Minneapolis "Meat" Market
Aubry and Kale Walch are saving the planet (and our arteries) one paper-wrapped pound of vegan brats at a time at their store, The Herbivorous Butcher.
1/ They love meat. Sort of. These siblings now selling meat-free jerky and ribs at Minneapolis' Herbivorous Butcher went vegan as teens: her for ethical reasons, him to lose weight. For Kale, the new diet hit hard. "It was all smoothies and flowers and stuff," Kale recalls. "I realized I couldn't sustain this and began experimenting with vegan meats." The Walches launched HB at the Minneapolis Farmers Market in 2014; a storefront followed this year. With white-aproned staff and shiny glass coolers lined with faux cold cuts and cheese, it's a temple to the pleasures of eating carnivorously-minus the meat.
2/ It's not tofu. That's the biggest misconception about Aubry and Kale's wares. Actually, non-GMO wheat flour and beans-seasoned with familiar herbs and spices-are at the core of their recipes.
3/ You're their target customer. Most shoppers at HB are omnivores. "People are realizing what they eat impacts the environment," Aubry says. "But they still want a steak. We're here to bridge that gap."
4/ The sausages are killer. Fans rave about the glazed Korean ribs, but if you're new to the game (or trying to sneak a meatless meal past a skeptical spouse), Kale suggests blending his Italian sausage with pasta or tossing sriracha brats on the grill: "You'd never even know it was vegan."
Don't live near Minneapolis? Have a vegan starter kit delivered (theherbivorousbutcher.com).
Favorite Twin Cities spots for veggie-centric dining
Midori's Floating World Cafe This funky sushi bar pours 30-plus tea varieties and lists vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options for many dishes. Try Aria's Tempura Rice Balls, with crispy-craggy edges for catching the dipping sauce (floatingworldcafe.com).
Muddy Waters Among the peach-chipotle pulled pork sliders and andouille sausage on this globe-trotting gastropub menu, veg-lovers of all stripes will find awesome mains, salads and sides-like Korean BBQ Mock Duck Tacos with pickled cukes (muddywatersmpls.com).