Mankato is a blighted wasteland for vegans. An hour south of Minneapolis, it's the kind of city that values drinking and McDonald's more than healthy eating and exercise. The college crowd is spreading the vibe, though. Bless their hearts. Becca and I made the drive to see one such drop of sunshine: Cousin M!
We chose Vietnamese because - silly me - I recommended it. I've only ever had GOOD Vietnamese, being a city person. I should have known. The place looked more like an expensive dentist's waiting room with a bar and tables than a Vietnamese joint.
1511 Madison Ave
Mankato, MN 56001
When our server came I made it clear that all three of us were eating vegetarian in order to avoid that nasty fish sauce problem. She pointed out which sauces and dishes were made with fish or oyster, and we had an easy time ordering. Everything looked good and there were tons of items with a tofu and mock duck option. The only problem was deciding who got to order the pineapple one.
YES, I know people are starving. YES, I know people who live in 'Kato probably think they prefer this to actual Vietnamese food. YES, first world problems. Yet my food snobbery persists.
On the plus side, at least nobody accidentally ingested fish.
Then we snuck animal crackers and frosting in a can into Rock of Ages. It's a combo that's almost always vegan - check the ingredients! It's a little weird that frosting can be vegan, and it's definitely full of chemicals, but sometimes you gotta take what you can get. That was good. Mankato redeems itself.
* Interesting (def.); the Minnesotan way of saying, "I hated it."