Florida, food, places, vegan

Cafe Hey vegan brunch in Tampa

Cafe Hey is a cute lil cafe in Tampa that is known for good coffee, but they also sell food and treats. They have a vegan brunch one Sunday a month, and my friends decided we should go there for my birthday to celebrate.

(And yes, for those who know, my birthday was months ago, but I’m only getting around to posting this now.)

I turned 36, and although I’m not one to pay much attention to age, I didn’t feel very pumped about celebrating this year. It’s not that I’m afraid of or resistant to getting older, but more that I was a little bummed at the time and didn’t feel like my life was anything I wanted to put energy into making a big deal about. A low-key delicious vegan meal with six other people I like turned out to be perfect celebration for me.

cafe hey vegan brunch

I don’t know how often I’ll make it out to Cafe Hey because I no longer have a car, but the food was absolutely delicious. It was heartening to find more evidence that there are¬†awesome vegan options available in Tampa Bay. I ordered tacos and my friends had shrimp jambalaya and some other things. A few of my friends are vegetarian, but we had a couple of meat-eaters in the group and everyone liked the meal. Apparently the shrimp tasted so real, they double-checked with the staff to make sure it was actually vegan.

cafe hey vegan brunch

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Oh, Cafe Hey also has mimosas! :) I am drinking a grapefruit mimosa in the first photo and it was delicious. So, yes, bottom line, if you’re in Tampa, check out Cafe Hey, and if they have their vegan brunch going on, even better.

Also, while I was searching for vegan restaurant options in Tampa, I found this Tampa Vegan Guy blog. He hasn’t updated for a long time. What do you think–is he no longer vegan, does he no longer live in Tampa, or something else?

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eating, Florida, food, health, places, vegan

Vegan brunch @ New Leaf Elementals

new leaf elementals

In March, I went to a vegan brunch meetup at New Leaf Elementals in Tampa. I’d begun eating vegan on March 1st and wanted to do whatever I could to make it stick. I’d been vegetarian for over a year (vegetarian again, I should say–earlier in life I’d been vegetarian for nearly 12 years), and eating mostly vegan (vegan at home, vegetarian in restaurants) for a few months, but I was really afraid that even though I wanted to go vegan, I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’ll probably write a post about how and why I made the switch later.

new leaf elementals

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The setup at New Leaf surprised me. It was a small gift shop with many crystals, candles, and other items. At first I thought I was in the wrong place, but after timidly asking the cashier about the brunch, she led me through a door that revealed a second larger room set with tables and chairs. I said, “Oh, I thought this was a restaurant,” then felt kind of bad when she replied, “It is.” The homey setup gave more of a family gathering feel, but the cashier showed me the menu that is available on non-brunch days.

new leaf elementals

I was one of the first people there. I’d found out about the meetup through a vegan singles meetup.com group that has since closed. The Florida Voices for Animals group posts a lot of vegan brunches and meet-ups too, however, and most of the people I met at this event were from that group. I paid for my brunch (I forget how much it was–$12-ish?), then loitered around trying not to feel awkward while waiting for more people to arrive.

new leaf elementals

I eagerly scoped out the food, partially because I was hungry, and partially because I was looking for ideas for vegan meals to cook at home. The tofu scramble was the dish I really picked up on. It looked exactly like scrambled eggs, so I double-checked with the chef to make sure it wasn’t before taking some. I asked her how to make it and she said just mash up tofu in a frying pan, add turmeric and/or cumin to make it look yellow, and throw in whatever other vegetables and spices I’d like. Tofu scramble is something I’ve made a few times over the past few months–it’s a tasty thing to make that can use up pretty much whatever leftover veggies are hanging out in the fridge and still feel like a real meal.

new leaf elementals

The brunch was good. It was denser than what I usually eat, with potatoes, waffles, and fake meats, but it tasted good. I generally try to stay away from fake meats (they often have soy protein isolate, which can trigger migraines in me), but just this once didn’t cause a problem. I am also trying to stay away from refined flour for the most part (it upsets IBS and leads to sugar cravings, at least for me), but again, just this once wasn’t an issue. I am learning that for me, healthy veganism has a lot to do with moderation.

I enjoyed the company. There were people from many different walks of life there, and most people didn’t know each other, so I didn’t feel left out once the conversation started. We talked about veganism, as I expected, but also politics, traveling, and other things. It was pretty interesting to hear people’s stories. Most of them had come to the brunch for the same reason I did–they don’t have other vegans in their lives and wanted to feel a sense of community and support.

 

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