Green Restaurant

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jamiepeachey 2   Green Restaurant

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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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{ 159 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel B February 3, 2012

i am SOOO excited this is in tempe!! I’m applying as we speak for a job there for the summer and I would love to check out a vegan restaurant there. I’m also a huge orange thai glaze fan.. i want to figure out how to make a vegan version of general tsao’s or sesame chicken someday. thanks for the feedback on this restaurant!! :)

if you’re ever in upstate new york, go to the lake placid pub and brewery in lake placid (go figure) and get the black bean burger without the cheese. it hits the spot like no other after walking around shopping in town for the day, or after a day of hiking in the adirondacks! its served with spicy red pepper hummus, lettuce, tomato and onion on top.. and pairs perfectly with a tall glass of UBU (my favorite of their brews) =]

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Angela February 3, 2012

That sounds amazing…there is something to be said about a great comforting meal after being outside all day!

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Marisa February 3, 2012

In Chicago, my little gem of a place is called Victory’s Banner. The best brunch and lunch spot in the city. They have some vegan items on the main menu (which is all vegetarian) and another separate vegan only menu.

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Amy February 3, 2012

SPIRAL DINER in Dallas & Fort Worth, TX (particularly the Nachos Supremo), BOULDIN CREEK COFFEE HOUSE in Austin, TX (their chipotle pesto is to die for), and WATERCOURSE FOODS in Denver, CO (country fried seitan and sweet chili egg-rolls). Yum! Thank you for your blog…it’s awesome and inspiring! :)

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Karen February 3, 2012

As a Chicagoan, I can vouch for the Karyn’s on Green recommendation. Oh, and that tofu dish is reminding me how long it’s been since I’ve made Colleen Patrick-Goudreu’s similiar dish, orange-glazed tempeh, one of my favorites!

Happy weekend, Ange!

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Lauren February 3, 2012

That ice cream looks so good. My favorite vegan restaurant is Native Foods in southern CA. They have a great mix of healthy meals and guilty pleasures.

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K February 3, 2012

Millenium is great- probably my favourite and in NYC there is a vegetarian-Korean restaurant and it is up there too!
In Toronto, Live-Raw Food Bar, Fresh, urban herbivore and Fressen!

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Lacey Ann February 3, 2012

I ALWAYS have trouble deciding what to eat at resturaunts and I hate being rushed. Resturaunt menu melt-downs have definitely occured to me before, haha.
That orange-glazed tofu dish looks deeeelish, hope you can re-create it and share it with us!

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Jennifer@knackfornutrition February 3, 2012

I have reservations at Candle 79 tonight! Any recommendations as to what we should order?? Also, any other meal/dessert suggestions are welcome! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 3, 2012

I don’t think you can go wrong with much! I would ask the waiter for suggestions as they can tell you what is popular and also what seasonal specials there are. My review is also found here: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/11/30/new-york-city-part-3/

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Megan @ MegGoesNomNom February 3, 2012

Sounds like a great meal! As you mentioned, Millenium is a must-try if you are in the San Fran area.

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Melissa February 3, 2012

I had NO idea we had a vegan restaurant in Waterloo!! I’m going ASAP!

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Stephasaurus February 3, 2012

If you ever find yourself in Chicago again, you muuuust go to the Chicago Diner. It’ a teeny tiny little place in Boystown. They don’t take reservations and they can get busy on weekends, but it’s so worth the wait in my opinion! Their vegan lasagne and vegan spinach quesadillas are delicious! :)

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Lori February 3, 2012

Green Elephant in Portland, Maine is a great vegetarian/vegan restaurant! Mmm…now I’m craving their wasabi brussels sprouts.

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Kris | iheartwellness.com February 3, 2012

Ahhh i could and WOULD get used to that place easily!! Ummm….Samosas?! Yes Please!!

What a cute place!!

xxoo

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Lauren February 3, 2012

That looks so tasty! The hubbub and I have date night tonight and I wish that restaurant was here in Los Angeles. I love Native Foods and Real Food Daily is just ok. There are always lots of celebrities but everytime I go I get a tummy ache. By far, the best vegan place is in the San Fernando Valley called Madeline. It’s vegan fine dining but affordable with tasty comfort food.

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Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 3, 2012

Another place in Phoenix that I didn’t go to for the 9 months I lived there. WHAT was I thinking?! That tofu with the orange glaze looks like it may be worth a trip to the restaurant, just for that. I adore orange-glazed, sticky-ish tofu like that…yum. And the burger, too.

Thanks for making me wish I had tried this place when I lived there. Good thing San Diego has plenty of options or I’d be bumming right now :)

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Kathy February 3, 2012

Oh I so wish my little part of this big world offered vegan restaurants, but alas it does not. We have your basic fast food restaurants, with a few family owned italian places, but ne’re a veggie option in sight. I can ala carte wherever I go, but it would be so nice to go into a place and have a nice wide selection to choose from. When I ask for vegetarian options, everything is covered in cheese and when I ask for vegan options, I get a blank stare and a “Wha???” Would love to try Green. The selections look so yummy.

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Rachel B February 5, 2012

i know the feeling!! i hate that people seem to think that vegetarian meals should be overloaded as if they need to compensate for the lack of meat or something.. my area is so limited too, getting the treat of going out for a vegan dinner where i have multiple options is the best thing ever!!!

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Rachel B February 6, 2012

overloaded with cheese**

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Moni'sMeals February 3, 2012

What a treat! Looks so unique and yummy.

My favorite is in LA, (we have a ton) so blessed… but Real Food Daily and The Green Temple, if you ever visit. :)

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Kara February 3, 2012

I’m from Calgary so I have to say I haven’t been much elsewhere besides The Coup. But that is quite alright with me because it remains hand-down my favorite restaurant, vegan or not! My birthday is this week and I plan on going thereto celebrate. They rolled out a bunch of new menu items not too many months ago (for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner), so I have a lot of catching up to do :)

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Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin February 3, 2012

I take forever to decide what I want to order too – especially when there are so many delicious options like on that menu!

I love the vegan restaurant Fressen in Toronto – have you been to it? I was so impressed that they were able to accommodate my nut allergies!

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Cat @Breakfast to Bed February 3, 2012

I don’t remember, but did you get to go to Sfogo ice cream when you were in nyc? soooo good.

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Ashley February 3, 2012

We are spoiled with vegan restaurants here in Portland, Oregon, but I have to say my favorite is Portbello! So good! I’m going to San Francisco in March, and we are going to try Millennium. Can’t wait!!!

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Tichina February 3, 2012

I am so excited you’re going to re-create another tofu recipe! Tofu isn’t my favourite but it so versatile I want to use it, and like it, more! I tried your sweet potato and “fingers” recipe the other day, what a hit! Thanks again :)

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AG (Our Lighter Footsteps) February 3, 2012

Oh, those samosa look delightful! I am trying to perfect a GF, vegan samosa…there are a lot of duds but it is coming along. I know what you mean about the spices. I think that some people are scared of the spice because there are a lot of people that do not like spice but I grew up with friends who had their moms make homemade samosa, to die for!!!

If you are ever in Vancouver, you need to try Eternal Abundance on Commercial or Gorilla Foods on Richards, they are both great vegan places that I know you will enjoy! Every time I am in Vancouver, those are the go-to places. Where I currently live with my Hubs is not vegan friendly so I am out of luck and make everything at home!

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Urban Wife February 3, 2012

That tsoynami looks amazing!! We used to have a vegan restaurant right across the street where I work but it closed down about a year ago. So sad! The fact that our small little town even had one to begin with was mind blowing. One of my fav vegan meals is the un-burger. I believe they used sunflower seeds on theirs. It was heavenly.

p.s. Congrats on your Bloggies nomination for Best Health/Wellness blog. :) http://2012.bloggi.es/

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

Thank you, I had no idea I was nominated!

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Jenny February 3, 2012

That food all looks amazing! Glad to see you’re enjoying tofu so much.

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Anna @ The Guiltless Life February 3, 2012

Thanks for the review! And for the shoutouts of other restaurants – my sister lives in Calgary and I’m going to visit her soon so will have to give The Coup a try! Ever tried any in Vancouver?

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Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner February 3, 2012

Hey Angela, I was at the gym this morning reading an old Chatelaine issue and saw your picture along with a little write-up about your blog.. that’s so awesome!! I was excited to see it. Congrats on all your success :)

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Stacy February 3, 2012

Halfway between NYC and Philly is an eclectic little town called New Hope, PA. We have a great vegan restaurant called Sprig & Vine. I have been to Candle 79 and S&V is on the same level plus less expensive! They have an awesome Sunday brunch and delicious lunch and dinner menus. My favorite dinner was a buttercup squash ravioli with sage bread crumbs, with brussels sprouts, winter squash, and apples. Their menu is vegan, seasonal, and mostly local too!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

wow it sounds amazing!

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Persephonie February 3, 2012

Here in Utah County there aren’t too many options for vegans. However, the couple that we do have are great! My favorite is probably the Falafel Sandwish from Ginger’s Garden Cafe or the Veggie Burrito from Guru’s.

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hannah alehandra February 3, 2012

Omg Angela! Pleasseee re-create the orange glazed tofu soon I would love a recipe for that! It sounds amazing and I agree it would be heaven if it were crisp and fried, definetly stomach excitement passing out material haha!! Wow it all looks great. I would have been all of the S’mores one, shame you couldn’t try it eh damn Eric :P baha! Much love, sweetheart. Hope you’re well.

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Amanda Molnar February 3, 2012

Hi Angela!

This place looks amazing! I wish there were more yummy and healthy places around Toronto. Speaking of that, friends of mine from Foodbuzz 2011 kept telling me to message you to get invited to blogging events in Toronto that you throw (and apparently my scatterbrain just got around to it today – for shame). Anyway, I’d love to meet up at some point!

Your blog is so beautiful and inspirational (especially to people who have struggled with eating disorders and canadian food bloggers – I’m right in the middle of that venn diagram).

xx

-Amanda

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

Hey Amanda!
There is actually a meet up in the next month or so (it’s me organizing it though), I will shoot you the info via email!

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Dani February 3, 2012

I always order the singapore tofu too! Except I always have them sub the noodles for brown rice. I’ve tried ALMOST everything on their menu and the Singapore tofu is still my favorite!

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Stacy @ Say It With Sprinkles February 3, 2012

Mmmm! I miss “blizzards” a lot since going dairy-free several years back…hopefully I can get more in to different homemade ice cream options this summer, and you’re right, banana soft serve is always a yummy alternative!

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Michele Sparrow February 3, 2012

My husband and I ate at Millenium in SF with some friends last year before seeing Wicked. The food was fantastic and the atmosphere cozy and fun! Hope you can make it this way one day to try it!

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kim February 3, 2012

Any good vegan eats in or around toronto? Maybe closer to bowmanville/clarington? :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) February 5, 2012

Fresh is my fav in Toronto, although I haven’t been to all of them.

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Lindsay @ Running the Windy City February 3, 2012

I love Karyn’s on Green in Chicago! Although, the best place for vegan comfort food in Chicago has to be the Chicago Diner. The have an amazing vegan reuban as well as great dessert!

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Mary February 3, 2012

Cafe Gratitude in San Francisco is my favorite… by far.

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Rasha February 3, 2012

I visited my cousin and uncle in Scottsdale a couple of Christmases ago, and I met this boy who was at my cousin’s party. We hit it off immediately, and as soon as he found out that I was vegan, he asked me out on a date to Green. I let him order for us, and he said we cannot leave until we had the Tsoynami! I can’t even remember which one we had (he ordered that too) but we ate it with wooden spoons and I still have them with the dates written on the handles! I walked away with a box of Newman O’s cookies haha. One of the best memories I’ve had to date =)

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Char @ www.charskitchen.ca February 3, 2012

omg, I just about died when I saw your tofu Singapore noodles! I do hope you re-create those :D

Everything sounds so good! I’m also a big fan of vegan blizzards. Back in the summer, we found vegan Smarties and made blizzards with soy vanilla ice cream. I just about died <3

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Char @ www.charskitchen.ca February 3, 2012

haha…just realized how repetitive my sentences look. This is why I usually edit everything!

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Tiff February 3, 2012

I haven’t tried soy ice cream (ice soy?), but that No’s & Mint looks fantastic!

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