The Tin Kitchen

I have yet to partake in a Food Truck Friday, aside from walking through and hoping a vegan food truck has arrived without me knowing. Sadly, Charlotte is still waiting on our first vegan food truck. Maybe The Masa Casa will upgrade from cart to truck someday? In the meantime, we’re left with trying to piece together a meal without animal flesh or secretions hiding inside. I’ve started reaching out to food trucks in search of vegan options.

Here’s what I’ve heard so far…which isn’t much, so let us know if you find anything.

From The Tin Kitchen:

Thanks for reaching out.  Our vegan options are:
 Chana Masala Tacos without the Goat Cheese,
Buffalo Cauliflower Salad without Slaw or Bleu Cheese (we have a nice Smoked Tomato Vin for this)
Soup of the day (depending on the day – Today we ran Gazpacho for example).
Sides:  Charro Beans, Chips & Salsa Pickled Veggies (Green Rice is not vegan, as it has small amounts of butter)
We also occasionally do veggie specials (which can typically be made vegan).  Like with the soup, this typically depends on the day – and at FTF, we advertise, so have your followers follow our twitter/FB feeds for more info.
 We always do our best to meet dietary preferences or restrictions, so if a guest sees something we haven’t thought of, we will happily try to accommodate!  Just ask at the truck!


From Auto Burger and Fry Guys:

The black bean is vegan friendly but the aioli is mayo based . Fries are and oil are good

Vegan Happenings

  • New vegan offering
     Charlotte has a vegan food cart and it is delicious! The Masa Casa first showed up at Vegfest this year and has been popping up on Fridays and Sundays ever since. They serve up two different tamales that change regularly. Be sure to get some of their two available sauces for peak satisfaction. They don’t seem to have set locations, although Friday nights outside Eco-Licious seems to be a safe bet. Be sure to get there on the earlier side because they tend to sell out before the night is over. Definitely check them out and like them on Facebook to find out where exactly they will be.
  • The Luna’s Move
    In case you missed it, one of the vegan staples of Charlotte relocated all the way across the parking lot into a bigger, better space. The inside space is clean, bright and totally inviting. Don’t worry, they have an improved patio space. The menu looks pretty much the same, but I think they added two sandwiches that I don’t remember previously. I tried the mock tuna and was very satisfied, however the kale salad for the side was even more amazing.

Charlotte Vegfest 2014

The annual Charlotte Vegfest 2014 will be held on Saturday May 17, 2014 from 2-7 pm in Plaza Midwood. This years speakers include Gene Baur and Howard Jacobson. Baur is the co-founder and president of Farm Sanctuary and Jacobson is a contributing author to Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition with T. Colin Campbell. There will also be plenty of vegan food and local vendors, so put it on your calendar now.

Beer is Vegan (for the most part)

“God made the majority of beers vegan because he loves us and wants us to be happy.” -me

I often wonder how long my vegan journey would have lasted if someone would have told me that beer was not vegan. Fortunately, the majority of beers are vegan. Water, yeast, malt and hops are the four main ingredients used to brew beer. The easy exceptions to spot are those beers made with milk or honey. It’s much harder to identify beers that use animal parts (isinglass, gelatin) in the filtering process. For example, Guiness and Oskar Blues Ten Fidy.  The only way to know for sure is to ask the brewery or check Barnivore is an excellent online resource to find out which alcohols (beer, wine, liquor) are vegan friendly. It is a collection of inquiries made to the companies directly by the site’s creators and sent in from users (like me).

After contacting all of the Charlotte breweries to verify their vegan-friendly status, we are good to go.

Four Friends, Olde Mecklenburg, Unknown, Birdsong, Triple C and Noda are all vegan-friendly as far as their regular offerings go with just two exceptions…Birdsong does currently have the Honey Pie Double IPA that obviously contains honey and both versions of Triple C’s Up All Night (bourbon barrel and regular) contain honey. Many of the breweries do small batch beers that may occasionally contain milk or honey, but they should be easy to spot. When in doubt, just ask.

The Charlotte Vegan and Vegetarian Social Club is having the first Vegan Drinks in Charlotte on February 20th, 2014 at Heist Brewery located in NoDa. (Ironically, Heist is the only brewery that I have not received confirmation that their beers are vegan.) Heist recently updated their dinner menu and has taken the guess work out of whether or not an item is vegan by clearly identifying vegetarian and vegan items on their menu. While it looks like there are only two vegan options, they both sound delicious. I’m looking forward to trying both the fire roasted tofu steak and “Faux”BQ tacos. I know that they know what their doing with tofu because I tried their marinated tofu steak on the lunch menu and it was probably the most well prepared tofu I’ve had in Charlotte. Sadly, I found out later that the marinade does indeed contain honey, so it is technically not vegan. If you’re okay with consuming honey, then have at it.


Central Coffee

vegan chocolate cake

Central Coffee is easily one of my favorite coffee spots in the Queen City. They offer both soy and almond milk for your coffee enjoyment as well as some delicious treats. Their best-selling zucchini bread, which just so happens to be vegan, is a must every time we go.

They also serve a vegan chocolate espresso cake and sell Espresso bites from Sweet B Unrefined using Central Coffee espresso beans. For the record, the seasonal Pumpkin Latte is made with a homemade vegan organic pumpkin syrup (an organic pumpkin puree, raw agave, ginger root and spices). With the colder temperatures creeping in, it’s a good time to check them out.


Restaurant Spotlight: 300 East

Having recently moved to the South End area, I’m attempting to locate all the vegan options at non-vegan restaurants just to expand our pool of restaurants we can eat at without having to worry if the server actually understood what we were trying to avoid when ordering. After an email correspondence with 300 East, then eating there twice in the last week, they are definitely going to be a part of our regular restaurant rotation. It turns out that 300 East is actually a delicious option for vegan food in South End. While they don’t have a ton of options, they do have a better-than-average selection and we left very satisfied after both trips. In a recent email to the restaurant, they responded by highlighting the menu items that can be made vegan.

For starters, both the hummus and guacamole appetizers are vegan. The Grilled Portobello Sandwich, Veggie Burger, Black Bean Tortilla, Black-Eyed-Pea Falafel Sandwich and Seasonal Farro Saute can all be made vegan simply by ordering them “no dairy.”  Many of their salads include cheese (clearly stated in the description) or a dairy-containing dressing, but can be made without either. Vegan salad dressings include Balsamic Vinaigrette, Sherry Vinaigrette, French Vinaigrette, and Sesame Dressing. Unfortunately, the cornbread muffin does contain dairy and eggs. The email also recommended checking for dairy and eggs in the daily soup, side or vegetable plate of the day.

Just a heads up, the lunch menu is a little more vegan-limited than the dinner menu, but you can still find a satisfying meal. They do have some outdoor seating and a nice little bar inside as well. Enjoy.

300 east