I love travel. There are never any vacation days left over for me and trips are planned a year before. That being said, work offered an opportunity to travel and help out a property in Tucson for their busy season. I jumped at the chance. Though there are not many, there are vegan choices in this Mexico-esque city. Here are my thoughts on my favorite places to eat in Tucson, Arizona…
Lovin’ Spoonfuls Vegetarian Restaurant
Lovin’ Spoonfuls was the most recommended stop from my Instagram crowd so it was only right that it be my first eatery to try. I arrived on a stomach full of only coffee and coconut cashews and resisted the urge to order the comfiest of comfort foods. Instead, I ordered the Hail Caesar, to fit with my health kick I was on, and Battered Beer Brats to satisfy my always lingering need for comfort food. Both were amazing and worth getting again. The brats were perfectly fried and paired with honey mustard and the salad was garnished with carrots, pine nuts and croutons. It was a pleasure as I have not had Caesar salad in sometime.
Over the span of 7 days, I went back 2 more times, mostly due to lack of other vegan options or shear love of the place. On my next visit, I indulged a bit and ordered the Route 66 Bacon Cheeseburger with a side of potato salad and chips. The burger was great, the bacon on it, however, was a bit hard to chew through making the burger very messy. But messy smessy, the meal was delicious and it was worth every single unflattering chew.
My 3rd and final visit before leaving Tucson, I went overboard. I ordered the Golden Nuggets, Shoestring Fries and Spinach Salad. Everything was perfect but I clearly ordered too much food. Food coma followed, as expected.
Sticking with the health kick, I headed to Urban Fresh for a breakfast juice. A bit of a bad experience but in no way should it effect going here. I arrive at 8:15 to find it didn’t open till 9. Yelp had incorrect hours, ugh, like come on Yelp! The juicer was to arrive in 15 minutes though!! Hooray!! 20 minutes pass… no juicer. The chef, in a means to conduct good customer service, attempts to make my Get Rooted! juice of beet, dalkon, carrot and ginger. I watched his attempt… I saw the ginger go in, a very large chunk of ginger, and cringed. Ginger totally overpowered the taste… But I cannot complain, they were trying to get me on my way and they really tried! Plus, the chef mixed up the 16 ounce and 24 ounce cups so I had a very large, ginger juice for the price of a small one.
Mama’s Hawaiian Barbecue
It was free lunch Friday at work so the lunch decision had to be unanimous. As an outsider I just choose to accommodate to whatever lunch the full time staff wanted and find something on the menu. Everyone choose a Arizona favorite, Mama’s Hawaiian Barbeque. To my surprise Mama’s had Teriyaki Tofu on the menu! IT WAS AMAZING! Probably the best cooked tofu I ever had in my life.
For an early riser, Tucson seems to be a ghost town on a Saturday. I stopped for breakfast before work at Revolutionary Grounds, coffee shop/bookstore, owned by a family of at home vegans. Ordered the Revolutionary Bagel which was an everything bagel, topped with avocado, basil pesto and tomato. It was AMAZING and boy it is nice to indulge in the perfect specimen that is the bagel, sometimes.
Food for Ascension Cafe
I absolutely loved this place! The atmosphere was so serene and welcoming. It was also nice to have a friendly chat with a Philadelphia native who worked there and recognized my accent… but that’s besides the point. The food, all organic and local.n Everything about this place was too good not to love. I chose a rooftop seat and the view was just perfect. The menu had tons of appealing items so it was hard to choose! I decided on Biscuits and Gravy with a side of Turmeric Potatoes. YUM. This is a MUST STOP for anyone visiting the area! I even tried to go back a second time.
Mexico in Season
I was super excited to try this place! As Tuscon was so close to Mexico, I knew the Mexican influence would be apparent in the cities food culture. Mexico in Season was a top place on Yelp, that boasted vegan Mexican options. After checking out the menu… vegan cheese CHECK, vegan sour cream CHECK. I AM THERE. I arrived for lunch to an empty quick service restaurant. Normally I see this as a bad sign but who knows, it could have been a non-peak lunch time in Tuscon even though it was 12:45. SO I ordered the burrito bowl… as I walked down the Chipotle inspired ordering counter, I ask about the vegan cheese and sour cream, they had neither. I was extremely disappointed, as I would not have went out of my way to try this place as there were other places closer to my work I could have went to and received the same meal. The food was just okay. I would call ahead for anyone planning to go here for the special vegan options in the future.
Whole Food Speedway
Whole Foods… the savior of for all vegan travelers! This was my go-to place for snacks and even two meals! The vegan options were amazing. In my time there, I tried the Vegan Potato Salad, Sesame Kale Salad, Vegan Chicken Salad Wrap, and more Sesame Kale Salad 🙂 Oh and on my final day at the office I picked up treats for the offices! Whether it be for a regular at home shopping trip or as a go to for something quick on vacation/out of town, Whole Foods is always a go to for use Philly Vegans.