Trumpet Blosson Cafe
310 E. Prentiss St.
As an ex-vegan I still love to frequent vegetarian/vegan restaurants and was delighted when the Trumpet Blossom opened. Trumpet Blossom is a fully vegan restaurant, meaning 100 percent plant-based using no animal products (yes, even butter, milk and eggs).
Upon entering the restaurant, the large windows and houseplants made for a very earthy feel. I noticed the bar was stocked with an array of local beers and liquors and also included an espresso machine. Trumpet Blossom often features entertainment on the built-in stage and hosts community events–check out their Facebook page for details. Beer and wine specials are run regularly and include seasonal selections.
As a friendly waitress seated my friend and me at a booth, I instantly honed in on the tempeh reuben sandwich, but then noticed it was only available at lunch, served from 11 to two. Brushing off the temporary disappointment, I ordered the hummus and veggies ($4) and the cumin tempeh with polenta in a lime and cilantro sauce served with chili butter ($18). My friend opted for the small sautéed veggies with ginger peanut sauce and grains ($12).
The server was attentive to our needs, as was the bartender, who was helping run food. Despite the chill of this fall evening, by the time our generous portion of hummus arrived, Trumpet Blossom definitely had us feeling the warmth. The hummus was delicious and (although we too quickly ran out of them) the radish and carrot slices were an excellent choice to go with it.
It didn’t take long before our waitress brought us our meals and both looked great. My taste buds sang with delight at the first bite of polenta and tempeh. Halfway through the meal, though, the flavors became a bit overwhelming. I found myself wishing they had used less of the cilantro lime sauce. My friend’s dish was also excellent but seemed to have the same issue—delicious, but a bit overpowered by the sauce. This preference for lower intensity could certainly be in the eye of the beholder (and, afterall, we had asked for lime, cilantro, ginger and peanut, all strong flavors) but I was having a less-is-more moment.
In terms of taste and overall feel, Trumpet Blossom is one of the best restaurants I have been to in the year and a half I’ve lived in Iowa City. The positives far outweigh the negatives and, honestly, my biggest problem is they don’t offer the tempeh reuben at dinner. I suppose I’ll just have to go back for lunch—twist my arm.