Veggie Girl: Persian Garden

By: Megan Irwin

My cure for a terrible, awful, no good, very bad day: Persian Garden.

Today I am extremely grumpy. It’s been the kind of day where every car in front of me is going 5 m.p.h. under the speed limit, every song on the radio is by Chris Brown and my road rage is at an all time high. I wouldn’t be surprised if I somehow get gum in my hair later, or walk out later to four slashed tires.

Though I’m normally unspeakably cheap (I saved my stimulus check, even!), all day I’ve had the urge to spend a lot of money to try and make myself feel better. How American of me.

I resisted, until I realized there was at least one thing I could justify dropping some cash on: my Veggie Girl lunch. So I did. I went to, Persian Garden (on 15th Ave. and Thomas), my absolute favorite vegetarian restaurant in Phoenix, and spent wayyyy too much money on lunch. And I felt so much better afterwards, I didn’t even care that it’s a million degrees outside and traffic sucked on the way back to the office.

There are two main reasons this place is my favorite veggie joint in town.

Reason one: While the menu does feature a few meat items, it is clearly geared toward vegans and vegetarians. (Unlike that other Mediterranean themed restaurant every in town is so gung-ho about. Not that I’m gonna name names here, but I bet you know which one I mean.)

Reason two: The ingredients are really, really fresh. As someone whose a dunce in the kitchen, quality ingredients are key to me when I eat out. I can cook processed crap in my own kitchen, I don’t want to pay for it. And they know how to handle their spices – I never feel overwhelmed by any one flavor, but everything I’ve ever ordered is flavorful.

Today I forced one of my favorite people to come with me (his presence evaporates my bad moods almost immediately – verrry necessary today) so I got to try twice as much good food.

We went with the days vegetarian/vegan specials: vegan eggplant lasagna and spankopita.

I thought the lasagna was fantastic. I know this is blasphemy, but I usually hate regular lasagna because all that cheese just grosses me out. It’s too much and it reminds me of skin. Can’t enjoy it. So this vegan option, stuffed with spinach and cooked so the eggplant wasn’t slimy was perfect:

My vegan lasagna looked like a little mouth, which amused me to no end.

The spankopita was pretty much what I expected. They did it well – nice flaky crust with fresh spinach and feta cooked inside:

When trying to remember how to spell spankopita, just think: "Spank-a-pita." It works.

The rest of the menu looks delicious, but the specials always sound way too good to pass up. I’m sure the falafel and hummus are perfection here, but I’ve never ordered them. I always figure they’ll be ready and waiting for me on the rare day I go in and the special sounds gross. As far as your typical Mediterranean food goes, I have had the lentil soup here and it’s amazing, and vegan.

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Megan Irwin
Contact: Megan Irwin