The Skinny Dip

Location:

985 Providence Road (Providence Square Shopping Center)

Virginia Beach, Virginia 23464

Website
Atmosphere:  I’ve eaten at this build-your-own- massive-froyo-sundae place two times.  Both times, they had 1 vegan option available, and one time I was out of luck because there wasn’t a vegan option for that day (check their website or Facebook to make sure).

  

My first adventure I got “German Chocolate Cake”, which was awesome because my Dad loved it and we would have it on his Bday. I added toasted coconut and Oreos from the toppings bar. The flavor was pretty spot on! Super sweet and creamy, with nutty flavor thanks to the coconut. And… Oreos are kind of like avocados to me, they make everything better.  It would have been fine on its own, but don’t expect me to walk away from Oreos. Not gonna happen. 

  
On my second adventure, I got the “Cake Batter” flavor with of course, more Oreos.  Just like the last time, this froyo was super sweet and creamy.  It had a strong vanilla flavor, just like actual cake batter. Good Job, Skinny Dip! 

Just so you know, this place does not charge by size. They charge by weight. So both of these were between $6 – $7 a pop. Not cheap, but either is vegan ice cream in general. 

Dig It or Ditch It?

Dig it!! The vegan flavors I have tried have been great. I like the fact that you can check the day’s flavors online, so you know when you will find a vegan option. The toppings bar was awesome and include fresh fruit, granola, and of course, crushed Oreos. Give this place a try, but don’t go too too crazy, remember they charge by weight! Let me know how you like it! 

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Carytown Cupcakes

Location:

3111 W Cary St.

Richmond, VA 23221

Website
Atmosphere: This place is as cutesy as can be. Pink walls and cupcake decorations, this place looks like the inside of a dollhouse.  As soon as you walk in, you’re faced with a large display case of rows upon rows of beautiful, drool-inducing cupcakes including vegan and gluten-free options.  They offered fresh brewed coffee, and had almond milk boxes for sale.

Food: I ordered the Vanilla Bean cupcake and the Cookies n Cream cupcake. I cannot put into words how delicious these little miracles were.  The frosting was light and sweet beyond belief, just the way a cupcake should be. They were so moist, but not greasy in any way. I’ve had vegan cupcakes that have been super heavy and dense, but that wasn’t the case at all. In fact, they were so light and perfectly baked, I put away two of these with no problem whatsoever.   I was dancing in my chair as I ate these. They put Whole Foods to absolute shame. They were even more delicious paired up with some chocolate almond milk and coffee.


 

Dig it or Ditch it? DIG IT!  As I slowly drove away from this place, I was tempted to turn around and order a few dozen to scarf down on the drive home. I felt like I had just met my cupcake soulmate and I was being ripped away after only a few moments together.  Don’t worry, I will return, my love!

Ipanema Café

Location:

917 W Grace Street

Richmond, Virginia 23220

Website

Atmosphere:
I can only imagine what my face looked like as I had no choice but to step right into the middle of the lake-sized, ankle deep puddle that was located in the entrance of this place. As I attempted to shake out the water from my flats, I looked in to see a sight like I have never seen before. This place was like a little dungeon. Dimly lit, rope lights hanging, a long bar to drink at, and booths that looked like they could have been (or were at one point) confessional booths. 

This underground sight to be seen is located underneath a tattoo shop and was quite crowded! The strong scent of Incense hits you immediately as you check out the chalkboard menu on the wall of the entrance way. 
  
This menu is the only one in the place, so you have to remember what you want to order when you sit down. This sounds simple, since all the vegan items have a heart next to them, but I was so distracted by the funkiness of this place (check out the old phone and unicorn piñata below), that I had to get up and check the board out again. 

  
  
Food:

  

 After a very heated battle in my brain, I ordered the Eggplant and Kalamata “Sausages” for $5.00. These were slightly tangy, smoky, and perfectly crispy. The rosemary infused balsamic added sweetness and earthiness to this otherwise savory app, and the sautéed onions were the perfect addition to brighten the flavor up a little bit. I’ve never had anything quite like this dish before.

  
Next, I tried the fried artichoke for $5.00. They were fried until deeply golden brown and served with a zesty marinara sauce that did not skimp on garlic. The squeeze of lemon on these crispy yet soft artichokes, paired up with the show-stealing sauce, made this a flavorful treat.

  
Next up was the Grilled Focaccia bread (5.95). Light, chewy, and grilled, the bread was delicious and paired with a ramekin of a similar marinara sauce, but with a strong fennel flavor. What I thought was cool about this was that it was served with minced garlic and crushed red pepper flakes. I love garlic and would have garlic babies if I could, but just in case people don’t, this would nice to control how much of it they were eating. The red pepper added some heat, and rounded out an overall delicious side dish. 

  
Next, (Yes, I ate even more, don’t judge me!) was the Twin Oaks Tofu sandwich for $8.95. I didn’t originally order this, but after seeing it I had to try it. This baby featured a thick slab of tofu on a fresh white bun with hummus, roasted red peppers, onion, and spinach. The tofu had a strong grilled flavor, while the roasted red pepper and onions added texture and tang. The hummus was strong in garlic (Yay!) and vegan mayo added necessary moisture to the extremely flavorful and filling sandwich. I have nothing to note about the side salad or fries… But who cares? This was awesome. 

DIG IT or DITCH IT?

This place, by far, is the strangest place I have ever eaten. Built in the early 1800’s (according to the friendly waitress), this place is quirky, cute, and weird, all in a good way. Since it is strictly vegetarian/vegan, it’s nice being in a place where there’s no need to add disclaimers to your order ( the obligatory “I’m vegan, I don’t eat this, this, or this”). The food was just like the decor, unusual and awesome. Fresh ingredients, lots of creative menu items to choose from, reasonable prices, and friendly service makes me want to crawl into a corner of this little dungeon and stay there forever to eat. If you ever are in Richmond, don’t skip this place! You’ll love the food and most likely never forget it. I know I won’t! This is a definite DIG IT

Look they even have a little tea menu!