Green Restaurant

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jamiepeachey 2   Green Restaurant

[image source]

Green came to be thanks to vegan chef Damon Brasch and his 10-year long dream to open a vegan restaurant. He wanted to create a vegan restaurant where anyone could enjoy the food, not just the veg crowd. The fare is what Brasch likes to call “New American Vegetarian”, which is mostly American comfort food, made vegan. You’ll also find a wide array of cuisines and cultural influences on the menu. From what I read, it’s one of the Phoenix area’s most raved about vegan restaurants with locations in Tempe and Phoenix. We tried out the Tempe location as we were already in the area that day.

Here is a quote from Brasch found on the Green website:

“My grandfather and great grandfather built a house next to a lake. This was the house where I learned to cook. I was seven years old when my grandmother told me to go into the woods to pick fresh dandelion greens for her salad. This was where my hands first smelled of fresh garlic. Where the scent of baking bread intoxicated my senses and the hand rolled pasta made my mouth water. This is where I took the tomato off the vine and placed it into the pot and where we picked the cherries from the tree for the cherry pies that made the neighbors swoon to my grandparents’ house. This is where I fell in love with the asparagus and the artichoke and the arugula. This is where I learned to celebrate food. This is why I cook for you. And this is why I am Green.”

— Chef Damon Brasch

Upon entering the restaurant on Saturday at 12:30, it was packed to the brim. There might have been one free table in the entire place, which was large, especially for a vegan restaurant. Green has a very casual, almost cafeteria-like setting, and is a nice spot for quick lunch or casual dinner. When we walked in, there wasn’t anyone to seat us so we stood there a bit awkwardly until realizing that you have to walk up to the cash to place your order before finding your own table. Noted!

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We were handed two huge double-sided menus and I quickly scanned it, trying to take it all in. I was cursing myself for not looking up the menu online. Am I the only one who loves to do that? When I go to a new vegan restaurant, I like to take my time to look over the menu and consider all my options (I’m not used to having so many), so I felt a bit rushed while standing at the counter with a line of hungry people behind us. Sometimes a good menu is like sitting down with a good book; it’s not to be rushed through and skimmed over with haste. My advice is to go in with a plan or risk a menu meltdown. I kept my composure though, well, mostly. bahah.

After placing our order, they gave us a number and we went to find a table, finally deciding to sit outside since it was such a warm, sunny day.

Just minutes after sitting down, we were brought our appetizers. That was quick! I ordered the Samosas with curried potatoes, peas, carrots, and fresh garlic wrapped in a thin fried samosa with tamarind dipping sauce.

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Excellent! Crispy with a soft doughy interior. I would have loved to see them spicier though. I couldn’t really taste the curry flavour coming through. I had two and Eric had the other two.

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Eric ordered the vegan chili fries which were very tasty and filling. It was large enough to serve 3-4 people easily.

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Just as we started our appetizers, the server brought out our entrées. Having the apps and entrées served at the same time is a bit of a restaurant pet peeve of mine. I like enough time to enjoy the appetizer without the entrées coming too quickly, otherwise it feels rushed and the apps often go to waste once the entrées arrive. I guess they must have been trying to go through people pretty quickly on this busy Saturday. If you want to linger over your meal, I suggest mentioning it to the server before ordering just so they have a heads up. Or maybe it was just a fluke, who knows!

For my entrée, I ordered the Singapore Tofu made up of spicy curried house tofu tossed in a spicy orange glaze over thin rice noodles with fresh vegetables.

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Absolutely, to die for. The orange glaze was flavoured to perfection and it was impossible to slow down, despite my stomach telling me it was getting full. The tofu reminded me of a childhood favourite: sweet and sour chicken balls. I used to be obsessed with them growing up. I can only imagine how good it would taste if this glazed tofu was also battered and fried. I think I would pass out from all the excitement.

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The only thing I would change is to crisp up the tofu as it was very soft. I’m sure with a nice pan fry or bake, it would be nice and crisp.

Yet another “must make at home” inspired meal!

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I finished all of the tofu and veggies and half of the noodles before claiming that I’d have to roll back to the car if I ate another bite. I’m one of those people who has to physically move the food away from my reach or I will just pick at it until it’s gone.

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Eric ordered the Green Burger made up of ground oats, barley, and other unmentioned ingredients. I assume there must have been TVP or seitan in this as well, but I’m not sure.

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He loved the burger and said it had an authentic taste and texture.

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At this point I was stuffed, but Eric had dessert on the mind. I told him earlier that you guys raved about Green’s “tSoynami’s” and he said that we couldn’t leave without ordering one. What an enabler!

You can imagine my delight when I discovered that tSoynami’s are basically vegan “blizzards” made with homemade soy ice cream and a wonderful array of crazy toppings and flavours. You know how much I love my Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Blizzard.

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There must have been over 25 flavours to select from. We also found out later that they had daily flavours in addition to the menu regulars. Cap’n Crunch flavour, anyone?

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I tried to get him to order the Ts’more, but sadly he wasn’t down with ricemellow fluff! Is it good? I’ve never had it before. 

After much debate, he ordered the No’s & Mint made with Newman’s Chocolate O’s, mint flavour, and organic chocolate.

Just what this hot summer winter day called for. It’s crazy to think that it was about 24C and sunny on this late January day.

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Look at Eric waiting so patiently for me to take the picture already. Torture!

While I’m not a huge fan of soy-based ice creams, I thought this was pretty good. I think it would be even better with homemade coconut ice cream or even banana soft serve though. The best part was digging into the cup searching for the huge chunks of cookie. Nothing beats that.

Green is certainly a fun twist on traditional comfort food with many options no matter what you’re craving. While they have a large amount of soy-based processed foods on the menu, I would guess that they can accommodate soy-free requests, or at least I’d hope so. The prices are also reasonable and the portions generous. Hopefully we’ll be back someday because there are many things I still want to try!

Do you have a favourite vegan meal from a restaurant? What is it and where is it from? What is your favourite vegan restaurant?

Out of the vegan restaurants that I’ve been to, Candle 79 (NYC) is probably my favourite so far, with Fresh (Toronto), Karyn’s on Green (Chicago), Calactus Café (Moncton), Thrive (Waterloo), Sublime (Fort Lauderdale), Café Blossom (NYC), and The Coup (Calgary) ranking up there pretty high, although there are still many I haven’t tried yet, including the famous Millennium Restaurant in San Fran.

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{ 160 comments… read them below or add one }

Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit February 3, 2012

Wow, I love the way they’ve written their menu! I enjoy places that obviously have fun with their food and their clientele.
My favorite vegan restaurant – Gorilla Foods in Vancouver! I used to go to Vancouver from Calgary every other week to visit friends and that was our favorite place to eat. At the time, it was just a food stand squished between two buildings, but now it’s a full restaurant. If you’re ever in Vancouver, you have to check it out! Choices (as you know) in Calgary are pretty limited… so, the coup it is! They’re great… I would just love a few other choices.

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Red February 3, 2012

http://www.gratitudecafe.ca/

Gratitude Cafe in Kensington is pretty good.

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Allie February 13, 2012

There’s an amazing restaurant in San Antonio, Texas called Green, http://greenvegetarian.com/. It’s technically vegetarian but they have vegan options including replacing cheese with daiya cheese (my first taste of daiya). They also have delicious vegan cupcakes! To die for! It’s definitely my favorite thus far.

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Angela February 3, 2012

That sounds wonderful…looking it up. :)

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Noelle (@singerinkitchen) February 3, 2012

Sounds like a great place!

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Janou February 3, 2012

looks amazing! You’ll have to try Sticky Fingers Bakery (http://stickyfingersbakery.com/)… one of the great vegan spots in Washington DC! :)

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Jessica February 3, 2012

The Singapore Tofu is my fovorite too! I actaully crave it at times. The Phoenix location has their bakery next door…their vegan cupcakes are AMAZING!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 3, 2012

I forgot someone mentioned that!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes February 3, 2012

sounds like a great place! That tofu looks amazing :)

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ReneeB February 3, 2012

I LOVE Calactus Cafe!! It’s the only veggie restaurant I’ve been to yet, but it’s pretty amazing!

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Siri February 3, 2012

You’ve got to get to Vedge in Philadelphia at some point. I’ve been to Blossom and Candle 79 and personally think Vedge blows them out of the water. Also, that tsoynami looks incredible!

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Conley February 3, 2012

Yay I’m so glad you went and enjoyed it! Their bowls are to de for- especially their diablo red with fresh tofu. Mmm… I’ve had the t’Smores tsoynami (along with pretty much every other tsoynami on the menu… Hah) and it is really really good! Their seasonal “Punkin Pie” was my favorite, though – the only tsoynami I’ve gotten more than once! Their banana cream pie is pretty spectacular, too. So glad you decided to check Green out and enjoyed it!

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Angela February 3, 2012

mmm pumpkin pie sounds amazing!

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s February 3, 2012

ooh that mint cookie blizzard thing looks amazing!!

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DORIS @vanillacocoberry February 3, 2012

my favorite vegan restaurant was the green room cafe in Cocoa Beach, Florida!! I loved it!!
here is the link to my blog post/restaurant review about it!!! Oh good, I really wish we would have stayed there longer

http://vanillacocoberry.blogspot.com/2011/08/greenroom-cafe.html

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Nikki @ Active Vegetarian February 3, 2012

I moved from Ontario to Vancouver in May and have tried Gorilla Foods, it was great! (It’s menu offers a lot of raw food).

Unfortunately just after I moved is when they opened Thrive in Waterloo. I was a little disappointed in not getting to try it. However Vancouver is a great place to be a Vegan/Vegetarian! :-) – very accommodating.

Angela, have you ever been to Vancouver?

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Angela February 3, 2012

I’ve never been to BC at all, but it’s on our must visit list. I’ve heard so many great things about it.

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Jana @ Newly Wife Healthy Life February 3, 2012

What a cool restaurant! I think I would have chosen the ‘green’ burger like your husband, looks so do good!

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Nikki @ Active Vegetarian February 3, 2012

PS. Naam is another great place in Vancouver you should try.

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Katie February 3, 2012

Looks like a great place! We have ricemellow fluff around our place for my fiancee. I partake occasionally when I’m really in need of something sweet and gooey, but it’s a fry cry from real marshmallow fluff. It has kind of a dingy color and is more spongy than gooey. That being said, in a blizzard, I’d imagine you wouldn’t even notice that stuff.

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Angela February 3, 2012

Good to know, thanks Katie!

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Greta @ Staying Lost February 3, 2012

Looks like a neat restaurant! I think your singapore tofu and noodles look especially tasty.

I share your pet peeve of bringing the entree too quickly. I also dislike it when a server snatches your plate away as soon as you’ve taken the last bite. There’s nothing wrong with lingering over a table for a few moments!

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 3, 2012

Wow, what an incredible restaurant! This is going to sound like a very strange thing to notice, but I love their menu font! And the food.. well, it looks amazing too. I think my favourite vegan restaurant meals are 1) the portobello-tempeh sandwich from Thrive, and 2) the magic tofu wrap at Fresh. Both are delicious!! :)

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Angela February 3, 2012

I love the menu font too :)

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The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh February 3, 2012

Ahhh I am drooling!!! I want the BBQ chicken sandwich on the menu…or you know, anything you guys got! :-) Happy Friday!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 3, 2012

I love looking at menus before I go to the restaurant. I am the slowest person for picking out my meal, so I like to be prepared! That vegan restaurant looks absolutely fantastic!

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Emily (Edible Psychology) February 3, 2012

Haha, I am the same way when it comes to menus where I can eat more than just a couple of options. It is so much fun, and I like to take as much time as I want (which is loads) to look through each item and decide.

I’m looking forward to seeing your re-creations of some of these things. :-)

Happy Friday!
~Emily~

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Kathleen February 3, 2012

Angela, first of all thank you so very much for your NYC posts. My husband and I are planning to spend our 10th Anniversary there this year, so can’t wait to check out the restaurants and sights you visited. Now for favorite vegan restaurants, my top one so far is a little place in Banff called, Nourish Bistro. Amazing and the plates are huge, so plan on sharing. Since we’ve been relocated to the Houston area, my “go to” vegan/raw stop is, Seasons’ Harvest Cafe. Their fresh daily menu is posted on Facebook and the owners are wonderful people. By the way, I’m a native New Brunswick girl who has also enjoyed the Calactus Café in Moncton.

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Angela February 3, 2012

Hi Kathleen, I’m glad to hear that…I hope you have a nice celebration!
Thanks for the tips about Nourish and Seasons…they both sound wonderful.

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Lauren @ Oatmeal after Spinning February 3, 2012

I really wish there were more restaurants like this. For me, I have to drive at least 45 minutes to get to a decent vegan restaurant. There are many close by with vegan options, but I’d much go somewhere where every single thing on the menu is vegan so that I’m not tempted to order something with meat in it!
I’m definitely not a fan of soy-based ice creams, but with all of those mix-ins, I bet they taste pretty good. Rice cream doesn’t do it for me either (except for the carrot cake flavor of Rice Dream..omg), but coconut ice cream is always good.

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Angela February 3, 2012

I know what you mean, I’m at least a 40- 60 min drive to the restaurants around the Toronto area. I’d love to have one super close!

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Ileana February 3, 2012

What a lunch! That tofu looks great. Do you plan to recreate it?

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Dori February 3, 2012

I have never heard of millenium and I’m from San Francisco!! Yum, I’ll have to try it. I have a few favorite vegan restaurants. When I was in LA, my favorite was Real Food Daily because it is perfect for vegans and non-vegans since they have things like Rueben sandwiches, BLTs, Nachos..yum!

But, now that I live in DC, my favorite is Sticky Fingers Bakery!

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Molly February 3, 2012

Green is my favorite restaurant! I am particularly fond of the Mexicali Burger, but I also love what Eric got! The Phoenix location has an accompanying coffee shop, complete with cake, oatmeal cream pie, cinnamon rolls, and jelly-filled donuts…

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Kate February 3, 2012

Vegan restaurant? What kind of lovely, magical creature is that? There are no vegetarian restaurants in my area, let alone vegan, although a couple Indian buffets have vegetarian days at least once a week.
It would be so great to have a whole menu to choose from! I’m tired of reading online menus before making plans and putting the kibosh on that restaurant because the only vegan (usually veganizable) entree sounds like something I wouldn’t like, or the vegetarian entree’s main component is cheese.
I am, however, enjoying my home cooking, especially since discovering your website. I’ve been making a lot of your cashew cream pasta sauce and cookie batter smoothie.

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Faith @ For the Health of It February 3, 2012

My favorite vegan meal from an all-vegan restaurant is the what’s the dilly philly at ethos here in Orlando. It’s seitan and peppers on this to-die-for ciabatta with vegan mayo and vegan mozerella. Holy YUM!

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Beks February 3, 2012

Yummy! I don’t know why you’d ever go there, but when I was in college in Columbia, Missouri, there is a restaurant called “Main Squeezed” with a lot of Vegan options, but it’s a Vegetarian restaurant. So yummy!

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Cait's Plate February 3, 2012

Oh man, I could definitely get into this place! Those “burgers” all sound AMAZING.

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Grace @ Healthy Dreaming February 3, 2012

The restaurant looks amazing. All the plates look fabulous :D.

My sister actually booked a green restaurant for us to try when I visit NYC in March. It’s called Dirt Candy and since the venue is small, you have to reserve weeks in advance. I can’t wait to try their food since it was raved about on the Cooking Channel.

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Angela February 3, 2012

ah, yea I heard about Dirt Candy when I was looking up places! It looks very mod and contemporary. Let me know how you like it!

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Emily February 3, 2012

Wow, I wish there were more places like this over here in Scotland! It all looks amazing!
Emily

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Heather (Heather's Dish) February 3, 2012

i kind of want a massive plate of those chili fries in front of me right now…yum!

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StoriesAndSweetPotatoes February 3, 2012

The menu looks incredible. I’d definitely be steering away from the soy-based items but I wish I could drop in!

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Colleen N. February 3, 2012

Hi Angela! If you ever get to Chicago, there is a similar restaurant called “The Chicago Diner”. INCREDIBLE comfort food made vegan. :) http://www.veggiediner.com/wp/

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Michelle February 3, 2012

We live in Tempe and LOVE Green! Even our kids eat there with us. Right down the road from there to the south is Udupi Cafe who have an amazing lunch buffet, almost entirely vegan, all veggie. There is also Tsom in Tempe. It’s located on University and Rural in the back of a little strip mall. The best vegan finds are always tucked away almost hidden. Enjoy the rest of your stay in the Valley!

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Jasper @ crunchylittlebites February 3, 2012

good morning, Friday morning, to you Angela!!!!!!!!! I have not, yet eaten at a vegan restaurant…seriously, it’s been one of the “strangest” words to people in my peer group that is now just second nature to me: “vegan” … somehow it has this weird connotation in “my” society…eventually, though, I think others will realize that it is not only harmless and NOT offensive, yet it is one interpretation of a gentle lifestyle that is not necessarily so focused on just the food. anywhoooo I am going to try a veg restaurant in a town near mine this weekend…south indian cuisine! (not vegan but they do have some of those dishes! also! i just posted “inside-out blondies” hehe! of course i was thinking of you when i was concocting in the kitchen!

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Megan @ Fiterature February 3, 2012

You had me at “vegan blizzard”.

If you are ever in Kansas City, Eden Alley or Fud is a must – both delicious vegan eateries. But my favorite lunch spot used to be Tender Greens in Los Angeles. Their Happy Vegan salad and Daily Couscous is Uh-mazing!!!

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Joss February 3, 2012

mmm that mint “blizzard” looks so good…Eric’s chilli fries also looked like a winner – I would have ordered that with the mexacali burger :D

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Angela February 3, 2012

I was debating the mexacali burger too :)

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Kelsey February 3, 2012

I do that with vegan menus too! Well, menu- I’ve only ever been to one vegan restaurant, but I do it with non-veg menus too, so I know if there’s anything I can order or if I need to create my own off menu thing. Anyway, I love your blog and I wish I had one of those mint chocolate things right now!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table February 3, 2012

I am the same way about ordering at a counter and feeling rushed… but I think I could get over it for a “Ts’more.” You guys have the best stuff!

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