Tag Archives: concord

Holiday brunch, take 2!

Just a heads up that Cafe Indigo is doing the holiday brunch thing a second time!  Awesome!  So if you missed it in November (or, come on, even if you didn’t), check it out this Sunday the 12th from 10-2.  And check their Facebook page for updates!

Cafe Indigo is located at 128 H Hall Street in Concord, NH.  http://www.cafeindigo.com/

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Co-operating

First, I thought I’d share with you the fact that one of my more popular Google hits is the search term “tasty sandwiches.”  This means I’m doing my job.

OK.  So, much to my annoyance and irritation, and in spite of my repeated requests via the “suggestions” form, Whole Foods has still not yet opened a location in the entire state of New Hampshire.  What’s a Manchesterite to do?

As I’ve mentioned previously, A Market in Manchester is a pretty decent option if you find yourself in desperate need of Daiya, Field Roast, nutritional yeast, seasonal Silk flavors…you know the stuff I’m talking about.  But, recently I’ve found that I prefer the Concord Co-Op even more!

Entrance to the Concord Co-operative Market

I am not a member of the Co-op, but if I weren’t planning on moving to Massachusetts soon I would seriously think about joining.  It’s a wonderful way to support local farmers as well as the local economy.  There is a one-time cost of $100 per household to join (and you get it back if you ever decide not to be a member any more, so there’s really very little to lose and a lot to gain).  Check out the conditions as well as the perks of membership here.

The Co-op offers many of the things I like best about Whole Foods, with the benefits of being closer and more locally supportive.  Some examples: a wide array of natural and organic products as well as locally-grown produce; an impressive bulk foods section; catering services; a calendar of events, classes, and tasting events; and — one of the best things about WF of course — a hot food bar and prepared foods section, rounded out by an area where you can sit and eat your food after checkout!  They also offer a sales/coupon flyer called Co+op Deals, similar to the “Whole Deal” flyer.

The area is open and, with the exception of the natural healing section, never feels anything but spacious (a nice change, since most health food stores in New Hampshire are tiny and make me feel a bit claustrophobic).

SPACE in the aisles!

Lately, the incentive to take the short trip up the highway to the Co-op has been what is probably the best variety of non-dairy dairy options I’ve seen this side of the Mass border:

Just a piece of the Co-op dairy case -- and unfortunately, YES, much of what's pictured is cow dairy, so don't get your hopes too high.

Here you can see the milk and yogurt options, including my favorite yogurt, Wildwood Probiotic Soyogurt, which is nearly impossible to find around here outside of WF.  But check it out — not all the vegan options even fit in the picture!  Outside of the picture’s scope to the left is the non-dairy cheese including both kinds of Daiya, FYH, and all the single-sliced kinds, as well as soy-, almond- and coconut-milk based coffee creamers and Soyatoo whipped cream.  To the right of the picture is all the Tofutti, Vegenaise and EB varieties I could think of, so probably all of them!

Prepared foods case at the Co-op

The prepared foods case at the Co-op can usually put the case at any small WF to shame, though it was a busy Sunday afternoon when I snapped this photo so it looks a little understocked.  There are always plenty of vegan options here, including stellar mini-versions of Cafe Indigo‘s award-winning cakes, ready-to-go combo meals from SamosaMan, and delicious-looking sandwiches (in the mood for a vegan BLT?  egg-less salad sandwich?  how about broccoli-tempeh wraps?) made under the name of their in-house cafe, the Celery Stick.

Don’t expect a WF-sized salad bar at the Celery Stick — it’s a small operation.  Still, they manage to fit in a hot bar, a salad bar, 2-3 soups and a decent-sized bakery case!

Offerings at The Celery Stick Cafe

Celery Stick bakery case -- typically contains 2-3 vegan options

The one complaint I have about the Celery Stick is that generally only one option in the hot bar (and sometimes no option!) is vegan.  There’s usually plenty of tasty stuff in the prepared section to take care of me.  But, if you’re planning to have lunch here, I’d still recommend you check their Twitter feed first (@celerystickcafe) to find out what’s on the hot bar menu.  The bakery case always has something vegan, though — the last time I went, there was a vegan blueberry muffin as well as cookie bars from Cafe Indigo.  At least they’ve got those of us with a sweet tooth covered.

Though A Market is closer to my house, I think the slightly longer drive up here is worth it.  I’ve never compared prices, but I do know the selection is better, the prepared foods are better, the overall experience is just…better, and knowing I’m directly supporting the local community seals the deal.  In the wintertime especially, when all but a few farmer’s markets go into hibernation, this is a great way to show our New England vendors some love!

The Concord Co-Operative Market and the Celery Stick Cafe are located at 24 South Main Street in Concord, NH.  Check Web site for hours and menu.  http://www.concordfoodcoop.coop/

Holiday brunch alert!

THIS SUNDAY, November 14th, from 10a-2p, Cafe Indigo will be hosting its annual holiday brunch!  I’ll be out of town so I can’t go, but you all should!  Resplendent with seitan “turkey” and other holiday goodies, it promises to be even better than their usual brunch, which is indeed a force to be reckoned with.  If previous holiday brunches are any indication, get there on the early side to ensure you’ll get both seating and food.

Check their Facebook page for updates as it seems their official site is down.

Cafe Indigo is located at 128 H Hall Street in Concord, NH.  http://www.cafeindigo.com/

Cafe Indigo: Still golden

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Cafe Indigo is hands-down your best bet for Sunday brunch in the state of New Hampshire.  If you are within driving distance of Concord, and it happens to be the 2nd or 4th Sunday of the month, you have no excuse not to check it out!  I stopped by with my mom a few weeks ago and it was better than ever.

Brunch hours are from 10-2.  Of course, ever the procrastinators, Mom and I showed up at CI’s door slightly after 1:30.   Nonetheless, we were greeted with a smile and seated promptly.  I was also happy to see that new trays of food were still being brought out to the buffet table despite the late hour.

The way brunch works at Cafe Indigo is pretty awesome.  There is a buffet table of sides, salads, and desserts, from which you can take as much as you want, starting as soon as you’re seated.  Also included is your choice of one entree from their brunch menu, which they cook and bring to your table later.  (You can also order additional beverages and a la carte items if you wish.)  Finally, they have a coffee counter with a pretty decent selection of organic teas and coffees — all self-serve with unlimited refills.

This basically all adds up to A WHOLE LOT OF FOOD.  Fortunately, if you ask nicely they will give you a take-out box for your menu-item leftovers — which is great for me, since I always seem to fill up on the buffet before my order even arrives!

 

Buffet table offerings!

Buffet table offerings!

 

I sampled a little of everything from the buffet spread: cole slaw, black bean and corn salad, hummus with blue corn chips, pea salad with “bacon bits,” and a slice of corn bread.  All of these were as awesome as they look, but my favorites (as always) were the cole slaw and the pea salad.  Not pictured: the pasta salad I tried on round 2.  It was herbed but vinegar-free — a pleasant surprise, since I’m not crazy about vinegar-y pasta.

The only thing that I didn’t get a chance to sample was the gluten-free sesame noodles.  I remembered them from last time and wanted to try them again, but sadly, they were all gobbled up by the time I got there and were the only dish that went un-replenished.  That’s what I get for showing up at 1:30!

I must have been to brunch at CI four or five times by now and every time I get the huevos rancheros, which are just stellar.  This time, however, I decided to break out of my rut and order the sampler plate.

 

Cafe Indigo brunch sampler plate

 

The sampler plate is exactly what it sounds like: miniature versions of three of their other five brunch menu choices (the only two you don’t get to try are the huevos rancheros and their version of the Ruben).  They also throw in two sides: rosemary potatoes and a sausage patty.  Here’s my take:

  • French toast: This one surprised me! The toast had a really convincing “eggy” texture which many vegan French toast interpretations lack. Bonus points for using cinnamon swirl bread.  We all know my cinnamon obsession ;)
  • Cornmeal pancake: A solid “good.”  I kept finding myself wondering why they made it out of cornmeal.  Still tasty, don’t get me wrong, but I wish it had been less, uh, cornmealy.
  • Tofu scramble: There are a thousand versions of scrambled tofu, and while this may not be the best one out there, it’s a contender for sure.  There was no boxed-scramble taste whatsoever, the texture was spot-on and the vegetable selection was just right.  Basically, it was delicious without having to try too hard.  I nearly forgot I was eating tofu ;)
  • Rosemary potatoes: It’s hard to go wrong with rosemary potatoes! These were a great complement to the rest of the meal.  My only adjustment would be to make them slightly less greasy.
  • Sausage patty: Surprisingly, this was my favorite thing on the plate!  Tender, mildly chewy texture + savory flavor with just the right amount of sweetness = best breakfast sausage you could ask for.  It was very clearly homemade, and that is in no way an insult!  No frozen boxed patties here.

Mom opted for my faithful standby, the huevos rancheros.

 

Cafe Indigo's Huevos Rancheros

 

The rosemary potatoes are the same as the ones on my plate, the eggs are not!  The ranchero-style eggs taste totally different – they’re made with some seitan thrown in, I believe, as well as a different veggie/spice combo.  Served with black beans, avocado, sour cream, and pico de gallo.  If you miss huevos rancheros from your pre-vegan days, this will hit the spot.

Mom and I had both polished off two plates of buffet items and about 1/2 of our orders when we decided to box up the rest and try dessert!

 

Cafe Indigo desserts!

 

I tried a ginger crinkle, a small piece of chocolate cake and a cupcake version of their delicious lemon poppyseed cake.  Not pictured: Mom snagged the last piece of their award-winning carrot cake.  I’d had it before and already knew how good it was, but I was more impressed that Mom (who is a serious carrot-cake aficionado and not a vegan) was impressed!  She especially couldn’t believe how cream-cheesy the frosting tasted.

After dessert and the check (did I mention we got $3 off for being facebook fans?!) and one more trip to the coffee station for a refill on my tea, I checked out the bakery take-home items for sale.

 

Cookies/scones/bread for sale!!

 

There is also a fridge full of other goodies, including cheesecake, homemade seitan, Cheezly (all the way from across the pond!), whoopie pies, and cake by the slice (including a gluten-free version of the famous carrot cake).

NH has precious few all-veg restaurants, and Cafe Indigo is at the top of the heap for quality, value and mindfulness.  I think it’s really important to support them and show them that the demand for vegan food is still high!  If you haven’t been to their brunch yet, DO it!   You can go this weekend ;)

Cafe Indigo is located at 128 H Hall Street in Concord, NH.  http://www.cafeindigo.com/

Cafe Indigo: Beyond the Brunch

So it’s pretty much a given that Cafe Indigo in Concord is THE place to be in southern NH for Sunday brunch (well, if you’re a vegan, that is).  And now that they’ve scaled back the frequency to just twice a month (second and fourth Sundays only), it’s even more of a special occasion.

The thing about all this brunch hubbub is that I often forget that Cafe Indigo is open for breakfast and lunch every day during the week, and you don’t even have to pay $15!  My mom and I enjoyed a light lunch here a few Thursdays ago and it was more than satisfactory.

While a few menu items overlap, in many respects the lunch experience here is quite different from the brunch experience.  It’s far less crowded, for one, and far less expensive, for two.  I wasn’t particularly hungry on the occasion in question, so I ordered a bowl of the soup of the day (which the waitress, oddly enough, couldn’t describe to me — she said something to the effect of “it’s seitan…and vegetables…and I really don’t know how to describe it, but it’s good”).

Soup from Cafe Indigo

Soup du jour from Cafe Indigo, served with a slice of homemade cornbread.

I wish she had put a bit more effort into her description because this soup was a DEAD RINGER for chicken noodle, which I unfortunately never liked very much.  But if you do, or you did and now you’re vegan so you miss it, you should try the Cafe Indigo version for sure!  It was served with a big piece of sweet cornbread, which I accidentally ate a huge chunk of before I took the photo — hence the hiding behind the bowl.

The photo doesn’t look like much, but I can assure you it tasted just like chicken noodle soup, only with seitan instead of chicken chunks.  I don’t know how they got the broth to taste so authentic but it was really spot-on.  A bit of a twist, texture-wise, to use orzo pasta instead of more traditional noodles, but the flavor was unaffected.  Plenty of veggies, too, to satisfy us healthy-types.

My mom’s portabella wrap (not pictured — my mom is still a bit wary of the food-blog thing) was also quite tasty.  I was granted a few bites in trade for a few spoonfuls of soup.

We ended the meal with a slice of the famous, award-winning carrot cake, which is definitely not pictured because we dove into it far too eagerly.  Next time I will try to remember to snap a photo for you.

While it still can’t top their brunch, a midday meal at Cafe Indigo is a good, much less expensive way to sample what they have to offer.  I will definitely be back, next time hopefully with more of an appetite so I can try something more personally preferable.  If you find yourself hungry in Concord, I highly recommend stopping by!

Cafe Indigo is located at 128 H Hall Street (off the beaten path, in what can perhaps best be described as an industrial strip mall?) in Concord, NH.  http://www.cafeindigo.com/