Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Mellow Mushroom Sanford, FL Review

*This is my restaurant review for the new Mellow Mushroom in Sanford, FL. They did not pay me to write this, all of the thoughts are my own.*

Monday April 27, 2015 was an epic day. The long awaited opening of Mellow Mushroom in Sanford Florida. Very rarely can I find a restaurant that serves VEGAN food, let alone in Sanford or the surrounding area. This place is legit and will cater to the needs of a vegan and even the gluten free pizza dough is vegan! Score on all accounts for someone like me.

In the past the vegan cheese (soy based) the chain used was busted as not being 100% vegan, as it had casein in. But thankfully they have changed over time to Daiya brand cheese which is 100% vegan.  So vegans of Sanford rejoice!!

On to my review.... the night was in a summary 'a comedy of errors' you will soon see why.

We decided to go opening night, why not right? We arrived at 6:30pm The table wait for the 4.5 (baby is the 0.5) of us was 30 min and not bad we thought so we put our name down. They have a 'fancy' way of telling you when your table is ready by texting you and letting you know. Which it great when you have kids! That gave us time to go to the near by pet store and hang out for 30 minutes until the table was ready for us. Run around the store..... got the text and time to go back.

We were quickly seated out on the patio by a friendly host, out server Sam arrived and was very nice. We ordered out drinks while the kids played with the kids menus and the youngest colored on the table.... good thing its only crayon.

Our server came back in pretty good time and took our food order. I let the others go first since the 'vegan thing' has thrown off many waiters in the past. I ordered a pizza I had gotten in the past at another Mellow Mushroom and remembered liking it so lets see how the new guys do. The Thai Dye Pizza (Vegan version)
Olive oil and garlic base, curried tofu, Daiya mozzarella cheese, Roma tomatoes, onions. Topped with fresh basil, cucumbers and a sweet swirl of Thai chili sauce. And the vegan version has no butter on the crust or Parmesan cheese.
My partially eaten pizza below...
When I first told Sam the server I was Vegan, she immediately said "Ok great! My brother is vegan so I totally understand!" Which I have to tell you is nice, not having to explain your eating habits to a server is a nice break. Before I could explain the no butter etc... she told me "Ok so the Thai Dye with vegan cheese, tofu and I made a big note no butter or Parmesan cheese on the crust." Yes perfect! This may turn out to be a nice night after all! or was it......

So begins the comedy of errors... I understand it was the first official opening night to the public, but they were not that busy. Empty tables were here and there, no huge wait line out side and it was after all a Monday night. But we after we ordered our food we waited... and waited.... and waited.....

The server came by to check on us, reassured us it wouldn't be much longer, the head waitress (I assume) came by with her head set and asked if we had gotten our food. "No still waiting"
... its now been 45min since we placed our order, other tables have gotten their food, we sit hungry and waiting. The kids we really good thank goodness! That would have made the waiting worse!! Finally the kids got their food!! Still missing the oldest ones side dish but the head waitress, as I will call her, came out right after and said his side would be out. My pizza and my husband's was on its way as well. So more waiting....

The kids are enjoying their food, saying how good it is and yummy in their tummy.... while the baby in my belly is having a fit there is no food for him or her! Ah the server comes out with a pizza!!  For my husband.... (insert grumbling under my breath) what are we at now 1hr since we placed our order??

His pizza came and our server again apologized up and down and said my pizza was only 10 more minutes. Something happened in the kitchen with it, maybe it wasn't made to be vegan we aren't sure but the new one is in the oven and in 10 minutes it will be out. Ok, ok... its been an hour what is 10 more minutes.

Our server comes by again, "I am so sorry! I keep checking! This is crazy though I will get a manager over here, this is just to long to wait" I agree! I pull out the pregnancy card "Yeah it is a bit long to make a pregnant woman wait for her food" I say with a smile, as my hands rest on my stomach.

The manager comes to apologize and tells us he will comp my pizza and part of my husband's pizza since we have had such a long wait. He offers to bring me a salad which I quickly say "YES!" Salad comes, still no pizza....

By this point the kids are done, getting antsy and my hubby is half way done with his pizza. My pizza is still MIA! It's now an hour and a half and the salad is not enough. We need to get a to go box for my pizza because this is to much.

Here comes the server... empty handed. "Well you won't believe this, I was watching them make your pizza and they put butter and Parmesan cheese on the crust! I was so mad!! I yelled at them and told the cooks 'she is VEGAN!' so they have to make another one. It's going to be 15 more minutes". (if you are keeping track this is pizza #2 and now #3)

By this point I would have taken the pizza and just not eaten the crust, or eaten the pizza box.  But I did appreciate her looking out for me so I said "ok..... I guess I don't have a choice".
More waiting.......

The manager came over and told us how sorry he was and hands us this.
$15 gift card for all the problems we had, a nice gesture since my pizza was free and part of the hubby's pizza and now the gift card. He really did show he cared and wanted to make sure we came back and didn't leave as disgruntled customers.

So after the 15minutes of waiting for the RIGHT pizza we got it in a to go box and she gave us the 'bad' pizza they were going to toss that had the butter and Parmesan cheese on the crust.

I was so hungry and ready to go it was now 9pm and I still only had eaten a salad, the apples left by the littlest one and was ready to eat my pizza! We get in the car and I see this..... (not the missing pieces)
Do you see something different between these 2 pizzas??? They are both Thai Dye pizzas, the left one was my correct pizza without butter, but its missing quite a bit more the that. Curry tofu? Basil? Cucumbers? Thai Chili sauce??


But it was such a fiasco I just didn't care and we walked home with a couple of free pizzas.

In summary: We will go back, I will prepare the server for the problems we had and make SURE it doesn't happen again! The staff was great and really seemed to care, that made the difference in how we felt about the over all experience. I could have been mad and made a scene but it was their opening night so I will give Mellow Mushroom in Sanford a pass card this time. Good food, great location, fantastic vegan options.

Monday, April 20, 2015

One vegan mom's dislike of slow cooking

Slow cooking, not my strong suit. You think it would be! Mom + busy + home + healthy family = slow cooking simple
Think again... I have had a recipe for weeks that I bought all the ingredients for, got the recipe and had it on my menu for the week . It just sat there, waiting, staring at me. Why? You ask?

A typical night for dinner means I get my 'alone time' while cooking. Yes you read that right!! Once my hubby comes home I start thinking about what item on my menu I will cook tonight. Curry? Italian? Rice? I don't feel like cooking? So that means in under an hour dinner will be prepped, cooked and ready to eat. All in a relative silence of my kitchen while the kids and daddy play in another room.

Slow cookers on the other hand require me to start thinking about cooking around say noon, the peak of mommy and kid time. They get cranky for lunch, I'm breaking up fights, teaching how to share every 5 minutes and you want me to think about dinner too???? Right......

There sits my slow cooker, all by itself....

Don't get me wrong, I like the concept of having dinner done in plenty of time and making it in a large batch so that leftovers are a sure thing. But the time frame is what gets me! My days are busy enough and cooking/prepping a meal just does not fit there.

How can I change that? I want to be more 'ready' for dinner and not have to think about it. But I don't want to have to do it at lunch time or mid afternoon. For now the slow cooker is a game I won't play to often. I won't sell it at our next garage sale, but it sure is going to be lonely in the cabinet.