Vegetables are the antizombie, rising out of the ground to demand we devour their artichoke hearts and cauliflower brains. Hunt down some new green friends with today's Groupon: for $7, you get $15 worth of vegan fare at Sage Bakery and Cafe.
Sage Bakery and Cafe’s resident chefs craft an all-vegan menu from zesty ingredients for optimal meatless munching. Signature barbecue burgers of house-smoked barbecue tofu and tempeh or seitan pay homage to traditional American fare, and the chipotle grill sandwich ($10) bridges the gap between slices of grilled rye with baked tempeh, chipotle mayonnaise, and numerous suspension cables. Smoked northwest portabella and tempeh crepes ($9) enfold savory ingredients in a dill-and-lemon-seasoned pancake. Diners can democratize mealtime with selections from the build-your-own-sandwich menu, which stars tempeh, tofu, or seitan covered, like a Nickelodeon game-show contestant, in barbecue sauce, portobello sauce, or house mayo, among others.
For many vegans, eliminating animal products is a decision made in young adulthood, a break from the traditions they were raised with. Not so for Plum Bistro head chef Makini Howell—she was brought up eating vegan from infancy, but it hasn't changed her welcoming, flavor-first approach to her food. As she explained to Eco Stiletto (who caught her catering a dinner party thrown by Casey Affleck and Joaquin Phoenix), “We want to make sure you don’t miss the meat.”
Becoming Stevie Wonder's personal touring chef has helped Howell push her menu even further, following a philosophy of accessibility with a huge array of organic produce on the menu, such as root vegetables, kale, trumpet mushrooms, and seasonal fruit, taking forms that will be familiar to foodies of all stripes. There are gourmet burgers that pack their punch via a pulled barbecue seitan burger; pumpkin and porcini tempeh with a pecan pate; and handmade pastas with sauces as rich and creamy as any made with dairy. A local favorite is the Spicy Cajun Mac ‘n’ Yease, a piquant take on a classic nutritional yeast–based cheesy sauce.
Accompanied by beer, wine, and cocktails made from gin and even kombucha, dishes are served in a dining room fronted by floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the sidewalk in the summer. Its rustic hardwood floors and tables fit right in with the gorgeously repurposed Piston & Ring Building, an automotive manufacturing building constructed in 1926. Once they leave, diners can replicate the dishes with help from Makini’s cookbook, with pages of innovative vegan dishes that provide an alternative to casseroles made from all the lunches left behind in the office fridge.