Top vegan options for eating out
My recent trip to LA, highlighted how many great vegan cafe options we have at home.
When I won a four-day trip to Los Angeles last month, the resounding excitement was about all the amazing vegan food I was going to eat. It was no joke, the food was incredible, and the options were endless! To my surprise, I even got to experience the full ball game experience with a vegan hot dog at the Dodgers Stadium (yes, it was as disgusting as you imagine). Before I went to Santa Monica, I didn't know you could wake up feeling hungover from a burrito, but apparently Chipotle can do that to you. I tried in vain to restore some balance with fermented beverages from Erewhon Market, but it was too little, too late. It really made me realise how lucky we are to have so many amazing vegan options here in Auckland, so I thought I would share a few of my favourites here.
The first place I went when I got home was Misters, this place boggles my mind. It's the only place I've been where every single experience has been flawless. Their menu changes seasonally and every lunch main has the option to change the protein to create the vegan meal of your dreams. I personally tend to gravitate towards savoury for breakfast and I love that this place offers more than just granola and acai bowls. They work closely with WeCompost to compost all their Ecoware packaging, ensuring that it can take life as a new resource and reduce the environmental impact.
Next up is eighthirty (I really did go here right after Misters on my first day back). I love all four branches of eighthirty but High Street has two very special people that run the show. Tucked away at 35 High Street, this one is easy to miss, but once you've been, you'll find yourself pointing it out to friends every time you pass. While I was studying last year I virtually lived there, it is the most beautiful space, with the kindest staff and the best coffee. They stock cabinet food like gourmet sandwiches and incredibly hearty salads - Rosie and Hayley are always quick to let you know which is the best vegan pick of the day.
Unfortunately, eighthirty High Street is only open on weekdays, so on the weekend we head to Kokako in Grey Lynn. Completely vegetarian, Kokako has an abundance of vegan options on the menu and in the cabinet. They cater to everyone, from veggie stuffed wraps to the sneaky banana loaf for those with a sweet tooth. It's family-friendly, buzzing all weekend and the best part - you can guarantee meeting a new beautiful dog every time.
Unlike the other places in this list that I visit regularly, I've only been to Kaiaroha a couple of times, but it is so good, I really couldn't leave it out. When I went vegan, I thought I had given up my love of quiche, but after almost three years, the flame was reignited. I don't know how they do it, but they create the most realistic egg substitutes I have ever encountered. The staff were lovely and were quick to give recommendations based on what I had enjoyed during previous visits. If Parnell was local for me, I would be here every single week.
Last but not least, The Midnight Baker. Another ridiculously beautiful space that always leaves me feeling calm, no matter how busy it gets. Since changing to weekend-only hours, I've found it hard to get there as frequently as I would like. But I promise you it's worth making time for! You've probably already tried The Midnight Baker's loaf at one of your favourite spots in Auckland, but the creations on this menu are so perfectly paired, it takes the experience to another level. All toast toppings are vegan, so I love to order with friends and share a piece each. I can happily say I've tried almost everything on the menu and never been disappointed - I'll be in soon to try the burger!
Speaking of burgers; while they are currently taking a break, I have to make a special spot on this list for Wise Boys Burgers. I don't know if there is any other food I would chase around Auckland every weekend for the better part of a year. They make the most delicious burgers that won't leave you regretting your life choices an hour later. Not to mention they are just downright great guys, dishing out exceptional food and quality banter. Follow them on Instagram or Facebook and be the first to know where they're popping up next.
Chanelle is a vegan, amateur athlete, social advocate, environmental enthusiast and blogger at mynameischanelle.com. Follow her on Instagram @chellychannel