Friday, February 09, 2007

Vegan Dining Out @ Cootie Brown's

Well, it's Friday, so I decided to end the week by going out to eat for lunch again. I usually like to go out about once a week. I think that it makes for a nice change of pace. Of course, being vegan means you might be a little bit limited in the number of places that you can successfully find something that you like to eat, but overall I find it pretty easy to eat well in most places. One of my most favorite places to eat around here is Cootie Brown's. There are only a couple of locations, one in Kingsport (where I work) and one in Johnson City (where I live). They are locally owned restaurants that have their own unique theme that can only be described by words like artsy, different, quirky, and fun. And their food, or at least all of it that I have ever tried, can only be described as delicious. I know every one has different tastes, and some people may not like certain items on the menu, but their menu is so varied that I find it difficult to believe that there isn't something for everybody there. And one of the coolest things about Cootie Brown's is that they offer quite a few vegetarian, and even vegan, options.

We started out out lunch by ordering a big order of Chips & Salsa. They recently lowered all of their prices back to 1999 prices so now this huge plate of Chips & Salsa only costs like $2.95. They slice and fry their own tortilla chips right in the restaurant, so they taste a lot better than just plain old bagged chips that you might get at other places. I'm not sure if the salsa is homemade, but it tastes like it is. You can definitely tell that there is fresh cilantro in there. The Chips & Salsa make for a very nice appetizer if you want something to munch on while waiting for your main course. And if you run out of salsa, like we did, just ask and they will bring you some more. This whole 1999 price promotion thing is really cool. The prices of some of the menu items are actually unbelievable. Plus, this wasn't an option today because it is colder than whiz around here right now, but it is so awesome to eat at Cootie Brown's when it is warm outside because both locations have huge covered outdoor dining areas. In fact, there is more outdoor dining space than there is indoor dining space. I can't wait until it warms up again and all of those walls & windows open up again.

For my entree, I chose my absolute favorite thing to eat there right now, and that is the Spinach Veggie Burger. They actually have three different types of veggie burgers. They're all really good, and they all seem to use the same base of lentils, brown rice, bulgar wheat, maybe potatoes? But then they add either black beans, sundried tomatoes, or spinach & basil to make the three different burgers. The burgers and buns are vegan, but you just have to ask them to leave off any cheese or mayo in order to make sure that your whole meal is vegan. I also usually mention that I don't want any butter on the bun either because I am pretty sure that they normally put a little bit on there and grill the buns. They are always very accommodating.

The Spinach Veggie Burger is so good. It's definitely my favorite of the three types that they offer, and it only costs $4.95! You can order from several different sides to go along with it. You can get a side salad (what I SHOULD have gotten), home-style fries, or spiral-cut fries (like the ones I got). There are a few bottles of seasonings to spice them up with on the table; Jerk, Ranch & Barbecue. I'm not sure exactly what's in them though, so I am not certain that they are vegan. It seems like powdery spice mixtures like that sometimes might contain whey. I'm not sure. I know that I could ask them if they were vegan and they would tell me. I just never have. In fact, I'm usually so stuffed after I eat the burger that I sometimes don't even touch the fries anyway.

Cootie Brown's is a cool place because they actually understand what vegetarianism & veganism are. In fact, while I was eating there I was wearing my absolute favorite shirt (a big dark navy blue hoodie sweatshirt with VEGAN written across the chest in big varsity letters) and the waiter started asking me how long I had been vegan, and so on. So he actually knew what it was, which is more than I can say for the waiters in most other restaurants. They have a lot of college students that work there, and their "uniforms" are tie-dyed shirts, so it's a pretty hip crowd that you're dealing with when you eat there.

I used to eat there a lot when I was vegetarian too. They had this one pizza that I absolutely loved called The Wood Burner. It had fresh spinach, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes and I don't remember what else on it. It was so good. I couldn't order that now since it has a little bit of mozzarella & goat cheese on it, but I have often thought about taking my own container of some cubed up Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella down there and asking if they would mind putting that on my pizza instead of regular cheese. I'm sure that they would probably do it. Heck, who knows, they might even start to offer it as a pizza option. Now THAT would be cool! Hmmmmm... I need to check into that.

So there's lunch for Friday. REALLY EASY on me because I didn't have to do any of the cooking. Cootie Brown's is a really cool place to eat, especially if you are vegan. I think this is my third time featuring them on here, and there are still more vegan dining options on their menu that I haven't covered yet. I guess we'll save those for future blog posts huh?

Thanks for stopping by today and I'll see everybody on Monday.

Have a great weekend!



Courtney said...

I have been reading your blog for a while, but never posted--thanks for your great blog! I have a question unrelated to this post...what kind of dates have you been putting in your lunchboxes? I really like medjool dates (they are so good!), but it does not look like that is what you have been eating. I would like to try some other kinds and would love to know what ones you have been enjoying!

Thanks so much!

kennyboy said...

Well thanks for coming by!

You're a lot fancier than I am. I am ashamed to say that I have just been eating regular old Dole California Dates. I just picked them up at the regular grocery store. They're in a bag sitting there near all the raisins.

They're good, but I guess they would be a step down for you.


Melanie said...

love Cootie Brown's! i think that's where we are headed Sunday night with the inlaws. i love their baked vegetable thing, usually i get it without the bleu cheese melted on top because it's just too salty but it's good stuff - whole oven-roasted garlic cloves, artichoke hearts, etc. all cooked in olive oil until they're perfectly caramelized. i like their black bean tamales, too, even though black beans usually aren't my favorite bean.

Lena said...

I miss Cootie Browns! I'm from Bristol, but live in Knoxville right now. I've been craving their stuff like crazy lately.