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Trumpet Blossom Cafe good for tastebuds, soul, earth

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Carly Weber  ::   UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 3:15 pm   ::  

Walk through the front door of Trumpet Blossom Cafe — the new vegan restaurant by former Red Avocado chef Katy Meyer — and it is exactly how you’d hope and expect a restaurant serving local, organic, whole, often gluten-free and always vegan/vegetarian food to be. With mismatched tables and chairs, bright funky fabrics and warm oak, it is eclectic, quaint and welcoming. The whole restaurant has a “made with love” vibe.

Tucked away on Prentiss Street, the restaurant also offers an outdoor patio that backs up to a stream lined with trees and offers picnic and wrought iron tables.

Trumpet Blossom offers a good-size beer and wine list as well as handcrafted cocktails. Our first round of drinks included one deliciously mixed margarita with large chunks of sea salt and fresh squeezed citrus and an uneventful Tom Collins making one of us wish we’d opted to sample the evening’s Mint Julep special.

From the selection of starters, which included pickled veggies, warm spiced nuts, soup, green salad and carrot sticks with a mushroom pate, we chose the buckwheat corn cakes with tomato relish. After a much heated debate, we determined that the strong flavors in the tomato jam was the result of a marriage of cumin, cinnamon, coriander and clove. It was a great complement to the hearty, well-seasoned cakes.

In addition to the starters, the first page of the menu also features steamed greens with lemon roasted garlic, hand cut fries with red pepper aioli, steamed veggies with olive oil and seasoned salt and granola with dried fruit and a choice of soy or rice milk. Prices for all the starters and sides hovered around $4 to $6.

The plates range from $10 for a green salad with fresh veggies, quinoa, sprouts, dried fruit and spiced nuts all tossed with an orange-rosemary vinaigrette to sesame shiitake and oyster mushrooms in a beer reduction served with potato cakes, fresh greens and seasoned veggies for $19. Everything in between features equally hearty, fresh and seasonal ingredients. There were also items like a quesadilla and pizza.

We came close to ordering the evening’s special of fried tofu with asparagus and a green salad with pickled beets. Instead, we opted for the cumin tempeh with polenta and a lime cilantro sauce served with greens and chili butter and the sauteed veggies with ginger peanut sauce and local grains.

While the tempeh was very flavorful, it had a chewy, grainy consistency not unlike a freshly-made granola bar. The seasonings worked together. But while it was a great first dish, with an $18 price tag and other enticing options, I’m not sure I would reorder it.

The sauteed veggies on the other hand would be hard to pass up again. The mixture of carrots, onion, greens and purple cabbage retained a nice crunch that paired well with the texture of the grains. The Asian-inspired peanut sauce was perfectly sweet and salty. At $12 for the small plate or $18 for the large, next time I might be tempted to go for the bigger portion.

A meal at Trumpet Blossom will leave your taste buds and your body happy and full of ingredients that it needs — fresh vegetables, spices that are focused and deliberate and clean flavors unmarred by byproducts or grease.

— Laura Kaiden and Carly Weber


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