Vegetarian on Vacation

Roam Around

Vegetarian on Vacation

Downtown Indianapolis

Hello!  So I just got back from GenCon in Indianapolis and had a total BLAST! I love being able to go somewhere and let my inner geek fly.  This time I was able to check out some great shows including the amazing Damsels of Dorkington and the hilarious Leah not Leia.  I also saw Ghild and while Michael Rosenbaum is a cutie I’m still not sure if I enjoyed this movie, but that could be because I was expecting a comedy comedy and not a black comedy which this movie is.  Needless to say this was another wonderful year, and I’m looking forward to figuring out L5R which is the new game I brought home.

Now for the important part: the FOOD.  Indianapolis is a meat lovers haven!  Finding a vegetarian entree can be a challenge and finding a true vegan option is near to impossible unless you are okay with eating a salad for every meal.  This year I did my best to branch out and try new places, but I found that for all the growth happening in the city the food options are not expanding.   Today I am going to focus on the places that offer true vegetarian fare, without having to modify anything or get creative.

  • The New York Slice:  Huge New York style slices that are an amazing price, plus the veggie option is delicious.   One slice was more than enough for me for lunch, but for those with large appetites the price per slice can’t be beat.  They also offered a number of sides
  • Noodles & Company:   Essentially everything at this restaurant starts out vegetarian and goes from there.  At first I thought this was a vegan mecca until I saw that they tend to use the same pans with only a quick rinse which means some animal byproduct could be left behind.  This leads me to my second point of this restaurant not being nut allergy friendly, unless you asked the person to get a new pan and even then I would be careful.  This might be a location thing so if you have nut allergies be sure to voice them.  When going here I tend to stick to the Asian section, the Bangkok Curry is delicious as is the Indonesian Peanut Saute.  Being able to add organic tofu is another huge plus, that and being able to adjust the heat level.
  • India Gardens: I’ll admit it, I was nervous to try Indian food in Indy.  The last time I had Indian food here in the DC area I found a not so pleasant surprise in my masala so I wasn’t sure what a city that lacks the diversity of DC would offer.  I was more than pleasantly surprised by this gem, which exceeded all of my expectations and then some.  After much debate I decided on the Paneer Masala and my only regret is that I didn’t order it spicier.  The Masala sauce was some of the richest most flavorful I have ever had while the paneer just melted in my mouth.  The Naan was also out of this world and it was obvious that it was as fresh as possible.
  • Canterbury Hotel: When I saw the sign advertising an $8 lunch special, I was intrigued.  When I saw that a Vegetable Risotto was on the list I walked right on in.  While the portion was a little small, even for a lunch fare, it was enough to satisfy.  Looking back I wish I had asked about the broth used but I’ll have to trust that since they were advertising it as vegetarian, not vegan, it used a vegetable broth along with copious amounts of real butter.
  • Ah Barista: I have truly saved the best for last with this entry because there were more vegetarian options than I had time to try.  A number of them can also be easily modified for a vegan, including the Portabella Mushroom Panini and the Peanut Butter Banana & Honey sandwich.  The later of these was my first meal in Indy, which is starting to be a tradition.  Since Joe is allergic to peanuts I tend to go on peanut benders when I’m traveling and this sandwich always hits the spot.  I’m also a fan of the 4-Cheese Pretzel Panini, the amount of cheese in this sandwich would satisfy even the most devout cheeseheads so if you have any lactose issues avoid this cheesy masterpiece.  If the delicious food isn’t enough to lure you in, the prices are just right since they include a pickle and chips.
So there you have it, my top 5 vegetarian places for eating when in downtown Indianapolis.  While I’m sure there are others, I was limited to the area directly around the convention center on this trip so please let me know what you think is missing from this list.  

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