Friday, May 13, 2011

Hard Times Cafe, Minneapolis, MN The down and dirty vegan

First, if anyone can find an online menu please leave a comment with the link.  Thanks in advance.

This is one of the funkiest places on the planet.  I think everyone is tattooed in some bodily location.  Who knows, if I was 30 years younger I might be too.  If nothing else, it's a center of people watching, coffee drinking, vegan eating and one of the best fast food slinging places I've been too.

I like very much that there are instructions.  This makes me feel like I belong.  I don't get on a wrong line, talk out of turn or have to start over at "GO."

I did experience a moment of confusion when I asked for my sandwich to be vegan and the barista said he didn't thing the hoagie roll was vegan.  He checked.  Apparently it was.  (Whew!)

1) Find a menu
2) Make a choice
3) Write it down on a piece of paper
4) Give it to the Barista
5) Wait
6) Pick up food when your name is called

This is only one page of the menu.  They serve an all day breakfast.  This is the page that holds my interest.

Baked goods galore in the display case.  

Note the paper.  To order.  See rule number 3 above.

A few dozen teas, sodas, vegan fast comfort food and zigzags.   What else does your night need?

Working work area.  There are actually 2 flattop grills.

Lots of seating and it's not like New York crammed within an inch of each other.
You can BREATHE and enjoy!

Piled almost unmanageably high.  Overstuffed is a good word for this Bahn Mi.

Vietnamese Vegan Bahn Mi.  Outstanding flavors of grilled homemade seitan, pickled daikon radish and carrot pickle, cucumbers, cilantro jalapeno veganaise.  I squirted hot sauce on the sandwich and this was a delicious meld of coolness, crispness, chewy meaty seitan and a hint of heat and sweet from the pickle.  Outstanding sandwich contents.  I am not sure I wouldn't change up the bread for something a little less soft but it worked when I took a few bites at the table and it worked the next day after nuking it for 60 seconds.

My usual complaint in hero sandwiches is that there isn't enough seitan.  This Philly cheesesteak was loaded with seitan but the supporting cast was a bit sparse.  It was a delicious sandwich with the soft bread and cheesy crispy seared seitan but needed a bit more of the peppers and onions the sandwich is known for.

Look folks, this is a guy working on a flattop.  He slings out the food as fast as he can and I love the fact that there is a buzz in this place.  It was busy and the barista said the wait for food was going to be around 30 minutes.  (It was about 20).  So if a few peppers didn't get to my sandwich or they could have been cooked a few more minutes who cares.  These are not complaints, they're non issues.  Just saying, this is solid vegan food at it's down and dirty best.  I wish this place had an outlet around the corner from me.

The tortilla chips actually were a perfect compliment for the soft bread.

A new sticker for my mac!

You just have to love it when "Vegetarian" is in 12 inch letters. Now where does it say, "Vegan"?
Right next to the red sign in vertical letters.  I had to look for that one.

The restaurant is only closed for 2 hours between 4 AM and 6AM.  Why?  I don't know but I'd guess a lot of patrons at 4 am see the place from this angle.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

it is closed for those 2 hours to clean and assure it keeps up to Minneapolis health code. it used to be 24 hours.