Cooooookie party! (Taken with Instagram at Union Hall Kitchen)
This is our final Portland installment. We had lunch at Blossoming Lotus- up there in our top eatery picks. Who knew raw foods could be so delicious, interesting and filling! Then we went to the Living Well Bistro inside the Adventist Hospital on the outskirts of town, where the CEO is vegan. We met with Ashleigh, the hospital’s head dietician, and Cara, the head chef. Both are committed to providing fresh, local, tasty vegan fare. We hope this is the start of a new trend in hospital food! Then on to the perfect end to our trip: drinks and dinner with Julie and Jay Hasson — famous for Native Bowl food cart, Everyday Dish vegan internet TV show, and Vegan Diner cookbook, among others. Plus all-around-super-fun people!
Portobello was recommended to us more than any other vegan eatery in Portland. We went to Sunday brunch there, and now we understand why.
People in Portland think the way we do at The Lunch Room: vegan baked goods rock! Yesterday we sampled (more like wolfed down) muffins, scones, and pastries at Back to Eden and The Dovetail.
Vegan Portland Night 1 at the Bye and Bye! Great selection of yummy food and strong drinks plus good friends!
Day 1 of The Lunch Room’s vegan food tour of Portland. We headed straight to vegan BBQ food cart Homegrown Smoker, nestled in a food cart “pod.”
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February 6, 2012
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Ann Arbor’s Vegan Food Cart Prepares for Second Season
The Lunch Room, after celebrating a very successful first season, is developing
new menu items in preparation for an April 1 food cart re-opening.
Last May The Lunch Room joined six other food carts in launching downtown Ann Arbor’s premier food cart courtyard, Mark’s Carts. The Lunch Room took a bold concept—vegan food—and moved it into the mainstream with offerings such as barbeque tofu sandwiches with slaw, fruit and coconut milk smoothies, and tantalizing baked goods. The business quickly became one of the courtyard’s most popular destinations and achieved profitability after just six weeks.
Since the first season’s end on November 12, The Lunch Room’s co-owners Phillis Engelbert and Joel Panozzo have been producing cookies and pies for a growing list of area markets and cafes, as well as testing recipes for the coming season. The pair has introduced customers to new dishes at vegan dining events for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, plus a pie-tasting night. The next Lunch Room event will be a Valentine’s Day dinner, after which Engelbert and Panozzo will spend a week in Portland, Oregon, meeting with vegan cooks and touring the area’s numerous vegan restaurants.
In its first season, The Lunch Room’s menu—in addition to the aforementioned barbeque tofu, smoothies, and baked goods—included items as diverse as Pad Thai tofu, vegan Caesar salad, potato-curry stew, baked tempeh and rice with wild mushroom gravy, summer rolls with peanut sauce, a hummous-and-fresh-vegetable sandwich, and coconut-milk ice cream sandwiches. The second season’s menu will include many of the same items but place a greater emphasis on traditional comfort and summertime foods.
“We will offer our patrons the vegan, healthful equivalent of bar and picnic food,” explains Lunch Room co-owner Phillis Engelbert. “That means more sandwiches and wraps, sliders, vegan mac & cheese, items with smoked flavors, fresh fruit, fruit pies, crispy snacks, and an entire ice-cream sandwich menu.”
The Lunch Room got its start in October 2010, hosting a series of informal private pop-up vegan lunches, brunches and dinners at various locations throughout Ann Arbor and adjacent Ypsilanti. Guests were served five-course meals on old-style school lunch-room trays. Encouraged by the positive feedback to their offerings, Engelbert and Panozzo—next-door neighbors and vegan foodies—in February 2011 applied and were accepted to Mark’s Carts. They then launched a successful Kickstarter online fundraising campaign and, with the help of friends, built their own uniquely styled food cart. During its first season at Mark’s Carts The Lunch Room received many favorable food reviews.
The Lunch Room looks forward to the season 2 launch of Mark’s Carts on April 1. This popular, attractive and festive outdoor dining area—located on what used to be the roof of a parking deck—will host five returning carts plus three new carts.