Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Vegan and Gluten Free Eats at Pura Vida by Brandt

This has been a crazy, gluttonous week for me. I've had a party or holiday lunch or dinner (if not both) to go to everyday. Looks like I'll be regaining some of that weight I lost when I was dumped and depressed earlier this year!

The other day, I decided to take the afternoon off to meet up with an old friend for lunch and drinks. He's recently adopted a vegan and gluten free diet, so I decided we should check out Pura Vida by Brandt because the restaurant offers an entire vegetarian and vegan menu with quite a few gluten free items. I love it when a restaurant clearly marks their menu items, too. Takes the guesswork out of ordering for picky eaters like me and my friend.

I made a reservation for 1:00. I'd never seen more than a handful of people in the restaurant when I'd been downtown at night, but at lunchtime this place was jammin'! I don't think I could have gotten a table without a reservation. My friend lives in Chicago and got a little lost meeting me, so I waited awhile for him to arrive. My server was frantically rushing around the restaurant and I had to flag him down to order a cocktail. I started off with an apple brandy cocktail ($9). It was really refreshing.  

There was a private party starting at 2, so I ordered for my friend and I so we wouldn't get tossed out. I opted for the African peanut stew ($4) to start. It was vegan, gluten free, and absolutely amazing! I could have eaten a vat of it as my meal. It was THAT good.

I opted for the vegetarian pot pie for my entree ($17). I was so hungry when it arrived that I forgot to take a picture of it. It was a big hearty meal, as any pot pie should be...but my friend's gluten free and vegan risotto with root vegetables was actually a lot better. I had meal envy.

During our meal, we ordered another round of cocktails. We opted for the blood orange cocktail - a mix of blood orange vodka, St. Germaine, blood orange puree, and sparkling wine. (if you order it, be sure to stir it up...or your waiter might stir it up for you...after you've started drinking it...awkward)

We ended up being the last patrons in the restaurant, and despite the fact that the staff was setting up for a private party that was about to start, I didn't feel like we were rushed out the door, which was nice. Overall, we had a really great meal. I like supporting any restaurant that supports the vegan and vegetarian community and I hope to take some of my friends there over the holidays to check this place out.

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