THE BLOCK off biltmore

Location:  

THE BLOCK off biltmore

39 S. Market Street

Asheville, NC

Atmosphere:  The BLOCK off bilmore (TBob, for short), is unlike any other establishment I have been to.  It’s described as an “eco-vegan, social justice, solidarity bar”, with all vegan alcohol and food.  All of the beverages, food items, and spirits are locally made, which supports smaller businesses in the community.  TBob has only been open for about 5 months, but has already become known for its community-based events, Open Mic Night, and delicious cocktails.

Food:  TBob hires local food artists to prepare and sell 100% plant-based foods on a nightly basis.  This not only supports local cooks/chefs, it exposes customers to a variety of freshly made, creative dishes and snacks.  Locally made gourmet potato chips, pretzels, and dark chocolate truffles are also available, in addition to absolutely fabulous coffee, served in small or large french presses.  The food options are always different, which is part of the fun of stopping by!   I’ve had many meals at TBob, including chana masala, mofungo, tempeh scramble with home fries, falafel, rosemary tofu and small plates/apps.  I’ve had incredible desserts including the best cupcakes I have ever had!

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Dig it or Ditch it?  DIG IT!  What’s better than a 100% vegan establishment that supports local businesses and the community?  I like the fact that the food is made with care from local food artists, and it is always spectacular!  If you’re in Asheville, stop by TBob for live music or a community based event, and order a plate of creative vegan food!

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Green Sage Café

Location:

Green Sage Cafe

5 Broadway St

Asheville, NC

(828) 252-4450

GreenSageCafe.com


Atmosphere:

Hellooooooo Asheville! I’ve officially relocated from Virginia Beach to Asheville, North Carolina! Instead of ocean views, now I am surround by mountains, and I’m so excited to try out all of the vegan food Asheville has to offer. 

Right in the heart of downtown Asheville, Green Sage Café offers up tons of vegan friendly breakfast and lunch options. With its active coffee shop scene, people of all ages visit to order a hearty meal, chill out with a nice cup of espresso, or do some work on their laptops. This spot is self -proclaimed as “Asheville’s Healthy Restaurant” and their mission is “to make nourishing food for our community using sustainable practices”. With the use of organic, non-GMO foods, and a separate waste bin for recycling and composting, this place lives up to its name. 

Food:

I ordered the Pura Vida Bowl with herbed tofu scramble in place of the eggs $8.50. This bowl was filled with brown rice, black beans, tofu scramble, fresh avocado salsa, grilled sweet potatoes, red onion, and sautéed kale.  This bowl had so many flavors and textures that played together beautifully. The fresh veggies added crunch to the beans and rice, and the tofu scramble added a savory herb flavor.  The grilled sweet potatoes were sweet and delicious. 

  

To drink, I ordered a large Pumpkin Spice latté with almond milk for $4.85. Coconut and soy milk were other non-dairy options. 3 shots of espresso in a huge mug would have been good enough for me (coffee addicts unite!!), but this was sweet and foamy, with a smooth pumpkin flavor. After moving from Virginia Beach the day before, this was a much needed pick-me-up.

  
Dig it or Ditch it?

DIG IT! 

Eco-conscious, laid back, fair priced, fresh and healthy vegan options? Umm, YES please! Asheville is lucky enough to have 3 Green Sage Café locations, and I predict that I will be visiting all of them frequently. Let me know if you give this place a try!

Yorgo’s Bageldashery

Location:

2123 Colonial Ave.

Norfolk, Virginia

Yorgosbageldashery.com

Atmosphere:

Laid-back, super casual, college-y vibes set the tone of this bagel shop.  With a constant steady flow of people in and out, you might guess that this place was the only source of food for miles. What could be so good about this place?!?

Then, I saw it.

I stared at the menu in absolute shock and awe. More than one or two vegan options?! Is this real life?

I’m talking vegan egg, sausage, and cheese on freshly made bagels, philly cheese steaks, BLTs, Italian hoagies, BBQ chiken, breakfast wraps, and more!

(Side note: Check out this mural on the wall!)


Food:

I managed to snap out of my menu induced trance, and ordered the egg, sausage and cheese on an everything bagel ($5.25), pictured below.


The bagel was absolutely perfect. Soft and chewy with a nice onion flavor. The house-made sausage had a spot-on texture with pleasant understated spiciness. The tofu eggs added substance to the sandwich, and the flavor and texture were true-to-the-real thing. The cheese was cheddar Daiya, and its creaminess and sharp flavor paired nicely with the spicy sausage.

Did I stop there? Nope. I ordered a breakfast wrap called “The Peterson” to take home.  It had hashbrowns, tofu scramble, onions, sausage, and cheese wrapped up in a wheat tortilla. ($6.75)


This wrap was outstanding. Substantial, flavorful, and fresh, pair this with a strong cup of coffee and its the perfect breakfast.

DIG IT or DITCH IT?!

DIG IT! There is vegan treasure here!!! So many vegan options, it’s absolutely a place you could visit often and never get bored.  Great prices, fresh ingredients, and quick, friendly service makes this place hard to beat.  They even have vegan cream cheeses and other treats for sale.  I will be visiting this place many, many more times to try all that Yorgo’s has to offer. I’m hungry already! 

Zeke’s Beans N Bowls

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Location:

Zeke’s Beans N Bowls

616 Norfolk Ave.

Virginia Beach, VA

757-963-5155

Atmosphere:

As I pulled up to this place, I wasn’t sure what I was going to find.  Zeke’s outer appearance is what some might call “shabby”.  I was happily surprised when I walked in the door.  Mom was right again, damn it, don’t judge a book by its cover.

For lack of a better term, the style of this place is “surf hipster”.  Mismatched sofas and cushioned chairs, retro stereo equipment that played some sort of dance/electronic songs, books that looked liked they have been kicked around for a decade or so, surf magazines and boards, and random items such as old school badminton rackets.  They even had paintings on the walls for sale, including a yogi meditating in a sunset and a psychedelic storm trooper right next to it.

Food:

Well, there were plenty of vegan options here. From smoothie bowls to salads, and an array of pitas and sandwiches that could sub-out the meat for tofu. Yay!

I ordered a latté and the “North Pole Bowl”, both pictured above. The latté went for $4.00 and the bowl went for $9.00. I ordered the Regular size, but there is also a smaller option.

The latté  had a lotté of cinnamon. Haha, see what I did there?! I did not get much of a coffee flavor, just a mouthful of cinnamon, but I appreciated that it was made with almond milk and had lots of foam. Party in my mouth!

The North Pole Bowl featured an acai smoothie with cinnamon granola, mango, sliced banana, blueberries, almonds, and shredded coconut.  This was exactly what I didn’t know I needed in my life! So fresh, fruity, and flavorful, my vegan heart and tastebuds were singing Katy Perry’s “Firework”, and I’m pretty sure I was dancing a little as I ate this cool, crunchy, and sweet combo.

DIG IT or DITCH IT? 

DIG IT! The relaxed hipster attitude, delicious and fresh ingredients, along with the multitude of vegan options, makes this place a must. I’ll definitely be returning in the future, and also recreating this bowl at home!