19 April 2012

Minneapolis: Ecopolitan

You know how yesterday, the afternoon was super nice and sunny?  Mom and Sister picked me up at eatin' time, and the following conversation happened on the way to Ecopolitan:

Seestor:  There are so many Saab convertibles!  Mom, I think it's a sign I should get a Saab convertible.
Mom:  I think it's a sign you shouldn't go out in this weather.

I love my mom.

2409 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55405
(612) 874-7336

I've been to Ecopolitan five thousand times - what with it being the Twin Cities' only all-vegan restaurant - but because it's all raw vegan, I hadn't thought my fam would be interested.  They surprised me!  Seestor made the connection that raw vegan = gluten free.  In fact, the menu says 100% vegan and GF.  And Mom was up for a food adventure.  So hooray!  Ecopolitan it is.

I have trouble ordering here.  The ability to get absolutely anything on the entire menu is rather overwhelming.  But with practice, I've learned to deal with my problem.

Step one: get a smoothie.  It's no secret that this place is expensive, but as long as you're here, you owe it to yourself to have the full experience.  My two faves are the Apple Pie Smoothie at $6.50 and the Orange Julia at $7, but there are tons of other good ones for you to try.

Seestor ordered the Apple Pie Smoothie and loved it.  It's perfectly appley and cinnamony, and tastes like the crumbles on an apple crisps.  Oh my god.  It's SO great.  It hits me right in my cinnamon button.
My Orange Julia tasted, as always, like an orange dreamsicle.  It strikes that perfectly vanilla shade of natural orange flavor that takes away the tartness and is so yummy.  Sometimes I try to make my own smoothies taste this way.  But my kitchen just doesn't have that kind of magic.

Step two: have a Cashew Cheese Log for $8.50.  It sounds weird.  But you cannot imagine a better appetizer.  The crackers are great, made of dehydrated seeds and stuff.  Seestor says they're the first good crackers she's had since going GF.  And the CHEESE.  OMG.  It's smooth, dense, delicious, amazing, life-changing, and might be made of ambrosia instead of cashews.  The kind the Greek Pantheon ate, not the cake.  It's topped with really tasty marinated sweet onions.  I could eat that stuff all day.  Can I eat that stuff all day?  I'll look into it.

Step three: nab an entree - Rawvioli for $13.  This is the first meal Seestor and I have shared since we both ate mac and cheese in the early 90s.  Monumental.  I like it for some of the same reasons I love the Cheese Log - the rawvioli pockets contain the same type of filling of which the cheese is made.  It'd probably be good for me to branch out a little and get something different, but I've tried most of the menu.  That cheese stuff is too favorite.  The Rawvioli also comes with fresh mixed greens, a delicious fruity vinaigrette, a spicy ginger sauce, bruschetta tomatoes, and a reappearance of the marinated onions from the Cheese Log.  Each of these ingredients is prepared with wonderful flavor and love.  The bruschetta tomatoes are nice and garlicky, and the ginger sauce is super good.  Our only complaint?  There ought to be more than six rawvioli pockets.

Mom got the fun Surprise Entree for $13.50.  Isn't that exciting?!  The chef could make you anything!  Last night it was a Taco-Stuffed Pepper.  It was spicy and Mexican-flavored (yes, Mexican-flavored - I are so well-spoked), with filling tastes of cilantro and garlic.  The accompanying salad came with a thin vinaigrette.  And the bell pepper: it's just so cute.

Step four: dessert!  This will blow your minds.  Kay.  This is the Ice Cream Parfait.  Ten bucks.  Look how big!  How beautiful!  How sweet!  How pink!  It's full of strawberry flavor - the good kind of strawberry flavor.  The ice cream is made out of coconut, but it tastes nothing like coconut.  Seestor made the observation that it actually tastes like tutti-frutti.  It's got really good bits of chewy fruit, kind of like fruit leather or fruit roll-ups.  And under all the ice cream, you'll find a blend of coconut and nuts in a sweet syrup.

If you're lucky enough to be eating this dessert, you'd best be sharing it with somebody.  Seestor and I worked on it for ten minutes.  At the end of those ten minutes, it looked like this.  We kept eating.  We got full.  We tried to eat more.  Finally, we could force no further morsels into our bloated bellies.  And the thing STILL was full to the brim.  Dude.

Ahh.  Ecopolitan.  You can eat anything here.  It's all delicious.  Come when the sun is getting low in the sky and you might even get free rainbows.

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