Yesterday I took my boyfriend (a willing-if-somewhat-skeptical accomplice) for a food-and-sightseeing tour of Tacoma, and we had a blast! After following @veganmoxie’s excellent Twitter reporting on vegan deliciousness in T-Town and taking some tips from a Tacoma-based friend, I pulled together a little Google map to help us get where we wanted to go, including some areas that looked nice to explore while walking off all that food.
The results were better than we’d even hoped! Here’s the low-down on some great spots to eat vegan in Tacoma.
We started at Caffe Dei for lunch, which is full of delicious vegan cooked and raw food (the one non-vegan item on the menu is an option of dairy on the grilled cheese). The space manages to be at once cozy and airy, and the staff is friendly and helpful. I took one more step in my quest to find all the best vegan Reubens in the world, whereas Jud went for the BBQ meatloaf sandwich:
The meatloaf was seasoned with a nice balance of flavors, and the Reuben was right up there with my current favorite Reuben source, Seattle’s Highline Bar. Less greasy and a little sweeter than its northern cousin, it’s a very well-executed sandwich and one I look forward to eating again, which might be a challenge given all the other things I want to try on their menu.
It took plenty of walking out in the sun and around the Washington State History Museum (Did you know they have a mummy?! And that it’s been in Tacoma for well over 100 years?) before we could muster enough appetite to hit our next stop: Corina Bakery. Given our ambitious eating schedule (and the fact that it was already nearly six, and we hadn’t had dinner yet), we passed on the tempting slices of mocha cake, carrot cake, red-velvet cake and Aztec cake (all of which were vegan, and the last of which I’ve had and loved), and instead split this absolutely gorgeous chocolate-peanut-butter cupcake:
It was exactly as delicious as it looks. Perfection. Corina also offers gluten-free (and vegan) items and beautiful custom cakes. No wonder it keeps winning “best-of” awards!
Dinner was at the very-new (just over a week, if I’m reading their Facebook page right) AmeRAWcan Bistro, which is mostly vegan and raw, but with a little build-your-own-sandwich menu that includes cheese and meat options. While it did seem that they were still getting their bearings, the service was very friendly and helpful, and the food was excellent. Not exactly ravenous after our earlier dining, we kept things on the light side. Jud had the cream of vegetable soup, which was tasty if a little nondescript, and some Brazil-nut-stuffed cremini, which we both really enjoyed. The star of the meal, though, was the plate of nachos I ordered:
See those three colors of sauce drizzled under the perfectly ripe avocado? When Executive Chef Francisco Hernandez came by our table to ask how things were, I asked what each sauce was. There’s a cashew nacho cheese, cashew sour cream, and a sun-dried-tomato-molé sauce. All of that on a variety of colorful flax chips with an expertly seasoned walnut paté, which took the place of ground meat. We decided that neither of us had had better nachos, traditional or otherwise, anywhere. You’ll find them on the sides/starters menu, but don’t let that stop you from making them your entrée, and don’t wait too long before finding your way there and ordering them. The one thing that puzzled us a bit was the fact the nachos were the same price as the stuffed mushrooms ($9.95), for a lot more food and something that seemed far more complex and laborious to produce. Perhaps the price of Brazil nuts is unusually high right now?
It was late enough at that point that we decided to save 1022 South for next time (though the place looked hoppin’ when we drove by), and we also didn’t make it to Quickie Too, which had been low on the list only because we have three Howell-family restaurants up here in Seattle and wanted to focus on things new to us.
And just in case any of my fellow dwellers in larger cities are still harboring doubts as to whether a visit to Tacoma would be enjoyable enough to make even these treats worthwhile, rest assured: we had a great time checking out some of Tacoma’s non-culinary offerings, too. Museum Row is worth wandering, both for its exhibits and its architecture; you may stumble across cool public art or beautiful public stairways; if you luck out with the weather you can get some wonderful close-up views of Mt. Rainier; and you can visit wonderful parks, like Wright Park (which is over 100 years old and really has something for everyone) and Point Defiance Park (visited on an earlier trip, which can offer even better views of Rainier).
Tacoma fans, where else should we eat or visit next time?