It’s a sunny afternoon in Flagstaff. My father is in town and, keeping his diet in mind, we seek out a vegan-friendly place to get brunch. My father may be a vegan, but my diet is less restrictive; I am vegetarian and could never imagine forgoing extra sharp cheddar cheese or overly sweetened coffee creamer for a not-as-authentic, vegan alternative. The idea of taking out all dairy seems impossible to me.
However, we eventually find a place that is not as reluctant to throw in the metaphorical dairy towel as I am. For the chefs at Morning Glory Café, this task isn’t impossible. In fact, everything on the menu is vegan-friendly and dairy-free.
Located in the Historic Southside Red Light District of Flagstaff’s downtown, this small café is easy to miss when passing by on the sidewalk. Its plain white exterior boasts none of its culinary skill. Inside, the old (and original) wooden floors squeak as we approach the glass counter. The high ceilings are also original, white, and intricately carved. Several small tables and booths line the inside of the tiny restaurant. The front counter has a glass display case full of homemade kombucha and vegan desserts. A cork bulletin board near the front displays some of Flagstaff’s upcoming events.
Upon ordering, the cashier tells us that we came during their 31st anniversary. Morning Glory opened in 1985 and has been serving organic, vegan meals ever since. She shows me the menu for lunch and breakfast and asks if I like anything in particular; I point to the word “pesto,” because I love pesto on just about anything. The Pesto Tofu Sandwich: made from layering organic, grilled tofu with ripe tomato slices on a toasted multi-grain bun, with cilantro walnut pesto sauce and fresh arugula to top it off. I order it faster than I can count the years Morning Glory has been open. But the cashier warns me, “The pesto is quite garlic-y. You like garlic, right?” I assure her that I do.
My father and I sit down and eagerly await the food. We sip the house-made kombucha—me hesitantly, because I have previously never been a fan of the drink. Their brew is different and I, surprised, finish my glass. My father isn’t the only one excited about finding another vegetarian-friendly place in Flagstaff’s own downtown. When our food arrives a few long minutes later, we are not disappointed. The food is hot, smells delicious, and is impressively picturesque (though I do apologize for not having a picture of it to share with you).
It tastes just as delicious. The tofu is crispy and marinated to perfection, the pesto is just as garlic-y as I was warned it would be, but combined with the flavor of the tomato, tofu, and bread, it mixes perfectly. I don’t pay much attention to my father’s food as I devour my own. Whatever he ordered, it satisfied him just as well.
Minutes later when the food is gone and the check paid, I make a mental note to return to this place for round two. (And I did: next time for breakfast. Vegan eggs benedict sounded too good to NOT try. Vegan hollandaise? No eggs? It proved equally worthy.)
I returned to Morning Glory one morning not long after my father and I first graced the small café. The vegan eggs benedict was even better than the first dish I tried. Vegans do not eat eggs, so this “eggs benedict” was ovo-less. You’re probably thinking, That doesn’t make sense. How can it be eggs benedict without the eggs? For me, the hollandaise sauce is truly what makes benedict, benedict, and in this recipe even the sauce was without eggs. While it is a trade secret of the café, the sauce was flawless even in its vegan form. I only wish I knew how to make it at home.
Satisfied once again with an incredible vegan meal, I pay and leave the café. As I exit, I am reminded of how many years Morning Glory has been open; they have definitely learned how to perfect their recipes and hone them into something vegans and vegetarians have never tasted before. And I do know this: the café certainly does deserve its glory.
You can find out more about this amazing café on their website: http://morningglorycafeflagstaff.com/