Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge 2020

During all of August, you can visit several local eateries, try a special dish, then vote on it as part of the Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge. This is the second year the challenge has taken place here, though it originally started elsewhere in 2011.

The lovely humans at Compassionate Action for Animals are the driving force behind the Twin Cities challenge, and you can find all the details at exploreveg.org/tcvcc

The following list is in no particular order, but I’ll update with my thoughts on each dish as I make my way through them, as well as include my own photos.

ROOT TO RISE KITCHEN: Jackfruit Wings

a white plate with veggies, jackfruit wings, and rice

Find them at the Northeast Farmers Market August 8 from 9am-1pm. They’re serving up Jackfruit Wings (pictured above) with a side of sweet coconut sticky rice, mango pineapple salsa and spicy blanched broccolini, and green beans. The jackfruit wings are delicious! The sauce is a barbecue base with some heat, and the textures of the breading and jackfruit are perfect together. Keep an eye out on social media for other opportunities to try it this month.
roottorisekitchen.com

REVERIE: Rev Burger and Market Hash

The Rev Burger includes their housemade Rev burger patty, rooibos tomato jam, arugula, smoked onions, and kimchi aioli on an Hambasha bun. The jam adds a sweetness to the burger that I’m not a fan off, but it’s easy enough to leave it off. And I know several people who love it with the jam. I’ve had the Market Hash before, and it’s a beautiful, fresh dish.
reveriempls.com

THE WIENERY: Deville Deluxe & Steaming Pile

a vegan sandwich and fries topped with mock duck, veggies, and vegan coleslaw

The Wienery has been part of the West Bank for 20 years but I just visited for the first time. They’re very vegan-friendly with mock duck, and vegan hot dogs and brats. The garlicky mock duck on the Deville Deluxe is drool-worthy, and they use Follow Your Heart mayo as the base of the coleslaw. The Steaming Pile is basically the Deville but with fries as a base topped with mock duck, veggies, and coleslaw. Note that they use shared fryers.
thewienery.com

PARKWAY PIZZA: Farmer Pizza and Artichoke Dip

Vegan artichoke dip with jalapenos

I’m a big fan of Parkway Pizza, and they just opened a new location in Roseville that’s super close to me! Their vegan Artichoke Dip is the stuff dreams are made of. The base is Follow Your Heart cheese, and the jalapeños add a good kick that I never knew I needed in an artichoke dip. They also have the Vegan Farmer Pizza: oil & garlic base, fresh basil, Follow your Heart cheese, and fresh cherry tomatoes and zucchini from the local farmers market. I haven’t tried the pizza yet but will update when I do.
parkwaypizzamn.com

AVOCADISH: Sweet ‘n Spicy Bowl

The Sweet n’ Spicy Bowl comes with brown rice & spinach, roasted sweet potato, paprika chickpeas, black beans, and red and green onion with a sliced avocado filled with avocado hummus, almonds, paprika, and house vinaigrette. Can’t wait to try it!
avocadish.com

HEATHER’S: Buddha Bowl

The Buddha Bowl includes coconut jasmine rice, roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower, red peppers, pickled red onion, fried curry tofu, and cilantro chutney. This is the only vegan dish marked on their menu besides guacamole.
heathersmpls.com

THE NAUGHTY GREEK: Favalafel Gyro

a pita filled with falafel, eggplant spread, cucumbers, tomatoes, red onion and fries

The Favalafel Pita comes with three favalafels, an eggplant spread, cucumbers, red onion, tomatoes, and fries, along with a Greek side salad that comes with a super creamy vegan feta cheese. The favalafel has a little bit of sweetness to it, and the whole dish is full of flavor. I could do without the fries as part of the pita, but I’d take a bucket full of fries on their own.
thenaughtygreek.com

SHISH: Falafel Burger

My friend Ian over at The Plant-Based Beard will be visiting some of the challenge spots, and he’s already hit up Shish. The Falafel Burgers looks so good!
shishongrand.com

RED WAGON PIZZA COMPANY: Chique Pea Pizza

The Chique Pea Pizza includes hummus, spiced chickpeas, red onion, olive tapenade, harissa-marinated Roma tomatoes, and citrus-dressed arugula. I’m sure it tastes as good as it looks!
redwagon-mpls.com

PLNT BSD: Paradise Bowl

The PLNT BSD Paradise Bowl includes a banana, almond milk, strawberry, and blueberry base topped with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, pineapple, gluten-free crunch, coconut, chia seeds, and edible glitter, served in a frozen pineapple bowl. At the very least, do it for the Gram.
plntbsdbowls.com

NAMASTE CAFE: Jackfruit Curry Special

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I 💗 Namaste Cafe, and how wonderful that they’re participating in this year’s Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge. I highly recommend that all my Twin Cities peeps visit them during the month of August to sample their delicious #vegan specials, and boy oh boy, are they special! For an appetizer, we had the Chiya Chili Potatoes, which I have renamed my Golden Nuggets of Devilish Delight. According to their menu, these crispy potatoes are “glazed with crushed pepper, ginger, maple syrup, sesame seeds, nigella seeds, vinegar, and spices.” The sesame flavor comes through big-time and these little love bites have quite the spicy kick, so if you like that kinda thing these are for you! 🔥 (I had my iced chai on hand…) Then there was a jackfruit wrap with all kinds of flavor going on. I don’t remember the official name for this dish or what exactly was in it. I just know it was damn good. (I’ll update this post when I get all the info… For now, you can just drool over the photos and use your imagination.) The entree extraordinaire was the Jackfruit Bamboo-shoot Curry with Mango-Coconut Coleslaw. Your Mistress doesn’t often get to eat jackfruit, so it’s such an adventure when I do, and I must say this was scrumptious. “Curry cooked with exotic jackfruit and bamboo-shoot, fresh tomatoes and onions spiced with black cardamom, green cardamom and garam masala. Cut the spice with fruity Mango-Coconut coleslaw and Basmati rice.” A wonderfully balanced dish between the savory curried jackfruit and the sweet coleslaw. I shared all these dishes with one of my many lovers and it was perfecto portions. Also FYI @namastecafempls has a huge patio that can accommodate lots of social distancing, and beautiful flowers and vines and… well, it’s just a little slice of paradise, always one of my favorite places to grab a gorgeous vegan meal in the Twin Cities and even more so now during Twin Cities Vegan Chef Challenge while they’re serving up the spectacular specials. Visit @tcveganchefchallenge to learn more about the contest and have some fun with it. Your Mistress has spoken. 💋 #tcveganchef

A post shared by Mistress Ginger (@mistress.ginger) on

It’s been a minute since I’ve visited Namaste Cafe, but I’m checking my schedule because their challenge dishes have me itching to go. Their Chiya Chili Potatoes appetizer looks especially ah-may-zing. Make sure to swipe through Mistress Ginger’s photos to see all of the options.
namastecafemn.com

Are you drooling yet? What are you going to try first?? I’d love to hear about your challenge experiences in the comments!

And don’t forget to vote: exploreveg.org/tcvcc

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