Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where to Eat Vegan: Morning Glory Cafe - Flagstaff, AZ

Flagstaff has several vegan friendly restaurant but Morning Glory was by far my favorite.
This longtime neighborhood mainstay on South San Francisco Street somehow got overlooked on my first trip to Flagstaff. Sunlight streams into Morning Glory Cafe and a cheery "Hey Darlins, I'm Julia" floats from behind the counter when you enter.

Julia stopped chopping vegetables to come to the counter and greet us. "What can I get for you guys?"
We admitted it was our first time dining at Morning Glory and she directed our attention to the chalkboard menu on the wall while she made suggestions and fired questions at us. 
"Just got out of the canyon huh? What a perfect time of year for it. Where are you headed next month?"
We chatted about my monthly travels, the blog, food and Flagstaff and then upon her recommendation ordered lunch.

"Ok well glasses and water are there, and just grab yourself some chips and salsa and I'll bring out your food when it's ready." She smiled warmly and then turned to make our meals.

We fixed ourselves a little plate and a glass of water and then poked around a little. Hand carved spoons hung on a hanging branch mobile for sale. Nearby recycled blue jean wallets were stacked neatly next to knitted hats. 

Julia hummed to herself in the kitchen as she cooked.

In the beginning Morning Glory Cafe was owned by the late Maria Ruiz and Julia was an employee and close friend of hers. The spirit of the food and decor are Maria's but it is obvious that they are deeply rooted in Julia's philosophy as well. In addition to the list of do-goods that many restaurants strive to boast of these days, that being buying from local farmers and offering organic ingredients, Morning Glory also holds to a zero food waste policy and employs practices like composting and donation of unused foods.
The Cafe didn't start out fully vegetarian but Maria was always intent on making her food nurturing and preparing it with health in mind. Maria believed in food as medicine and created her recipes with this in mind, a tradition Julia has inherited. 

Eventually we settled in to a booth and started chatting and Julia brought out our lunches.  She beamed with obvious pleasure as she set them down in front of us and I reached for my camera. Everything about the cafe was bright and colorful and fresh and the food was no exception.
The hemp burger was so flavorful and decadent while still tasting earthy and green that I came back for another as my last meal in Flagstaff. 
These are the types of meals that inspire you and stick with you well after your meal is over. 

The Hemp Burger and The Veggie Fajitas 

115 S. San Francisco St. 

Wednesday - Saturday 11am - 9pm


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