Monday, November 29, 2010

Chicago Spotlight: Safari Cup Coffee

Just under the steps of the Brown Line Southport stop is Safari Cup Coffee, an accidentally vegan-friendly coffeehouse! I went there with some friends of mine expecting to find, well...not much for vegans. Just maybe a good cup of coffee. I asked the gentleman behind the counter (who turned out to be Dave, one of the owners) if there was anything for vegans. He politely apologized but said he didn't think so. I grabbed one of their menus anyway to have a second look. A few minutes later Dave's wife Sharon comes out to my table to talk with me. She took the time to look at everything on their menu to see if anything was vegan or could be made vegan. How nice of her! Here's a quick summary:

Oatmeal: vegan

Toasted Sandwiches:
Baby bella mushroom, peppers, tomato, cheese. Just hold the cheese and you're good to go.

Peanut butter and banana: Vegan

Sandwiches: Village Green (listed as "A vegetarian's delight!"): Lightly toasted fresh-baked wheat bread filled with avocado, shredded carrot, tomato, cheddar cheese, and red pepper. Spooned over with Safari Cup's Jungle herb spinach pesto sauce. Once again, simply hold the cheese. Sharon said her bread and pesto are vegan (everything is made in-house).

Salads for Herbivores (yes, that's how it's listed on the menu!)
Chungwa (orange): Thinly sliced crisp fennel tossed with baby spinach, fresh sliced orange, black olives & red pepper. Served with a citrus mint & herb dressing. Garnished with feta.
Do I even have to tell you? No feta of course.

Zanzibar Salad: Fresh cut cucumbers, fennel, avocado, red onion, nestled in Romaine iceberg lettuce. Sprinkled over with our house Citrus & Mint dressing & Parmesan cheese. ::ahem:: yes yes, we cheese!

Safari Cup also offers something called "Ranger's Choice" which is: Choose any 3 of our side salads and enjoy a varied and balanced meal. There are 4 side salads and THREE of them are vegan! Yes! Here they are:
Azifa (green lentil): Green lentil, caramelized onions & red pepper in a balsamic vinegar dressing garnished with cilantro parsley.

Tabbouleh: A Lebanese couscous salad scallions, parsley, tomato & mint.

Tropical Fruit Salad: Freshly sliced & diced tropical fruit selected from seasonal fruits such as papaya, pineapple, orange, grape and mango.

As you can see, they've got a few bottled drinks to choose from as well. Like this one:

I've never even seen this drink before, so I gave it a try. It even says "vegan" right on the bottle, but of course I didn't notice that until after reading the ingredient list. That's just how I roll I guess. I thought the taste was "interesting", but not really my thing. But hey, I tried!

The owners Dave and Sharon are so nice, and I love the atmosphere of their shop. From what I read on their website, they are originally from Ireland but both spent many years in Africa before coming to the states and eventually opening up Safari Cup in Chicago. There is a definitely an African theme going on...I really like it!

So if you find yourself in the Wrigleyville/Southport area, please stop in! It's worth a visit, even if you don't get anything but a cup of coffee.

Safari Cup Coffee
3404 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL

note: It seems as if the "food" link on their website is down so you can't have a look at the menu. Hopefully it will be fixed soon!

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