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Gateway Market (Des Moines, IA) & Ecopolitan (Minneapolis, MN)

August 17, 2011

A quick reminder before we begin:
Voting ends tomorrow on Sunwarrior’s smoothie contest, and I’m way behind on votes. I could really use your help! If you haven’t already, please click here to make sure you “like” Sunwarrior’s Facebook page, then click here and “like” my photo. I’d REALLY appreciate it!

Now! Rewind to 4th of July weekend, 2011…
Matt and I took a weekend road trip to Minneapolis to attend a steampunk sci-fi convention (more on that later) and hang out with some friends of his. I’m going to skip around a bit, showing you our meals out of order, so I can better “package” them into my posts this week and next.

The Friday before the 4th of July, we grabbed a couple almond milk lattes at Mud Pie and left town in the late morning, heading north towards Minneapolis. En route, we stopped in Des Moines, Iowa for a late lunch at the Gateway Market Café.

Gateway actually had lots of veg options, so it was hard to choose what to order. Matt settled on the special of the day, a Tofu Banh Mi, with vegan mayo on the side.

I ended up with the Vegetarian House Ramen: sesame-miso broth with fresh ramen noodles, tofu, carrot, scallions, corn, and spinach. It was WAY too oily for me, so I didn’t enjoy it as much as I could have.

On our way back from Minneapolis the following week (told you I was going to skip around!), we stopped again at Gateway for lunch. This time, Matt had the Vegetarian Pad Thai: rice noodles tossed with seasoned tofu, green onion, cilantro, bean sprouts, garlic, chili paste, and soy sauce, with peanuts and lime. It wasn’t authentic, by any means, but he enjoyed it well enough.

Unfortunately, I sort of struck out again. I had the house-made Roasted Red Pepper Hummus, served with pita chips and olives. The hummus and the olives were good, but those pita “chips”? It was just pita bread sliced and deep-fried. As you can imagine, deep-frying something as thick as pita bread requires tons of oil and a long frying time. These “chips” were so drenched in grease that I couldn’t eat many of them. Lay off the excess oil, Gateway!

Now, on to Minneapolis!
The first night we were there, we hit up Ecopolitan, the only 100% organic, raw, and vegan restaurant in town (to my knowledge), for dinner. I was excited for this place!

Matt started the meal with a Tasty Tonic juice: apple, cucumber, bell pepper, and lime.

Unfortunately, Matt enjoyed the juice more than he enjoyed his entrée. His raw Lasagna Plate consisted of sun-dried tomato sauce and cashew cheese layered with zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper, and spinach, plus a cup of the raw garden soup of the day. He felt there was too much cheese in the lasagna. I think he kinda should’ve expected there to be plenty of cashew cheese in a raw lasagna, but that’s just me. 😛

I, on the other hand, went crazy over the deliciousness of my choice, the raw Taco Pizza: curried hummus, lentil taco “meat,” tomato, bell pepper, onion, cilantro, cashew sour cream, and a mountain of sprouts. Oh my GAWD. Just like at Fresh Restaurant in Toronto, I really think this dish was made for me—curry, hummus, and lentils, oh my! The thin, crisp, cracker-like crust was the perfect vehicle for the copious toppings. Two thumbs up!

We ended the meal with a raw cookie, which I believe was made of Brazilnuts, dates, dried coconut, and carob, plus a drizzle of agave caramel. Simple, but yummy.

After that, we spent the evening (into the wee hours of the next morning, in fact) partying with thousands of other people at the aforementioned steampunk sci-fi convention, where at one point the super-nerd in me indulged in this photo op with “Stephen Hawking.” Awesome!

More about our Minneapolis trip coming up!

3 years ago…
No posts this week
2 years ago…
Raw pecan pie cookies
1 year ago…
Coconut Secret, reviewed
Raw mocha-chocolate mousse tart

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2011 12:41 pm

    Gateway has a long ways to go for us vegan/vegetarians, but for Iowa it’s a big leap in the right direction. Wish I could have been there to show you the beauty that is Des Moines. It is very up and coming and extremely liberal and progressive! There are far better places that offer fabulous vegan cuisine (Fresh Cafe & Ritual Cafe are two of my personal faves). Next time you head up there, give me a shout out and I’ll point you in the right direction!

    Chelsea

    (if you can’t tell, I’m from DM 🙂 )

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 12:46 pm

      Totally true – it’s GREAT that DM has a place like that with tons of veg options! We wanted to stop somewhere else besides Gateway on the way home, but it was the 4th of July, and Ritual Cafe and Fresh Cafe (both of which we tried to go to) were both closed! 😦 Next time…

      Thanks for the offer to show me around! DM isn’t too far from KC, so I have no doubt I’ll be back 🙂

  2. August 17, 2011 12:58 pm

    What a fun trip! Bummer that some of the foods you ordered weren’t as good as you hoped. I especially hate when I try and order something different than I normally do and it’s not good.
    Can’t wait to hear more!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:03 pm

      I’m not very hard to please at restaurants (no, really!), so what bothers me the most is when something very simple and basic – like what should’ve been simply toasted pita – gets done poorly. =/ Ah well, you win some, you lose some.

  3. August 17, 2011 2:37 pm

    I’m excited that you went to the Ecopolitan I live in the twin cities and still have not made it there. I’ll have to try the taco pizza 🙂

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:02 pm

      YES, totally get the Taco Pizza! Mmm, maybe teleport me a plate of it while you’re at it… 😉

  4. August 17, 2011 5:57 pm

    so disappointing about the pita chips! i got a hummus platter last weekend, and was so surprised when i tasted the pita bread and realized it had been thoroughly buttered! why would anyone butter pita before dipping it in hummus?

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 17, 2011 6:01 pm

      Buttered pita?! Ew! I agree, that’s a ridiculous thing to do!

  5. August 17, 2011 11:29 pm

    That Taco Pizza looks amazing, Amber! And yes, that pita fails. That pita fails big time.

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 18, 2011 12:21 pm

      I think I must recreate that pizza at home sometime. And make my OWN pita chips, to make up for this pita-fail. 😛

  6. August 18, 2011 8:38 am

    The tacos looks amazing!! I love my pita chips thin and with not too much oil too. Can’t stand when they’re thick and oily!!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 18, 2011 12:23 pm

      Same here! I like my pita best when it’s fresh and just barely toasted, so the inside is still soft.

  7. August 18, 2011 1:52 pm

    wow the soup does look oily but food otherwise!! and the pad thai pic makes me want to go get thai food ASAP, too bad it wasn’t authentic but at least it tasted okay! your dinner looks really good!

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      August 18, 2011 2:09 pm

      As much as I like authentic ethnic food, there is no such thing as bad pad thai in my book 🙂

  8. August 21, 2011 12:47 pm

    Great food pictures. I think the raw lasagne with soup looks fab!x

    • Amber Shea @Almost Vegan permalink
      September 1, 2011 5:19 pm

      Thanks Zoe!

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