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Saturday, January 23, 2010

Arizona - Sunshine, Palm Trees, and Vegan Food

Imagine… palm trees swaying under bright blue skies, lemon tress fragrant and dripping with fruit, 70 degree weather, and delicious vegan food every where you turn.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

I spent four lovely days enjoying these things in Pheonix, Arizona, while we visited Brandon’s aunt and uncle. It was a welcome break from the winter weather here in North Carolina. We relaxed, had great conversation, and ate delicious food.

If you ever find yourself in Pheonix, I have three restaurants you absolutely have to try. I’m only sorry that I didn’t take any pictures of the food we ate. We wolfed it down too quickly!

Chakras 4 Herb and Tea Shop

This place is absolutely awesome. It’s tiny, but it has a nice, colorful ambiance. It’s an all vegetarian restaurant which caters to those who are vegan and who eat raw. The food is pricey, but the portions are big and the food is deliciously spicy. They have unbelievable desserts. All of us, including Brandon’s omnivorious aunt and uncle were blown away by the raw vegan cheesecake (at $9 it better be good!). I suggest you grab a steeply priced pot of their Chocomaya Chai tea with almond milk and agave (it will serve 4 people with seconds). It is wonderfully fragrant, spicy, and chocolately. Everything we tried on the menu was delicious, but if you are a greens lover like me, grab the Rawvacodo kale wrap (although it can also be a sandwich or a regular wrap if you please), and the half-size will serve you well. Any bigger and you will be totally gorged and won’t be able to get those delicious desserts. Just be prepared to spend a pretty penny here. You’ll leave with empty pockets, but a happy belly. The store itself has a ridiculous array of spices and jarred treasures for purchase, from the tea on their menu (really expensive at $3.50 an ounce!) to chia seeds and cacao nibs to grapefruit peel and basil.

Loving Hut

You’ve most likely seen the Supreme Master tv website popping up on random veg websites; if not, check it out here. Not only do they do global, web-based, veg-friendly television, but they also have some pretty darn good restaurants. This all vegan, asian-inspired restaurant was a big hit with everyone. We even ate there twice! The staff is friendly, the prices are reasonable, and the food is just good. Be forewarned though, that there is a lot of mock meats and soy-based items on the menu. If you don’t eat soy or you don’t like mock meats, you might not want to eat here because that makes up the majority of the menu.

Z Pizza

Don’t let the unassuming outside and Subway-esque inside fool you, this regular-looking pizza joint offers Daiya cheese! Not only that, but many of their menu items are healthy (organic, fresh, whole-wheat, etc.). They know what vegan means and they aren’t afraid to whip up a sweet, vegan pizza for you. We had a nice, casual lunch there and enjoyed every moment and every bite. I had the lovely California Salad and a California Pizza with Daiya Cheese. It's affordable and filling, plus everyone – omnivore, herbivore, or carnivore – will be happy.

With the great company and good food, I really enjoyed my sun-filled stay in Arizona. How can you not be happy in a place that has avocadoes 3 for $1? I hope that my mini-food guide will help you find some good eats when/if you visit the area.

Also, Happy National Yoga Day! Look here to find a studio near you who will be offering free classes. YogaToday is offering a second free weekly class today, if there isn't a studio near you or you just can't seem to get out today. I wanted to go to a studio today, but staying up late last night made it pretty difficult. We'll see if I make it out or if I just do my yoga at home. Namaste!

Lastly, don't forget to sign up for the Vita-mix giveaway on Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog. If you don't know what a Vita-mix is, go here for all the details. Suffice to say, you want one - so sign up!


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