Friday, February 21, 2014
Nashville Food Friday: Kahn's Vegan Bakery and Cafe
I'm a meat eater. I don't hide it and I'm not ashamed. But I was vegetarian and vegan for a time in college and thereafter (until someone dangled bacon in front of my face at a diner). I can appreciate solid vegan food and I really enjoy the stuff on occasion. I have had a few cakes from Khan's before they opened their retail bakery at The Wild Cow. But until a few weeks ago I had never gone inside their storefront on Porter Road.
Khan's is very small. There is room for about 3 two-top tables, the bakery counter and that's it. The decor screams "hippie-vegan-cafe" which is neither a good nor a bad thing. It's just a fact. Steve and I went in for lunch and besides one gentleman finishing his sandwich and another waiting on a smoothie, the place was empty. And even though it was empty, it did feel that we waited a very long time for something as simple as a sandwich.
I ordered the special which was called "Kale Me Crazy." It contained fake crispy chicken, baby kale, carrots, artichoke hearts, cucumbers and a mint tahini dressing. I honestly wasn't a big fan of this wrap. It was about 80% kale and since the chicken was the first ingredient listed I was expecting more chicken than I received. The mint tahini sauce was great, but I felt that something was keeping this from being a great wrap. It did come with a side of potato salad that was SO GOOD. I would have never guessed that it was vegan. That potato salad seriously blew my mind.
I will say that I was at Khan's a week before and ordered the Cactus Burrito (seitan chorizo, black beans, cactus, poblano peppers, avocado salsa, mixed greens and cashew cheese in a whole wheat wrap) and I really loved that thing. My only issue with that burrito was that I wanted it to have way more cactus. I love cactus and very few places showcase what it can do.
Steve ordered the Surly Bird which had the same crispy fake chicken, but his sandwich had a whole cutlet of it. The Surly Bird also had fake cheddar cheese, arugula, tomato, red onions, chipotle agave mustard all grilled on naturally leavened whole wheat focaccia. His sandwich was the clear winner. I was surprised by how much I loved the grilled bread and the fake cheddar cheese. Plus, in this sandwich you could really taste how good the crispy fake chicken was.
Since Khan's is a bakery we couldn't leave without having something sweet. We went for the chocolate chip whoopie pie. This was the fanciest (and maybe healthiest) Little Debbie-style snack cake I've seen. The cookies were very soft and had a great chip-to-batter ratio. The cream in the center was very light and fluffy and not overly sweet like some sugar frosting tends to be.
I should also mention that on Valentine's Day I went to Khan's to get a sweet strawberry chocolate cupcake for Steve. He liked it so much he didn't even let me have a bite!
While Khan's sandwiches have been hit or miss for me (and trust me the hits are WORTH it) I can honestly say that this is the best vegan bakery I have ever been to. The sweets are just so darn good that you can buy them for your next get together, not tell anyone that they're vegan, and no one will be able to guess. So if anyone wants to get me a cake, my favorite is the Elvis cake (banana cake with peanut butter frosting).