Spend Christmas Day feasting on the golden chicken and other vegetarian Asian delights at Fresh Mint in Scottsdale.
Christmas Day dining options can be quite slim, considering the fact most restaurateurs and food workers would rather toast the yuletide with their nearest and dearest than sling hash to the hungry masses.
For vegetarians and vegans, however, the choices are even slimmer. Green's gonna be closed, as will Fate, Carly's, and all seven Pita Jungle locations.
All hope is not lost for the meat-free crowd, and a handful of veggie-friendly eateries and establishments will be serving with style during the holiday.
For instance, Fresh Mint (13802 North Scottsdale Road in Scottsdale, 480-443-2556) will be open normal hours, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and providing patrons with their always-spectacular vegetarian Asian cuisine. In addition to regular menu selections being offered (including the delicious vegetarian citrus spare ribs and black pepper steak), owner Mai Ly will also be whipping up a few special soups for the holiday, like a ginger and carrot concoction.
The chefs of Flaming Kabob (2252 East Baseline Road in Mesa, 480-813-6555) will also be doing business from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Christmas day, cooking up plenty of veggie-friendly ethnic entrees, including fallalfel plates, Lebanese moujadar, and vegetarian gallaya (made from a sautéed combination of green peppers, carrots, and mushrooms).
In the mood for some more communal-style dining? The uber-funky artists of the Thought Crime collective will be holding a "Widows & Orphans" Christmas party and dinner at The Firehouse (1015 North First Street, 602-300-7575). The potluck-style affair promises a large selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, ranging from seitan turkey and fresh-roasted vegetables to brocolli casserole and plates of brie. The event runs from 11 a.m. "until late," and will also feature an open stage and artist Matt Spastic spinning records all night.
But if none of these dining options suits you, downtown Phoenix's Thai Hut (101 East Mcdowell Road, 602-253-8631) will also be open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the holiday, as will Tempe's Med Fresh Grill (414 South Mill Avenue in Tempe, 480-642-9709), albeit from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Additionally, here's the 411 on which vegetarian/vegan places will be open the night before on Christmas Eve:
Benjarong Thai Restaurant
1440 South Country Club Drive, Mesa
11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
7000 North 16th Street
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Cafe Istanbul and Market
1310 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Cornish Pasty Co.
960 West University Drive, Tempe
11 a.m. to 8 pm
13843 N. Tatum Boulevard
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
4426 North 19th Avenue
11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
1513 East Apache Boulevard, Tempe
11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
-- Benjamin Leatherman