Vita Cafe is all about groovy for breakfast and lunch. The cover of the menu expresses their earnestness forthrightly: common meals, fair price, organic and local, free range, hormone free, dairy-, egg- and wheat-free.
Vita was the sister cafe to SE Belmont's Paradox Palace Cafe. Now they both have new owners and it will be interesting to see what the future brings.
The Vita is back, and you'd never know they were ever gone. We went in early on Sunday afternoon and the place was packed. Folks were even sitting outside in the sprinkles.
Vita has made its name for being vegan & carnivore friendly. You can get any number of animal-free dishes, or you can get a groovy hamburger. Breakfast can consist of eggs and potatoes, or tofu & rice, or really anything in between. Vegans and vegetarians love it: the food is plentiful and cheap, and you can have it with beer, wine or liquor.
Breakfasts range from $3-$9, and include corn cakes, scrambles, french toast, heuvos rancheros, & biscuits and gravy. 15 of the 24 breakfast items can be made gluten-free.
We ordered a couple old favorites: biscuits & gravy, heuvos rancheros, and NW corn cakes, plus a cup of black bean soup with homemade herb and onion bread.
The black bean soup was excellent and flavorful: a basic rendition, but a very nice one. The bread was a hit, with its slightly sweet crust and herby-oniony filling.
The heuvos rancheros were particularly creative. Fried tortillas curl up on the plate, covered by what tasted like vegan chili, eggs (or tofu), salsa, guac, and a cilantro-y vegan creme. If you were looking for something closer to authentic, well, you'll be disappointed, but the contrasts between the smooth and crunchy, the spicy and the bland, was very nice.
Biscuits with almond gravy has always been a favorite, and they just didn't taste as wonderful as I remembered. Maybe my tastes have changed? If I wasn't working from sentimentality, they probably would be fine, though the biscuit was a little heavy.
But the NW Corn Cakes do stand up to memory. Corn cakes, as big as a pancake, covered with toasted hazelnuts, and served with organic maple syrup. Yum.
Most folks around us were having lunch, and that looked good too. The fishwich, a deep fried square of tofu with lettuce, pickles and vegan tartar sauce, was very popular, as was the free range, hormone-free beef burgers and fries. Mac and cheese, made with vegan cheese, also appeared to be a big hit. Lunch prices top at $8, and dinner at $12 (with most entrees ringing in under $10), and nicely, the full up-to-date menu is online.
They have four beers on tap. And they have a Wednesday special, 5pm-close: $2 well drinks, $2 drafts, $5 cocktails, and $5 food specials on the fishwich, mac & cheese, grilled cheese, tofurky sandwich, or thai pasta. And, from 5-7pm, they have a $1 kids menu.
Definitely recommended for vegetarians and vegans.