12 March 2012

Minneapolis: Birchwood Café

Dear Birchwood,
Please make me all the sandwiches.  Ever.  For life.

Birchwood Café
3311 E 25th St
Minneapolis, MN  55406
(612) 722-4474

This meal was a lovely and unexpected treat, made possible by my Auntie.  If you cough within her hearing range, she'll make you tea in the blink of an eye.  If you're cold, the fire snaps on and a blanket falls into your lap.  And if you're hungry... Oh man.  If you even poke your head into the kitchen, she's making you vegan cookies and bean dip and lentil stew before you can say "Let me help!"

So Auntie took Seestor and me to Birchwood yesterday, much to our delight.  "What a fun neighborhood!" I always exclaim here.  "Look at all the bikers!  All the sunshine!  All the hippies!  These are my homies!"

Yeah, so what if I do get a bunch of looks?  I know what they're thinking.  They're thinking, OMG MY NU BFF.

Maybe later.  Sorry, my peeps, I'm busy.  I have a sandwich to order.

Birchwood has a counter-order situation, for those of you who haven't yet experienced its magic.  Check the menu on the walls while waiting in line - look for the circled V - then order.  Don't forget to move to the next register to pay and pick up your dessert and/or drink.  Take your number, find a table (WARNING: this may be difficult - take out is just as yummy), and wait for your main course to materialize in front of you.

This pretty little thing was a ginger soy chai.  Yum!  It was sweeter than other from-scratch chais I've had lately, but I found it to be a benefit.  It complemented the spices well.  However, if you're looking for mega spice in your chai, this may not be the one for you.  For the coffee enthusiasts among you, Seestor wants you to know they've got Peace Coffee here.  Liquid gold.  She drank too much and started floating toward the ceiling.

Auntie ordered this cup of butternut squash soup (next to a vegetarian black bean burger) for $3.50, and was very adamant about one thing - a thing she absolutely insisted I share with you: soup's not as good as mine.  Haha!  I thought it tasted swell.  It had a nice herby backdrop that let the taste of squash shine through... but as I'm sure Auntie would agree, it'd be better with a squirt of Sriracha.

You ready for this sandwich?  Non-vegans and vegans alike, prepare to have your sandwich paradigm shifted.  This bad boy is the Tofu Thai Sandwich at $10.  And every time I eat a sandwich at Birchwood, it is THE best sandwich I've ever had in my life.  This time was no exception.  The tofu is prepared perfectly, and its creamy-crumbly texture and flavor blend amazingly with the cilantro schmear, SPECTACULAR spicy peanut dressing, and other veggies.  The foccaccia was salty and oily, so it also tasted like happiness.  It just all meshed so well!  Man.  I just.  You don't even.  Srsly.

It comes with your choice of chips and salsa or mixed greens.  You prolly want the chips.  My greens were good, but covered in this vinaigrette that tasted so... vinegary.  TOO vinegary.  It was all I could taste.

We finished with this lovely GF apple-raspberry crisp.  It was the ideal way to convey a sweet raspberry flavor.  I go bananas for raspberry.  And it wasn't too sweet either, which I found refreshing.  Let the fruit speak for their own sweet selves.  They know what's best.  Those yummy GF oats and sprinklings of raw quinoa on top sure didn't get in their way.

Don't wait up for me, Birchwood homies.  I'll be back.

Don't call me, I'll call you.

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