28 February 2012

Edina: Peoples Organic

Or is it People's Organic?  Or Peoples' Organic?  To settle this once and for all, it's Peoples Organic.  Go away, apostrophe.

Peoples Organic
3545 Galleria
Edina, MN  55435
(952) 426-1856

So my mom is super great.  She's an actuary (look it up, but be prepared to have looked it up for half an hour and still not get it), so she takes my sister and me out for dinner once a week.  Or is it: she's an amazing mom, so she takes my sister and I out to dinner once a week?  She's an amazing actuarial mom-strosity.  There.  Love you, Mom!

My sister is also fantastic, and vegetarian.  She's FUNNY.  We thought the clipboard for the check looked like a mousetrap, so she drew a cartoony dead mouse on a scrap of paper and snapped it under the clip while I was in the bathroom.  I said, "Did you do this?" to her, and Mom said, "Why are you even asking?"

This summer my sister found out she can't eat gluten, so together we've pretty much found all the gluten-free-and-vegan-friendly restaurants this side of the Mason-Dixon line.  There are maybe five.  Helloooo, Peoples Organic!

Ever heard of French Meadow?  Peoples Organic is brought to you by the same peoples.  The aforementioned peoples are good peoples.  Stay tuned for a post on French Meadow sometime.  Their philosophy involves high-quality organic food.  Whenever there's a place that uses the word vegan anywhere on the menu, I'm sold, and Peoples Organic fits the bill.  It's not terribly expensive, either, as most entrees run you $9-$11.  It may not be Hard Times, but for exceptionally delicious vegan food in the freakin' Galleria?  It's a bargain.

I should mention I've heard a rumor that French Meadow - and Peoples Organic by association - sometimes gives you food they say is gluten-free or vegan, but isn't really.  I've tried looking into it, but can't find anything relevant.  Let me know if you can solve this mystery.

Our server, Betsy, was lovely.  She helped me realize the only drink I had ever wanted was hot cocoa with almond milk.  Yes, almond milk!  Served, at a restaurant!  In EDINA!  I kid you not.  In fact, they've also got soy milk.  And hemp milk.  Aaaannnddd coconut milk.  As our dear Shelley would say: put that in your pipe and smoke it!

So this hot cocoa (the short one in front) was the best I've had in recent memory.  It's a dark chocolate blend with a full, slightly salty taste that really brings out the depth of flavor.  I find a lot of vegan versions of hot chocolate to have that overpowering soymilk taste - you know, like at Starbucks - but this one?  Not at all.  Whether it was the almond milk or the hot cocoa itself, I found it utterly perfect.  My sister got a mocha with almond milk (behind the cocoa), and she had the same opinion.  She couldn't taste the milk.  And she knows her stuff when it comes to coffee, cause she's a barista and she could kick any other barista's butt blindfolded with her hands tied behind her back and oven mitts on her feet.  This mocha wasn't too sweet, like Caribou's tend to be, and the coffee and chocolate blended well into a nice, authentic, bitter flavor.  All the coffee at Peoples is worthy of your perusal.

Have you ever been really thirsty and thought to yourself, "I wish this restaurant would just bring me room-temperature water instead of cold or ice water!"  Me neither.  But apparently there's SOMEBODY who feels that way.  Cause Peoples will give you room-temp water if you want.  That'd be on the ambient lever there.

Perhaps it's more legitimate than we're giving it credit for.  I've heard room-temp water is actually better for your body than cold water.  All cold things, according to this theory, provide too much of a shock to your system.  I suppose that would explain why I always cough when I have a Jamba.

I've tried some delicious salads and hummus plates here in the past.  Last night, thanks to Shelley's repeated exaltations, I decided to order the $10 Bella Burger.  And OH MY GOODNESS.  It's times like these when I wish I felt comfortable swearing in a public setting.  Because that #%&$'s real.  I've always been skeptical of veggie burgers at restaurants; if it's not a Boca or Morningstar frozen patty, it's often a tasteless mishmash of walnuts and mushrooms that you have to order without cheese, and then the thing arrives in front of you smothered in mayo despite your best efforts.  Veggie burgers are a restaurant's way of copping out of the whole situation.  They're like, "Hm, we can placate the vegetarians with this cardboardy slab of junk because they're vegetarian.  They don't like tastes anyway.  Wait, what the &%$# does vegan mean?"

NOT SO, cries the Bella Burger.  This is a culinary masterpiece.  Its name does not derive from the popular sexist, abusive, yet hilarious teen vampire romance franchise, as you may be thinking, if you're weird.  It's from portobella mushrooms, which make up part of the patty.  The 'bellas get thrown together with onions, carrots, garlic, herbs, and TVP (texturized vegetable protein), and then baked or fried or something wonderful - cause it tastes fantastic.  It's topped with roasted tomatoes and vegan mayo!  Yes, you read that correctly.  VEGAN MAYO.  In EDINA!  What a world!  The bun is made from sprouted wheat and is also heavenly.  The whole combination produces such a complex, well-composed flavor that I would never have expected, EVER, out of a "veggie" burger.

Oh, and the side salad was good too.  Mixed greens with a balsamic vinaigrette.  Love that &$%#.

Sister ordered the porridge because she actually doesn't like colors or flavors.  I'm not joking.  She has like a million more tastebuds than you.  Anyway, let's be honest.  Who doesn't love breakfast for dinner?  The porridge happens to be vegan, so she kindly let me taste it.  You can order it with any number of toppings, and she got apples, cinnamon, and brown sugar.  Comfort food!  It had a good apple flavor that wasn't too sweet or rich, even with the brown sugar.  But we agreed that if you don't like simple food, you probably should order it with all the available toppings rather than just those three.  It had a slightly bitter aftertaste that we figured had something to do with the fact that it's GF, but it wasn't a big deal.  All in all, pretty yummy.

Finally, as we chatted over Sweet Caroline and Do You Want to Dance (because obviously, organic food is better when you're listening to Oldies), I made an important decision.  It involved this little beauty.

I've had the Vegan Raspberry Chocolate Bar before, so I can tell you with satisfaction that it has improved in quality over time.  It started out dry and bitter at French Meadow; now it's reached its peak.  The flavor centers around raspberry, and what a fantastic raspberry flavor it is.  The jelly part tastes juicy but doesn't run, and is complemented nicely by the chocolate chips and fruit crisp-like crust.  I love fruity desserts.  They make me feel good.

I looked down at my food notebook.  At the top of the page, I had written "Peoples Organic."  Next to it, I saw a new addition: "Smells."

Told you my sister's funny.


  1. Ahhh, the good ol' Ambient Water. Delicious. :)

    1. Hahaha! I was thinking of you and the girls when I wrote that. I'm SUPER excited to see you Saturday!

  2. The bella burger is where it's AT! My mouth is watering. Totes.

    1. Oh yeah. You were SO right about that.