Friday, October 3, 2008

Stone Soup

Oh Burlington, now that we have learned your mysterious ways. We have found your hidden vegan delights and shout the delicious praises far and wide. Zabby & Elf's Stone Soup is one such place. There is always a vegan option, several actually. On their permanent menu (well as permanent as I can tell as it hasn't changed since I've been going there) you'll find:
  • Vegan Club (tofu & tempeh mega yum)
  • Hummus & Veg (pretty self explanatory)
  • Seitan Pepper Steak (seitan, sweet peppers, onions - make sure you ask for this without the cheese or "make it vegan" they will either use vegan cheese if they have some or just leave it off).
  • Seitan Reuben (seitan, sauerkraut, you know, a reuben - make sure you ask for this without the swiss or "make it vegan").
  • Roasted Tofu (a roasted/baked tofu hot sammie)
All these sammies are $7.95-$8.50. That may or may not sound like a lot of money for a sandwich depending on where you're based but you aren't just buying a sandwich here. You're buying more like two sandwiches. These are huge. Yes I've seen people eat a whole one in one sitting (*cough* my husband *cough*) but they really are big enough for two meals. See for yourself . . .

This is my seitan pepper steak I brought back to eat at my desk. Don't mind the papers everywhere. The filling is barely contained within those giant slabs of bread.
Is that kale? Why yes it is. Everyday, like clockwork there will be hot kale. It says so on the Stone Soup t-shirts. All the sandwiches are served with chips but if you ask nicely they will give you kale instead.

The kale brings me to another great feature of this little cafe, the hot/salad bar. Most of these items can change daily. As I mentioned, kale is everyday (horray!) with the hot items. You'll usually find a few other vegan items here like seitan stew or pot pie, tofu sesame stew, brazilian bean stew, roasted sweet potato. The salad bar is usually rockin' with greens, beans (edemame, chickpeas, etc), peas/corn, sprouts, carrot, seeds, tomatoes, great stuff and of course a selection of dressings.

On the bottom left of that handy chalk board will be the daily soup selection. This day there weren't any vegan choices but there is usually at least one. I've had a pretty tasty carrot soup as well as a superb lentil. And check out that wall of bread, so pretty.
I have been known to stare off into that kichen, mesmorized by the prep for next day, the giant soup pots, the equally giant tubs of spices.

Did I mention that they also have vegan desserts? I didn't? It nearly slipped my mind. Yeah, they make vegan chocolate cake, chocolate chip cookies, macaroons, brownies, peanut butter chocolate bars, a couple other things I'm probably forgetting. They are a great treat after a ginormous salad or sammie. If you can pack it in.

Sometimes while I'm waiting for my order to come up I'll listen to other people order.
The main courses aren't so interesting. Either you're a vegetarian or you're not, either you like veggies/tofu/seitan or you think it's strange. No, I like to watch people pick out a dessert. It is immediately obvious who thinks vegan food is not only strange but potentially gross and poisonous.

Customer: "I'll have a chocolate chip cookie"

Server: "The vegan chocolate chip?"
Customer: "Actually I'll have a (insert whatever they see next that does not say vegan on the sign)"

I have to giggle everytime.
Oh and they have a fresh fruit bowl too so if you are in a eating healthy kinda mood you are covered.
Beverages range from the complimentary filtered water to bottled water, juices, iced teas, to wine and beer. I think they also have some house brewed iced tea, unsweetened.

So the only drawback to this place is that it is pretty small. They've crammed as many seats in as possible and in the warmer weather there is outside seating too but when that lunch crowd hits, watchout. Don't let that put you off going though. They food is good, homey, comforting, fresh and I haven't had a snooty or rude encounter yet. It's a great place to go with your omni pals because they cater so well to both so no one feels left out.

Oh and on the corner of the counter there is a shelf below with a copy of, yup, you guessed it, Stone Soup.


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Anonymous said...

That is a great review! Vegan desserts at a regular place is really so much awesomeness. I'm very jealous right now!

Lisa (Show Me Vegan) said...

nice to hear about vegan dining options- i always do a search on possibilities when i travel!

Bethany said...

I grew up in VT and was back there in August. I went to stone soup twice. Love their sandwiches.

I also LOVE the crispy mongolican seitan (not really sure if it's the right name, but it's their #1 veg item) at A Single Pebble.

I blogged about the other places we went in Burlington.


Anonymous said...

Stone Soup sounds amazing! I so wish I had a restaurant like that near here. Hat seitan pepper steak looks killer!

IsaChandra said...

I like that place. Your pic makes Burlington look almost like a real city.

Sanja said...

That conversation is indeed funny. :-)

Lindsay I-F said... of my favorite places! My husband's as well he gets the vegan club all the time since he lucky enough to work downtown. I love the vegan macaroons and make them pretty often since I can't make it to Burlington enough to get them.

Lisa -- Cravin' Veggies said...

That looks like a great place!

I love how people think that "vegan" means "weird ingredients".

When I showed my sister VCTOTW, she said, "Oh, they are normal... there is nothing strange in them?"

Jennifer said...

This looks like an amazing restaurant! I've never been to Vermont, but when I finally do make it there, I'm going to this restaurant first!

( (OpenID troubles are forcing me to comment using Google/Blogger ID))

Celine said...

I need to travel and get out more. if I'm ever in that area, I'll be sure to check it out following your kickass rec.

Kati said...

Aww, Burlington. I haven't been in about six years. Next time I do, Stone Soup is on my list. Kale!

Bex said...

bethany - Yes I love single pebble, my friend cooks there

isa - it's all about the illusion

yes everyone come to burlington! stay tuned for more vegan finds. I have a really exciting one on the way.

aTxVegn said...

Stone Soup looks like a great place for soup and sammies. And vegan desserts are a great bonus!

Ginger said...

i want that. that place looks like a lot of places in denver....not many places with that many veg*n options though. sounds lovely.

your desk looks like mine. haha.