A vegan and a carnivore walk into a Local Harvest…
By: Gretchen Daniels
By: Alex Kendall
Is there a better way to forget about the week’s stresses than meeting friends and family for Sunday brunch? For a vegan, quite possibly. Adapting lunch and dinner to my new vegan diet has been an easy transition. However, breakfast is dominated by eggs, butter, milk, cheese and yogurt. For weekday mornings I usually grab fruit on my way out the door, but what options would I have when eating out?
Alex and I decided to venture to Local Harvest’s Kirkwood location for Sunday brunch to scope out the options. If one is searching for a relaxed brunch away from the hectic crowds that often overwhelm an enjoyable morning meal then we have found the spot: Local Harvest in Kirkwood.
When I walked in the cafe — which also serves as a grocery store — I was greeted by the staff with a friendly smile and a hello. The cafe seating takes prominence at the front of the store and is flooded with sunlight through the front wall of windows.
To place an order travel to the back of the store because the deli counter is disconnected from the seating area by grocery aisles. Listed on the chalkboard above the counter was one option for me: vegan French toast. So, I ordered the vegan French toast, breakfast potatoes and coffee, which cost just under $14. Pay at the front cash registers and take a seat.
Being quite a superstitious person I had a premonition this meal was going to be good. For my table number I was given 42. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but anyone who is a fan of “Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” knows the value of 42. So, while drinking my coffee and listening to the background music of Sarah McLachlan and Ray LaMontagne, I prepared myself to be gastronomically delighted.
Now, I must admit I have found one major drawback to veganism: coffee. I adore coffee, and if there were no adverse affects to drinking liters of coffee a day I would probably do so. But, I am not a black coffee kind of girl, and I hate soy milk. At Local Harvest I added soy milk to my coffee because it is the most common vegan option for places to provide, and I keep hoping that my taste buds will adjust. However, after ruining a perfectly good cup of coffee again I am done with soy milk.
Our food arrived quickly, and oh my, the portions were big. Two large slices of brioche disappeared under a confection of blueberry and blackberry preserves, blueberries, vegan cream cheese and syrup. This was much more rich than my usual banana. The vegan French toast was delicious, but next time I will ask for the syrup on the side. After one piece of brioche I had come to my sugar limit. The flavor of French toast changes every week, so even though I only have one option for a breakfast entree it should not get boring.
While I left half my French toast on the plate, I could have inhaled an entire pan of the potatoes. This side item was simple, but exactly what I was craving. These potatoes were neither crispy nor mashed; they were the perfect middle and contained green and red pepper.
Conveniently, Local Harvest is only one mile west from STLCC-Meramec. It looks like I have a new place to eat lunch and study.
It is statistically said that eating breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism and thought process for the day. However, many people simply skip this key meal for numerous reasons: rushing late to school or work, becoming sick in the morning from eating too early or simply not waking up in time. For me, breakfast is a time to sit down before the busy day starts, read the paper in print or online and enjoy some toast and orange juice.
When Gretchen and I decided to go out for breakfast, I was a little weary on where we were going. I typically eat at home and avoid the busy commuters in the morning. Pondering over where to eat, Gretchen suggested Local Harvest. I had never heard of the place and had no idea what I was going to eat.
Walking through Local Harvest is like walking back in time to a simpler era when people shopped at the local corner grocery store. Unlike large chain grocery stores, Local Harvest tailors to its customers’ needs with free samples and the ability to choose all of one’s own produce. Local Harvest also features 365 local wines and spirits along with locally brewed beer. Located in the front of the grocery store, the Local Harvest cafe seats 40 and caters to a wide array of diners.
After ordering at the deli in the back of the grocery store I sat down, number in hand, waiting to dive into the breakfast I had ordered. The cafe section is an interesting addition to the grocery store. The tables and arrangements were reminiscent of a local night time diner, but without the night-time drunkards or dirt-stained floors.
For breakfast, I dined on the breakfast burrito. The burrito was compiled of farm-fresh scrambled eggs, fresh potato hash, mozzarella and black beans rolled up with a tortilla. On the side was a salsa that put a little kick into the burrito. The breakfast burrito also comes with fruit salad. This salad can vary depending on the fruit available.
Typically a pancakes and eggs kind of guy, the breakfast burrito did not fail to impress. The eggs were cooked to perfection, with no burnt edges or gooey centers. The hash potatoes were an excellent compliment to the eggs and the black beans. When available, Local Harvest will substitute a spinach tortilla for the traditional wheat.
The meal reached a little over nine dollars, Local Harvest has a wide menu range from a classic and award-winning biscuits and sausage gravy breakfast to options for vegetarians, vegans and everything in between. The menu is based on seasonal and locally tracked ingredients, with 50 percent of the products coming from local farms and sources. Grocery items are marked with “STL,” “150” and “300” mile stickers to indicate how far the items have traveled.
In addition to the cafe and grocery store, Local Harvest offers tastings and classes to the community. Previously, the store hosted a wine and chocolate tasting where a local winery representative paired together wines and chocolates. Recently, for a small fee the public was invited to attend a bee keeping class.
As Local Harvest states on the website, “ Local food is healthier. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food.”