Sunday, June 23, 2013

Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips at Tropical Smoothie Cafe!

Last month, at the Vida Vegan Conference in Portland, Oregon, I was introduced to Kedar, a representative for Beyond Meat. He happened to mention to me that there was a Tropical Smoothie Cafe in the Omaha area and that they carried Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips for sandwiches, wraps or salads! I've heard rumblings of Vegan options at Tropical Smoothie Cafes across the country, but I had no idea Omaha had one (technically it's in Papillion, but whatever.) Kedar provided me with a Vegan cheat sheet that really comes in handy once you're ready to order. It goes like this:

Vegan Breads:
Flour Tortilla
Garlic Tortilla
Ciabatta Flatbread

Vegan Sauces/Toppings:
Jerk Sauce
Thai Peanut Dressing
Buffalo Sauce
Southwest Rice

Suggested Vegan items with Beyond Meat:

Buffalo Chicken Wrap (without cheese)
Thai Chicken
Southwest Chicken (without ranch)
Hummus Veggie (without pepper jack, doesn’t normally have meat, so add Beyond Meat)

Turkey Guacamole (With Ciabatta bread instead of 9-Grain)
Build your own? (Chicken, Hummus, Guac with Lettuce & Tomato on Ciabatta)

Baja Chicken (without cheese and ranch)
Caribbean Luau (without cheese)

It also turns out that many of the smoothies are Vegan, too. They use Turbinado sugar, which is completely Vegan, plus tons of fruits and veggies. So now you can get some great food and a smoothie. My kind of fast food joint! Everything was pretty easy to order. Just remember that most things come with cheese, so just ask for no cheese and Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips in place of the chicken. Here's what I tried:

Looking at the cheat sheet, I knew I wanted the Buffalo Wrap. I love that buffalo tang and I knew it would taste great with the Chicken-Free Strips. Boy was I right, these are dynamite! Probably my favorite of the three food items I tried. For real, I could eat these everyday.

Next is the Caribbean Luau Flatbread. A very flavorful, sweet, hearty creation that's a little different than your typical sandwich fare. I have to add that the Chicken-Free Strips taste great! I believe they serve the Grilled Chicken-Free Strips. I'm not sure of their cooking method, but they are warm and delicious.

And finally we have the Hummus Veggie Wrap. Now, this wrap is normally Vegan (minus the cheese) but I tried it with and without Chicken-Free Strips (yes, I'm pretty thorough.) I loved it both ways! The strips add a lot of sustenance to the wrap, but it was also excellent without.

Unfortunately, there was only one bag of chips that were Vegan. They were Miss Vickie's Simply Salt Chips. I liked them but I would love to see more Vegan options. Hopefully Tropical Smoothie Cafe can rectify that in the future.

I also want to mention how impressed I was by the smoothies. If you follow me on twitter or know me in real life, you know I'm a sucker for shakes and smoothies. The two I tried were simply amazing: Island Green and Caribbean Carrot. They were refreshing AND came in very handy during this hot Nebraska month of June. Can't wait to try some of the other varieties!

It's always been a dream of mine for fast food restaurants to offer Vegan options. I know it happens on the coasts with Chipotle and Subway, but nothing like that ever happens in Omaha. I'm really excited and I hope people come (I'm talking to the whole city of Omaha) and try all of the different varieties of Vegan eats.

Special thanks to Kedar from Beyond Meat for telling me all about this. I was half drunk when he told me (we were at party, I'm not always drunk) and I didn't believe him. I'm so happy he was right! Find a Tropical Smoothie Cafe location near you here.


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