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Mint Tulip

Vegan Fast Food in the University Area

By

Counter © Aileen O'Catherine
Mint Tulip Sandwich

The veggie sandwich.

© Aileen O'Catherine

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Sadly, Mint Tulip closed its doors on January 17, 2014.

 

Mint Tulip provides vegan and vegetarian options for those looking for breakfast, lunch or an early dinner. The cafe offers sandwiches and fast food options that are meatless, eggless and contain no dairy. For anyone with special dietary needs or for those who are vegan by choice, the restaurant offers a solid menu packed with flavor and a variety of choices. If you're on the lookout for a vegan restaurant, Mint Tulip provides an option.

Location and Hours

2110 Central SE
Albuquerque, NM 87106
(505) 242-1320

Monday - Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Month Sunday brunches (check website for dates)

About Mint Tulip

Mint Tulip is located across from the University of New Mexico main campus, along Central. Wedged between the Pita Hut and McDonald's, it provides an alternative to deep fried and fast foods. Remember the restaurant Twenty Carrots? It's in the same space. While Mint Tulip isn't exactly a health food restaurant, for those seeking a healthier alternative to meat, you'll find it provides an option. They use alternative "meats" such as Tofurkey, meatless sausages and chicken-less chicken, made from soy and soy products. So if you're looking for a Rueben or a hot dog or a plate of chicken nuggets, you'll find them there, just minus the meat.

The cafe is small and homey, with pastel colors accented with white. It's very Martha Stewart but in a hip hippie sort of way. Seat yourself at tables, by the counter or on the comfy couch. Your order comes in a metal baking tray, adaptive re-use at its most creative. Since the restaurant is homespun, the linen napkin indicates the restaurant has a commitment to sustainability, a definite plus.

The Food

One of the perks to being a vegan is how easy it is to maintain a healthy weight. Drop the dairy and meat and voila, off melt the pounds. No wonder eating vegan is a rising trend. But how to still enjoy the meat sandwiches, the bacon breakfast burritos, the ice cream sundaes of days past? If you haven't figured it out on your own, Mint Tulip can help show you how. The restaurant offers all your favorite meat laden burritos and sandwiches, without the meat, and minus the dairy. And best of all, they make it taste good.

The food is fresh, with locally sourced fruits and veggies. The meat substitutes are soy based, and they use TVP (texturized vegetable protein). For those new to eating vegetarian or vegan, this restaurant is a step in the direction of a more healthy lifestyle. But since it's a sandwich shop, the options aren't what really constitute health food. Think frito pie, hot wings, burgers and shakes, which contain sugar and are usually fried. But they are one of just a few vegan restaurants in town, and the food tastes pretty good.

For breakfast you can have a breakfast burrito with potato, spinach, green chile and sausage, bagels with hummus or cream cheese, oatmeal with your choice of milk or a sausage cheese biscuit. Prices range from $2 to $5.

Lunch offers a choice of salads ($8) or sandwiches ($9). Salad options include nicoise, caprese, hummus plate or fruit and nut. Sandwiches include the club, reuben, BLT, BBQ, buffalo ranch wrap, grilled veggie or veggie burger. Other sandwiches include grilled cheese, PB&J, hot dog, frito pie dog, chicago dog and brat w/kraut and onions. Sandwiches are served with a choice of side such as potato salad, cole slaw, fruit, chips and salsa or side salad.

On one visit, I tried the veggie burger ($9) and they had no problems serving it up without oil greasing the grill. Special diet requests are not unheard of and easily accommodated. Raw foodies simply need to ask and their wish will likely be granted. It contained beets and was quite good.

On another visit I tried the brat with sauerkraut and onions ($7) and it was also good. The sauerkraut was scrumptious and even though I'm not a big fan of soy "meats," the brat was very good. Why is the combination so satisfying? One of life's mysteries waiting to be solved. On another visit I had their veggie sandwich, and I give this option two thumbs up. It comes with grilled vegetables such as avacado and peppers.

One area where the restaurant shines is with their fresh juices. You can get your choice of carrot, ginger and other options for just $4. And their desserts are dairy free. They make shakes in many flavors, have soft serve ice cream, sundaes and even whip up a banana split. Their cupcakes and cookies look quite good, though I try not to do sugar, so I can't say I tried them. They also take orders for custom cakes without the dairy or gluten free.

On the Fourth of July, they have a hot dog eating contest!

The Mint Tulip offers sandwiches with no meat or dairy, so vegetarians and vegans have a place to grab a quick bite without worrying about stocks, sauces and additives. If you're looking for a fast bite with a dollop of flavor and you happen to not eat meat, Mint Tulip might be your place.

Read my other restaurant reviews.

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