Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Vegan in Tampa: Brunch Collaboration (#2) Between Cafe Hey and the Blind Tiger Cafe

On Sunday Cafe Hey and the Blind Tiger Cafe joined forces for their third brunch collaboration (and second in as many months). While I had dreams of driving all the way to St. Pete to find a vegan grilled cheese, I decided to put those on hold for another week and opted for the much shorter trek to Ybor. I was super stoked to see that Cafe Hey's portion of the brunch menu, the food, would be different this time around. I like my brunches with some foodie variety. I was also pretty excited to know that Blind Tiger's portion, the coffee, would be the same. A good scientist knows, you can't change everything at once.

This month's menu included waffles with fresh berries, sausage and tofu scramble with bacon bits.  There was one food similarity between last month and this one, the creamy grits with mushroom gravy. Neither J-Fur or I complained about keeping those around. We both attacked them first.


        Full View of the Brunch Plate

Holy (insert any expletive you can imagine here)! Cafe Hey's vegan waffles were the best waffles that I've ever eaten. Now, I know that might not be saying much. I've only eaten waffles at IHOP, out of my freezer/toaster, Denny's and at the free breakfast offered by hotels. Still, I'd like to think I know a thing or two about good food. What I liked about these waffles were that they were extremely silky the whole way through. There was no crisp exterior, soft interior (like the frozen ones that come from my oven). It was one consistent texture from the first bite to the last. The waffles were finished with syrup and fresh blueberries and strawberries.


                   The Sausage

The next thing to visit my stomach was the homemade vegan sausage. These had a pretty similar texture to most other vegan sausages I've eaten or made. I did like that they left a lingering taste of sage in your mouth. I found myself dipping them in the mushroom gravy as the light meatiness of the mushrooms were right at home with the earthy sage. 


     The Scrambled Tofu and Bacon Bits

Bacon and eggs anyone? I liked the texture combination created by the soft tofu and the crunchy bacon bits. Taste wise, the scrambled tofu stacked up to pretty much any previous version I've had. In fact, I liked it better than most of them because it wasn't overwhelmingly flavored with cumin.

I complained a bit last month about the price. This time around I had no such qualms. It still cost 20 dollars but my plate was full of food. When I left the cafe, I was stuffed. I stayed that way well into the evening. 

Normally being vegan in Tampa is not super cool. The Blind Tiger and Cafe Hey have decided that at least for one Sunday a month they are going to change that. I can't thank them enough.

Brittany Jean and Will Copps were bandmates who were dealt a difficult situation. They were forced to move 4,000 miles apart. Nobody would blame the two of them if they just let things end there. But they didn't. Instead they used the time apart to discover their true sound together. The recipe goes something like this: take Brittany’s raw, soulful songwriting and combine it with Will's lush, electronic atmospheres. The resulting cookbook? Heliograph by Wall of Trophies. The first single from Heliograph is the self-titled "Heliograph." It's magical silkiness pairs perfectly with a brunch centered around silky waffles.