Continuing on with our trip to Alabama for our 10th Anniversary, I would like to share with all of you the vegan food we ate while traveling and in Huntsville, Alabama. The trip was only a few days in duration but there were a few places we are still thinking about today. I’m sure there are a ton of places we did not get the chance to go to but if you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below so we can continue on with sharing AL vegan options. Thanks.
We actually stopped by Starbucks on our way down for some Cafe Americano’s but unfortunately we completely missed the chance to take a photo. The entire trip down was basically a sheet of rain so it was a bit challenging at times to drive but I guess if you want to have some play time you have to work for it. Our first official stop was at the Earth Friends Cafe: Culinary Anarchy. It looks like a refurbished auto oil change station but upon reading the history on the main website it was actually “the day old bread store”.
Address: Earth Friends Cafe
415 Bank Street
New Albany, IN 47150
I have to admit, it was a bit hard to find when walking down the street. We had our car GPS find the location but we found a parking spot alongside the street for free so we parked a few blocks down and walked. Our legs were getting a bit cramped so it was a perfect chance to walk a little first before a meal. This sign was the only way we found the cafe.
Another indicator of this cafe is this bright red food truck outside. Not sure if it ever moves but it is a great directional source for pinpointing the location. There is also parking across the street from this true so please don’t park down a few blocks, you can park across the street for free. Or if you want a little workout, go for the walk like us.
On the side of the truck there beer tap handles, might this be a beer food truck? Oh the joys that would bring many men. Skip the ice cream truck man bring this to our neighborhood! Oops, really we aren’t drunks… that might have founded a bit odd…. haha
You might have noticed from the sign outside, there is another restaurant listed which can be confusing when you first enter. (Or was that just us? This is because there are two listed restaurants in one location. The cafe is actually a bar but it is not listed as one. The New Albanian is the bar section while the food is served by the Earth Friends Cafe section – I believe the two merged when going into this new Bank Street Location. So if you are seeking brewed beer on tap, this is a good place. There were two other gentlemen drinking beer and eating lunch while on business when we visited.
See the label on the artwork on the cafe wall… it’s New Albanian Brewing Company. Confusing at first but it works – the best of two worlds combined. As you can see there are places to sit and enjoy at tables but then there is also a bar too which one can order drinks and food.
The cafe also has an espresso bar that has vegan options. It was about 100F/37C outside so we weren’t really in the mood to spend more on a hot drink after the full meal cost about $30.
We ordered two different lunch entrees. This is the Tempeh BLT + Avocado sandwich. Seeing as we were still in Indiana after about 6 hours on the road (the state is so long!), we ordered everything to go. The sandwich comes with a “side dish” which was actually just in a condiment container (think ketchup to-go container). The side dish was so small it was rather a joke to the tastebuds. This was the bean salad side dish.
This is a view of the sandwich and it’s contents. As you can tell it was not filled to fulfill someone’s hunger. The tempeh was not homemade but rather store bought and for the entire sandwich only 1/2 a block of tempeh was used. The tempeh 1/2 was then thinly sliced in 1/2 to place on each side of the sandwich. There was so little on the store bought bread it was hard to taste it. There was also avocado if you can see the thinly sliced avocado on top of the lettuce. When eating this sandwich all we could taste was tomatoes since it was the largest slice of anything on the sandwich. We were so hungry after eating this sandwich and “side dish”. Not recommended if you want to fulfill your hunger or nutritional needs for a meal. This could be a light snack with a few beers late at night when you don’t want something too flavorful. I can’t remember 100% but I believe this sandwich was in the $10-12 range.
We also ordered a Taco Salad since I wanted some greens for lunch seeing as we were planning something very special for dinner. I make taco salad all the time at home so I wanted to see what other interpretations were on this vegan salad. In the small condiment containers there is a “vegan Ranch dressing” (which turned out to be vegan mayo and some water or vegan milk) and some salsa which was actually pretty tasty. This salad is also in the $10-12 range if my memory is correct.
Just to give you a better idea of the size of this salad container here is my childlike hand with it. So very small! 3/4 of it was lettuce which was fresh but the two tomatoes inside were not fresh and tasted a bit off – and were a bit yellow inside. The ‘taco meat’ was tasty though much like the kind you buy from Wal-Mart in the produce section. The overall taste was good but there was just not enough to fill even a child. The avocado was thinly sliced that contained not even 1/8 of an avocado.
This is what “dressing on the side means” to the cafe staff. Can you see all the dressing? It was Italian or something of sorts – no idea. It was as if the staff put a side salad in a small to-go container and then added some vegan ‘taco meat’ and two side dressings. To tell you the truth I was a bit worried about our food quality as we were waiting for the food to be ready for take-out. I overheard a staff member (appeared to be owner or manager) talking to someone enjoying a beer at the bar. She mentioned her distaste for vegan options on the menu but how they had put these items on the list because it brings people in that will pay the money for them. Maybe I am assuming something from what I overheard but it sounds like the cafe doesn’t cater to vegan lifestyles but rather vegan pocketbooks. It is true vegans will pay more for healthy, fresh options that contain no animal products but we also care about the establishments too. We actually thought about coming through once again on our way home but were turned off by what we overheard and by the quantity of food for the price ratio. We would not recommend this to another vegan.
On to something much better to talk about – Mellow Mushroom! When we heard Huntsville, Alabama had two Mellow Mushrooms we knew we were going to love this city. Mellow Mushroom is one of the best pizzerias for vegan and no non-vegans. We have had it in multiple states, including Hawaii. So delicious! This pizzeria was located in a newer residential shopping center – it was easy to find and easy to find free parking. We went a few times and always found a good parking spot even though it was busy.
Address: 470 Providence Main St NW
If you have never been inside a Mellow Mushroom (which pains me thinking about the sadness), there are two different sides of each pizzeria. One side is usually for pickups and one-side is normally for sit down restaurants. If you go into the wrong side, it does not matter since staff will direct you in the correct direction. When you order pickup, you will be directed towards the ovens, oh the great smelling ovens… sighhhhhh
Each location is decorated with the city in mind so this location was all ‘spaced out’. The mushroom characters are always the same but in different scenes. Each location is carefully painted right on to the walls – these appear to not be computer generated.
The walls are all different in each location too so I image as a kid this is very exciting and entertaining. Neither of us are kids but we were entertained until our pizza came to our table or in a box to take to the hotel room. Again this is hand-painted I think.
Just to prove this really was a wall – I’m not crazy. This artwork is amazing though isn’t it? I wish for this person to do my walls in my house someday.
So on to the pizza!!! The first night we got in to Alabama around 9pm so we were starving by that time. We are rather the old couple when it comes to eating dinner and we enjoy our meals around 6pm normally. So you can just image our hunger at 9pm. We ordered the Mega-Veggie: Red sauce base, vegan daiya cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, black olives, Roma tomatoes, broccoli, banana peppers, artichoke hearts and tofu. Sm: $13.49 md: $20.49 lg: $25.99 We order the large and have enough for leftovers for lunch the next day.
A closeup of the pizza – because it is just worth it. This is the best vegan pizza you will order from a chain pizzeria. Everything on the menu can be made vegan with vegan cheese. All the staff members are super nice and we have never come across any one of them that did not know veganism. I believe the managers teach the staff the difference since each time we say “vegan” we are asked if we wanted to take off the cheese and butter to make it 100% vegan. Just say you are vegan and the staff can assist you. Oh and all of the ingredients minus the banana peppers, daiya cheese and olives are fresh.
The previous pizza was from Thursday night and then we went back again upon Genki Husband’s request for lunch. We ordered the same thing. The nice thing is that each time you order the pizza the quality is usually the same – no skimping whether you eat-in or take-out.
Did I mention how much we love this place? Here’s another closeup just to prove how much this pizza is delicious.
Wow! I know I’m a foodie and all but I never thought I would take so many photos of just a few different locations. We had such a wonderful time taking a few days for ourselves that I just want to share everything with you guys. I think so the sanity of your stomachs, it might be best for you to go get a healthy vegan snack and for me to put the other restaurants in another blog for tomorrow. Come back again and enjoy seeing what vegan options there are while in Huntsville, AL, USA!