As another birthday has come and gone, bringing with it the pressures of the real world, I've been forced to determine the things which bring value and happiness into my life. For the sheer hell of it, the central art piece in my very first adult apartment was a grocery cart which my roommate and I found in the hallways of our complex on the day we moved in. I spent the first moments of my twentieth year sitting in that cart, being pushed down my hallways by my friends singing happy birthday while I selfishly enjoyed my favorite yearly gift to myself: a box of half a dozen donuts from Nami. It truly is the little things in life.
If I were an animal in a shelter, my About Me information would include the words "food-motivated." Every warmly loved tradition I've formed since I've moved to the city has surrounded food and for the Phoenix vegan, vegetarian, or curious eater, Green and Nami are the local heroes we don't deserve but desperately need. Two years ago, I wandered into their teal oasis searching for ice cream in the dead dry summer with the same severity which Harry Potter searched for the Horcruxes. Upon first entering, I knew I had found my home away from home.
The menu at Green has something for everyone, from the hypothetical, mystical vegan who survives off nothing but salads to the big-bites-out-of-a-big-wac vegan to the "I-was-dragged-here-by-a-vegan"s. The menu is sectioned off into bites, rice bowls, greens + garden burritos, handhelds, sides, and kid's stuff. We order our meals at the counter and take our number to the patio.
I couldn't help the allure of the hold-in-your-hands and stuff-in-your-face toasted ciabatta bread full of buffalo mock chicken, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and homemade vegan mayo: the original "g" spicy po' boy sandwich. I'm as white as it gets when it comes to handling spicy food, but, po' boy, does the original "g" balance their sauces right. Even though it's more food than I can handle, my stomach also urges me in the direction of the animal fries, vegan spin on the In-N-Out favorite, smothered in melted cheese, grilled onions, and 1k island sauce. After a few bites I had to tap out but when I went back up to the counter to grab a compostable take-out box, I highly debated asking for several sides of the 1k island sauce to go.
My companion, a vegan by allergic design and severely celiac to boot, opts for the less messy, healthy option of an organic Thai peanut brown rice bowl with broccoli, carrots, bok choy, peanuts and a simple yet spicy peanut sauce. It comes with an option of mock chicken, mock beef, house tofu, or fresh, organic sprouted tofu. While I strongly hold the belief that Green's mock chicken could be the answer to world peace (or at least chickens' peace) she has a strong disposition against mock meats and opts for extra veggies instead. The bowl it comes in is huge, making it initially look as if they're skimping out on the food itself. In reality, it was never-ending. the spicy peanut sauce wasn't as harsh as my buffalo sauce, but it was enough to give the simple meal a kick in the right direction.
The one thing we can positively agree on is that the made-in-house Vimto tea made of raspberries, grapes, and black currants is sweetened with the promise of addiction. And the ice machine is covered in a polka dotted pattern of Ice-T's face which earns the place style points. Those who question what vegans eat or how we manage to keep to our diets would eat their words if they ever ate this food.
A lunch date is never quite complete without a ten-step journey to the treats over at Nami. Staying true to our ordering styles at Green, my lack of self-control ordered me a peanut butter and chocolate tsoynami with a vanilla base, a Nami cupcake, and a Snickers donut. My companion put her sweet-tooth under the pillow for collection years ago. She was there for the company and the atmosphere of the sweet sweets shop while I took scoops from my better-than-a-blizzard ice cream drenched in chocolate sauce and mixed with natural peanut butter. The Nami cupcake, a hostess cupcake all grown up, and the donuts of my dreams, all the fluff with none of the grease, were to-go orders to save my poor jeans.
The vegan treats are obviously a treat and while we come for the food, the place itself invites customers to get cozy while enjoying their cold-brew. The tables are close enough to eavesdrop on the conversations of the other patrons, but that only aids to the feeling of community created there. There's an artistic vibe that's difficult to put a cap on, from the ever-changing local artist's work being featured on the walls for sale to the little libraries residing in the windowsills. The unfunctional fireplace is filled with t-shirts capturing it all in one simple saying: "fuking go nuts for vegan donuts." The teal exterior could rival Roosevelt Row and you'll never be hard-pressed to find local indie and alternative events in the area plastered to the drinks and cookie dough fridge from art shows to concerts.
Green and Nami are your one stop shop for everything happy, hippie, indie, vegan, cliché- and it's astounding.
Hours for Green Hours for Nami
Monday-Saturday: 11:00am-9:00pm 7:00am-9:30pm daily
Rating: 5/5 stars