to Yuengling to mix things up.

They do, however, have an awesome BYOB policy (no corkage fee!). Clarita and Bert brought their own wine!

I started with a cupcake because I always do dessert first in restaurants. That way, I definitely have room for dessert. Priorities, right? I picked Cassi's Adult Peanut Butter & Jelly — a peanut butter cupcake with a jelly center and buttercream. Oh, and it has peanut butter beer in it too! That's what makes it adult.

Here's Cassi slinging cupcakes.

Several others started with dessert, too, as we waited for folks to roll in. Nico got the giant Cherry Garcia cupcake. And there's Dennis in the background.

I recently blogged all about the new vegan options on Midtown Crossing's menu, including the Bianca Banh Mi. But tonight was my first time trying the vegan Greek Flatbread. House-made red bean hummus, olives, radishes, and greens on a thin, crisp flatbread. It was so good! I was worried at first that this might be arugala (the only lettuce I don't like), and maybe it was. But you know what? I liked it, whatever green it was! It worked so well with the hummus and olives. Very tasty!

Paul and I split an order of the Vegan Spring Rolls, which are stuffed with cabbage, basil, pickled carrots, and candied pecans and served with a wasabi vinaigrette. OMG! Best spring rolls I've ever had. The candied pecans and pickled veg really step these up, adding a lot of flavor and crunch.

Not everyone who comes to Vegan Drinks is vegan. And that's okay. We don't have restrictions on what you can order, so some folks order vegetarian things with cheese and some even order meat dishes. I don't like to push veganism on people. I believe they'll come around in their own time. Autumn usually orders a meaty dish but tonight, she went with a vegetarian (not vegan) option — the Portabella Melt. I was so proud! Also, this looks like something that could easily be veganized if you asked them to leave off the cheese.

Melissa and a number of others ordered that Bianca Banh Mi! It has the house red bean hummus in place of traditional pate. And there's marinated tofu, pickled veggies, jalapenos, and cucumbers. So good! Melissa got hers with jalapeno chips on the side, which she regretted since the sandwich also has jalapenos. Lots of hot stuff! You can also order it with a side salad (or not-so-hot chips).

Hurray for Midtown Crossing and Pink Diva! I'm so excited that I have leftover flatbread for tomorrow's lunch!


Babette said...

Your vegan drinks meetups sound like so much fun! Your banh mi is soon going to be famous, it seems!

I had never heard of a restaurant that sells alcohol but also allows you to bring your own booze. How cool is that.

Eating dessert before your main meal? Huh, I think I will reflect on that. I mean, this way, I would appreciate my dessert more (lack of stomach space never keeps me from ordering dessert) and I would perhaps take the rest of my meal in a doggy bag. Or eat it all.

Dana said...

I really love that everyone is chill and doesn't necessarily order vegan stuff. It's about community, not purity!