Tennessee

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Cashew, Chattanooga

Cashew, Chattanooga

If visiting the Scenic City and near Coolidge Park, try Cashew. This vegan restaurant is a little hard to find as it is tucked away. When I was there renovation was going on. This must mean the place is doing well.

The establishment seems to be known for their vegan cheese, which I tried on some nachos. I was not disappointed. As a former cheese-aholic, I was satisfied.

I also tried the traditional burger while my wife had the meatball sub. The entire meal was great, service good, presentation solid. For those with a sweet tooth, try the vegan cookies.

The hours of Cashew are limited but I expect this to change as news of their tasty healthy meals spread.

The next time I visit I will try the Buffalo Bowl. Chattanooga should be proud and support this growing healthy eatery.

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Imagine Vegan Café

Imagine Vegan Café

Tucked away on a quaint street in Memphis is Imagine Vegan Café.  This street has access to medical and educational  institutions in Memphis.
 
As I was in the barbeque capital of the south, I ordered a barbeque sandwich platter. The sandwich tasted processed,  salty for my taste and served on a white bun.  The menu tried to recreate typical comfort foods in a vegan way but the delivery of these were processed. I found little fresh but more pre-packaged and processed selections.
 
We also sampled their appetizers. I had the same feeling here, fried, and even oily, especially the macaroni and cheese. I could get these items off the shelf at the store and heat them up. 
 
The challenge here is getting fresh, unprocessed vegetables. I love what they are trying to do, however, at this point they are a work in progress for the purists. I am imagining the potential for the future. On a good, better, best scale, I would have to give them a good and heading in the right direction.

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Sunflower Cafe, Nashville

Sunflower Cafe, Nashville

We were recently traveling to Memphis and passed through Nashville. Taking out our trusty iPhones, we were directed to many healthy possibilities. We chose the Sunflower Café. This establishment is in south Nashville not far from the I-65, 440 intersection. Getting there is a challenge but worth it, a GPS is needed.

As we walked in, there was a buzz of excitement in the air. The Gulf Coast University women’s soccer team was feasting and we jumped into a fast-moving cafeteria style line. Helpful staff gave us the menu and I knew I wanted to try a jalepeno burger with some sides. My wife had the sunflower burger. The taste was excellent, very fresh. The portion was on the small side and I was glad we ordered sides of potato salad, Thai noodles, and a corn and bean salad. The sides were fresh, well textured, but a little bland. I was appreciated the variety of hot sauces available. I indulged in a chocolate peanut butter raw cookie. Believe it or not, this was the highlight of the visit. We even got a second cookie to go.

The meal was priced less than ten dollars and the staff were happy and upbeat. Serving healthy food seemed more than a job. The entire menu was organic. I was impressed on how fast they moved people through the line. If in Nashville, this is a great lunch place. I would not choose Sunflower Café for a romantic dinner or a place for a long conversation about life. They are also not open on Sunday.

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Plant Power Cafe, Chattanooga

Plant Power Cafe, Chattanooga

I recently had the opportunity to eat at Plant Power Cafe and Juice Bar in midtown Chattanooga. The flavor and texture of the food made this a pleasant as well as nutritional dining experience. The staff is small but eager to help and answer questions.

I sampled two different appetizers, the spicy tostada and the oatmeal sliders. Both had exceptional flavor and texture. I believe a good bread is essential to a meal and Plant Power Cafe did not let me down. For my entree, I tried the Portobello Mushroom Burger while my wife tried the Spicy Black Bean Burger. The food was so good, we came back again and brought a friend. This time I had the BBQ Sandwich with a cole slaw. This was made from green jackfruit marinated in a sensational BBQ sauce, I could have eaten another. The texture and taste left the buds wanting more.

They also have a full range of salads, juices and desserts. The establishment is small and new but what stood out to me was the flavor and texture. the staff is there for any questions and concerns. The prices are reasonable and the food is fresh. Across the street, I noticed the typical fast food low nutritional establishments and was so glad I took the time to try a new and non-chain restaurant.

They have a take-out menu. I plan on trying more dishes in the future. The marinated tofu and avocado salad will be dishes I try on my next visit. If in Chattanooga, look them up. You will be glad you did.

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Taco Mamacita’s, Chattanooga

Taco Mamacita’s, Chattanooga

We were hungry at lunch and wanted to have some healthy Mexican cuisine. Not far from Coolidge Park in Chattanooga we found Taco Mamacita’s restaurant tucked away next to a few other assorted stores and eateries. The place was packed and alive. The decor was bright and inviting. We had chips with an assortment of salsas. I especially enjoyed the mango salsa. This was a salsa I had never tried. One of the strengths of this restaurant is there is something for everyone. They had a vegan menu and I chose the enchiladas. This was the best choice of our table. The bean and corn dish was especially fresh, my wife had the guacamole dip and a tortilla soup. The portions seemed a little small, which left me wanting more. Everything was fresh. The servers were busy and if you are in a hurry, this might not be your place, but it is perfect for a “date night” and then you can stroll across the street and take a walk along the Tenneesee River. We did not have any thing cooked as everything we ate was put together fresh. I would recommend this for those who want to experiment with vegan food while comparing it to traditional dishes. I believe you will want to come back with friends to Taco Mamacita’s.

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Tomatohead, Knoxville

Tomatohead, Knoxville

Excellent, excellent food every time that I have been there.  Plenty of vegan or vegetarian options.  The menu is on their website.  I especially like the rice and bean bowl that’s available on Fridays.  The sauces are also very good.  May have a difficult time finding parking during the week especially at lunch but there is a parking garage close by.  Expect a line, as there is not a huge amount of seating, but the wait is worth it.

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Sunspot, Knoxville

Sunspot, Knoxville

There is Sunspot specific parking and a very nice rooftop patio.  Sunspot has a good variety of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options with free chips and salsa.  Their website describes the food as a “unique, multicultural blend of Southwestern, Caribbean and Latin American cuisines.”  If you have been to too many restaurants where you have a choice of only 1 or 2 items, this will be a refreshing change.

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Sluggo’s, Chattanooga

Sluggo’s, Chattanooga

From the outside, this place doesn’t look like much.  Inside, the place could do with a thorough cleaning.  But the food is excellent,  (especially the pot stickers, the sandwiches, the chili, and the burrito) and the prices are reasonable.  Good variety of vegan selections that even a non-vegetarian would eat.  Parking located behind café.