One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Restaurant Review: Ria's Blue Bird (Atlanta, GA)

I am not a morning person. If the sun isn’t up then my body can’t even begin to process anything beyond orange juice and tea. Last semester I somehow ended up with a 7:30am research class which required me to be up before the sun, my goats, my bunny and my dogs – in my opinion if the companion animals aren’t up yet then there is no earthly reason I need to be up either. It’s just nature right?

Every Monday and Wednesday I would run out the house, brushing my teeth on the way out the door, shoes and socks in hand with no more than a mug of hot black tea or orange juice to fill my stomach. By the time class was over my stomach was not only grumbling it was yelling, cursing and I think it might have even back-handed me a time or two. Usually when I came under assault from my stomach I would head to my usual spots like Stone Soup Kitchen, R. Thomas Deluxe Grille or even Whole Foods but one morning I was craving something new. A quick Google search on ye ole blackberry and tada! – I was off to Ria’s Blue Bird (421 Memorial Drive Atlanta, GA).

As I pulled up to the parking lot I realized I’ve passed by this place dozens of times and not even realized it was there. It’s one of those unassuming dives that just blends into the background of a city drive. The menu is geared more towards vegetarians than vegans but the waiter was super friendly, helpful and steered me in the direction of all things vegan. As with Stone Soup Kitchen, Ria’s “soysage” isn’t vegan (haven’t these people ever heard of the joys of gimme lean sausage?!)

However, their southwest scramble is and it is marvelous! Although the description is very clearly laid out on the menu when I got my big bowl of southwest scramble it was nothing like what I expected, but I was still pleasantly surprised. The base was black beans, then there was your standard tofu (cubed, not scramble) topped with tomatoes, onion, and broccoli (it comes with a cilantro pesto which I just automatically told them to leave off since I always assume pesto has some hidden cheese in it). The combination of flavors was a fiesta in mi boca (that's a little spanglish for ya)! I would have never thought of putting this combination of flavors together in this way. It was such a filling meal that incorporated nearly every food group. And best of all the service was fast (which was great because I think if I would have waited one more minute my stomach would have hauled off and dropped kicked me).

Other vegan-friendly menu items are:
Country Fried Tempeh (minus the buttermilk biscuit of course)
Oatmeal (boring!)
Granola (super boring!)
Tempeh Reuben (hold the cheese please)
BBQ Veggie Riblet
Arugula or Spinach salad + tofu or tempeh (sin queso)

You can also get a side of spicy tofu, cup of beans, grits, or a fruit cup. Eat up!


  1. Don't forget the mighty tasty Bionic Breakfast!

  2. Hey Jeff, Is the bionic breakfast vegan? I was just at Ria's for brunch today and it looked anything but vegan.

  3. Yup... The spicy tofu sauce is a mixture or Sriracha and silken tofu. Been having it for years.


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