Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Bluff City Vegan Eats: City Silo Table + Pantry

There's a new(ish) vegan-friendly restaurant in town! The former Cosmic Coconut — an all-vegan smoothie & juice bar — closed a few months back for a massive re-branding and renovation. It reopened a couple weeks ago as City Silo Table + Pantry. Same owner (Scott Tashie), same location, new concept.

Get in the Chopper salad with tempeh

City Silo features a full food menu, whereas Cosmic just had a handful of lunch items. And City Silo retained a number of the smoothies and juices from the old Cosmic menu.

Aaah-Sigh-Eee smoothie bowl

The biggest change, though, is one I'll admit that I'm not stoked on. City Silo is not a fully vegan restaurant; they serve eggs and chicken. Thankfully, those items are more of an afterthought, and the menu is about 90 percent vegan. A few dishes offer the option of adding eggs or chicken, but most dishes are vegan by default. They're also super careful about cross-contamination, but that isn't as much of a concern for me as just having meat on the menu. I'll miss the safe space that Cosmic Coconut offered to vegans, but I will say that the vegan menu items at City Silo are very tasty and totally impressive.

City Silo invited me and a few other vegans and vegetarians in this Sunday night for a tasting of some of their most popular items. We were blown away by how much nicer the space is. They expanded into the storefront next door to double the size of the restaurant.

And "pantry" is in the restaurant name for a reason. They're carrying locally made and hard-to-find vegan and organic dry goods and cold items. I picked up a Tennessee-made protein bar by V Raw B Energized and one of my favorite oat cups from Vigilant Eats. I noticed they're also carrying Cocomel's vegan caramels!

But onto that tasting! I have a lot of pics to share. The food pics above came from City Silo, so they're much prettier than mine. Anyway, one of the most inventive dishes was the Foxy BBQ, named after my friend Justin Fox Burks of the Chubby Vegetarian blog. It's a spaghetti squash BBQ sandwich with vegan slaw. Who would have ever thought to use squash as a stand-in for pulled pork? This was really excellent, and I see myself ordering it often.

As I mentioned earlier, City Silo retained a few Cosmic items. One of those was my very favorite dish at Cosmic and will probably remain so at City Silo. It's the Buffalo Tempeh + Sesame Cauliflower Wrap with roasted sweet potatoes, corn, red onion, garlic greens, and cashew ranch. It's soooooo good, y'all. I could drink a vat of that cashew ranch.

We also tried the Silo Burger — a black bean, lentil, and quinoa burger served with vegan cheddar and pickles on a homemade bun. Solid veggie burger, very tasty. My partner Paul — the only non-vegan/vegetarian at our tasting — declared this his favorite item. He always loves a veggie burger, and he said the melted vegan cheese was the best vegan cheese he'd ever had. Not sure what brand they were using, but I suspect Daiya slices.

Another of my faves was the Kale Caesar with pine nuts, vegan parm, and croutons. Chef Will, who worked hard to get all of these dishes together for us, said they achieved a caesar flavor by using capers and some other brine-y things. Honestly, I can't remember what all he said. But this was definitely the best vegan caesar I've ever had.

Another yummy side was the Green Micro Machine salad. This has locally grown microgreens, cherry tomatoes, hemp seeds, quinoa, and balsamic-truffle oil dressing.

Cassi's favorite was Get in the Chopper — a chopped salad made with corn, arugula, cherry tomato, pepitas, raisins, vegan parm, and creamy basil dressing. Our friend Audrey, who handles the marketing and PR for City Silo (and set up the tasting), recommended ordering this with added tempeh. That's how it's pictured above in the pic City Silo provided.

Speaking of tempeh, I could have eaten a giant plate of the TCB — roasted, smoky, grilled tempeh and sesame cauliflower tossed with buffalo sauce and drizzled with cashew ranch. Seriously. So good. When you order a full serving of this it also comes with carrots and celery for dipping.

The TCB is on their small plates menu, as is the Red Rooster Roast — roasted sweet potatoes sprinkled with black sesame seeds and pink salt and served with vegan sriracha aioli. Nothing beats potatoes dipped in mayo, y'all.

By this point, everyone at the table was STUFFED. But then Will came out and asked if we'd like some smoothie samples for dessert. Well, yea! He made the Dream Bean — my personal fave — with banana, almond butter, espresso, cacao, reishi, almond milk, and maple syrup. I loved how this one had such a strong coffee flavor.

And the Magic Sword — turmeric, mango, pineapple, mint, reishi, ginger, lemon, cayenne, and cold-pressed carrot and apple juices. This one was loaded with superfoods! And the pineapple and mango helped to mask the strong flavor of turmeric.

But wait! There was more. City Silo also makes Wellness Lattes, which are coffee-free steamed lattes with superfoods. We tried the Matcha Matcha Matcha (matcha tea, cashew cream, maca, maple, vanilla and almond milk) and The Tombstone (turmeric, ginger, cashew cream, maple, cinnamon, pink salt, and almond milk). The matcha one was my fave, but I'm a diehard matcha fan anyway. The turmeric one had a VERY strong turmeric flavor, so it's not for the faint-hearted!

Here's a much prettier Wellness Latte pic from City Silo!

City Silo also has locally made kombucha on tap! It's served in booze-free kombucha cocktails. Scott whipped me up some booch with a shot of their Immunity Juice (pineapple, carrot, orange, lemon, cilantro, cayenne). So good!

Everything at City Silo was AMAZING. While I'm still not thrilled about the addition of chicken and eggs from an ethical standpoint, it's possible that having those items may draw in a larger segment of the Memphis population, thereby exposing them to vegan food they may have just avoided before. I'm glad to see that MOST of the menu items are totally vegan! I will be eating at City Silo as often as possible! It's a little far from my home in Midtown, but I'll make special trips out east for that buffalo wrap and caesar salad.

Also, they'll be adding beer and wine very soon! So stay tuned for that. We'll definitely be holding a Memphis Vegan Drinks meetup there as soon as that option is available.


Hillary said...

That is such a brilliant idea to use spaghetti squash in a sandwich! Usually it's jackfruit but I think spaghetti squash is easier to find for a lot of people. Everything looks delicious. It is really a bummer that they added chicken and eggs. But hopefully like you said it will draw in some non vegans and blow their minds!

Laryssa said...

Whaaaa the buffalo wrap, matcha smoothie, and turmeric smoothie all sound like dream. Amazing! I want.

Unknown said...

I was disappointed about the addition of chicken and eggs as well however, I've been there 4 times and every time it's been quite busy(on Saturday it was packed) and most of what I could see everyone eating was vegan. I'll say that's a major step in the right direction. There's a lot of "what do you eat if your vegan" and "I bet it's hard to find places to go out to eat". This squashes that and serves them delicious examples. Ps. Try that sesame cauliflower and buffalo Tempeh over the grilled zucchini noodles. Phenomenal. I'm addicted.