Vegan Salt –the blog

Chances are, you’ve heard of Cakewalk Baking Co. already.  Cakewalk is Utah’s first and only all-vegan bakery, with an original storefront location in Woods Cross, and now a brand new location right downtown.  Just days after they opened their doors, Natala (of and I had the opportunity to take a look around and to visit with Kelly, the owner and baker herself!

Kelly was vegan before I’d even heard the word vegan.  She started selling delicious vegan baked goods to pay for her dog’s medical treatments, and her love for animals is evidenced in everything she does.  If there’s a fundraiser for an animal sanctuary, a circus protest, or just a good old fashioned vegan potluck, there’s a good chance she’ll be there with a box of cupcakes or some other sweet creation.  (At one unforgettable fundraiser, there was a “Snickers” cake so rich that 20 people couldn’t finish it off!)  Kelly is creative and talented with her baking, and can do just about anything.  She is determined not to let any vegan feel “deprived” of any favorite junk food from their less-conscious days, which is why you’ll find her dreaming up wildly indulgent treats and offering new items all the time.

Cakewalk is famous for its many delectable cupcake flavorsRead the rest of this entry »


{February 23, 2010}   Vegan Brunch at Whispers Café

There’s a new café in town, and despite being named “Whispers,” you’re going to like it.  The place is charming, with a patio that will be a pleasant place to sip your coffee once it’s a little less frigid outside.  But let’s get right to the real reason to be talking about Whispers: Vegan Brunch every Sunday.   (They call it the Tree Hugger Sunday Brunch.)

I’ve taken this long to do a writeup only because I wanted to try several of the items on the menu, and they’re only available on Sundays.  Maybe if they see that we really love to buy good vegan food, that will change?

The first thing I ordered here was the Berry Crépes.  ($5.75)  Yes, they have vegan crépes!  Coincidentally, I’d acquired a sudden craving for crépes just two days prior, and started musing on the idea of vegan crépes, unsure they were even possible.  Well, not only are they possible, they’re far superior to the egg-derived crépes I remember.  If you’re reading this from your home in Portland or Toronto, start planning your road trip, because these are worthy of a journey.  From what I recall, non-vegan crépes taste like egg and sugar.  Whispers’ crépes taste like hot, doughy wrappers enclosing plenty of vegan cream cheese, topped with berry jam. I devoured all three without pausing for a sip of my drink.  It took all my strength not to lick the plate.  I don’t think a Sunday will go by that these crépes don’t cross my mind.

Fortunately for this review, I stopped by on a Monday morning, and though there were no crépes, they did have some remaining Breakfast Casserole from the Sunday Brunch the day before.  ($6.50)  This picture really doesn’t do it justice.  There’s a dense, sausage-style substance nicely spiced with salt, pepper, and herbs.  Then a layer of creamy, almost egg-yolky tofu, topped with pieces of bread.  It’s somewhere between a Thanksgiving dressing and a tofu scramble. The casserole was served with an equal-sized portion of simple, shredded hash brown potatoes on the side. This tasty and filling casserole is quickly becoming a favorite among vegan brunchers.

I plan to rotate through the brunch menu over the next few weeks, but I have a feeling that the crépes will weasel their way in every other week or so.  Here’s the entire menu, which includes Potato Garbage Hash, Southwestern Quinoa Burro, and Seitan, Peppers & Onions.

So, get out of bed on a Sunday morning, come over to Whispers at 1420 South 1100 East, and try something delicious.  Here’s to hoping they’ll make vegan food a part of their everyday menu!

{February 5, 2010}   Omar’s Rawtopia – a review

Creme de Broccoli

If you were the luckiest human on earth, an invited guest at a faerie feast, the wee folk would almost certainly offer you dishes just like you’ll find at Omar’s Rawtopia– right down to the edible flower petals sprinkled on top! Omar’s food is like a concentrated garden on your plate, bursting with color, texture, and flavor.  Everything from the drinks to the dessert is organic and raw, and as an added benefit, it’s naturally gluten-free and vegan! Omar’s Rawtopia, formerly known as Omar’s Living Cuisine, is located right in the heart of Sugarhouse (ok, immediately South of the hole in the ground where the heart used to be.)

Omar’s is our favorite restaurant: I’m admitting my bias right up front.  We try to go there every month or so as a couple.  It isn’t cheap, at about $15 for a main course, $3.50 for a drink, and $7/$8 for dessert, but no food could be more worth the price! I first met Omar Abou-Ismail about six years ago, when his restaurant was still fairly new.  I was still a meat-eater at the time, and highly skeptical of eating raw vegetables, but he took the time to talk to me about his passion for food and about the energy found in plants.  He has the aura of a man who has found his calling and is intent on changing the world with his work.  When Omar lists “love” as an ingredient in every dish, he’s absolutely sincere about it.  He’s willing to share that love with everyone he meets: while we ate today, he spent some time talking with two women at a nearby table about the reasons for eating raw food.  He called raw food a “beautiful journey”; one which is beautiful because it is challenging.

Read the rest of this entry »

{January 29, 2010}   Lunch at Oasis Café

A non-veg friend took us out to eat at Oasis Café the other day.  Having not been to Oasis in quite a while, I was pleased to have the chance to revisit it.  My favorite thing about Oasis is that it’s connected to a themed bookstore, The Golden Braid, so one can easily linger for hours. Oasis also has a unique atmosphere, combining a broad coffee counter and a functional coffee roaster with wait-to-be-seated dining on the western side.

We got there a little too early for the dinner menu, so we ordered from the lunch menu, which you can see on the site.  I have to admit, I was disappointed at what an overwhelming percentage of their meals were flesh-based: ten of the fourteen!  Two are vegan, and two can be made vegan on request.  We ordered the two vegan options, not feeling as though there was much of an option for us.  Specifically, we had the Vegan Tasting Plate and the Curry Vegetable Wrap.

Vegan Tasting Plate

To be clear, I’m not the sort of person who expects the world to cater to her diet.  There are reasons I don’t go near steakhouses, burger joints and such.  I suppose I held Oasis to a higher standard, since they pride themselves on being veg-friendly and healthy, and have a pretty good reputation for catering to a more conscious crowd.

Despite being a bit irked at the lopsided menu, when our food arrived, it looked fabulous.  Click on the images to see the plates in close-up.  Our server, whose name I can’t recall, was very pleasant and even welcomed me taking photos at the table.  *note* The wine you see was brought by our friend, and is probably not available through Oasis, though they do serve alcohol as well.

Curry Vegetable Wrap

To start with the Tasting Plate (above), on the right of the pita segments is hummus: plain and simple, but not a bad hummus at all.  I finished it off.  On the left is the artichoke tapenade, which Tyran loved and now wants to recreate at home.  I can’t for the life of me recall what kind of beans our server told us went into it.  From now on, if I’m drinking at dinner, I’m taking notes!

The curried tofu in the Curry Vegetable Wrap (left), was tasty and made me wonder why I don’t cook with curry more often.  The wrap also had a schmear of pesto which added a flavor boost.  In both dishes, the pita bread was deliciously warm and thick.  The veggies and greens were a bit bland, but then, I’m the garlic-and-vinegar sort, so my taste isn’t that of everyone, and you may very well disagree.  All in all, we finished off every last juicy bit, and left feeling both pleasantly full and tipsy.

Overall verdict: great atmosphere, friendly service, pretty good food, but poor vegan selection.  Not a bad place to go if the people you’re with refuse to eat a single vegan meal.   (I’m not naming names…)

In keeping with one of my New Year’s resolutions, (to make more time for people who inspire me), I met up today with an old friend, the person who inspired me to become vegan when we took a course together just over 4 years ago.  Added to the joy of spending time with someone I don’t see nearly enough, and meeting his fiancee, was the joy of being introduced to a brand new vegan cafe, City Cakes & Cafe! They just opened on Saturday, and I suspect they’ll have great success!

Some of you may remember Cocoa Cafe on 9th South, 282 East, next door to Chanon Thai.  Well, Cocoa Cafe is no more, but City Cakes & Cafe has taken their spot, and they’ve filled it with vegan love.

<——–Check out this little reminder on their wall.  (It isn’t actually crooked, that’s just my sloppy photography coming through.)  I get the feeling plenty of happy moments will take place in this cafe.

Have you ever wondered how much joy one bake case can hold?  Take a look!  Yes, everything in the case below, except the items in the middle of the bottom row, is vegan.  The cinnamon rolls, though not labeled, are vegan!  Until today, I hadn’t had a cinnamon roll in years.  (And now I may never get around to making my own, with these nearby.)

click to drool over close-ups.

Of course, the three of us opted to order a bunch of items and split them.  We got a cinnamon roll, a brownie, and a blueberry muffin from the bake case.   I didn’t get pictures, but they have a bunch of organic teas as well.  (The Orange White tea is delicious.)

Oh, and as we stood at the counter waiting our turn (yes, they have a fair amount of foot traffic already) I saw steam rising from one of four silver contraptions behind the counter, and smelled something delicious.  It took me a while to grasp what was in front of me….waffles!! We got a waffle with blueberries and strawberries on top, syrup, and vegan butter.  They offer maple, agave, and fruit syrup for your fresh, perfectly cooked waffles.

So, how does everything taste?  Exactly the way you want it to. The cinnamon roll was soft and not overloaded with frosting.  The brownie surprised me with hidden chocolate chunks, and again, wasn’t overly sweet, but just right.  The first bite of blueberry muffin brought out a nostalgia for blueberry muffins I hadn’t even known was lurking inside me.

These pictures really can’t convey the delicious experience waiting for you at the cafe, but go ahead and click on them anyway to see larger images.

Suggestion: next time you’re at Chanon Thai, and you’ve burned your tastebuds, head next door to City Cakes and Cafe for a sweet dessert.  And please take me with you!  I need more waffles…

et cetera