21 May 2012

Minneapolis: French Meadow

To accurately express the affection I feel for French Meadow, I'd have to write a musical.  It's literally* the only way.

Here's a sample of FRENCH MEADOW: The Musical.  Think to the tune of The Wizard and I.

And I'll eat there at French Meadow
Tasting tastes I'd never know'd
And since I'd eat to bursting
I'd be so happy I could 'splode!

I know.  I know.  It'll be on Broadway soon.

French Meadow
2610 Lyndale Ave S
Minneapolis, MN  55408
(612) 870-7855

This is another restaurant on Lyndale (gasp!) with a vegan-friendly menu.  All the vegan dishes have a little v next to them.  If you get here before 5 any day of the week, you're good to go for counter service using the giant menu on the wall, and they'll bring your food out to you.  After 5, you're in for a table service experience and a separate dinner menu.  There's always a vegan special.

Oh, and remember Peoples Organic?  French Meadow got together with Edina to birth it.  And now Mama Frenchie serves Peoples Organic coffee and tea.  Or is it Peoples Organic's coffee and tea?  A whole new realm of apostrophe debate has now been opened.  What now.

Speaking of tea, I ordered a soy chai for $4!  Unfortunately, I've always found the chai here a bit off, but it's improved somewhat lately.  All the right spices are there, and the soy milk is much better than it used to be, but the tea is just too sweet.  It definitely tastes like it's from a syrup mix.  And maybe the distaste for sweetness is a personal preference, but... this is from the woman who drinks Almond Breeze vanilla almond milk every day.

Now.  Have you ever been vegan at your average brunch-serving restaurant?  If so you know the literally* physical pain that emerges when you realize that while all your table mates can get pancakes, you are stuck with OATMEAL.  AGAIN.  (Nothing against oatmeal.  It just gets old.)  Don't even talk to me about Original Pancake House.  Oh, and then there are places that don't even HAVE oatmeal!  I'm looking at you, IHOP.  I'm looking at you so bad.  (They only serve oatmeal to seniors.  I'm not going to IHOP again until I'm 55+.)

Luckily, French Meadow does better than that.  Yes.  A vegan blueberry corn pancake with 100% pure maple syrup can be yours for $6.  Plus, it's GF.  The key here is that the pancake isn't too sweet.  It lets the syrup take care of that.  The blueberries are perfect.  And the pancake carries a hint of that cornmeal taste.  Lovely.  It is literally* my own personal heaven.

Matt and I are less impressed with the Healing Plate, which hits you at $11.  Captain Adventure was ravenous and ordered it because it's a ton of food... but we knew from previous experience that it's not the most flavorful dish.  It comes with grainy brown rice, smoky sauteed greens, nice brothy tempeh, and fantastic savory squash.  Everything is drizzled in a balsamic sauce which adds a good flavor.  Problem is, there's not enough of it - and no garlic or onion.  Silly French Meadow.  We LIKE flavors.

After his mediocre meal, Matt craved more of an adventure.  I suggested ordering 3 of their 12 (yes, 12) vegan desserts.  I'm a genius.  Matt rallied.

The Chocolate Mini Cupcake at $1.75 was... underwhelming.  Too sweet.  Good thing it was tiny.  But overall, it was pretty good!  Hey, it's a vegan cupcake.  Just because I can make better ones doesn't mean I don't appreciate the effort it takes to make them.

The Black and White Cookie rocked at $2 - nice and crumbly with good dark chocolate and yummy vanilla icing.  I could definitely stomach it better than the cupcake, unlike Jerry Seinfeld.  I can hardly imagine a NYC-style black and white cookie purist living in Minneapolis, but if you happen to be picky about this kind of thing, know the cookie does not have the authentic cake texture you're used to.  But it's still super delish.

Most impressive was the Berry Cream Tart for $6.  It's GF too, and so good and creamy it'll blow your socks off.  Literally.*  It was like fruit mousse in there.  I could've eaten a mountain of that stuff.

I've tried virtually every vegan thing here.  My faves are the salads (especially ones with tofu) and the Tempeh Stroganoff on the dinner menu.  Matt loves the Butternut Squash Gnocchi.  Everything's good.  Except the Healing Plate.

Just so you know, 3 desserts is a lot of dessert.  Even when splitting with someone.  God, I wanted to barf.  I wanted to barf so bad.  But I was so happy about it.  Just like in FRENCH MEADOW: The Musical.

* For those of you who don't know this about me, when I say literally, 95% of the time I'm being sarcastic and making fun of Stephenie Meyer.

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