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