Saturday, August 20, 2011

Brixx Pizza chain offers vegan cheese down South

Initially our trip was to go down to Raleigh, wait a few hours and fly our passengers home.  A mechanical glitch turned that into a 3 day culinary adventure but for our quick lunch on day one we were driven over to a pretty nice sized shopping center.  I have to guess that half of the stores there were restaurants.  While searching for decent options for my carnivore co worker I noticed a Jason's Deli, (which has a pretty huge salad bar), and a Greek place which had falafel, (always a welcome choice but didn't think it was a Greek dish.  I wouldn't have looked for a vegan option in a Greek restaurant but was surprised to find one).  I wanted to do a bit more exploring. 

And there was Brixx.  I passed it off initially as just another pizza place but I'd never seen a Brixx before so I wandered in just to eliminate it as an option.  Lo and behold, there was the word VEGAN on the menu.  I asked the hostess and she actually directed me to one of the waitresses who was vegan, (who turned us on to Earth Fare).  She gave me the lowdown and although we didn't choose Brixx for that lunch, put it on my list for the future.  Little did I know it would be the next day.

We, (my good friend Helene and my compatriot RB), sat outside overlooking the parking lot as it wasn't yet plastic melting summer temperature season.  Or we just had a cool(er) day.

Our waiter, although eager to help, seemed a bit undertrained, (as most servers are), on the issues intrinsic to a vegan diner.  I have to suggest that any restaurant offering a vegan option will ... well ... attract vegans so should have the answers to the basic questions we will ask.  Actually, we pretty much ask only one question, (first), which is, "Is (insert food item here) vegan?"  So I sort of have to call you to task on not knowing which of your beers are vegan, (see, or if the dough or tomato sauce has egg, milk or cheese in it.  I care less that it does, (well I do care that it does), but from a "what am I going to eat for dinner" standpoint I care more about my dinner options at the moment.  The manager did find out the answers from the kitchen so the info was available.  I'm just saying, if you put "vegan" on the menu these questions will come.

We started with the hummus appetizer plate with grilled pita.

Wood Fired Pita Chips and Three Dips

traditional hummus, roasted red pepper hummus and black bean hummus served with pita chips dusted with cumin   5.95

The three dips were all tasty but I think I like the traditional the best.  The red pepper had a really nice flavor but the black beans, I think, made the last option a bit heavier than the first two.  Of course I forgot the picture but imagine pita slices with beautiful grill marks and three nice sized helpings of tan, orange, and black spotted mashed bean hummus.  The pita was charred just right and had a nice soft/crisp texture.

Pear and (not) Grogonzola above, Wild Mushroom below.

Pear & Gorgonzola

sliced pear, mozzarella, gorgonzola 
and caramelized onions topped with 
toasted walnuts   9.95

Wild Mushroom

wood-roasted shiitake, portobello and button mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan   9.95

The entrees had to be wood fired pizzas since the name of the place is really "Brixx, Wood Fired Pizzas," and if that's what they're known for who am I to swim against the tide.  Our entrees were two brick oven roasted pizzas, both on whole wheat crusts.  Now you know I'm from New York City, (where pizza and anything good must surely have been invented), and have a certain kind of crust in mind.  This crust was alright but I found it very thin and at the edges almost cracker like.  Under the toppings the cracker absorbed some moisture and was more chewy which I enjoyed a bit more.  I vote for a thicker crust but that's my personal preference.

The Pear pizza had a delicious mixture of sweet from the onions and fruit and richness and salt from the cheese.  The mushroom combination pizza was incredibly savory in a woodsy sort of way with the 3 kinds of mushrooms and the peppery bite of arugula mixed with the creaminess of the cheese.

Of course the cheese was vegan, not from cow secretions but it was not Daiya.   It was, I  believe, Follow Your Heart and in this application melted and worked perfectly.

Kudo's to Brixx for putting a vegan option out there.  It's right there on the printed menu but notably absent on the online menu.  I sent an email asking why and am waiting for a response.  Raleigh Durham has what seems to be a growing vegan community and this vegan pizza should be trumpeted from the rooftops, not discovered by accident when looking for a salad.

Here's the response to the email I sent.

Marty -

We do not have a vegan menu on our site, but are working on it. We have a new site being built and the vegan items will be there.

The short answer is that our dough is vegan. We have vegan cheese as an option and a wide array of veggie pizzas which are also vegan with the cheese.

We would be thrilled to be listed on your blog. Please let me know if I can help with more information.

Tim Miner
Brixx Wood Fired Pizza

And true to his word, second from the bottom, (someone has to be last, right?), this from the online menu:

Vegan Options
We also offer an array of vegan options for our guests. Our vegan cheese is available on any of our pizzas, salads and sandwiches at no extra charge. And, our regular and whole wheat doughs are made with turbinado sugar and are 100% vegan, as well. Click here for more nutritional information on our vegan cheese.
I mean, they even got the sugar right.  My hat is off to Brixx and I'll definitely be stopping by again when my travels take me to RDU

Brixx Wood-Fired Pizza on Urbanspoon


Helene said...

Not even a mention?? I went back for the pear pizza and they were out of pears so I got a Mexican style pizza made Vegan. It wasn't as good as the pear. They have a text/online coupon for buy one get one free pizza. I went to Mellow Mushroom and ordered a vegan style pizza, daiya cheese, BBQ tofu, caramelized onions and avocado on a white crust (no wheat option). It was good but I can make it just as good or better at home on a wheat crust. :)

Marty said...

Not to feel slighted, I have full command over the edit button.

Truthfully, I just wanted to get some half written posts out there.

to you Helene!

Would you post the link to the coupon and I'll tweet it out.

What I find about eating out even if I can make it better, I can't make it EASIER and sometimes lack of effort trumps quality. Marinating tofu in BBQ sauce then realizing you have no avocado ... you know.